Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘“A Dark and Stormy Night”

Anniversary Thoughts — and Book Recs (from me)

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Folks, it’s my fourteenth wedding anniversary today, as I write this. (Actually, it’s nearly over, as it’s after eleven p.m. as I type this out.) And while I’m happy to remember my late husband Michael, and the happiest day of my life — our wedding day — spending my anniversary alone, again, is not the world’s most pleasant thing.

Grief is a very strange thing, you see. It’s a personal journey of sorts; how well can you cope with the pain? How well can you go on with your life, and all its vicissitudes, and yet do your best to honor your loved ones…honor your memories?

Every person’s grief-journey is different. Mine has been long, protracted, and difficult, but along the way I’ve met many wonderful people and reaffirmed long-standing friendships. I talk about Michael with my friends, and about how much I miss him, and about how much he did to help me as a writer and editor…and also about how much he enjoyed listening to me play my instruments (usually I played my clarinet, sometimes the alto sax), or discussing the music I was writing, or really anything at all.

Michael enjoyed so many things, you see. He was a strong, vibrant presence, even though he, of course, did not see himself that way.

I’m glad to have met him, married him, and been together with him until he passed — way too soon — in 2004. I will honor our wedding day every day of my life, but most especially on our anniversary.

That said, I also wanted to talk a little about writing today. Michael was a writer, and he loved to write. He also loved reading my stories, and talking with me about works in progress; I like to think that he’d be ecstatic that ELFY is out in two parts, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, because Michael thought Bruno’s journey from discarded orphan to worthy hero was well worth reading. (Plus, it’s funny, and Michael, like me, was always partial to that.)

My publisher has priced AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE at ninety-nine cents, so it’s quite affordable. And if you enjoy that, you can go grab A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE for only $2.99 — the two together are less than the price of most fast-food hamburger meals, and are far more satisfying (with far fewer empty calories, too).

That being said, I also wanted to point out that several other stories are available right now, including several that Michael had a great deal of input in (actually writing two of them). All are ninety-nine cents to buy, but are free to read with Kindle Unlimited. (I still plan to get up versions for other sites, but that hasn’t happened yet.)

TO SURVIVE THE MAELSTROM is a novella featuring Peter Welmsley, one of the few survivors of the Battle of Hunin. How can he continue to live while his best friend, much less his fiancée as well, are dead? And what does an empathic were-mouse have to do with Peter, anyway?

Note that the Marketing for Romance Writers Group on Goodreads featured TO SURVIVE THE MAELSTROM as its book of the week for June 21, 2016…thank you so much for that!

Also, considering I’m talking about my husband this evening, the main impetus for me to write this story was a 2,000 word story fragment Michael left behind. I wanted to figure out the rest of the story…so I did. (And I do hope you will enjoy it.)

Next is Michael’s fantasy-romance novella COLUMBA AND THE CAT. This story features Princess Columba of Illnowa; she does not want to be a princess, as she’s suited to be a musician-sorceress instead. She’s been looking around for a familiar animal — someone to help her with her mage-studies — and happens across a small cat with unusual markings while out riding. She rescues the cat, and then magical things start to happen…including dreams of a near-perfect suitor (not young, not overly handsome, but smart and funny and interesting). But the cat is a shapeshifter…when, oh when, will Columba figure that out?

And, finally, there are the two stories of spaceman and adventurer Joey Maverick, written by Michael (with the second story being finished and expanded by me), A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT and ON WESTMOUNT STATION.

I hope you will give these books and stories a try, as it’s the only present I want for this, my fourteenth anniversary. (And thank you.)

Formatting, Writing, and Other Stuff

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Folks, it’s Friday. And as such, I wanted to talk about a great many things…so, let’s get to it!

First off, I am going to get “A Dark and Stormy Night,” “On Westmount Station,” “Columba and the Cat” and “To Survive the Maelstrom” formatted for Barnes and Noble and Smashwords as well as Kindle. This means I will soon be taking all four stories out of the Kindle Unlimited program, so if you still want to read them for free but haven’t yet done so, this is your one and only warning.

When I have the new formats, I’ll be uploading them to Barnes and Noble and Smashwords (and, of course, be putting a cleaner and better-formatted copy on Amazon as well).

I’m excited about this, because it gives me the chance to tap into a wider audience…and besides, these four stories have not exactly burned the house down with regards to sales figures at Amazon alone. Those who’ve read them enjoy them, and many have told me so privately. But they’ve been but lightly reviewed, and mostly haven’t found their audience yet.

Next, I’m still working away at CHANGING FACES. The story continues to evolve. That’s a good thing, in one respect, because it means I’m writing a deeper and richer story; on the not-so-good side is the fact that the more the story continues to evolve, I haven’t any idea how much longer it’s going to take to finish it.

Finally — and this is not about writing, sorry — what in the world is going on in Flint, Michigan? Why did a Governor Rick Snyder-appointed emergency manager allow Flint’s water to become poisoned by lead? And why isn’t Gov. Snyder taking much in the way of responsibility for this?

The people of Flint deserve better from their Governor than this. And make no mistake about it — this problem was created solely by Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Michigan), because Snyder is the one who appointed the emergency manager. And the emergency manager, rather than anyone actually voted for by the citizens of Flint, is the one who made the atrocious decision to change where Flint gets its water from, and then not do anything about how corrosive that new water source was…much less test it for lead levels, or anything else.

This is a problem that should’ve been prevented.

It should never have happened, because the people who lived in Flint, including the Mayor of Flint and other elected leaders from that area, all knew that the river water (the new source) needed to be properly treated before sent to Flint. Because that water was not treated, it caused massive problems.

Until Rachel Maddow of MSNBC started talking about Flint’s plight nightly, Gov. Snyder didn’t do anything. He insisted there was no problem for over a year and  a half.

Finally, he allowed for the National Guard to go into Flint and give out water, along with water filters and other helpful items. But much damage has already been done, all because that emergency manager (appointed by Snyder, remember) insisted on saving a few nickels by using the river water instead of the water from Detroit (that was properly treated and much safer to use) and didn’t either know that the water had to be chemically treated before human use or just didn’t care.

Here’s just a few of the problems the people of Flint, Michigan are facing right now:

  • All 8,000 children in Flint have been exposed to toxic levels of lead. And all of them now have the potential for many medical problems, including cognitive difficulties (and at worst, mental retardation).
  • Because of the lead in the water, no one in Flint can sell his/her home. That lead, and other chemicals besides, have corroded the pipes.
  • This has drastically hurt Flint’s image, and has pushed away businesses who might’ve wanted to relocate there.

Now, why haven’t the people of Michigan risen up as of yet and demanded satisfaction from their Governor over this debacle? I don’t know.

What I do know is that this problem should not be occurring in the United States of America. We are not a Third-World country.

But there is a solution for Michigan, folks, and it’s simple: Recall Governor Snyder.

Why? Because Michigan’s elected representatives have thus far failed to impeach or otherwise hold Governor Snyder accountable for this debacle. And when the duly elected officials refuse to do their job, it’s time for the people themselves to step in and do it for them.

The buck stops with him, and Gov. Snyder has failed in his responsibilities.

So it’s time for him to go. Period.

New Author Feature/Interview up at Nicholas Rossis’s Blog

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Just a brief, drive-by bloglet…

My newest author interview/feature is up at Nicholas Rossis’s busy blog. Nicholas said some very kind things about me, which I appreciated; in addition, he seems to understand just why I’ve worked so hard to keep at least some of Michael’s work alive.

Here’s a bit from that featured interview, where I talk about my favorite writers:

I enjoy Rosemary Edghill’s work because she can write anything. Whether it’s a mystery, a romance, science fiction, fantasy, anything at all, she tells a compelling and well-researched story.

I enjoy Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s work because she, too, can write anything. Her stories about Alfreda Sorenssen are inspired; they’re YA “frontier fiction,” and she predated the market for this by about fifteen years. Her first two in this series were written in the 1990s, I believe; her third was written last year. And her stories about Nuala, a world dealing with severe radiation issues and massive infertility among the population, are incredible.

I also truly enjoy Stephanie Osborn’s work. My goodness, can that woman write. She has a series out called the Displaced Detective, about Sherlock Holmes brought to the modern-day via the World of Myth hypothesis and some rather nifty hyperspatial physics. Because Stephanie is a former rocket scientist, she knows her science and she’s able to convey it to the layman in such a way that you don’t feel like you’re being talked down to – she even finds a way for Holmes to meet a woman who’s worthy of him! (And that’s not easy.)

There are many other authors I admire, including Andre Norton, Lois McMaster Bujold, Orson Scott Card, David Weber, David Drake, Ryk Spoor, Eric Flint… and I keep an eye on my fellow book reviewer Jason Cordova’s career, too.  Jason has a number of very solid short stories, plus he’s making a name for himself in the relatively new genre of kaiju.

And that doesn’t even go into the romance writers I read, or the nonfiction writers – there are so many, and I feel terrible that I have to name just a few.

And that doesn’t even name folks I will seek out and buy immediately, like Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Deborah J. Ross, Julia London, Elizabeth Moon…it’s really impossible for me to name every last writer I enjoy, so if I left your name off this list, please do not take it personally. (Oh, yes — how could I have forgotten Kate Paulk? My goodness, her book about Vlad the Impaler is wonderful, and she writes funny fantasy, too. Or Sarah A. Hoyt — yet another fine writer who didn’t immediately come to mind here, though I did mention I read her blog often and find it of immense value.)

Anyway, there’s some stuff in here you may not know about me. So please do go over to Nicholas’s blog, will you? And be sure to say “hi” — also, give his books a good, solid lookover and see if anything interests you! (Hint, hint: he has a new release out called INFINITE WATERS that contains a number of intriguing short stories that might just get you started.)

Don’t forget — Novella Promos Start #Today!

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As promised, folks, I have two novellas that are on discounted promotions starting today (I think at eight a.m. Pacific Daylight Time — don’t ask me why Kindle did this, ’cause I really don’t know) and ending on Monday morning at roughly the same time.

So for the next five days, you can get my novella “To Survive the Maelstrom” for just ninety-nine cents, and you can get my late husband Michael’s novella “A Dark and Stormy Night” for free.

(Yes, I said “free.”)

A quick check shows that “Dark and Stormy” is already available for free. But “Maelstrom” is still listing at $2.99 — since I did both at the same time, I find this bizarre. But hopefully within an hour, this will have corrected itself…

“But Barb,” you ask, “both of your names are on both stories. What’s going on there?”

Ah, you must be new to my blog.

But to answer this question: “A Dark and Stormy Night” was written by my late husband Michael before he died. I added about 1500 words to it to make it a legal collaboration, and sold it in 2007 to an online magazine (which was not archived). I sold it again to the now-defunct E-Quill Publishing in 2010, withdrew it from E-Quill in early 2012, and offered it again in 2013 independently as an e-book via Amazon Kindle. (Thus why I’m credited second, and also why I took an editing credit there.)

And before you ask again, I wrote “To Survive the Maelstrom” based off 2000 words of Michael’s about how Peter met his weremouse companion. But I knew there had to be more to that story, so I decided I had to write the story for myself. It is a true posthumous collaboration, but I wrote over three-quarters of the story, which is why I’m credited first.

Both are military science fiction stories, of a sort.

I say “of a sort” because “Dark and Stormy” deals with Ensign Joey Maverick’s “low-tech” sailing adventures while on leave before he ships out for space. (His low-tech sailing equals roughly late 20th Century or early 21st Century tech. So if you love sailing, you will not be thrown by anything in this novel despite it being a futuristic piece.) And “Maelstrom” deals with space marine Peter Welmsley’s struggles with PTSD after losing nearly everyone he cared about during the battle of Hunin, including his fiancée and best friend. (Peter does meet up with his weremouse companion, as Michael had envisioned, though I changed a few of the steps to get there.)

Anyway, I truly hope you will enjoy these stories! (Come back and let me know, OK?)

A Quick Wednesday Round-up

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Folks, I’m busy writing and editing. Plus, I’m working on a book review for Thursday and perhaps another one for Saturday…lots to get done, and very little time to do it in.

So I figured I’d give you a quick, “drive-by” blog, just to give you an idea of what I’m up to this week.

I’m working right now on a short story plus the rewrite of CHANGING FACES, plus I have two edits in train. (One will finish by the end of this week. The other I hope will finish the second pass by the end of this week; it’s for a relatively new writer, so I agreed to do three passes for him. Most professional editors tend to do two.)

But I have some exciting news…want to know what it is?

OK, I’ll tell you.

Chris the Story-Reading Ape’s blog is going to feature a guest blog, from me, sometime tomorrow. As Chris is a few hours ahead of me, time-wise, I can’t tell for certain when my guest blog will show up. But once it does, I’ll skedaddle and get something up over here, so you all can meander over and read it.

What’s it about? Well, Chris’s website is a little different from other blogs, in that Chris wants you to introduce yourself as if you’re speaking to a room where you know not one, single soul. So I called my piece “An Intro to Barb Caffrey,” figuring that might make some sense…that means most of you will know everything there, but maybe the way I’m putting it will still intrigue you?

For the record, it’s because I’m going to be featured at Chris’s blog that I decided to put “A Dark and Stormy Night” up as a free e-book for five days starting on the 23rd (tomorrow), and it’s also why I decided to drop the price of “To Survive the Maelstrom” to ninety-nine cents for five days, starting again on the 23rd. Chris’s blog is very well-read, so maybe I’ll find some new readers.

In addition, Nicholas Rossis asked me to do a guest blog for him as well. I’m not exactly sure when this will come out. But when it does, of course I will let you know about it, soonest…as always.

Aside from that, the Racine Concert Band will be playing again on Sunday out at the Racine Zoo, and it’s absolutely free (don’t you just love that word, free?) If you’re anywhere within reasonable driving distance, do come and check us out.

So that’s about it.

Have a great rest of your week, folks!

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 22, 2015 at 6:23 am