Archive for the ‘Carolyn’s Writing’ Category

What Was I Going to Say?

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

I can’t recall because I came to my blog and there were more updates and one of them hung and then I had to disable one, and do some manual updates, and sometimes the internet here is so s. . . . l. . . o. . . w that I give up after a while. Good grief.

Anyway I was going to say whatever it was. I’m sure it would have been AMAZING. So instead, I’ll say, I hope everyone who observes Halloween had a wonderful time. Oh, and I’m going for broke on the covers for the Street Witch series. The photographer/cover person did the shoot last week with all three models, and I have been through all 750+ photos and selected my top several for each.

The next step is to take a look at the processed favorites and start talking with them about which ones to go with. I will be an awful tease and say that the images are beyond awesome. All three models nailed what I was going for and, of course, so did the photographer.

I am very excited!

The first book is close to being ready to send for editing so I’m hopeful the book will be out in early 2019.

Maybe later I’ll remember what I was going to write about.

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Writer’s Toolbox

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

The Search for the Perfect Writing Tools

Writers need the right tools for their work, and boy do I have opinions on this. With respect to software, my opinion is that the people developing these tools spoke to anywhere from zero to one actual writer. In fact, I think they developed whatever their programming environment made possible and then justified that result to writers. Which means the tools in general lack the flexibility required when actual people use those tools.

Until about a year ago, I wrote in WordPerfect. I run a Windows virtual machine on my desktop and laptop so I can continue to use a tool that actually IS pretty darn flexible and doesn’t impose the Microsoft “YOU WILL WRITE THIS WAY BECAUSE” paradigm. Oh, and formatting. The formatting is so awful. Anyway I have been increasingly annoyed and irritated by the VM I use. (Parallels).

Parallels mostly works but when something goes wrong or when you need to contact the company for any reason the experience is dreadful and I have been searching for a WordPerfect alternative because in my perfect world, I never have to give the Parallels company another dime of my money. If anyone from Parallels reads this; I hate your company and I hate your broken, opaque website and I hate that you hate your customers.

For years I have  been looking for a tool that would allow me to write in MacOS. Because I’m telling you Word ain’t it. I have to have MS Office in order to be compatible with the rest of the world, but I really really really hate Word. That said . . . The MS office suite tools that allow you to open and edit documents on any iOS device are wonderful. Editors, copy-editors, and proofreaders tend to work in Word, so this ability is a must have for me, and in this case, MS nailed it.

This tool works. So, for every purpose except writing fiction, thumbs up to Office 365 and its MacOS/iOS tools.

I did try Scrivener. I really did but its not a tool that works for the way I write. I envy all the people who love this tool and haven’t had to fight their natural writing process to use it. I just can’t

I tried a bunch of other tools; Open Office and Pages were total fails. I tried several apps that proclaimed they were great for writers and none of them were, and most did not mean “great for people writing fiction of 100,000 words.”

Ulysses is the only tool I’ve found where I started a writing project and was able to complete it in that tool instead of moving it to WordPerfect.  I wasn’t wasting hours trying to do simple things like work with individual chapters sometimes or with the entire document other times, oh, and being able to assemble and reorder chapters. I didn’t have to fight to have an environment that was pleasing to my eyes and it exports to a docx format (and several others) without forcing me to spend much or any time reformatting. It’s good enough to send to editors etc.

I wrote an entire novella in the tool and it was fairly seamless. I’ve written Bound in Smoke in Ulysses, and that book is just about done. I haven’t used WordPerfect in ages. I have a few things I wish it would do but nothing that keeps me from writing and getting the output I need.

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Book Covers and Projects

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Some of you may know that starting November 1, I will be President-Elect of Romance Writers of America (RWA). The following year, I will take over as President. I did not make the decision to run lightly and now that the election results are in, I will have a lot of additional responsibilities. I’m really looking forward to the next two years, though. There’s a lot of great things ahead!


Book Covers for the Street Witch Series

I have selected the models for the first three covers and all three were available. The shoot will take place in the next two weeks and I’m really getting excited about this! More news when it’s available.

The Street Witch Series – Book 1

The title of the first three books are 98% sure to be:

  • Bound in Smoke
  • Born in Fire
  • Risen from Ash

I am in the final stages of finishing Bound in Smoke prior to sending it out for first round editing. I think it’s unlikely I will have this book out before the end of the year. All the passes of editing, revision, re-editing, copy-editing, and proofreading take time.

Once that is out for editing, though, I will be writing a historical novella titled Miss Fiona Harper’s Night of Passion. I already have a cover for this book. I am hoping the novella will take about 6-8 weeks to write. I expect this story to be on the shorter side. It will be a way to have something new out while I get the Street Witch series prepped for launch. After that, I will see where my writing time is given my RWA duties and adjust accordingly.

In the meantime, I will probably put by Christmas novellas on sale, so watch for that! I’ll post everywhere when that happens!

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Miscellaneous Information You Should Know

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Consider this a miscellaneous information announcement post where I cover social media, book covers, my writing schedule, and the next two years or so.

Facebook

Facebook has never been my favorite social media, and they have been making it more and more difficult for authors to actually connect with readers without laying down cash. I get that. It’s their right, but I do think there’s a calculation to be made about platforms where you can’t reach people who are actual fans without a significant outlay.

I do post there regularly, so by all means follow me on facebook. But if you actually want to see my posts there, I don’t have any great advice for how to make happen, other than making sure you like, follow, and tell facebook you’d like my posts in your feed. You can find me at CarolynJewelAuthor

I also have a reader group, The Jewelies Group of Awesome. This is a closed group for fans. To join, you have to request membership.

Sadly, I think facebook is no longer a vibrant place for authors to connect with readers. For now, I will continue to be present there.

Twitter

I’m on Twitter a fair amount, but beware, I am highly political there. Shrug. But there is writing news there from time to time. @cjewel

Follow Me On Amazon

Follow me on Amazon if you really only want to know when I have a new book.

Join my Reader Email Group

I am always looking to improve my ability to engage and reach readers who enjoy my books.  Sign up to get emails about what’s up, new books, content for members only etc. There’s a sign up form over there to the right, if you’re reading this at my website. If not, here is a link: Join My Reader Email Group

RWA – Romance Writers of America

I have been on the National Board since 2014 as a Director at Large. This year I ran for President-Elect and won. This means that for 2018-2020, I will be President-Elect and then President of RWA. This also means I will be very busy and that I will likely have only one book out for each of those two years.

This was not a decision I made lightly.  My mother’s recent passing meant that a significant portion of my time and even my own health was recovered. I realize that is a very passive statement, but she was very ill and needed a tremendous amount of care. I took several months afterward to be sure I was making the right decision about running for the position. I care deeply about the issues the organization is facing right now, and so, here I am. I am honored to have been elected to the position and am looking forward to the next two years.

I do have some ideas about writing shorter content while I am also working on the Street Witch series, so stay tuned for that.


Book Covers

I am upping the ante on the covers for my new Street Witch series and I am really really excited about that. Members of my Facebook reader group and email list subscribers will get the first look at the covers, as well as extended excerpts. The links are up there.


The first book in the series, Bound in Smoke, is essentially done. I’m polishing right now before it goes out for the first round of editing.

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Street Witch Series and Other Progress

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Yesterday, I hit 76,000 on The Next Paranormal. I’m up to Chapter 29 of 39 in revisions. Basically, the story is done and now it’s polishing, bringing out theme, and going through my Action Items list. I expect some of the remaining chapters to be folded in to others, and, per usual for me, I will write the final chapter at the very last. The fork is not out yet, but I am targeting the end of this month for that.

I have engaged a new-for-me cover artist and committed to three covers in the series. I was really happy with the previous cover design company I was using, but I had such a terrible time with the last cover that I decided it was time to use someone new. Those of you in my “Secret” facebook group went through part of the design process for that cover and are acquainted with some of my issues with the quality of the work that was done. And so, I am seriously upping the ante on covers.

Spinoff Series and Titles

My original plan with The Next Paranormal was that it would be a new lead-in to the My Immortals series, but after thinking about that for a long time, I decided a spinoff series was a wiser, more productive, and less frustrating-for-me idea. The first two Immortals books are simply unlikely to revert to me until 2021 and as I worked on the current book, I became more and more convinced a new series would be easier and more fun for me.

Anyway, I am 99% committed to Street Witch as a series name, and titles related to fire for the first three books. This should be amusing for those of you who recall the fiasco of settling on a title for the first book in the My Immortals series. Members of my reader group (The Jewelies Group of Awesome) have been offering some great ideas for titles. If you’re interested in joining the group, go here, answer a couple of questions and ask to join.

Meanwhile, the 80% sure title for the first book is Fire Bound but that’s not for sure yet because it’s possible the title should have something to do with smoke. Anyway, this is also typical for me. Sometimes I come up with a title from the start (The Spare and Lord Ruin are two examples) and sometimes I don’t have a title until much later. (A Darker Crimson, which was actually my editor’s suggestion, for example.)

Slightly Writing-Related News

My webhost of many many years handled an issue so badly that I ended up moving almost all my sites with them to a new host. All in all, the move went pretty well, and now that things have been on the new host for a while, I’m ready to tell the old host goodbye. There was a period toward the end of August where my site was misconfigured and my email was bouncing.  So, if anyone sent me an email in August and I didn’t reply it’s because I never got your email and worse, there’s no recovery for that.

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Laborious

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

Here in the US, it’s Labor Day, a day when most workers have a day off from their daily paid labors.

Solidarity, workers of the world.

I’m kicking back and . . . working today.  At the writing job. The Next Paranormal is now over 70,000 words and I’m up to chapter 24 in the edit/fix/revise/sob stage of the writing process. Also, later I’m getting a massage to help get the knots out of my shoulders.

I really need to settle on a title so I can get the cover in progress.

In the meantime, here is a pretty picture I took a while back.

A fairly close up picture of a green succulent that is probably agave but I don't really know. The leaves are kind of like an artichoke that's open, but not spiny.
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Miscellaneous Updates

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

It’s been a while since my last post, I’ve been busy and a bit frazzled. The RWA national conference was the third week in July and since I’m currently on the board I was in Denver for 9 days. Conference was great, busy, and inspiring.

I’ve been writing, of course, and thinking about projects and the order I’ll write them in.

The Current Project

As you may or may not know I am working on a book set in the My Immortals world. My original plan was to write two new books introducing the series so that I could properly market the books and the series. I thought about that long and hard and decided I would rather start a whole new series set in that world. Those first two books should revert to me in 2021 at which time I can market that series without being severely handicapped.

What I’ve decided to do is center this new  series around the street witches  who play such a crucial role in the My Immortals world. What I need now is a boffo series title and I only have terrible ideas. Fortunately, that’s a good start. I do need a new title for the book. I have terrible ideas about that, too.

The good news is the story is actually finished and at this point I’m going through and polishing and adding a lot of words. At the moment I’m staying right around 68,000 words because I delete the ones I don’t like and replace them with better ones.

Habits Old and New

I’m working on setting up new habits and ways of thinking about my writing and my approach to writing. I hadn’t realized while I was dealing with my mother ‘s health issues how many negative thoughts had wiggled their way into my head. I was feeling guilty about not writing fast enough or enough that all and that seems to have wormed its way into my head as a new pattern.

That’s one I’m going to get rid of. I need positive thoughts about my writing and I need not to guilt myself out for taking time to decompress, I need not to stare at my computer resenting that I’m writing s o o  s l o w l y when I’d  rather nap because I’m tired and stressed. The good news is I have caught up on my sleep and I’m not habitually tired and I’m no longer waking up in the middle of the night because I heard something and am worried about my mom.

And so I am laying down new habits of positive thinking. I am really excited about this new series, and it’s pretty exciting that I’m actually so close to done.

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Announcing a New Series

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

New Series in the My Immortals World

An interesting idea occurred to me recently that involves the My Immortals series. I have been working on what I’ve been calling a prequel book to the series, which is in part due to the status of the first two books in the series, which are still published by Grand Central Forever. To date, they have been unwilling to revert those first two books, which means I cannot effectively market the series to new readers. That’s why I decided to do what I should have done ages ago: write “new” Books 1 and 2.

My current project is the first replacement book, with a working title of My Infernal Lover. This book is getting close to done. One thing I’ve always loved about writing this series is the “Street Witches” who play an integral part of the series world. The book I’m working on now features a Street Witch heroine, for example.

I have decided to change my original plan of replacement books 1 and 2 and instead introduce a new series set in the same world. This solves several issues and opens up a whole new set of possibilities. A new series in the My Immortals world lets me keep the same world and the elements I love about the series, but unhampered by the control issues with Books 1 and 2. I will have a series to market to new readers that also functions as an entry to the My Immortals series.

Street Witch Series

One possibility I’m considering is sliding the two My Immortals novellas/short novel (Free Fall and Dead Drop) into this “Street Witch” series concept which is actually where they fit better.

This means my current project will be Book 1 in a new series set in the My Immortals world. I am mulling over a series name, possibly even the entirely obvious yet descriptive “Street Witch Series.” I’ll continue mulling over titles, specifically potential titles for the current project. Maybe just Infernal Lover?

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Writing and Technology

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

Writing and Technology Carolyn Style

I recently bought an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil, since some writers I know had switched entirely and my MacBook Pro is aging a bit. In addition, I have at last found a Mac app that I can write in without being incredibly frustrated and annoyed. My novella, The Viscount’s First Kiss, was written entirely using the Ulysses app.  Ulysses exports to Word, PDF, and HTML, among other formats. It syncs seamlessly between all my devices. I’m fifty thousand words into a novel with Ulysses.

I have some nitpicks, but  in the main I like it. In case you’re wondering, for essentially my entire writing career I’ve been using WordPerfect. When I switched to Mac OS, I installed a Windows virtual machine so I could continue using WordPerfect. There’s a lot about WordPerfect I miss, but Ulysses is the first acceptable replacement I’ve found that works for me.  Yes, I tried Scrivener but it just doesn’t work for me. I know it does for others and more power to you. I keep hoping that Scrivener will address its controlling propensities and stop interfering in the way I want to write. With Ulysses, I started writing and just kept going. I didn’t have to fight with the interface, and it took me about thirty seconds to read about how to make things look the way I want them to.

Anyway,  a while back, my MacBook Pro underwent some kind of glitch that required a complete reformat and restore from backup. To be honest I haven’t bothered to fix the Windows virtual machine on it since I bought the iPad Pro.

What I love About The iPad Pro For Writing

It’s a lot lighter than my MacBook Pro, but about the same dimensions other than thickness.  I bought the Apple keyboard cover, which is pretty sweet. That keyboard is about the same size as the keyboard for the MacBook Pro. When I’m writing on it, I love that it’s a touch screen, too.  I am able to rest the iPad Pro on the exercise bike do-hickey for holding devices, and have been able to dictate while I exercise.  This gives me an additional hour of writing time, which is nice.  I’ve used the Apple pencil a little less than I thought.  I find the documentation for my notebook apps to be pretty bad, and I hate spending more than a few minutes trying to figure out how to do something. However, I have used it for some note booking, for example, and that has been absolutely awesome. Writing longhand is a different experience and a different way of unlocking the writing brain.

What I Don’t Like About Writing on The iPad Pro

iOS is simply not quite as functional as Mac OS there are a couple of things I cannot do on the iPad Pro that I can do on Mac OS, predominantly having to do with one or two apps that I like. The reasons this is a con for writing, is that I want to travel with the iPad Pro and not have to bring the MacBook Pro.

Slight Segue Into Dictation

A couple of years ago I started using dictation because I wanted to make sure I preserved the functionality of my fingers and wrists and because once you settle into the dictation it can be a lot faster than  typing by hand. I had a disaster once that I resolved by dictating a massive number of edits that had been lost. If I hadn’t done that I would not have been able to finish my book on time. For my emergency, I used the built-in Apple dictation. It was not perfect but it worked and well enough I that I bought Dragon dictation both for Mac OS and Windows. Unfortunately, neither was seamless or effortless. Yuck.

What I don’t understand is why Apple insists on using straight quotes in apps where curly quotes are available and enabled. Word corrects this  annoyance, but the Ulysses app does not. Straight quotes are an abomination in fiction. Dragon, however, fixes those straight quotes, so I’m stuck using Dragon When I am writing on the iMac. Speech recognition in Dragon for Mac is pretty awful. Considering how expensive the program is, Nuance should be ashamed. In iOS, I have to use Apple dictation and for some reason that is completely beyond me, when the keyboard cover is attached to the iPad Pro you cannot dictate. WTF, Apple? When I’m on the bike, I remove the cover so I can dictate.

That said, I have watched Apple dictation perfectly transcribe my words and then change them to near gibberish as they are processed. Why? Why? Why is there no setting that allows me to tell it that I am dictating fiction and to stop changing everything to present tense or using pronouns that aren’t the pronouns I used. In addition, there are several  punctuation conventions for fiction that Apple and Dragon completely blow over. It drives me batty. For dialogue, a comma, followed by a close quote should not be followed by a capital letter unless that word actually requires a capital letter: “More coffee,” Mrs. Smith said. But: “More coffee,” she said with a desperate smile. NOT “More coffee,” She said.

It’s annoying as hell. Oh and also for some reason on my computers, both Dragon and Apple dictation randomly capitalize words. Really?

 All in All

Nevertheless, I have not used the MacBook Pro in quite some time. The combination of the iPad Pro, Ulysses app, and the Apple Pencil overlap with several functionalities: a MacBook Pro, a paper notebook, printed MSS, and pens and ink. There was a day when I forgot to bring the iPad Pro with me but I had my regular iPad. I was able to work exactly where I left off. If I had to, I could write on my iPhone.

That said, the RWA National Conference is coming up and I haven’t decided if I’m also going to bring the MacBook Pro. If I don’t, there is an app I use daily that I will have to skip. It wouldn’t be a big deal, though. So I think probably not. My board service means that I fly several times a year and that means I have learned to hate flying, checked luggage, and heavy purses.

Overall, I really like the Ulysses app and hope that they work on the needs of fiction authors. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the portability and lightness of the iPad Pro, and the ability to do longhand writing with it. This combination does most of what I need. It’s just short of perfect.

I find it ironic that so many apps, including Microsoft Word, talk about how great they are for professional writing when in fact they fall down in crucial ways that professional fiction writers need. I would pay a lot of money for WordPerfect as a native Mac App.

 

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Oooh, Pretty. Editing Can Be Fun!

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

I printed out a copy of My Infernal Lover for a paper read through. For this kind of editing, I really enjoy using various fountain pens and colorful inks. I’m using two pens loaded with ink that just arrived. Some of you may know that I love ink with sparkles, and DeAtramentis just came out with some pearlescent inks that have copper sparkles.  I used a paintbrush for the swathes of ink, then wrote some stuff so you can (hopefully) see what it looks like.

Heliogen Green

I loaded the heliogen green in my copper Karas Customs. I really like this pen a lot, though it’s a bit heavy. It writes well. I can’t recall what nib size I got. I’m pretty sure it’s a fine because I was buying fines when I bought this pen. With this pen it’s easy to fit lots of new words all over the front and back of a page.

A swath of ink from a bottle of DeAtramentis Heliogen Green with copper sparkles. The green is soothing and soft, and the copper sparkles are just lovely.

DeAtramentis Heliogen Green with copper sparkles

Velvet Black

I don’t think my photo does justice to this ink. I don’t normally use black ink at all, but the copper sparkles make this special and really fun to write all over my MS with. Interesting note, this ink is loaded in a Monteverde invincia with a nib that is clearly stamped F for fine. But it lays down ink like a medium, which I really like.

A swath of DeAtramentis Velvet Black with copper sparkles. The feeling is soft with an undertone of surprise!

DeAtramentis Velvet Black with copper sparkles

Switching Off

So, I have been switching between the pens with fair frequency. I am up to chapter 3 and I really like this story so far.

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