Love Your Way Through It

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. 🙂

best podcast ever
Shaun Farrar

So, I have decided that the problem with the world today is a lack of love and compassion for other human beings. Of course, by “today” I mean almost since the beginning of humanity, but the issue seems to be getting more exacerbated every day. This could also be interpreted as an overabundance of hate but since I believe that love and compassion can always win over hate, I think it is appropriate to say that we need more love and compassion in our world!

I cannot even fathom what drives some of the hatred in our communities or what motivates people to try and change history in an attempt to make their viewpoints the correct ones. I can guess, and if I was to do so, I would say that the biggest motivators are power, greed and for some ignorance, or rather a lack of educating oneself beyond the beliefs that they were taught while in an impressionable state.

Being human brings with it the fault of imperfections and I, being very much less than perfect, often times find myself rushing to judgement or adopting a poor attitude without much thought. However, as time ages me and I write more of these “Love Your Way Through It” blogposts, I do find myself trying much more often to put myself in other’s shoes and to not be so immediately judgmental, condescending or angry. This emotional slowing down actually makes me feel better as a human and more mature.

I have a hard time being mature sometimes!

My point is that we are all human. We all make mistakes. We all need love, compassion, empathy and acceptance as an equal to any other human. Please try to remember that spreading hate has an emotional cost to everyone, spreading love has no cost and the emotional benefits are endless!

Have a wonderful day full of love and compassion and remember to always Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun      

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 a new book 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.

Diaries be Damned. There’s No One Way To Be a Writer

I don’t do diaries or journals and this gives me a lot of strange looks from people who DO do diaries or journals.

They usually gasp. “But you’re a writer!”

I am.

I am a writer.

I am a person that has to write just like I have to exercise and be outside. I am a miserable, horrible beast if I don’t get to do those two things for at least a half hour a day.

But you don’t have to fit into other people’s ideas of ‘what a writer is’ or labels in order to be a writer.

Almost all my teachers told me to write in a diary. All the good kids in grade school, the Kathy Albertsons (I love her) of the world, had these beautiful diaries where they’d write about their day and their feelings in perfect looping handwriting.

I was no Kathy Albertson, but I wanted to be.

So, I tried to write in my diary. There’d be two entries for a year.

My sibling looked at it, scoffed and said, “Carrie, you have no follow-through.”

Spoiler: I have a lot of follow-through. I just didn’t like writing in a diary about the most boring subject in the world–me.

This is the kind of quality entries, I had. Obviously, meant to be both an artist and author, right?

When I was little, I hated writing in my diary because I was positive that my life wasn’t interesting the way books were interesting. Plus, it took so long to write those words on the page and I was impatient for adventure. I wanted to be a spy, find Big Foot, save the world from bad guys and apparently constantly take the Lord’s name in vain and go straight to hell.

I also had big plans that never made it into my diary.

One teacher told me, “All writers write diaries, journals of their feelings. If you want to be a writer, you must journal!”

And I said, “Guess, I’m not a writer then.”

Spoiler #2: I’m a writer.

Spoiler #3 : I still don’t journal unless you count blog posts.

I ended up volunteering for so many groups once I was in middle school and through to adulthood. They were mostly social justice groups, human rights groups, politicians. I still didn’t write a diary more than twice a year. I joined a singing group and got paid. I canvassed neighborhoods by myself before high school. I did things and lived. Still, none of it got put in my diary.

As a reporter, I wrote columns that ended up being about the things I saw in my community. I’ve often been an accidental witness. I loved writing columns actually. They were probably my favorite things to write (other than features) in the newspaper world.

I still, however, didn’t write a diary.

And now, when I see the world that can be so angry, so full of hate and hurt, I still don’t write a diary even though I’m absolutely wowed by other people’s journals.

But even though I don’t write a diary or a journal, I write. I write novels. I write editorial assessments, poems, podcast, blog posts.

And that’s the thing.

There’s no one way to be a writer. There’s no one way to be a human.

And once we start putting those constraints on others and especially on ourselves, we lose our way and what was once a joy? It becomes a struggle. When we try to be someone wonderful–say Kathy Albertson–then we lose the person we are.

If you can and it works for you, try to write for a tiny amount of time every day if you want to be a writer. Make it a practice.

Write about yourself if you want, manatees falling in love with hamsters in the Joshua Tree park, vampires who are not apocalyptic. Write whatever you feel or want to. Poems. Journals. Parables. Jokes. Books. Write for the practice and write for the joy. Write because you don’t understand things. Write because you do. Write because you’re powerful. Write because you’re powerless. Write for control. Write for a lack of control. But write. Write if it’s what you want to do.

And if you hate writing every day? That’s okay, too. Remember. There is no one way to be anything but especially there is no one way to write, to art, to human, to sing, to shine.

And if you’re having troubles with writing, check out below.

Ask Yourself:

What makes you stop writing?

Why do you sometimes think you aren’t a writer?

What keeps you from writing?

What stops the words from flowing?

Sometimes just these questions can open up layers of your soul. Give them a try, okay?

Continue reading “Diaries be Damned. There’s No One Way To Be a Writer”

Getting High With Dolphins and Making Meaning

We have to take back our own power and decide what success is to us, not society, not our parents, not our children, us. What gives us meaning? What gives us joy?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Getting High With Dolphins and Making Meaning
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How do you make meaning in your life? That’s a big questions we’ve been struggling with here.

Success is defined for us:

  • It’s having a kid who graduates high school.
  • It’s having your own home, your own car.
  • It’s looking like a Kardasian.
  • It’s being strong like the Rock.

But when you were a little kid was that what you thought?

Let’s say you’re two. Success is going on the potty, honestly, and not the floor. Success is not wearing a diaper.

Success and happiness came from immediate things. It was a piggyback ride on your sister’s shoulders. It was twirling around in circles until you fell down dizzy. It was an ice cream cone that made it into your mouth and not the sidewalk.

It wasn’t a million-dollar book contract or celebrity endorsements. Or a McMansion. It wasn’t 8,000 likes on your TikTok video.

It was what made you happy inside. You. Not anyone else. And somehow along the way, a lot of us have forgotten what makes us happy. Us. Not society. Not Twitter. Not TikTok. Or YouTube or politicians or gurus who charge $390 for a class. Us.

When we’re little, we often don’t get to see people from all different demographics exploring, explaining, existing. We live in pretty big bubbles sometimes. But witnessing diversity in thought and life and experience especially from a young age allow us to grow and not fall into the traps of strict notions of “what it means to be successful.”

We could give a crap about what John Patrick Dorsey or Mark Zuckerberg or our senators or presidents define as ‘successful.’ And when we chase other people’s definitions? That’s when we lose meaning in our lives. We have to define words like “success” and “happiness” for ourselves. Sometimes that means forgetting what we’ve been taught and remembering who we are.

We have to take back our own power and decide what success is to us, not society, not our parents, not our children, us. What gives us meaning? What gives us joy?

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Think about what you want from your writing. Is it to be a NYT bestseller? To make $600,000 a year. Or is it something simpler?

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

It’s okay to find meaning in things other people scorn. To heck with them. You do you.

REFERENCES FOR RANDOM THOUGHTS

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/woman-moves-house-someone-died-24347158

https://shepherdexpress.com/puzzles/news-of-the-weird/news-of-the-weird-june-17-2021/

https://apnews.com/article/nh-state-wire-lifestyle-af56567aee135df951f4fc7f9b3c9d61

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 a new book 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.

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. This week’s podcast is all about strange things people do for luck.

The Best Kind of People (especially writers) Notice Things

There is a fantastic blog post on Tim Ferriss’s blog about the work and thoughts of professor/writer Sam Apple. I have a link at the end of this post because you should probably read it in its entirety if the act of noticing as a writer resonates with you. Or maybe even if it doesn’t

When I mentor people and edit them, I often tell them to go specific in their details (but don’t overload those details), and in order to go specific, you have to become adept at noticing things.

Apple speaks of what it means to ‘notice as a writer.’

I like to define it as “the combination of close observation and insightfulness.” 

Sam Apple

He then explains ‘close observation.’

Close observation is easy enough to grasp. Let’s take an example: As I’m typing this sentence, I might look down and notice my hands moving over my keyboard. That’s “noticing” in the ordinary sense of the word—what you might think of as “first-order noticing.” To notice my typing hands in the way of a writer, I have to be far more specific. I might notice the rhythmic rise and fall of my knuckles or how the tendons on the back of my hand bulge and twitch with each keystroke. I might notice how some keys are almost silent while others respond to my fingertips with a pronounced—and somehow satisfying—clack.

Sam Apple

So, then we have that second aspect — insight.

Great writing typically involves more than description or a simple narration of events. Writing is also a search for meaning. Sometimes an observation or image speaks for itself. But often writers need to be able to say something about what they’ve noticed. 

Sam Apple

And that’s where I think being a great writer and a great human overlap. If we can notice the worlds and details, the feeling and aspects of other people, animals, landscapes big and small? And then if we took that extra step to let insight bubble and sprout from what we’ve noticed?

How big a deal would that be?

How deep? How growing?

Apple teaches a class on noticing at John Hopkins and in the blog writes:

For my class, I ask students to keep a “noticing journal” throughout the semester. Sometimes I ask them to notice objects or actions, as in the typing examples above. Other times, we apply the same observational and imaginative powers to our own lives and emotions. When we turn to the noticing of others, it can lead to remarkably empathetic writing. It is hard to truly hate people if you’ve spent enough time observing them and wondering about them. The celebrated fiction writer George Saunders captures this notion perfectly in this essay on “what writers really do when they write.”

Sam Apple

You don’t need to be a writer to train your noticing skills or your empathy, but both writers and those of us who don’t write, can really learn from this.

We can learn from noticing, observing and wondering. And maybe that’s one of those steps we can take to make ourselves better people and this a better world?

RESOURCES

https://sam-apple.squarespace.com/

Continue reading “The Best Kind of People (especially writers) Notice Things”

Let’s Play Padiddle – The Things We Do For Luck.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Let’s Play Padiddle - The Things We Do For Luck.
/

This week’s episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is all about the things we do for luck:

Carrie has all these rituals on New Year’s Eve:

Eat Hopping John

Eat 12 grapes at midnight in a minute or less.

Kiss someone you love or can tolerate.

Smashing the peppermint pig.

Wear yellow underwear for good fortune.

Burn our wishes the night before.

No cleaning on New Year’s Day.

Carrie: My Portuguese grandmother would throw water out the window and sprinkle sugar outside. I don’t really do that anymore. I probably should.

Dee Harris wrote in that she was always told not to wash clothes on New Year’s Day because you’d wash away your good luck, so all her laundry is done by 10 p.m. on Dec. 31.


We also talked about where some of our superstitions come from—especially Padiddle—and how to attract good luck.

According to bakadesuyo to attract good luck,

  • Listen to hunches
  • Turn bad luck into good
  • Expect it
  • Maximize your opportunities.

We also talked about:

  • Knock on wood
  • Throw salt over my shoulder
  • Lucky pennies

Oh, and what’s a padiddle? Apparently it originated as a kissing game, but in our family when we’re in the car and we see a car with one headlight, yell “piddle” and punch the ceiling.

RESOURCES:

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/g25360543/new-year-traditions/

https://artsandculture.google.com/story/18-superstitions-from-around-the-world/QQIyTWmzJ9QvLg

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/luck

https://www.thebalanceeveryday.com/lucky-charms-to-attract-good-luck-895277

Continue reading “Let’s Play Padiddle – The Things We Do For Luck.”

BE BRAVE FRIDAY – THE STORY OF GABBY THE RESCUED DOG

Hey! It’s BE BRAVE FRIDAY and this Friday, I’m . . .? Well, I’m not feeling it.

You know how sometimes you just are running a low on your positive charge on your internal battery, but your negative charge is kicking butt? I’ve been like that all week. Even though June is such a gorgeous month here in Maine, this happens to me a lot because June is when my mom died and my dad.

It was especially bad earlier this week where I didn’t want to post one of my animals’ daily positive tweets, something that I do every weekday on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Doing that seemed beyond me. I kept thinking, “Who am I to write these things?”

But then I remembered that there are kids in a cancer treatment program that look forward to those and share them. And I remembered all the times people have sent me messages about how much those little posts and tweets meant to them or came at a right time.

That morning, I sat and stared at the computer waiting and waiting for my brain to readjust enough to post something that might be helpful to someone and I couldn’t get anything at all.

And I remembered that what I feel is transient and I remembered that these posts aren’t about me. They are really about just being a momentary vessel for hope and occasionally humor and thought. And I remembered that just one tiny bit of a spark of anything can form into a lifeline.

So, I closed my eyes and I typed.

This is what happened.

It wasn’t brilliant, but it was something. It was a forward step.

Sometimes all being brave takes is a forward step.

This week, our BE BRAVE FRIDAY video is breaking format a bit. Already? I know! I know!

But I just wanted to quickly tell the story of our dog, Gabby.

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 a new book 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.

YA MYSTERY WITH A SPLASH OF ROMANCE? ARE YOU IN?

On July 1, I’m releasing my young adult novel, THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.

Check it out.

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

It looks pretty cool. right?

The lead character in this is Dude Goodfeather. Her real name is Jess. Her dad calls her Dude and that means everyone else does, too. I’m so into her. I hope you will be too.

Blurb:

They aren’t the most popular. They aren’t the prettiest. They aren’t the wealthiest, but they are the smartest and as the kids in the ‘gifted’ program move through their senior year, they have their lives all ahead of them.

Until they don’t . . .

Quirky and psychology-obsessed high school senior Jessica “Dude” Goodfeather isn’t having her best time senior year after her best friend and boyfriend both dump her, but when she finds the dead and mutilated body of Lucas Landry? Things get a whole lot worse.

Is someone she knows the killer?

Someone is picking off Dude’s classmates, one by one. And she’s pretty sure that she’s next.

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

The next Book comes out in September and it’s called INCH WORMS.

To find out more about the series, click here.

But here’s an excerpt. I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it! That’s me marketing. 🙂 Sort of?


Chapter One

Paranoia

An intense feeling of fear or anxiety that usually has to do with personal persecution or belief in threats and conspiracies

Everything people say about me is true. I’m neurotic and obsessed with psychology terms because of my own sad toddler years. I always expect the worst case scenario for myself but never for other people. Pathetic, I know. It’s like I’m always expecting something bad to happen, and I’m terrified of being caught off guard and not being prepared for when it does.

This morning, when my cat Misfit wakes me up, I know something is wrong right away. It’s like a gut feeling. It’s like all my worries have become reality.

“You’re worst-case scenario. You have to believe in yourself, in the power of your own brain,” Dad told me last night when I was stressed about potentially not getting into any colleges. He was making vegan gumbo and waved his wooden spoon at our cat who was passed out belly-up in the kitchen sink. “Seriously, you’ve got to chill-ax. Look at Misfit. Be like Misfit.”

Be like Misfit?

            Because right now Misfit’s mewling the way cats do when they are freaking out about something terribly important in the kitty world like whether or not there is exactly .75 cups of cat food in their dish that is spaced exactly one inch out from the northeast corner of the bathroom wall. 

The mewling? That’s the first clue.

            “What is it, buddy?” I mutter, blinking hard against the morning light as Misfit moves across the bed covers and up to my face. She headbutts my chin with her nose.

            I’d been dreaming about Alexis and me when we were little and still best friends. We had been jumping off the dock into the river, giggling, and then the dream shifted so that Alexis was drowning in the water, blood coming out of her belly button. This did not happen in real life. Alexis is alive and well and now best friends with Samantha, and not me. I’m a little bitter about this honestly. Bitter and lonely.

Misfit refuses to let me go back to the dream and pushes against my face again. Cat fur tickles my lips and nose.

Sneezing, I say, “Buddy. Dad can feed you.”

            Then I remember that Dad doesn’t ever feed her because he’s one of the most forgetful humans of all time, and then I remember that he’s not even home. He left at midnight, off for a three-day trip to a con in Boston, a science fiction con, because he has this little side job where he self-publishes his own graphic novels.

            “Crud,” I mumble as Misfit thumps off the bed, thudding to the ground, right by a dead mouse. A tiny spot of blood mars the brown fur of its tiny stomach.

            Misfit purrs and sort of nudges it a little closer to my bed.

            I wish, occasionally, my gut would be wrong. 

            Moving backward toward my headboard, I grab for my phone by my pillow, but it’s not there. It’s always there, but instead there’s just my charger, flapping around. I’m positive that I connected it last night.

            This is the second clue.

            The third clue is that my door is shut. I’m not sure how Misfit even got in the room with her mouse, and that’s not the point. The point is that the door is shut.

            My door is never shut because ever since I was little having a shut door has completely freaked me out. That’s because I always used to imagine monsters lurking behind the doorknob. Everyone judges me about that.

But Misfit could have shut it maybe? Batted it closed with her immense kitty paws.

She leaps up onto my bed, thankfully leaving the mouse on the floor, and I grab her to my chest. She purrs again. It’s comforting.

            “I freak myself out too much,” I murmur. “You bringing dead mice as presents doesn’t help, buddy. No offense.”

            She starts kneading at my lap, and I sigh. I’m not sure why I forgot to plug in my cellphone last night, but I use it to tell the time and set the alarm to wake me up and now I have no idea if I’m late for school or not. I blink hard. I was positive that I set the alarm last night because I was thinking about how Dad wasn’t going to be here today.

Fourth clue?

The weirdness of it all hits me as I lift Misfit up a bit so that I can set her down next to me on the covers. She protests and puts her claws into the quilt, but I still manage to move her. Resisting the urge to close my eyes and ignore the mouse, I lean over the bed, hoping my phone just fell somewhere.

            Nothing. It’s just a dead mouse, schoolbooks, art supplies, and socks.

            “Great.”

            The only other thing I can think is that maybe I took my phone with me in the middle of the night when I went to the bathroom. Sure, I don’t actually remember going to the bathroom, but the cellphone is pretty awesome because it has a flashlight. I use that app all the time.

            Vaulting off the bed so that I land nowhere near the mouse, I head toward the bedroom door, yank it open and gasp.

            There’s someone standing there right outside my door.

            I slam my door back closed and lock it.

            My mouth drops wide open.

            I don’t need any more clues.

            That’s because the someone lurking outside my room is not my dad or my former best friend Alexis or my current best friend Rebecca. That someone is not a ghost or a figment of my imagination.

            It’s a human being. And it’s wearing a ski mask.

            Reflexively, I shove my dresser against the door, which opens inward. It opens inward, so that means that the person out there can’t come in if the dresser is blocking the way. Right? Panic starts.

There is someone outside.

            I repeat this fact over and over again in my head.

            Someone is outside my door.

            Someone should not be there.

            I can’t let them in.

            Searching for my phone again, I survey the room, but the phone is missing, which means that I can’t call for help. My laptop! I put it in my bag last night after I was done cruising through posts about college application essays. Running, I grab my bag even though it’s super close to the mouse.

            My laptop is gone.

            I can’t email anyone for help.

            I can’t Skype the police or whatever.

            I’m trapped and there’s only one thing to do to escape. I yank open the window by my bed. I’m on the second floor, but it doesn’t matter. There’s an overhanging roof over the downstairs master bathroom, which connects to the porch. It’s mossy, but it’s a way out.

            “Misfit!” I mutter and snap my fingers. She actually springs out the window onto the roof. She springs to the ground, making it look easy, like hopping ten feet to the grass is not a big deal at all. I scoot as quickly as I can down the angled roof and jump. The ground thuds beneath my feet, and adrenalin pops me right back into standing position. I scoop Misfit up in my arms and run through the woods.

            Don’t follow me. Don’t follow me. Don’t follow me.

            I’m not sure if I’m saying this aloud or not. I’m not sure if the sentence is a command or a prayer or a mantra. The pine needles sting my naked feet. Stones and roots scratch at me. I trip and Misfit bounds out of my arms as I fall down. One second down and I’m up again, running for our neighbor’s house. The houses here on the Union River aren’t close, which I normally like because nobody wants to hear their neighbors’ music or yelling or whatever, but right now I’d give anything to live in a crowded subdivision.

            Misfit veers off toward the river, but I run forward to the Saunders’ house. I pound on the door. Nobody comes. There’s noise behind me. And I see them—him—her —whatever—the person running through the woods toward me.

            I pound again.

            No answer.

            There’s no time.

            The Saunders have a dock and a kayak, just like we do. Praying that they don’t have a lock on the kayak, I rush to my right, downhill toward the river, tumbling and screaming. The dock is about fifty feet of wood planks out toward the water. The tide is lowish and the kayak is tied up at the end. I run as fast as I can toward it. The dock bounces with every footfall. Misfit is nowhere in sight, but the intruder? He’s halfway down the hill. He’ll be here soon and then … and then …

            The yellow cord attaching the kayak to the dock is just a half-hitch and I yank it off with my shaking hands. Two seconds later, I’m unhooking the rudder, dropping it into the water. Two seconds more and I’m hopping into the kayak’s cockpit. It rocks, but doesn’t turn over. There is no paddle. No paddle. I tuck the rope up between the lines on the front of the cockpit to get it out of the river. Water sloshes onto my pajama shorts. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is getting away. How do I get away without a paddle?

            Using my hands, I push off the dock sideways as hard as I can. The river mud waits in front of me. The person is on the dock, running toward me. The ski mask obscures the hair, the face. Whoever it is isn’t big. That’s all I get. They are not big.

            The tide takes the kayak. It’s coming in, away from the ocean, and toward town. I hit the foot pedal hard to steer the kayak, make it face the right way, and then the river does its work, pushing us out and into the middle, pulling the kayak and me away from the person on the dock. I look back. I’m so afraid they have a gun. I’m so afraid they’ll go unlock our kayaks from our dock, somehow, like they’ll know enough to know where Dad puts the keys.

            But they don’t.

            The intruder stands at the end of the dock and watches for a second. Then they lift their hand like they’re going to wave. Instead, they give me the finger.

            I face forward and start hyperventilating, but I don’t cry. I never cry. Not since my mom left at least. And that was a long time ago.


Upcoming Books!

See I’m committed! One book a month for the rest of the year.

And it’s so scary!

June – THE PEOPLE WHO KILLAdult mystery. Second in the Bar Harbor Rose Series

July –THOSE WHO SURVIVED – YA murder mystery. First in the DUDE SERIES!

August – SAINT, YA paranormal

September – INCH WORMS! Second in the DUDE SERIES!

October – THE TREASURES WE HIDE. Third in the Bar Harbor Rose Series.

November – ALMOST DEAD, an adult paranormal

December – NECROMANCER, YA paranormal – This title might change. 🙂

PODCASTS

Oh! And check out our podcasts when you get a chance. There are writing tips and life tips on DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE and just a freer flow of weirdness on our very live LOVING THE STRANGE. It’s live on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube at 7 p.m. EST, on Fridays.

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 a new book 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.

You Lucky Duck

We are who we are and we choose how we live and how are lives work out. That is the bottom line really

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. 🙂

best podcast ever
Shaun Farrar

Do you believe in luck? Do you believe in karma? Do you believe that bigfoot is really an alien being in a less than carefully chosen disguise?

Well, if you have an interest in any of these topics, you should start listening to Loving The Strange, a live podcast that Carrie and I do every Friday evening at 7 o’clock Eastern Standard Time. We love doing it and if you listen, we hope that you will love it as well!


Luck, what is it? Is it a predetermined experience that is so wonderfully timed or fortuitous that we think that it can’t possibly be natural and therefore must be attributed to some supernatural force that has blessed us in a timely fashion? Is it something that we bring about ourselves due to how we think and how we act in our daily lives? Is it sheer coincidence of an occurrence during a time when we are so down that almost anything with a positive lean seems impossible?

I don’t know the answer to those questions, and I am not going to bother researching the philosophical definitions or musings of luck. I don’t really need to for the purposes of this blog because, in my worthless opinion, we are all lucky. Luck is not a singular or a repetitive happening in our life, it is our life.

We are ALL lucky!

We are lucky to be here.

We are lucky to be who we are and exactly how we are born.

I know that some of us were born with seemingly everything against us. I also know that some of those people have made the very best of their lives and have complimented other people’s lives with abundant positivity during their life, even if it was extremely short or extremely hampered by some obstacle of physical or mental acuity. We are who we are and we choose how we live and how are lives work out. That is the bottom line really.

Tragedy of the greatest kind has befallen many and they have dealt with it and decided to turn it into a positive moment or opportunity. There really are no excuses, we are all human and we all choose to deal and spread love and kindness or we choose to wilt and die off. Choose to spread love and kindness people! Choose to be somebody else’s good luck! Choose to take a chance that any random kind act that you perform can be somebody else’s good luck for the day!

Peace people and remember to always Love Your Way through It!

Shaun

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 a new book 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.

It not just about thinking positive; it’s about doing positive.

We’ve all heard that if we just think positively everything will be better.

We have journals and lists that we create every night or morning of how we’re blessed.

Then there’s the mantra, “Change your thoughts, change your life.”

And sometimes when I see these things I get a little ragey because it isn’t always that easy. It’s hard to always think positively when your dog has just died or you’re in a war zone or your being hurt.

We’re all allowed to be a little ragey sometimes or sad or gleeful or even covetous. That’s because we’re human, but it’s also because of something even more important that we all need to remember.

WE ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS.

We can think, “I am Jesus” all day long but that doesn’t make us Jesus. We can think, “I am Beyonce” or “I am the president.” But it doesn’t make us so.

What makes us who we are?

The things we do.

I have a friend who does one act of kindness after another, who cares passionately about the people she loves. But people can annoy her sometimes. Injustices REALLY annoy her.

And after she has a judgement-free rant, she’ll say, “I’m so awful. I know! I know!”

But that’s the thing.

She’s not awful. She’s amazing. She’s one of the best people I know. And that’s because who she is isn’t just about her thoughts. Who she is stems from her actions, her choices, her decisions.

When she needs to persist or overcome, she doesn’t give in to her thoughts of doubt, her insecurities, or even her anger. She acts. She makes a difference.

How cool is that?

Yes, it’s important and super healthy to have a positive outlook. But it’s not always possible, and when you don’t achieve that? It doesn’t make you bad. If you think you’re bad, then you’re just going to end up in another negative thought spiral.

You’re too awesome for that.

And you can’t sit around waiting to be happy, hoping that this will be the day where you aren’t in pain, or someone isn’t a troll, or the basement doesn’t flood. You have to make the choice to be happy and take the actions that help you feel that if that’s what you want to feel.

You can think about changing all the time, but actual change come from doing the work, the actions, making the choices and going for it.

You can do that.

So, how do you do that?

DO THINGS

Acting/doing/participating in something takes you away from negative thoughts and thrusts you into the action, gives you focus. People in Asia and Europe have talked about the flow state for a long time. People in sports tend to call it being in the zone.

But it’s a place, and damn it’s beautiful.

To get there though, you have to do the action. That might be running, writing, painting, climbing, figuring out a theorem, creating a blog post, but it happens because you are doing an action. Do the things.

PUT YOUR THOUGHTS IN THEIR PLACE

Really. This isn’t new either, but it works. When you feel that negative thought spiral coming on, call it out. Say, “Yo. Negative thought. Just because I forgot to close the bedroom door before we made the sex and forgot my avo and Aunt Rose Marie were coming over does not mean ‘I am so stupid.’ It just means I was so in the moment that I forgot to close the door.”

You’ve got to try to see those negative thoughts for the bullies they are and sometimes all they need to chill out is just to be noticed.

I have wicked social anxiety. It’s like a weird kind of stage fright. And the only way for me to battle it is to just act right through it. So I get in the car and drive to the party and tell my negative thoughts that nothing horrifying will happen and my actions won’t make people go to jail. I go to the board meeting. I do the live podcast. I buckle up and stare down the negative thoughts and once I’m doing the actions? It helps tamp down the anxiety. But if I hesitate? That fear builds up and up, gaining so much power that it’s a vicious battle to tamp it back down.

And I love people. I love the joy of public speaking. I love moving people and inspiring them in person, right? So, it’s almost like my fright is excitement gone terribly wrong. It’s almost like a part of me thinks, “Who am I to get to do this? To be this happy? To have people listen to me?”

For a kid with a speech defect (and now an adult with one), that’s a pretty amazing thing. Middle-school Carrie would have never imagined it.

Pay Attention To The World Like A Tourist or a Poet Would

I know! I know! Poets and tourists don’t seem to go together, but they both search for experiences and explore their worlds.

A Roman emperior, Marcus Aurelius, would detail the world like the best of writers or artists. Ordinary things became extraordinary under his pen.

Noticing things is an action. Seeing things is a gift. Empathy and understanding can be byproducts of observation. Be present. Don’t overlook the ordinary. You’ve got this.

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 a new book 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.

 

Being Swallowed by a Whale is So Bad Ass – Fear Setting and the Big Lie in Your Novel and Your Life

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Being Swallowed by a Whale is So Bad Ass - Fear Setting and the Big Lie in Your Novel and Your Life
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A lot of writers get blocks. Sometimes those blocks have to do with story ideas, with the fear that their idea sucks, that they don’t have the writing chops to pull off a novel.

Sometimes those blocks have to do with worry that trolls will ridicule their story, nobody will read it, everyone will hate it.

Sometimes those blocks have to do with the fear of typos, of not being perfect.

But they all have to do with fear.

As a writing coach, I have to talk to a lot of writers about their blocks and their fears. And recently, I realized that adopting Tim Ferriss’s ‘fear setting’ approach could help a ton of the writers-students that I love so much.

Goals are brilliant, Ferris says. Resolutions? Fantastic.

But nothing happens with those goals and resolutions if you are too afraid to make the steps.

So he delves into those fears and explores them and determines the potential and the risk.

That’s what you need to do with your writing (and your life).

Ferris’s process is quite refined and quite simple. We have links in the podcast notes on carriejonesbooks.blog so that you can find them in Ferris’s own extended version. He also has a TedTalk about them.

But it begins like this:“Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. What doubt, fears, and “what-ifs” pop up as you consider the big changes you can—or need—to make? Envision them in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1–10? Are these things really permanent? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?

Next, think about what you could do to fix it if that worst-case scenario happens. Write it down. Was it not quite as hard as your fear made you think it would be?

Next what are the benefits, the potential, the outcomes in forever ways and transient ways of all those scenarios and possibilities? Would you be more confident? Happier? Would you have more money? Make a scale of 1-10 and rate those outcomes.

He asks,

What are you putting off out of fear? Usually, what we most fear doing is what we most need to do. That phone call, that conversation, whatever the action might be—it is fear of unknown outcomes that prevents us from doing what we need to do. Define the worst case, accept it, and do it. I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear. I got into this habit by attempting to contact celebrities and famous business people for advice.

And how is this hurting you? By not doing something because of your fear how are you hurting yourself? Inaction also has a cost. It’s just a cost that seems easier because it doesn’t seem to rely on as much choice.

Ferris has some fantastic slides from his TedTalk that relate to this, too.

A lot of us who write novels, talk about the big lie that dominates our main character’s life, the wrong belief that dictates and holds the character back.

Fear is our big lie in the story of our lives.

All of us have our own big lie or lies. We worry so much about what might go wrong that we are afraid to embrace what might go right. We live so much in our heads that we fail to live in our world. We allow the fear, the lie, to hold us down. Our fear is also a symptom of our lie.

It’s good to see how that’s holding you back. Just like we want the characters in our novels to have transition arcs and evolve, so should we, right?

Dog Tip for Life

Don’t let your fear control your life.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Use the big lie and your characters’ fears to show their transition throughout the 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. This week’s podcast is all about strange things people do for luck.

RESOURCES AND LINKS NOT LINKED ABOVE.

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Mysterious-black-substance-on-Wells-Beach-is-many-16235442.php

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Dog-ejected-from-vehicle-in-Idaho-crash-found-16237347.php

https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/2021/06/11/humpback-whale-catches-michael-packard-lobster-driver-mouth-proviencetown-cape-cod/7653838002/