Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Michael B. Caffrey

12 Years Ago Today…

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. . . I married the love of my life, Michael B. Caffrey, in Waukegan, Illinois.

Had Michael lived, we’d be celebrating twelve happy years together. I have no doubt of this.

I also have no doubt that Michael is the person I was intended to be with all along. I didn’t find him until I was in my mid-thirties, going through a second divorce. But I did find him, we did marry, and we had two wonderfully blessed years together.

I know duration does not equal value. (If it did, my first marriage would be three and a half times more important than my marriage to Michael. Which is flatly absurd.) But I do wish we’d have had more time together.

That said, out of our union came several wonderful things. The Elfyverse, for one . . . I can’t imagine writing the ELFY duology (of which part one is AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE) without knowing Michael, because I wouldn’t have had any idea at all what love truly was about without him.

In 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4-8, the Bible says this about love (quoting the GOD’S WORD® Translation from

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. 5It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. 6It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. 7Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

8Love never comes to an end.**

Note that this is exactly how Michael was, with me. He was extremely patient. He was unfailingly kind. He certainly wasn’t jealous — he was the farthest possible thing from that. He was a self-effacing man who, when I complimented him, almost always tried to turn it away — and when he did accept it, did so modestly. (Or humorously. Or maybe both.)

And I believe verse 5 — love not being rude, not thinking about itself, not being irritable and not keeping track of wrongs — also applies to Michael. Because he wasn’t rude. (Trust me; with two ex-husbands behind me, I well know what rude can be in a marital context.) And he faced life with a courage and optimism that I’ve never seen out of another living soul . . . something that continues to give me strength, nearly ten years after his body went to dust.

I especially think verse 6 in this particular translation applies to Michael. He hated injustice with a passion. But he loved the truth, even if the truth was difficult to understand and/or frustrating.

(Personally, I think that was the Zen Buddhist in him. But I digress.)

And verse 7, too, sounds much like him. Michael believed with all his being that I would make it. No matter what happened to us — and we suffered through a flood that damaged many of our belongings, not to mention a huge and financially ruinous cross-country move, and many other things — he believed that success was what you made of it.

And because I got up and tried my best every day, whether it was playing my music, composing music, or of course writing and editing (which he went a long way toward teaching me, and I wasn’t the most apt of pupils), he honestly told me I was a success — and meant it.

To him, it wouldn’t matter that I wasn’t world-famous. What mattered to him instead was that I was my best self, and kept being my best self, no matter what other awful things might happen.

And while I intentionally truncated verse 8 (that’s what the two stars are about, in this context), I like this version’s translation — “Love never comes to an end.”

Because that’s how I feel about it, too.

So while this is a “sadiversary” for me, insofar that I’d much rather Michael be alive so we could do the normal things couples do when they’re celebrating the date of their wedding, it’s also an oddly happy day, too.

I got to marry and be with the most wonderful person I’ve ever known. Not many people can say that. And he loved me until the end of his life, with everything he had, and I believe wherever he is now in the positive Afterlife, he continues to love me, too.

And I know I will always, always, always love Michael, too.

That’s more precious to me than any amount of money or fame could ever be.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 24, 2014 at 2:42 am

New Joey Maverick story up at E-Quill Publishing

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Ten years ago, my late husband, Michael B. Caffrey, completed his novel MAVERICK: LIEUTENANT, a novel of military science fiction in a far-future universe depicting the Atlantean Union (which comprises humanity, the Kiral, a cat-like race, and the Wyrm, who are sort of like flightless dragons, along with were-mice and cat-owls, sentient creatures who are more than animals but perhaps less — or other — than humans, Kiral and Wyrm).    He unfortunately did not live long enough to see an allied story about Joey Maverick, “A Dark and Stormy Night” (subtitled by me “A Joey Maverick Adventure”) published at the Written Word Online Magazine in May, 2005, nor did he ever intend for me to do any writing in his universe.  (By necessity, I both edited “A Dark and Stormy Night” and added about 1400 words, upping the romance a little bit and adding some internal monologue, in order to make it a legal collaboration and thus a little easier to sell.)

But Michael left behind what he called “The Big Book of Maverickiana,” a few notes, a great deal of personal reminiscence and, of course, me.  And I couldn’t leave Michael’s universe alone; I couldn’t leave his work unfinished and unable to be appreciated.

We’d been told by a few publishing insiders we trusted that the only thing Michael’s novel needed was action; it had everything else.  So I endeavored to add some, keeping in mind Michael’s main dictum about Joey Maverick, which was that Joey should have adventures — how not?  But not have them in such an obvious way that non-Naval people know much about them . . . or maybe anything at all.

I wrote most of what’s now “Joey Maverick: On Westmount Station” in 2006, then revised and updated in 2008 and again in 2009 before finally finding an ending I liked in 2010.  I added characters, dialogue, an important subplot, internal monologue and additional interaction between the already-extant characters in the narrative, making this a 50/50 collaboration (or perhaps a bit more; this was drawn from the first chapter of Michael’s novel but, shall we say, was liberally interpreted by me).  The story is approximately 10,000 words in length — a long short story, or perhaps closer to a novelette? — and would probably be the first tenth to twelfth of a proposed “Maverick” novelization/revision.

Michael and I actually discussed what to do in the event something happened to either one of us (I guess I should thank the whole mess surrounding the brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, which was still going on in early 2004 before her ex-husband, who was also her legal guardian, was allowed to end her life in accordance to what he said were his late ex-wife’s wishes), and what he’d told me was this: “If you are able to do anything with it, do what you think best.  I trust you.  But if you can’t, please don’t bend yourself out of shape just to keep this alive.  Work on your own writing, and enjoy your life, first.”

I’ve done the former — and I’ve been trying, very hard, to do the latter, ever since Michael’s untimely passing in September of 2004 — but I’m sorry.  I could not let this universe go.  There’s so much potential there; so much of what Michael had is really, really good and all it needs are what amounts to a few sub-plots and some additional action and then it can be sold.  It won’t be exactly what Michael would’ve written, but it’ll be as close as I can make it because this is what I must do in order to honor Michael’s memory, and keep faith with him in the way I see best — by bringing as much of his literary creation to the marketplace as I possibly can, as he undoubtedly would’ve done had his heart not inexplicably given out that fateful, tramautic, and inexpressibly sad day.

I hope you will enjoy this story, as it was a labor of love and faith to keep Michael’s universe alive all these years.  And providing it is appreciated as much as “Dark and Stormy Night” was, in 2005 and again with its re-release in 2010 by E-Quill Publishing, I’ll be writing a whole new chapter into Joey’s story, something Michael was talking about but did not get the chance to write . . . but that’s for another day.

For now, please go to the link at:

Thank you kindly, and please, let me know what you think of this story.



Updated as of 1/30/2015: Both of Michael’s “Joey Maverick” stories are now available on Amazon, not at E-Quill Publishing. (I thought people knew that, but I had some comments today indicating not everyone does.) I hope to be able to format these stories for the Nook later this year also, but for now, if you wish to read Michael’s work (and I do hope you do), please go to these two places, and enjoy!

For “A Dark and Stormy Night,” AKA how Joey meets the love of his life, the fiery Belinda Simpson, amidst a far-future sailing disaster:

For “On Westmount Station,” described above: