Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Dead Drop is On Sale Now!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Dead Drop, My Immortals Series, Book 6. Demons and Witches for your Reading Pleasure

A hot, sexy, shirtless demon against a blue background. He's awesome. Dead Drop by Carolyn Jewel

Cover of Dead Drop

Palla is a demon warlord’s deadly assassin who has no idea how to behave around humans. Wallace Jackson is a pacifist street witch with power she can’t access. He’s desperate to unlock her magic because only she can help him rescue his former lover from unending suffering. Their unlikely, volatile partnership transforms their lives and their hearts.

This is NOT the novella version. This is rewritten, reordered, and significantly expanded. Go forth and buy. And read. And enjoy. The print version is ready, too. Who wouldn’t want demons and witches to read about over the holidays?

All Romance | Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Nook | Print



The Self-Publishing Delusion

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

So, there was this article: Second Thoughts about Self-Publishing over at Publisher’s Weekly.

This article is an example of what I call the Self-Publishing Delusion. It goes like this: someone who did not do anything like enough research into the new publishing landscape self-publishes a book and is disappointed that he’s not a NYT Bestselling author. Follows from this, an article all about how Self-Publishing isn’t all the thing after all.

As is the case here. The author, in 2012, decided to self-publish his novel. In print only. A novel he seems to have marketed only to friends and family and only using traditional methods to gain attention. His second novel did not do as well as the first and now he is sad and disappointed because apparently books must be marketed. My God, the crass commercialism.

Dude. Are you serious?

Who the hell, even in 2012, would think self-publishing = CreateSpace? Five minutes of mediocre Google-fu should have uncovered the limitations of CreateSpace as a vehicle that reaches traditional outlets OR readers. If you want to be an author, then there is no justification for not doing due-diligence. And due diligence would have meant a month or more (and you’d need less, to be honest) researching the heck out of your publishing plans. The kind of research that justifies making any dollar investment in a business decision should have included things like, who are the leading self-publishers and what/how/why are they doing?

If he’d done that, here’s what he would have found out:

  • CreateSpace does not = traditional print publication.
  • By doing ONLY a print book, he did not each the core avid reader, because they read digital.
  • By choosing ONLY CreateSpace, he was unable to get into traditional print outlets.
  • In 2012, the dual strategy of CreateSpace and Lightning Source was still a viable work-around to the Book Store problem. The fact that he did not do enough research to find Alan Shepard’s site is a huge red flag.
  • Writing careers rarely have trajectory after only two books. Research beyond what’s said in the traditional publishing space would have uncovered that his expectations were unrealistic in any publishing venue. A self-publisher should reassess after 5-10 books under-perform. Not two. (Snarky aside: a traditionally published author won’t have that luxury.)
  • If he’d paid any attention to what traditionally published authors experience in the business he would have found out that all authors, traditionally published or self-published, carry the majority of the marketing burden.

And that’s just a response to what he says of his experience in “self-publishing.”

Inform your Decision

You, the author, need to investigate every aspect of the business of New Publishing. You, the author, are solely responsible for understanding the disconnect between what traditional publishers say and what authors say. You, the author, must understand who is succeeding in all spheres of publishing and figure out why and what that means for your strategy.

The traditional publishing space has a vested interest in perpetuating several myths about the business of being an author. Places like PW and DBW put out an astonishing amount of disinformation about that. Likewise, there are people and companies who have a vested interest in selling services to authors. All those claims must be examined, parsed, and dissected.

There’s a reason many, many mid-list authors are leaving traditional publishing or diversifying their careers with both. You, the author, must understand why that is. How can you make a sound business decision without knowing the pitfalls of both?

Of course he did not have the results he wanted and hoped for. If he’d done his research, his self-publishing plan would have looked very different. Instead, he approached the business of being an author as an ill-informed newbie who stayed ill-informed. His lack of research means he didn’t do any of the things known to increase book sales and build a career. He gave up too soon.

In short, he fell prey to traditional publishing delusions about self-publishing.



Friday, October 31st, 2014

Agent Andrew Wylie had this to say:

“I believe with the restored health of the publishing industry and having some sense of where this sort of Isis-like distribution channel, Amazon, is going to be buried and in which plot of sand they will be stuck, [publishers] will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%,” he said. “Writers will begin to make enough money to live.”

Quoted in The Guardian

[publishers] will be able to raise the author’s digital royalty to 40% or 50%,” he said. “Writers will begin to make enough money to live.

What alternate universe is Wylie living in?

1. ISIS-like? Are you kidding me? We’ll start with insensitive and offensive and leave it there, actually.
2. Publishers have had 80 years to position themselves to pay writers more money. What they’ve done, since before Amazon, is reduce the money they pay authors. Why on earth should any writer believe that the demise of Amazon will mean authors will FINALLY be paid more?

Oh wait. I forgot. Wlyie only represents literary authors whose advances are funded by paying less money to the writers of genres that actually make money.

Let’s see here, continue self-publishing and earning 30-70% of the price I set or …. Accept 40% or 50% of net, maybe. Someday.

Well, gosh. No, sir.


Seven Wicked Nights is a Bestseller

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Today I found out the the boxed set I’m in, Seven Wicked Nights, debuted on the US Today Bestseller List at #126.

So. I am officially a USA Today Bestselling author. And that is gosh darned exciting for all the authors in the set. It’s a great collection of stories by some pretty wonderful authors. So if you didn’t pick up your copy yet, you should.





Google Play

Cover of Boxed Set: Seven Wicked Nights

Seven Wicked Nights


About A Notorious Ruin

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Today, I uploaded the final, final files for A Notorious Ruin at all the sites where I could do a pre-order. The print file is off to the person who does my interior formatting. So, this book is done. You can start buying it Sept 23, 2014.

Now, of course, I keep hearing all these terrible stories about vendors delivering the wrong file … So. If you pre-ordered, and the change log at the very end does not say 2014.09.07: Version 1, then you didn’t get the correct file and you should let me know so I can either send you the correct file or see if the vendor can fix the issue.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has waited patiently, impatiently, and even not-waiting-anymore. All of you reminded me how much people wanted to read the sequels to Lord Ruin. This book is over a year late, and boy. I think it would have been late even if it had been traditionally published, because I spent most of 2013 so sleep deprived I could barely think straight. A worse outcome than late, though, would have been a book that was on time but not as good as it should have been — because when you’re sleep deprived, you think you’re coping OK when you’re not.

This book kicked my ass, but I think that was in part because I was sleep deprived from late 2012 through just about all of 2013. I’m the only source of income for my family. I could not afford to just quit the day job, even though I considered it and kept hoping I’d get fired. I knew if I took a job with a commute– and I was interviewing– I would have lost most of my writing time, and I would have had to give up one of my promises to myself about being home when my son was home.

I literally do not know how I would have made sure he got to and from school with his zero-hour classes if I took a different job and had to commute into the City. But things did get better enough at the job that at last I wasn’t getting up in the middle of the night most nights, ofte several times, dealing with emergencies.

I wasn’t back up to snuff sleep-wise until about March or April this year, and looking back, I can see that’s about when A Notorious Ruin finally had a spark or two. I had a couple of other writing commitments, too, so twice I had to put A Notorious Ruin mostly on hold for about 4 weeks while I wrote a novella. I wrote the other novella while ANR was in beta.

When I sent the book out to beta, I figured, well, it’s done if by done you mean, there are 80K words that seem to have a progression of sorts. When it came back, I was shocked to realize the book was in far better shape than I thought. (which isn’t saying much) I revised in my usual fugue state and filled in the couple of chapters that said “X will happen in this chapter. Probably” and also wrote the ending. Off to my editor it went.

I revised again when it came back from my editor, added about 15K in polishing up complexifying words, and by then, I said, quite literally, “Holy shit, this book is good.”

And it is. It’s really, really good.

I hope you love it as much as I do.



About That Other Thing — Running for Stuff

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

So, I’m looking at my Google and Talkwalker Alerts and there are more of them than usual. So I look in case it’s something more exciting than another pirate site, and Oh! Yes! There is! !! for good measure.

I am running for the RWA Board, for a director at large spot. I knew Tessa Dare and Courtney Milan were running. In fact, when I saw Courtney at RWA this past July we chatted about that, and I did think it would be pretty awesome to have the two of them on the Board since they have my utter respect in all things business of writing related. Anyway, I don’t know exactly what happened, but I walked away from that chat having decided to run for the Board, too.

It’s not a decision totally out of the blue. It’s been mentioned to me more than once over the years, mostly because I have no shortage of opinions, and an often appropriate response to someone’s strong opinions about stuff is to say, well, why don’t you do something about it?

Over the last two years, the issues facing RWA have been both important and contentious. I think contentious is good — it means people are paying attention. RWA is, in my opinion, currently an organization of writers who hold a unique position in the business of being authors. There is no other organization ahead of RWA and its members with he issues facing publishers and writers today. Not one. Other organizations are behind RWA members. What has happened to and because of authors in RWA is very likely on its way to other writers.

It’s also true that the current publishing environment is one driven by technology. We are potentially looking at a future where the big publishers are not companies like the Big 5 but technology companies. Amazon, Google, and Apple are tech companies, they are not book publishing companies …. except now they are.

I have spent something like 20 years working in tech. I currently work in software development, as a data architect. That’s a job that touches lots and lots of technical areas. I feel strongly that RWA needs at least some Board members who have a strong grasp of what this technology transformation of publishing could/does mean for writers. I’m not the only one with expertise, not by any means. But I am one of them.

This is a crucial time for RWA. So go look at the slate of really, truly, fine candidates and then vote for people you feel should on the board, representing you.

Consider this:

Everyone says publishing is dead. Nobody reads. Three of the biggest companies in the world — Apple, Amazon, and Google — are all recently and aggressively in the book publishing business.

Whatever your take away on that, go vote. It’s important.


Misha Saves The Queen

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

God love a Glock. Keep a stiff wrist, and they never jam.

Misha shoved his last mag home. Snick.

Firm two-handed grip.

Smoke drifted from the robotics clean room. Fully contaminated now, with half a body leaking blood in the doorway. The guy wasn’t going to get any deader, but a carbon-fiber tentacle squeezed the corpse’s neck with all the joy of an elopus fresh from the cryotank.

Misha flicked the juice. The electric charge that shot up both arms never got old.

The creature bounded out of the lab like a ballerina on tentacles; fast, coordinated, strong. He aimed, locked on three centimeters above its elephant trunk, and squeezed.

Boo-yah, baby.

“Is it always this messy?”

“Your Majesty.” Elopus gore oozed down his left shoulder, but when the Queen walks into a room, you bow, motherfucker.

What the??

A participant in GISHWHES asked me to help her in her scavenger hunt. One of the tasks was to get a published Sci-Fi author to write a story with the parameters below. I qualify, it was felt, because my books in the Crimson City series are Sci-Fi romance. So, I said, sure!

The Instructions

140 word Sci-Fi story involving an elopus, Misha Collins and Her Majesty, the Queen of England.


To be safe, I counted hyphenated words as two.



The Fork is Out!

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Fork against a blue sky with white clouds

The Fork

My story for the anthology In The Duke’s Arms is done. It’s being read, and will be off to copy-edits in a couple of days, I imagine.

Brace yourself for the other authors in the anthology: Grace Burrowes, Miranda Neville, Shana Galen. Yeah.

Here’s the blurb for the story as it stands now — subject to improvement:

In Love With the Wrong Woman

The Duke of Oxthorpe leads an intensely private life far from the social whirl. He well understands the risk he takes when he sells a property bordering his to Miss Edith Clay, but he’s hopelessly in love with her. Oxthorpe knows he has no facility for sweet words, and that Edith does not much care for him. As the local village’s Christmas Assembly nears, can the duke prove to Edith that his heart is worthy of her love?

Find out more about In The Duke’s Arms.

Read chapter 1 of my story in the Anthology: Hope Springs.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.