Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

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Odds and Ends, April 2014 Version

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Well, folks, as usual, I’ve been so busy the past week that I have barely had enough time to turn around.

Whenever I get this busy, I don’t blog much, I don’t do much other than what must be done first — editing, in this case, and glad to have the work — and everything else basically takes a backseat.

This is why I didn’t review anything last week at Shiny Book Review (SBR).

This is why I didn’t write a follow-up blog regarding the two elections that the Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity group threw a lot of money into . . . and it’s also why, despite the Milwaukee Brewers’ impressive sweep of the Boston Red Sox, I didn’t get back here to write about that, either.

That being said, here’s a few quick hits regarding the odds and ends I left open last week:

  1. The elections in Iron County, WI, and in Kenosha County for the Kenosha Unified School Board seemed to be largely unaffected by the huge amount of money Americans for Prosperity threw into the races. The folks in Iron County basically said in a number of televised interviews that they disliked interference from people who didn’t live in Iron County — so the money that AFP threw into the election seems to have gone by the boards. And the people in Kenosha County didn’t change their minds regarding their candidates, either . . . so it does appear, as my late friend Jeff Wilson once put it, that there is a monetary ceiling to an election where a group (or groups) can spend whatever they like, but after a certain point, people just tune out.
  2. The Brewers going into Boston and sweeping the Red Sox was completely unanticipated, at least by me. After only scoring four runs in three games and losing two out of three at home in the Brewers’ own opening series, it was particularly impressive that the Brewers could go into Boston, win all three games (including an 11th inning thriller), and actually have some clutch hits in games that mattered.
  3. What a shame that Wisconsin lost to Kentucky in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I’m glad the Badgers did so well and got to the Final Four — that’s the one thing I got right in my NCAA bracket — but I wish they’d have had just one more game in them. (C’est la vie.)
  4. Normally after turning in a really big edit — as I did on  Saturday morning — I’d take a few days off. Right now, I can’t, because I’m looking over my master file for AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. There is a reason for that: The e-book will be up on Amazon and most other major dealers on April 15 — so if you’ve ever wanted to find out what the deal is with regards to my Elfyverse or my character Bruno the Elfy, now’s your chance to set your clocks.

Later in the week, I should have at least a bit of time to get a review or two in over at SBR, and I hope to be able to talk more about baseball, or politics, or maybe even the recent decision by the NLRB arbitrator in Chicago who ruled that Northwestern University’s football players should be able to form a union, as they are employees like any other (as that last really intrigues me, but I haven’t had enough time to do justice to the subject as of yet).

But for now, all I can do is please ask you to let people know that AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is coming soon . . . and if you think anyone will be interested (or even if they aren’t), tell them that my late husband Michael B. Caffrey’s two stories of military science fiction about his excellent character Joey Maverick, a quiet and responsible man who is nonetheless every bit a hero, are available now at Amazon (here and here).

Even with my own novel coming out, it still matters a great deal to me that Michael’s stories find their audience, especially as, years ago, Michael had hundreds of people who said they wanted to buy them as soon as he was willing to put them out. (I don’t know where these people went, mind you. But maybe at least a few of them are still alive, and if so, perhaps they’ll discover the stories one of these years. Hope springs eternal, and all that.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 7, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Guest Blog About Writing and Cross-Promotion Up at Murder By 4

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Folks, as promised last week, I’m letting you know about my guest blog, which is up over at the prestigious writing website Murder By 4.

Here’s a small taste . . .

Writers often talk about effective cross-promotion, since we’re always trying to get the word out about our latest books and stories. Yet what does effective cross-promotion actually consist of? And why do some promotional activities seem to work better than others?

Go here to read the rest. (Enjoy!)

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 7, 2014 at 5:15 pm

A Quick Saturday Update

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Folks, I’ve been remiss this past week in getting some blogs up to be read, but there is a reason for that.

You see, I’ve been working on an anthology submission for the past week-plus.  It has taken a lot of time, mostly because I was asked to substantially revise a story and I wasn’t quite sure how to do it despite the editor’s excellent notes.

This is why I didn’t review anything last week, it’s why I may not review anything this week, either (it depends on how fast I can do the remaining work, really), and it’s also why my blogging has been nonexistent since I posted my end-of-the-season take on the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers.

On the plus side, I have been able to play my instruments and will be playing next week’s concert with the UW-Parkside Community Band after all.

On the minus side, the Racine Concert Band (of which I’m a member) got exceptionally bad news in that Racine Mayor John Dickert’s budget has no money whatsoever for the band in it.  There is still time to counter this, but the easiest thing to do if you’re a Racine resident and love the free summer concerts out at the Racine Zoo is to call both your alderman and Mayor Dickert and ask that the RCB be properly funded.

Anyway, this week has been taken up with writing and editing, which is why I haven’t written any blogs.  But next week I should have more time, and thus should write at least a few blogs on various subjects — but personally, I’m hoping the federal government will have re-opened for business by then and that the debt ceiling crisis will have been averted even if it is a rather easy blog subject to write about.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 12, 2013 at 2:58 am

Just Reviewed Susan Donovan’s romance “Not that Kind of Girl” at SBR

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Folks, here’s the link to my new review:

As always, I had more thoughts than I could cram into any one review — some being irrelevant from a reviewing standpoint — so I’m going to elaborate on them here.

I really liked Susan Donovan’s writing style; it’s perky, blunt, and gets the job done without interfering with the narrative, which is a lot harder to do than it sounds.  I also liked her take on the whole soulmate concept, with a matchmaker with a gift (that may be Divinely inspired) to bring two people together who normally wouldn’t give each other a second glance; this being the third in a series and me not having read the other two didn’t stop me from understanding what was going on at all.

All that being said, the way the two at the heart of this story, Roxie and Eli, make love just made me feel sad.  Or want to throw things.  (Or maybe both.)  Because here you have two people who fall in love quickly and are right for one another, but the guy has to always prove he’s dominant at all times, never letting his guard down at all, never being playful, never enjoying the moment for what it is.  And that does not ring true to me.  Not at all.

Look.  I’ve made no secret of it that I found my soulmate in my late husband Michael.  The two of us, on the surface, would’ve been much like Roxie and Eli in that Roxie’s passions are all on the surface (me) and Eli’s calm, cool, collected and seems to hold all of himself in reserve unless it’s needed (Michael).  Granted, this is at best a rough approximation — I’m leaving out Michael’s delightfully rude sense of humor here, or the fact that I’ve taught a lot of young kids music lessons so if I hadn’t learned a bit of patience now and again I’d have done them no good whatsoever — but I can see enough parallels here to want to discuss why the way these two in NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL don’t behave right in bed.

Simply put, I don’t think a guy who’s always that calm and controlled externally is going to be that way in bed.  So I don’t see why someone would insist on behaving the “alpha male” at all times — there’s no need for that between two lovers who wear no masks and understand each other intimately in all senses — nor do I see how a love affair can proceed without some humor in the bedroom, especially as there’s plenty of humorous moments going on outside of it to make me believe the couple at hand does understand when something is funny.  (And trust me; down deep, where it matters, the way we make love as human beings has to be about the most inefficient process there is.  We may as well make fun of it, and ourselves, as we abandon ourselves to it.  Otherwise, why bother with it at all?)

So Ms. Donovan did her job — the couple is realistic enough that I wanted to scream at Eli to knock it the Hell off, thank you — but the way that all happened just did not sit well.  I realize some people have relationships like this — psychosexual behavior being what it is, some people must need that, right? — but Eli the dog whisperer had none of the other markers for this personality type.  And Roxie — well, I can see why she’d want to get “permission” to be abandoned in bed (this is fairly common), but why would she put up with a guy who’s so damned humorless in the bedroom when she obviously has enough smarts to make a living at her man-hating Web site “I-Vomit-On-All-Men?”

So there you have it; a pleasant, funny beach read that has this one sour note in it.  As a musician, I guess I can’t help it that this one sour note keeps drowning out the rest of the harmony and the melody, and as a writer/editor, I wonder why it is that someone didn’t ask Ms. Donovan to please put something in there that showed that to Eli, this was all a game, not to be taken seriously, rather than the dead serious “I am Mr. Macho Man at all times” Caveman nonsense.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 31, 2011 at 1:42 am

Quick Note about MuseItUp Publishing

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Some days, the best thing any writer can do is get up, peruse the writing boards, and congratulate people.  Because when we do — as I did today at Forward Motion, the writer’s group I’ve belonged to for seven years — we often find links to new publishing houses we’ve somehow missed hearing about in the past.

Such is the case with MuseItUp Publishing, which is maybe a year old (if that much), but already has a good reputation in the SF, fantasy and romance communities due to the strength of its publisher, Lea Schizas, affectionately called a “force of nature” by her writers.

At any rate, after reading about them, I queried MuseItUp regarding ELFY because ELFY has paranormal elements; can’t guarantee they’ll want to see it, but trying is the first step toward getting an acceptance.

Note that I normally do not discuss which agents or publishers I’ve tried here at my blog, but in this case I thought I would as I know many writers with works in the science fiction/romance, fantasy/romance and flat-out romance categories.  Not to mention straight-up SF, straight-up fantasy, etc.

This seems to be a reliable place with a solid reputation; they’re young, but growing, and they have the word of giving good quality feedback, which is why I have made an exception here.

Check them out at

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 29, 2010 at 12:27 am

Posted in Publishing, Writing

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