Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Atlantean Union

Marketing for Romance Writers’ Blog Features “To Survive the Maelstrom” as part of #Thursday13

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Folks, I’d asked to be part of the meme known as #Thursday13 at Marketing for Romance Writers’ busy blog a while ago. I thought letting some folks know about “To Survive the Maelstrom” would be interesting. And all they wanted was for me to post up to thirteen lines of the manuscript…so what could be simpler?

Maelstrom3So if you’ve not read any of “To Survive the Maelstrom” yet, please go over there and read a bit about Command Sergeant-Major Peter Welmsley of the Atlantean Union. Peter was once my late husband Michael’s character, and I found his story so compelling, I wanted to know more.

That’s why I decided to write the story of how Peter meets his empathic companion, a sentient, sapient being known as a weremouse. I knew that someone who’d been so damaged as to need a complete epidermal regeneration must have a story to tell. And fortunately, I was able to figure out what, exactly, that story was.

Peter’s dilemma, you see, is one of many soldiers who come home, realizing the world around them has changed. Or at least the way they perceive the world around them has changed. They are ill in spirit, even if they might’ve been healed in body, and most of them aren’t fortunate enough to find something as accepting, loving and nurturing as a weremouse.

In fact, Peter’s struggles with his own family are alluded to, because they truly don’t seem to understand just how bad he feels. He’s lost nearly everyone he worked with; he lost his fiancée; he lost his best friend. And underneath it all, he feels guilty for surviving — and yet, if he didn’t survive, who would remember his friends? Who would remember Hunin? Who would remember to tell their stories as well as his own?

As a widow, I felt powerfully driven to write this story — not just to complete my late husband Michael’s work (which admittedly is a compelling motivation all on its own), but because I empathized with Peter.

No, I don’t have post-traumatic stress disorder, as Peter almost certainly does. No, I’ve never served in the military (though I was a military wife at one time, and they make enormous sacrifices that mostly go unnoticed). No, if Michael had lived, I probably wouldn’t have done more than edit for my husband, and talk with him about the possibilities here.

But as my life has changed profoundly due to being widowed too young, I understood where Peter was coming from. He’s a full adult. He had his life all planned out. He knew what he wanted, and he knew how to get it.

Then, in one day, everything changed. And he had to pick up the pieces.

Fortunately for Peter, a weremouse is about to change his life for the better. But that does not at all mean Peter doesn’t still have scars — many in places that do not show.

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy my story. (If you’re really sharp, you might even figure out what parts Michael wrote, and what parts I did. Though they’re not obvious…at least, I hope not.)

It’s available now at Amazon, and I hope in a few months’ time to have it up also at Smashwords and BN.com. Do let me know what you think of it.

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?)

Time for a July #MFRWhooks Blog Hop, Atlantean Union-Style!

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OK, OK…WordPress did something weird here, and posted this a full day earlier than I scheduled it.

I’m still very happy to do the #MFRWhooks Blog Hop for this novella, set in my late husband’s Atlantean Union milieu.

Now, back to my original post.

Folks, I am a proud member of the Marketing for Romance Writers organization. They do a lot of good for authors, most particularly small press and indies…and they’ve given me many tips that I’ve found quite useful.

One of the other things they do is on every Wednesday, they open up something called “BookHooks.” It’s an opportunity to “hook” new readers, something no writer can do without.

As I have two new releases out — and as I’ve already done a paranormal blog hop or two in previous weeks for Michael’s “Columba and the Cat” novella — I figured I’d rather take part this week with my new military science fiction novella, “To Survive the Maelstrom.” (My late husband is credited, because I wouldn’t have written this story at all without the two thousand words he left behind.)

Maelstrom3Here’s the 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?

And now, a few sentences from “To Survive the Maelstrom” that explain exactly what Peter’s emotional state is before he meets up with his destined weremouse:

How long had it been since he’d smiled? Three months, perhaps? Surely the six months he’d spent in a medically induced coma while his skin regrew didn’t count . . . did it?

Even the pleasant heat of the spring couldn’t keep him away from his thoughts any longer. Why hadn’t the damned pirates left Hunin the Hell alone? Nine times out of ten, they ran; the tenth time, like Hunin, they stood and fought. And this time, they’d landed a lucky shot on HMS Niobe, where Peter had served as a platoon sergeant. Peter had quickly assumed command in the emergency as the senior NCO, considering all of the officers were dead or incapacitated.

But it hadn’t been enough.

Why was he alive, when so many good people were dead?

Now, in case you were intrigued by this sample, go to Amazon forthwith and get yourself a copy. (Right now, Amazon is the only place that has it, though in 90 days I hope to get “To Survive the Maelstrom” up at Barnes and Noble and Smashwords as well.)

And do check out the other participants in this week’s blog hop, will you? They’re all wonderful authors, and you might just find yourself a new favorite if you only give ’em half a chance.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 30, 2015 at 5:00 am

Two New Stories Up at Amazon Kindle, Plus a Free Promo Announcement!

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Folks, I have good news.

My military science fiction novelette “To Survive the Maelstrom” (set in my late husband Michael’s Atlantean Union universe) is now up and available at Amazon. It is initially priced at $2.99 — that’s what they recommended, and while I thought that a little odd, I went with it.

And Michael’s fantasy romance novelette, “Columba and the Cat,” is also now available at Amazon. It, too, has a primary price-point of $2.99, for the same reasons.

Both are available in time for my anniversary later this week, just as I promised.

In addition, starting tomorrow, “On Westmount Station” (co-written by me and Michael) will be available for free for five days. (Consider it my anniversary present to y’all.)

I sincerely hope that at least a few of you out there will find this of interest.

And please, feel free to share the news far and wide!

Commentary on Charleston, plus cover reveal for “To Survive the Maelstrom”

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Folks, I’d planned to do this cover reveal today for my forthcoming short story, “To Survive the Maelstrom,” before the events in Charleston last night.

Because this story deals with loss, grief, and a soldier with PTSD finding a way to continue on with his life, I decided to go through with it anyway. I plan to release this story sometime next week in time for my thirteenth wedding anniversary.

But before I do that, I’d like to comment a little on the Charleston shooting.

My heart is heavy. I don’t understand why anyone would sit through an hour’s worth of Bible study, then calmly and coldly shoot nine people to death.

I know that the man who’s been ID’ed as the shooter is a self-proclaimed racist. I know that he wanted to “kill black people,” and left one person alive to explain just why he did this. I also know the shooter is only twenty-one years old…because I don’t like talking about someone so evil, so twisted, and so bizarre, I’m not going to give this perpetrator the dignity of having a name. (I think he lost that when he took those nine people’s lives in cold blood.)

Anyway, while I cannot understand the shooting in Charleston at all — a church, of all places, should be safe, even in times like these — I do understand how it feels to live after grief. And overpowering grief is very difficult to bear.

This is why I wrote “To Survive the Maelstrom.”

Note that Michael, my late husband, is credited for two reasons. One, I’m playing in his Atlantean Union universe. And two, I found the story of how Peter, my hero, met his weremouse (an empathic, sentient creature), to be uplifting and inspiring — and Michael had the bare bones of it in one of his unfinished manuscripts.

The blurb for “To Survive the Maelstrom” will go something like this:

Maelstrom3Command Sergeant-Major Sir Peter Welmsley has lost everything he holds dear and now suffers from PTSD. 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.” Grasshunter’s Cub is nearly adult, and knows he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the weremice in his tribe.

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?

Ultimately, “To Survive the Maelstrom” is a story of hope and faith, told in an unusual way. I hope readers of military science fiction will enjoy it.

I also hope that showing someone who’s lost everything and found a way to claw his way back will be inspirational, maybe even heartwarming.

Because we need stories like this right now.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 18, 2015 at 7:30 pm

An Update Regarding Michael’s Novellas

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It’s time, and past time, to give you all an update regarding my late husband Michael B. Caffrey’s “Joey Maverick” novellas.  So here we go.

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to offer two different “Maverick” stories, “A Dark and Stormy Night” and “On Westmount Station.”  Cover art has been chosen, and formatting is about to get underway for independent e-book publication.

“A Dark and Stormy Night” is about a low-tech sailing regatta in the future; Joey Maverick is merely a crewman on one of the sailing ships.  When a vicious storm sets in, the captain is incapacitated, and Joey must take charge.  Rescues ensue, and Joey encounters feisty nurse Belinda Simpson, who is a pain in the caboose to deal with as she questions Joey’s authority at every turn . . . so why does Joey feel so attracted to her?  Ultimately, “A Dark and Stormy Night” is an excellent action-adventure story with just a touch of low-key romance that’s appropriate for all ages.

“On Westmount Station” is a more typical milSF story because Lieutenant Joey Maverick is about to go off to space.  However, there’s a little problem on Westmount Station that no one quite expected as there’s a bomb in an unexpected place.  Joey’s the man on the spot; he and his new team must defuse the bomb before it’s too late, and deal with the terrorist in question besides . . . there’s action, there’s suspense, there’s mystery, and then there’s Joey, who has to be one of the more fun, albeit low-key, characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about.  Truly, this is a story that many people will enjoy, especially if you like your military adventure with just a touch of wry.

If these stories do well, I plan to work on fleshing out a third novella in 2014.

These stories will have bylines of “by Michael B. Caffrey with Barb Caffrey” as I edited and smoothed out various things in the first novella, while I added a subplot, action and additional characters in the latter.  But they firmly are Michael’s stories, set in Michael’s universe, using Michael’s main character Joey Maverick and should be enjoyed by anyone who loved my husband’s work.

People have asked me many times over the years since Michael’s passing why I’ve been bound and determined to keep Michael’s writing alive (as Michael wrote the first novella back in 2000, and what turned into the second novella in 2001).  It’s very simple, really; Michael was an exceptionally gifted writer.  I want his words to live, because he worked hard on them, the stories are excellent, and I think many people will enjoy them if they only have the opportunity to find and read them.

I don’t know what else Michael would have written had he lived.  But I do know this: He was every bit as persistent as I am.  He would not have given up on his own work.  And he would want me to get these stories out there in whatever form, because he knew what he’d done and he wanted others to read his stories.

I plan to offer the two novellas at Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing, at Smashwords, and at BN.com, among others . . . and I hope that everyone who has an interest in my husband’s work will buy them.  (Please!)

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 30, 2013 at 1:23 am