Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Blog-hops

#AuthorsinBloom Blog-Hop: Why I Don’t Garden

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Folks, I’m taking part in the sixth annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop. And as such, I had to choose between writing about gardening, or writing about recipes.

See, gardening is something people start doing a whole lot more of, when we get into the spring. And making meals from our own gardens, or from fresh produce bought at a Farmer’s Market stall, seems to dovetail with that.

So, let’s get started on why I, personally, do not garden…after I show you this lovely graphic blog-hop starter Dianne Venetta came up with:

So, as I said above, I love this time of year. There’s all sorts of good veggies growing, there’s the promise of spring and new life and second chances…and I love gardens.

But no, I do not garden myself.

Why? Well, it’s a combination of three reasons.

First, I would rather stay away from the great outdoors during spring because bees and wasps wake back up along with everything else…and I am very allergic to them, so allergic that I’ve had to be rushed to the hospital a couple of times after being stung.

Second, I seem to have what’s commonly known as a “black thumb,” meaning I don’t seem to grow anything very well…and things others start in the garden and I try to finish die, too, no matter how much fertilizer I use or how well I follow the instructions of the previous gardener.

And third? Well, my hands are not that wonderful, as I deal with carpal tunnel syndrome on a daily basis. Dealing with hands that cramp up or drop things seemingly at random is not pleasant at the best of times, and it’s much more unpleasant in the garden when you’re using things like gardening shears, hoes, rakes, spades, etc. (Picture the stubbed toes, the long scratches cutting through my sturdy pants from the gardening shears as they fall, always toward my legs or arms or some vitally important place…and then say, “No, thanks.”)

So, that’s why I don’t garden. But it’s why I do enjoy getting food from the local Farmer’s Market, and trying all sorts of new veggie dishes…because half the fun of that is letting someone else do the work.

Before I go, here’s a bit about me that you might like to know:

BARB CAFFREY is a musician, composer, writer, and editor from the Midwest. She loves science fiction, fantasy, and romance, and tends to write some combination thereof nine times out of ten…her latest books are the YA urban fantasy/romance A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE and the LGBT-friendly contemporary romance CHANGING FACES.

As to what I’m going to give away? I figured I’d give the lucky winners various books and stories, ’cause I am a writer and that’s what I do. If you love romance, I’ve got something for you; if you love SF&F, I have something else for you; if you love it all, well, I definitely, decidedly, one-hundred-percent have something for you!

Now, it’s best for you to get to hopping, and find the next blog…lots of interesting stuff awaits!

http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=276327&type=basic

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 27, 2017 at 12:19 am

A First Look at A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE for #MFRWHooks on #MFRWAuthor RT Day!

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Folks, today is a heavy reTweet day for Marketing for Romance Writers. And as such, what better time to show a first look at my forthcoming young adult comic urban fantasy/romance, A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE?

Note I still do not have links or cover art to share. But I can share several sentences, which is why I’m taking part in the Book Hooks promotion today for Marketing for Romance Writers.

First, here’s a short blurb to explain what A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE is all about:

Young Bruno the Elfy and Sarah, his mostly-human teenage girlfriend, are in deep trouble. Bruno’s Elfy mentor Roberto the Wise is about to be sacrificed by a Dark Elf, and Sarah’s parents have decided to help the Elf rather than the Elfy. Things look bleak and are getting worse by the minute, but Bruno and Sarah have a number of allies — human, Elfy, and ghosts — that the Dark Elf can’t possibly expect. Can young love, desperation, and great unexpected power win out despite it all?

And now, here’s a few lines from A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE:

Bruno took Sarah’s hand and led her back outside. He looked with his mage senses, and felt nothing; no Elfy magic, no Human magic, and as far as he could tell, no Elf magic, Dark or Bright.

He put up a light shield that should help conceal their voices, and decided it was safe enough to talk for a bit.

“Tomorrow is Baaltinne, Sarah.” Bruno rubbed his fingers through his hair and tried not to look too hard at Sarah. Goddess, she was beautiful. But he had to stay on topic. “That’s your May Day. Tomorrow.” He shook his head and tried not to frown. “How can we get everything together in time to stop Dennis the Dark Elf?”

“I have faith in you,” she said. Her eyes darkened. Bruno felt as if he were falling, before she gently brushed her lips against his.

—————————– End Excerpt ——————————-

I hope that little excerpt has “hooked’ you, so you’ll be back later this month and get your copy of A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE as soon as it comes out.

Before I go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that there’s still time for you to read the first novel in my Elfyverse, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. It’s available for ninety-nine cents right now as an e-book at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Now, please, “hop” to the next participant in the Marketing for Romance Writers Book Hooks blog hop!

Or, take a look at this list, and wade in!


Written by Barb Caffrey

November 11, 2015 at 5:00 am

Three Days, Three Quotes, Three Bloggers — Day Three #Friendship #Quotes #MFRWAuthor

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Folks, Fridays around Chez Caffrey are busy, tiresome, and difficult. (OK, maybe it was just yesterday.)

That’s the only reason I didn’t finish up the “Three Days, Three Quotes, and Three Bloggers” challenge put to me by the wonderful and inspirational author N.N. Light (author of PRINCESS OF THE LIGHT). But today is a new day…and I’m determined to finish up this challenge, even though I still don’t know what three bloggers I can possibly tag next.

Anyway, I looked for quotes about friendship today. Because to my mind, friendship is one of the biggest and best things there is. Being someone’s friend means standing by them in times of trouble, as well as joy; doing your best to understand them, no matter how different their experiences are from your own; and letting them know they’re not alone.

But C.S. Lewis, in THE FOUR LOVES, said it better than I just did. As quoted by the website What Christians Want to Know:

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

Note that while Lewis’s quotes are used more often than not by Christians, many — including this one — are appropriate for people of all faiths and creeds.

Now, to unpack a little what Lewis was talking about? Lewis pointed out that many of the best things in life (which, to him, included philosophy and art) seem to have no intrinsic value. Nothing that you can hang your hat on. Nothing of monetary value, and as he said overtly, nothing of immediate survival value.

But if you are friendless, you don’t have much of a life.

Why? Well, you have no one to share your joy or sorrow with. No one who understands you, no one with a long (or even a short) baseline to see what you’ve overcome. Or what you’ve made of yourself.

Discussing the meaning of friendship is especially appropriate for this particular blog-hop challenge, as I decided to take it up precisely because of my friendship with N.N. Light (affectionately known as “Mrs. N.”). I met her because of the Marketing for Romance Writers group — we are both MFRW Authors (or #MFRWAuthor on Twitter) — and found her to be a kindred spirit. She’s a book reviewer who loves baseball, believes in family and has a strong moral compass. And she writes and edits…we have a ton of things in common, and I’d not have gotten to know her without the auspices of Marketing for Romance Writers.

Anyway, I agree with C.S. Lewis. Friendship is vital. And while it may not have any intrinsic survival value, it certainly has a great deal of meaning behind it — meaning that is essential to a full and fruitful life.

Now, as for the remaining three bloggers to tag? I haven’t any clue whatsoever. Perhaps Aaron Lazar, Scott Eder, and Dina von Lowenkraft might be interested in this?

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 5, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Three Days, Three Quotes, Three Bloggers, Day Two — #Creativity #Inspiration #MFRWAuthor

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Folks, it’s Day Two of the “three days, three quotes, and three bloggers” challenge. I was tagged by author N.N. Light, she who wrote PRINCESS OF THE LIGHT…and I struggled for quite some time before I ran across this excellent quote by Doctor Jonas Salk:

I have come to associate a kind of success that we are referring to, to individuals who have a combination of attributes that are often associated with creativity. In a way they are mutants, they are different from others. And they follow their own drummer. We know what that means. And are we all like that? We are not like that. If you are, then it would be well to recognize that there were others before you. And, people like that are not very happy or content, until they are allowed to express, or they can express what’s in them to express. It’s that driving force that I think is like the process of evolution working on us, and in us, and with us, and through us. That’s how we continue on, and will improve our lot in life, solve the problems that arise. Partly out of necessity, partly out of this drive to improve. (Emphasis by Wikiquote.)

Now, why did this resonate with me? As a creative person, I’ve often felt different than many others. What I’m driven to do is not well understood, oft-times. And yet I must create, or I am not myself.

If someone as learned as Dr. Jonas Salk, who came up with a vaccine for polio, understands this — well, then, there must be hope for me to understand it about myself.

Anyway, sometimes the path to creativity lies in self-acceptance. If this describes you — and it may — do not shirk from the knowledge that you are different.

Because once you accept that knowledge, it might just become an advantage.

Today’s bloggers to tag? Hm…how about Aaron Lazar, Maria DeVivo, and Jeff Getzin?

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 3, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Three Days, Three Quotes, and Three Bloggers Challenge

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Folks, the lovely and talented N.N. Light (also known as Mrs. N.), challenged me on her blog last week with the latest blog-hop called “Three Days, Three Quotes, and Three Bloggers.” You’re supposed to give a quote every day from something in pop culture — at least, I’m going to assume this, as Mrs. N.’s quotes were all in that realm — and challenge three other bloggers a day to do the same thing.

Now, I’m not sure I know nine bloggers who might be willing to take part in this challenge. But I do know at least six. And I have a few favorite quotes to try out…so, here goes!

Major League (1989) PosterMy quote is from possibly the best baseball comedy ever, the original Major League.

Bob Uecker, as radio announcer Harry Doyle, says:

“Ball four. Ball eight. Low, and he walks the bases loaded on twelve straight pitches.

“How can they lay off pitches that close?”

Now, why does this quote amuse me so much? It’s simple. Any baseball fan knows that if someone’s just walked the bases loaded, no pitches were actually that close. (So, Uecker is taking part in an old baseball tradition — sarcasm. Love it.)

As for why I picked this quote first? It’s probably my favorite quote ever — partly because it’s really funny, and partly because there’s actually somewhat of a moral in there if you dig deep enough.

See, part of the story of Major League is that of Ricky Vaughn, a pitcher who comes up with the nickname “Wild Thing” because he seemingly can’t find the strike zone — but he’s kept on the team because he throws hard and the manager believes Ricky will learn. (Plus, when the year starts, there really aren’t that many good players on his team that can outplay him. Keep that in mind.)

Usually, it’s only the talented guys who are left out on the mound to walk the bases loaded. The manager who does that makes the calculation that the pitcher needs to learn how to get out of trouble — including trouble of his own making. And the only way to do that is to put your pitcher in pressure situations.

Like pitching with the bases loaded. (Talk about a pressure-filled situation!)

So, Ricky’s walked the bases loaded. The pressure is on. What’s he going to do next?

All of that is summed up, laconically, by Bob Uecker’s character Harry Doyle in the quote I referenced above.

That’s why I love this quote.

Now, as for today’s three victims — er, bloggers? How about Jason Cordova, Chris Nuttall, and Dora Machado?

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 2, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Time for A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE’s First #ParanormalLoveWednesday #BlogHop!

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Folks, I’m getting a late start today. And as I’m still dealing with the remains of some computer issues, I didn’t get my excerpt up by 6 a.m. EST as the Paranormal Love Wednesday Blog Hop folks strongly prefer.

Despite that, I hope you will enjoy my excerpt from A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, which is the sequel to AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. I don’t have cover art yet, but here’s a blurb for you:

Young Bruno the Elfy and Sarah, his mostly-human teenage girlfriend, are in deep trouble. Bruno’s mentor Roberto the Wise is about to be sacrificed by a Dark Elf, and Sarah’s parents have decided to help the Elf rather than the Elfy. Things look bleak and are getting worse by the minute, but Bruno and Sarah have a number of allies — human, Elfy, and ghosts — that the Dark Elf can’t possibly expect. Can young love, desperation, and great unexpected power win out despite it all?

And here’s the excerpt, which is from the beginning of Chapter 8. Bruno is very ill, and a ghost has decided to mix in…

Bruno heard, as if from a long distance away, Sarah say something. He strained to hear her, yet for all his trying, couldn’t get closer. He’d have cried if he could; for now, all he could do was rest. And wait.

::Do you hear me, boy?:: a tired old female voice asked in his head.

Bruno nodded, or tried to nod. How did one nod inside one’s own mind?

::Good,:: the old woman said. ::Listen, boy. Tomorrow will be rough, but I’m going to help you all I can. For now, take my hand.::

He reached out somehow, and took her mental “hand,” all the while feeling new stores of energy floating in. He heard Sarah, still distant but closer now, saying in disbelief, “I felt an extra set of hands helping us. Did the rest of you feel anything?”

“Something…odd,” Rebecca said in a speculative tone, before Bruno lost the thread.

Bruno wondered why this time, Sarah had felt the spirit’s mental “hand,” when she’d missed it before.

::I wanted her to feel it now, boy,:: the female voice said. ::Otherwise, she wouldn’t, even though she’s more powerful now than I ever was at the height of my powers in life.::

::This…is too much for me, old mother,:: he stammered mentally. ::I’m very tired. Why can’t you let me rest?::

::I can’t, boy,:: she said. ::Wish I could. We’re almost out of time as it is. For now, listen to your beloved.::

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE. The tentative date of the e-book release is September 15, 2015…now, go take a look at the others taking part in #ParanormalLoveWednesday’s #BlogHop!

1. Andrea R. Cooper 4. Trevann Rogers 7. Angelica Primm
2. Bokerah 5. P.T. Macias, Author
3. Elizabeth Andrews 6. Barb Caffrey

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 5, 2015 at 1:58 pm

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

New #ParanormalLoveWednesdaysBlogHop w/excerpt from Michael’s “Columba and the Cat”

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Folks, this is the second time I’ve done the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop. (The first time was last week, and was for AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE.) This time, I’m doing it in support of my late husband Michael B. Caffrey’s story “Columba and the Cat.”

Years ago, this story was available at e-Quill Publishing in Australia, but I withdrew it in 2012 after I was picked up by Twilight Times Books as an author. While I appreciated e-Quill’s interest in Michael’s work very much, I felt I could perhaps do a little better on my own…I just needed to get the skills together to do justice to his work.

Anyway, I now have more of those skills. I’ve found friends and allies over at the Marketing for Romance Writers group (do look them up if you’re a writer; they’re incredibly helpful people), and some of those authors set up the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog in order to showcase paranormal works a little better. Columba and the Cat coverMichael’s “Columba and the Cat” certainly qualifies.

What’s it about? As I said yesterday:

“Columba and the Cat” is about Princess Columba of Illinowa. She’s a magician, a scholar, and is currently the heir to the throne…and wants no part of it. Because she’s royalty, she’s had trouble meeting men, and she’s tired of dealing with people in search of a title rather than herself.

Into her life comes a mysterious cat. (Literally. The cat nearly gets run over while she’s out riding.) She rescues the cat, takes him into the palace, and starts having unusual dreams — dreams of a man who understands her, cares about her, and loves her. Unbeknownst to Columba, the cat is a shapeshifter. He, too, is royal, albeit from far away. And he’s the man of her dreams…that is, when he’s not in the form of a cat.

Then the dream-man shows up, and the cat disappears. Columba must decide whether or not to believe in her dreams and hope that somehow, all of the magical romance she’s found is here to stay.

I don’t yet have a link for the story as it’s not yet up. (EDITED TO ADD: Here’s a link for everyone!) But I do have an excerpt, cover art, and a banner. I do hope people will love this excerpt and will want to read the rest of the story.

First, the banner: banner Now, the excerpt (apologies in advance; it’s a bit longer than four paragraphs):

Again it seemed that Cat could understand what she was saying, as he rolled to the side and off the Princess-Royal’s body.

Columba looked at him in surprise — how had he realized that the only way he could have stood and walked on her nightdress was to dig in with his claws? And how — and why — had he figured out so quickly how to remove himself so quickly without having to use those claws?

Yes, if she could convince him to stay — and if he had the other qualities necessary — Cat was the familiar for her.

After a few minutes, she came back out, brushing her shoulder-length blond hair, and turned down the covers. She sat on the edge of the bed, brushing her hair and making inconsequential chat to Cat, constantly amused at his occasional mew or mrowr as she paused, almost as if he was truly interested in the court gossip she had picked up during the hour between the ceremony and dinner. After a bit, she finished with her hair and set the brush on the bedside table, then swung her legs under the covers and pulled them up.

A wave of her hand was enough to douse the magelights in the room, leaving only the firefly glow of a single light in the bathroom to reflect off Cat’s eyes as he gazed through the dark at her.

Mrow?” the animal inquired, an almost plaintive note in his voice.

Columba chuckled gently, then lifted the cover. It was a cold winter’s evening, after all, and Cat looked uncomfortably thin, despite his size. “If you’re cold, you can come in here with me, darling.”

With a gentle rustling, Cat crossed the short distance from his chosen pillow nest to rub against Columba’s face before crawling carefully under the covers and turning around to lay against her breast, his head under her chin and his whiskers tickling the exposed skin above the open neck of her flannel nightdress. With an uncharacteristic giggle, Columba let the sheet drop and snuggled Cat close, her eyes closing as his rumbling purr began to lull her to sleep. As she drifted off, she almost thought that she heard something stirring . . . most likely the wind was her last lazy thought before sleep claimed her.

In the night, Princess-Royal Columba had the most wondrous dreams — dreams of a strange prince, not overly handsome as many of her dream princes had been, but not totally shabby either, with hair that almost the color of her new most favorite pet’s fur, but features she could not clearly discern. The prince courted her assiduously, slowly, over the course of months in that night’s dream, obtained at last her promise that she would be his.

The first dream faded into vague images she could not recall — stallions and mares, springtime, birds in their nests with the little birds chirping for food — and a sense as if she was riding one of those stallions back and forth across a plain of short, bluish-green grass, almost the color of the sheets on her royal bed. It was a wonderful ride, this dream-gallop, farther and harder than she’d ever ridden before, with breaks to rest the horse and herself, an electric ride that sent surges of pleasure through her. Eventually, that dream faded back into her dream prince, clasping her in his arms, gently kissing her lips, then her throat . . . .

*     *     *

Note: For my friends in the Fantasy and Science Fiction Network, and for romance readers everywhere, this is as spicy as it gets. It’s somewhere between a PG and a PG-13 as far as a rating goes…Michael believed strongly in romance, but he also believed the best romances took place privately. So there should be nothing here that offends anyone’s sensibilities.

I hope that piqued your interest…now, get back to hopping, and go visit the next person up in the Paranormal Love Wednesdays Blog Hop!

1. C. Marie Bowen 3. Blaire Edens 5. Barb Caffrey
2. Margo Bond Collins 4. Erin Hayes Books
6. JoAnne’s Blog

Enter the Wined, Dined and Read Blog Hop!

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Folks, a while back, Aaron Lazar over at the excellent writer’s website Murder By 4 invited me to the Wined, Dined and Read Blog Hop. This particular hop discusses food in the context of our favorite characters…and is possibly the most unusual blog hop I’ve ever taken part in, to boot.

a0bb9-anelfyontheloose_medAre you ready to read more about my tastes in wine and food, much less my main characters from AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, Bruno and Sarah, and their taste in food? (As they’re too young to drink much wine as of yet?) If so, read on…

If your main character were a glass of wine, which one would he be?

Bruno would definitely be a merlot, as like a merlot, Bruno is much more complex than he seems at first.

Describe your book in one meal:

What Aaron Lazar did here was to mention a meal his characters in BETRAYAL actually had instead. As that seemed to work well for him, I’ll do the same thing and discuss a meal Bruno and Sarah have in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (extra word added by me for the sake of clarity):

After a quick survey of the (refrigerator’s) contents, they realized ham, cheese, grapes, apples, and juice were readily available.

“Sarah, we can’t carry all of this at once. We’ll spill it and make a big mess.”

“We’ll be fine, Bruno,” she said reassuringly. “Let’s take it one step at a time.”

Bruno took one step and asked, “Like this?”

She laughed so hard her shoulders shook. After she’d recovered a bit of sobriety, she said, “I suppose if we each took one step, it would take forever.”

“Yeah,” he said. “But at least I made you laugh. I missed you, Sarah.”

“I missed you, too,” she said quietly. “But for now, let’s eat. Then we can catch up.”

“All right,” he agreed, wondering why girls always stated the obvious.

“I have an idea, though,” she said.

“Oh?”

“Why not take a little at a time into my bedroom, as we took the bowls and the crackers before?”

“Ah! That makes a great deal of sense,” Bruno agreed.

“I thought you’d see it my way,” she said dryly. Then, smiling, she picked up two apples plus the grapes and went into her room. Bruno picked up the ham and cheese and followed her.

“See? We’re halfway done,” she said brightly.

“Won’t we need glasses, too?” he asked as he followed her back out into the kitchen.

“You worry too much.” She took the step-stool, went to the appropriate cabinet, ascended to the right level, got the glasses and handed them down to Bruno. “See? No problem.”

Bruno took the glasses into Sarah’s bedroom, holding the door open for Sarah as she carried in the orange juice. “Is that heavy?” he asked.

“No, it’s not too bad,” she said. “Besides, it won’t be as heavy to carry back because we’ll drink a lot of it!”

“Well, that’s one way to look at it.”

“That’s what I thought,” she nodded, satisfied.

Other than Sarah having to run into the kitchen to get a knife to cut the ham and cheese, the breakfast wasn’t too bad.

Or in other words, Bruno and Sarah will eat whatever is readily available, as they’re in a crisis situation. (Clear as mud, no?)

What candy would your book be?

Deep, rich, dark chocolate, preferably with hazelnuts in it. Bruno is partial to it, and he believes the chocolate in the Human Realm (our Earth) is far superior to the chocolate made in the Elfy Realm.

What does your book smell like?

Like springtime, where the birds are chirping, the small animals are coming out of hibernation, and everything seems fresh and new. (But no flowers, please. Bruno is allergic.)

Your book’s snack would be:

Chocolate chip cookies. (Again, Bruno’s partial to them.)

Describe your most memorable meal:

On Christmas Day in 2002, my husband Michael cooked chicken kebabs along with roasted potatoes and — because he knew I liked them — some zucchini and some rutabagas. (The last is my family’s favorite holiday food. Michael didn’t like either one, but he made them just for me.) The kebabs were particularly flavorful, while the potatoes, squash and rutabagas were just the right accompaniment. This, by far, was the best meal I’ve ever eaten.

One food word to describe your writing style:

Appetizing?

What will someone find you eating/drinking when you’re really into a good book?

A diet soda over ice, some tortilla chips and salsa (which probably negates any good I’ve done with the calorie-saving diet soda), and possibly some dark chocolate for dessert.

Sweet or salty?

It depends on my mood. Usually I’d reach for something salty over something sweet…but I might just reach for a sweet something-or-other just to be contrary, too. (I’m like Sarah, that way.)

That concludes my part of the Wined, Dined and Read blog-hop…maybe a few other authors will want to chime in? I’m tagging Jason Cordova, Chris Nuttall, and N.N. Light as authors who might be intrigued enough to give this one a go down the line…but whether they do or not, go check out their sites and do read their books!

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 2, 2015 at 4:25 am

Right Under the Wire, Barb Does the #SinCBlogHop!

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Folks, lately I’ve been getting tagged — informally or otherwise — by a number of wonderful writers in the hopes that people who otherwise have never heard of me, or my writing, might be interested enough to take a gander at my comic YA urban fantasy/mystery/romance novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE.

In this case, I was informally tagged by author Dora Machado, author of THE CURSE GIVER (a great fantasy/mystery in its own right). She told me about the Sisters in Crime Blog Hop (which is abbreviated as it’s shown above: #SinCBlogHop, presumably for Twitter purposes), and that she planned to do it if she could find the time . . . but that whether she did it or not, she felt I definitely should.

After our discussion, I went to the Sisters in Crime page that explains the blog hop, and decided for extra grins and giggles that I’d answer all of the questions — not just some.

So ready or not, here we go!

Question One: Which authors have inspired you?

Oh, that’s easy. The ones who have actively helped and inspired my work include Michael B. Caffrey, my late husband, my mentors Rosemary Edghill, Stephanie Osborn, and Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, and friend and writing buddy Jason Cordova.

Or do you mean the writers I loved to read when I was growing up, who inspired me to tell my own stories? Those include Andre Norton, Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Elizabeth Moon, and Lois McMaster Bujold.

Those are just some of the many wonderful writers who’ve inspired me in one form or another along the way.

Question Two: Which male authors write great female characters? Which female authors write great male characters?

The female author question is easier for me to answer, because it contains most of the same people I listed above: Andre Norton. Lois McMaster Bujold. Rosemary Edghill. Katharine Eliska Kimbriel. Stephanie Osborn. And Elizabeth Moon. All of them have written outstanding male characters as well as wonderful female characters.

Male authors writing female characters. Hm. Well, in military science fiction, the biggest example of that is David Weber, who has sold a boatload of books in his Honor Harrington series. (So he must be doing something right.)

However, another of my writer-friends, Christopher Nuttall, is also very, very good at writing female characters. His fantasy novels, in particular, are centered around strong, talented young women with heart and spirit, and are a joy to read. (Check out SCHOOLED IN MAGIC or BOOKWORM if you don’t believe me.)

Finally, Michael Z. Williamson has written a number of novels from a female perspective, and he gets the issues right. (For example, in FREEHOLD, his female character Kendra must find a brassiere with excellent support once she goes to the Freehold of Grainne, as Grainne has higher gravity than Earth and thus poses more of a challenge for a busty woman. Not every male author would think about that, much less understand what the problem was; kudos to “Mad Mike” for getting it right.)

Question Three: If someone said “Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men,” how would you respond?

Oh, boy.

First, I’d bite back an expletive of some sort. (I’m sure of this.)

Then I’d say, “Wow. You’re really missing out on a lot, then.” And I’d point to Rosemary Edghill’s work (again), this time to her three novels included in the BELL, BOOK, AND MURDER omnibus. Or maybe to her short-story collection FAILURE OF MOONLIGHT.

Or perhaps I’d ask this person if he’s read any of Sarah A. Hoyt’s work, as I’m definitely a SF&F genre writer. Most of her stories have some elements of mystery in there, and there’s a ton of action — guys who love shoot ’em up thrill-rides should be ecstatic with A FEW GOOD MEN or DARKSHIP THIEVES.

I mean, seriously. There are so many wonderful writers, why must anyone stay with only male authors? Must gender always win out? Can’t we see words for what they are, irrespective of the author’s gender?

Question Four: What’s the best part of the writing process for you? What’s the most challenging?

The best part of the writing process is actually writing. When I have a story and am fully involved in it, the world is a better place — or at least it seems that way while I’m writing.

The most challenging part is coming up with ways to market my writing after the book is done and out. (No, this isn’t part of the writing process, and it’s just as well it’s not. But it’s still so very difficult that I felt I’d mention it anyway. I can see why big-name authors hire publicists.)

Question Five: Do you listen to music while writing? What’s on your playlist?

Yes, I listen to music while writing. It helps me attain “alpha state,” or whatever/wherever it is that I go when I’m writing.

What’s on my playlist? Usually a little Alice in Chains, a little Nirvana, a little Soundgarden . . . and a whole lot of Stabbing Westward. (What can I say? I like 1990s rock. A lot.)

Question Six: What books are on your nightstand right now?

(Note that this doesn’t count all the half-finished e-books on the figurative pile, or we’d be here all night.)

Question Seven: If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?

I’d tell her that publishing is a very difficult and frustrating business, but not to give up. She needs to believe in herself and what she’s doing, and keep doing it as long as it takes . . . push until it gives, and then some.

Because the name of the game in publishing — and in life itself — is persistence. So do not give up.

Don’t ever give up.

This concludes my first-ever Sisters in Crime Blog Hop! And I do hope you enjoyed it! (Normally, I’d tag someone else — as that’s what a blog hop is all about — but as it’s the 30th already, please go check out some of the work of the fine authors I’ve mentioned above instead!)