Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Progress Report

Monday, March 31st, 2014

I’ve been radio silent about the writing, but it isn’t because I haven’t been writing. I’ve been doing a lot of writing with the internet turned off which makes it harder to hop online to talk about the writing. I’ve also been going so long without quite enough sleep that I’ve had to enforce a stop writing time. No more making up deficits by cutting into the sleep. For a series of reasons, I have gone too long — months — with no opportunity to catch up and normalize.

Currently, I’m doing a read through of A Notorious Ruin, which is the title I’ve settled on for the first of the sequels to Lord Ruin. It’s Lucy and Thrale’s story, and at last, I am not weeping with despair over the fractured bits of story, sleep and time deprived (as much) because of the the day job, or otherwise (as) discombobulated with what life has been throwing my way.

After this read through, A Notorious Ruin goes out for beta and edits.

I like the story. In fact, I’m loving it.

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Review of Whispers from Fresh Fiction

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

WHISPERS COLLECTION NO 1: EROTIC SHORT STORIES is a collection of five short stories, all by the same author. They are all erotic fantasies but take place in different time periods, and I feel like they each strike different tones and showcase the versatility of Carolyn Jewel. The female main characters in each story are all very different types of women. Demon Lover & My Goblin Boyfriend were my favorite and I would have loved it if they would have been turned into full length stories. The two are very different but I enjoyed them both very much.

Miranda Owen, Fresh Fiction

Read the Full Review

Here’s a few more words from the review:

Inigo The Magician: this story illustrates how this author can put an interesting and very different spin on submission and domination

Demon Lover: a deliciously gothic feel

My Goblin Boyfriend: there is a wonderful dark paranormal sexiness

Constance: it has a very serious tone to it.

The Wild: has a very hard edge to it, almost what I’d describe as a feeling of sexual menace

Well. I told you these stories were strong. Hell yes, sexual menace. Gothic. And more! It’s a lovely review that captures a lot of what I was going for.

Note: I intend to continue the story that starts in Inigo The Magician, and I definitely want to write more in the world of My Goblin Boyfriend, and hope to have some of both for Whispers, Collection No. 2.

Did you get your copy yet?
Buy links at the Full Review

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Happy New Year from Carolyn!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
Pink Tulips

Happy New Year

Photo by: Yours Truly. 2013′s tulips were lovely. There are something like 300 bulbs in the fridge so 2014 promises to be another banner tulip year. They’ll go in the ground soon and come early Spring I will have pictures! And vases of tulips in the house, too.

Happy New Year!

2012 turned out to be a year of ups and downs, more than usual, I think. My son graduated from High School and then went off to college. O_o

My day job turned out to be stressful in ways that aren’t good. It’s sapped time and energy from my writing.

I turned down a contract offer from NY.

I published my first independently written novel; My Darkest Passion, Book 5 in the My Immortals series. It was . . . something to write exactly what I wanted to write. I’d catch myself thinking, can’t do that! And then I’d realize I could. So I did. My editor edited for my story. Not for the market.

I took a serious look at some short, super dirty stories, some of which were written years ago. And I realized they could be out there making money for me, written exactly the way I wanted. One of the reasons I’ve not looked more seriously at the commercial erotica market is the language — words I feel writers are being asked to use. Words that make a lot of erotica/erotic romance feel cookie cutter and forced. As if vocabulary matters more than what sex means to the characters. I spent a fairly brief amount of time polishing etc and got them out there with words that were right for what I wanted to do. That’s the stories in Whispers, Collection No. 1.

Yes, there will be a Collection No. 2. Including continuations of the characters in Inigo The Magician and the world in My Goblin Boyfriend. And new stories. Some of the other stories hanging around needed more work than the 5 I put out.

The sequel to Lord Ruin continues to go much more slowly than I want it to. (See: Day Job, supra) It’s really at critical mass right now–enough words that really, the story is done, and I just need to make it work. It will work. It will be done. But I won’t put it out there until it’s ready.

Books You Should see From Me in 2014

Kind of in order.

My Dangerous Pleasure, My Immortals Book 4 (Reverted, re-issued with few, if any changes.) I know hardly anyone read this book, but I like it a lot because I got away with a lot. Because, I suspect, my publisher had already given up on the series. (When your editor sends you an ENTIRE CASE of Arcs they found weeks after release you know nobody gave a damn about the book.)

Lord Ruin Sequel

A novella in the My Immortals world

Whispers, Collection No. 2

A novella for Hester and Camber from Not Proper Enough

My Immortals, Book 6.

Resolved!

Not much.

Write more.

Possibly eat less chocolate. Or less of something else so I can keep chocolate levels optimum.

Write balls to the wall. Everything on the page.

What about you?

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Irony Chickens? Smashwords, Scribd, and Piracy

Friday, December 27th, 2013

So there’s Scribd. Trying to reinvent itself. It’s a site that was trying to be Wattpad before there was a Wattpad and it’s not still clear from either site whether there’s a business model there. I suppose there’s something– ad revenue? I don’t know. Anyway, both sites allow anyone to upload documents. Any documents. And there have been legitimate uses of that. Court filings, for example. Other documents in the public domain or uploaded by the actual author. But not always, and now there’s a clear case of Irony Chickens coming home to roost as Smashwords, Scribd and piracy collide.

And then, as just about anyone could foresee, there is lots and lots of pirated material.  Books. Lots of novels. Lots. The DMCA says Scribd and other such sites are not responsible for that contact, the user who uploads it is. All Scribd has to do is take down the content when sent a DMCA notice. That’s the state of the law. It is, on the one hand, fair. Because it IS the user who is engaging in the pirating. Scribd merely provides file space.

Speaking not at all about piracy, but only about the DMCA and the ecosystem of pirated content, the problem with DMCA take-down notices is this:

If you’re an author concerned about pirated content, the more popular you are, the more your content is out there. There are authors who have THOUSANDS of pirated copies of their books on Scribd (as an example) and the DMCA says the author must send a URL to each and every allegedly infringing instance. Obviously, this becomes impossible to comply with. No one author has the time to do this. And Scribd, like every other similar site, is not required to self-police or in anyway assist with what becomes an impossible task for an author.

Scene set. Ready?

So now Scribd wants to become a subscription reading service. A publisher or author agrees to have their books posted on the site and readers (subscribers) will pay a modest sum per month to read all they want. From what I hear, the plan is to pay authors for full and even partial reads, if the readers progresses beyond a certain point. Sounds kind of interesting if that’s the way it works.

What I find more interesting is that if you visit the Scribd site, it’s easy to find out what subscribers will get in return for their money.

If you’re an author, however, there’s only a contact form. “We’d love to hear from you!” And you fill out a form where you tell them the number of books you have available, the genre and the format. That’s it. Classic gatekeeper.

In our quest to ensure Scribd subscribers never run out of great books to read, we’re constantly looking to expand our digital library. Please contact us if you’d like to make your ebooks available via our subscription offering. Our content acquisition team would love to talk to you.

There’s NOTHING at the site that tells me, an author, why I would want my content in their subscription service.

I find this language alarming. I think it’s an indication that Scribd sees the author as a resource to be consumed by them, not a business partner. Otherwise, wouldn’t there be something there that says, Hey, Author! Here’s what’s in it for you! That contact page, which you can only find if you clicked on the subscription FAQ and scrolled down a lot, makes it pretty darn clear that Scribd isn’t thinking of authors as potential partners.

If I go to any eBook vendor, I can find out what’s in it for me if I make my books available through them. I know how and when I get paid.

Other than the rumors flying around, where is Scribd telling me how and why I would benefit? If the answer is “Readers!” that’s not good enough. That’s more of the baloney along the lines of “We can’t afford to pay authors, but you’ll get exposure” and someone gets free professionally written content for their website. Or free graphics. Or what have you. If you think you have a service where my books will make you money, then you should tell me how that happens and why and how it makes money for me, too.

I’m getting to the chickens.

Smashwords, a company that allows authors to self-publish books and then sell from the site as well as distribute to other vendors, recently sent a letter informing Smashwords authors that they had a deal with Scribd and that beginning January 1, content would automatically be enrolled in Scribd’s subscription offering. What became apparent when authors went to look was that books were ALREADY opted in and being made available. (That was true of my books.)

It’s my belief that no book distributor should opt-in automatically to some other vendor. This should NEVER happen without the author’s explicit consent and review. First, the distributor does not have rights in the content. The author does. The author elects where that content is distributed. There are cases where authors do not have ALL rights. There are cases where an automatic opt-in could put an author in violation of the terms of a contract.

Further, it’s not cool to automatically opt-in content under terms that may be less favorable than if the author, if she wanted to be there at all, went directly to the vendor. Because, really?

This automatic opt-in by Smashwords is a major misstep.

Pirate Chickens.

Authors are well aware that Scribd hosts a massive amount of pirated content. And there are authors who feel strongly that pirated content should be taken down wherever it exists. (It happens that I am not one of those authors, but that has nothing to do with the authors who do feel that way.)

So. Smashwords just opted those authors into a service they know nothing about at a site that hosts THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of pirated copies of their books and gave them no opportunity to think and consider.

Some authors objected to that. They wanted nothing to do with what they consider a pirate site. And they appear to have been told–quite bluntly and directly, “opt-in to this service and Scribd will take care of the piracy problem for your books.” Otherwise, too bad.

That is fucking ballsy.

What the hell did Scribd think would happen? They have a piracy problem. Lots of authors are upset about piracy (again saying nothing here about whether there’s actual harm). Scribd wants to sell subscriptions to books while at the same time continuing to permit users to upload documents where hundreds of thousands of those documents are pirated books.

Did they really not anticipate that authors might say, well, eff you? Because that’s what’s happening.

It’s what you call chickens coming home to roost. I’m sorry, but this was completely foreseeable.

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Review Copies Available for Whispers, Collection 1

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

I have a collection of erotic, romantic-ish, risky short stories that I am getting ready to release. I’ll send a review copy to you if you’re willing to read and post an honest review where others can see it.

Edited to Add: You do not need to be a professional reviewer or blogger. I am happy to send review copies to avid readers who are willing to post an honest review at the vendor of their choice. By honest, I mean, what you thought. If it doesn’t work for you, then you should say so.

Here’s the Long Description:

Five graphic, erotic, romantic, short stories from Carolyn Jewel.

Don’t read these if you’re offended by strong, possibly offensive, sexual content. Really. Don’t.

  • A demon delivers on an ice-cold revenge after a magician uses him and a human woman to satisfy his sexual perversions. Six months later, she’s not even close to recovered. He’s free and their first meeting is a volatile combination of minds, bodies, and the consequences of a promise made.
  • New Orleans, 1859. At nearly twenty-eight, Zoe remains at home to support her widowed father. She longs for something more in her life. David Nataniel is a dangerous man for a woman to know. He’s a client of her father’s and is often at the house, but Zoe believes she’s safe from his wickedness. She’s not.
  • My Goblin Boyfriend should say it all, but in case it doesn’t, Violet finds out first-hand why goblins have a rep for mastery in the bedroom after she finds an injured goblin passed out on her porch. She does the right thing for everyone involved and nurses him back to health. He’s big, strong, definitely not-human, and not shy at all. Features goblin sex. Doh.
  • In Edwardian-era America, Nathan reluctantly agrees to seduce and impregnate his good friend’s cousin. As he comes to know and like the woman, her tragic past changes him forever.
  • An unrepentant werewolf finds the woman of his dreams. She needs the kind of pain only he can deliver— As long as she’s willing to get Wild with him. Not for the faint of heart. Includes werewolf sex.

The stories are approximately 130 pages (32,000) words.

Looking for a few Good Reviewers!

If you’d like a copy for review, email me through this site (carolyn AT carolynjewel DOT com) and let me know your preferred format. All I ask is that you post an honest review.

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So, Carolyn, Whatcha Been Up To? A SECRET Project?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Oh, hey! Good question!

Petting the cat. That’s one thing. Also petting the dogs. Important.

I sprained my ankle pretty badly right before Thanksgiving and spent a week barely able to walk and completely unable to drive. My son was home from college and it was a challenge to find someone to drive me to pick him up and return him to the bus to get to San Francisco and back to get here from/to school. I can drive and walk now, but my ankle is still bruised (so colorful!) and quite sore. Ouch. That should conclude the pity part of this post.

Oh, except for this: I have been unable to wear my normal totally cute shoes on my injured foot because 1) swelling 2) pain 3) my brace would destroy the shoe. I thought I’d cleverly put the right-foot half of my go-to pair of around-the-house shoes (well, everywhere shoes but whatever) out of the big dog’s reach. I was wrong. She retrieved my shoe from the bag where I had hidden it from her and chewed it to bits.

Wah!!! On the other hand, I can still wear the left one.

Writing News

1. Lucy and Thrale (The Next Historical) are coming along. I actually think I finally have a 1st chapter worth posting. I’m in the final phases of having something to send to editing. I’m close…

2. My secret project is about ready… I’m waiting on final covers and a few final edits before I prep the final files. Yes, covers. The name is “Whispers” and you can learn about it here.

3. I have some other news that’s good for me (and readers!) that I’ll only hint at. I want the paperwork in hand before I say anything for sure.

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Still writing plus Tattoos you could Win!

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

I have been working on Lucy and Thrale. I thought I had a solid enough chapter 1 to post, but I just changed it to a different chapter so it’ll be a bit before I post a chapter 1. The day job is….taking a lot of my evenings. I wish that were not the case but it is.

That said, I have a giveaway! I have 5 tins of 22 Jane Austen temporary tattoos. I am giving away one at my facebook author page and one here. I’ll also do a giveaway at the Risky Regencies and on twitter. Are you following me on twitter? (@cjewel) Have you liked my FB Author Page?.

Here’s a photo of the back of the tin so you can see the tattoos. I am so tempted to get an actual tattoo that says Imprudent.

Photo of back of tin of 22 temporary Jane Austen related tatoos

Temporary Tatoos

Rules

Void where prohibited. Must be 18 to enter. No purchase necessary. You are not required to follow me on twitter or like my FB page or anything. Winner chosen at random via a wordpress plug in that selects a random winner. Contest closes at midnight Pacific on Tuesday November 26th, 2013 so comment by the deadline. International OK.

How to Enter

To enter, leave a comment on this post in which you tell me your favorite flower and maybe a word or two about why. For example, one of my favorite roses is the Honey Dijon. It’s a lovely bronze rose that loves foggy weather.

Go!

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I been Reading

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

I finally broke down and bought the first book in a trilogy that is much loved and commented on for heroes who are bad people. The author is a big name. The series has been recommended to me many times. I almost bought the entire series and I’m glad I didn’t.

I felt the writing was weak and the story was unbelievable. The world building was thin. There was nothing to underpin the plot, and come on. If you’re writing a world that has secret gangs/cartels/government agencies you have to supply some details.

Anyway. I started skimming about halfway through.

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Update! What’s UP!

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Yes, I am still working on Lucy and Thrale. Sad fact: several nights recently of day job going all night. Literally.  I’m close but not done.

In good news, things are going very well, actually. I like they way the story is shaping up. I still don’t have even a working title yet. I’m mulling over several possibilities.

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Writing and Stuff!

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

I’ve been working away on The Next Historical (Lucy and Thrale). I recently deleted nearly 10 pages (to be expected) and I’m now writing a different chapter. I’ve made back about half the word count I lost. I know I shouldn’t obsess over it, but I do. I’m better off with 2000 fewer words than 2000 more words that don’t work.

In other news, when I went running today, I was listening to Jude Devereaux’s RWA workshop. My only complaint? The workshop started with the usual statement about “recording, etc, and always repeat the question.” The moderator even said “I think we all know that…”

Here’s how the first question to Jude Devereaux went:

JD: Any questions? Yes?

Recording: silence
More silence.
More silence.
Some shuffling.
More silence.

JD: Yes.

Most of the questions were nothing but silence, and the answers were not always clear as to context. Very disappointing. It was far, far too close to the end before someone finally got around to urging repetition of the question.

Yeah. There needs to be a big RWA presenter and moderator class where everyone has to listen to this sort of thing on the recording. Lots of moderators and presenters make light of the announcement and request, and way too many moderators and presenters do not remember to repeat the question.

::sigh::

However, it’s still a workshop WELL worth listening to. She’s been in the business a long time and she related a story about how, way back, an editor told her that there was a problem with her book because the hero did not rape anyone. How, this editor asked, was anyone to know that the hero was virile if he didn’t rape anyone? And Ms. Deveraux’s answer to that was that she’d have to find someone else to publish her book because she wasn’t going to have her hero rape anyone. She was after that widely considered a difficult author.

And this, people, is how insidious and pervasive the “rapetastic” hero was. We are all still dealing with the consequences of centuries of believing this was how male virility was defined, and how women were to behave. This idea that Romance authors weren’t being pressured to write heroes who raped is just nuts. I lurk on an Academic list where this subject continually pops up and there’s always this naive belief that writers aren’t pressured to make changes they rather not. It seems like no matter now many authors (and there are a few on the list) say this happened then and happens now, there’s a rather willful refusal to accept that as possible.

When there’s money involved, the people with the money have the power to impose their views, and for that reason, outdated views die a long, slow death in the media. The Jude Devereauxs are few and far between. I don’t know at the time how much market clout she had. Obviously, not enough to avoid having the complaint made, and not enough to avoid being thought of as difficult for refusing. But enough that the book was published without rape.

So, thank you, Jude Devereaux, for saying no, and making the refusal heard.

Worth a listen.

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