Update

June 6th, 2020

Yes, Bound in Smoke is still with my editor. These are difficult times for everyone, and my editor has a school age child. I’ve been in contact and hope to have the edited MS in a couple of weeks. Raising children is hard work no matter what, but these are exceptionally challenging times, and no one should be beating themselves up by comparing how we manage in times like these to how we managed before all this.

In the meantime I am writing a historical novella, Miss Fiona Harper’s Night Of Passion, which has been on my schedule for ages. I already have a cover for this work.

I apologize for the delay. I hope everyone is taking care and staying safe.

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In Memoriam

May 25th, 2020

I have several relatives who served in the military. My mother’s oldest and favorite brother, Vern, served in WWII in the South Pacific. According to my mother, after the war was over, he was discharged with the expectation that he would not survive six months.When he passed away in 1977, my mother was heartbroken. He was a wonderful, gentle, calm man and I remain grateful that I knew him. My son’s middle name is Vern. I wish he could have met his great uncle.

My cousin Jimmy was in the air force (like his father). He flew helicopters in Kuwait and worked at the Pentagon. My understanding is that he was there on 9/11. He passed away only a few years ago.

I am grateful to everyone who serves in the military and will always be grateful to them for their service and sacrifices.

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Post Cards from Carolyn

May 17th, 2020

I have a collection of 20+ postcards, most of which are from a pep talk collection or have a pretty picture. In addition, I have sassy foil stamps available to affix to said postcards. Upon my request, the USPS sent me various fun stamps, including dinosaurs, frogs, and orchids.

Please check out the close up of the foil stamps in case there is one you would prefer not to have on your postcard.

Postcards and foil stamps
Close up of foil stamps

If you’d like friendly postcard from me, email me your address (carolyn @ carolynjewel.com) or through the contact link and let me know whether you mind a sticker with a bad word (if so, I’ll choose a different one), and I’ll get one in the mail to you. International OK.

I will only use your address to send you the postcard. I won’t save it beyond any computer backups that occur as a matter of course. Offer available until I run out of postcards. (So, about twenty -ish,)

Please DO NOT leave your address in the comments. If you do, everyone will know your address.

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Renovation Dream/Financial Sinkhole?

April 23rd, 2020

In my between-books downtime and Pandemic anxiety reduction time, I have been watching a British show from a few years ago called Restoration Home. The show follows along with the restoration of historic homes in Britain. So far, all but one have been registered historic, but all have been at least two centuries old and most are far older. They intersperse the restoration work with research into the history of the house, its architecture, and its owners. It’s really, really interesting.

There is a pattern, however, and it goes like this: Someone falls in love with a historic house that is in serious need of rescuing, so they buy it and, starry eyed, embark on the nightmare that is all home renovations, only these are renovations on steroids. The registered homes have strict rules about what you can do and how you can do it , which I agree with, only some of the ensuing red tape is just awful. OMG.

Soon after the renovations begin, the first (of many) serious problems arise and so far every single house has had structural issues. The walls are standing on sheer stubbornness alone, the wood is rotten, ground floors are built on mud, everything leaks and has been leaking for centuries . . .

Halfway through, everyone is over budget and running out of money. Or is out of money. Some of the houses have not been finished or were simply abandoned. Some go on the market and stay there even when listed for less than the property plus renovations. Some owners appear to have got creative and are operating as a B&B.

One couple DID NOT DO A STRUCTURAL INSPECTION and guess what? The original builder in 1800 whatever was a DIY guy and/or way too trusting of his workers and many walls were not actually structurally connected. They were just leaning against each other and plastered over. I don’t understand why the house didn’t come down on his head. I can just imagine him telling his guests “DON’T LEAN ON THE WALL!” Fun parties.

After saying all that, once the structural issues are addressed and they start on the interiors, the results for the houses that get that far are magical. The proportions of these houses are breathtaking.

It’s a good thing I don’t live in England because I would be one of those people looking at a falling down historical house and I would buy it and go way over budget and be totally thrilled.

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Editor Bound

April 21st, 2020

I have sent Bound In Smoke to my editor.

I’m taking a couple of days to get my head clear before I pick up the next project. I hope all of you are healthy and coping with the various levels of Shelter in Place.

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Howling Into The Night

April 12th, 2020

Greetings from Shelter In Place day 27. I’m doing reasonably well and hope the same for all who read this. The other night I was working on edits for Bound In Smoke when I heard this loud howling from across the field. I went to the door and heard a lot that dissolve into laughter, but behind that there was a lot of howling. What the heck is going on, I said to myself, that all the dogs in are are howling like this and why is anyone partying to those howls.
Then I found out that howling at 8:00PM is a thing here in California. Maybe else where, too, I don’t know. But at 8:00PM everyone goes to their door or what have you and howls.

As long as I don’t lose track of the time, I too shall howl at 8:00PM.

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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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