Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Twilight Times Books

Just in Time For Halloween, New Poems and Stories at the TTB e-zine!

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OK, sometimes I just have to rhyme…

Folks, do you want some new and absolutely free reading material? Especially from me? (As you’re here at my blog, I’m going to assume the answer is an enthusiastic “yes.”)

Well, look no further. I have a story, “To Exist within Memory,” and a poem, “Break the Dark Lens,” up at the Halloween 2017 edition of the Twilight Times e-zine. (I abbreviated it above as TTB e-zine because it’s part of Twilight Times Books.) In addition, there’s also a chapter reveal for my most recent novel, the LGBT-friendly CHANGING FACES, and there’s an author interview by Mayra Calvani as well — so if you have ever wanted to know more about me or my writing, here you go.

portrait in garden

Mind, if you like what you have read with regards to CHANGING FACES, you can go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and pick up an e-book copy for just ninety-nine cents…and I do hope you’ll consider doing just that.

So go check out the TTB e-zine. Read some free stuff. Then go pick up your copy of CHANGING FACES today, and get to getting…who said every treat on Halloween has to be full of calories, hey?

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Written by Barb Caffrey

October 31, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa…(a CHANGING FACES Update)

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Folks, before I get into this update, I want to tell you a story.

Years ago and far away — Nebraska, to be exact — I was at a holiday party. I was drinking a little, and as I almost never drink, I wasn’t aware of how dumb I sounded nor how hurtful I was being. Worse yet, because of this one moment of stupidity on my part, I blew an important job interview as the person I was mouthing off to was the interviewer’s sister…and I set back progress in my life by years thereby.

I’m not proud of this.

At the time, I didn’t realize what I was doing. It took me months to figure out that the person I’d talked to was the interviewer’s sister at this party, and I never did apologize to her, or to the interviewer himself, partly because I didn’t know I should.

This time, I know better.

How does that get into the CHANGING FACES update, you ask? Well, it’s simple…recently, on Facebook, someone had asked me what was going on with regards to CHANGING FACES. I turned in my copy — technically a draft, though in actuality an extensive revision that took me over a year to complete — just before Thanksgiving. I had hoped at the time that I could still maybe get CF out by the end of the year, but I knew that because of the amount of time it took me to get this done, the chances weren’t good.

Then I got the news that most likely, CF will be out in February of 2017. Which actually makes sense in a wide number of ways, but at the time — I was sick, though again, that’s no excuse whatsoever — I was thinking, “Oh, my God/dess, I’ve missed the 2016 window completely. Damn it!”

But I didn’t say that on Facebook.

Instead, what I expressed was merely my frustration. Not the cause of it, especially the cause being myself, because I thought folks on my page knew this.

That was my first error, as I’ve known for a long time to never assume anything.

Worse yet, my publisher saw this, and was hurt by this, as she’d done nothing wrong whatsoever. I like my publisher, Lida Quillen of Twilight Times Books, and consider her a friend. There’s no way in the world I’d ever want to hurt her feelings, especially considering how patient she was in waiting for me to turn in something that she could work with.

This was my second error.

But unlike my younger self, I take responsibility for the things I do and say that are wrong and hurtful, or at least woefully incomplete.

So, here’s the rest of the story.

Over the past year-plus, as I fought to keep from losing my home, as I fought to help my former house-mate, I struggled with CHANGING FACES. Every time I thought I had an epiphany, I’d get set back the next week or month with some other crises. And every time I made headway, I’d end up having yet another road block.

During this time, Lida was both encouraging and sympathetic. She didn’t have to be either of these things. But she was, which I truly appreciated.

Why did I say little about this at the time, and nothing at all about how encouraging Lida was the entire time? Because I didn’t want to dwell on the major problems I was trying to get past in this forum. I wanted to talk about something encouraging, uplifting, or at least something that was in the news that other people could relate to.

That, too, was an error.

I apologize for all of that. I know I’m better than that.

I’ve been very fortunate in my friends, and that includes my publisher, Lida Quillen. I am sorry to have not explained myself better and even more sorry I popped off during a moment of weakness. (That I further compounded my error by getting a friend of mine, doing his best to give sympathy, in trouble as well only gives me greater pain. And yes, I’ve already apologized to him, too, but that’s yet another story…and I hope that one doesn’t have to be explained in public.)

I can’t take that back now. But I can at least let you all know that Lida helped me enormously over the past difficult, challenging, and often intensely frustrating year.

So, the reason CHANGING FACES will be out in 2017 is because of me. No one else.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging, already in progress…

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 13, 2016 at 11:50 am

Get “An Elfy on the Loose” for Free on March 1, 2015

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Folks, if you’ve wanted to read AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE but haven’t had the money to do so, listen up.

On March 1, 2015 — that’s just a few minutes from now — AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE will be free at the Twilight Times Books website.

Yes. Free.

Why? Well, it’s “Read an e-book week.” There will be a number of excellent Twilight Times Books offered this week for free, including Stephanie Osborn’s THE CASE OF THE DISPLACED DETECTIVE: THE ARRIVAL, Chris Nuttall’s SCHOOLED IN MAGIC and Aaron Paul Lazar’s DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU. All you have to do is bookmark this page for the next week, and you can be reading excellent free books all week long.

I’m not exactly sure when my book AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE will be available for free, mind…but it will happen sometime on March 1, 2015, and will stay free for 24 hours.

Once I know for certain that it’s available as a free e-book, I’ll be Tweeting about it and probably writing something on Facebook as well. But for now, all I know is that it will be free on March 1…

And the clock is ticking. (Are you ready?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 1, 2015 at 12:52 am

My novel, “An Elfy on the Loose,” Is Now Available

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It’s been a long time in coming, but my first novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (now with a subtitle of “Book One of the ELFY duology”) is now available at Amazon.com and will be available soon at all major e-book retailers.

**Edited to add: AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE has also “gone live” at BN.com (Barnes and Noble’s website), as Paul Howard told me in the comments. If you have a Nook and want to read AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, now’s your chance!

Now back to our regularly scheduled post.**

I’m very pleased that AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is now out, even though I hadn’t expected it to “go live” on Amazon tonight, of all nights — but as it has, I figured I’d best skedaddle and get a blog post up, pronto.

For those of you who want a sample, please go here and read the first five chapters of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE . . . then, I hope you’ll go to Amazon and get the e-book, as it’s on sale for a limited time at the low price of $3.99.

Because I’m a new author, and because I’m decidedly not well known, it is anyone’s guess as to whether or not AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE will do well enough to warrant an actual “dead tree” edition (that is, a paper edition).

For all I know, this e-book copy is all that we’re likely to get. So I hope you’ll enjoy it in the spirit intended.

In other words, if you want to read my novel because you’ve been intrigued about Bruno the Elfy and Sarah his human companion and want to know all about Sarah’s house (which is an Elfy trap of major proportions), or if you want to figure out why a Dark Elf would go to Northern California, or if you even want to know why Bruno’s mentor Roberto is worth saving despite being more than a bit of an butthead sometimes, now’s your chance.

I also hope that if you read and enjoy AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, you won’t be averse to letting people know my book exists. Because I need all the help I can get . . . and I’m not shy about saying so.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 12, 2014 at 12:34 am

Advance Reader Copy of “An Elfy on the Loose” Now Available at TTB

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Folks, I hadn’t known this until tonight, but my book, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, has been available as an advance reader copy (or ARC) since early February.

Please follow this link to the ARC, directly available through the auspices of Twilight Times Books (my publisher), if you wish to support my writing . . . if you’re interesting in figuring out just what my favorite Elfy, Bruno, is up to these days . . . or if you’re just bored and in need of some reading material that might make you laugh.

Mind you, if you’re waiting for when AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE will officially be available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all other e-book platforms, I’ve been told the date is June 1, 2014.

But right now, if you want to read AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, this link is the only way to do it — it’ll take you right to Twilight Times Books and its e-ARC site, and you can order to your heart’s content.

Getting the ARC out officially is one step closer in the publication process, and I’m glad to see that everything is well in train. I just wish I’d have realized this sooner, so I could’ve made the announcement sooner, that’s all. (But “them’s the breaks,” and all that.)

Please spread the word widely that the ARC is available, OK? Because right now, almost no one knows it exists — and that is not good.

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 29, 2014 at 12:05 am

Dora Machado’s Guest Blog — “What an Editor Can Do for You”

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about four current titles available from Twilight Times Books (TTB for short)  — The Curse Giver by Dora Machado, Don’t Let the Wind Catch You by Aaron Paul Lazar, Lucid by Natalie Roers and Dina von Lowenkraft’s Dragon Fire.  I worked on three of those four titles, and said so.  But I was proudest of the work I did for Dora Machado’s The Curse Giver.

When I received The Curse Giver from TTB’s publisher Lida Quillen, I quickly recognized that much of the book was very good.  Some of it was exceptional.  But there was a problem at the beginning of the book that might’ve stopped a reader cold from understanding that the hero of the story, Brennus, is actually a good guy.  (Suffice it to say that Brennus does many things he’d rather not do for the best of reasons.)  Ms. Quillen wanted me to see what I could do to help Ms. Machado’s book, and gave me ample time to think about it.

Anyway, I edited Dora Machado’s book and suggested a number of things at the beginning that I thought might help in addition to the usual comments as regards to copy-editing and consistency-reading.  I made so many comments at the beginning that I was a little worried that Ms. Machado would get upset, even though I also pointed out where I thought the story worked particularly well to balance things out.  (Unless I’m really pressed for time, I always do this.  A writer needs to know that her editor understands her book.)

Fortunately for me, Dora Machado did understand, and was appreciative of my efforts.  She thanked me publicly in her book for helping her — those of you who are editors know how rare that is.  Then, she asked if she could write a guest blog discussing the editorial process from a writer’s perspective, discussing her experiences with me in specific, and I said, “Sure.”

I hope you will enjoy this blog as much as I did, even though I blushed to read some of it.

So without further ado . . . let’s bring on the guest blog!

*********** Guest Post Separator ***********

What An Editor Can Do For You . . . If You Let Her

By

 Dora Machado

When it comes to editors, I haven’t always a believer. As a writer, part of me assumed that if you needed an editor, you weren’t ready for prime time. The smarter part of me suspected that the cocky part of me was being—well—cocky. So a few years back, I decided to challenge my assumptions and hired an editor to review my manuscript prior to submission. Wow. The mind-blowing, eye-opening experience resulted in the award-winning Stonewiser series.  I realized that, no matter how well you write, every author can benefit from having an editor, and a qualified, experienced, insightful editor can impact both a story and an author in profound and lasting ways.

Of course, the editing experience has a lot to do with the quality of the editor, the interaction between the writer and the editor, and the author’s ability to capitalize on the editor’s advice. I have been extremely fortunate to work with some of the best editors in my genre, but I have to credit my publisher, Lida Quillen of Twilight Times Books, for making this latest match. When she assigned Barb Caffrey to edit The Curse Giver, she brought together two experienced, opinionated, passionate lovers of the fantasy genre with stubborn streaks, high standards and even higher expectations. I have to wonder: Either Lida Quillen is a troublemaker or she’s the wisest publisher on the planet.

Generally speaking, an editor’s contributions range from the very simple to the very complex. Writer’s ego aside, a good editor will always remind us of the basic principles of writing and the pesky details we might overlook when submerged in our manuscript’s depths. I’m always surprised—not to mention embarrassed—by the simple finds, the nits, typos and common mistakes my editor catches. I blame writer’s myopia for those easy-to-fix bloopers. When you’ve read the same paragraph twenty-six times, the eye doesn’t see what’s before it anymore, but rather what the mind thinks the eye should see. I might be sharp and thrive at self-editing, but once the eyes go numb, self-editing becomes a delusion.

Beyond the simple contributions, an editor has a lot more to offer, not just to the author but to the story. A good editor can offer perspective and objectivity, which can often become casualties of the creative process. Objectivity is an important quality when evaluating a story. It’s not about how well the story is written. It’s about how well the story reads, how it flows—not in your author’s mind, where the movie has played so many times—but in the virgin mind, where the story runs what can sometimes be a very different course through a new geography.

This is exactly what happened when Barb Caffrey read The Curse Giver‘s manuscript. She pointed out the strengths right away—assets I immediately wanted to preserve during the editing process. But she also sensed a weakness, a kink in the story’s flow, a blind spot for the reader that didn’t exist in my author’s mind because I knew the story’s outcome all along.

Barb recommended that I add a new point of view to the story. I gasped when I got her e-mail. I imagined my word count—the bane of my writer’s existence—soaring. I thought about all the work it was going to take to integrate this new point of view into the story, the details I would have to tweak, the time and energy I would have to spend . . .

I sat on my author’s indignation for a whole five minutes before I began to consider the suggestion in earnest. I had been sort of wondering if The Curse Giver‘s first few chapters were strong enough to capture the reader’s mind and launch them into the grand adventure that awaited them. You know an editor is gifted when she jabs that needle directly into your nerve. You know she is exceptional when she answers the very question you feared asking.

“Okay, all right.” I took several deep breaths and forced my mind open. “So maybe Barb has a point.”

I had the perfect character built into the story to develop a new point of view.  As Barb pointed out, I could keep my word count down by using the new point of view sparingly in a ruthless and utilitarian approach. She kindly encouraged me to at least give it a try. It doesn’t hurt when your editor combines excellence and kindness, so I sat down, wrote out the new POV, and tested it by inserting it in the story.

I purred like a satisfied kitten when I reread the amended story. My questions were answered. My doubts were put to rest. The story flowed beautifully. The new point of view strengthened and clarified the opening chapters, supporting the early development of the reader’s trance. Added bonus? Readers loved Severo, and they routinely tell me how much they like this quirky character who got his own POV at the last minute, courtesy of Barb Caffrey.

If you are a writer, you know that writing requires continuous self-development. Our trade demands the highest standards of critical review and our stories are improved by a rigorous editing process. An editor can provide all of that and more, especially if she has tons of practical experience in the genre, is a good fit to your style, and has secured your trust with high-impact recommendations. In addition, a good editor helps you build confidence in your writing. But remember, editing works only if the author is open to changes and suggestions. Take it from me:  An editor can improve your writing and your manuscript . . . but only if you let her.

************

Thanks, Dora, for that excellent guest blog.  I truly appreciate it.

As for the rest of you, please go buy THE CURSE GIVER without delay if you love fantasy, dark fantasy, romantic fantasy, fantasies that feature complex yet realistic world building, or just are up for a great read.  Trust me — THE CURSE GIVER will not disappoint.  (Further editor sayeth not.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 4, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Book Buyers, Rejoice: 4 Acclaimed TTB Titles Just 99 Cents for Next Two Days

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Folks, I haven’t done a great deal of cross-promotion of other people’s work on my blog.  But I actually worked on three of the four e-books that Twilight Times Books is offering in a special promotional deal for just ninety-nine cents over the next two days/forty-eight hours at Amazon, which is one reason I’m very glad to let you know all about them.

The first book on this promotional list is Dora Machado’s THE CURSE GIVER.  Machado’s book is a dark, lush, and evocative tale of star-crossed lovers who must join forces no matter how high the odds against them;  the best part of THE CURSE GIVER is the lively storytelling, full of characters you’ll love (Lusielle the remedy-mixer — or herb healer, if you’d rather, though I like Machado’s term better; Bren the cursed aristocrat working against time), characters you’ll loathe (Lusielle’s odious husband, a number of the toadies at the various courts), and characters you’ll reluctantly like (Bren’s master of spies, a priestess who may or may not be on Bren’s side despite being the estranged wife of Bren’s spymaster).

I edited this novel, and can tell you without a doubt that once this novel hooks you, you will be up long past your bedtime wondering, “What happened to all those hours?  And hey, this is an interesting book . . . I wonder how it ends?”

Then, of course, you’ll just keep turning the pages.  (Guaranteed.)

The next book on the list is Natalie Roers’ YA literary fantasy LUCID.  This is a book about the power of lucid dreaming as used by a kid named Travis; Travis is disfigured, so he thinks no one will ever love him, and of course as he’s up against adolescence, he’s a bundle of nerves and hormones.  Travis’s object of affection is a girl named Corrine, and in the real world, Travis has no confidence to talk with her.  But in the otherworld created by Travis’s lucid dreams, anything can happen . . . perhaps even a romance?

I edited this novel, too, and felt it an interesting young adult coming of age tale with a lot of true-to-life realism in it despite (or perhaps because of) the lucid dreaming made real aspect.   The romantic interactions between Travis and Corrine are sweet and age-appropriate, and the dialogue between them works well.  Tweens and teens should love this one.

The third book I worked on (this time as a proofreader) is Aaron Paul Lazar’s DON”T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU.  This is a YA mystery in Lazar’s “Gus Tregarde” series that’s set in 1965.  Most of the plot revolves around a strange house in the woods that Gus’s mother doesn’t want Gus going anywhere near, along with Gus’s mother’s strange antipathy toward a lone, cranky hermit.  That and an unquiet Indian spirit (note that no one, but no one, said “Native American” back in 1965) helps to complicate Gus’s summer rather nicely.

Lazar does a particularly good job at summoning up the ambiance of a 1965 summer — how much Gus can do, is expected to do, what songs he’s listening to, his first hint of adolescent hormones, and his love for serial mystery fiction all helps to ground the reader in a firm place and time.  In addition, Gus is a very likeable guy that you just can’t help but root for . . . all in all, this is an excellent addition for any library, but most particularly for young adults nine and up and for the slightly older reluctant 12-16 year old male reader crowd as well.

Then comes the only book on the list I haven’t had anything to do with whatsoever — Dina von Lowenkraft’s DRAGON FIRE.  All I can give you there is the summation as listed on the Twilight Times Books Web site:

Some choices are hard to live with.
But some choices will kill you.

When seventeen-year-old Anna first meets Rakan in her hometown north of the Arctic Circle, she is attracted to his pulsing energy. Unaware that he is a shape-shifting dragon, Anna is drawn into a murderous cycle of revenge that pits Rakan and his clan against her best friend June.

Torn between his forbidden relationship with Anna, punishable by death, and restoring his family’s honor by killing June, Rakan must decide what is right. And what is worth living – or dying – for.

DRAGON FIRE sounds quite interesting, and for ninety-nine cents as an e-book, it’s as much a steal as the other three.

Anyway, these promotional prices are also good at Barnes and Noble and at most other e-book sites, but do not apply at the Twilight Times Books site itself (which is why I haven’t linked there in order to keep anyone from getting completely confused).  Links have been given to the Amazon (US) listing for ease of reference.

I believe all four of these e-books should be available in the UK and elsewhere via Amazon.uk.  And as this special price deal will only last for another 45 hours, Central Daylight Time, what are you waiting for?

Go grab them right now!

UPDATE: Just received confirmation via publisher Lida Quillen that these books are available now via Amazon.uk but aren’t available at the promotional price at Smashwords.  (Sorry about my previous assumption; you know what they say about those.)

Here are the direct links to the places that are offering this promotion through the end of tomorrow evening if the above four links do not work for you:

http://amzn.to/eYYy6s
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Twilight-Times-Books
http://www.omnilit.com/storeSearch.html?sortBy=recentlyAdded&searchBy=publisher&qString=Twilight+Times+Books

Enjoy!