Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

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An Interview from Sarah’s Perspective Is Up at Romance Lives Forever

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Folks, if you haven’t read either of my Elfy books, you’re probably wondering what in the world I’m talking about with my title. But Sarah — the heroine and love interest of POV character (and hero) Bruno the Elfy — was “interviewed” by me, and Kayelle Allen enjoyed it so much she put it up at her busy blog, Romance Lives Forever.

Now, Sarah and Bruno’s romance is a fun one to write. They’re young. They’re both badly misunderstood. He’s an orphan. She may as well be one, as her parents are useless and have hidden a great deal from her, plus they seem bent on torturing Elfys. (Bruno manages to get away, but that’s partly because his teacher, Roberto the Wise, takes his place. Long story…go read AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE for more details, hey? It’s only ninety-nine cents USD.)

So, they meet. She’s short for our culture, but very tall for his at four feet even. (Yeah. I know. But Elfys are short.) She doesn’t care that Bruno is not tall, and is short even for an Elfy at only three feet even. All she cares about is that he’s a good guy, he has a sense of humor, he genuinely cares about her, and wants to go forward with her in his life. (Yes, there’s a whole lot more to it, but I want to preserve just a little mystery so if you haven’t read A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE yet, you might just go get it as an e-book.)

And they have to defeat a Dark Elf, a nasty cuss who’s corrupted Sarah’s parents and is going to do his damnedest to sacrifice Bruno’s mentor Roberto — the only person who made any effort while Bruno was in what amounts to an orphanage (the Elfys called it “School for Scions of the Nobility and Other Unfortunates”) to care about Bruno for himself. (In other words, Roberto is like a foster father, in a way.)

My hope is that you’ll go read the character interview for yourself over at Kayelle Allen’s Romance Lives Forever blog. I did enjoy writing it, and “interviewing” Sarah (that is, writing from Sarah’s perspective). She had some interesting insights, and her bucket list (things she wants to do before she passes from this life) is rather intriguing, if I do say so myself.

But to whet your interest…hm. How about this from the character interview?

What are two places you would like to visit before you die, and why?
I’d like to go to Paris. It’s the city of love, right? I think Bruno would enjoy the history, and I’d enjoy watching him go into paroxysms of rapture over it. (He does love his history, especially cross-species history.)
Otherwise, I think I’d like to go somewhere a bit closer: Vancouver, British Columbia. I’ve heard that’s an interesting place. We could walk around, look at the flora and fauna, and just be by ourselves for a bit. That sounds really attractive right now.
Where is a place you would never like to return, and why?
God knows, I can’t stand Bruno’s home, the Elfy Realm. (Earth in a parallel universe.) Those people frighten me. They all have magic, and most of ’em waste it. And they all wanted Bruno dead because they felt he had “too much power,” whatever that means.
Anyone who wants Bruno dead is someone I definitely don’t want to know or be around. Because he’s the best and kindest and most decent person I have ever known, by far.

So, there you have it! I hope you’ll enjoy the interview, and will check it out forthwith…go forth, and multiply. (Or something. And do read a good book today, even if it’s not one of mine. The world needs more readers.)

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Written by Barb Caffrey

January 9, 2018 at 7:36 pm

Special Guest Blog 2-Day Event, Part 1: An Interview of Author Janet L. Walters

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Folks, author Janet L. Walters and I are exchanging guest blogs today and tomorrow…I hope you’ll enjoy her insights! (My Day 1 guest blog for Janet can be found here: http://wwweclecticwriter.blogspot.com/2016/05/friday-who-she-was-before-featurning.html)

Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms? Does your reading choices reflect your writing choices? Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt?

I bill myself as the eclectic writer but lately I’ve realized most of my stories are romances but they fit into subgenres of romance. Except for some of the YA stories but even there, there are boy/girl relationships that can be developing. Even my mysteries hold a bit of romance for the heroine that takes five books to lead to her marriage. Some of my romances are contemporary, some paranormal, fantasy, historical and suspense. They range in heat level from sweet to spicy.

My reading choices are just as different. I read most everything but not all books are enjoyed as much as others. With the number of books floating through the internet and my Kindle handy, I read a lot. I do not read horror.

As to what I wouldn’t attempt to write. Anything with hard science. I know nothing about technology and while I admire people who do I’m not going to try. I don’t see a horror book in my future. Though sometimes I can write dark horror is beyond dark to me.

Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write? Does one of these come easy and why?

There are days and days. Sometimes I have difficulty reining each of the three into form. I’m usually more able to identify with the heroine and her emotions. The heros often give me trouble, especially when they speak. They don’t always come across as male but a sort of neuter kind of person. Now villains usually come easy because that allows me to let some of my evil nature escape.

Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?

I turn to Astrology to develop my hero. After the idea for a plot comes into my head, I begin to look at what kind of hero I need. Turning to my many Astrology books, I find a sun sign which will show my character’s inner nature. This may be different from the face he shows the world. For that I look for an Ascendant that fits what the character is becoming in my head. For the emotional quality, I look at his Moon Sign. This usually gives me how his emotions differ from the two other elements. This makes for a complex character. And often tells me what his interior conflict will be. The outer conflict can also be found in the three elements of his character. Once this is in place, I develop the other characters, though one or both of them may have entered my imaginary world before.

seducingthechef Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?

For my heroines I also use the same process as I do the hero. There are times when the heroine appears before the plot and I must find a hero and a story for her. Using the what if can bring a heroine to life. Many of my heroines are nurses or have other skills that are somehow medical. Here I can pull things from women I knew when I worked as a nurse. Something will remind me of a trait or a worry one of these former colleagues displayed. Also in my heroines, there is a little of myself. Not myself as I am but myself as I wish I was.

Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?

Villains for me are the easiest to write and they aren’t necessarily the bad guy. In my latest release in both paper and electronically, the female lead begins as a villain. To make her human meant she needed lessons to be learned. She did love her land and her parents but she performs an act that makes her seem not to be a good person. Through the first four stories in this collection, she remains unknowing of what she must do. She needs to learn how to love. Each story gives her a small hint about love and the final two stories show what lessons she has learned.

The trick with making villains is giving them traits that make them human. This is easy with the opposing character who isn’t a true villain but one who has his own ideas about the lives of the hero and or heroine. This person can have good reasons for their feelings and can be made while not likeable at least interesting. The character who is truly evil is harder to find a reason to make them seem less that evil. The trick here might be to develop their degree of evilness in increments through the story. At least that’s the way it works for me.

What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain?

By the time this interview goes live at least four of my latest series will be released. This one is Seducing the Doctor. The hero is Matt Blakefield, a man who doesn’t want to fall the victim of the Blakefield curse. He doesn’t believe he has ever fallen in love but there is a girl he can’t forget from his high school days. He believes he remembers her because he hurt her by saying words he really didn’t believe because of a prank by the school’s cheerleaders.

What are you working on now?

Currently I am re-writing the final two books in the At First Sight series. Seducing the Attorney and Seducing the Baker. The first book involves a couple who met four years ago at the wedding of his brother to her sister. Now they have become the guardians for their nephew. The second book involves a reluctant hero who vets new employees for a publishing company and who locates lost people and the only girl who ever turned him down when he was a bad boy teenager. She now owns a cupcake bakery one of the magazines he works for wants to do a feature article about. She is reluctant.

How can people find you?

Website: http://janetlanewalters.com/home

Blog: http://wwweclecticwriter.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JanetL717

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/janet.l.walters.3

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Come back tomorrow for another post from Janet…you don’t want to miss out!

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 13, 2016 at 5:00 am

Sunday Special: New Guest Blog Is Up for Author Gemma Juliana…

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Folks, it’s Sunday. And as it’s the Sunday before Christmas — a holiday nearly everyone in the Western Hemisphere observes, whether in its breach or in its keeping — I have an extra-special treat for you.

EQ2015Anthology Cover.1485x2100Author Gemma Juliana and I got to know each other due to our participation in the Exquisite Christmas anthology. I have two stories there, both featuring shapeshifter (and woman of size) Marja and her lover, Tomas, a telepathic mountain Troll. But Gemma has me beat — she has three stories in the anthology!

(And all of them are great reads, too. You really must go and see.)

Anyway, I enjoyed chatting with Gemma so much via e-mail, she was the very first person I asked for a guest blog. And while her holiday schedule was full, she said I could guest for her — while she’ll guest for me after the New Year. (I can’t wait!)

ALittleElfyinBigTrouble_medMy guest blog for Gemma discusses the differences between writing romance for teens/young adults and more mature adults, and I used my characters Bruno and Sarah as foils for Marja and Tomas. This is not the same blog you have already seen, either; I wrote a few iterations on this topic, and I actually wrote this one for Gemma first.

Anyway, here’s a wee bit from this guest blog:

…about the only thing Marja and Tomas have in common with my young Elfy protagonist Bruno and his mostly human teenage girlfriend, Sarah, is that despite the somewhat exotic subject matter, their romances feel genuine. We can empathize with them, because they have quirks and flaws, just as we all do.

Now, when you’re talking about teenagers and their first forays into romance, there obviously are some differences from writing about two settled adults such as Marja and Tomas. Bruno and Sarah are experiencing everything for the very first time – the first time they hold hands, the first time they kiss, is special. They don’t know what they’re doing, but they know they want to be doing it…and they know they’re going to do it “come the seventeen Hells or water over the levees,” as Bruno would say.

Then I used a few examples, one from A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, and one from the second of my two stories in Exquisite Christmas, “To Hunt the Hunter.”

So please, do go take a look at this guest blog — then, if you would be so kind, check out the sample chapters of A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE if you haven’t yet read them. They may just intrigue you…or at least make you laugh.

And isn’t having a good laugh important at this time of year?

Friday Fun: Author Dee Ann Palmer Visits the Elfyverse!

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Folks, it is my pleasure to welcome author Dee Ann Palmer to the Elfyverse. She has two short stories in the Exquisite Christmas anthology, one being “Snowfall,” the other being “A Night to Remember.” Both are fun and heartwarming short stories that left me with a smile on my face…and maybe if I were a better singer, I might’ve even had a song in my heart, too.

Note that Dee Ann featured my guest blog earlier this week at both her website and her blog, something I truly appreciated.

So, take it away, Dee Ann!

ExquisiteChristmasAd3(1)

THE MOUNTAINS, A BLIZZARD, AND A SKI RESORT FOR EXQUISITE CHRISTMAS

Thirteen years ago, I completed my first romance novel in a writer’s workshop in the California mountains. Later, as a Public Health Nurse, I visited pregnant and parenting teens in those same mountains, becoming aware of how eagerly young men awaited the first snowfall because it meant they would have jobs. I’ve also been an avid follower of the Winter Olympics, and, trained in emergency medicine, interested in ski patrollers.

With those experiences in mind, it’s no wonder I selected the winter settings I did for my romances— “A Night to Remember” and “Snowfall.”

Here’s the opening to “A Night to Remember:”

It was the worst Christmas Eve Marlee had ever lived through. Providing she did live through it, she thought. People who longed for a white Christmas obviously didn’t expect it to come with a power outage and a blizzard like she was creeping along in in her old Nissan.

Squinting to see, she switched the heat to the front and rear windshields. If she didn’t reach her house soon, the wipers wouldn’t be able to cut through the ice forming there. The snow had thickened and the temperature had dropped in the last thirty minutes.

“You had to have a tree. Going out in a blizzard to get that puny thing in the backseat masquerading as a Christmas tree was moronic,” she scolded herself…

From “Snowfall:”

 As a senior ski patroller, Riley’s job is to check the safety of the ski runs.

Now, from her spot on the lift, a flash of red from the corner of her vision drew her gaze upward. A man in ski clothes and helmet stood at the top of the closed double black diamond run named Satan’s Domain, poised as if waiting for a starter to yell “Go!” He mimicked breaking through a gate, pushed hard with his poles, and, knees bent, leaned in to set a blistering competitor’s pace down the fall line.

“Hey, you!” Riley screamed, waving a pole as her anger flared.

Whoever he was, he had no right to be there. He must’ve hopped on the lift while she was handling heat and coffee. He was trespassing, but the resort would be liable if he was injured. She clicked on her radio and called down to security to see if he’d arrived at the bottom in one piece. No answer.

The skier seemed to know what he was doing, but she had to be sure he wasn’t hurt. That extremely difficult piste, or run, hadn’t been groomed…

The Exquisite Christmas e-book is now available at:

Amazon — http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018F4ACSC

Barnes & Noble — http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exquisite-christmas-victoria-adams/1123051071

Kobo — https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/exquisite-christmas

and coming soon to  iBooks and other retailers.

The paperback is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Exquisite-Christmas-Romance-Authors-Holiday/dp/1519495358/

About the Author

In every age, the heart loves, and Dee Ann Palmer’s twenty-seven published romances over the past years have reflected those eras in contemporary, historic and fantasy tales. Palmer is a member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America’s PAN group. She’s married to her college sweetheart, and they live in beautiful southern California in easy reach of mountains, desert and beaches.

http://deeannpalmer.com

http://deeannpalmer.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeeAnnPalmer

http://www.twitter.com/RunnerDeeAnn

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Thank you again, Dee Ann! Please make sure to follow her on Twitter, and keep an eye on what she’s doing…she’s a fine writer, and always tells a compelling story.

Want to Know More About Language in the Elfyverse? Check out Chris the Story-Telling Ape’s Blog…

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If you’ve ever wanted to know more about my Bilre language (what the Elfys speak when they’re at home in their own Realm), listen up!

Chris the Story-Telling Ape’s busy blog has a post up right now, from me, about that very thing.

Here’s the link:

http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2015/12/02/language-in-the-elfyverseand-beyond-guest-post-by-author-barb-caffrey/

And to answer the question I’ve been recently asked (to wit: “So, Barb, when are you going to get back to blogging about current events?”), the answer is…soon.

Maybe tomorrow, or possibly the next day. Because I have a great deal to say…but only a limited time in which to say it.

Anyway, I do hope you will enjoy today’s guest blog. Let me know, OK?

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 1, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Guest Author Stephanie Osborn: Why I Like Writing Sherlock Holmes

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Folks, it is my great privilege today to welcome back author Stephanie Osborn to the Elfyverse.

Stephanie and I have known each other for several years, and she’s been a strong supporter of my writing from the get-go. But that’s not the main reason why I’m so happy to have her back today.

Nope.

Instead, it’s because she has a great new novel out called SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE MUMMY’S CURSE. (Yes, when Shiny Book Review gets back up and running, I definitely plan to review her novel soonest.) And I asked her if she wanted to stop by and discuss her novel, and anything else she felt like talking about…thus this post, about why she adores writing about one of the world’s most beloved characters, Sherlock Holmes himself.

Take it away, Stephanie! (And do go buy her book.)

——————————————————————————————————————-

Why I Like Writing Sherlock Holmes

By Stephanie Osborn

I like Sherlock Holmes. Pretty much have, from the time I was a kid – though my first encounter with him was nearly my last.

See, someone gave me a copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles for my birthday, when I was all of maybe 8 years old. I loved Holmes, but think about it: An 8-year-old kid with a vivid imagination, who dreams in color, and who has what would later be diagnosed as anxiety disorder, reading about a spectral cu sidhe that goes around killing members of an aristocratic family? Yeaaaaaah, no. It was years before I FINISHED the book, let alone picked up another Sherlock Holmes story.

But when I did, I kinda went nuts. I discovered that big ol’ compendium – you know the one, with the mustard and rust colored dust jacket – in my high school library, and I checked it out and kept it until I read the whole thing, cover to cover. Twice. And then I wrote my first ever pastiche.

It was a short story. I don’t even remember now what it was about; this was well before the days of personal computers, and I had to get Mom to type it up on the electric typewriter. (Yeah, so I’m old. Sue me.) And I submitted it to the school literary magazine…

…Which threw it out. First ever rejection notice and I wasn’t even out of high school. And it was a HIGH SCHOOL PUBLICATION. Problem was, the submissions were blind-judged – nobody knew who’d written anything – and the English Lit teacher, in her “superior knowledge,” decreed it was a direct, word-for-word plagiarism of one of Doyle’s actual stories. (No, she didn’t even try to check that big ol’ mustard-and-rust compendium.) At the end of the year, she discovered that I was the one who wrote it and she knew, straight-laced kid that I was, that I would never have plagiarized it. She also knew that I had the ability to write something like that.

I don’t think the story was that great, to be honest. I didn’t at the time. In fact, today I don’t remember the name of the story, or even the plot. See, I was still learning how to put stuff like that together, and I knew there were some plot holes when I wrote it, though I disguised ‘em well. But it was still pretty good for a kid that age, if I do say so. I think the whole episode might say more about the teacher than about my story, but hey.

And I watched the various and sundry films. I would have liked the Rathbone films better, I think, if Nigel Bruce hadn’t played Watson as a bumbling oaf; I simply couldn’t stomach that characterization, and it spoiled the films for me. Some years later, I discovered Jeremy Brett’s Holmes…and Holmes came to life for me. But I never tried my hand at another Holmes story.

Until I was already in the whole writing/publishing milieu. I picked up an anthology of Holmes science fiction and loved it. I thought it was something I’d probably adore writing. But it was all Victorian, and I tended (at that time) to feel a bit limited by Victorian science. It’s pre-relativity, pre-quantum mechanics, pre-everything that makes modern science and science fiction so very…out there. And after all, I AM a scientist.

Long story short, I worked out a way to bring a version of Holmes to the modern day from an alternate reality’s Victorian era, and The Displaced Detective series was born.

Enter this guy named Tommy Hancock. Tommy happens to be the co-publisher and editor in chief of Pro Se Press, one of the movers and shakers in the New Pulp movement. Turns out he’s a fan of the Displaced Detective. So he approached me at a science fiction convention, and asked me to write Holmes for him – only he wanted a more traditional, Holmes and Watson in Victorian Britain, kind of story. So we sat down and talked. We decided what we’d do would be to create a prequel series to the Displaced Detective, so that alternate-reality version of Holmes would have chronicles of his past, with “his” Watson in his original continuum. And so the Gentleman Aegis series was born.

Mummys curse 300Book 1 of that series was just released: Sherlock Holmes and the Mummy’s Curse. So what is it about?

Holmes and Watson. Two names forever linked by mystery and danger from the beginning.

Within the first year of their friendship and while both are young men, Holmes and Watson are still finding their way in the world, with all the troubles that such young men usually have: Financial straits, troubles of the female persuasion, hazings, misunderstandings between friends, and more. Watson’s Afghan wounds are still tender, his health not yet fully recovered, and there can be no consideration of his beginning a new practice as yet. Holmes, in his turn, is still struggling to found the new profession of consulting detective. Not yet truly established in London, let alone with the reputations they will one day possess, they are between cases and at loose ends when Holmes’ old professor of archaeology contacts him.

Professor Willingham Whitesell makes an appeal to Holmes’ unusual skill set and a request. Holmes is to bring Watson to serve as the dig team’s physician and come to Egypt at once to translate hieroglyphics for his prestigious archaeological dig. There in the wilds of the Egyptian desert, plagued by heat, dust, drought and cobras, the team hopes to find the very first Pharaoh. Instead, they find something very different…

I do hope you like it. I certainly had a great time writing it.

~~~

Stephanie Osborn, the Interstellar Woman of Mystery, is a 20+-year space program veteran, with degrees in astronomy, physics, chemistry and mathematics, “fluent” in others, including geology and anatomy. She has authored, co-authored, or contributed to some two dozen books, including celebrated Burnout and the Displaced Detective and Gentleman Aegis series.

~~~

Purchase links for Mummy’s Curse:

Amazon print: http://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Mummys-Curse-Gentleman/dp/1518883125/ref=sr_1_3_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446569718&sr=8-3&keywords=sherlock+holmes+and+the+mummy%27s+curse

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Mummys-Stephanie-Osborn-ebook/dp/B017IX33NW/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446593931&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=sherlock+holmes+and+the+mummy%27s+curse%C2%94+stephanie+osborn

Smashwords electronic (epub/mobi/pdf): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/590130

Pro Se Press: http://prose-press.com/blog/2015/11/3/author-stephanie-osborn-debuts-new-holmes-series-sherlock-holmes-and-the-mummys-curse-debuts

~~~

Displaced Detective book 1: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Displaced-Detective-Arrival/dp/1606191896/

Displaced Detective Omnibus: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Displaced-Detective-Omnibus-ebook/dp/B00FOR5LJ4/

Displaced Detective book 5: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Spontaneous-Combustion-Displaced-Detective-ebook/dp/B00K98AI6Y/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51RvnSdsIVL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR104%2C160_&refRID=1AB9HXZQEH5DP0H06Z7W

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 9, 2015 at 3:29 am

My Guest Post at Chris the Story-Reading Ape’s Blog Is Up…

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Folks, as promised, here’s the link to the guest post I did for Chris the Story-Reading Ape’s very busy blog. Here’s a bit from that blog post, to whet your interest:

So I wrote for my graduate collegiate newspaper as well, the Daily Nebraskan. I wrote more poetry. And I started, haltingly, writing a bodyswitch story I called CHANGING FACES; it quickly morphed into a transgender romance, with aliens who may as well be angels…I’d anticipated the market about fourteen years too early. (Quite literally, as the story will be coming out later this year…but I digress.)

Something good happened while I was writing this first draft. I met my husband Michael, who was already an accomplished writer and editor. He loved what he saw of CHANGING FACES, and he was encouraging. I was making all sorts of mistakes in fiction – you name it, I probably made it. But he gave me excellent feedback (not all of it was positive, but all of it was constructive), and I learned.

I also fell in love with him, which changed me as a writer. It gave me depth, and resonance, and made me believe love was possible. (After two failed marriages behind me, I’d kind of lost sight of all that.) And because Michael and I laughed often, I wanted to make other people laugh, too…so I wrote a huge cross-genre book called ELFY. (And I do mean cross-genre: it’s young adult comic fantasy/mystery/romance with alternate universes and Shakespearean allusions. Say that five times fast.)

Now, if I had this to write over again, I’d say “college newspaper” rather than collegiate. (Ah, Editor Voice never shuts up.) But otherwise, I’m happy with what I said here.

Because Chris likes a different sort of approach than other guest blogs, I tried to give his audience an introduction to who I am along with what I do. I found it very difficult to do this; as I said at the top of this blog post, I’d rather hide behind my saxophone than talk about myself (at least in this way).

It’s far, far easier for me to talk about ideas. Things that matter to me. Or better yet, the people who have mattered most to me — my husband Michael, and my best friend Jeff Wilson first among them.

It’s very hard to explain why I do anything, other than that I find it important and I hope others will like what I’m doing as well.

Anyway, I do hope you’ll enjoy my guest blog over at Chris’s busy web establishment. Let me know what you think.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 22, 2015 at 9:01 pm