Archive for the ‘Carolyn’s Writing’ Category

Street Witch Series and Other Progress

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Yesterday, I hit 76,000 on The Next Paranormal. I’m up to Chapter 29 of 39 in revisions. Basically, the story is done and now it’s polishing, bringing out theme, and going through my Action Items list. I expect some of the remaining chapters to be folded in to others, and, per usual for me, I will write the final chapter at the very last. The fork is not out yet, but I am targeting the end of this month for that.

I have engaged a new-for-me cover artist and committed to three covers in the series. I was really happy with the previous cover design company I was using, but I had such a terrible time with the last cover that I decided it was time to use someone new. Those of you in my “Secret” facebook group went through part of the design process for that cover and are acquainted with some of my issues with the quality of the work that was done. And so, I am seriously upping the ante on covers.

Spinoff Series and Titles

My original plan with The Next Paranormal was that it would be a new lead-in to the My Immortals series, but after thinking about that for a long time, I decided a spinoff series was a wiser, more productive, and less frustrating-for-me idea. The first two Immortals books are simply unlikely to revert to me until 2021 and as I worked on the current book, I became more and more convinced a new series would be easier and more fun for me.

Anyway, I am 99% committed to Street Witch as a series name, and titles related to fire for the first three books. This should be amusing for those of you who recall the fiasco of settling on a title for the first book in the My Immortals series. Members of my reader group (The Jewelies Group of Awesome) have been offering some great ideas for titles. If you’re interested in joining the group, go here, answer a couple of questions and ask to join.

Meanwhile, the 80% sure title for the first book is Fire Bound but that’s not for sure yet because it’s possible the title should have something to do with smoke. Anyway, this is also typical for me. Sometimes I come up with a title from the start (The Spare and Lord Ruin are two examples) and sometimes I don’t have a title until much later. (A Darker Crimson, which was actually my editor’s suggestion, for example.)

Slightly Writing-Related News

My webhost of many many years handled an issue so badly that I ended up moving almost all my sites with them to a new host. All in all, the move went pretty well, and now that things have been on the new host for a while, I’m ready to tell the old host goodbye. There was a period toward the end of August where my site was misconfigured and my email was bouncing.  So, if anyone sent me an email in August and I didn’t reply it’s because I never got your email and worse, there’s no recovery for that.

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Laborious

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

Here in the US, it’s Labor Day, a day when most workers have a day off from their daily paid labors.

Solidarity, workers of the world.

I’m kicking back and . . . working today.  At the writing job. The Next Paranormal is now over 70,000 words and I’m up to chapter 24 in the edit/fix/revise/sob stage of the writing process. Also, later I’m getting a massage to help get the knots out of my shoulders.

I really need to settle on a title so I can get the cover in progress.

In the meantime, here is a pretty picture I took a while back.

A fairly close up picture of a green succulent that is probably agave but I don't really know. The leaves are kind of like an artichoke that's open, but not spiny.
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Miscellaneous Updates

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

It’s been a while since my last post, I’ve been busy and a bit frazzled. The RWA national conference was the third week in July and since I’m currently on the board I was in Denver for 9 days. Conference was great, busy, and inspiring.

I’ve been writing, of course, and thinking about projects and the order I’ll write them in.

The Current Project

As you may or may not know I am working on a book set in the My Immortals world. My original plan was to write two new books introducing the series so that I could properly market the books and the series. I thought about that long and hard and decided I would rather start a whole new series set in that world. Those first two books should revert to me in 2021 at which time I can market that series without being severely handicapped.

What I’ve decided to do is center this new  series around the street witches  who play such a crucial role in the My Immortals world. What I need now is a boffo series title and I only have terrible ideas. Fortunately, that’s a good start. I do need a new title for the book. I have terrible ideas about that, too.

The good news is the story is actually finished and at this point I’m going through and polishing and adding a lot of words. At the moment I’m staying right around 68,000 words because I delete the ones I don’t like and replace them with better ones.

Habits Old and New

I’m working on setting up new habits and ways of thinking about my writing and my approach to writing. I hadn’t realized while I was dealing with my mother ‘s health issues how many negative thoughts had wiggled their way into my head. I was feeling guilty about not writing fast enough or enough that all and that seems to have wormed its way into my head as a new pattern.

That’s one I’m going to get rid of. I need positive thoughts about my writing and I need not to guilt myself out for taking time to decompress, I need not to stare at my computer resenting that I’m writing s o o  s l o w l y when I’d  rather nap because I’m tired and stressed. The good news is I have caught up on my sleep and I’m not habitually tired and I’m no longer waking up in the middle of the night because I heard something and am worried about my mom.

And so I am laying down new habits of positive thinking. I am really excited about this new series, and it’s pretty exciting that I’m actually so close to done.

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Announcing a New Series

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

New Series in the My Immortals World

An interesting idea occurred to me recently that involves the My Immortals series. I have been working on what I’ve been calling a prequel book to the series, which is in part due to the status of the first two books in the series, which are still published by Grand Central Forever. To date, they have been unwilling to revert those first two books, which means I cannot effectively market the series to new readers. That’s why I decided to do what I should have done ages ago: write “new” Books 1 and 2.

My current project is the first replacement book, with a working title of My Infernal Lover. This book is getting close to done. One thing I’ve always loved about writing this series is the “Street Witches” who play an integral part of the series world. The book I’m working on now features a Street Witch heroine, for example.

I have decided to change my original plan of replacement books 1 and 2 and instead introduce a new series set in the same world. This solves several issues and opens up a whole new set of possibilities. A new series in the My Immortals world lets me keep the same world and the elements I love about the series, but unhampered by the control issues with Books 1 and 2. I will have a series to market to new readers that also functions as an entry to the My Immortals series.

Street Witch Series

One possibility I’m considering is sliding the two My Immortals novellas/short novel (Free Fall and Dead Drop) into this “Street Witch” series concept which is actually where they fit better.

This means my current project will be Book 1 in a new series set in the My Immortals world. I am mulling over a series name, possibly even the entirely obvious yet descriptive “Street Witch Series.” I’ll continue mulling over titles, specifically potential titles for the current project. Maybe just Infernal Lover?

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Writing and Technology

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

Writing and Technology Carolyn Style

I recently bought an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil, since some writers I know had switched entirely and my MacBook Pro is aging a bit. In addition, I have at last found a Mac app that I can write in without being incredibly frustrated and annoyed. My novella, The Viscount’s First Kiss, was written entirely using the Ulysses app.  Ulysses exports to Word, PDF, and HTML, among other formats. It syncs seamlessly between all my devices. I’m fifty thousand words into a novel with Ulysses.

I have some nitpicks, but  in the main I like it. In case you’re wondering, for essentially my entire writing career I’ve been using WordPerfect. When I switched to Mac OS, I installed a Windows virtual machine so I could continue using WordPerfect. There’s a lot about WordPerfect I miss, but Ulysses is the first acceptable replacement I’ve found that works for me.  Yes, I tried Scrivener but it just doesn’t work for me. I know it does for others and more power to you. I keep hoping that Scrivener will address its controlling propensities and stop interfering in the way I want to write. With Ulysses, I started writing and just kept going. I didn’t have to fight with the interface, and it took me about thirty seconds to read about how to make things look the way I want them to.

Anyway,  a while back, my MacBook Pro underwent some kind of glitch that required a complete reformat and restore from backup. To be honest I haven’t bothered to fix the Windows virtual machine on it since I bought the iPad Pro.

What I love About The iPad Pro For Writing

It’s a lot lighter than my MacBook Pro, but about the same dimensions other than thickness.  I bought the Apple keyboard cover, which is pretty sweet. That keyboard is about the same size as the keyboard for the MacBook Pro. When I’m writing on it, I love that it’s a touch screen, too.  I am able to rest the iPad Pro on the exercise bike do-hickey for holding devices, and have been able to dictate while I exercise.  This gives me an additional hour of writing time, which is nice.  I’ve used the Apple pencil a little less than I thought.  I find the documentation for my notebook apps to be pretty bad, and I hate spending more than a few minutes trying to figure out how to do something. However, I have used it for some note booking, for example, and that has been absolutely awesome. Writing longhand is a different experience and a different way of unlocking the writing brain.

What I Don’t Like About Writing on The iPad Pro

iOS is simply not quite as functional as Mac OS there are a couple of things I cannot do on the iPad Pro that I can do on Mac OS, predominantly having to do with one or two apps that I like. The reasons this is a con for writing, is that I want to travel with the iPad Pro and not have to bring the MacBook Pro.

Slight Segue Into Dictation

A couple of years ago I started using dictation because I wanted to make sure I preserved the functionality of my fingers and wrists and because once you settle into the dictation it can be a lot faster than  typing by hand. I had a disaster once that I resolved by dictating a massive number of edits that had been lost. If I hadn’t done that I would not have been able to finish my book on time. For my emergency, I used the built-in Apple dictation. It was not perfect but it worked and well enough I that I bought Dragon dictation both for Mac OS and Windows. Unfortunately, neither was seamless or effortless. Yuck.

What I don’t understand is why Apple insists on using straight quotes in apps where curly quotes are available and enabled. Word corrects this  annoyance, but the Ulysses app does not. Straight quotes are an abomination in fiction. Dragon, however, fixes those straight quotes, so I’m stuck using Dragon When I am writing on the iMac. Speech recognition in Dragon for Mac is pretty awful. Considering how expensive the program is, Nuance should be ashamed. In iOS, I have to use Apple dictation and for some reason that is completely beyond me, when the keyboard cover is attached to the iPad Pro you cannot dictate. WTF, Apple? When I’m on the bike, I remove the cover so I can dictate.

That said, I have watched Apple dictation perfectly transcribe my words and then change them to near gibberish as they are processed. Why? Why? Why is there no setting that allows me to tell it that I am dictating fiction and to stop changing everything to present tense or using pronouns that aren’t the pronouns I used. In addition, there are several  punctuation conventions for fiction that Apple and Dragon completely blow over. It drives me batty. For dialogue, a comma, followed by a close quote should not be followed by a capital letter unless that word actually requires a capital letter: “More coffee,” Mrs. Smith said. But: “More coffee,” she said with a desperate smile. NOT “More coffee,” She said.

It’s annoying as hell. Oh and also for some reason on my computers, both Dragon and Apple dictation randomly capitalize words. Really?

 All in All

Nevertheless, I have not used the MacBook Pro in quite some time. The combination of the iPad Pro, Ulysses app, and the Apple Pencil overlap with several functionalities: a MacBook Pro, a paper notebook, printed MSS, and pens and ink. There was a day when I forgot to bring the iPad Pro with me but I had my regular iPad. I was able to work exactly where I left off. If I had to, I could write on my iPhone.

That said, the RWA National Conference is coming up and I haven’t decided if I’m also going to bring the MacBook Pro. If I don’t, there is an app I use daily that I will have to skip. It wouldn’t be a big deal, though. So I think probably not. My board service means that I fly several times a year and that means I have learned to hate flying, checked luggage, and heavy purses.

Overall, I really like the Ulysses app and hope that they work on the needs of fiction authors. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the portability and lightness of the iPad Pro, and the ability to do longhand writing with it. This combination does most of what I need. It’s just short of perfect.

I find it ironic that so many apps, including Microsoft Word, talk about how great they are for professional writing when in fact they fall down in crucial ways that professional fiction writers need. I would pay a lot of money for WordPerfect as a native Mac App.

 

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Oooh, Pretty. Editing Can Be Fun!

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

I printed out a copy of My Infernal Lover for a paper read through. For this kind of editing, I really enjoy using various fountain pens and colorful inks. I’m using two pens loaded with ink that just arrived. Some of you may know that I love ink with sparkles, and DeAtramentis just came out with some pearlescent inks that have copper sparkles.  I used a paintbrush for the swathes of ink, then wrote some stuff so you can (hopefully) see what it looks like.

Heliogen Green

I loaded the heliogen green in my copper Karas Customs. I really like this pen a lot, though it’s a bit heavy. It writes well. I can’t recall what nib size I got. I’m pretty sure it’s a fine because I was buying fines when I bought this pen. With this pen it’s easy to fit lots of new words all over the front and back of a page.

A swath of ink from a bottle of DeAtramentis Heliogen Green with copper sparkles. The green is soothing and soft, and the copper sparkles are just lovely.

DeAtramentis Heliogen Green with copper sparkles

Velvet Black

I don’t think my photo does justice to this ink. I don’t normally use black ink at all, but the copper sparkles make this special and really fun to write all over my MS with. Interesting note, this ink is loaded in a Monteverde invincia with a nib that is clearly stamped F for fine. But it lays down ink like a medium, which I really like.

A swath of DeAtramentis Velvet Black with copper sparkles. The feeling is soft with an undertone of surprise!

DeAtramentis Velvet Black with copper sparkles

Switching Off

So, I have been switching between the pens with fair frequency. I am up to chapter 3 and I really like this story so far.

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How Did It Get To Be May? What’s Up with Me.

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

It seems like just yesterday it was January, and now it’s May. I’m adjusting to the life changes that arose with my mother’s passing in February.  We’ve been going through pictures and remembering her, and that’s been very nice. I can now say that I am now friends with Freddie, my sister’s macaw.  He’s such a great bird. The avian vet showed us where he’d previously written “sweet old bird” in his notes.

Freddie has learned to wave and turn around, and he is now target trained except when he doesn’t want to be. Target training is when you reward an animal for touching the end of a stick/chopstick. This is a huge aid for working with a creature you can’t just pick up. You put the stick where you want the animal to go, and (theoretically) they go there. That way you can safely and easily move a bird from an unsafe/undesired location to a safer one.

This worked great the time I left the lid off the nuts and Freddie climbed onto the container to help himself. He was not at all amenable to moving until I targeted him off. Freddie can be stubborn though and there are times when he’s just basically “Eff you. I’m not doing that.” I sometimes have trouble getting him in his cage at night. He doesn’t want to go to bed for me, and often side steps to the door rather than going in. My sister will come up to him and say, “Freddie, go to bed!” and then he goes right in. So there’s this situational/personal thing going on.

Bird psychology.

I am working on the first prequel novel for the My Immortals series. I’ve hit critical mass on the story itself and now I am shaping it — though it might be more accurate to say the characters are shaping the story for me. I’m liking it. And the characters for the second prequel have showed up so that’s awesome.

 

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Not Proper Enough!

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

Announcement! Not Proper Enough Has Reverted to Me

My Regency Romance, Not Proper Enough, is now available worldwide. It turns out Not Proper Enough was reverted to me last December, which neither my agent or I knew until the paperwork arrived in her office last month. What I didn’t realize that Berkley took down their version in December, so uh-oh. The book was off sale in the US and Canada. This news is of most interest to readers in the US and Canada since Berkley Books had North American rights only and I published my own version everywhere else. Below is the “new” cover for readers in the US and Canada.

A pretty lady in Regency attire, in profile but looking at you. Yeah, you. Her long curly hair is down. She looks feisty.

Cover of Not Proper Enough

Not Proper Enough

Could the wrong man be the right one after all?

Lady Eugenia Byrant doesn’t forget insults easily. Even years after the Marquess of Fenris publicly insulted her, she has no desire to let bygones be bygones. As a widow, she knows the gift of a magical medallion will never find her a second chance at love. When happiness appears to work its way back into her life, it’s Fenris who threatens her newfound peace.

The Marquess of Fenris loved Eugenia, even when she married his best friend. His feelings never changed, but now he has to convince the lady that he has. The handsome and wealthy heir to a dukedom puts on the charm, but will it be enough for her to forget his previous transgressions?

Not Proper Enough is a Regency historical romance novel for adults and about adults who actually act like adults. If you like enthralling characters, heated chemistry, and smoldering romance, then you’ll love Carolyn Jewel’s thoughtful and witty tale.

Where to Get Not Proper Enough

You can now buy direct from me at cJewel Books. I offer files suitable for your Kindle or any other book reading device. You can also order a print copy. Or buy from your favorite vendor.

cJewel Books | Smashwords | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes&Noble | Kobo |Google Play | Print

Not Proper Enough is book 2 in the Reforming the Rakes series. Book 1 is Not Wicked Enough. Book 3, Not Sinful Enough, is officially on my writing schedule.

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Anthology Retirement Announcement

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

As most of you no doubt heard, author Miranda Neville passed away last year. Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Miranda, and I did three historical romance anthologies together.  They are all great collections of connected stories. While they can each be read individually, all four stories together bring together a heartwarming arc. Miranda’s untimely and forever mourned death means that for the foreseeable future, and certainly while Miranda’s family is dealing with her estate, the three anthologies with Miranda will be going off sale. The last day to get all four stories in one collection is January 31, 2018.

My stories in the anthologies are available individually, and I believe Shana’s are as well. I don’t know if Grace published hers individually. Miranda did not, and to the best of my knowledge, Miranda’s family is not currently planning to issue her stories individually. That means if you do not already have copies of the anthologies now, you have a limited window to get those stories.

It’s possible that at some point in the future, assuming we have an agreement with Miranda’s estate, the books will be reissued in some manner or other, but we have no current plans to do so.

Here are the links to the anthologies

Cover of Christmas in The Duke's Arms

Christmas in The Duke’s Arms

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Print

Cover of Dancing in the Duke's Arms, anthology. Cover is a dude in a brown coat and a pretty lady in a burgundy gown which is really pretty. They are dancing and falling in love. You want this book.

Dancing in The Duke’s Arms

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Print

Cover of Christmas in Duke Street, handsome couple against a snowy background with a building and a very small christmasy-tree in the backround

Christmas in Duke Street

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Trade Paper

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Writing Retreat – Ocean Pictures

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Last weekend, I was at a writing retreat in Oceanside, California (near San Diego). A group of us rented a house directly on the beach. If we walked onto the patio, there was the beach, right there. In fact, at high tide, the beach was completely under water. It was a hugely inspiring weekend because of the people who attended and the amazing view. I did not bring my fancy camera since I was traveling and there for writing. I had my iPhone X, and here are some of the pictures I took.

Waves cresting at the beach. The feeling is expansive, as if you could open your arms wide and take in the entire ocean.

Pacific Ocean

Often, in addition to surfers, there were dolphins in the surf. In the above photo, you can see a portion of the balcony where I was standing. Directly below is the patio and the rock stairs to the beach. Here it is high tide so there is almost no beach. The view and the sound of the ocean was a wonderful backdrop to a weekend spent with other writers talking about writing and the business of writing.

A rectangular rock weighed down a feathery bit of kelp that is now covered in a layer of sand so that you see only the shape of the feathery fronds. It is remarkably detailed.

Sand Covered Kelp

I took the picture above on a walk along the beach in the afternoon. It was just so pretty and delicate looking, even though it’s kelp covered with a layer of sand.

The sky is cloudy, but for a small area just above the right side at the horizon. That space is orange and is reflecting onto water that looks like steel. The feeling is stern and stark.

Sunset over the Pacific

The sky looks like it’s on fire almost, and the ocean is steely gray. It’s an oddly peaceful picture. At sunset, we’d take a break from our discussions and presentations to watch the sun set over the ocean.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The water and sky are deep, rich, pinks, purples, oranges, and blues . The light is reflecting off the water which looks smooth and almost soft. There are waves in the foreground.

Sunset, Oceanside, California

For me, these last two pictures are surreal. I’ve never seen the ocean and sky look like cotton candy backlit with orange.  It’s graceful and solemn, and awe-inspiring.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean, picture 2. The water and sky are deep, rich, pinks, purples, oranges, and blues . The feeling is peaceful and full of grace. The light is reflecting off the water which looks soft and velvety. There are waves cresting to the front of the picture.

Sunset over the Pacific

This is the other picture of this sunset where the colors are surreal. Here, you can see a portion of the beach and the waves.

It’s calming and inspiring just to see the pictures again.

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