Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Did You Dig Up The Chicken Grave?

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

File that under “Things I never thought I’d text.”

This post is morbidly amusing, YMMV. You might choose to click away.

So, the other day, someone’s dog got into the chicken enclosure and killed half the chickens. If it had been a predator, the chickens would have been eaten, and they weren’t. So, it was someone’s dog. Not any of ours as it was a hot day and they were all of them inside during the entire time the incident occurred.

I helped my sister bury the chickens in a mass grave. The next day there was this scene:

Buzzards at the chicken grave. Seen from a distance.

Party!

So, okay. This is what buzzards do. It’s the circle of life, people.

It was sad to lose so many of the chickens, and I chose not to think about buzzard snacks.

Today, my sister asked me to lock up the chickens since we are babysitting my brother’s dogs and she is babysitting their cats and it all gets complicated. But I went down to lock up the chickens, and I counted them. Five. Which you, know, good. Because there should be five. Then I turned around and saw this:

Distant shot of unexpected dead chicken.

Extra Dead Chicken

Don’t look too closely. Trust me, it is a dead chicken.

This was unexpected. I recounted the chickens in the chicken coop. Five. At this point, I was missing certain important facts. Like, the day we lost the chickens, a sixth one did not expire until the next day– OK, I knew that, but I did not know my sister buried that one in the chicken enclosure instead of in or adjoining the mass grave. So I could not figure out how there could be the correct number of live chickens plus a bonus dead one. I decided I must have mistaken the correct number of live chickens and so texted my sister:

Text Exchange 1 of 5 (Words to follow!)

Text Exchange 1 of 5

ME: How many chickens do we have?
Sister: Five
Sister: Why?
Me: Ok there are five in the chicken coop and a dead on in the pen.
Sister: Unburied one? Cuz we should have five live ones
Me: Am going to count again
[I recounted. Still five. Below is a rotten picture. If it were less terrible, there would be 5 visible very alive chickens.]

Terrible photo of 5 live chickens.

Live chickens

[Then I walked over to the chicken grave and saw that it was empty. There was a crater where we buried the bodies. This is the opposite of a grave.]

Me: did u dig up the chicken grave?
[I texted her this picture]

Empty mass grave

Empty Chicken Grave

The night we buried the chickens, I covered the MOUND of dirt with the cinder blocks to keep the dogs from digging them up. You will notice that there is no mound of dirt. There is a crater full of cinder blocks. There are also no chickens, dead or alive.

Please refer to picture number one. Buzzards are efficient bastards.

Take a note, never ever ask me or my sister to bury bodies. We suck at it.

More texts. written out in post.

Texting continued. 2 of 5

Me: Did u dig up the chicken grave?
Sister: No how many chickens.
Me: Five live chickens.
Sister: Gross something digging them up.
Sister: Q
[Because she can barely use her phone, that's why.]

Texts continued. Written out in post.

Badger???

Me: 1 dead one back in the chicken pen. Also badger hole.
[Because at this point, I still do not know the last chicken had been buried in the chicken enclosure. I was trying to figure out how a dead chicken got from the mass grave back into the chicken pen. And this hole, it looks a lot like a badger den, which we had like 10 of in the other field when the young badger was learning how to dig a proper den. I was exceedingly confused and creeped out.

Sister: |
[Because she cannot use her phone]
Sister: Ignore last two text.
Me: Badger is bringing them back???
Sister: Maybe? I buried one in the pen.

Oh. So not a badger hole. An excavated grave. That is somewhat less horrifying than the thought of a badger somehow burrowing around from the mass grave to the chicken pen and then throwing a dead one back.

Texts continued. Written out in post.

Texting continued

I had by then gotten a shovel and the wheelbarrow and had scooped up the dead chicken… which, by the way, did not stink until I moved it.

Me: What????
Me: Because stinky !!!
Sister. I bet burying ?
Sister: I really don’t want to rebury hens.
Me: Ok I put the unburied chicken in the wheelbarrow and left it outside enclosure covered with grass.
Me. Maybe the buzzards will eat it.

More texts, written out in post

More texts

Sister: Ok gross again would that be re unburied?
Sistser: On my way home
Me: OK. I am not burying that chicken tonight. It stinks and has no head.
Sister: It is going to stink tomorrow too.
Me: Yes but Nathaniel can rebury it.
Me: I am the best mom ever
Sister: Yes you are pls it is only fair.

That was my night tonight.

Jesus.

I’m filing this under “writing” because I can totally use this somewhere. Somehow.

 

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Deadline Break to Tell You the Story of Two Cats

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

I am writing really fast because … deadline. For a historical Christmas Anthology with Grace Burrowes, Miranda Neville, and Shana Galen. But I am taking a brief break to bring you this observation about cats.

So, my son’s cat is a rescue cat, born feral but adopted by us when she was 4 months old. For a long time she was a standoff-ish cat. Her name is Tiger. (Look, my son named her. But it works.) Then I got Abu and she became a cuddle cat. I do not understand why, but it’s true. Abu and Tiger are good buddies. They are indoor cats.

Tiger, if she gets out, which happens from time to time, panics. But in her feline brain, the only door she can come back in is the one she went out of. No other door works for this purpose. To get her back in the house, I have to guess which door she went out, because otherwise she runs away in utter panic. This is not the portal I accessed to get out here where everything is terrifying!!! I will die if I go through that wall! Aiiiiii!!!!!

Abu plots how to get out. He knows how to open doors. He knows who is slow and inattentive. I have seen him come alert when a slow person walks toward a door.

slow people: handy door opening devices.

He lurks. He knows their blind spots. He knows exactly where to hide at which door and where to hide for which slow or inattentive person. Bam. Outside. He will come back in any damn door he pleases.

In the morning, I do not go out the most convenient door. Because if I do that, Abu will get out. I have to go out the garage door, because there is a sliding door between the kitchen and the garage door. Then I have to close the sliding door, and search the bathroom and utility room for Abu BEFORE I open the door.

He’s a blue Abyssinian. He’s gray with red underticking. He is the color of a shadow and he fucking knows it. He is lightening fast.

This is the difference between a cuddly lap cat and an evil genius.

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Everyone is not Men

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Someone tweeted this image because they found it funny. Yeah, I guess on the face of it, it is funny. But there’s a huge problem with this. What’s the problem? The way this prose diminishes women.

Image - Text Below

Problem

PLAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT

a real highlight win for us. Do I really hate Tom Brady? I really don’t know Tom Brady, but who wouldn’t hate him? Look at his life. Actually, look at his wife. Every man in America hates Tom Brady, and he should be proud of that.

The text is from Play Like You Mean It: Passion, Laughs, and Leadership in the World’s Most Beautiful Game, written by Rex Ryan, with Don Yeager listed as a contributor. It’s about American football.

I’ll step through the problems.

1. Premise: We should all hate football player Tom Brady. Note that the language is “Who wouldn’t hate him? Look at his life.”

Now up to here, yes, this is amusing enough. Tom Brady is a talented football player. A genuine sports star. And, the language is inclusive. Every sports fan, male or female, can agree that Tom Brady has an enviable life playing a sport he loves for a lot of money.

2. Why should we really hate Tom Brady? Because of his wife.

But, but, wait! Aren’t there a lot of female sports fans who would hate not Tom, but Tom’s wife? Because allow me to point out that Tom Brady is kind of hot. And he went and married a model. Instead of me.

3. “Every man in America hates Tom Brady.” Because of his wife.

And so, in the blink of an eye, we go from a true everyone to everyone = men.

Boom. 51% of the population just disappeared. All the football fans who happen to be women just got erased.

“Everyone” hates Tom Brady because he married a beautiful woman.

Well. No. Actually.

Language like this needs to be challenged. This passage could have been written to retain the amusing suggestion that straight men envy Tom Brady living out the NFL quarterback dream and marrying a model without removing women from “everyone.”

Everyone isn’t just straight men.

Everyone means all the people who aren’t Tom Brady and, presumably, his wife.

When you write a passage in which women exist only as objects to be married by a man, you silently perpetuate a great harm.

This needs to stop.

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Request A Review Copy of Alphas Unleashed

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Interested in reviewing Alphas Unleashed?  Your honest opinion is all that is required.

I can send a mobi or an epub. Let me know in the comments of my blog here, or drop me an email at carolyn@carolynjewel.com and let me know which format you’d prefer.

NOTE: If your comment email is not the email you want me to send the file to, then it’s best to email me. The blog won’t show your email to anyone but me, so don’t leave it in your comment.

Cover of Alphas Unleashed

Cover of Anthology

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Alphas Unleashed: Pre-Order Your Copy

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Alphas Unleashed, an anthology of smoking hot SciFi and paranormal romance, is showing up for pre-order at various vendors. Yay! For those of you so inclined, a pre-order is an awesome thing. You’ll be able to read the anthology right away.

I’ll update this post as additional links become available.

Five hot heroes, four amazing stories from S.E. Smith, Mina Khan, Carolyn Jewel, and Michele Callahan.

Cover of Alphas Unleashed

Cover of Anthology

Orders/Pre-Orders

Apple

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Kobo

About Alphas Unleashed


A Warrior’s Heart: Marastin Dow 1.1, by S.E. Smith

Ben and Aaron Cooper’s lives have always been a fight for survival, first on Earth then later in space after they are kidnapped by an alien trader. The only thing keeping them going is the hope of one day finding freedom. That hope dies when the freighter they are on is captured by the Marastin Dow, a Spartan-like species. Evette and Hanine Marquette are members of the Marastin Dow crew who are fighting for their own survival. What happens when two human males find love with two women who are afraid to believe in it? Can they convince these to warriors that their love is genuine or will they all die before they have a chance to capture their Warrior’s Heart?

Sealed with a Kiss (A Djinn World Novella) by Mina Khan

Rayez, a smoking hot chef and fire djinn in exile, lands himself in deep trouble (at the bottom of a beer bottle) when he tries to help a mysterious beautiful woman.

Selene is pursued and desperate. She’ll do anything to keep her brother safe—including capture a djinn.

While deception brings them together, dangerous enemies make them unlikely allies. Can one wrong lead to two rights and true love?

Dead Drop, A My Immortals series novella, by Carolyn Jewel

The demon Palla is a warlord’s enforcer, a stone cold killer. Wallace Jackson is a pacifist witch with a dangerous power. He wants nothing to do with humans until he needs Wallace to help him free his former lover from a living death and release her spirit from unimaginable suffering.

Dead Drop is set in the My Immortals series world where demons and magic-using humans called the magekind are not quite getting along. Most people have no idea they’re living in what amounts to a magical war-zone. The novella is about 30,000 words (120 pages).

Read Chapter 1

Chimera Born: The Beginning (Book 1 of the Chimera) by Michele Callahan

Aron of Itara, Forbidden Son, has been a prisoner of fate since before he was born. Captured as a child by the evil Triscani, it’s been centuries since he’s felt the sun on his face or the tenderness of a woman’s touch. Determined to help humanity break the elusive but powerful Itaran Triads’ hold on Earth, Aron escapes with one goal, to find the one man who can help him save humans from an eternal prison. After that, he’ll fight to the death, but he’ll never go back in the cage.

Zoey Williams watched her sister die at the hands of monsters, and no one believed her. She’s spent the last five years using her journalism skills to track aliens, investigate paranormal activity, and hunt for answers. But she got too close to the truth, and now it’s not just monsters hunting her, but her own people. Zoey doesn’t believe she needs a guardian, but once Aron finds her he can’t leave her to the vicious hunters that would turn her to ash or to the power-hungry humans who seek to silence her. In fact, he discovers that he doesn’t want to leave her at all….

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My Dangerous Pleasure – Dramatic Reading

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Listen to actors Kate McDermott and Derek Knabenbauer read a scene from My Dangerous Pleasure:

Click here

Let me know what you think!

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The Fork Is Out

Saturday, May 31st, 2014
Fork against a blue sky with white clouds

The Fork

I’m officially calling it. The fork is out. A Notorious Ruin is revised. All the little bits that were sitting there doing … not much are gone or playing their proper role.

I’m sending this to my main editor now.

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It’s Time to Stop

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

This has been a tough week. Too many tragedies. Just, too many. This country has a problem with guns. And I say that even though there is a box of bullets in the safe and my grandfather’s rifle in the closet. I have never fired a gun in my life. I’ve never even held one. But we had livestock when I was growing up, and there were times my father had to go out with the rifle to put down an animal. Our neighbor has done the same. I don’t mind responsible people behaving responsibly.

What I do mind is not have protections in place against what we all know is inevitable: people who are not responsible. People who use their weapons against innocents.

The US Declaration of Independence says this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The right to bear arms must surely, surely, be trumped by a person’s right to live. The founders of the United States of America said this:

whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it

It is our right to consent to governance, and I no longer consent to meaningless, hypocritical laws about gun ownership. I don’t want to hear even one more argument about “liberty” if that argument doesn’t place the right of the living to remain living before the right to own a gun.

There should never be another parent standing at a podium saying, never again. We all know that as things are now, again is going to be not just inevitable, but later today. That’s not hyperbole. It’s truth.

We need meaningful gun control. Now. Or we work to revoke the Second Amendment. At this point, I don’t care which it is.

It’s time to stop people dying like this.

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Invisible Women

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

I got admitted to grad school in the English Dept despite having essentially no undergrad English classes. To compensate, in addition to the regular Grad classes, I was supposed to take a bunch of undergraduate English to make up the deficit. I did take a few of those classes, but then I got bored and decided to leave more of the units for later in the program. Eventually, they got waived — I think because they wanted me to finish and I was taking forever.

I wrote this essay for one of my undergrad grad classes in 2002. The task was to read a series of articles and compare and contrast two of them. If you’re patient or interested enough to read to the end, it’s still relevant today. Perhaps more than ever, actually.

October 7, 2002

My reading journeys take me down diverse paths. Without question, my world expands with every corner turned. Should I find myself at a literary crossroad, I go where I like, secure in the knowledge that I’ve got the road not taken tucked under my arm. I fondly recall Yama, the Pit which I bought because of the cover, a claw-like grasping red hand on a black background. (It proved to be about life in a Russian brothel.) The Man Who Lived Backward, alas, was not so fruitful as the brothel. The Once and Future King succeeds with the life-in-reverse theme as splendidly as the other fails. I followed a Japanese path for some time and discovered a world where small is immensely large. The Popul Vuh introduced me to an underworld of bats and blood and words that transform the English X into a soft and mysterious shh. “Xibalba” still makes the back of my neck shiver.

So, naturally, when presented with the opportunity to read any two essays from a selection grouped by theme, I did what I do in a used book store. I selected the theme I felt I knew least about. In this case, Race and Ethnicity. What, I thought, would a woman of such pale coloration as myself know about issues of race and ethnicity? After all, many would argue that I have neither.

In doing the reading, I met an old friend, Junichero Tanizaki, and found myself once again floating on images of exquisite shape and infinite depth. I admit to broad holes in my literary portfolio, and Carlos Fuentes is one of them. I’m glad to at last make acquaintance with him. Where Tanizaki is all delicacy and shading, Fuentes feels robust and vigorous, even when he’s confessing to youthful uncertainty. And yet, having read these two essays and adored and admired the words and meaning and presentation, I find myself face-to-face with an irony so profound I hardly have the words to express it. Which sparks another confession; I’ve read ahead and now wonder if I’ve cracked like poor F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Tanizaki bemoans in phrases of exquisite shape the loss of what is Japanese. Fuentes grapples with his discovery of what it means to be Mexican. These two brilliant essays, crafted by men of genius, let others see with Japanese eyes or feel with a Mexican spirit. They rail against the West and how its whiteness subverts their native souls. It’s hard not to feel the white man’s guilt since both essays put voice to the voracious destroyer that is Western culture. And yet. Neither writer seems the least aware they share a gobbling hunger of their own.

If Tanizaki has correctly captured the Japanese spirit, then Japan is a country without women, for in this essay, women are, quite literally, disembodied objects to be admired in shadow and light and made love to in the dark. He never wonders whether the woman with black-painted teeth chafes in her box of shadowed sex or whether she might want to make love in the light. Fuentes hardly fares better. Gladys from Guadalajuara is a whore who exists without face or identity and even then only while he has a yen for orgasm. In the anti-climax, Gladys ceases to exist. What happens to her Mexican spirit when the razor cut festers?

With every sentence and word, women were the whiteness of this page, unseen and invisible no matter how loudly we shout, “Here I am!”

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Alphas Unleashed – Paranormal Anthology

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
Cover of Alphas Unleashed

Cover of Anthology

So, here’s the cover for the paranormal romance anthology, Alphas Unleashed from authors S.E. Smith, Michele Callahan, Mina Khan, and Yours Truly. My contribution is Dead Drop, a My Immortals novella featuring a demon named Palla and a heroine named Wallace Jackson. Target release date is June 15.

Dead Drop, A My Immortals series novella, by Carolyn Jewel

The demon Palla is a warlord’s enforcer, a stone cold killer. Wallace Jackson is a pacifist witch with a dangerous power. He wants nothing to do with humans until he needs Wallace to help him free his former lover from a living death and release her spirit from unimaginable suffering.

Dead Drop is set in the My Immortals series world where demons and magic-using humans called the magekind are not quite getting along. Most people have no idea they’re living in what amounts to a magical war-zone. The novella is about 30,000 words (120 pages).

Dead Drop will appear in the paranormal romance anthology Alphas Unleashed, releasing June 2104. All the novellas in the anthology will be available individually by October 2014.

Read Chapter 1

Chimera Born: The Beginning (Book 1 of the Chimera) by Michele Callahan

Aron of Itara, Forbidden Son, has been a prisoner of fate since before he was born. Captured as a child by the evil Triscani, it’s been centuries since he’s felt the sun on his face or the tenderness of a woman’s touch. Determined to help humanity break the elusive but powerful Itaran Triads’ hold on Earth, Aron escapes with one goal, to find the one man who can help him save humans from an eternal prison. After that, he’ll fight to the death, but he’ll never go back in the cage.

Zoey Williams watched her sister die at the hands of monsters, and no one believed her. She’s spent the last five years using her journalism skills to track aliens, investigate paranormal activity, and hunt for answers. But she got too close to the truth, and now it’s not just monsters hunting her, but her own people. Zoey doesn’t believe she needs a guardian, but once Aron finds her he can’t leave her to the vicious hunters that would turn her to ash or to the power-hungry humans who seek to silence her. In fact, he discovers that he doesn’t want to leave her at all….

Sealed with a Kiss (A Djinn World Novella) by Mina Khan

Rayez, a smoking hot chef and fire djinn in exile, lands himself in deep trouble (at the bottom of a beer bottle) when he tries to help a mysterious beautiful woman.

Selene is pursued and desperate. She’ll do anything to keep her brother safe—including capture a djinn.

While deception brings them together, dangerous enemies make them unlikely allies. Can one wrong lead to two rights and true love?


A Warrior’s Heart: Marastin Dow 1.1, by S.E. Smith

Ben and Aaron Cooper’s lives have always been a fight for survival, first on Earth then later in space after they are kidnapped by an alien trader. The only thing keeping them going is the hope of one day finding freedom. That hope dies when the freighter they are on is captured by the Marastin Dow, a Spartan-like species. Evette and Hanine Marquette are members of the Marastin Dow crew who are fighting for their own survival. What happens when two human males find love with two women who are afraid to believe in it? Can they convince these to warriors that their love is genuine or will they all die before they have a chance to capture their Warrior’s Heart?

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