What I’ve Been Up To

April 4th, 2020

Sheltering In Place

California extended its Shelter in Place order to May 3, 2020, so we’re in for another month. I’ve been working from home since March 16th so we’re into day 19 here at Jewel HQ. We don’t take my dad anywhere except for his necessary medical appointments. He misses his shopping trips but, as a retired physician, he understands exactly why this is necessary.

The California DMV has cancelled nearly all in-person appointments, which is great. Since the RealID deadline is now extended to 2021, I don’t have to worry about my now cancelled appointment. I have no travel plans on the horizon so this is fine.

My local grocery store now only lets in 30 people at a time, and they have a taped physical distancing line outside for those waiting to go in. They have signs limiting the purchase of staples like flour etc.

The Days Are Blurring

I confess I am really enjoying my commute to the living room and being able to get up at 7:00AM instead of 5:30AM, but I keep losing track of the days . . .

Freddie the Macaw loves having me home all the time. As my twitter followers may know, he imitates the dogs when they start barking out of control because of a delivery truck or a squirrel. He barks like them dead on but can’t maintain and his escalation devolves into macaw screeching. I have successfully de-coupled the barking from the screeching via click training. Now he understands that barking like the dog gets him a treat, so he’ll sit on his play stand and bark at me to get a treat. I’m bridging that to the question “What’s the dog say?” We’re now at about 70% success rate with him responding to the cue. Eventually, (I hope) he won’t bark every time he wants a treat and will only bark when I ask him the question.

Once that’s done, I want to work on getting his meow on cue. He already meows like a cat, in addition to saying ‘Kitty, kitty, kitty!” I think it will fun to have that on cue as well.

Writing News

I’ll leave you with writing news, which is that I am doing that last pass through Bound in Smoke before it goes back to my editor. I’m about halfway through.

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The Times, They Are a Stressful

March 22nd, 2020

Hello, all. I have a suspicion I may be posting more often here because, like most of the world, I daresay, I am a bit stressed and looking for ways to deal with that while maintaining Shelter At Home.

Bound In Smoke

Today, I finished the remaining changes to the manuscript. I went through my reader’s notes and ended up with a ist of 10 things I want to confirm are addressed before I send the MS to my editor. In general, I legit teared up a couple times toward the (HAPPY!) ending. I went with my gut on a couple of other changes that I think really solidified things.


Which is to say, the book is in the final stages.

Pandemic News

Also like most of us, I’ve been stressing out. I’m grateful and relieved that my county and state issued some of the earliest Shelter In Place orders, though potentially not optimally soon, and really glad that I started working from home prior to any of those orders.

For those who like their Pandemic news science and data rich, I recommend the UCSF YouTube channel which is making medical staff information and panels available to the public. The videos are long, but you will not regret watching. I found my anxiety decreased in significant ways once I heard for myself that the world’s leading experts are working on this and that they are results and science focused.

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News for The Times

March 21st, 2020

In writing news, I am closing in on the Bound in Smoke edits from the trusted reader and expect to have the MS back to my editor shortly.

I have good news and bad news on the flower front. February’s lack of rain and summer-like conditions has made our tulips a total bust. Normally by this time we have hundreds of tulips in full boom. There are two. That’s it. Many didn’t come up at all, and those that did are stunted. This is so sad.

In happier flower news, I recently planted a variety of flowers from seed and thought those were a bust too because the packages mostly said 5-10 days and there was nothing but a few weeds. But now, a couple days past 10, I can see seedlings. Hopefully they will survive to bloom. Expect pictures if that happens.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy in this time of global pandemic.

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Bound In Smoke – Progress Report

February 29th, 2020

Bound In Smoke is back from my trusted reader. She said she thought it as one of my best books, so that was great news. I’m busy making some tweaks, mostly clarifications etc. I expect to send the book to my editor shortly.

I’m going to polish up the back cover copy and get the paperback cover finalized, too.

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Carolyn Reviews Stuff

February 22nd, 2020

I’ve been working hard at mentally refreshing myself after a tough several years. To that end, I’ve been watching movies and TV Series and here’s my thoughts on that. In no particular order

Locke and Key: (Kids discover keys with magical properties.) Enjoyed this series but there are plot holes you can drive a bus through. However, the antagonist is incredibly scary.

October Faction: (Teen twins discover their parents work for a demon slaying organization). I intensely disliked this at the start, particularly because the writers had no control over the backstory timeline and couldn’t be bothered to google basic facts. The story was driven by a chronologically impossible/unbelievable series of events and the parents were supposedly the same age but (predictably) the wife looked 20 years younger than her husband. So I was settling in to hate watch and about halfway through the whole premise turned upside down and took on some intensely serious themes about hatred and bias and by the end, I was on board.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: (A take on Sabrina the teenage Witch) I really enjoyed the first two seasons. Excellent all around. Season 3 was an emotional let down. The first two seasons were full of amazing female characters and by season three they were all dead or stripped of their agency and moral character.

Van Helsing: (In a dystopian future where vampires rise to supremacy, a descendant of Van Helsing awakes from a coma and evinces strange powers against vampires.) I liked the first season but quickly had trouble with season 2 and 3 and I think I’ve bailed because of the focus on violent scenes for the sake of . . . violence. I am disappointed by the way Vanessa Van Helsing was so quickly stripped of heroic qualities.

Parasite: The South Korean film that won Best Picture at the Oscars. Fully deserving of the win. What a great movie.

Knives Out: I loved this movie. Loved it. It’s hilarious.

Late Night: Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling) gets a dream job as a writer for a female Late Night show host (Emma Thompson). Great movie. Made me laugh at the same time it tackles serious themes about racism and misogyny.

Sex Education: A British series centered around a nerdy, repressed high school student (male) with a sex therapist mother who teams up with the school’s gorgeous and brilliant slut-shamed girl to offer sex advice to students. There are so many characters to love here and the series delves into issues of class, sexual violence, race, and sexual identity.

The Stranger: Richard Armitage stars in this series based on a Harlan Coban novel where a mysterious woman divulges secret truths/blackmails to people with terrible consequences. Pretty gripping.

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News! Bound in Smoke

February 9th, 2020

Hello! I have sent Bound in Smoke to a trusted reader before it goes back to my editor.

You can read the new chapter 1 here.

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Leaping Birthday Lizards?

February 1st, 2020

Happy February 1st in a leap year and congrats to everyone born on February 29 who can have their birthday celebration on their official birthday.

This leap year month at Jewel HQ we are having a party for the big dog. We don’t know her actual birthday but we subtracted her age (~8mos) when we got her from the shelter and arrived at February.

She needs a new collar. What would you get a dog for its birthday?

Below is a picture of Bella with her BFF Tiger the cat.

Bella The Birthday Dog and her best friend Tiger the cat.
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Risen From Ash – Cover

January 17th, 2020
Cover of Risen from Ash, Southeast Asian woman with sword against red smoke and fire background including Golden Gate Bridge
Cover of Risen From Ash, Street Witch Series Book 3

And. . . here is the cover for Risen from Ash, Book 3 in my Street Witch series. I love the covers and I hope you do, too.

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Born in Fire – Cover

January 17th, 2020
Cover of Born in Fire, Street Witch Series Book 2

Here’s the cover of Born in Fire, Book 2 in my upcoming Street Witch series. I’m so excited!

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Adieu 2019

December 31st, 2019

As I write this, it’s the last day of the Gregorian Calendar year 2019. I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe 2020.

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