Archive for the ‘Carolyn’s Writing’ Category

May Greetings! The WIP and a New Cover

Saturday, May 6th, 2023

The WIP

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

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Spring is Springing!

Monday, April 10th, 2023

Greetings everyone! This was a week of spectacular weather after a couple of days of light rain. A few of the many wildflowers I planted are coming up so fingers crossed that continues. Everything is starting to bloom! Yay for April and spring weather.

Yesterday I took the dogs for their walk and it was too hot for me. As we move out of our wild winter weather, no more sneaking in early walks for the dogs. Walks have to for wait when it’s cooler. I have a plant identification app now and I’m having fun identifying some of the weeds, wildflowers, and grasses, but sad that so much is considered invasive or else non-native. As we work on our slow conversion of our immediate yard with natives and pollinators I will have to figure out a strategy for getting rid of the invasive grasses . . .

I am still working through my read through of Bound in Smoke, and it’s still going well. In fact, I’m pleasantly surprised that I haven’t reached a spot (yet) that requires that I do an update and rewrite so I can start over with the read through. I’m interspersing the editing with note-booking some story and character questions which always brings needed clarity.

Apropos of nothing, one of the goldfish in the pond is jet black with two bright orange stripes along its head that look like horns. I’m going to try to get a picture because it’s really really striking. Stay tuned.

I hope everyone is doing well and that there are spring flowers for you to admire and enjoy.

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A Wednesday Post About Weather and Writing

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Weather: We Have It.

Greetings to everyone! California has been in severe drought for the last several years which has been scary and sad. We’d stopped planting our yearly tulips because even with a six week rest in the fridge before planting they require February frost and freezes, and for the past 2-3 years we were getting spring in February and it was making the tulips mostly not come up. In hindsight I wish I’d bought tulips this year, because we had the kind of cold that makes the tulips thrive. In 2022 and so far in 2023, my part of California has been hit by constant stream of wild weather; high winds, atmospheric rivers, snow that stayed on the mountains nearly five days, plus hail multiple times. Snow is a once a decade thing here and hail is almost as rare. All the trees are stressed from drought, and, also in hindsight, I wish I’d been even more aggressive about taking out trees along the driveway. Without that preventive work though there would have been serious damage. All told we lost or had to take out 10 trees either because¬† they fell or became a hazard. Elsewhere on the property we lost a 60+ year old oak when the water in the creek washed out its roots. Three other trees came down in later storms. I had to construct berms and troughs to direct water away from the sole driveway drainage because the neighbors below us discovered some major drainage problems which they can’t fix until it’s drier and the water from that drain was shooting up into the air from a broken pipe on their side . . .

The good news is none of the falling trees blocked us in (because we’d already taken those trees out) and the tree guys were able to mostly straighten the crushed fence. We had cows visiting from the neighbor above us because they’d learned about jumping over crushed fences and after making that discovery I believe they went looking for all the places they could go eat someone else’s grass — which is waist high in places! So we got that bit of fence sorted too and have not had more cow visitors.

Writing!

Bound in Smoke is going well. Getting My Wicked Enemy and My Forbidden Desire on sale took some time but fortunately I was ready so that went relatively smoothly. Then I reached the point where I wanted to do a paper read through of Bound in Smoke and it turned out HP has basically borked my model of printer [insert angry ragey emojis here] with a driver system that refuses to recognize the printer even though MacOS says it’s right there and by the end of trying to get it to work, I reached a place of white hot hatred for HP so I bought a new printer and it is NOT an HP printer. The new printer arrived and was easy to set up. So, I don’t write in Word but in order to print a book, I port my book to Word so I can set up everything (almost) the way I like for a read-through and then it turned out the Word print dialog box does not have the check box for 2-sided printing and there was no way to make it stop printing 2-sided — because someone somewhere decided the printer should print 2-sided by default and there is no way to change that at the printer. I need the back of pages blank because I use the back of the page when I run out of space for editorial changes on the front. OMG.

Anyway eventually I opened the Word doc in Pages and when I clicked print, there was the box that let me un-click 2-sided printing. And so, after more frustration than seems fair, I have the MS printed out and I am doing my read-through. So far, I’m pretty happy with how it reads. I like the new printer and it’s not an HP. I also have a new shredder.

There is more rain headed our way. I like winter weather, I really do, but I’m going to whine and just say, I could do with a break.

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Good News!

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

As many of you know, I have been impatiently waiting for the official reversion for My Forbidden Desire.  Well, today my wonderful agent forwarded it to me which means that I now officially control all the books in the My Immortals series! Yippeee!!!

I have started the uploading process but it will be a few days before I can pull the trigger and upload everywhere. I have to contact Amazon because for whatever reason, I can’t connect all the books as a series, so they will have to fix that. At the same time I do that I will cleverly send them the reversions for My Wicked Enemy and My Forbidden Desire, and then all the ducks should be in a row.

Celebrate with me!

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February News

Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Happy 2023: No Unicorns

I hope everyone is having a lovely, safe, and healthy 2023. Here at Jewel HQ we’re doing OK. It rained yesterday but no atmospheric rivers. We had some visiting cows from the neighbor but I got that sorted. I am disappointed that the mysterious hoof prints we found were left by cows not unicorns. Normally, you’d be able to tell straight away but the ground is so wet that their feet sink 3-4 inches deep in places so you can’t see the cloven part. I was hoping it was unicorns. Alas.

Reversion?

Nope. I still do not have a reversion for My Forbidden Desire. There’s really nothing I can do but continue to wait and hope my agent can sweet talk them into sending it. The eBook is no longer for sale on Amazon so I keep hoping this means they’ll send the reversion but no luck so far.

The WIP

Bound in Smoke is going really, really well. At long last I don’t feel like I’m fighting the words. It’s such a relief. See below

Sleep and Sleep Deprivation

Many years ago when my son was a toddler, I had a horrific commute that meant–no lie–I went to bed at 11:00PM or 12:00 and was up at 2:30AM. Eventually I moved on to a job without the commute and with a 6 week break between jobs. For that six weeks I did nothing but sleep late, get up, take a nap or two, and go to bed. Then all of a sudden it was like a switch flipped in my head and the world was different. I realized it was because I wasn’t exhausted anymore. Sleep deprivation is pernicious. You think you’re fine, just tired, but you’re not.

Fast forward several years to about 2019ish when I started struggling with the writing. There were a lot of reasons. Stress, caring for ill-family, unexpected and tragic deaths of people who were too young to die but did. No surprise, I was also not sleeping well. For a year after my mom passed away, the slightest sound at night would bring me wide awake in case my my mother had fallen again. She used to wander at night or fall out of bed, or she was having night terrors and needed calming. The sleep troubles continued, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back to sleep for 2-3 hours. But I thought I was OK. I really did.

About nine-months ago or so, I decided to do something about my sleep issues. Since I get up on my dad’s schedule, I’m up at 5:00 AM every day. I started going to bed at 6:30 or 7:00 PM so I’d have time to read or what have you before I really had to sleep in order to get at least 8 hours, if not 9 hours. But the deal was, the minute my eyes started drooping, all devices went off and it was lights out no matter what time it was.

And I started sleeping through the night. No more waking up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep–or only very rarely. After a bit, the writing was less of a struggle. Then two or three months ago, I had that same sensation that a switch had flipped in my head and the world was different. And the writing came back completely. The way I plot and how ideas happen in the writing, all of it back.

I’m sure it was a combination of things, working through grief, recovering from a long period of sleep disturbed by my ill mother, working on stress management, but it was getting 7-9 hours of regular, uninterrupted sleep that was the major breakthrough.

What a relief.

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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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