Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Racine Journal-Times

Racine Journal-Times Interviews Me for their “Our Authors” Segment

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My interview with the Racine Journal-Times went live this morning, so I thought I’d get over here and write a quick blog to point it out.

Now, how did this happen?

Well, a few weeks ago, the Journal-Times sent me a list of interview questions regarding me, my writing, and my book, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. I answered them.


(Yes, I’m being intentionally deadpan today. Why did you ask?)

So if you’ve ever wondered just how long it took me to write AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, this interview has the answer. And if you’re wondering just how long the ELFY duology has been in existence, well…

Let’s go to the interview:

How long did it take you to write the book? Thirteen months. But it took 10 years to get a publisher interested.

And if you ever wanted to know why I started writing? The interview has that answer, too:

How did you get interested in writing? I wrote as a child, but mostly poetry. When I went to college, then graduate school, I worked at my schools’ newspapers. I wrote some science fiction and fantasy stories in high school, sent one out and actually got good comments (what is called a “brass-ring rejection” in the trade, meaning I fell just short of publication), but I didn’t know what that meant at the time and put fiction aside for 10 years. Then I went back, and haven’t stopped since.

And that’s not all, as we discuss my book (including why I wrote it in the first place) and just what my connection to Racine is.

The most important part of this interview, though, is probably why I wrote AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE at all. But if you’ve read my blog before, or know anything about me at all, you probably already realize this.

Still, in case you haven’t figured it out, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE came into existence because Michael and I got married, I had a dream about Bruno after reading an anthology about Elves (Bruno said, “It’s not like that!”), and Michael encouraged me to write down whatever was going on.

Because, you know, writer-spouses are like that. They don’t look at you like you’ve grown a second head. Instead, they tell you, “Hey, whatever is going on, you should write it down.”

So I did.

Because I knew the Journal-Times would be pressed for space, I left out the part about Michael’s encouragement in this interview. But I’ve discussed it before, most particularly here at my blog and in this particular guest blog I did for Stephanie Osborn’s Comet Tales.

Anyway, I’m pleased this interview is now up and available. So go forth and read it, OK?

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Baseball Updates: Hart to Play Opening Day; Rottino sent to AAA by Mets

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Folks, I have the proverbial good news and bad news.

Tonight’s good news?  Milwaukee Brewers RF Corey Hart will not start the season on the disabled list, as had been previously thought.  Instead, he will be in right field for the Brewers on Opening Day on April 6.

But the bad news is that ex-Brewers farmhand, all-around good guy, and one of the most versatile players in any league, Vinny Rottino, who hit .276 in Spring Training with 5 RBI in 58 ABs — an IF/OF/C who plays just about every position except second base and pitcher — was cut a few, short hours ago by the New York Mets and was sent to AAA Buffalo (their minor-league affiliate) in what appears to be the Mets’ very last transaction before the start of the 2012 season.

Now, there is a hint of good news even to this, as Michael Baron of fame says that he doubts the Mets have “seen the last of him.”  Baron’s comment, in its entirety, is available here, but here are his kind words about Rottino:

I liked what I saw from Rottino this Spring. With all of the early injuries to the outfielders, he was given every opportunity to show what he could do, and he did everything the staff asked him to do when he played. He showed he can make solid contact and is versatile – he can play both corner positions and the outfield as well. I bet we haven’t seen the last of him.

In addition, Peter Jackel of the Racine Journal-Times is reporting that Rottino impressed Mets’ manager Terry Collins.  From Jackel’s article:

Rottino, a 1998 (Racine)** St. Catherine’s High School graduate, certainly has reason to be encouraged. He was informed by Collins last Thursday that he would break camp with the Mets if veteran outfielders Scott Hairston and Andres Torres, who had been battling injuries, were not healthy. But Hairston and Torres made the 25-man roster, leaving Rottino the odd man out.

“They sent everybody else down except me,” Rottino said. “I was the last position player in camp. (Collins) said, ‘You made an impression on everybody. You opened some eyes, Everything I’ve heard about you is exactly the kind of ballplayer you are.’ ”

So it sounds like Rottino impressed at least a few people with his versatility, his strong defensive skills, and his hitting.  Good for him!

Now, my hope is that Rottino will go on a tear at Buffalo and hit so well that the Mets are forced to bring him up (in the same way as the Brewers had to bring up Russell Branyan in 2008 from AAA Nashville whether they liked it or not).


** These stars indicate an insertion, by me, for those of you who are not from Racine, WI, who read my blog, with all apologies to Journal-Times sportswriter Peter Jackel.  Jackel knows, as I do, that Rottino is from Racine; I’ve said it here at my blog more than once.  But it’s possible that some of you don’t, especially if you’ve started reading my blog recently.

An Update to the Update, AKA further thoughts from yours truly:

I view Vinny Rottino’s story as a strong lesson in the value of persistence.  I do my best to emulate it, as my own career as a writer/editor hasn’t exactly set the world on fire thus far.  (Please don’t ask me to tell you how long I’ve been trying to do this; let’s just say that it’s longer than Rottino’s been trying to get to the majors and stay.)

Ultimately, the only thing any of us can do — myself, Rottino, anyone at all — is prepare ourselves to take the next step in our development.  For Rottino, that’s playing major league ball; for me, it’s selling my novel ELFY, or perhaps another novel to start with, then selling ELFY (as I remain fully committed to the value of my worth as a funny fantasy writer).

I know Rottino has prepared himself, and will continue to be prepared; as soon as he gets that call from the Mets, he’ll be there like a jet-fueled rocket.

And I know that I’ve prepared myself, too, to see ELFY in print and to know, ultimately, that my husband’s faith in me — much less my very good friend Jeff Wilson’s faith in me, as he, too, was a huge believer in the Elfyverse — will be vindicated.

As I’ve said before, so sayeth I again: good luck, Vinny.  And may the wind be at your back, always.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 3, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Persistence Pays Off — Florida Marlins call up Vinny Rottino

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The Florida Marlins have called up Vinny Rottino, the hardest-working minor league player I know.  Rottino is a Racine, Wisconsin, native — just like me in that — who plays baseball, and is 31 years old.  As I’ve stated in other blogs, he plays many positions, including the outfield, most of the infield, and catcher.

I’d nearly given up hope that Rottino would get called up as I’ve been reading Marlins’ manager Jack McKeon’s comments on the subject; McKeon seems to believe that he needs time to evaluate the players he already has, as he came to this year’s group of Marlins mid-stream, and McKeon was not sold on calling up anyone at the September 1 call-up date.

Fortunately, someone in the Marlins’ front office either overruled McKeon, or sold McKeon on how hard-working Rottino is and how much he’ll enjoy having Rottino around.  Because after Rottino’s fine AAA season, where he batted .304 with 31 doubles, two triples, 10 HRs, 81 Rs scored, 17 SBs and 59 RBI, Rottino definitely deserved to be called up to the major leagues.

Peter Jackel, who is a sports columnist for the Racine Journal-Times (my local newspaper), wrote an article for today’s paper (September 6, 2011) about Rottino’s call-up and quoted him as saying:**

“It means a lot,” said Rottino, who was signed by the Brewers as an undrafted free agent in January 2003.  “I’ve been playing for nine years, I’m 31 years old now and there may have been other paths I could’ve taken.  But I just felt with a lot of conviction that this was the path I was supposed to be on and that I was supposed to be grinding out minor-league at-bats, for whatever reason.”

Rottino, as you might remember from me blogging about it before, started out the season in dismal fashion, going 1 for 24.  But then, he went on a tear and never looked back.

For whatever it’s worth, last night I Tweeted that the Marlins should call up Rottino right now because he has such a great story to him — he’s a fine player, but it’s his persistence that makes him great.  His stalwart refusal to give up on himself is why I keep writing about him; I find it inspiring to realize that other people who might be a little older than others in their chosen profession come to realize their gifts and continue to act upon them.  Because persistence really does pay off.

I don’t know if Rottino has read Malcolm Gladwell’s book OUTLIERS.  But if he has, he knows that sometimes, it just takes someone a little longer to put in the 10,000 hours of work it seems to take to become proficient — then excellent — then outstanding — at any given profession.  I believe Rottino’s done that work and I believe even more strongly that he will do well in the big leagues if the Marlins only give him a chance.

Congratulations, Mr. Rottino!


** Note: I’m having trouble posting links to WordPress right now.  Once I’m able to do so, Mr. Jackel’s fine article about Vinny Rottino will be added to this blog.  For now, I hope the longer-form attribution will serve as it’s the best I can do.  Never mind.  Link has been added.  All is well.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm