I’m Farting Carrots. Oh, the Mondegreen

Always take a piece of meat with you.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
I'm Farting Carrots. Oh, the Mondegreen
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We’ve all done it. We’ve misheard song lyrics or actual words. We’ve argued about whether someone was saying Laurel or Yanni.

But there is an actual term for that.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, a mondegreen is “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung.”

I had a whole character in my first book that did this all the time.

Sylvia Wright made up the word in 1954 when she wrote an article about it for The Atlantic or possibly Harpers (these are the two most common citings), “The Death of Lady Mondegreen.”

She’d loved this Scottish song or poem that went

They hae slain the Earl Amurray
And laid him on the green.

That last line sounded like Lady Mondegreen to her.

According to an article in the New Yorker by Maria Konnikova,

Hearing is a two-step process. First, there is the auditory perception itself: the physics of sound waves making their way through your ear and into the auditory cortex of your brain. And then there is the meaning-making: the part where your brain takes the noise and imbues it with significance. That was a car alarm. That’s a bird. Mondegreens occur when, somewhere between the sound and the meaning, communication breaks down. You hear the same acoustic information as everyone else, but your brain doesn’t interpret it the same way. What’s less immediately clear is why, precisely, that happens.

The article goes on to say,

A common cause of mondegreens, in particular, is the oronym: word strings in which the sounds can be logically divided multiple ways. One version that Pinker describes goes like this: Eugene O’Neill won a Pullet Surprise. 

Other times, the culprit is the perception of the sound itself: some letters and letter combinations sound remarkably alike, and we need further cues, whether visual or contextual, to help us out. In their absence, one sound can be mistaken for the other. For instance, in a phenomenon known as the McGurk effect, people can be made to hear one consonant when a similar one is being spoken. “There’s a bathroom on the right” standing in for “there’s a bad moon on the rise” is a succession of such similarities adding up to two equally coherent alternatives. 

NME’s site has an article on the top forty misheard song lyrics and it’s hysterical.

It’s a British site and you should check it out, but their top three are:

Number One – Dire Straits’s “Money For Nothing.”

Wrong lyric: “Money for nothin’ and chips for free.”

Correct lyric: “Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free”

Number 2 Wrong Lyric – Paul Young’s “Everytime You Go Away.”

Wrong Lyric: “Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you.”

Correct lyric: “Every time you go away take a piece of me with you.”

Number 4 Wrong Lyric (Yes, we skipped three) – Starship’s ‘We Built This City.’

Wrong lyric: “We built this city on sausage rolls.”

Correct lyric: “We built this city on rock ‘n’ roll.”

Writing Tip of the Pod

It’s fun to play with words, to think about sounds.

Dog Tip for Life

Always take a piece of meat with you.

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

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 habits.

LINKS OF STRANGE NEWS MENTIONED

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/05/06/britain-Leaf-cafe-Liverpool-England-1913-menu-ceiling/6881620329800/

https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/05/04/Guinness-World-Records-marshamallow-mouth-catch-distance-Dallas-Anderson-Jon-Paleka/7501620145182/

Fight, Negotiate, Sex – The three main types of scenes.

So, a lot of people think that there are three main types of scenes:

  1. Fight scenes
  2. Negotiation scenes
  3. Sexy sexiness scenes

And the important part of every scene is conflict. That’s because when conflict happens, the character is forced to do something.

Readers want to watch characters do things, right?

Except for fans of Waiting for Godot, but to be fair the characters are waiting. That’s an action.

Sorry! Tangent.

What us writers have to do is make the conflict matter.

For the conflict to matter it has to be about your character wanting something so damn badly, but they aren’t getting it in a way that’s easy.

The biggest, strongest desire is when our character’s want makes them suffer.

Your character arguing about how to hard boil eggs wouldn’t be a meaningful conflict UNLESS it’s somehow connected to her biggest needs and wants and yearnings.

Your character arguing about how to hard boil eggs might be a meaningful conflict IF he has been on the perfect hardboiled egg quest because it’s the only thing he remembers about his dad – his perfect eggs. Or something.

What meaningful conflict does is that it forces the character to do something, to act, to make a choice.  The type of conflict relates to that choice in the scene.

FIGHT SCENE

This is usually about willpower or strength or determination. You will by beating up your opponent or by dealing with something for a long time, enduring it.

Think Atlas holding up the world.

Think about Captain America being beaten up by the Winter Soldier and he keeps getting up.

That’s a fight scene.

SEXY SCENES

I could probably call this a seduction scene, but I’m not terribly mature.

In these scenes you have one character (or multiple ones) manipulating another character’s desires. It might not always be about the sex.

Darth Vader’s big scene where he tries to get Luke to join him, be part of the dark side, stop fighting. He gives him the possibility to be important and a place to belong.

NEGOTIATE ME SCENES

These are scenes that are a push and pull between solutions. It’s about compromise. It’s about logic. It’s very Ravenclaw.

It’s whenever a gangster convinces people to do something.

Negotiation scenes are all about that logical outcome. And at the end of it, everyone goes, “Ah. That makes sense. Of course, we’ll do it that way.”

Each type of scene requires different responses about the character and tells us different things. I think you should lean into these earlier scenes with the men being either fight or manipulation.

Mike Nichols, this ancient director, really loved to talk about those three types of scenes. He was pretty adamant about them being the only types of scenes that there are and he would always say, “When in doubt, seduce.”

Actually, I think his partner, Elaine May might have said that.

But the truth is that you can have a scene be more than one thing at a time. That intricacy makes them pretty beautiful and so much more poignant. Whenever you can add the character enduring (Fight) to a negotiation, it’s a better scene. Because it’s layered.

Other screenwriters and playwrights (like Pete Peterson) have taken this from Nichols and talked about it on podcasts all over the place. One interesting and possibly helpful insight on this is by Jonathan Rogers of THE HABIT after an interview with Pete Peterson.

He wrote:

To frame every fictional conversation as a fight, a seduction, or a negotiation is to foreground desire. And desire is the engine of storytelling. What do your characters want? There may be other questions at stake in the stories you tell, but that question is ALWAYS in play. It is an unavoidable fact that writers always need to communicate information; sometimes they communicate that information in dialogue. But characters carry on conversations in order to get what they want. If we use dialogue merely to convey information and neglect the interplay of characters’ desires, that dialogue will almost surely be flat, uninteresting, and less than believable.

This may be another way of saying the same thing, but dialogue is something that characters DO to each other. Fighting, seducing, and negotiating are actions, not merely an exchange of information or opinions. And, by the way, in the process of fighting, seducing, and negotiating, your characters will provide information and express opinions that your reader will find most helpful. The point here is not that characters can only fight, seduce, or negotiate, but that whatever else is happening, one of those three things has to be happening.

In real life, not every conversation is a fight, a seduction, or a negotiation. Sometimes people really are just providing information or expressing an opinion. Or talking baby-talk to a baby or asking for directions or ordering French fries. But not everything in real life is raw material for a story. I’m reminded of Steve Martin’s exasperated reminder to John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: “Not everything is an anecdote, you know.” We spend a third of our lives sleeping. I don’t care how realistic your fiction purports to be; it would be a mistake to devote a third of your word-count to people sleeping.

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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

The weird things people eat

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
The weird things people eat
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Hey! Welcome to episode 13 of LOVING THE STRANGE where we talk about the strange, weird things people eat and why.

In very happy news, we just stopped KETO because Carrie the Carbosaurus got a rash. Yay rash! Yay carbs!

In honor of Carrie’s rash, we’re talking about the strange things people eat!

Here more by clicking on the YouTube link or listening to the podcast.

Thank you all so much for listening! The extra shout-outs go to our high level patrons who also read Carrie’s books in progress and get some art in the mail sometimes.

Autumn Gin

Claire De Brey

Jenn Duffield

Pam Leffler

Joan Stradling

Nancy Stone

Sam Spellacy

Toni Floback

Shay Altair

Rachael Azbill

Resources for this week’s podcast!

https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/the-top-25-weirdest-foods-in-the-u-s

https://www.roughguides.com/gallery/weird-food/

What Is Perfect?

In order to find perfection you must be able to forgive

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.


Have you ever made up your own definition of a word?

I think that in a debate situation I tend to do it quite frequently and that is really laughable but a sign of my ego and desire to be correct!

I am not talking about a debate situation here; I am just referring to everyday life and everyday words. The specific word that I am thinking about right now is perfection.

What is perfection? According to Merriam-Webster at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfection, perfection is

1: the quality or state of being perfect: such as

  a: freedom from fault or defect FLAWLESSNESS

  b: MATURITY

  c: the quality or state of being saintly

  2a: an exemplification of supreme excellence

  b: an unsurpassable degree of accuracy or excellence

  3: the act or process of perfecting

My definition of perfection would be something more like the quality or state of being that is perfect in the eyes of the beholder regardless of any fault, defect or flaw. You see my point? How can anything ever be perfect except to the person, or group of people, who think that it is perfect?

Of course, I realize that my definition takes on the assumption that all things have faults, defects or flaws, and I believe this to be true. Especially when we are talking about human beings! While I may think that my wife is perfect, others may not. While that may make them stupid people in my opinion, the truth is that none of us are without flaws.

Therefore, it stands to reason that in order to find perfection you must be able to forgive. I know that I think that I am perfect, but I also know that Carrie does a hell of a lot of forgiving!

So, what is my point you may be asking in a frustrated mumble.

Well, it is basically that none of us are perfect. Nothing is perfect. And if you believe that someone or something is perfect than you are capable of forgiveness. I don’t think that a lot of people think about it in that simplistic form, but it is true. So, let’s start doing more forgiving, less criticism, much more loving and much less belittling! Basically, remember to always Love Your Way Through It!

Peace,

Shaun

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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

New Book Coming Out Super Soon

So, I’m releasing the second book in the Bar Harbor Rose Mystery Series on June 1 and I’m super excited about it because:

  • I love writing adult stories, too.
  • It takes place in Bar Harbor.
  • It’s full of thrilling fun stuff.
  • I’m really into.
  • Independent publishing is so much fun.

The first book in the series came out last year. It’s called THE PLACES WE HIDE. You can read the first chapter here.

The second book is called THE PEOPLE WHO KILL.

You can read an excerpt here.

Sometimes it seems like everyone wants someone to die . . . .

After dealing with a serial killer and a long Maine winter, Rosie Jones is ready for a little bit of calm in her adopted coastal Maine town. Then Ernie Emerson, a ladies man and newly married cop, is bludgeoned to death outside a summer estate in what many think was a robbery gone wrong.

But Rosie soon realizes that a lot of people, including the fired town manager, had some pretty powerful reasons to want Ernie dead.

The death of Ernie brings a whole lot of repercussions for Rosie. She might be losing her reporting job. There’s all kinds of tension with her still-not-divorced, sort-of-boyfriend, Seamus Kelley, and her snooping is potentially making her the killer’s next target.

Hoping to solve the crime before she gets hurt any more, Rosie starts to put the pieces together. But that’s not that easy when nobody, including Seamus, wants her to do lawn enforcement’s job and solve the murder of one of their own.

The third book will come out October 1 and it’s called THE THINGS WE SEEK.

Here’s what it’s about.

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

Reporter Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley have dealt with two gruesome murderers in their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance. When a few random people go missing on their large Maine island, things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more sinister . . . 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.

And between June and October, I’m going to be releasing a book a month (or so).

Most of them are YA, but they are all really fun. If you were a fan of my NEED books, I think you’ll really like these.

I’m really super excited about all of this!

If you’d like to know everything that’s happening and keep updated on all my book releases, you can subscribe to my blog on the button to the right (which would be super nice of you to do) and/or sign up for my newsletter.

Thank you all so much for your kindness and support! It means everything to me.

Upcoming Books:

July – THOSE WHO SURVIVED – YA murder mystery.

August – A YA paranormal

September – The sequel to July’s murder mystery! So YA/NA mystery.

October – THE TREASURES WE HIDE.

November – Adult paranormal

December – YA paranornal

Oh! And check out 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.

THE PEOPLE WHO KILL

Hey, everyone! I realized that I never do book excerpts on here. I know! I know, right? What kind of author am I? Apparently, I am an author who fails to market.

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

The People Who Kill

He had thought things would be easier further south, closer to the ocean. Not that Downeast Maine was exactly south. But at 44.3858 degrees north and 68.2094 west, it sure felt more south than snow-blown Fort Kent (47.2586 degrees north, 68.5894 west). Even with all the hell breaking lose in his job and his personal life, Fort Kent and its barely there year-round population of four-thousand souls didn’t have much to offer unless you were into dog sledding, Canadian biathlons, rooting for the basketball teams of Valley Rivers Middle School and Fort Kent High School.

            He was not into any of that.

            He’d expected better things when he left his job as an officer on the Fort Kent police force and headed to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. That county had drunk tourists in the summer and heroin busts in the winter, but on his first day he crashed the cruiser. His second day, a deer hit another cruiser. On his third day, he made out with the shortest dispatcher in the bathroom behind the booking room. On this fourth day, he did the same with the tallest dispatcher, made a running date with the night-shift girl who just had a baby, and a sushi date with another cop.

            It didn’t earn him any friends in the department that was for sure. He switched jobs again becoming an officer in Bar Harbor, a tourist town on a big Maine island. Cruising right now, on the mean streets of the town, he knew he hadn’t made any friends there, either. And he’d been on the island what? Nine months? The length of a pregnancy. Lord if he knew where he could go next. Out of state maybe? But who would hire him when the longest he ever stayed was eighteen months and everywhere he left behind had tally sheets and personnel records and stories.

            Did you hear about Ernie? Yep. Caught a wild turkey taking a crap on the cruiser and shot it.

            Did you hear about Ernie? Ran right into a dumpster looking at a girl’s legs.

            Did you hear about Ernie? Heard he puts more product in his hair than Walgreens has in stock. Had to back order American Crew Defining Paste Medium Hold with Low Shine just for him.

            Did you hear about Ernie? Got the town manager’s daughter pregnant two months before his own wedding.

            Yeah.

            Did you hear about Ernie? Responded to a call about the same town manager pissing all over the side of his Subaru parked at the library afterhours and let him go even though it smelled like alcohol. Why? Cause he was too intimidated! What kind of cop is that?

            A bad cop. That’s what kind. He knew it. He was scared of the town manager, scared of arresting him, scared of his chief, scarred of pretty much everything.

            And the Mount Desert cops ended up arresting the town manager thirty minutes later, the moment he crossed the town line. Good times. Not.

            And here he was cruising down the Eagle Lake Road, still employed, thankfully, still married—maybe thankfully—and still miserable and the laughing stock of an entire community. During the appeal of his firing, the manager announced that he and Ernie had “hard feelings” because the newly married Ernie was having an affair with his daughter.  The newspaper reported it. At least that was all the administrator had said, because that wasn’t even half of it. Ernie exhaled, longing for some gum. He would stop by the Circle K later and pick some up. Most of the guys still chewed tobacco, which he thought was nasty, mostly because it turned teeth yellow and then brown. He had his teeth bleached, his fiancé insisted, and he had to admit he looked better than ever. A new break. A new start. That’s what he needed.

            Maine was a godforsaken state full of nasty people swilling coffee brandy by the gallon, chewing tobacco and spitting it into Pepsi cans. In 1838, there had been an ‘international incident’ up in the county where he came from when the boundary of New Brunswick, Canada was in dispute. Militias were formed on both sides with each side alternately capturing the captain of the other side, declaring captives “political prisoners,” and basically bullshitting about for a year. It was called the Pork and Beans War. Ernie’s great-great grandfather was in the militia. All that back and forth, political bullshit reminded him of Bar Harbor and the whole scandal about the town manager. People talked, took sides, switched sides, and nothing much happened except that the manager lost his job—for now. Lord knows, he was fighting to get it back. It didn’t matter that he was a drunken, carousing, womanizer – so adulterous that it made Ernie look like Mother Teresa by comparison. Ernie’s cheek twitched. He checked the rearview mirror. Nothing coming eastbound. Nothing coming westbound. It was such a boring night. It felt like the whole island was deserted, kind of like some sort of zombie apocalypse had just happened. The other officers were always talking about apocalypse scenarios and even had go-bags, rations. They lived in fear, stupid and paranoid. Ernie refused to be like them. A bitter cough escaped his mouth. Look where that refusal had gotten him. He was the laughing stock of the universe basically.

            The dispatcher’s voice broke the silence in the cruiser’s cabin. “Base to 412.”

            He keyed the radio. “412.”

            “Northeast Harbor Alarm reports an activated sensor alarm at 12 Bayberry, interior motion. 10-3.” The dispatcher, this dispatcher, always sounded scared on the radio like she was going to mess up majorly, but that had already happened, hadn’t it? It happened the day she changed the call for service on the town manager’s incident, trying to cover for Ernie. Jasmine was good shit. He’d had a thing with her too in the evidence room. He could hardly help it. She was always talking about cooking naked and her new husband that didn’t love her.

            Ernie sighed and turned the car around in a perfect U-turn, missing two deer that were staring at him from the side of the road. No points for that, huh? Nobody ever cares when you do things right. It’s only when you do things wrong that . . .

            “10-4,” he said into the radio. “Enroute.” 

            The wind whipped around the trees tonight and whenever that happened the super sensitive sensors at the ultra-rich’s summer homes always went off. This was his what? Fourth alarm this shift. Always a pain in the ass. You had to do a perimeter check of the property, search for unsecured windows and doors and then wait for the key holder (usually a caretaker who lived off island) to come and reset the alarm system. Fun. Fun.

            Maybe they could just move back to Fort Kent.

            Maybe they could move out of state. He heard about George West, this game warden who allegedly had an affair with Jasmine, too. Anyway, he and his wife (totally insane – made Morgan look normal) got back together after a year and he just took a sweet job working security at SeaWorld in Florida.

            A smile transformed Ernie’s face. Warm all year long. No snow ever. Tank tops. Short shorts. Bright teeth.

            He would bring it up as an idea. Morgan wouldn’t like being so far from family, but they were four hours away already. A quick plane ride for visiting. There was probably even a direct flight from Bangor to Orlando? There used to be.

            “Brilliant question,” he muttered as he pulled through downtown Bar Harbor. Half the shops were still boarded up, closed for winter, but it was mid-March and things would start opening up soon. Every year it was as if the town belched out all its visitors, closed its doors and hibernated, an introvert that couldn’t handle the influx of a million hiking, biking, driving, cranky families meant to enjoy the views of Acadia National Park.  

            Turning the cruiser off Main, past Mount Desert Island Hospital, he passed the boarded-up Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream shop where President Obama stopped and had a cone one summer. Or maybe it was a dish. He couldn’t remember. He was not a detail man. He was a big picture kind of guy. He turned left onto Livingston, past the wrought iron gates of the Faltin house. They were benefactors of the hospital’s in-patient care center, heirs to the Yummy Moore fortune and former “friends” of the manager. They had deserted him after he was put on leave. Most people had. John King was a bitter, angry, powerful alcoholic who liked to gamble and make people crumble with a perfect barb or insult. Imagine Sherlock with one eighth as much brains and even more of a sociopath, add in sexual addiction, and that was the town manager. Even now people were too scared of him to not support him and his cowboy ways.

            Even though it was just off of the town proper, one block deep towards the ocean and Livingston Road quickly became tree lined. At its end and to the right, was the gate to the Faltin property, manned by a gate house. On the left was Bayberry Lane.  The private driveways meandered from the right of the main road down towards the oceanfront property. Twelve Bayberry Road was just like the other three houses that lined the ocean’s rocky shore—huge, shingle-style, with the porches tucked under the footprint of the main structure. Even the porches get cold here, Ernie thought. The mansions seem to match the craggy coast—flinty, rugged, masculine.

            “I hate this f-ing place,” he muttered as he passed the concrete pillars marking the entrance of the drive, which circled to the front of the house. He could never remember if you were supposed to drive in clockwise or counterclockwise, but one way would always get you stuck. He chose counter clockwise and called in his location to Jasmine. “Yeah, I’ll be off at 12 Bayberry. Nothing currently showing at this time. I can hear the alarm. “

            “10-4.”

            Ernie stayed in the car another minute, hesitant to go out in the cold. March was way too damn cold this year. He wished people would stop calling the weather changes global warming and call it climate change. He wanted his own damn climate change. That was for sure. He keyed the microphone. “You made any contact with the key holder?”

            Jasmine had an unfortunate tendency to forget to call the key holders and another unfortunate tendency to forget to inform the officers that the key holders had been called. But this time she said, “Affirmative. Ted White is in route. Estimated time fifteen minutes.”

            “10-4.” Ernie rolled his eyes even though nobody was there to see it. Saying ‘affirmative’ didn’t make her a better dispatcher. It just made her sound like she was trying to show off. It made her feel special or something, he guessed.  He didn’t begrudge her that. Everyone wanted to feel special. Even him. Especially him. Isn’t that why he fell for Jessica King in the first place. It wasn’t just because she was hot. There were a ton of hot girls out there. Well, there were a lot in the summer. He liked her because she made him feel special and on fire, sexy, not like a pretty boy but a man. It didn’t matter now. What mattered now was moving on. He undid his seatbelt and keyed the mic again.  “I’ll be out of the car on portable.”

            The mountains wreaked havoc on the portables’ signals. It was always good to remind the less intelligent dispatchers about this. Plus, it was policy.

            “10-4,” Jasmine replied in a super sultry way.

            He was not attracted to Jasmine. She was skinny and everything, but she looked like she spent a lot of time making duck-lipped selfies where she always looked so much better than in real life. Still couldn’t hide her crazy eyes though. That had been a mistake. So many mistakes.

            He opened the driver’s side door and stood up, only thinking about turning on his blues at the last second. Ted White was a firefighter, so he decided to. He didn’t want Ted to complain. His personnel file was large enough as it was. One quick reach back inside and the lights were on, illuminating the driveway, the hard, frozen ground devoid of snow. There would be no obvious footprints. Not like there was a real burglar anyway. These things were always false alarms. Always. And with the way the wind was blowing there was no chance it could be real.  All Ernie could think about was the cold as he grabbed the edge of the cruiser door to shut it. He would definitely talk to Morgan about Florida. Getting away from all this cold, all this gossip, was probably exactly what they needed.

            He took two steps towards the house before the pain came, smashing against the back of his head. His perfectly white teeth hit the hard ground, one chipped, another broke in half from the impact. It didn’t matter. Another blow smashed against the side of his face. Then another. Then another. He never had a chance to draw his weapon or open his eyes. Never had a chance to see who killed him and then who walked the stone steps to the main building, smashed a window, then turned and walked away, never looking back to make sure that he was gone.

            He was.

How Do You Make Your Story Thrilling and Sunbathing Your Testicles?

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How Do You Make Your Story Thrilling and Sunbathing Your Testicles?
/

You’ve all read a story or heard a story that just bores you to tears, right?

You don’t want to write that story UNLESS boring people is your goal. That’s a fine goal! You get to have that if you want it. Don’t let anyone take your goal away from you.

But if that’s not your goal? Let’s talk.

To not bore your reader, at the most basic level, you have to do three things. And these three things are the basic elements. Bare bones here, okay?

  • Keeping your damn word.

Just like in a relationship, when you write a book for someone or tell them a story, you set up an expectation in them that there is going to be a payoff there.

There is always an expectation the reader will have.

Will they catch the murderer?

Will James get out of the giant peach? Will the rich family get out of the town?

Will Lassie save whoever Lassie needs to save?

Your book is full of these promises and questions that you the author set out for the reader and that you have to answer. If you don’t? You’re a promise breaker! And you’ve ruined your relationship with your reader.

  • Making your damn character interesting (This has to do with plot too, actually.).

Your character has a journey. They make choices. The bigger the story and the scarier? The bigger the choices. The character in a thrilling story has to be the hero, the brave one, the choice-maker. Those choices lead you to a thrilling and amazing finale.

  • Making time matter

If you have your whole life to hunt down the monster that’s killing everyone in town, there’s not as much tension there.

If the bomb is going to explode in 10,000 years? Same thing. But the pressure of a villain who is killing people, the pressure of the bomb about to explode, the pressure of a destiny that might not happen if you don’t hurry up?

That’s a big deal. It’s a trope. Who cares? Use it.

There’s some other things that make a good thriller, too.

  1. There needs to be high stakes. Time limits. Multiple problems increases those stakes.
  2. There needs to be an actual threat to the characters or society.
  3. There needs to be some things that you don’t expect to happen, happen.
  4. The characters need to be multiple dimensions, not flat little cardboard figures or game pieces. But interesting.
  5. There needs to be some cool action going on. That might be mind games. Mind games count. Car chases do too.

Bonus Element:

  1. Cool locations. Your reader wants to explore the world from the safety of their bed/couch/porch/subway seat. Your book lets them do that. Use details. Make those locations real.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Think about your damn audience not just yourself.

Dog Tip for Life

Make your own excitement like Gabby. Every moment can be thrilling.

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 habits.

Resources for Random Thoughts

https://apnews.com/hub/oddities

https://www.mynbc5.com/article/video-shows-1-000-dolphin-stampede-off-california-coast/36017470#

https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19539973/i-put-a-giant-red-light-on-my-balls-to-triple-my-testosterone-levels/

I am Tired of Hiding.

Real love is when we see the crud in someone else, in ourselves, and we love our way through that anyway.

What if you weren’t afraid?

I know! I know!

Stay with me here. But what if you weren’t afraid to do things that you’ve always wanted to do, but have been holding yourself back because of possible ridicule or ‘failure?’

What if you weren’t afraid of your own goodness and light?

What if you actually believed in it, believed in yourself?

As most everyone knows, I was (and sometimes am) a person who gets scared of things a lot and I avoid them. I do Be Brave Fridays to force myself to show my art and that side of my creativity.

I write novels even though I’ve spent a lot of time being terrified of bad reviews.

I’ve talked a lot about my voice and my sloshy s’s and how that kept me from singing and acting and public speaking because I just couldn’t handle the potential ridicule.

I once had a teacher tell me that nobody would ever hire me or love me, that I’d never get into college or get married because my voice was so ridiculous. I was little. It hurt. I believed them.

To be fair, even as a successful grownup, people still mimic and mock my voice sometimes. It still hurts a bit, but mostly it makes me sad for them. Once I was lucky enough to talk to a man on NPR about just this and he said, “It’s better to have a distinctive voice. We love that in radio. It makes you stand out.”

Standing out can be scary, can’t it?

Anyways, that’s why we started the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE and then our LOVING THE STRANGE podcast. It forced me to have a voice. And it forced me to listen to my own voice when I mixed down the audio and get used to it.

But despite these bit leaps I’ve made in two years, I still notice things that I do that might be based in fear, that might be me trying to hide anything shiny in myself because of fear.

My fears:

  1. Being super poor again.
  2. Ridicule.  
  3. Being thought of as arrogant.
  4. Hurting other people by being too vulnerable, out-there, shiny, honest, whatever.
  5. Not making a difference

Those fears are probably why I have such a hard time with videos, why I assign my own daily motivational/inspiration thoughts to my dogs and cats on social media posts, why I’d rather be behind the camera instead of in front of it.

So, I obviously still have some work to do, right?

But that’s okay. Work is a good thing. Growth is a good thing. And allowing yourself to realize that you are more than adequate, that you can create yourself, that there is something shiny inside of you and you need to uncage that, cultivate it, let it flow?

That’s a big ass deal.

When you let your own self be shiny, be real, be kind, you give other people a chance to be lights too.

In a way, it’s selfish to hide your shininess, your belief because not only is it holding yourself back from making the biggest contributions to your family and your world, but it’s also teaching by example.

If I hide my light, you can hide yours.

If I show mine, you can show yours.

We all have goodness and crud inside of ourselves, right? Real love is when we see the crud in someone else, in ourselves, and we love our way through that anyway. Love and acceptance are huge things. So much of the darkness inside of us is about fear, anxiety, pain, trauma. And there are so many shiny, gorgeous humans who have been through so much and they still light up the world.

Shouldn’t we want to be one of them?

This is so important that I’m going to repeat it. When you accept how amazing you can be, how good you can be, then you show other people that they can do it, too.

People get addicted to fear. We watch scary shows. We search for the rush of adrenalin. But what if we could turn our stage fright, our minor anxieties into excitement? How cool with that be.

What if we could allow ourselves to see the good in ourselves and other people, to step away from judgement, admit mistakes, be okay with being embarrassed and transform?

I think we can. We can love our way through it, right?

best writing coaches
animal friends being shiny

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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!

The strange, weird, dumb things people do for love

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
The strange, weird, dumb things people do for love
/

Hey! Welcome to episode 12 of LOVING THE STRANGE where we talk about the strange, weird things people do in love and why.

In very sad news, we are in day ten of KETO and Carrie the Carbosaurus is getting cranky.

So let’s start with one of my favorites.

It comes from a Reddit thread.

Ready?

“In 4th grade, I wrote the names of my two girl crushes on my dick…rode my bike to the rail tracks, stared at my dick, whispered their names and said I love you.”

Hear more by clicking on the YouTube link or listening to the podcast.

Thank you all so much for listening! The extra shout-outs go to our high level patrons who also read Carrie’s books in progress and get some art in the mail sometimes.

Autumn Gin

Claire De Brey

Jenn Duffield

Pam Leffler

Joan Stradling

Nancy Stone

Sam Spellacy

Toni Floback

Shay Altair

Rachael Azbill

Resources for this week’s podcast!

Be Brave Friday!

Being brave is about telling your truths and story despite trolls and ridicule.

It’s Be Brave Friday today and truth is that so many people are being brave every damn day.

Being brave is about continuing after massive loss.

Being brave is about living in a world that might be pressing you down.

Being brave is going after your dreams.

Being brave is about being who you are — open, vulnerable, flawed, and shiny.

Being brave is about telling your truths and story despite trolls and ridicule.

Being brave is sometimes dealing with just an annoying email that makes your heart sink.

I hope we can all hold each other up, grab each other’s hands and make something good.

If you’ve read my Be Brave Friday posts before, you know I have a hard time sharing my art because … parents. It always makes me feel so vulnerable.

Anyway, this is a painting that I’m making prints of and sending some out to my patrons who help me out and read my unpublished stories on Patreon. I hope you like it okay. I know it’s not a lot of color. 🙂

And I hope you might hang out with Shaun and I for a bit tonight (7 p.m. EST) on LOVING THE STRANGE (on Facebook/YouTube/Twitter).

I should really make it’s own reminder post, but I’m not feeling super brave about that. Put your brave on my friends. We’ve got this, right?

Daily Cuteness

Every weekday on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, I share insight/thoughts/inspiration from our two dogs and three cats. If you want to follow me on any of those places? It’d be great.

Here’s today’s, courtesy of Sparty Dog.

Whatever you used to be, used to think?

That doesn’t need to matter anymore.

Carve out who you want to be right now.

Create the story you want to live.

The future is still out there, ready for you to soar into it.

And choose love & treats. Always.

xo

Sparty Dog

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

https://carriejonesbooks.blog/dogs-are-smarter-than-people-the-podcast/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 260,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the weird, dumb, strange things people eat. And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about the the how to make your story thrilling and Carrie learning that people sunbathe their testicles. We’re classy like that.


And Carrie has a new book coming out! In June! You can pre-order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

It’s my book! It’s coming out June 1! Boo-yah!