Posts Tagged ‘Bound in Smoke’

I have A Reader Group

Saturday, 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

Thursday, 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?


October News

Friday, 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!

Sunday, 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!

Saturday, 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

Saturday, 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

Sunday, 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

Saturday, 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


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.


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.


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.