June 27th, 2014

I ended up hate-reading the book I blogged about yesterday and managed to get halfway through. I think I’ve punished myself enough. This is a DNF.

In happier news, I’ve been reading a series I like a lot better. Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance series. It’s very well written and though it is fully male-focused, the portrayal of women is at least not completely depressing.

So, look, I recommend the series. I’ve enjoyed reading it. But I have major issues with it — of the “heavy sigh” sort.

Mostly what I notice is that all the character archetypes that are traditionally male in real life are, in this series, also occupied by men. What I feel is that Sakey does a better than average job with his female characters — as far as he takes them. When he thinks about women, he at least gives them some complexity.

What’s distressing to me is that this is heads and shoulders above most books where the reader is assumed male. It is really great that one of the major movers of the story is a woman–even though she’s also a love-interest.

But, you know, there are actually no female characters of agency in the story that are placed there without an explicit, non-imagined sexual/procreative relationship to men. Meaning, they are wives, girlfriends, daughters or sexual partners of other male characters.

What I mean is that, there are major male characters in the story who are only men. While we might imagine they have wives, girlfriends, or daughters, those characters do not exist on the page. For every such woman, the male-partner (as it were) is present in the pages.

It’s as if Sakey could not create a female character who has a significant impact on the fictive world without also placing her in the male sphere– we see the husband or sexual partner in the pages of the book. And this is not true of the male secondary characters.

There is no portrayal of those characters as husbands, fathers, or sons to any other characters — other than a reference or two to the fact that one or two possess wives, daughters or are sexually serviced by a woman.

All the significant female characters orbit at least one man in a relationship capacity. All of them.

Not one of the major secondary impactors in the 2 books so far is a woman. And I kept thinking, huh. How hard would it have been to make one of these characters female? In a world of a new genetic “brilliance” not one of those major secondaries is a woman. Not the data guru, not the scientist, not the Revolutionary, not the two characters who have carved out political and defensive space.

Apparently, women can be brilliant– we are told that, but they have no actual presence in the series without also being positioned relative to their availability as sexual partners (wife, girlfriend, or prostitute) or the result of a man’s procreative efforts.

I am looking forward to reading the 3rd book in the series. I know it will be a great book. But I also know the world of the book will have a male gaze.

There is a problem with this. Because the not really subtle message is women don’t matter unless they’re connected to a man.

But you know what? I’d rather read this that someone who ripped off Sherrilyn Kenyon and plopped in every distasteful, horrific trope about how a man completely controls the woman he loves — and that’s OK because LOVE INTEREST. Sakey does NOT do that.

I say go read his series. And sigh over what it might have been.



June 26th, 2014

I’m reading a book that I saw several people say they really liked. As in a lot. So I bought it and have started reading it. Despite an incredibly cheesy series subtitle.

I will represent to you that the subtitle is . . . well . . . approaching self-parody, only totally serious.

In the first paragraph an object is described like this (I am not using the exact phrase.)  “shiny matte-finish.”  A  matte-finish is, by definition, not shiny.  So, I said to myself, “this is a very careless, thoughtless even, choice of words.”

By the middle of the chapter, I was thinking, “wow. I were [Author of a NYT bestselling series] I would be thinking about talking to a lawyer.”  If felt to me like all this author had done was slant a few salient details as she essentially writes the exact  same series framework. EXACT.

But then there were elements from another NYT Bestselling series. Though when you’re able to say, “oh, that line came from the first book in Series X, and this is Character Y from series X, isn’t that kind of a problem? So maybe a mashup, kind of?

It’s not badly written. But it’s not thoughtful and it’s completely unoriginal.

I’ve already reached points where I know exactly what a character’s internal narrative is going to be. Because that’s what it ALWAYS is.

It’s grammatically correct, about 1/2 deep, and completely and utterly derivative.




Women Used the Internet to Speak and George Will Can’t Stand It

June 20th, 2014

George Will, syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, wrote an Op-ed in which he said, basically, being a rape survivor is a “coveted status” and now ALL the women want to have been raped. And in order to achieve this, they are lying liars about their “assaults.”

Oddly enough, women did not take kindly to that. The outcry and objections were plentiful.

In a recent interview Will doubled down. In that interview, he repeated his his assertions about woman rushing to lie about being raped and then essentially called his critics rude and hysterical. Why, in this environment, think of all the young men who won’t be able to go to medical school and law school!!

So, ladies, calm down. Stop saying you were “raped” when really, you just got drunk and deserved it, or you dressed slutty and deserved it, or you studied late at the library and walked home alone so you deserved it, or your boyfriend, husband, acquaintance wanted to have sex but you didn’t– too bad!!–he was just taking what was his right to have anyway (yes once means yes all the time!)

Basically, you made it up so you could join the survivor’s club and get your free “I’m a survivor” pin that gets you first in line at the ER AND the mental health clinic.

The internet, Will tells us, in a YouTube video, why, it gives people a voice and they can say whatever the hell they want! Loudly! And rudely! They can lie with impunity!

They can even be ignorant as hell.

It’s not like women’s voices have been systematically suppressed and erased and harassed out of the newsroom or anything. After all, the number of female syndicated columnists equals the number of male syndicated columnists. Am I right? And it’s not like no one on the internet or anywhere else is telling women to shut up and threatening them (with rape!) if they don’t.

Those statistics about rape don’t make sense to Will. He can’t fathom a world where the victim of an assault would choose not to report it to the police yet admit to a pollster that she was assaulted. He can’t fathom a world where there are 400,000 untested rapekits.(Hey, if there’s no rapekit test result, there was no rape!)

:::Excuse me, if you’re transgender, why are you even listening to this conversation? Non-white? Tell your story somewhere else.:::

He has a problem with Colleges that don’t turn these “assaults” over to the criminal justice system where the accused will get full due process.

There’s no disconnect between pointing out that and leaping directly to, therefore, women are lying liars and men won’t get to go to graduate school. His point is that women get to say whatever they want about being assaulted and schools don’t turn such claims over to the police and so the accused never face charges.

:::I really don’t see the point in talking about “surivors” who get no justice. We all know men are the real victims here.:::

On average, an estimated 211,200 rapes and sexual assaults went unreported to police each year between 2006 and 2010. Although serious violent crime was generally less likely to go unreported to the police than simple assault, a higher percentage of rape or sexual assault (65 percent) than simple assault (56 percent) victimizations went unreported over the five-year period.
Bureau of Justice Statisics

From the same report:

During the five-year period, nearly three-quarters of all violent victimizations occurring at school were not reported to police. Of the more than 450,000 unreported violent crimes at school on average each year, half were not reported because they were dealt with in some other way, such as reported to school staff or other officials, or were considered to be a private or personal matter. A fifth thought the crime was not important enough to report.

Again, ladies, you don’t really live a world where you see, time and again, women held to impossible standards of purity while “boys will be boys!” You aren’t at greatest risk of being killed or assaulted by a man you know. Come on. It’s not like you have to warn each other about the office or campus creep. You don’t need to be afraid to leave an abusive partner.

Only about 2% of all rape and related sex charges are determined to be false, the same percentage as for other felonies (FBI). So while they do happen, and they are very problematic when they do, people claim that allegations are false far more frequently than they are and far more frequently than for other crimes. Put another way, we are much more likely to disbelieve a woman if she says she was raped than if she says she was robbed, but for no good reason. [Here]

Lookit, if you didn’t have boobs and a vagina, there wouldn’t be a problem, that’s all Will is saying. Well, that and who gives a fuck about rape when so many men are falsely accused.


Humbled by Extraordinary People

June 18th, 2014

Yesterday, I gave a talk about writing Romance to the Berkeley Kiwanis Club. I never met so many nice people in my life. And you know what? I knew, but did not really know, what an amazing group the Kiwanis are. They give their time and money to wonderful projects. There was a gentleman who played the violin (and it was obvious that he was not just good, but very very good) to the singing of God Bless America, and Happy Birthday. It was so fun!!

I brought books to give away, but they all wanted to pay, and I told them fine, make a donation to your club or one of your club’s projects, and you can have a book. And they overpaid by lots.

I also met Ed Levitch. He is a thoroughly delightful, charming man. Here is a picture of us after the meeting. He’s just as nice as he looks. As you can see, I dressed down for the meeting in order to wear an on-point shirt.

Edward J. Levitch with Carolyn Jewel.

Edward J. Levitch and Yours Truly

Ed is a Holocaust survivor. And he has written a memoir about his experience. He was amazed and then delighted when I whipped out the iPad and bought his book and had it on my Kindle in 30 seconds.

Here’s a small bit from the back blurb, written by author Fran Rowe:

Edward Joseph Levitch conducts us through a life of beginning again, again and again, which few of us could survive, but a life which is at the absolute heart of the 20th century.

Prof. Vasa D. Mihailovich translated his poetry.

Cover of Edward Levitch's From Beginning to Beginning

From Beginning to Beginning, by Edward J. Levitch

You should buy his book. It’s $2.99. I did not find it at Kobo or Google Play.

B & N

Never forget.


Request A Review Copy of Alphas Unleashed

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


Alphas Unleashed: Pre-Order Your Copy

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




Barnes & Noble

Google Play


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….


My Dangerous Pleasure – Dramatic Reading

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!


Lord Ruin – Audio Book Outtakes

June 6th, 2014

As I get down to the wire with A Notorious Ruin, the long-awaited sequel to Lord Ruin, I have some news!

I managed to get my act together for an audio book of Lord Ruin.

I’m waiting for the cover for the audio book and then I can approve the final files and get it on sale.

While we’re all waiting for that, I thought you’d enjoy listening to some outtakes from the audio book put together by Maya Kuper, the book’s producer.

The narrator is actress Kate McDermott and she’s done a really wonderful job on the book. The audio is about 10 minutes and the file is a little over 8MB.

WARNING!! Spicy language and swears. Also, funny!

Lord Ruin Audio Book Outtakes


The Writing Space and Women’s Voices

June 1st, 2014

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of discussion about the way women are silenced. It occurs to me that there is a writing space where women’s voices are heard. Not by men, however, and that’s part of the point of this post. To talk about that.

Over the last year or so, I’ve been following what’s been happening with Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) where, when women have objected to content and discussion that is openly denigrating to women, the very vocal response from certain men has been, more or less, “You have no sense of humor. You’re ugly, probably a lesbian, you talk too much, and what about my right to stare at your boobs and dismiss everything you write? Also, what was she wearing when she attended that con where she was assaulted?

That’s a conversational misdirection women see all the time in lots and lots of spheres. We say, Dude, uncool, what you said or did, and the conversation is diverted to all the ways in which that can’t possibly be true, please shut up, ladies.

Within Romance, we rarely get that, because the voices in Romance– writers, readers, reviewers– are overwhelmingly female. It’s a space where we sometimes find we need to be more careful of male voices. It’s a delicious irony. But I notice, as more men enter this space, there are occasions when some of those men enter the conversation completely tone deaf.

Men Enter the Romance Space Confident Their Words Are Better

We have all watched men enter the Romance space confident that their words are better because they are spoken in a male voice. And we have watched some of them go head to head with women and come away stunned. We see their brains shut off when that woman making more money and selling more books happens to be attractive. It’s wonderful, amazing, fantastic to watch these men babble on and then realize that they have been out-everythinged by a woman they could not see or hear because she’s female and attractive. I will say that at least one man had the grace to admit that.

Some of these men mansplain, they are unable to hear what the women with more knowledge and expertise have to say. They make demonstrably incorrect statements and have difficulty tolerating correction. To them, it’s a personal affront instead of another person saying, but consider this or, even, you are wrong, and there is the data that proves you are wrong. Once someone is defending themselves because a woman disagreed, dialogue ceases with that person.

Women Know Who the Experts Are Here, And it’s Not The Men

What’s interesting, though, is that here in Romance all the women know exactly who the experts here are– and it’s not the men. There is not, to my knowledge, one single male Romance author killing it in Romance the way women are. There is not one single male Romance author with anything like the technical knowledge of the women who are proven experts. In this space, those mansplaining men are, often, ignored. Because here, in our space, they just don’t have the chops and we know it.

Every single one of the men routinely trotted out as the poster-child of success was preceded by a woman and is, in every case, outmatched, currently, by a woman.

Where is the Innovation in eBook Publishing Coming From?

Consider this: Where is all the innovation in eBook publishing coming from? Where’s the real and effective data analysis? If you read the mainstream media, you’d think it was all men all the time. And it’s not. The innovations in publishing are coming from Romance. I was going to say that Romance authors are quietly going about learning exactly what works and doesn’t work and experimenting and sharing and meeting up — yes, there are “unconferences” in our space. The first one was back in February and it was quite a success. There are more being organized right now. There was not one single man involved in the conception, design and execution of the unconference concept. It was first mentioned in November 2013 I think, and the first unconference happened in February 2014.

At the first unconference, women got together and shared what we knew, what we were doing, how we were doing it and why. We talked about how those things worked. Entirely female voices. Think about that. All the conversation that is silenced when men are present — (Men think women are dominating a conversation when women speak just 30% of time) happened here.

It’s not Quiet Here

Outside the Romance space, what we are doing does seem quiet. Because the men aren’t listening. And when they do happen to hear, they hear through a set of filters that are designed, whether they know it or not, to dismiss and silence the female voice. They go on to write articles that don’t even come close to representing what’s happening here because that same filter is in place. Their first and overriding belief is that women are not authentic experts.

In truth, it’s not quiet at all. Here in the Romance space, we are a noisy lot, talking about what we’ve done, how it worked or didn’t work. This space is, by and large, safe from the male voices and actions that silence, threaten, and harm us everywhere else. At the unconference, we quickly devised a method that gave a speaker the floor. She was not to be interrupted or spoken over while she had the floor. And she wasn’t.

As long as this set of conditions persists, women authors will continue our successes and innovations. It’s an amazing, living, example of what can happen when women are free of words and actions that silence us.

Imagine what might happen if more men learned to listen?

Should you be Worried?

Personally, I think men should be worried about that female silence, because look what happens when we’re not silenced: A woman becomes the largest independent publisher in the United States. (Bella Andre, in case you were wondering.)

If you didn’t know that, you would be wise to ask yourself why.


The Fork Is Out

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.