Archive for the ‘Carolyn’s Writing’ Category

January News

Saturday, January 14th, 2023

Carolyn Jewel: Water Engineer?

I live in Northern California which is currently being hit by a series of atmospheric rivers and high winds. So far we have some downed trees, but no damage that needs to be addressed on an emergency basis. Most of the back roads are closed due to flooding, so going anywhere means taking the long way. We haven’t lost any power here, but it’s really, really, really wet. I’ve had to dig some trenches to divert water off the driveway into the field and away from the neighbors below us.

Alas, I don’t think I could have had a career as a water engineer. One of my trenches forged its own U-turn channel right back onto the driveway! Talk about humiliating. Sheesh! I extended the trench and that seems to have solved the issue.

Reversions

Still waiting, but we’re getting close. I have been in contact with my agent and she is monitoring this for me. I did notice that the eBook for My Forbidden Desire has been taken down from Amazon, so I am hopeful they’ve processed the reversion and I will have it in hand shortly. Fingers crossed!

Bound In Smoke

The manuscript has passed the 70K word mark which is typically the stage where the story is done. The rest of the words come from polishing and fixing. So, that’s good news!

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Wishing Everyone a Delightful and Happy Gregorian New Year

Sunday, January 1st, 2023

A very Happy New Year to all who observe the Gregorian calendar.

On New Year’s Eve here at Jewel HQ, yours truly went to bed at 6:30PM and snuggled up with the dogs and cats while I horrified myself watching episodes of Hoarders and reading the news. The neighbors were shooting off guns and fireworks starting at 8:00PM. I was too tired to stay up until midnight. I get up at 5:00AM and midnight is just waaaayyy past my bedtime. I had some time off while my son was here and I was staying up later than my usual to hang out with him so my sleep schedule got a little out of whack.

Caught in the Southwest Disaster

My son ended up being here extra days because his return flight to Seattle was on Southwest and got cancelled. He wisely came and got me up as soon as he got the cancellation text and I was able to book him a flight out of the local airport on Friday. The local airport is a 30 minute drive from us (instead of an hour plus to Oakland) but it doesn’t accommodate jets, only commuter style prop planes. Most of the flights were REALLY expensive, but there was one that didn’t make me want to cry. He had to call work and let them know he was stuck here for additional days, but he was back in Seattle on Friday. To be honest, I think it’s possible that considering the cost and time of getting to Oakland Airport (which I prefer over SFO) the higher flight cost of the local airport can come close to a wash. You also don’t have to factor in the possibility of TSA line delays. I think in future, I will be more carefully considering flights out of there.

2022: A Review

tl:dr: could have been way worse. Wasn’t great.

2023: Predictions?

None. I just hope it’s better than 2022. Okay, I have one prediction. I will put out the revised versions of the first two My Immortals books before the end of February. I say that because if my publisher continues to stonewall me, I won’t have the last reversion until end of January and I need time to get ducks in a row so Amazon doesn’t give me grief. Sending them the reversion in advance has helped with other books. I also expect to complete Bound in Smoke and have it out this year. Once again, I am re-covering Scandal. Amazon gives me grief over the cover I love and the current cover just doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Stay tuned for that cover reveal.

In the meantime, have a wonderful New Year.

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Reversion Updates

Saturday, December 24th, 2022

A Reversion Update

I am steaming mad at this point. Hachette has told me they won’t get around to reverting My Forbidden Desire until the end of January. That answer is not acceptable. My agent’s office is closed until January 3, so there’s nothing I can do but wait. I expect my agent to get an immediate reversion, but I will say I’m disappointed that despite my reminder to them it wasn’t taken care of before they closed for the holidays and I had to email Hachette myself. Anyway. I can’t republish without the reversion in hand, so here I am.

Traditional publishers have a long tradition of treating authors badly and this is just yet another example of that.

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Happy December!

Friday, December 2nd, 2022

Greetings from Northern California where the weather has turned colder and wetter, though in no way wet enough to relieve the drought. Nevertheless, there has been some rain and the grass is slowly turning greener. I’ve planted wildflowers in several places and they seem to be germinating which is really exciting. I tried last year and nothing . . . except nine months later three or four surprises in one of the flowerbeds. This is why this time around I bought a rototiller and carefully prepped the soil per directions.

I say this all the time, but Bound in Smoke is going really well. As blog readers know, a couple of months ago I abandoned the attempt to make this series a My Immortals spin off. It just wasn’t working. At all. I have some thoughts about why. Oddly enough this decision happened in part while I was preparing the first two books in the My Immortals series for re-publication later this month after book 2 reverts to me in ::consults calendar:: 15 days. That work went really well. Pure editing and fixing that put me in a much better frame of mind about everything writing related. When I was done and had sent the books off for formatting, I spent some time thing thinking about my recent creative struggles and how this editing work was like the old writing me.

Long story short, and leaving out some details I’m not prepared to talk about yet, I asked myself what I would write if the WIP could be anything. And that’s when I decided that the series would not be in the My Immortals world. And once I made that decision, along with this other event, everything changed for the better. Bound In Smoke is about to hit 70K words which is essentially a done story, but more importantly, now all the usual-for-me plot developments are landing on the pages, and I have to say it feels good.

Assuming there are no further publisher shenanigans, expect to see the re-released first two books in the My Immortals series late this year or early next. It will take a bit to proactively send the reversions to the various vendors so there’s no misunderstandings about who has the rights.

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday period. Let me know how you’re doing.

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My Immortals Update

Saturday, October 29th, 2022

I have completed the revisions, cleaning up for My Wicked Enemy and My Forbidden Desire. I’ve sent the relevant files off to be formatted so that now off my plate!

Now it’s back to work on Bound in Smoke, which went a bit on the back burner while I finished up these two projects.

I hope everyone is doing well.

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Reversions and Covers!

Saturday, October 15th, 2022

Reversion News and New Covers

The first book in the My Immortals series, My Wicked Enemy, reverted to me a few weeks back. The second book (My Forbidden Desire) should revert in mid-December. As soon as I have that reversion, I will publish these books myself and, at long last, have full control of the series and its marketing. As you can see, I have already commissioned new covers that fit with the series as I’ve published them. The artist did a great job making covers that match the others.

Normally, I would not edit a reverted book, but with these I have, and both will be re-published as second editions. That editorial work is essentially complete now, and I am elated to produce editions that I love. Some of you may know that settling on a title for the first book was a fraught experience. The publisher’s suggestion was so terrible (in my opinion) that I told my agent if they insisted on that title, I would give the money back and take back the book. The book titles were a compromise. In a perfect world I’d retitle them all, but that would cause chaos and confusion that just isn’t worth it. The titles are sufficient.

Funny story. One time I was meeting with someone from a large tech company’s eBook division. This person looked at my covers for this series and made a face when he saw the first two, and I said, “There’s nothing I can do about those two covers.” He looked so relieved that he didn’t have to find a nice way to tell me those covers weren’t doing their job very well. Anyway, here’s a look at the two new covers and the new back cover copy.

My Wicked Enemy

Cover of My Wicked Enemy. Features a handsome sexy shirtless man looking right into your heart. Background is glowy purple.

Cover of My Wicked Enemy

The new back cover copy:

A demon warlord’s sworn enemy is the woman he desires more than anything in the world.

Carson Philips flees an abusive home only to encounter a man who claims he’s the demon Nikodemus, and she’s a witch who murders his kind. With deadly enemies of untold power in pursuit of her, Nikodemus may be her only hope for survival. Proving she’s not his enemy leads them to an intimacy so dangerous more than their hearts are at risk. She’s willing to follow where desire takes them, but is he?

Kill the witch and get on with his life. What could be simpler?

Nikodemus craves revenge on the magic users who enslave his people. The witch Carson Philips is just the first step toward the revenge he craves. But she’s not what he thinks and the longer he’s with her, the more entangled their hearts and their futures become. His people need his power to protect them, but if they won’t accept a warlord whose lover is a witch, will he lose her forever?

 

My Forbidden Desire

 

Cover of My Forbidden Desire featuring a sexy shirtless man with a hand on his head, elbow to the side so we can all appreciate his time in the gym. Background is a glowy green.

Cover of My Forbidden Desire

New back cover copy:

When hatred turns into forbidden desire. . .

A witch and a demon must trust the passion that binds them or risk annihilation.

A fierce and deadly demon, Xia isn’t happy when he’s ordered to protect a friend’s sister. He knows he’s perfect for a simple assignment that won’t take long. But dangerous forces are aligned against her, and they’re soon on the run from foes determined to see her dead. Before long, his fate and his heart are forever entwined with a woman who turns out to be the one thing he hates most in the world: a witch.

. . . who dares take the first step into dark passion?

Alexandrine Marit doesn’t believe she needs a bodyguard until the demons break in. If it weren’t for the gorgeous and very unpleasant Xia she’d be dead. As she fights to stay alive, she gives more than her heart to the demon who hates her.

Can they trust their hearts or will their enemies keep them forever apart?

Stay Tuned and Subscribe!

Expect, at long, long last, a newsletter from me when these books are ready. If you aren’t a newsletter subscriber, there’s a link in the sidebar or Click Here To Sign Up.

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Fall is Coming!

Sunday, September 18th, 2022

As I write this, it’s been raining and there is more rain on the way. Here’s hoping for lots more. A couple weeks ago we had brutal heat. It reached 109F/43C here at the house and that is absolutely unheard of here. I’m hoping the plants that look dead or damaged from the heat come back . . .

tl;dr: Despite everything below, Bound in Smoke is going well and I have been steadily adding words that need to be there.

What about the Writing?

Yes, I am writing. I have spent the last several weeks attempting to be honest with myself about why it’s going so slow. I have worked through my grief about family losses — where “worked through” means accepting that grief is a never ending and always transforming condition. The issue I’m grappling with now has to do with a crippling internal editor. For some reason, when I’m writing, my head fills up with every single criticism ever made about my books and all the people who are just sure that the writing process that has seen me through nearly 50 stories is wrong and if only I would change my process everything would be smooth sailing. It’s hard to write when you think your writing is terrible and you’re also doing it wrong, and I just haven’t tried hard enough with a “mature” process.

Process Process WTF and Also Shut Up.

Anyway, I am not an outliner or pre-writer. A structured approached has never ever not once resulted in me finishing a book. So it’s easy enough for me to set aside process doubts. Besides, I’m fairly certain those doubts are tightly connected to the writing doubts, a side-effect of which is this: no one but me can criticize what I don’t publish. Entertaining process doubts sends me down rabbit holes of “writing” that doesn’t actually put words into a chapter. Verrrry convenient there, subconscious. Fortunately, I know that’s baloney. The bigger obstacle has been what feels like a disconnect between the joy of writing and the actual writing when all I can think is this is terrible terrible terrible. And I spend my time re-crafting sentences etc or just distracting myself with anything that’s not writing and maybe when I come back to it, I will see it’s not that bad. I know this typically means there is something wrong with my story concept–more to the point, I haven’t found the spark between the characters that drives the story.

It’s helped a lot that over the last year or so ideas about the story have come to be more and more often instead of hardly ever.

Sparky!

I had a private conversation with myself about the world I want for Bound in Smoke, and the books I want to write before I am too old and decrepit to write.  I told myself, fine. That is the world I will actually write, and that decision was freeing. And now the spark I need is showing up.

 

 

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News About My Wicked Enemy

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

At long, long last, the rights to My Wicked Enemy, the first book in the My Immortals series, have reverted to me. The second book in the series (My Forbidden Desire) should revert n December. There seems to be little point in publishing my preferred version of My Wicked Enemy until I also have Book 2 back, but I am now finishing up the re-edit of the book with the intention of smoothing out the story problems created by a very, very difficult and emotionally destructive (for me) editorial relationship. She was not the right editor for me or the series I was writing. She did not like me or my books, that was quite plain. I did learn that including chapters or passages I knew she’d hate distracted her from the chapters I wanted to make sure stayed in. In the main, she didn’t story edit, she just reacted to her dislike of my writing. I asked my agent several times to try to get me moved to a different editor, but, alas, this never happened.

I don’t typically rewrite a reverted book, but I was so deeply unhappy with what happened to My Wicked Enemy that I am making an exception. I will get new covers for the first two books in the series and get the two books out shortly after book 2 reverts. Then, FINALLY!!! I will be able to properly market the series.

 

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Hello May! What’s Up at Jewel HQ

Friday, May 20th, 2022

Just a quick post to say hello and give an update on life and writing. Bound in Smoke is going pretty well. I’m at about 50K new words with most of the updated rejiggered story in place. The usual self-doubt is there, of course. I can’t speak for all writers, but I know time and again I hear writers say that they feel that every book will expose them as a fraud or that this is the book they will be unable to write. It’s always been that way for me, and I’ve long had coping strategies for dealing with that. That self-doubt has been supercharged as of late. But I am working through that, just more slowly. I feel like that entire world is more emotionally fragile these days!

At any rate, I am currently working most on the chapters that introduce the story and the world because that absolutely needs to be in place before I start editing and fleshing out the rest of the chapters. So, to be clear, the book is not in early stages. It’s just a bit past two thirds … the point where once I nail down the world and the characters place in it, everything else will start going really fast.

I hope all of you are staying safe, healthy, and happy!

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March Progress Report

Sunday, March 6th, 2022

I hope everyone is managing 2022 as well as possible in these stressful and trying times. Don’t forget to take time for yourself and your inner peace.

I wanted to update everyone on my writing. Bound in Smoke is going very well. I’m in a spot where word count isn’t increasing very fast but the story is taking on shape and vibe that I really like. For me, a story is typically essentially done at about 50K words, with the remaining word count coming from polishing and expanding on themes and plot. I’m not quite there yet, but will be soon, I think.

Self Doubt and the Inner Critic

My primary challenge right now is what the header suggests. Self doubt and a loud inner critic, both of which love to remind me that previous versions of this book were not done when I thought they were. For me, self doubt and my inner critic play a crucial role in producing a story I love. I need them, but I also need to be able to rise above them, and that’s been a slowly improving situation.

Another element I have noticed is one that I think can be particularly toxic to everyone, and that’s the idea that it’s not just OK to power through difficulties without regard to the personal toll, but virtuous to do so. I call bullshit on that. Hard and regular work, yes, but not without respect to the creative well. As Susan Elizabeth Philips has said, “Protect the writing.” You can’t do that if you’re only making withdrawals from your emotional well-being.

So What’s the Progress Report?

Story sparks have been coming to me more and more often, which is an encouraging return to normalcy. I think it’s because I’ve been telling myself, “F***, it, just write what you want to put on the page. I am writing. I am getting my story told.

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