Fall Greetings!

September 18th, 2021

I suppose technically it’s not Fall yet, but let’s not quibble. As we move into what will hopefully be cooler, wetter weather, the writing is going well. I switched up my schedule and now write in the mornings before my “commute” into the living room for the day job. I’ve also made some progress with getting more sleep, and that makes a tremendous difference in how I feel. Go figure.

Bound in Smoke is going reallly well. I continue to have breakthroughs that make me excited about the story and the world. I’m not sure when I’ll have an updated Chapter 1 to post, though I think it will be sometime in the next couple of months. It’s such a relief to have the creativity continuing to come back to me and have the words on the page feel rich and real.

A while back, I started writing using a program called Ulysses rather than WordPerfect and so far it’s been a great transition. Ulysses has a really neat feature that lets me quickly insert editorial notes as I’m writing that don’t disturb the flow of the story text. Oddly, this has been emotionally helpful because recently my inner critic has been so loud and detrimental. Now, I can insert a note or reminder about the text and just move on instead of feeling like the whole story is a failure. Plus, I also got my printer working again after the MacOS upgrade to Big Sur disabled my ability to print.

I hope everyone is staying safe and doing well. Let me know in the comments.

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Greetings from August!

August 7th, 2021

I hope everyone is well and that you’re reading lots of fabulous books. Let me know in the comments what you’ve read lately.

Here at Jewel HQ things are going pretty well, all things considered. Bound In Smoke continues to develop in exciting ways. I’m writing everyday and also making sure I am keeping the creative well refreshed. I’ve been mulling over a new post to the writing section of my site about dealing with circumstances that drain that creative spark.

I imagine most of us are feeling stressed by current events, so I hope everyone is taking time to make sure they are OK. My son came for a visit which ended up being perfectly timed. Just a couple of weeks past when he came, I would have advised him not to travel. It was lovely to see him. He’s starting grad school in September, and I am proud and excited for him.

I’ll probably be posted a revised draft Chapter 1 fairly soon…

Here’s a picture of my favorite mug.

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May Report

May 15th, 2021

I hope everyone is doing well this May of 2021. It’s been a tough year for the world, and it is my fervent hope that we get as many people vaccinated in as many countries as possible. In the meantime, I hope everyone is doing all they can to stay safe and happy.

I’m slowly doing better. I’ve discovered that when I go to sleep when my eyes are drooping, more often than not I sleep without interruption for 8-10 hours. If that means lights out at 7:30 or 8:00, so be it. I shouldn’t be so surprised that going to sleep when I’m tired instead of forcing myself to stay awake until what I’d set as my bedtime has led to a massive improvement in my sleep. Being rested is one heck of a drug!

The writing continues to go well. I think getting enough sleep really helps, no surprise. More and more, the emotional and creative well is there for me to tap into, and it’s a relief and a joy.

Bound in Smoke continues to develop, and I’m back to writing nearly every single day without beating myself up for taking time deal with stress and grief. I’m getting excited about sharing this story with you!

Stay safe everyone, and be kind to yourself.

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How I’m Doing (TLDR; better)

April 25th, 2021

Hello all. I have all the best intentions of posting more often here so hold me to it! Since my last post, the writing has continued to slowly return to me. I’ve been writing every morning since February, getting more sleep, and learning to live with grief. I’m really pleased with how Bound in Smoke is developing. Ideas and story elements come to me with increasing frequency, and I take them when they come, with excitement and gratitude that the well is refilling. Thank you everyone, for all your patience and support.

Other good news is that as of now, all of my immediate family has had at least one COVID vaccine. I haven’t seen my son in nearly a year and now, fingers crossed, it looks like it might be safe to travel to see him later this year. Or him to see us. It’s my hope that we’ll soon be able to get to together to mourn our family losses.

For anyone who has lost a loved one, I am sending you my deepest sympathies. These are difficult times. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself.

Here is a picture of one of the irises now blooming at the house:

A maroon iris with gold highlights. The blossom is fully open and the picture is taken from above. The colors are striking, and it looks soft yet serious.
Iris. Taken from above. Picture by Yours Truly, aka Carolyn Jewel


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Where Am I? How Am I?

February 20th, 2021

Over the last few months, I have started an abandoned half a dozen posts to address those two questions and I just get emotionally derailed. So I’ll just say I am as OK as it’s possible to be under the circumstances. Grief is a process and you can’t just decide to bull through it.

I have been writing — more accurately rewriting– Bound in Smoke. For quite a while there wasn’t much in the writing well. I could edit and proofread but nothing much was happening in the part of the writing that puts drama on the page. Not a good place to be, and there’s not much point to editing when the emotional core of the story isn’t there.

Lately that’s changed. In moments when I’m not writing, a story-drama idea would just pop into my head. Normally this would happen on an almost daily basis, but there was nothing for quite a while. I documented those rare ideas and worked them into the writing and things were better on the page. Then there’d be nothing for a while only to have another idea pop into my head.

Instead of a near-constant flow of story emotion in me, I went from complete silence to oh, hey! Interesting . . . and then back to silence. At first, it wasn’t enough to justify doing a huge amount of work, but over the last several weeks, those slow bubbles have built on each other and now when I’m writing I don’t feel like there’s nothing in me to draw on.

Recently, I’ve taken to getting up a little early and getting some words in before the day starts, and that’s been productive. I think it helps that my sleep has improved somewhat.

And there you have it. That’s where I am now. I hope all of you are doing well in these trying times. Be kind to yourselves.

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Happy Holidays!

December 24th, 2020
Greetings from Yours Truly and the Holiday Cat (Photo by Marguerite Jewel)

From Jewel HQ, wishing everyone Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! My sister took this picture of Shinshi’s very first encounter with our Christmas tree. As you can see, this year, we went small. It’s pretty cute, if you ask me, and yes, we have been finding the small ornaments all over the kitchen.

Stay safe, everyone.

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Wishing Everyone Happiness and Love

November 26th, 2020

To all who observe U.S. Thanksgiving, may your holiday be full of love and happiness even though it’s difficult or not possible to see friends and family in person. My son and his girlfriend are, wisely, staying in Seattle for the holiday which means this is the first year he will not be home on this holiday.

So many people this year are going through this holiday without people they hold dear, myself included. I am sending all of you love and the hope that you will find a moment to reflect on fond and happy memories of those we have lost. I know my family will be remembering those we have lost.

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A Profound Stillness

November 16th, 2020

On October 16, my beloved nephew Dylan passed away. He was 24. The times being what they are, I will say that it was not COVID related. Our entire family will forever be devastated. He was talented and generous and kind and beloved by all. We will never recover.

On November 12, my youngest brother, Geoffrey, was killed. He’d turned 52 just two days before, and all of us had been texting him that day with love and birthday wishes. Geoffrey was the extrovert among his siblings. He, too, was talented, generous, and kind. At this time, I cannot say more about what happened. We do not yet have all the facts. All of us were devastated yet again and now our grief is redoubled.

Two tragedies in such a short time is more than any of us can bear. It’s terrible that our family and all the people who loved them cannot safely be together to mourn our loss. We will when it is safe to do so.

To everyone who has offered their condolences, thank you. It helps. It really does.

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Update on Bound In Smoke

September 4th, 2020

I’ve been putting off this post for a while because it’s hard to write. But first, YES! This book is still coming your way, so don’t think it’s not. As many of you know, I sent the revised MS to my editor. The main take away from the comments I got is simple enough. I’ll paraphrase a lot:

It’s better to take risks and piss off a few readers than play it safe and leave your core readers dissatisfied.

Editor speaking Truth.

I immediately recognized this for what it meant for the way I was telling this story. The remarks were spot on and, perhaps ironically, incredibly freeing. I needed some time to process that and decide on my approach to the story and the series.

Love in the Time of COVID.

The last two years have been personally tough, with 2019 an intensely bad time. Add in COVID and 2020 so far hasn’t been any easier or better than 2019. The stress is just different, which I’m sure everyone will recognize in their own lives.
It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I have been. I have written well over 250,000 words (The equivalent of 2-3 books.)
Throughout, though, I knew something wasn’t quite right with the book. I made a lot of progress with this last draft, and I remain happy with the basic structure. The problem is in the emotional arc and my editor’s comment crystalized that for me.

Writing is a Constant Evolution

I took some time to think about why and how I had backed off of risk and once I did that, I decided I needed not a spin-off series but a brand new one. And that is what I am doing. Who knows what the rest of 2020 holds, but I am hopeful that I will have a completed new version before the end of the year.

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Update

June 6th, 2020

Yes, Bound in Smoke is still with my editor. These are difficult times for everyone, and my editor has a school age child. I’ve been in contact and hope to have the edited MS in a couple of weeks. Raising children is hard work no matter what, but these are exceptionally challenging times, and no one should be beating themselves up by comparing how we manage in times like these to how we managed before all this.

In the meantime I am writing a historical novella, Miss Fiona Harper’s Night Of Passion, which has been on my schedule for ages. I already have a cover for this work.

I apologize for the delay. I hope everyone is taking care and staying safe.

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