Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘book promotion

“Changing Faces,” the Fall Book Fair, and Transgender Men…

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Recently, at the Washington Post, I read an article about how transgender men have seen differences in how they are treated based on their outward appearance. Born in a woman’s body, and then becoming the male they feel themselves to be inside, causes them to see the world in a completely different way than others.

When I read this, it reminded me of my character Elaine Foster from CHANGING FACES.

Why? Well, here’s a quote from that article.

From Zander Keig, a trans man from San Diego:

Prior to my transition, I was an outspoken radical feminist. I spoke up often, loudly and with confidence. I was encouraged to speak up. I was given awards for my efforts, literally — it was like, “Oh, yeah, speak up, speak out.” When I speak up now, I am often given the direct or indirect message that I am “mansplaining,” “taking up too much space” or “asserting my white male heterosexual privilege.” Never mind that I am a first-generation Mexican American, a transsexual man, and married to the same woman I was with prior to my transition.

So, you’re the same person. You have only changed how you look, outwardly. And now, you’re accused of “mansplaining.” Or worse, “asserting (your) white male heterosexual privilege,” even when you aren’t anything of the sort (as Zander isn’t).

And Alex Poon (only 26 to Zander’s 52) says in this same article:

My voice has started cracking and becoming lower. Recently, I’ve been noticing the difference between being perceived as a woman versus being perceived as a man. I’ve been wondering how I can strike the right balance between remembering how it feels to be silenced and talked over with the privileges that come along with being perceived as a man. Now, when I lead meetings, I purposefully create pauses and moments where I try to draw others into the conversation and make space for everyone to contribute and ask questions.

What Alex seems to be doing is trying to strike a happy medium, but admits there are privileges here and that he’s not used to them.

portrait in gardenHow does this relate to my novel CHANGING FACES? Well, Elaine is transgender because she’s always felt wrong in her body. And yet, she’s also gender-fluid, so if she became male, what would happen to her? Would it be easier, harder, or what? And how would you be the same person — as you are the same soul — in a different body?

The way I solved this (and created more problems) was to put Elaine and her heterosexual boyfriend Allen in each other’s bodies due to a car accident. Now they’re both transgender, but as Elaine was deeply damaged due to early abuse and rape before she ever met Allen, she’s in a coma, talking with a higher being who may as well be an angel. (This being, Moe, is neither male nor female, and comes from a long line of Amorphous Masses. So Moe can be anything Moe wants to be…more or less.)

This article in the Post reminded me that the person you are stays, regardless of how you are perceived. But that perception of who you are can change everything for you on the outside…and that can be a gift, or a curse, depending. (One of the other men, who’s African-American, has said it’s much harder to be a man in some ways than a woman, due to how African-American men are treated by the police.)

I had an interesting time with Allen, once he ended up in Elaine’s body. He still wanted to be with Elaine, no matter what body she was in (providing she wakes up from the coma, of course). But being seen as a beautiful woman rather than a geeky heterosexual male was a real problem for him; he’d never had to worry before about half the things he now must, and it all but precipitates a nervous breakdown in the poor man.

My hope in writing CHANGING FACES was that people would maybe understand each other a little better after reading this. But I especially hoped, as a woman, that other women would read about Allen’s struggles and feel his plight…and be able to put themselves in Allen’s shoes. (That I hoped a few would do this for poor Elaine, too, was a given. But don’t forget about Allen, as they come as a set.)

Yesterday, Viviana MacKade’s Fall Book Fair (which I’ve talked about all week) finished up with several young adult and new adult books, including CHANGING FACES (which counts as new adult as we’re dealing with college students). All of them are ninety-nine cent e-books. And at least one of them may tickle your fancy, even if my own quirky take on LGBTQ relationships does not.

(Though I hope it’ll do some good for someone out there. Or I’d not have written it at all.)

So do take in the Fall Book Fair, even though it’s now — technically, at least — over. The post is still there. The books are still there. And there are fifty books from the entirety of the week to choose from, all priced at just ninety-nine cents.

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A Note about PrideFest…and CHANGING FACES

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Folks, it’s been a while since I wrote anything about my most troublesome, yet rewarding book to write — that being the LGBT fantasy/romance, CHANGING FACES. (Fantasy only in that it has angels, really. But whatever.)

As PrideFest is going on in Milwaukee this weekend, I thought now was a good time to remind people that CHANGING FACES is available. What better time is there to celebrate romance regardless of form than PrideFest? Especially when one of the couple is of non-standard sexuality?

(Yeah, I’m going to use it as a tie-in. Sorry. But I hope you can forgive me anyway.)

CHANGING FACES cover

While I’m not LGBT, I’ve always supported my friends and colleagues who are. I hope I was faithful to the struggles a gender-fluid person who always used the female pronoun might have, and about the unusual situation two angels put her and her boyfriend into. All because their love refused to be denied.

So, there’s romance, there are angels, there’s lots of other good and interesting stuff going on…and it’s only ninety-nine cents as an e-book.

(Yeah. Ninety-nine cents.)

Please go check it out, will you? And if you think you’d like it, please buy it, read it, and most definitely review it, as I need all the help I can get.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 10, 2017 at 8:54 pm

Sick, but the Book Promo for CHANGING FACES goes on…

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Folks, I’ve just spent the last seventy-two hours in Hell.

(Or at least it seems like it.)

Why? I have the flu. I got it because one of the other musicians had it in the band when we played our concert last week…no one else appears to have gotten it but me, but my symptoms are the same ones my bandmate had down to the letter.

Flu means fevers. I rarely get them. So that means I can’t think well when I have them. (I can get around some illnesses or ailments because I’m used to them, but not this, in other words.) And I’ve spent much of the last seventy-two hours with a fever over 102 F.

So what am I doing now? I’m trying to let you know that CHANGING FACES is still out there. I think my book is important, especially now; love is love, and it doesn’t matter much what your outer shell is, providing your soul calls to someone else’s.

I’m fortunate in that I am heterosexual and all of my loved ones have been men. Society understands this, for the most part, and I’m grateful for it.

I wish society would get with the program and realize that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender-fluid, queer, and any other flavor you might want to come up with all have the right to find someone they love, too, providing it’s consensual, preferably monogamous, and always, always life-affirming.

That is one of the main reasons I stuck with CHANGING FACES, and why I am glad it’s available to be read right now.

Folks, here are the guest blogs that I didn’t get a chance to tell you about, due to being sick:

https://plugyourbook.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/chapter-reveal-changing-faces-by-barb-caffrey/

This is the first chapter of CHANGING FACES. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a good, quick, free place for you to do so.

And here’s another link that also gives you access to the first chapter (hey, if one doesn’t work, another should, though I tested both links and found them good):

http://readmyfirstchapter.blogspot.be/2017/02/chapter-reveal-changing-faces-by-barb.html

And then, there was the one about my route to publication, which you may find interesting…here’s that link:

http://publishingsecretsofauthors.blogspot.be/2017/02/book-publishing-secrets-with-barb.html

And here’s a bit from that:

Q: What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Barb: Keep writing. Work hard. Network with other writers. Find out about writing groups that might be able to help you, such as Critters.org, the Forward Motion Writers Community (fmwriters.com), or join other groups focused on marketing like Marketing for Romance Writers (you do not have to be a romance writer to join, mind) or Exquisite Quills, and learn all you can about the business as a whole.

I’d also advise you to read as many different blogs as you can about the business and craft of writing. The blogs I recommend the most include KrisWrites.com (this is the blog of Kristin Kathryn Rusch, a long-time SF&F writer and editor), the Passive Voice, the Mad Genius Club, Amanda Green’s writing blog, and a whole host of others of various political persuasions. Try not to get too hung up about whether this one’s a Libertarian or this one over here is a liberal Democrat; instead, figure out if this person understands the craft of writing (or the craft of self-editing) and keep following along. Maybe you’ll find one thing of interest in a year—but that one thing can change your perspective and help you.

And best of all, these websites are all free! (How great is that?)

So, there you have it. Please go look at these blogs, and then go get yourself a copy of CHANGING FACES…it’s still only ninety-nine cents as an e-book, and it’s available in a number of places. (Ready? Set? Um, go…?)

Barnes & Noble

Amazon:

USA  –   UK  –  CA  –  AUS  –  IN

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Author N.N. Light Takes Over the Elfyverse…

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…and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Folks, married author duo N.N. Light’s fantasy/romance novel PRINCESS OF THE LIGHT is on sale right now for just ninety-nine cents. (It’s an “anniversary sale,” as the book has been out for two years now.) In support of this novel, and in support of their writing, the female half of the pair, Mrs. N., asked if she could do a guest spot here at the Elfyverse.

And of course, I said yes.

So, without further ado, take it away, Mrs. N!

During the month of September, Princess of the Light is on sale for the super-low price of $.99 USD. 100% of the proceeds during this time will go directly to our local food bank to help feed children and families in need. This is the first time Princess of the Light has ever been this low  in price…and who knows when it will be this low again?

potl-2nd-anniversary

First, let’s whet your interest. Here’s the blurb:

Mary Miller receives a startling visitation from Gabriel, the Messenger of God. The Archangel reveals an astounding truth–Mary is the Princess of the Light and even more amazing, her destiny is to battle Lucifer’s army of demons and restore the balance of good and evil on Earth. It’s getting harder to fulfill her new role and keep her identity secret while juggling her personal life, and when Than, Lucifer’s second in command, amps up the attacks on her, she knows she needs help.

Joe Deacons is everything she’s ever wanted in a man. And as providence would have it, in a moment of great need, he’s the Warrior of Light–the one who can help her defeat the forces of darkness.

Not so simple when they confront Lisbeth, a demon hell-bent on usurping Than and Lucifer himself. When Lisbeth wages war and several innocent people die, Mary must form an alliance with her enemy in order to destroy her. But will this be a grave error or the choice that saves their world?

Second, to give you an idea of what PRINCESS OF THE LIGHT is about, here’s an excerpt:

Marie furrowed her brow and softly interrupted, “André is the Walking Man?”

I looked at Marie and asked, “You’ve heard of him?”

Marie nodded. “Of course. He is a staple of the Downtown area. There are a few groups I’m affiliated with that hand out food and clothing to those in need. He never comes to these events so I leave them by the area where he sleeps.” She paused, thoughtfully. “I just can’t believe that it is André.”

Joe cleared his throat and looked at his father. “What happened to André?”

Alfred sighed and after a moment said, “It really was the fault of that witch he was married to. She and her family treated him horribly. She was a gold digger and all she cared about was money and the prestige.”

Marie interrupted Alfred by saying, “I remember her. She was so mean to André and all she cared about was looking rich. Wealth is a gift—she just wanted it for a toy. She treated André so badly… and his mother-in-law was the worst. She would put him down all the time. In front of other people, no less.”

Alfred continued, “André was a good man and worked hard. He was working on a big project for the city. He worked night and day on the project and told me it was going to put Golden Lake on the map.

“He absolutely adored his daughter, too. I remember that clearly. She was his everything.” Alfred paused, apparently lost in his thoughts. With a sigh he said, “There was a scandal with the project, though, and André got fired. Soon after, Dara left him, took Katherine with her and André fell apart. He started drinking heavily and, without his daughter, his life fell apart.”

Joe looked at me and I fought to keep from throwing my hand over my mouth. There was purple fire in his eyes and I felt his anger. I already knew the story of André and I tried to smile at him.

I smelled burning flesh. Joe flashed in full armor fighting demons with a golden sword.

I gasped at the vision and brought my hand to my chest in shock feeling the key necklace, before I could stop the physical reaction. The necklace weighed heavily as did my heart. He would be fighting at my side soon.

Marie asked, “Are you okay, dear?”

Joe turned to look at his mother. He nodded and only said, “I never knew any of this.”

Alfred continued, “I am sorry, son, but you asked for the truth. This is what I know. André was sleeping at the office and drinking all the time. He was supposed to give a presentation to a client and was drunk. He got into a scuffle with his boss and rumor has it, André punched him.”

I feigned shock and said, “Oh my!”

Than is to blame. I don’t know how I know or what happened but I vow to the Lord that I will make Than pay, thought Joe.

I choked and almost spit out my drink. I just heard Joe’s thoughts! I had to set him straight and right away.

I cleared my throat and said awkwardly, “Joe, I think I left something in the car.”

Joe looked at me with eyebrows raised. “Excuse me, we’ll be right back,” I said with a smile.

I walked outside and knew that Joe was right behind me. When I reached the car, I whirled and said in a stern tone, “Are you trying to get yourself killed?”

Joe stopped mid-step and said, “What are you talking about, Mary?”

I ran into his arms and whispered, “You cannot take on Than by yourself! I heard your thoughts in there. Now, I don’t know how you know that it was Than who drove André to punching his boss but please promise me that you will not get revenge.”

I paused to catch my breath and remembered what Gabriel told me. “Joe, in order to defeat the darkness and not become dark ourselves, we need to have a pure heart. We are filled with the Light and our motives must always be to speak the Truth and spread the Light.”

Joe took several deep breaths while he held me. He stroked my hair and whispered, “I’m sorry, my angel. I didn’t mean to frighten you and you are right. It was just a momentary thought.”

I lifted my head and locked eyes with Joe. Tears filled my eyes but I was determined. I bit at my top lip and then whispered, “Promise me you won’t put yourself in harm’s way.” Hot tears spilled down my cheeks.

Joe wiped at them and said in a deep, reassuring tone, “I promise, Mary. I promise I won’t be a hothead and I won’t be rash.” Then, he laid his forehead on mine and whispered, “Please don’t cry, darling. Please.”

I nodded and whispered, “I would die if I lost you. Than will use you to try to get to me. You are my love, my everything.” My voice cracked. “I would die if I lost you,” I repeated.

Joe shook my shoulders a little and looked deep into my eyes. “Listen to me, Mary, you will never lose me! Do you hear me? I am by your side now and forever.”

Overcome with emotion, Joe kissed me.

Buy Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469480

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/princess-of-the-light-nn-light/1120170709?ean=9781502438454

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Light-N/dp/1502438453

Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Princess-Light-N-ebook/dp/B00N19FDKO

Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Princess-Light-N-ebook/dp/B00N19FDKO

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/princess-of-the-light-1

Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/princess-of-the-light/9781310880230-item.html?ikwid=princess+of+the+light&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0

iTunes/ iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/princess-of-the-light/id913013798?mt=11

Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/5008419

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23009005-princess-of-the-light

It’s me again, your usual host. I realized just now that an author pic needed to be added; fortunately, Mrs. N supplied one…it’s both interesting and not the usual run of author pic, but you’ll see that below.

n-n-light-author-pic-social-media

So, there you have it! Mr. and Mrs. N.N. Light’s book is a fantasy/romance with spirituality and heart, and the book’s proceeds will be given to their local food bank. What better reason could you possibly have to buy a book for ninety-nine cents this month?

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 15, 2016 at 7:00 am

Why Should You Buy A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE?

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This is the guest blog I did for Opinionated Man’s blog…hope you all will enjoy it! (I wrote it in the same style as the book, in case anyone’s wondering.) It features a longer blurb to whet your interest.

Why are you still here? Why not go read my guest blog instead? (You might just like it.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 2, 2016 at 3:27 am

Book Promotion, and Other Stuff

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Folks, I haven’t talked too much about book promotion here at my blog, but I thought today might be a good day for that.

Why?

Well, I’m trying something new in order to get the word out about A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE. That new thing is called Books Go Social. They have a website, have listed my novel there, will be Tweeting about it for a week (plus, if I did it right, an additional week for free), and have many helpful tips for authors with regards to promotional services.

Note that except for a few small paid promotions here and there, I’ve mostly done free promotions to date. There’s three reasons for that.

  1. One, I’ve been flat broke.
  2. Two, I’ve been fortunate enough to know several book promoters and authors who’ve been willing to tell their readers about me and my writing, Chris the Story-Telling Ape, Sally Cronin, Nicholas Rossis, Charles Yallowitz, and Mrs. N.N. Light among them.
  3. And three, I’ve joined two helpful groups, Marketing for Romance Writers and Exquisite Quills, that have given me support, guidance, and have helped me learn more about promotion.

Most of those places are absolutely free, and they have been enormously helpful to me.

That said, I need to find more readers. I have two reviews of A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE to date, and that’s not nearly enough. (It’s been out since late November, so I’m technically in the 90-day “new book window.”) There are many paid promotions I simply cannot do, because I don’t have enough reviews to access them.

But I could do Books Go Social, and signed up for a $59 bronze package. Normally this includes one week of Tweets; I believe because I signed up during a special, I’ll get one free week as well. (We’ll see.)

Why did I do this?

  1. I’m in need of finding more readers,
  2. I’ve heard good things about them, and
  3. It’s a legitimate business expense.

So, here are my stats at Amazon US right now, so we all can compare how well (or poorly) my advertisement with Books Go Social did:

 

As you can see, I have a long way to go toward cracking any bestseller lists.

The only other thing I can say right now, before the Books Go Social Tweets start, is that I hope anyone who enjoys my writing will review my books and stories. I often hear from friends and fans that they love my work — and the work of my late husband — and when will more stories be available? But they don’t review for whatever reason; they only come and tell me privately.

Well, I can tell you all one thing: While I love getting positive feedback (who doesn’t?), reviews help me keep going, and I deeply appreciate them.

So please, don’t be intimidated by the idea of a book review, OK?

Anyway, Books Go Social will start Tweeting for me later today. We’ll see what happens, but I have a good feeling about it.

Happy Friday, all!

 

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 29, 2016 at 7:20 am

Free Novella Promo Ongoing, and Other Stuff

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Folks, today is my thirteenth wedding anniversary.

On this day in 2002, Michael B. Caffrey and I married, in front of a small group of family and friends. At the time, we didn’t know we could write together, and the Elfyverse wasn’t even on the horizon. (I was, however, writing CHANGING FACES, in earlier draft form.)

It’s because of the deep love I shared with Michael that I’ve continued to keep our writing alive, as best I can. Whether he started it or not, it’s all come down to me…and I keep my promises.

Especially to my husband.

This is why I decided last week, when I knew I’d be able to get the two stories up (“To Survive the Maelstrom,” and “Columba and the Cat,” both novellas), that I’d put our co-written novella “On Westmount Station” up as a free e-book in honor of that love. (It will be free until the end of June 27, 2015. So do go grab it, while you still can get it for nothing.)

Note that I added subplots here. Wrote a good half of it, in fact. But I wouldn’t have done this without what Michael left behind…and I think Michael might just like what I’ve done, even though had he lived, I would never have touched his stuff unless he’d asked.

Now I need to talk about something else…something that has worried me for quite some time. Especially as it was something near and dear to Michael’s heart as well.

You see, as a science fiction and fantasy writer, I’ve watched for months — nay, years — as our community continues to eviscerate each other. Some of this is over the Hugo Awards (who should nominate, and why); some of it is much deeper and far more worrisome.

I have friends in the Sad Puppies community, those who believe the Hugo Awards should be nominated on by all SF&F fans willing to pay the WorldCon membership fee.

And I have friends in the traditional publishing community, those who mostly believe the Hugo Awards have been tainted because the Sad Puppies (and Vox Day’s unrelated group, the Rabid Puppies) decided to get into the mix.

I have continued to stand in the middle of this mess, as I am convinced that Michael would’ve also done the same thing.

That being said, I have more sympathies with the Sad Puppies than not. I think if you have read SF&F stories, and you’ve grounded yourself thoroughly in what’s available (including the newest releases from all the various publishers, including small presses and indies), you have a right to nominate if you want to pay the WorldCon membership.

I also want to point out that neither the Sad Puppies nor even the Rabid Puppies have said anything bad to me at all. They seem to respect my principled stance. And I appreciate that.

Whereas I’ve lost at least one good friend from the traditional publishing community, all because I had the temerity to support my friend Jason Cordova as he’s been nominated for the John W. Campbell Award.

I can’t do anything about that, though I hope down the line my friend will realize I’m the same person I’ve always been.

Look. I, personally, would’ve tried to get Katharine Eliska Kimbriel nominated, if I had my druthers. I think her book SPIRAL PATH is outstanding; by far the best YA book I read in 2014, and by far the best book I read in any genre in 2014. Period.

But she gained no traction, partly because her book was put out by the author’s consortium Book View Café.

I think this is a travesty.

I also would’ve tried to get Emily St. John Mandel’s book STATION ELEVEN on the ballot. It is an excellent post-apocalyptic novel that actually is inspirational in spots, and contains some dark but welcome humor amidst the gloom.

Note that Mandel was an indie author for a time, and only now is breaking through to traditional publishing.

Both of these books deserved to be on the Hugo Award ballot.

There are other authors I support, and support strongly, including Stephanie Osborn and Jason Cordova. (I like his short stories in particular. But MURDER WORLD is also good, though very violent as you’d expect due to it being a Kaiju novel.) My friends at Twilight Times Books, including Chris Nuttall, Dora Machado, Scott Eder, Dina von Lowenkraft, Heather McClaren, and Aaron Lazar are interesting writers who give full value for the money spent on their books.

And that’s just a start of the authors I support. Because I’ve maintained an avid interest in Kate Paulk, Sarah A. Hoyt, Amanda S. Green, Mrs. N.N.P. Light, E. Ayers, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Julia London…the list goes on and on.

Why is enjoying all of these disparate authors’ work a bad thing?

Folks, there are some very good books out there being published by both indie and small press authors. (For the purposes of this conversation, Book View Café will be viewed as a small press.) These books should not be overlooked.

“Yay,” my friends in the Sad Puppies are saying.

And just because the Big Five publishing houses seem to be putting out more derivative stuff than ever, that doesn’t mean everything they put out has no value. (Witness Mary Robinette Kowal’s excellent Glamourist history series, which combines Regency Era historicity with excellent fantasy underpinnings along with a very fine and believable romance.)

“Yay,” my friends in the traditional publishing community are saying.

Why can’t we all get along? At least in part?

Because supporting each other, even as we all do slightly different things, is the best way to go.

I don’t blame my friends in the Sad Puppies for being upset. They’ve been vilified. Sometimes unfairly so. And they’re tired of it.

I also don’t blame my friends in the traditional publishing community. Some of them have been vilified. Sometimes unfairly. And they, too, are tired of it.

But a rapprochement does not seem possible between these groups.

Which truly saddens me. And would’ve deeply upset my husband.

I keep hoping that the SF&F community will remember that we do have more in common with each other than not. And that what we’re writing matters, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

Anyway, my anniversary message for you all is a plea that somehow, the SF&F community will start pulling together again.

I believe that’s what my late husband would want. And I know it’s what I want, too.