Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23rd, 2023

For all who celebrate US Thanksgiving, have a wonderful day!

Here is a picture of my dad’s dog. His name is George Gordon, Lord Byron, and he loves to chase balls. He doesn’t usually bring them back so taking him for walks involves extra walking for me as I search for where the heck he dropped the ball. Everyone at Jewel HQ is grateful he was rescued from wandering alone on a busy rural road and that we took him in. We are coping well with his puppy-hood. He gets along great with the other dogs and is finally calming down about the cats.

I am personally thankful for the additional exercise and his massive cuteness. I am also thankful that he runs around so hard with his ball that, for a while, there’s an off-button because he does get tired.  What are you thankful for?

Adorable small brown dog sitting on dried up mowed field grass. He has blue ball in his mouth and is staring into the camera.

Grateful for People Who Throw the ball


I have A Reader Group

November 4th, 2023

Did you know I have a private Reader Group on Facebook? No? It’s a group for people who like my books. Exciting news lands there early. It’s fairly quiet right now, but I post weekly and you can talk about (almost) anything. The only membership requirement is that you like reading and my books. Joining automatically makes you even more awesome than you already are.

But why, Carolyn? Because Facebook “rewards” different things for authors in terms of getting seen by fans and people who are likely fans and well, there you have it. My author page is subject to facebook’s love of convincing me that I have to pay them if I want people who have liked my page to actually see my posts. The Reader Group is a bit less restricted in that way, so, you know, you can like my author page and the group. If you want. No pressure.

Join my Private Reader Group

As Bound in Smoke gets closer and closer to actually being finished, the Reader Group will get early news about how that’s going, including things like extended excerpts.


Bound In Smoke Progress Update

October 26th, 2023

I am up to chapter 27 in edits without having to go back to rewrite a bunch! So despite my long silences, there’s a lot getting done. The work on this books feels more like the usual instead of a hard sad slog.

How’s everyone doing?


My Immortals Series Re-Cover Did Not Go Smoothly

October 21st, 2023

New Covers!

As previously mentioned, after some market research, I decided the books in the My Immortals series needed new covers. Getting new covers took longer than I liked, but I was extremely budget conscious this time and can’t really complain that each cover was handled as separate project. It got done, and I am very happy with the result. The new covers fit in with the current paranormal romance market.

And Then There Was Amazon

I started uploading at the various vendors, starting with Amazon. I do two print versions through Amazon. One is for Libraries and bookshops. That version is priced very high in order to accommodate the discounting needed and it uses an Amazon supplied ISBN. I do another version using my own ISBN which I price as low as possible so that print readers have the most affordable option. These two versions are identical as to content and cover.

Some additional context: For all of my books, I use a logo for my imprint, cJewel Books, which is registered to me at Bowker and therefore connected to my ISBNS. I commissioned the logo in 2015 and use it on all my books. For print books, the logo appears on the back cover. For EVERY SINGLE BOOK. Here’s the full color logo:

Image that looks like a combination of book pages and a gem. The text cJewel Books appears underneath

The Logo

I love the logo, by the way and I like the continuity it gives. I have been using this logo since 2015. Some more context here. Some of the new covers use the same model as the original cover. Some used new images. All the covers have the same background. I did update some back matter in the eBooks so that the flow was more efficient and more conducive to readers having an easy opportunity to get the next book. There were no changes to the print interiors. The only change was the cover.

For all but two of the books, the uploading went just fine, eBook and print. But for some reason Amazon had a hissy fit about one of the print covers for My Demon Warlord. They started by asking me to prove I had the publishing rights. Even though nothing had changed but the cover and even though the updates were coming from the same account that originally published the book. Amazon “helpfully” has a list of acceptable proof. Unfortunately for self-publishers, none of the acceptable proof applies. My Demon Warlord was never traditionally published. I wrote it my own self for my own publishing career. Amazon explicitly states that it’s not enough to say, but I wrote it! Copyright registration is also not proof they will accept.

At first, I replied that they should be able to tell that the same account was involved in the update and that the only change was the cover. I provided all the ISBNs and pointed out they were registered to me or CreateSpace. This was not sufficient. Then I sent images from my Author Central account showing that both print versions had been verified by Amazon–meaning they agreed that all versions of the book were mine. They cleared the book. Yay, right?


I got another notice asking for the same proof, which I sent. Again. One of the print versions was cleared. Yay! Right?

NOPE Again

I got another notice for the OTHER print version asking for the same proof which I sent again. This was disallowed. WTAF? So I sent the information AGAIN and pointed out the history on this and tried to stay polite. Then I got a notice saying they had cleared the book. Yay! Right?


Yes, they agreed I had the right to publish the book but now they believed I did not have the right to all the images in the cover and to please send proof that the images were properly licensed. Recall that all these books have the same exact background and the they’d cleared an identical version earlier in the day. My Demon Warlord, originally published in 2016, is one of the books where I was using the same model as my original cover. You’d figure this means the problem had to be in the background images  (shared by ALL the covers). Yet all the other books were successfully updated with the new covers. I asked the cover designer to send me the licenses for all the images in that book. I also attached the invoice for my logo, because honestly, I am pretty certain they were having a fit over that. Fortunately, the 2015 invoice was readily available to me because taxes and business expenses.

Meanwhile . . .

Amazon sent me another notice asking me to prove my right to publish My Immortal Assassin. ::Sigh::: All because I updated the cover. Fortunately/Ironically? My Immortal Assassin was traditionally published and I have my reversion letter. I keep all my reversion letters readily available because I have other books where I have been asked 3-4 times to prove my right to publish the book. For some books, I have sent my reversion letter 3-4 times. Anyway, I pointed out the only change was a new cover, same account, blah blah blah, but here is the reversion letter AGAIN. They accepted this proof since a reversion letter is on Amazon’s acceptable proof list.


Anyway, Amazon has finally cleared My Demon Warlord. But is this over? Who knows.

Some Thoughts

I suspect this entire process never once involved a human on Amazon’s side. I suspect I could have sent an image of my cat as proof of my right to publish and their automated system would have said, hey, proof is attached! You’re good. I suspect that once a book is flagged they double down and match book images to images on stock sites and that since my logo is not a stock image, they decided I was stealing.

Several things are obvious to me. Amazon has an unintelligent algorithm that misses some pretty obvious rules. Such as, if they have previously vetted an account’s publishing rights to a book, they do not need to confirm those rights ever again. When the same account updates a previously cleared book, they don’t need to clear it again.

This process is everything that is wrong with Amazon and more. All I did was update covers for books Amazon has already agreed I have the right to publish. How hard it it, really, for them to check that, and what does it say about how bad their backend system is that they don’t/can’t do this?


October News

October 13th, 2023

October is Here!

October is my favorite month because I can have all the candy corn I want! Yes. That’s right. I love candy corn. I know some people hate it and to that I say, More For me! I also love Halloween. We don’t have trick-or-treaters where we live but our neighbor has grandchilden and a few years ago I started putting up skeletons where they would see them, and that’s been a lot of fun.

My Immortals Series Gets A New Look!

At last the new covers are done after some market research convinced me that my covers no longer fit in with the best-selling books in their genre. It took longer than I liked, but they’re done now! Yay!! I also reorganized some back matter so that readers will have a clearer path to the next book. If you already have the books you should be able to update your file if you want the new cover. Nothing has changed in the text. I’ll start uploading the spiffy new versions this weekend.

Street Witch Series-Bound In Smoke

I am in the final editing phase on this book, and I am happy to report that so far I’ve made it to Chapter 21 without making a change so big I have to go back to the beginning to layer in the ground work. I’ve been careful to manage my sleep and my writing self so that I don’t tip over into emotional burn out. And, of course, grief is a process that never stops. (Some of you know that my nephew and my youngest brother recently passed away very unexpectedly within a very short time of each other.)

How’s everyone doing?


Ah, September!

September 17th, 2023

September! You are Here!

Oops! I forgot to come back and finish this post. Happy September to everyone. Let me know how you’re doing as we head into Fall. Here at Jewel HQ September is proving a lot more fun than August was. I say this often, but it’s true, Bound in Smoke is going really well. I’ll probably be posting an updated Chapter 1 to the website fairly soon. My goal is to have the book to my editor by the end of November. You heard it here.

What’s Coming?

The project after Bound In Smoke will be a historical novella, Miss Fiona Harper’s Night of Passion. I’ve had a cover for this novella for ages and ages. The story idea has been bubbling around in my brain for a while, and it’s time for a historical. Rest assured, after that will be the next Street Witch book, and all of that after the current book is complete.

I am in the process of re-covering the My Immortals Series books so they fit better in their category. I’ve settled on the design but the person I’m working with is a bit slow which is frustrating.

Let me know how you’re doing!


Oh, And One More Thing!

August 12th, 2023

Bound in Smoke – Progress!

For the last three weeks I have been preparing to do another paper read through of Bound in Smoke. I printed out the whole thing and had it in the binder and something kept nagging at me so I didn’t start that day. Then I was walking back to the house after taking down the garbage and recycling bins when this idea came to me . . . So I spent the next few days rewriting the opening chapters with that idea and it was pretty awesome. I printed replacement chapters and was ready to start the next day, only that morning in the shower, I had another idea. I’ve been adding in that idea, and now things are even more awesome, but I do have a few more chapters to update.

It’s not that nothing’s happening with Bound in Smoke. A LOT is happening that makes me really excited about how the story is developing in its final stages of writing before it goes to an editor.

My Immortals Series and Other Updates

In addition to writing and editing, I started reviewing how my books, and in particular the My Immortals series are positioned for getting in front of readers. To my chagrin, I found that I had not stayed on top of that challenge at all. Readers who would probably enjoy the series weren’t getting the books in front of them to consider and, worse, then they did see them, what they saw was no longer effective in terms of getting people to try the series. I had to do some deep research but I’m monitoring my changes to make sure they’re effective.

The other thing I realized was that the My Immortals covers no longer fit in with similar books. I engaged the person who’s been doing my covers recently to do a redesign. The first pass, as some of you know, did not work at all. But the second pass did. The change from the current covers actually isn’t huge, but it’s significant, in my opinion, and makes the covers fit the market. My Wicked Enemy is done, and I’m waiting on a version for My Forbidden Desire so I can see/decide how the new look will flow through rest of the series. Watch this space for the new covers.

Writing is a business, too.


Midsummer Updates

July 15th, 2023

Midsummer is Here!

Here we are, halfway through July. Summer is not my season, I gotta say. I am not a warm weather person. If summer is your season, I say enjoy it, but I will stay out of the sun, slathered up with SPF 50 if I do venture out, and be grateful for AC.

Wildlife Pond

Here at Jewel HQ we have been slowly replacing older landscaping with California natives and pollinators. In late winter, early spring I planted (from seeds) a lot of wildflowers and pollinators along the driveway where we lost so many trees in the winter storms and it’s been an overwhelming success.  The plants are now in full bloom and I have seen bees, bumblebees, hummingbirds, and butterflies enjoying them. California natives are generally drought tolerant and I only watered at the start, and only a few times and not once since and the plants are tall and lush. I think I’ve lost a few to critters but not many. The plan now is to prep more of the driveway and sow more seeds because it’s really a breathtaking sight.

I used an old sink to build a wildlife pond and that, too, has been a success. I’m still landscaping around it so it will continue to look better and better. It’s got three plants in it, one of which is blooming, and a solar fountain that keeps the water moving and discourages mosquitos. All in all, it was a simple, inexpensive project that was well worth the effort of digging a hole deep enough for the sink — which is fairly deep as sinks go. That was the hardest part. It’s got negative space at the bottom, substrate to act as a filter, one large rock and some layers of smaller rocks plus the plants and the fountain. Wildlife has been spotted at the pond!

Bound In Smoke

I am in the editing phase now. The story is essentially done, and I am going through and just fixing stuff and adding details etc. I am getting so excited about this book! At the moment word count is holding steady at around 92K.


Summer is Coming and the Writing is Never Easy

June 4th, 2023

Happy June to everyone! It’s true writing is never easy, but I am writing!

Bound in Smoke is (dare I say it?) structurally complete. For quite some time I had chapters that were dangling out there not fully belonging. I wasn’t looking at them much because I was addressing other issues and writing new chapters. Now, however, those chapters are no longer waiting around. Only one chapter needed to be deleted and by “deleted” I mean moved to the “Save This Just in Case” folder. I found the right place for the plot line in those chapoters and now they are pulling their weight for plot and character. They need some revision to fit in their new home, but it’s really satisfying to make that happen.

Right now, the manuscript is around 93K words. That count is going to fluctuate for a while, but at this point, it’s not really about new words, it’s about polishing, shaping, and making the characters and their story come alive.

How’s things going for everyone?


May Greetings! The WIP and a New Cover

May 6th, 2023


Bound in Smoke continues to go really well. The paper read-through was productive up to the point where I stopped editing to deal with the changes that resulted. Those needed to be in before I pick up with the back half of the story, so there was no point going farther with the read through. This is totally normal for me, by the way. To give a flavor of the changes that resulted, I added two new chapters to the beginning.

I was at the 83K word mark when I started the read-through, and with all the deletions, additions, and two new chapters, I’m now at 90K so a significant net gain! I do expect a chapter or two at the back end will get chopped when I get there, but everything is lining up. I love this story more and more every time and I’m getting excited about its release.

New Cover for Scandal

In other book news, Scandal has a new cover. Alas, I cannot use the cover I love, love, love because Amazon rejects that cover for advertising. Despite all the other historical romance covers that are way racier than that one, they have refused to budge on that issue. My initial replacement cover just wasn’t doing the job, so I commissioned this one in the hope that Amazon will allow me to market this one. It’s been uploaded to all the various vendors so if you’re interested, you should be able to update your version on most devices.

A young woman from the back in a white Regency gown with blue ribbon trimming gazing at a castle.

Cover of Scandal