Title: CHANGING FACES
Author: Barb Caffrey
Genre: LGBT-friendly inspirational fantasy-romance
Allen and Elaine are graduate students in Nebraska, have been together for seven years, and are engaged. They love each other very much, and have many things in common. Both play the clarinet, are teaching assistants, are well-respected and seem to have their lives firmly on track. In fact, their life should be idyllic, but Elaine’s past includes rape, neglect, and abuse from those who should’ve loved her—but didn’t, because from childhood, Elaine identified as transgender.
When Elaine tells Allen right before Christmas, he doesn’t know what to do. He loves Elaine, loves her soul, has heard about transgender people before, but didn’t think Elaine was one of them—she looks and acts like anyone else. Now, she wants to become a man and is going to leave.
He prays for divine intervention, and says he’ll do anything, just please don’t separate him from Elaine. And in the form of a car accident, he gets his wish.
Now, he’s in Elaine’s body. And she’s in his. But both were injured, and Allen’s old body (with Elaine inside) is in a coma.
Allen can’t tell anyone who he is. But one thing’s certain: if Elaine can wake up, he wants to be with her. He doesn’t care what body he’s in, or that he, too, is now transgender.
True love matters so much to the universe, once you have found your soulmate, the universe will do anything to keep you together—even change your faces.
I woke up in a dark, strange room. I couldn’t see much, but I knew I wasn’t
home. The shape of the shadows was off.
At least my eyes are open, I mused. That’s something.
Then everything came back in a rush. The car—the accident. What happened?
I tried to sit up on a spare, single bed, but my midsection told me this was a very
bad idea. I flopped back down, and groaned as I came down hard on my left hand. It
felt wrong, somehow, so I picked it up and looked at it. Strange; in this light, it seemed
much smaller than usual.
I must have zoned out for a bit, because the next thing I knew, I heard, “Time for
your hourly check.”
“I’m awake,” I mumbled. Even my voice sounded—and felt—wrong. It was
much higher than normal.
What was wrong with me?
I saw a white light for a moment, but it blinded me to the point I could only see
sparkles. Then I felt something grab my hand. “Relax,” a male voice said. “I’m taking
your pulse, getting your vitals.” My hand was put down gently at my side, then the
insistent man asked, “Where does it hurt?”
“Everywhere,” I grumbled, still not able to see. “My head…my ribs…
“Not surprising,” the man—a nurse, I realized—said. Then he asked me a
number of questions—what day it was, what year, where we were, who the President
was, all that. I answered fine until they asked me who I was, and I tried to say “Allen,”
but couldn’t. Then I tried to say, “Where’s Elaine?” but the only word that came out was
the last one.
The nurse nodded. “Yes, you seem to know who and where you are. That’s good
“I know who I am,” I said, trying not to sound frightened, “but I can’t explain it. I
feel so weird…can’t you give me anything for the pain?”
“We think you have a concussion, so we can’t just yet,” he said gently. “As for the
rest, I’ll check on you again in a few hours. Get some rest.”
Easy for you to say, I thought. But I tried to do what he asked; I just wasn’t able to do it. So I gave up after a few subjective eons and turned the light on. I still saw
sparkles, but through them, I was able to see white walls and the spare, utilitarian decor
of a hospital room. There were no tubes hooked up to my arms, but there was
something on my right forefinger—to get oxygen, maybe?—and a blood pressure cuff
was around my left bicep. Worst of all, there was no one waiting at my bedside.
What am I doing here? Then, after a beat: Where is Elaine? Shouldn’t she be here, even
if she doesn’t want to be with me, doesn’t want to marry me? Then I thought with rising
panic, Could she be hurt?
A familiar face poked her head into the room. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the
familiar face I’d been hoping for. “Elaine, are you awake?” Jolene called.
Elaine? I thought, and tried to say, No, I’m Allen! But the words wouldn’t come.
Feebly, I said, “I’m not sure I’m…” before my mind stuck on the words who you want and
couldn’t say them, so I substituted, “awake, actually” at the last moment. Why couldn’t I
even say my own name?
What’s wrong with me? I thought. What am I doing here? Why is Jolene here? Did I
really hear her call me by Elaine’s name?
And why did Jolene come alone? Where is my love?
Christmas in July Fete Sackful of Giveaways:
$75 USD Amazon Gift Card
Three e-copies of Changing Faces
(plus more prizes…)
Starts July 1, 2017 12:01 am EST and ends August 1, 2017 12:00 am EST
Amazon (US): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3CQKWJ
Amazon (CA): https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01N3CQKWJ
Amazon (AUS): https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01N3CQKWJ
Amazon (IN): https://www.amazon.in/dp/B01N3CQKWJ
Author’s Favorite Holiday Food/Tradition:
It may sound strange, but we always ate mashed rutabagas at holidays. With a bit of sugar in the water to boil them with, and with a good amount of whipping cream or whole milk to add to them after being mashed, they are delicious.
Barb Caffrey is a writer, editor, and musician who holds two degrees in Music. She has a particular fondness for the clarinet, lived in Nebraska for the better part of three years, and appreciated the ability to combine both her loves with the writing of Changing Faces.
Her other books are An Elfy on the Loose and A Little Elfy in Big Trouble (otherwise known as the Elfy duology), while her short stories have appeared in a number of places (most recently in Realms of Darkover). She’s also the co-writer of the Joey Maverick series of stories (with late husband Michael B. Caffrey), so the next story you might see from her could be military science fiction—or better yet, military science fiction with romance.
She lives in Wisconsin.
Social Media Links:
Blog: Barb Caffrey’s Elfyverse https://elfyverse.wordpress.com