Toxic People at the Grocery Store

This post is about choices.

I just walked to the grocery store to get three things.

And all the lines were incredibly long, which was not the grocery store’s fault. It’s a small place and we have a ton of tourists.

In happy news, the line moved quickly and I was almost out of the aisle 12 with all the toilet paper and about to get one of the self-check-out machines when I turned to say something to the man behind me apologizing for my false starts. I kept thinking one of the men at a kiosk was leaving when he wasn’t.

The very tall man behind me in his polo shirt looked all the way down at me, didn’t respond to what I said and instead questioned, “You haven’t been here. Did you step in front of me?”

“Of course not. I’ve been standing in front of you all the way down that aisle.”

I’m pretty sure I smiled and even said, “I’ve been here.”

He looked down his nose even harder, saw my mere three items in my arms and said, “I’ll let you go.”

He’ll let me go?

How absolutely lovely of him.

I’m a conflict-averse person except for when I’m defending other people (and then I’m all in) and so I deflected and tried to joke because that is how the people in my family deal with conflict and I said, “I’m kind of short, but I was here. Maybe you just didn’t see me.”

He harrumphed. This man exuded that stereotypical wealthy white man vibe. I would cast him as an older investment broker who plays golf and tennis a lot, but doesn’t make quite enough money as he should be making. In a Law and Order-style show, he’d die early on and people would shrug.

I get to my kiosk. His wife joins him and he is now at the kiosk right next to me. She’d been off collecting items while he held their place in line. She bumps me while at the kiosk and apologizes.

I say nicely, “Oh, that’s okay. I’m invisible today.”

Because apparently I am?

But then, as I’m leaving the store, another local woman recognizes me and says, “Carrie. I saw that man. I had your back. I was about to say something. But I had your back.”

And that makes it all better. She has my back. I didn’t even know she was there, but she had it. How cool is that?

Even when some people demean us, make us invisible, accuse us of things that we haven’t done, if we’re lucky there can be someone who sees us, who is ready to jump in.

While we are talking, the man and his wife leave the store, turning a sharp left into the parking lot. He lifts his arm super high in the air and gives me the finger.

Me? I laugh. Because it must be amazing to be so clueless, so full of yourself, and so unable to see the people standing right in front of you for a good seven minutes.

And I laughed because this man’s anger means that I get to bond with another woman who probably feels invisible sometimes even though she’s so amazing and kind and talented.

I laughed because people like him are truly missing out. He could have spent time laughing with me in that line. But instead? Instead he chose to be angry. To wrongly feel slighted.

We all can choose to go out into this world looking for enemies, but life is SO much happier when we go out looking for friends.

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is out SUPER SOON!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know!

Creepy Things That Have Happened to Us and What Makes People Creep You Out

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
Creepy Things That Have Happened to Us and What Makes People Creep You Out
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This week on the podcast, we’re all about the creepy, disturbing, weird, strange things that have happened to you.

Creepy stories are …. fun? Especially when they aren’t about you. So this podcast, we’ll be sharing some of our own creepy stories, some listeners’ creepy stories and some from that magical land called REDDIT. And we’ll be talking a tiny bit about the science which makes some people seem creepy.

SOURCES

Helping Toxic People Even When They Didn’t Help You – Be Brave Friday

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Helping Toxic People Even When They Didn't Help You - Be Brave Friday
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It’s Be Brave Friday where Shaun or I (from Dogs are Smarter than People and Loving the Strange and just being an author in Maine) share people’s unedited, unfiltered stories, so we can all celebrate the big and little brave things we do all the time.

Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re being brave.

Here’s Jordan’s brave story and we are so grateful, Jordan, for you trusting us and sending it in. So much love to you.

So I don’t know how long this is going to take me to put this together. I’ve really thought a lot, back and forth, about whether or not to even reply with this, but I think I’m going to, just for a sense of talking to someone outside of my normal circle.

I know this isn’t probably what you were looking for when you mentioned a story, but this is something that’s just been weighing on my mind for a little while now.

Back in 2014, when I was still a freshman in college, I made the decision to start coming out to my family. My mom had been estranged for reasons that is a whole other story. She’s not the same person she was when I was growing up, so it’s hard to really gauge who she is as a person at any given day.

When I wanted to open myself up a bit and come out to her, she responded in a way I assumed she would, being married to a southern church-going bible-thumper–she told me “I don’t agree with that” and to not bring it around my sister (who was 10 at the time).

I was very disappointed and went on with my life. I kept my mom at a distance because if she didn’t want part of my life to be highlighted, I wasn’t going to filter that. She just wasn’t going to get any of it.

I went through my college career. Struggled, thrived. Made friendships and experiences that have changed my life completely. I reluctantly invited her to my graduation, not even knowing for sure if she’d come–simply because that meant that she would actually have to make the trip.

Cut to 2020, where it’s the hell year for everyone. I’ve moved back to where I grew up to be closer to a few family members of mine. My mom begins communicating with me to inform me that her marriage has fallen apart due to infidelity and other personal things going on.

My concern only lied with my sister. She’s a young adult now but she still has no skills of being able to navigate the craziness that will surely come about with my mom. My mom never knew how to do anything for herself, and she always burned any bridges she made with people, so no one was ever at the ready to help her if she needed it. I knew that if I didn’t step in, my sister was really going to have an even worse time than she was already.

I took time off of work to get my aunt (her sister) to help me find a place where my mom could live. Having no income and no job experience in the last 18 years was going to be extremely tough, but time was of the essence. I managed to find a place and help her get moved in.

Honestly, I wanted either two things to happen. I wanted her to just leave it at that, and not communicate with me any more, or I wanted her to change back to who I knew she was when she was someone I looked up to.

I find it hard to find that kindness inside myself and have to go out of my way to constantly help her when she chooses to not help herself. I don’t know if its actual “trauma” but there are so many hurtful things and happenings that she doesn’t acknowledge or anything.

In her mind, she may believe that it never did, but the things she said, she still said. My mom has never accepted any kind of responsibility for herself and that just takes a toll after a while.

My mom has shoulder surgery next week and I’m dreading it more than anything because I know she’s going to need help and the only one who can offer it or is even remotely even willing to, is going to be me. It’s hard enough working in the public during an ongoing pandemic, in a southern state where the government could care less about the constituents dropping like flies.

Now I have to find a balance of keeping my income at a steady rate while also babysitting my impossible mother.

The past year and a half or so, I made a vow to myself to try and keep a positive outlook and not to lurk so much in negativity. This situation kind of makes me feel like I can’t do this without kindness but it’s so hard for me to feel like I can put kindness forward in this. I know this isn’t your problem, and this may be heavier than what you expected in any kind of responses to this?

I’m not even 100% sure that this message is a solid, coherent thought. At times in this scenario, I feel like I’m a bad person, but at the same time, I don’t care if it does. Even growing up, I always felt like the kingpin of my family. Like, if I wasn’t there to hold everyone together, it would all just fall apart and the damage couldn’t be undone.

To the point where, now, I would rather be isolated and alone than have to worry about it. I guess my question through all of this is how can you put forth kindness in a situation that just constantly drains you? I know it’s not really a comprehensible question but a part of me just wanted to type these thoughts out because I feel like if I mentioned it to anyone close to me here, it would make me seem (for lack of a better word, this really isn’t the right one) like a sociopath.

I think you’re a wonderful person, Carrie, and I’m very sorry if this was exhausting to read or just too impersonal in any way, but thank you for even just presenting me with the idea of being able to just send a thought out to another person, whom I weirdly I feel I can trust with that thought. I hope life is treating you properly, and I am wishing you all of the peace and joy that I can. 

– All the love,

  Jordan

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Full-time Writer and Thinker – Martin Vidal QuarterLife Crises Led to Full-time Writing Career

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Full-time Writer and Thinker - Martin Vidal QuarterLife Crises Led to Full-time Writing Career
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I was lucky enough to interview author and writer, Martin Vidal, and pick his brain. I hope you’ll check out the video or podcast and give this man some props.

I hope you’ll listen to one of my favorite interviews yet with one of my new favorite people.

Here are some highlights to entice you to listen.

On Martin’s website he says that he loves to write and figure things out, which really struck a chord with me because that’s what I do, too.

Martin’s Ambition Handbook is all about self-examination and self-transformation. And it’s a bit more of a holistic look at how to find success rather than a listicle.

Decision making, the choices we each take, that seems to really matter to Martin and he speaks a bit to that and so much little

On our own podcast, we have a thing we do on Fridays called BE BRAVE FRIDAYS where we try to share other people’s bravery stories, stories where they stepped out of their comfort zone or the box they’d been put in. It can be little. It can be small. It can be huge.

Martin talks about one of the events in his life that he looks back on and thinks, “Whoa. I was really brave there.”

Spoiler: It’s that quarter-life existential crisis.

Martin’s other book, THE FLOWER GARDEN, is releasing soon and I got a bit of a peek and it’s just this lovely sauntering through the moments of humanity. He touches on narcissism, grief, love, so many things that matter. And in the podcast he tells us about how he moved from THE AMBITION HANDBOOK to THE FLOWER GARDEN?

We also talk about a great memory in his piece “Social Anxiety Made Me Who I Am” that I think a lot of us writers can relate to.

I remember at 9 years old when I did my first creative writing assignment. The teacher told us to write a paragraph or two starting with “I found an egg in the yard…” We had 30 minutes, if I recall correctly. I wrote three pages and would’ve gladly continued writing more. Whereas my anxiety had muzzled me, the written word flowed out in a torrent. The teacher loved my writing so much she insisted on reading it aloud. Once again, I went to hide in the bathroom while she did.

He wrote in that same piece:

But there’s something malfunctioning inside of me. I’m not afraid of people, but my body is. It tightens up; I lose my ability to focus, to be still — to be me. I can’t think of anything but to get away.

Maybe one of the big reasons I adore Martin is that he really embodies the Nelson Mandela quote

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Where to find Martin:

Why Your Writing Might Be Too Good to Be Popular

https://martinvidal.co/social-anxiety

Website:

www.martinvidal.co

Books:

The Ambition Handbook

Flower Garden

On Medium:

https://martinvidal.medium.com/

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

I’ve got a new book baby because Seamus and Rosie are back!

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

So yeah . . .

I have a new book coming out in the beginning of October! It’s the fourth book in the Bar Harbor Rose series and . . . well . . .

Rosie has been getting in trouble again.

And I’m super excited about it and hope you’ll check it out!

Here’s what people are saying about the series

THE PLACES WE HIDE combines the best of two worlds: Carrie Jones and suspense. The characters are fun, the storyline is interesting and it kept me engaged til the end. It’s rare that I don’t guess who did it, so I appreciate that wasn’t the case here. Highly recommended. – moi

Thoroughly enjoyed this mystery with plenty of twists and a strong sense of atmosphere. Would love to read another mystery starring Rosie! – 417writer

This is a great tale of suspense set in Downeast Maine. It’s full of great characters that you’ll wish you had as your own friends – mix in the excitement and nervousness of new love and perhaps a killer on the loose and it makes for a super read! – Laurie E. Flood

I’d intended to draw reading “Places We Hide” out because Carrie Jones is always a fantastic read, but sadly, I could not put this one down. Well-written, engrossing story line, and the characters are immediately relatable. Carrie Jones has a talent for really drawing you into her universe and by the end of the book, you can’t help but care about her characters even after the story is over. I’m hoping we’ll get to hear more about Rosie, Seamus, and the rest of their crew in the future. – countessdekay

You can order/preorder here.

And here’s an excerpt! I hope you’ll check it out!

As with all my work, this novel’s story and characters are fictitious. Certain long-standing institutions, towns, states, species, agencies, and public offices are mentioned, but the characters involved are wholly imaginary.

Chapter One

A bonding experience, Seamus calls it, the fun of going on a treasure hunt created from a small book that you can download off the internet.

            The whole island has been buzzing about it honestly: the possibility of finding a tiny treasure going off eight pages of pdf-clues that legitimately make absolutely no sense. Illogical rhymes, random words, and a couple of drawings on one page with arrows connecting different parts of images.

            Seamus, Lilly, and I are scouring the foundation of the old Dorr mansion up in Cromwell Cove, also known as Compass Harbor. People around here seem to use the words and labels interchangeably, so I’m not sure what is the proper proper noun for this little peninsula run by Acadia National Park where there are trails and an ancient foundation and floor of one of the old summer mansions of one of the park’s founders.

            George Dorr has another title, Father of Acadia National Park, and he’s one of the reasons the park actually exists.

            As I stick my hand into a hole in the brick foundation of his home, I wonder if I would have another title if I was famous and if it would be Reporter Who Attracts Danger.

            “Mommy! Find any treasure?” Lilly yells over. She’s covered in dirt. Mud has soaked through her leggings. She wipes her fingers on her face and scampers over to me, holding out her hand. “I found the most perfect stone ever!”

            “Wow.” I stand up from my squat and admire the tiny pebble in her palm. “Look at how smooth it is.”

            “I think it’s a beach stone.” She turns from me and yells to giant man we love. “Seamus! Is this a beach stone?”

            Seamus strides over. There’s no dirt on him anywhere somehow. His dark gray fleece is immaculate. His jeans don’t even have a wayward pine needle stuck to the denim.

            When I think about the bad men of my past—and the bad women—I always wonder if there was some sort of hint or clue that I initially missed about them, a warning or inkling that should have tipped me off that they were capable of massive evil and hurt. Do I gloss over the signs?

            Seamus is good, I remind myself. People can be good.

            “It’s a beautiful stone. It’s lucky.” Seamus taps Lilly on the end of her nose with his giant finger and she giggles. “Just like you.” He redirects his gaze to me. “My two beautiful, lucky ladies. Actually, no–I’m the lucky one.”

            “Yeah, you’re messing up your compliment, silly.” Lilly arches one of her eyebrows, a new trick that she’s mastered and doing constantly. She wipes her messy hand across her cheek, smudging even more dirt on her skin and in her other hand she keeps the stone. Her palm is flat and the stone stays in the center, almost like an offering to the sky or the trees or the world.

            “You can keep it,” I whisper.

            “That’s breaking rules! You can’t take anything from the park.” Lilly’s eyebrow falls down.

            “Yes,” I say, “but this is a special stone. A fairy stone. They brought it here for you as a gift.”

            An eyebrow raises, but her voice quivers and suddenly she’s so young again, a girl without all the evil in her life, no killers, no bad dads, no broken moms, just her and her goodness. “Really?”

            “Really.” Seamus closes her fingers around her fist. “I promise I won’t arrest you. The fairies wouldn’t take too kindly to that.” He pauses and winks at me over Lilly’s head. “Your mom wouldn’t take too kindly to that either.”

            I snag Lilly in a big hug, “Nope. Nope. No arresting my baby girl, Sergeant.”

            “Never.” He winks. “Unless she does something horribly illegal like snagging the last samosa and not sharing.”

            “What? Me never.”

            “You just did it with a corndog.”
            “You ate five of them!”

            “I’m a big man. It takes a lot of corndogs to fuel me.”

            I let go of both of them. “Wait. You fed her corndogs?”

            Seamus pivots Lilly around so her back is to him and she’s facing me. She’s smiling in a huge way that takes up her whole adorable face. His hands stay on her shoulders.

“She fed them to me,” he says. “Tell her, Lilly. How you insisted. How you told me that you’d never let me marry your mom if I did not give you the scrumptious, decadent sausage on a stick.”

“Breaded and fried,” Lilly adds. “So bad for us.”

“A fine, gourmet highlight of American cuisine,” Seamus adds. He gives her a fake false shake and continues in a ridiculously over-the-top imploring tone, “Tell her, please! Admit to this treacherous act of gluttony.”

Lilly does a thumb point backwards. “Totally him.”

“I am betrayed!” Seamus says reeling backwards dramatically, arms flailing and plopping on one of the different brick walls that made up the foundation of the estate. “All is lost!”

“You are such a dork,” Lilly says, hands on her hips as she stares at him. She turns back to me. “Mommy, you are marrying a dork.”

“I know,” I tell her, reaching a hand out to Seamus to help him up. It’s my good arm. The one that hasn’t been shot and doesn’t ever ache or remind me of bad things. “That means your bonus dad is going to be a dork too.”

She does the eyebrow wave and spirals off. “I’m going to go check this wall over here!”

Seamus pulls me down to his level on the mossy brick floor. For a few moments we just sit there, happy beneath the sunrays coming through the canopy of oak and ash leaves. I try not to think about ticks and spiders and about how we’ll have to change clothes when we get back home and inspect each other for ticks, try not to think about how too many corndogs could hurt Seamus’s cholesterol levels and heart health. I think the rule is something like every hotdog you eat takes thirty-five minutes off your life expectancy. How much would corndogs take?

“You’re worrying again, aren’t you?” he asks as he tucks me into his side.

I lean my head against the front of his shoulder. “Maybe.”

“About what?”

“Unseen threats. Mainly ticks and cholesterol.”

He pulls away a bit. “You aren’t going to lose us, honey.”

“But I’ve come so close to—”

“And we’re still here.”

“True.” I let his words comfort me for a minute and we yell back when Lilly yells about things like how she’s totally going to find the treasure or says ‘ick’ really loudly. It’s all lovely and calm and it does—it feels safe.

After a minute and out of nowhere, Seamus starts talking about George Dorr again.

“The thing people don’t know is that Dorr died without any personal fortune left and nearly blind,” he tells me. “He spent almost all his money making sure that this park was preserved. He kept buying more and more land, adding it to the park.”

            “That’s sort of sad,” I say.

            “I think he was okay with it. He got his wish. He made an entire park, preserved all this land.” He pauses. His hand strokes the top of my arm and the good kind of goosebumps rush through me. “Do you know that he swam in the water every single day of the year to prove to Congress that it was not too cold in Maine to have a national park?”

            “I did! Lilly wrote a paper on that!”

            “A paper?”

            “It was more of a project,” I admit. “Because you know—grade school.”

            He laughs. “Well, did you know that he didn’t really swim every day? Instead, sometimes in winter, he just dipped in his toe. So he just told them ‘I go in the water every single day of the year.’”

            “That’s sneaky!”

            “So sneaky,” he admits. “But that’s part of what life is, right? Reality is manipulated. We believe what we want to believe.”

He takes a moment and grabs my hand in his. This is when I know Seamus is being all serious. It usually terrifies me. But I swallow down anything I want to say and try not to imagine worst case scenarios like his divorce didn’t actually go through, he’s fallen in love with the gross firefighter who always talks about being naked; he’s leaving me; he has a terminal disease; he’s decided I’m not worth it.

            There are so many possibilities . . . horrible possibilities.

            “Baby?” His voice is a strong whisper. “What are you thinking?”

            “Nothing. What were you going to say?”

            “You’re a horrible liar.”

            “I know.”

            He smiles. “It’s a good trait.”

            “Harrumph.” My harrumph sounds like my long-dead nana, all frustrated and annoyed even though I’m not. I’m just feeling too studied, too known.

            And then to make it even worse he says, “I know you’re having nightmares. I know you’re still scared.”

            “I’m working through it.”

            “You don’t have to expect the worst all the time, Rosie. You can depend on people. Michelle, me, Gunner, Hannah, Summer. We have your back, you know?” He pauses. “You can quit your job at the paper. I know you hate it.”

            “I like it.”

            “You’re lying again.”

            “I kind of like it?” I offer. “I like learning new things and meeting new people. I just don’t like taking pictures of accidents and stuff. And I don’t like that people think I’m biased because of you and because I dispatched.”

            “People will always think things. You can’t care about that. You just have to be you.” He pulls me into a hug even though I’m dirty and he’s not very pro-dirt. “That’s not what I wanted to say. I just want to say that Gunner thinks you might need to get a little help with the nightmares.”

            “Therapy.” I sigh. “I’ve gone to therapy.”

            “Medication?”

            “I am fully functional!” I object, pulling away, but managing to resist the urge to stomp off. “My brain is just working through things.”

            “I’d lift an eyebrow at you if I was capable.”

            I grab onto his belt loop and pull myself back towards him, trying to be sexy. “I think you’re capable of a lot of things, Sgt. Kelley.”

            He kisses the top of my head and murmurs, “Just you wait and see.”

Want to read more? Just want to support a random author? Here’s the link to the ebook and you’ll be able to order paperback and hard cover too.

Alligator Romance with Darth Gator and the grammar behind the words in to vs into

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Alligator Romance with Darth Gator and the grammar behind the words in to vs into
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So, now that we’re into the helpful part of the podcast and no longer talking about women in love with the alligators that attacked them or dogs and cats breaking records together, we thought we’d take a quick look at a big grammar mistake.

And that’s when INTO is one word or two.

Is it . . .

Dude, I am so into you.

Or is it . . .

Dude, I am so in to you.

Here’s how it works.

INTO all as one word is a preposition, which means it’s showing MOVEMENT of one thing to another thing.

But IN TO (two words) has two grammatical bits going on right there. The IN is an adverb and the TO is the preposition. And they aren’t like snuggled up in bed like a cohabitating couple, they just tend to show up in the sentence next to each other.

Here are some examples:

INTO as one word:

Baby, I made it into the office today, but only just barely because… cough… you know.

Lordie, look what Santa put into your stocking.

That alligator went into that woman’s head, man, like took total control.

INTO usually tells you WHERE something is happening.

IN TO as two words

Look, I am standing in to make a statement to our senator.

Santa came in to say a hearty hello.

The dog and cat rode in to break that record on that damn scooter.

IN TO usually can be substituted with IN ORDER TO.

Easy, right? Consider yourself grammatical.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Two words are different than one.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Sometimes taking chances pays off (like when you jump on a scooter with a cat) and sometimes it doesn’t (like when you bite your handler’s hand). Choose your risks wisely. And that goes for copyediting too. Unless you’re super sure you know all the grammar, don’t copyedit your own story.

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.

LINKS WE MENTION IN THE RANDOM THOUGHTS PORTION OF THE PODCAST

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/09/16/canada-Guinness-World-Records-dog-cat-scooter-Lollipop-Sashimi-Melissa-Millett/5691631809102/

https://news.sky.com/story/woman-attacked-by-alligator-says-i-love-him-and-it-shouldnt-face-any-consequences-12385890

Things I’m Up To – Books and Poems and Podcasts and Interviews, Oh My?

I realized that I tend to never give update blogs — or at least I don’t in the way that marketers would want me to.

This is because I’m bad at talking about myself and my work.

But that changes for a hot second right now, my friends, and this is what I’m up to.

Feeling short is the #1 thing I’m up to
Still feeling short (but in a TARDIS).

WRITING BOOKS

I still have some books that will be coming out this fall/winter. And that’s a frantic/frenetic frenzy (look at that alliteration) of work.

What books?

Well, thanks for asking! Just kidding. I’m only pretending you’re asking.

October

THE THINGS WE SEEK

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

November

ALMOST DEAD

This is an adult paranormal about a young woman who sees people’s deaths

Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.

Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.

Join New York Times and internationally bestselling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

December

WHEN YOU BRING THEM BACK

This is a YA paranormal about a secret necromancer dealing with a family

Some secrets should stay buried.

Self-trained necromancer Snow secretly sells her services to raise the dead so that she can someday raise enough money to get out of her dead-end Maine island and away from her dead-head mom and her assortment of criminal friends.

But when she’s out raising Colonial Buck, Silas, the sexy golden boy of her high school tries to save her and is killed by a demon contained to cemeteries and who is collecting souls for his return to the world of the living. Distraught, Snow mourns Silas only to find him reanimated and trying to figure out how he could possibly be . . . dead?

A family curse.

An angry ex-girlfriend.

And Snow’s increasing desire for Silas complicates finding Silas his answers and stopping the demon.

If they can’t stop the demon from killing more people, it won’t be just their hearts that are broken, but the barrier between the living and the dead . . . forever.

January

THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE

Jessica “Dude” Goodfeather’s mother walked off and left her and her kind stoner dad when she was just a little girl, but after a mysterious email leads to some serious questions, Dude and her friends realize that her mother might not have willingly abandoned them after all.

The third book in Carrie Jones’s exciting Maine mystery series forces Dude to grapple with the ghosts of her family’s past so that she can finally head towards a hopefully brighter future.

POEMS

My writing life started off as a poet. Yes! I know! Weird, right?

But poetry is what I first published and poems are where I express my anger and wonder and where I witness this world and try to find little, resonating truths.

So for August I started what I call a “fun project” with no expectations and started posting poems on Medium every day. It turned out to be terrifying and so much fun.

Getting poems back in my life earned me a whopping $5 on Medium, lol, but it gave me new friends and a new focus and outlet that I’ve missed so much.

If you want to go check them out, please do. I’m right (or write) here!

PODCASTS

And talking about MEDIUM, one of my new friends there is Martin Vidal and he’s going to be starting off our returning bonus podcast interviews for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE this week! I’m so excited to introduce him and his marvelous mind and writing to you.

Martin’s going to be kicking off a series of new and established writers (of a bunch of genres) interviews. I hope you’ll check them out and give the authors some love.

Oh, That Florida Man

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Oh, That Florida Man
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Hey, Welcome to LOVING THE STRANGE, where we celebrate the weird and embrace the heck out of it.

This week, in honor of Shaun Farrar, our own Florida man, we are talking about Florida men.

In ancient times, so back in 2013, Florida man became a meme because there were just so many weird and bizarre news articles (mostly police beats) about Florida men doing weird and criminal and often dumb things.

Both CNN and the Miami News Times claim that Florida men aren’t that naughty or bizarre compared to their equivalents in other states, but it’s just because the freedom of information laws in that state make it pretty easy to peruse police beat.

The  Columbia Journalism Review says that Florida Man is “one of journalism’s darkest and most lucrative cottage industries”, because “stories tend to stand as exemplars of the mythical hyper-weirdness of the Sunshine State, but more often simply document the travails of the drug-addicted, mentally ill, and homeless.”

Here are the links we reference during our talk.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Man

https://www.vice.com/en/article/7bmp8a/weird-florida-news-america-florida-man

https://nypost.com/article/crazy-florida-man-headlines-that-made-the-meme/

https://www.boredpanda.com/hilarious-florida-man-headings/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

It Isn’t Too Late to Be There For Your Kids Our Most Personal Be Brave Friday Ever

So all of us need to reach up, reach out, be responsible. Inaction is often just as horrible as bad actions, but we can always climb our way out of the hole we’ve dug by making those good choices, those kind choices (even when they are so damn hard).

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
It Isn't Too Late to Be There For Your Kids Our Most Personal Be Brave Friday Ever
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It’s Be Brave Friday where Shaun or I (from Dogs are Smarter than People and Loving the Strange and just being an author in Maine) share people’s stories, but this week, I’m sharing ours. It’s the first time I’ve talked publicly about this and it’s kind of hard.

Trigger Warning for parent issues (not us).

We have an adorable kid who has autism and ODD and ADD. And here’s the thing. They are funny and creative and have big emotions about their world.

That isn’t the easiest thing to handle for some people.

And we get judged about them all the time. Their ADD manifests in wanting to do a project all night long when they’re really into it. Their ODD manifests in not dealing well when we tell them they need some sleep. Their psychiatrist has said on multiple occasions, “This is not the bridge worth dying on.”

They’re right.

But people don’t get that.

And they judge. A lot.

And whatever. I’m fine with that because though I’m self-deprecating to the point that I tend to drive other feminists crazy, I’m confident that I’m a parent who is full of love and appreciation for her kids. The judging doesn’t matter because what matters is the human who is growing and learning and becoming.

That’s not what this post is about though. This post is about our kid’s other mother. The one who gave up on them two years ago. The one who has to get texts from the kid in order to even think to visit with them. The one who is trained as a teacher but didn’t even send a text to their own child to ask them how their first day of school in a new school system went. And two weeks later, still hasn’t.

This post is about anger, honestly, because I am so angry on behalf of our kid. And I not usually brave enough to talk about this or my anger. I’m a pretty conflict averse human except when it’s about things that hurt others.

But this post is also about hope. We all have moments every single day to do the right thing. To reverse the path that we’re on and actually be responsible and good, to reach out with kindness and with love.

That’s hard sometimes when you’ve sucked for two years. But it’s going to be a lot harder after you’ve sucked for twenty.

So all of us need to reach up, reach out, be responsible. Inaction is often just as horrible as bad actions, but we can always climb our way out of the hole we’ve dug by making those good choices, those kind choices (even when they are so damn hard).

We can all do this. Every single one of us. In order to make our families, our communities, our nation and our world better? We have to.  

Here’s the video where I don’t stick entirely on script because I suck at that, honestly.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN INTERACT MORE.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 261,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

I Wish I Could Explain To My Kid . . .

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

Do you remember being in middle school?

I do. I remember many variations of middle school because I went to at least three of them in different cities in Florida. The demographics of each one were vastly different and I am quite positive that my middle school experiences played a large role shaping me into the person I am today.

But, overall, all twelve years of my public school experience were not a huge deal for me. I would rather have been doing something other than attending school of course, but wouldn’t most of us?

Carrie: Cough. No. Learning is fun!

So, with that tiny bit of backstory in hand, I pose to you this question.

Which did (or do) you hate more?

Having to get up for school when you were actually the one attending or having to get up for school because you are a responsible parent and you have to get your child prepared for the day and then to school?

I know that question makes me sound like a horrible, selfish and unloving parent, but that is just not true.

It is really the fact that now that I am an adult, some things are so much harder!

I mean, it sucks having to get up and attend school when you are a kid.

It sucks having to get up and attend class when you are a young adult and going to college.

And it really sucks to have to get up and go get an education when you are well into adulthood, already have a college degree (probably a job and possibly kids) and just want a better degree because you actually care enough to try and make your life better.

Why then do we do it?

We do it because we want to live the best life possible and we want our kids to have an even better life than us in the end.

I wish I could explain all of this to my kid. I wish they would accept the fact that while adults don’t necessarily know everything, we damn sure know more about most things in life!

I wish I could explain to my kid that yes, in fact, you are growing up in a totally different world than I did, but that damn sure doesn’t make your fairly cushy life any harder than mine when I was your age!

I wish I could explain to my kid that yes, I do love you and care about you and I damn sure know what’s better for you than the people online!

Some day people! Some day they will appreciate us and most of what we have done for them. That is what we can hope at least. But if they don’t? Well, if they don’t, we were successful because they are better people or have better lives because we did our jobs as loving parents then so be it. We are all still winners!

So, take this convoluted blogpost to be nothing more than a reminder that you are doing a good job. You, parent, are doing what is right and all of your sacrifices, hard work, and lack of sleep is the job you took on when you decided to procreate and you are doing one hell of a good job!

Pat yourself on the back and have some “me” time when that little hellion is sleeping. You deserve it!

Remember, it is easier when You Love Your Way Through It!

Peace,

Shaun


NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.