Archive for the ‘Carolyn’s Writing’ Category

How I’m Doing (TLDR; better)

Sunday, April 25th, 2021

Hello all. I have all the best intentions of posting more often here so hold me to it! Since my last post, the writing has continued to slowly return to me. I’ve been writing every morning since February, getting more sleep, and learning to live with grief. I’m really pleased with how Bound in Smoke is developing. Ideas and story elements come to me with increasing frequency, and I take them when they come, with excitement and gratitude that the well is refilling. Thank you everyone, for all your patience and support.

Other good news is that as of now, all of my immediate family has had at least one COVID vaccine. I haven’t seen my son in nearly a year and now, fingers crossed, it looks like it might be safe to travel to see him later this year. Or him to see us. It’s my hope that we’ll soon be able to get to together to mourn our family losses.

For anyone who has lost a loved one, I am sending you my deepest sympathies. These are difficult times. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself.

Here is a picture of one of the irises now blooming at the house:

A maroon iris with gold highlights. The blossom is fully open and the picture is taken from above. The colors are striking, and it looks soft yet serious.
Iris. Taken from above. Picture by Yours Truly, aka Carolyn Jewel


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Where Am I? How Am I?

Saturday, February 20th, 2021

Over the last few months, I have started an abandoned half a dozen posts to address those two questions and I just get emotionally derailed. So I’ll just say I am as OK as it’s possible to be under the circumstances. Grief is a process and you can’t just decide to bull through it.

I have been writing — more accurately rewriting– Bound in Smoke. For quite a while there wasn’t much in the writing well. I could edit and proofread but nothing much was happening in the part of the writing that puts drama on the page. Not a good place to be, and there’s not much point to editing when the emotional core of the story isn’t there.

Lately that’s changed. In moments when I’m not writing, a story-drama idea would just pop into my head. Normally this would happen on an almost daily basis, but there was nothing for quite a while. I documented those rare ideas and worked them into the writing and things were better on the page. Then there’d be nothing for a while only to have another idea pop into my head.

Instead of a near-constant flow of story emotion in me, I went from complete silence to oh, hey! Interesting . . . and then back to silence. At first, it wasn’t enough to justify doing a huge amount of work, but over the last several weeks, those slow bubbles have built on each other and now when I’m writing I don’t feel like there’s nothing in me to draw on.

Recently, I’ve taken to getting up a little early and getting some words in before the day starts, and that’s been productive. I think it helps that my sleep has improved somewhat.

And there you have it. That’s where I am now. I hope all of you are doing well in these trying times. Be kind to yourselves.

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Update on Bound In Smoke

Friday, September 4th, 2020

I’ve been putting off this post for a while because it’s hard to write. But first, YES! This book is still coming your way, so don’t think it’s not. As many of you know, I sent the revised MS to my editor. The main take away from the comments I got is simple enough. I’ll paraphrase a lot:

It’s better to take risks and piss off a few readers than play it safe and leave your core readers dissatisfied.

Editor speaking Truth.

I immediately recognized this for what it meant for the way I was telling this story. The remarks were spot on and, perhaps ironically, incredibly freeing. I needed some time to process that and decide on my approach to the story and the series.

Love in the Time of COVID.

The last two years have been personally tough, with 2019 an intensely bad time. Add in COVID and 2020 so far hasn’t been any easier or better than 2019. The stress is just different, which I’m sure everyone will recognize in their own lives.
It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I have been. I have written well over 250,000 words (The equivalent of 2-3 books.)
Throughout, though, I knew something wasn’t quite right with the book. I made a lot of progress with this last draft, and I remain happy with the basic structure. The problem is in the emotional arc and my editor’s comment crystalized that for me.

Writing is a Constant Evolution

I took some time to think about why and how I had backed off of risk and once I did that, I decided I needed not a spin-off series but a brand new one. And that is what I am doing. Who knows what the rest of 2020 holds, but I am hopeful that I will have a completed new version before the end of the year.

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Update

Saturday, 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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Editor Bound

Tuesday, 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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What I’ve Been Up To

Saturday, 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

Sunday, 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

Saturday, 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

Saturday, 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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Street Witch Series

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

I am going over the MS for Bound in Smoke before it goes back to my editor. I’ve been going through the “Action Items” list I use to keep track of details or items I need to double check.

Also, today I saw the comp for the cover of book three in the series.

I can’t wait to show it to you!

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