Today, I have a special treat for you! I am participating in my first joint blog post event. My good friend, Barb Caffrey, and I are featured on each other’s blogs. Check out my guest post here: https://elfyverse.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/introducing-author-n-n-light-and-her-novel-princess-of-the-light/
I first met Barb on Twitter and we instantly bonded over our mutual love of baseball. She’s a die-hard Brewers fan and I love the Twins. I soon found out she is an editor and the author of a fantastic book, An Elfy on the Loose. I feel blessed to call her my friend. Please welcome Barb Caffrey.
What is your writing process?
I tend to think a great deal about what I’m going to write before I ever sit down to commit words to a page. I do a lot of research, especially when I’m dealing with characters who aren’t from the United States (yes, you can research otherworldly characters – that’s why studying the myths and beliefs of other countries, such as Ireland, is so useful, along with Old Norse myths and/or classical mythology as well). Then I write, rewrite, edit, and repeat until I’m satisfied with the story.
What authors have inspired you?
My late husband, Michael B. Caffrey, was a writer and editor. He inspired me more than anyone else I’ve ever met. But there are a number of other writers who’ve also had great influence on me and my writing, including Rosemary Edghill, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Stephanie Osborn, Jason Cordova, Eric Flint, Dave Freer, Lois McMaster Bujold, and the grande dame of them all – Andre Norton. My husband was a huge fan of Miss Norton (and yes, she went by “Miss”), and one of the reasons we got along so well is because we both loved her stories so much. But there are dozens of other authors whose work I’ve read who have inspired me in one way or another – those are just the ones I can name right off the top of my head without effort.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose names based on the sound, or the meaning?
I definitely choose names based on meaning, as I think names are very important. I want to make sure I’ve given the right character the right name, as I want everything in my novels to feel right. (This is especially important when you’re writing comic fantasy. The underpinnings matter, probably because that way you can feel settled and allow your imagination to run wild otherwise.)
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Oh, that’s easy. Marrying my late husband Michael after being divorced and thinking I’d never meet anyone good – much less anyone of Michael’s quality – is by far my best accomplishment. It’s because of meeting him, then getting married to him, that the Elfyverse exists. But the Elfyverse is by far the least part of why Michael was so influential, as he was by far the most encouraging person I’ve ever met in my entire life; I felt more confident and creative when I was around him. He also had an amazing sense of humor. I was very blessed to find him, and being able to work with him as a writer and editor was an unexpected privilege.
Have you always liked to write?
The short answer: Yes. The longer answer: I always enjoyed writing, but I didn’t always write the same things. I wrote poetry for awhile (some good, but most was horrid), I wrote for my college newspapers and some op-eds elsewhere, and I wrote fiction. Most of that was science fiction and/or fantasy, but I also wrote detective stories, romance (usually with a fantasy element), and some baseball stories, too. (This isn’t all that surprising, considering I’ve been a Milwaukee Brewers fan since early childhood.)
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Write five days a week, if you can. You may not always have a great deal of time to devote to your writing, but try to get in at least a few hundred words five out of every seven days.
The best advice I’ve ever heard about writing, though, was this: carve out time for your writing, and guard it as best you can against interruptions – even friendly ones. (This, by the way, is the main reason I write in the middle of the night most of the time. Fewer distractions!)
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m half and half. I think a great deal about what I write, as I said before. But I also will redesign on the fly if something isn’t working out, and I’ve been surprised from time to time at how stories resolve themselves as whatever happened definitely wasn’t at all how I thought it was going to work out.
Is there one subject you won’t write as an author?
I doubt I’ll ever write erotica. Stories that must have R-rated (or even X-rated) sex scenes as part of the storyline are usually not stories I feel comfortable writing. (I have read it, reviewed it, and have sometimes really appreciated what I’ve read. But I can’t see myself writing it.)
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
Currently I’m readying the second half of the ELFY duology, A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, for release later this year (I’m still hoping for late April, but my window is closing), and am working on a rewrite of my sweet transgender fantasy/romance, CHANGING FACES, also for release later this year (most of the action is set around Christmastime, so perhaps an October release date for that?) And I’m working on several short stories, too.
Do you write naked?
No. Though if it’s 100 degrees F outside and I’m on deadline, I’ve been known to write in as brief a slip as I can get away with.
Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
I play the lottery. I mostly do not win, know I am not likely to win, and yet I keep doing it anyway – isn’t that the sign of a vice?
What secret talents do you have?
I don’t know how secret it is, but I play the saxophone, the clarinet, and the oboe – I have two music degrees, you see. I also write music, and have performed some of my pieces in recitals. And I cook, though I’m not a gourmet…plain stuff, usually.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
France. Or Spain. I’d like to go to either or both of these two countries because they like saxophonists.
What were you like as a child? What was your favorite toy?
I talked a lot, but was also quite introverted. I mostly was misunderstood, took refuge in my books, and read out the school’s library before third grade. (Perhaps the school’s library wasn’t well-equipped; I don’t know.) I had a full adult library card to the local public library by that time also, though for the most part the only books I tended to check out until I was thirteen were books about baseball players.
And my favorite toy was a baseball glove. I used to play catch with my Dad in the backyard, and was working on a knuckler. (Whether I ever actually threw one was up for debate.)
Book title: AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE
Author name: Barb Caffrey
Genre: Young Adult Comic Urban Fantasy/Romance
Bruno the Elfy believes he’s very young, has no power, and has no enemies.
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.
He considered the situation anew. His friend and companion, Sarah, was gone. Would she really want to leave him? Bruno doubted that. Sarah had wanted to get away from her odious parents even more than Bruno had, and had been overjoyed when they’d managed to leave.
No, he couldn’t believe Sarah would deliberately leave him alone, nor did he believe she’d want to go anywhere without him. Looking back, Sarah had definitely treated him at all times with respect and dignity, and had in some ways offered him a kinship he’d never known before. Sarah definitely wouldn’t leave him on her own.
The next, extremely bitter, thought was, would Roberto abduct Sarah?
The answer that came back chilled him.
“Yes, if he thought it necessary. Or if those above him told him to do it. Or if he were controlled himself.”
Scarcely noticing that it hadn’t been his own thoughts that had answered him (uncanny things had often happened in Geadhail Mebrugud in the past, which is why it was to be strictly avoided by the common Elfy), Bruno asked, “What should I do?”
“Grab hold of the backpacks,” the disembodied voice said.
Not thinking, yet hoping for the best, Bruno went to the backpacks. First, he shouldered his own. Next, he shouldered Roberto’s, which was oddly thin for a mage/teacher of his caliber. Then he grabbed Sarah’s.
At that, Sarah’s backpack took off, dragging Bruno almost as if Bruno weighed nothing. “What—are—you—?” Bruno started to ask.
“What do you think I am?” the insouciant, somehow feminine voice came back.
“Female? Here? I thought only Sarah…”
“Sarah, yes. And me,” the voice said, and if a disembodied voice could be said to wink or smile, Bruno could swear this voice was doing both.
“What—are—you—?” Bruno tried again. Sarah’s backpack was pulling him at an astonishing rate, at least ten miles per hour. Since Bruno was no marathon runner and had short legs, this was not easy to maintain, and he was starting to get winded. Yet losing his grip was unthinkable.
“Oh, come on, Bruno! What do you think I am?” the voice said, and would say no more despite all Bruno asked or pleaded.
The backpack pulled him inexorably for at least an hour. Bruno could barely see and could only hear the heartbeat that proved he was still living, pounding loudly in his head. He knew if they didn’t stop soon, he’d probably pass out.
Up ahead, there was a blackness rimmed about by silvery, shadowy arms. Bruno wasn’t sure what it was. It didn’t feel inimical, exactly, but it also didn’t feel right.
He’d rather have stopped to figure it out, but the backpacks wouldn’t let him. Instead, they approached the blackness, Bruno hanging on to the packs for dear life.
It looked like a vortex, or maybe a Gate, though Bruno had never seen one so wild and untamed before. But why would a Gate be out here, and where would it take him?
The pack pulled him into the blackness until he felt a brief moment of nothingness, almost as if they were in the “no-time” realm. As he stumbled and nearly dropped the packs, he realized that he was out of Geadhail Mebrugud. But…but…but…
Ahead was a gently shaded street he somehow recognized. But how…?
He shook his head. There had been that very brief period of nothingness…oh, yes. Now he knew where he was.
He was back in the Human Realm. Back where he and Sarah had started from, except instead of returning to the attic, he’d returned to just outside the park where he’d appeared in the first place.
The sun had come up (which explained the shadows), but he had no idea what day it was, nor where Sarah or Roberto was. He asked the world at large, “Where is Sarah?”
There was no answer forthcoming, which chilled him. The only thing he could think of to ask next was, “Now what?”
I personally love science fiction/ fantasy books. It’s one of my favorite genres and my love for SFF goes all the way back to A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. An Elfy on the Loose reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time from it’s complex world-building to its intelligent dialogue.
An Elfy on the Loose centers around the relationship between Bruno and Sarah, but it’s so much more than just a teen romance. Barb Caffrey weaves together multi-layered characters(including Bruno, Sarah, Roberto and Dennis the Dark Elf), magic, elfs, humans and the ultimate adventure: falling in love. I laughed, cried, gasped and gripped my e-reader tightly. I was completely enthralled.
I must confess, however, I did get lost a few times in the plot and the dialogue went a bit over my head at times. This isn’t a bad thing as the masterful J. R. R. Tolkien’s books had the same effect on me.
The abrupt ending was a surprise (middle of the conversation) but I believe the sequel will pick up where this book left off. I can’t wait! :)
Rating: 4 stars
Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1p6xvQj
Amazon (UK): http://goo.gl/dDoBnd
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/m8o49ad
Barb Caffrey is a writer, editor, and musician from the Midwest. She holds two degrees, is an inveterate and omnivorous reader, and is the writer of the comic urban fantasy romance AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE.Her stories and poems have appeared (or will appear) in many places, including the forthcoming STARS OF DARKOVER, HOW BEER SAVED THE WORLD, BEDLAM’S EDGE, and the BEARING NORTH anthology, at the Written Word online magazine, at Joyful! Online, at Midwest Literary magazine, at e-Quill Publishing, and at Vision online magazine (a publication of the Forward Motion Writers Group). She reviews books for Shiny Book Review and, more occasionally, at Amazon for their Vine program. And once upon a time, she was an opinion columnist and arts and entertainment reporter for both the Daily Nebraskan and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Ranger News; additional op-eds were published by the Racine Labor Paper and by the Racine Journal-Times (under the previous married name).She’s the widow of Michael B. Caffrey (1958-2004), and has vowed that Michael’s work — his words — will live on as long as there are people to read them. It’s because of this vow that she’s republished Michael’s Adventures of Joey Maverick series, which currently consists of “A Dark and Stormy Night” and “On Westmount Station.” (More stories are forthcoming — promise.)She follows politics, loves sports, watches far too much reality TV and finds the “Maury” show cathartic. What all this says about her is anyone’s guess. Find her at Elfyverse (AKA “Barb Caffrey’s Blog”) for discussions of all and sundry, or visit her at Facebook . . . she promises she won’t bite.
Social media links:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Barb-Caffrey/e/B00H8EROC8
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/barb.caffrey.1