Cell phones, Yeti hair, and community

There are certain reasons why I don’t usually leave the house in super baggy pants, a gray fleece jacket, and super wild, frizzed-out hair.

The main reason I don’t?

Because every time I do, something bad happens, like public spectacle bad.

So near the end of one Ellsworth Middle School basketball game, I slinked in and sat down on the bleachers hoping nobody would see me in my Yeti-state.

I put my cellphone and car keys on the bleacher in front of me so they wouldn’t fall out of my slanty pockets.  

Oh, I thought. I am soooo smart.

My daughter Em came over in her cheering uniform, flew up the bleachers, plopped on my lap and hugged me. 

Ah, I thought. I love my kid.

She opened up her cheerleading-coach-approved healthy cheer snack and her foot shot out knocking something under the bleachers.

“What was that?” asked my friend who was sitting next to me.

“Popcorn?” Em suggested.

“Your cell phone,” said another nice guy nearby.

“Oh,” I said. “Oh . . . no!”

Em and I started looking for it. The nice man started looking. Another nice man started looking. Em and I walked down the bleachers. Everyone stared at us more than the stared at the seventh-grade ball players hustling back and forth on the court. Em and I search under the bleachers. People peek under the bleachers to see what we’re doing down there.

“Lost my cellphone,” I say in an apologetic way. “Not being creepy! Promise!”

“Oh no!” people said

Ah, I though. I am wearing super baggy pants, have Yeti-hair, a pimple on my forehead and everyone is staring.

(Yes. I had a pimple. A real pimple. It was above my left eyebrow. This was soooo wrong. It was obvious I had been evil and the karmic payback had been declared by the god of facial imperfections. Why? Why?? What hath I done to deserveth this?)

We couldn’t find the stupid cellphone. We eventually give up and returned to the Land Above the Bleachers. More people were definitely now watching us than the game. To be fair, the score was 46-5 in the third quarter.

Someone brilliant gave me their cellphone to call my cellphone. Everyone listened. Everyone stared. Or, well, at least it seemed that way. It was like we were moose waiting for a mating call after a really long, really boring winter. 

Please, I thought. Pleaasseeeeeeeeee.

And then. we heard it, the siren call of a nation.


 We finally spotted the ugly thing, pushed up against the front bleachers. Em crawled under again, bringing it to me. I made my way up the bleachers thinking, I hate my pimple. I hate my cellphone. I hate my baggy pants.

Then someone kind of clapped. The clapping became bigger.

Someone else says, “Thank God.”

Someone else says, “That’s a good kid you have there, helping you out.”

Em bowed.

And they were all right.  But the cool thing was that everyone was helping me out, or else, maybe using that as an excuse to check out the Yeti hair. I don’t know.

There is something beautiful when people help each other over big things and small even when you look like a Yeti. All those people helping us look for that cellphone chose altruism and kindness. They did the right thing, supporting us and problem solving as a community so that there was a positive outcome.

How cool is that?

I wish some of the people in power could do that too.


Dog Love for the Day

Sometimes our fears are more alive than our dreams, more real.


Don’t let your failure become your truth.


Be a manatee if you want. Wear a goofy hat. Write. Do. Make a difference in this world.


It may be Monday, but you’ve got this. Go make your dreams live.


xo

Sparty Dog


Big News!

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it. 

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

This week’s episode is here and it’s all about how to tell a good story (aloud or on paper).  And last week’s episode is here and it’s all about how to be happy, Big Foot, and statues that pee, so basically Shaun’s head. 

WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

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Epilepsy, Writing, and Choices

One day I was hanging out in the hallway of the middle school with some other mommies, waiting for all the sports practices to be over so we could shuttle our kids home.

These two other moms standing next to me were talking about diets and diabetes. They were both on Weight Watchers. One mom had lost tons of weight. The moms talk about the effect of weight on piercing private places and all this incredibly personal stuff.

And I am completely uptight so I basically listened with my mouth hanging open while backing up a step whenever I thought that they wouldn’t notice me backing up a step.

Then they started talking about sugar and sugar substitutes (Splenda and Aspartame).

One mom said, “That Aspartame. I stay away from that stuff. It makes the back of my throat feel funny. I think it does something to rats.”

So I said to the ladies who were just thirty seconds earlier talking about private part piercings, “Aspartame gives me seizures.”

I swear both their mouths dropped open and they both actually stopped talking, which was a big deal, because they NEVER stop talking.

And I learned: You can talk about your diabetes, your husband’s joy stick, your own special piercings, your kids’ bed wetting, but you can’t talk about epilepsy.

And, this? This just totally sucks. 

Because, I’m someone who is really, really lucky. I know what makes me have seizures so I avoid those things, but other people aren’t lucky at all. 
About one person in every 50 will have epilepsy at some point in his/her life. And they don’t always have the choice of disclosure, and they just have the stigma. 

So? What does this have to do with writing?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the choices I’ve made in the books I’ve written. With Belle, the protagonist of Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, I made her a member of Amnesty International for really important reasons. I also gave her seizures, the same kind of seizures I have, caused by the same thing.

Her epilepsy is not a part of the plot. It’s not a part of the character development. But it’s there.

And, no matter how bad my book is, or how good, or that it won awards or made me a traditionally published writer, I am really, really glad I made that choice for Belle. 

Gabby’s Monday Motivation

Good Morning!

The world? It can be scary.

But put on your best warrior face.

Go surprise them with your kindness & how fine you are.

Look at you!

You’re so shiny.

Let the world see that. Let the world see you. Face that scary with beauty. You’ve got this.

xo

Gabby Dog

Big News!

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up? I’ll be sending out more news about this soon!


COOKING WITH AN AUTHOR

This week’s Cooking With an Author – vegetarian recipes with a quirky, author twist is here. It’s all about hangover burritos. You do not have to be hungover or to ever have had alcohol to enjoy them. 

Burritos
Writer recipes

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

Last week’s podcast

This week’s podcast link.

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

Continue reading “Epilepsy, Writing, and Choices”

New Year’s Gifts and Open Hearts

Open Hearts at Grocery Store

Two years ago, on the last day of 2017 (the no-good, terrible year), I was in the grocery store line and the cashier said something nice about me making a good meal for my man and how cute we are together and then she said, “You’re best buddies. Best buddies forever. Me and my — ” Her voice caught on grief. “We were like that.”

And my heart broke right there.

And I said, “C–, you’re breaking my heart and you’re working and I can’t get over there on the other side of the grocery belt thingy and hug you because you’re working.”

The bagger girl at the end of the lane looked away. I don’t think she’s good with emotion.

But C– just smiled at me and said, “It’s okay. It’s okay. I have a new man in my life and he’s so sweet to me and he showed up just when I needed him and my J–, I think he sent him to me.”

Her J — is her long-time, forever buddy, her husband who died.

So, I basically emoted all over the place while she rung up my crackers and I was like, “C–! You are killing me. I’m crying because I’m sad. I’m crying because I’m happy for you. I’m crying because you’re so beautiful. And this is all… it’s all so… It’s poignant.”

She laughed.

The bagger kept looking away.

And when I walked out of the grocery store, this person I don’t know, he touched my elbow to make me stop my mad-fast hustle to the car. It was -2 out. It was cold.

The guy who was all bundled up and wearing some Carhartt’s said, “You know. When you have a heart as open as yours, it’s going to hurt sometimes.”

And I said, brilliantly, “Oh.”

“It’s worth it,” he said. “Do good out there, Carrie. Do good.”

I was a little freaked out, but I thanked him, got to my car and sat there, and I just stared at this cold, Maine, parking lot and the people rushing through the grayness that seems to sometimes overwhelm everything during winter and my heart got so full that I started emoting everywhere again because that random Carhartt-wearing man took time out of his day to talk to me. He stopped in the cold to talk to me.

This guy knew my name somehow, but bigger than that? This guy knows about hearts.


Gifts Out There

So, here’s the thing – there are gifts out there (big gifts and little ones) and they can come from the weirdest places. They’re connections. They’re motivations. They are these tiny times where you get to see inside other people’s minds and hearts.

Savor them this year. Try to dwell on those good things as much as we all dwell on the bad.

And let both the good and the bad inspire you to make a difference in your own life and maybe even other people’s lives (big ways and little ways).

cat, cat wisdom, catandkitten, kitten, Maine cat, maine
cat, cat wisdom, catandkitten, kitten, Maine cat, maine

Thank You

Thank you all for everything you’ve done for me this year. You’ve listened to me worry about things like suddenly being a full-time mom again.  You’ve celebrated with me about book stuff and podcast stuff. You’ve mourned with me when Charlene died.

You haven’t mocked me too hard because Grover (the muppet) is my internal cheerleader and John Wayne (dead cowboy movie star) is my internal editor. You’ve been brave with me on Be Brave Fridays when I shared my art, which is still scary by the way.

Some of you have bought my books and become my patrons. On social media, so many of you have been so kind over and over. And you haven’t unsubscribed to my newsletter. That’s such a big deal to me.

Thank you.

I really appreciate how kind and giving you’ve all been and if I write any more I’ll start crying. And there’s no random stranger guy here to make me feel better.


But there is Gabby….

Gabby’s New Year Wisdom

Love is being right in the moment. It’s about enjoying everything around you. And really feeling it, being open to it.


This includes the couch.

It even includes squirrels.


It’s not giving or taking, but who you are in relationship to all else (especially the couch) at that moment.


Love.

Gabby Dog


Last week’s podcast

This week’s podcast link.

Continue reading “New Year’s Gifts and Open Hearts”

Grocery Carts are Evil; Happy Holidays

Upcoming Blog Break

Hi, everyone! I’m going to be taking a holiday blog break except for the weekday dog-inspiration posts next week starting today.

That’s because it’s the holidays here and they are holidays that I celebrate.

So in the spirit of the holidays let me tell you that:

I HATE grocery carts.

No offense to you if you are reading this and you are, in fact, a grocery cart. 

Why? Why do I hate them?

Well, because you have to drive them. 

This is bad because:

  • 1. I’m not a good driver.
  • 2. There’s no horn on the grocery cart and sometimes you really REALLY need a horn like when the woman with the kid singing the Baby Shark song blocks THE ENTIRE PRODUCE AISLE because she’s parked her ginormous grocery cart sideways. SIDEWAYS!!! What is she thinking?
  • 3. I can’t steer.
  • 4. I really can’t steer grocery carts when one of the four dinky wheels goes all Tar-rat-rat-rah-rat because it’s off balance.
  • 5. I tend to knock things over.
  • 6. I’m a floater not a driver.
  • 7. Did I mention I’m not a good driver? 

So, today I buy MASSIVE amounts of food for the holidays and go absolutely in debt for the rest of my life. 

Side note #1: Why do crackers cost $4.99? 

Side note #2: And I haven’t bought sliced meat for a long, long time because I am anti-sliced meat. NO OFFENSE TO YOU IF YOU ARE READING THIS AND YOU ARE A PIECE OF SALAMI.  I bought it to wrap asparagus in and it costs like a MILLION TRILLION dollars.

But I did it. Right? I did it. I even pushed the grocery cart through the icy parking lot, put it in the holding cell where all naughty shopping carts go. If we let them loose they’ll take over the parking lot. Seriously. I’ve seen it happen.

I make it all the way home even though I swear all the drivers in front of me are all channeling

and then I realize. I’ve forgotten drinks! I’ve forgotten protein! 

AND I HAVE TO GO BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please come save me. I’ll be the tired looking writer pinned by the monster grocery cart in the juice aisle.


WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Bar harbor arts
Carrie Jones Art

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Elf on the Shelf is a bit Naughty Because He Lives at My House

The elves arrived at the house today, but there was a lit of an incident. No worries! They will be all set to keep watch and pursue hijinx tomorrow, much to Em’s chagrin. She thinks they are ‘creepy.’ Silly girl.

After a catastrophic arrival, one elf decides to put his feet in ice (yes, that is a price tag on there) and get some support from a kind snow person who is using a Christmas tree to prop up the elf. It sort of looks like a normal scene after bar close in Bar Harbor actually. (Minus the price tag.) They promise to not talk about what happened later on social media because… Well, we’re trying to keep this PG rated.

So, um, Elfie made a couple moves on Rudolph’s girlfriend the next night. She appreciated his marshmallow hot tub. He appreciated her appreciation. Because that’s how elves roll in Bar Harbor.

Unfortunately for Elfie, Rudolph heard about the indiscretions with his reindeer boo. While Elfie basked in his memories of the night, Rudolph brought along reinforcements.

Overwhelmed with a flimsy sort of remorse after having had a bit of an encounter with Rudolph’s boo, Elfie looks to Mrs. Claus for counseling, but then begins to admire the curvature of her apron.

And well…

That’s just how this Elfie currently rolls. Don’t tell Santa!

After his session with Mrs. Claus, Elfie got groovy and jammed out with the boys that night. Here he is looking at the fingering and trying to memorize it so that he can use it later to impress the ladies.


After some counseling with Santa, Elfie has rethought things.

He’s rethought a lot of things, honestly.

He would like to apologize to the ladies, gender non-identifying and bending, as well as to the men of Christmas for his antics and promises to be better as soon as he finishes the episode of Brokeback Reindeer Mountain.

Continue reading “Elf on the Shelf is a bit Naughty Because He Lives at My House”

Author Questions Answered

I’m up in Vermont doing four days of school visits with the most amazing kids and this has made me a bit off my blogging game because of all the other work I’m doing this week like:

  1. Writing
  2. Editing other people’s writing
  3. NaNoWriMo
  4. Podcast stuff

So, I’m treating (cough- pretend it’s a treat) you to the answer to these questions:

1. How old were you when the craft of writing called you to perform? 

I wouldn’t say I was ever ‘called’ because that makes me think of being a priest and the thought of me being a priest is just so scary that I can’t handle it.  Although, it would be fun to wear the clothes and hang out in confessional and stuff because so many stories.

The first thing I remember writing is a haiku in second grade for Mrs. Joyce Snearson. Her son now writes for Entertainment Weekly.

My haiku was posted on the wall because:


1. I understood what syllables were.
2. I wrote in just one sentence like she asked.
3. It did not involve Tonka trucks, Barbies or hunting.

I thought writing might be okay if you always got praise like that.

My haiku (for the record)

Spring is fun you see
Because flowers grow with rain
and robins come home.

My next big writing excursion was a Star Trek story for my brother. It did not go so well. 

2. What’s your favorite writing outfit? 

If I am dressed I consider it a miracle.

3. What computer program do you use for your writing? 

Microsoft Word 

4. What’s the name of your most difficult character to write? 

You know the random guy in the restaurant? The one who doesn’t do anything? He’s just background noise. And then sometimes he’s in the hall at the high school, or maybe at the gas station while stuff is going on?

Him.

5. When is your favorite time of day to write? 

When I am fully awake. This sometimes never happens.

6. What’s your favorite genre? 

Oh, I am a genre whore. I’ll do anything. Wait, you don’t even have to pay me, so that means……

I guess I’m not a whore. I’m just easy.

7. What writers have inspired you the most in your career and why? 

My teachers at Vermont College: Rita Williams-Garcia,TIm Wynne-Jones, Sharon Darrow, Kathi Appelt because they are:


1. Awesome writers
2. Pretty fine dancers
3. Unafraid to give generously to others
4. Cute

8. Do you think you’re smarter than a fifth grader? 

I think that depends on the fifth grader, but in general – no.

9. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re stuck on a scene? 

Have crushes on people.

10. If you could give one piece of advice to your fellow writers, what would it be? 

Ignore advice. 

Fine. I won’t be snarky. Um….

How about:

Write the way you want to write. Write about what you want to write. Write like you, not like John Green or E. Lockhart or Stephanie Myers or M.T. Anderson or Rita Williams Garcia or Sherman Alexie. Write like you. 

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST LINK. 

Why Manuscript Critiques are Like First Dates and What Exactly is an Editorial Letter

I am a firm believer that humans should help other humans. A couple of people have asked me about manuscript critiques.

So, I’m going to take a quick moment and explain about manuscript critiques and how it relates to dating.

BIG QUESTION NUMBER ONE: 

What tip can you give to best approach another writer’s manuscript in critique?

Here’s the thing: Critiques are like mini-relationships. 

If you go in there and look at that piece of work (be it a person or a manuscript) with an insecure attitude, you are going to do harm even if you don’t mean to do harm. 

I’ve broken up with critique groups because members would make one published (former bestselling) author cry every single time they met. It wasn’t because she was the one who was insecure. It was because they attacked her writing over and over again.

Yes, I yelled at them before I quit. Yes, I was a little drama queen about it. I was a new author back then and like now, I get a bit self-righteous.

2. Since critiques are like mini-relationships, try to present your best self as a critiquer. Do not go in there with an attitude. Do not go in there insecure and hoping to cut someone down in the guise of helping. So not cool.

If you’re on a first-date do you really want to be snarky? Do you really want to spend the whole time showing off how smart you are about narrative arcs or quotation mark punctuation? 

I hope not. If so? You and me? Not dating. 

I think the best dates and the best critiquers talk about specifics (good and bad) but also listen to intention. It isn’t about them showing off. It isn’t about them being jealous about how hot their date (or their date’s manuscript) is. Instead, it’s a connection. It’s a communication. It’s about making the real world or the writing world (in the form of the manuscript) a slightly better place. 

3. If you’re in a critique group or a workshop, beware of the group mind mentality. This goes for dates too.

Have you ever gone on a date and felt like the person you were talking to wasn’t just presenting his/her opinion but the opinion of:


a. Mom.
b. Best friend.
c. Stephen King.
d. Everyone they went to high school with.
e. A president (past or present).

Sometimes group critiques can be like this with everyone’s individual opinions melding into the opinion of OH GREAT ONE.

OH GREAT ONE can be:


a. The tenured professor
b. The alpha female 
c. The alpha male
d. The super-published author
e. A muppet with a butcher knife

If this starts to happen, please PLEASE please do not be a lemming. It’s sometimes so hard, but remember your opinion is just as worthy as the alpha’s opinion, and the award winners and presidents.

And the person who is being critiqued NEEDS TO HEAR YOUR OPINION, too. Don’t be afraid to have a different opinion. It’s totally allowed and needs to be heard. 

BIG QUESTION NUMBER TWO: 

What’s an editorial letter like?  


For all you non-writers out there or my friend, William, an editorial letter is what you get after the miracle happens.


The miracle is called: MY BOOK HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY A PUBLISHER CAN WE HAPPY DANCE IN THE KITCHEN FOREVER?

The editorial letter is typically suggestions from the editor about how to make your book made of awesome.

Let me give you a quick run-down of some of my editors.


Editor #1 has not given me any editorial letter. He is a very mysterious man. He simply told my agent, “I don’t think we need to do anything.”


This makes me nervous.

Editor #2 has given me multiple editorial letters on a single work, which is NEED!

Anyway this editor who may or may not be Michelle Nagler? She mails them. They are full of suggestions like, “Carrie, you have said the word ‘hands,’ 5,342 times in this manuscript. Would you mind changing that?” 

Or, “Um … the entire middle is a bit … It sags. It needs a tummy tuck. Can we speed up the pace?”

Her letters were amazing because they were so detailed and structure oriented.  I loved them because they gave me ideas about revision. Occasionally, I would read a comment and have a panic attack, but then within 20 minutes I was always ready to fix things. 

Editor #3 gave me editorial letters on the phone. They weren’t letters. This editor who may or may not be Andrew Karre? He would talk, reading off his notes about the book. I would take my own notes while he talked. They were often about theme and character and he would say things like, “I think it’s about longing.” Or sometimes he’d say, “You know. There are no details about the physical world. How would those details show where the heck she is and longing?” 

Then I would get 1,004 amazing ideas and be all jazzed up to write. 

This would happen a couple times during the process for some books. In one book it only happened once. 

Once, my editorial letter (on the phone) was: Carrie! You changed EVERYONE’S name. Is there a… Is there a reason for this?

I also know that this editor does not always work that way. He emails letters. He snail mails letters. He’ll do anything his author needs.

Here’s the thing: Just like dating, critiquing is a relationship and there’s a lot of trust involved whether the critiques is another writer or a reader or an editor. All good relationships? Well, they are about respect and communication. The intentions should always be about making the strongest book ever and encouraging the author to do just that.

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpg

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST! 

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

TOTAL Writer NaNoWriMo Breakdown

It is I, the lovable monster Grover, and I have taken over the blog because … How do I say this? Carrie is not doing well. Oh no, she is not doing well at all.

She is doing NaNoWriMo again.

National Novel Writing Month is where writers try to draft out 50,000 words of a first draft of a novel in a month, which amounts to 1,667 words a day. Carrie’s very first published novel was drafted like this all the way back in 2005 or something. Carrie and I (Grover) are not good at dates.

I am Carrie’s internal cheerleader, which is what she uses to combat her internal critic, but I must tell you that I, the furry, blue, superhero of a Muppet that I am? Well, I am at a loss.

Carrie is pretty much at the point of Writer TOTAL Breakdown. Have you not heard of this? I, Grover, will explain. 

Writer Nervous Breakdown is where writer (in this case Carrie) screams and cries and then folds into a tiny little ball and cries some more. At some point she gets up and gets tissues because her face is all snotty. At another point she rocks back and forth mumbling, “Plot structure… Plot structure… Plot structure.” She will then most likely decide to quit being a writer. 

I am her official cheerleader but I am at a loss people. I think she is beyond all hope. 

She has named the story LETTERS TO KARDASHIANS, but she can’t remember how to spell Kardashian. Things are dire!

If you’d like to friend her on NaNoWriMo, she is pixiewritermaine. She will send you all her support because writers? They are people, too, and they need support.

She likes friends and also care packages, five-star reviews, libraries, puppies, kittens, and Grovers.

And carbs. She really likes carbs.

Writing News

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST

THIS WEEK’S PODCAST!

Hello, I’m Super Medicated and Writer Flow

I’m currently super medicated thanks to surgery, and my inability to metabolically react to even simple drugs well. So, I decided rather than try to be coherent or babble incessantly about how I hurt, I would share this podcast from January.

Why?

  1. I don’t trust my medicated self
  2. One of my writing students needs to hear it.
  3. Although this is from New Years, a lot of us think of New Years as fall, or we’re about to start National Novel Writing Month and it still pertains.
  4. Did I mention that medicated thing?

So here goes.

Sometimes it’s hard to be super positive when you’re starting s project or thinking about new beginnings and a new year.

That’s because it’s all about goals and new starts. And you know, every day should be about that, right? And then you’re like, “Crap, I failed in my goals. Crap, I need new goals. Crap, why is this New Year’s party boring? Crap, should my new goal to be to never attend a party?”

And so on.

But that pressure? To be Instagram-worthy, to be super achiever goal person, to be extra? That’s what makes New Years suck. At this house, we like to just celebrate that we’re still alive, not bankrupt, and not in jail. It’s way better that way because there’s not as much pressure.

A long time ago – back in the 1980s – this guy Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was studying happiness. He gave people pagers. Remember this was in the 1980s. Then he and his research assistants would send the people messages at random times and ask how they were doing, feeling, what they were doing, etc. It sounds a bit like when your mom texts you, honestly.

And he discovered flow. People were happy when they were super engaged in the task they were doing. People weren’t happy when they were doing nothing. They were happy when they were involved in something. 

Minds were blown.

When people were in the ‘flow,’ they forgot about time, space, all the other detritus in their lives. They were focused on the now, on what they were doing. What they were doing might be writing, sports, hanging out with other humans, art, and so on… But for them the involvement was so intense that they became engaged and absorbed into it and were happy.

Writing should do that for you.

WRITING NEWS

THE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOME

Steve Wedel and I wrote a super creepy book a few years back called After Obsession and it’s making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands thanks to Dutch Venture Publishing and its leader Jen Minkman. 

Check out this spread in a Dutch magazine. I met a whole bunch of Dutch readers last Friday and let me tell you? They are the best. 

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN! 

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Yesterday’s podcast

A.S. King is Awesome – Throwback Interview

I love A. S. King. She is brilliant, raw, authentic, and an all-around bad ass when it comes to championing people and moments and writing. I found an interview I had with her back in 2010! That makes me so old, right? But she is too brilliant-adorable for me not to repost it.

Here Goes.

You are now Entering a Time Machine Where A.S. King‘s Second Novel is Coming Out and Hasn’t Yet Become a 2011 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and an Edgar Allan Poe Award nominee for “Best Young Adult Novel.”

Today I am hosting my super awesome friend/writer A.S. King. Here she is in all her awesome pizza-knowledge glory!!! YAY!! I am in BOLD. Amy is not.

Ding dong. Pizza delivery. I’ve got a mushroom, onion and black olive here ...

First, I want to thank you, Carrie Jones (CARRIE JONES!!) for kicking off this blog tour with me. Thank you! It’s hard to think up fun stuff when promoting a book, but Please Ignore Vera Dietz, which comes out TOMORROW, gave me this great idea because Vera Dietz delivers pizzas in the book and I was once a pizza delivery technician too, and so, I’ve decided to go back to my former life for a few months and deliver some cool people some [metaphorical] pizzas.  

Could you please post an embarrassing picture of yourself and explain. it. Please tell me Amy is this picture of embarrassingness typical for you?

I know this looks like a picture of a filthy little boy. But really, this is a picture of me after my first two-week session at summer camp. I can pretty much guarantee you that I hadn’t really bathed in fourteen days, or if I did, I didn’t do a very good job of it. I believe this was the same year as the t-shirt I loved so much I wore it every single day. Also, the year I had a half-eaten apple in my trunk so that when I got home and my mom unpacked it, there were ants EVERYWHERE.

I know I was supposed to post an embarrassing picture, and in ways this is embarrassing, but it’s also kinda cool. Because I loved summer camp and this picture captures what I loved about it. Getting dirty. Soot. Minimal attention to hygiene.


To answer your question–actually, yes. For a little while there on the farm in Ireland, in the months before we got a bathtub or shower, this was pretty typical for me.

You look brilliant and adorable and way cooler than I ever was. So here is question #2: Has anyone ever come to the door dressed in bubble wrap when you delivered a pizza?

No bubble wrap. But I have been greeted by half-naked people, people too drunk to count money, a guy in a Grim Reaper Halloween costume and my favorite, the guy with the gunóno. He wasn’t robbing me. He was just cleaning it, I think. Freaked me out completely. (I was actually robbed at gunpoint a few years later and I think this episode probably had something to do with how I didn’t really take that really-robbing-me guy seriously until he got right up to me and pointed it at my head.) (Don’t worry. I was fine. He got away with about $40. He was wearing nice green slacks. I moved to Ireland where guns are illegal. All worked out.)

3. AMY!!!!! That is so not cool. I’m glad about Ireland though, but that is so not cool! Let’s ask something mellow: What is your least favorite color crayon and why?

Wow. I never thought about this. I mean, I can tell you my #1 favorite color crayon. Periwinkle blue. But least favorite? Hmm. Let me have a look.


[Three weeks pass as Amy goes on a valiant quest to find her least favorite color crayon. During this time she is amazed at how many crayon colors she really loves. Like silver. How cool is silver? Or those cool neon ones they have now? Not a huge fan of the sparkly ones, but the neon ones totally make up for that.] 

Answer: Tumbleweed, hands down. First off, it’s the color of dog poop. Or that dull flesh-colored spandex they use in circus costumes to give the illusion of nudity. Or a beige bra if washed with a load of darks. Sorry Tumbleweed. Nothing personal. You’re just not my thing, man.

Thank you so much for being here and answering three dorky questions, Amy. You’re the best. And your book is, too.

Before I go, I should really tell you a little about my book, shouldnít I?

Cough. Yes! Cough.

PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is a Junior Library Guild selection for Fall 2010!!

18-year-old Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone. Will she emerge and clear his name? Does she even want to? 
  

“Brilliant. Funny. Really special.” –Ellen Hopkins, author of NYT bestselling Crank, Glass and Tricks 

Thank you so much Carrie, for having me over to you blog! I hope you enjoy your pizza and the book! You rock! 

Nope. Amy. You rock. Always have. Always will. Especially when covered with 14-days worth of dirt.

WRITING NEWS

THE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOME

Steve Wedel and I wrote a super creepy book a few years back called After Obsession and it’s making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands thanks to Dutch Venture Publishing and its leader Jen Minkman. 

Check out this spread in a Dutch magazine. I met a whole bunch of Dutch readers last Friday and let me tell you? They are the best. 

Learn With Me at the Writing Barn!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here!

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.