Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Marketing for Romance Writers

A Wednesday Roundup

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Folks, today is Marketing for Romance Writers’ Retweet Day (#MFRWAuthor for short, on Twitter). And I usually have a post up long before this, to try to take advantage of that…as I need all the help I can get in order to spread the word about my writing.

ExquisiteChristmasAd3(1)That said, I also wanted to remind everyone that the Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology is out. I have two stories in this anthology, both featuring shapeshifter (and woman of size) Marja, and her lover, Tomas — a telepathic mountain Troll. The anthology actually features twenty-one authors, and we all added holiday recipes to make the anthology just a little more festive…it’s only $2.99 as an e-book, and I’m sure that if you enjoy romance, you’ll enjoy this anthology.

As I said last week, we need hope and optimism. We need those things now more than ever, because so many of the things we see in the media are awful.

Romantic stories may not seem like much, when you put them against the problems in Chicago, or Baltimore, or in San Bernadino, or in Paris. They can’t take the pain away of innocent people getting killed for no reason, no. But they can remind us of what is good and right about life: Love. Family. Optimism. Hope. Faith. And much, much more.

I know that’s an awful lot to ask of a bunch of stories from twenty-one authors. But if you give us a chance, we might divert you from the problems in this world, and maybe even put a smile on your face in the process.

Sometimes, that’s all anyone can do.

Now, back to editing! (And maybe a wee bit of writing, too.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 9, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Where Have You Gone, Judith A. Lansdowne?

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Folks, it is no secret that I’m partial to romance novels.

As such, I’ve been asked often what I like about them. Because these are often the oldest stories in the world — boy meets girl, boy either takes to girl right away or can’t stand her (or vice versa), and in the end the couple walks off into the sunset.

This is the case in ninety percent of traditional romances, whether set in a historical period like England’s Regency, or in the current day.

But some romance authors add more. They add wit, charm, style, a certain zing — it’s hard to quantify, but it’s very easy to spot.

Judith A. Lansdowne has this extra ability. From her very first novel, AMELIA’S INTRIGUE (which I recently read via Inter-Library Loan) to her latest, JUST IMPOSSIBLE, Ms. Lansdowne found a way to weave in suspense, intrigue, humor, genuine pathos, and anything else anyone could ever want in a story.

Ms. Lansdowne hasn’t been active as a novelist since 2004. I’ve heard rumors that her husband was not well, or that there was some sort of family health crisis that took her away from her writing.

I have to assume that this is the only reason why her books haven’t re-emerged as e-books in the intervening eleven years. Because these are truly excellent books; they make you laugh, they make you think, they make you wish that every romance had this much charm.

In my own case, I often look at these romances between difficult women — too intelligent, maybe, or too forthright (as they used to put it in the Regency Era, “not quite in the common way”) — and prickly, dangerous, or a bit off-center men and find bits of myself and my late husband in there.

Even in the more “tame” romances, such as MUTINY AT ALMACK’S or JUST IN TIME, there’s always something different, something intriguing, to hold my interest.

Anyway, I don’t know where Ms. Lansdowne is. I’ve never met her. I do know that she, like myself, is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. (She was class of ’75, while I was class of ’94.) And because I know that at least some of my readership consists of Parkside graduates, my hope is that this little blog post will find her.

Because she may be thinking, at this late date, that no one wants to read her writing. And that’s just not true.

Or that her writing didn’t matter, which isn’t true, either.

One, final thought: Over this past week, when I had many disappointments — including the realization that I must push back the release of CHANGING FACES as despite my efforts, it is far from complete — Ms. Lansdowne’s words have given me hope, and have reminded me of what’s important in life.

My husband Michael believed in me, and believed in my writing. Just because I have a lot on my plate right now, that doesn’t at all mean I can’t get it done…I just have to believe in myself, and keep going.

And for the moment, Ms. Lansdowne’s work is helping me stay focused and centered.

So, wherever you are, Ms. Lansdowne, know that you’ve got a new fan in me…eleven years after your latest book came out.

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

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

Time for a February #MFRWHooks Blog!

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It’s time for a Marketing for Romance Writers Book Hooks promotion! And as it’s a whole lot easier to write that as a hashtag (#MFRWHooks, for short), I think I’ll just do that for the remainder of this blog.

An Elfy on the LooseIn combination with #MFRWAuthor ReTweet Day (which I discussed yesterday), I decided to take part in this week’s #MFRWHooks. I’ve done this before, as it’s an excellent way to let new readers know about my comic YA urban fantasy/romance novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (say that five times fast — I dare you!).

So without further ado…let the #MFRWHooks Blog Hop, February 11, 2015, edition, begin!

The rules of the #MFRWHooks blog hop are simple: You post six to eight lines of your novel plus a short blurb, and then you head to the next hop.

Ready? Here’s eight lines from the first chapter of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. Note that at this time, Bruno the Elfy’s name is still Jon…as to why? (You need to read the book to find out, though this brief excerpt is part of the answer.):

“While you’re pacing, will you please tell me your name?” Jon asked. “No one here has asked my name, and no one gave me their name in response, and, well, well—it’s just bad manners!”

“I think my parents are terrified the Elfy-Welfies, being so elusive, are that way because of the souls they’re supposed to have stolen,” the girl said softly. “Which the Elfys never could have done if names hadn’t been freely given—”

“What utter rubbish!” Jon interrupted.

 

I hope you enjoyed that little snippet. But perhaps you’d rather read a short blurb about what AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is about instead?

Bruno the Elfy believes he’s very young, has no power, and has no enemies.

He’s wrong.

Quickly sent to our Earth (the Human Realm) and told to watch for magic, Bruno must unravel the lies, keep his mentor from being tortured, and—oh, yeah—figure out why he’s so strongly attracted to young, Human Sarah.

Because his life depends on it.

* * * * * End blurb * * * * *

Or maybe you’d just like to read more of the sample chapters? (If so, here they are.)

Or maybe — just maybe — something here intrigued you. If that’s the case, here are my buy links:

Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1p6xvQj
Amazon (UK): http://goo.gl/dDoBnd
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/m8o49ad

Now, go be fruitful and multiply — or at least make your way to the next blog in the hop by visiting http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com as that’s the easiest way to discover any number of other interesting books, all featuring at least a small hint of romance.

Enjoy!

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 11, 2015 at 3:45 am