How to Start Writing a Book

People ask me all the time about how to start writing a book, and I think I’m getting more emails about this than I normally do, which means – a lot of emails. 

So, I’m going to resurrect this blog about it. 

There are basically three components to writing a book or a novel, or anything honestly.

The first part is you have to write

You have to put words to the page and/or computer screen. A lot of people get stuck on this part. There’s no one right way to do it. You can outline the heck out of a book and/or a novel. Or… you can hear a sentence in your head and just go from there and see where the journey takes you. The secret is to not get hung up on how to do the writing or outlining, but to do the writing, which leads me to the second component.

Do not stop writing.

 You have to keep writing even when you think your story sucks, even when you think it is pointless. You have to expect self-doubt and write right through it. Stopping because of self doubt is the number one enemy of writers. It is what keeps me from blogging, which to me is much more terrifying than writing a book. 

End the Bad Boy.

In order for you to have a book out in the world, you have to write all the way through it to the ending. There are a million books out there and even more ‘almost written’ books. Don’t be an almost. Be a writer. 

Here are some more hints.

1. Write

Write as much as you can. I wrote my first book, TIME STOPPERS (13th published one) in the car on my way to newspaper assignments. I’d make the story up aloud and tell it to my daughter and then write the pages at home when I got a chance. If you write just one page a day, you end up with a draft that’s 356 pages at the end of the year. You know what that is? It’s a book.

2. Keep Track of Your Progress 

A lot of the time, I feel like I haven’t written anything or achieved any writing during the day. My mind is evil like that. So to help me keep track, I post a word count at the beginning of the day and the end of the day, too. That way I can see how many words I wrote. When I’m revising, I do it by chapter. I revise a chapter a day and mark it off in my notebook or computer file.  It’s good to see that you’ve accomplished things. It’s motivating.

3. Work Every Day 

Some writers don’t do this. I do. But I’m trying to take the weekends off. Some writers go on a retreat and work for 24 hours straight, sipping green tea and eating Saltines. I am not one of those writers, but you can be. If you aren’t the binge-type writer, though, make sure you are diligent. Write every day. Think about when you will write. Schedule time to write. Do it. For my first book, I was writing everywhere, on napkins, the back of envelopes, computer files, and I would be in the car waiting to pick up my daughter, at a swim meet (DO NOT JUDGE. SWIM MEETS ARE LONG), waiting for a meeting to start. All those moments of waiting became moments of writing. 

4. Give Yourself Goals 

I have daily goals, weekly goals and yearly goals. This sounds quite organized. It isn’t, really. I just say things like, “I want to write 5,000 words this week,” or I want to have the necromancer story done by November 1, this revision of a picture book done by December, and so on. Your goals can be big or little, but keep visiting them, remind yourself of them. And be psyched when you achieve them. I give this advice, but I totally fail at the celebration part of writing. When my last book came out, I was training members of Rotary International about public image. I absolutely failed to even have a cupcake to celebrate. DO NOT BE LIKE ME. Give yourself goals and party when you achieve them. You deserve it. 

5. Be Okay with Sucking 

I am so far from perfect. My writing is far from perfect. The truth is that even the writers that you think are heroic, brilliant, awesome, amazing mess up. They have editors, second editors, agents, friends who help them make their stories the best they can be. The secret is to let others help you. The other secret is to not let your fear of failure freeze you into not making story. We writers are often our own worst enemy and few of us have healthy egos that are okay with criticism, that don’t have self doubt. The thing is to preserve, keep writing. 

6. Write More 

Once you have your story, revise your story. Revise it again. Study the books you like. Revise again. Study the books you don’t like. Revise again. And write something new. Don’t stop writing. Writing is a craft and the more you do it, the better you become. This is just like all the other arts and crafts. The more you practice piano, the better a pianist you are. The more you sculpt, the better the sculptor. Writers are artisans. Our materials are words. Words are the symbols we put together to create story. 

7. Start a blog and find a community 

Writing can be lonely. You are in your house or coffee shop or (if you are me) car, writing. If you blog, you can connect to other writers and readers. If you connect, you can find support when you are feeling like throwing your laptop through the window. You can feel less alone. 

8. Get Inspired 

When I talk to kids about writing, I tell them that to live the biggest lives they can, experience things that are legal and won’t get you thrown in prison or hurt or kicked out of school, have adventures, make friends, listen to people’s conversations. The stories writers tell are about interactions, cause and effect, about things happen. Be a witness. Be a story teller. Live. 


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July 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 preorder 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?

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HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

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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. 

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HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app and our bonus podcast below.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

Bar Harbor Painting Schooner
Bar Harbor Painting Schooner

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction. Who knew there was such a thing?

31702754 copy
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Smelling Like Pee Near Hotties Because My Life is Embarrassing

So, in the ridiculous life that is my own, I’ve decided to revisit my old blog posts for about ten days and it turns out – most of my blog posts are embarrassing.

Yet, I am posting them anyway.

Sparty the Dog: Don’t do it, Carrie! It’s not worth it.

carriejonesbooks.blog

Sorry, Sparty, an authentic writer has to do what she has to do. Plus, I need to blog.

The set-up:

I was in seventh grade.

My stepfather had just died. It was my brother’s wedding.

I was totally in love with Tim, my much older (at an ancient 22) step-cousin. He had nice hair and really white teeth. That’s all I needed for it to be love. I am easy to please.

The dress:

Was two sizes too big. I lost a lot of weight because my dad died.

Was this Pepto-Bismol pink color of evil.

Required a hoop skirt. Yes. Yes. I am serious. The hoop skirt became part of Confederate symbology and was protested in 2015, but this was New Hampshire so I don’t know why it was part of the dresses.

Had fake flowers for shoulder straps.

Was tiered like a wedding cake.

It vaguely looked like this: 

Crossed with this: 

What happened:

Right before the wedding, at the house of the parents of the bride, I put on my horrible gown.

The dress sagged everywhere, including where my breasts were (still are, actually. My breasts have not. I repeat: HAVE NOT moved) and the maid of honor was trying to duct tape the side in. It was frantic because I looked bad. SO bad.

The taping didn’t really work and the tape was scratching because it wasn’t fashion tape, but was actually duct tape.

Everyone gave up.

“It’s okay,” the Mother of the Bride said through gritted teeth. “You look fine.”

The Mother of the Bride was not a good liar.

Then when we were heading out to the car I picked up their dog, Midge, for comforting dog snuggles because I needed them. It turned out you were not supposed to pick up Midge. Why?

Midge peed.

Midge peed all over the dress. There was this dark stain, going down the side of my pink atrocity. My cousin Tim was totally going to see me in this dress that now had PEE on it! PEE!

Cue: Mother of the Bride swearing.
Cue: Maid of Honor yelling, “YOU PICKED UP MIDGE! JESUS! JESUS!”

They rushed me inside, dabbed at me with a face cloth and then dried me with a hair dryer and sprayed a whole lot of Lysol on me. It was fragrant and killed airborne bacteria, but it didn’t mask the smell of the Midge.

Me: I smell like pee.
Mother of the Bride: YOU. SMELL. FINE.

Father of the Bride: She smells like piss.

Cue: Maid of Honor spraying lilac perfume all over me, which combines with the Lysol.

It was not a pleasant smell.,

So, I went to the wedding smelling like Lysol, lilac and pee. My super cute step cousin asked me to dance. I was in Heaven. He leaned in. I was in Super Heaven of Awesomeness. My step cousin of the handsome hair was leaning in. I am ready to die of bliss.

He sniffed the air. “Does it smell like urine?”


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

BLOG BREAK – SORT OF

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mockup-8408a5d6.jpg

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

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Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

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Carrie and the Campaign Pot House

I’ve decided to spend the next few days or so reposting blogs from my past because what better way to celebrate a new year (insert sarcasm here) and this one is about what it was like to run for office.

A lot of you know that I was once a city councilor and then I had a failing bid for the Maine State House of Representatives.

I was a horrible politician. I felt intrusive knocking on doors. I was not efficient when listening to people’s stories. I’d stay too long and not get to other doors.

The other party said I was too soft to deal with the mean realities of politics. (Not the other candidate. His party) and so on.

So, in my effort to spread a little enlightenment on what it is to be me, Carrie, when I was a failed politician in a state race I bring you this….

As those of you who read CARRIE AND THE CAMPAIGN PENIS and CARRIE AND THE CAMPAIGN PSYCHO might remember, part of being a candidate for political office involves knocking on doors.

A couple weeks ago, Joe Pat (we gave him a hillbilly name because his dad is a doctor) is driving me around in his old Saab. The first house we go to is a modifed trailer, slightly off this dirt road called Pioneer Farm Way.

I go up to the door. I knock.
A roundish kind of guy opens the door. 
I say who I am.

He’s all, “Hey… Cool. I don’t live here. I’m just Joe’s caretaker…I mean… dude… Caregiver.”

And I’m all, “Cool. Can you give this to him and tell him to call me if he — “

From this back hall comes a froggish voice, “Let her in.”

Caretaker/caregiver guy gets panic look. “Um…”

“Dude,” the phantom voice says, “Let her in.”

This guy who is soooooo tan that he’s like beef jerky rolls his wheelchair into the front part of the trailer. He’s only wearing tiny khaki shorts.

He winks at me and says, “Come on back.”

I do.

I follow him down this long, long hallway.

Everything starts smelling pretty interesting, but I’m not really registering it because there are all these sounds of people scurrying around. It’s like I’m in the Boogie Nights movie or something. There is fake wood paneling everywhere and that smell… That smell that I can’t quite place.

Half-naked guy wheels himself to the head of this big table. There’s a teen sitting there. Caretaker/giver sits down.

Half-naked khaki guy goes, “Sit down. You mind if I smoke?”

“Sure. It’s your house.” I look right in his eyes because he is half-naked and I am repressed and from New Hampshire. He smiles and picks up a cigarette. I realize it is not the regular kind of cigarette. It is pot. I look next to me and there is this gigantic box (like 3 x 3) full of special cigarettes. There’s got to be like 500 in there. Then I look on the other side of him and realize that the ginormous bag of plant matter is not cat nip. It is weed. I have never seen so much weed, not even when I was reporting on drug busts.

Half-naked guy inhales. He inhales a lot. He tells me that he has MS, so it’s legal for him to grow. 

Half-naked guy adds, “I’m on disability and disability doesn’t pay much, you know.”

“I know.”

People scurry in back rooms. Someone giggles.

Half-naked guy says, “So, you know that it doesn’t pay enough to survive on. It’s legal for me to grow ’cause of the MS.”

I stare at his eyes. They are red, but happy.

Half-naked guy says, “I’ve got a lot of friends who stop by, you know. They stop by…”

Me (finally getting it), “OH!”

Half-naked guy smiles really big and says, “You can stop by if you want. You don’t have to partake but I can tell, you and me, we’re on the same wavelength you know.”

This is possibly true because I am one of those people that drunk and high people insist is drunk and high when I am in fact completely sober. My brain is just wired that way.

Half-naked guy then tells me a massive list of reporters, cops, teachers, etc, who come by and ‘visit’ him. 

He tells me names!!!! People’s names! They could be summonsed or arrested or something (back then because it was totally illegal) and he tells me their names and I know all of them. All. Of. Them. If I was an evil politician, I could blackmail people. I am not an evil politician. This is possibly why I was so bad at being a politician, actually.

Anyways, it takes him a long, long time to say a sentence. All this time pot smell is sticking to my hair and clothes. The caretaker/giver guy and teen boy keep getting up and leaving and coming back. Half-naked man keeps smoking and rolling, smoking and rolling.

And me? I am suddenly getting the munchies and I have the urge to say, “Dude… Man… I just love you, dude. And your MS totally sucks, but man… I love you.”

I manage to resist the urge, but just barely.

So, my chaperone and keeper, Joe Pat realizes that I’ve been gone awhile and he comes in. They bring him back to me. Joe Pat looks like he is in Heaven. He can’t stop smiling.

Half-naked guy looks up at Joe Pat and says, “You want a toke?”

Joe Pat blushes and goes, “No. No, man. I’m good.”

I get ready to leave and half-naked pot man makes a fist for me. We touch fists. And he goes, I am dead serious, he goes, “Pot for Peace, Carrie. Pot for Peace.”

Joe Pat and I get back into his Saab and Joe Pat is grabbing the steering wheel, not really saying words but just sort of all manic energy before he finally says, “Holy sh–t! That was amazing. Did you see all that? I’ve never seen so much pot in my life. And I’m a drummer.” 

I start cracking up. I can’t stop. 

Joe Pat backs out of the driveway and says, “You have a contact high, Carrie, don’t you? Oh, crap. *Will is going to kill me. Do you still want to do doors?”

I hold out my hair. “Does my hair smell?”

He sniffs in. “Hell yeah.”

I nod, think (which takes a long time) and say, “Yeah, I better do doors. I’ll just tell people I went to a pot house.”

So that’s what I do. Overall, it was one of the most mellow doors night I’ve had, but no, I wasn’t very efficient and possibly talked way too much about the pot house, healthcare, and why my hair smelled.

Yes. Another reason why I didn’t win.

*Will was my campaign manager.

Be a Part of the Podcast!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into our podcast, “Dogs are Smarter than People,” record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

Blog Break – Sort Of

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

Flying

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

APPLY NOW!

Muppet Resolutions

This past 10 days I’ve been doing throw-back posts because I’m so super busy, but also because it’s sort of cool to look back and the old you, and the things you once thought and/or posted.

The old me was a little obsessed with Grover. And this post? It comes from January 1, 2008, which ended up being a really good year for me despite losing an election and a marriage. Whoa… I know, right? You’d think that would make a year suck. It didn’t. It actually made the year interesting and full of growth and helped me move on to this next stage, which I really like.

Here is the post! I hope you like it, THE WAY I’m LIKING THIS STAGE IN MY LIFE.

Last week I took Grover for a little field trip to a wedding. It was Grover’s first car ride and he was feeling a little bit cocky. You know, all LET ME DRIVE! LET ME DRIVE!

Grover: Pretty please with a cookie on top? 

I am a softie, so I let him drive even though the speed limit on the Maine turnpike was 45 or something ridiculous like that because of the massive amounts of snow trundling down from the sky.

Grover: I LOVE DRIVING CAWWIE!
Grover, dude, can you actually see the road?
No. I drive by the power of Grover Zen.
That’s so cool Grover, that’s how I drive too.

But any way… we made it. Here are my New Year’s Resolutions via Grover. They are in second person. I’m not sure why.

1. When you see the ice cream truck or any other good thing coming up YOU MUST SQUEE and SQUEE LOUDLY! Do not be afraid to squee.

SQUEE!

  • 2. Don’t be afraid, just embrace your inner dork.
  • 3. Remember to smile when you are at a wedding and someone takes your picture even though you HATE pictures. Also remember to carry that joy from the wedding into everything else you do.

 Me: Doesn’t Sarah look beautiful, Grover?

Grover: Aw, Cawwie. She is the hottest bride ever. Look at her red hair. Look at her dark dress. Why did you leave me, the adorable monster, in the car?

Because, I know you, Grover. You’re kind of a horn dog.

I am not! Grover is NOT a horn dog. 

I’ve seen you hump the steering wheel, Grover. I know what you’re about. 

Aw, Cawwie. Even Muppets have needs. 

I wanted Sarah to have a nice wedding, Grover… oh… ack. Let’s continue on here. 

  • 4. Sometimes when things have you down, it’s okay to just pass out.

and always ALWAYS remember to bring a barf bag because sometimes all the joy and fear that comes with being a writer and a human and/or a Muppet can get to you

Grover: Oh, Cawwie. How could you post this? 

I told you not to eat ALL the ice cream in the 18-wheeler carrying the Ben and Jerry’s, Grover. You are not the ice cream monster and you are lactose intolerant, silly.

  • 5. Honor all the people and/or muppets you’ve ever been and that you still have yet to become.
This is the creepiest photo I could find of past Carrie and her hand-me-down stuffed animals. Check out the wallpaper.

And that’s it! Those are the best resolutions I can think of – with Grover’s help. I hope you have an amazing 2019.

Be a Part of the Podcast!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

Blog Break – Sort Of

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy
Flying

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

APPLY NOW!

We Need More Hobbits In this World, Drugs, My Dad, Cancer and the Boston Marathon

The first time I blogged the first section of this post back in 2013, I checked with my dad to make sure he was okay with it. He was.

My dad is dead now and reposting this is hard, but also good. Because that’s how life can be – hard and good.


So lately, thanks to brilliant blog posts by writers like Jo Knowles and Tim Wynne Jones, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to love life and to really live it. Jo’s post ponders Maurice Sendak’s NPR interview where he implores people to live their lives, and the sadness and urgency that he has as he expresses that thought as he, himself, is in the last months of his own life.

And for me, that is even more poignant as I listened to my own father sob on the phone last Friday, lamenting a family member who is still alive with us, but whose personality has been twisted by drug use. 

“Where is that person I used to know?” my dad asked. “Where is that person I was so proud of?”

I told him that the person is still there, buried beneath the drugs, that their soul is still a bright light underneath all the layers of drug dependence and anger and need. 

But it made me wonder about how people can change for good or for bad, about how we are all a product of our choices and our intentions. 

“Our family is shrinking,” my dad said, “and I am so alone. In the mornings, when it is bleak, I look out at the cold trees and I am so very lonely.”

I listed all the people my father has, all the people who love him. My sister and all her grown kids live near him. My brother, his son. My dad’s brother and his sister-in-law have him to dinner every single night. My dad has friends still alive that he has gone on grand adventures with, but the worry about his drug-addled relative has devastated him. All the good things don’t matter any more because he has chosen to only look at the horror of the present.

And that’s sad.

And it’s easy and normal to feel that way. 

And I have felt this way too — times when I am impossibly sad even though I am one of the luckiest humans in the universe — times when I think that the days are too cold to leave the bed and walk the dogs and eat. But the thing is, you fight through them. It isn’t that life is a gift. It isn’t that life is a curse. It’s just that life is. It is. And we are meant to experience it and travel through it and we can choose to make that journey have meaning like poets do, like Jo does, like Tim does, or we can choose to just manage, to slug through. Our choices can change. Our intentions can change. Our purpose can change. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are meant to experience this life – this great big is — and how we do experience it is up to us. 

And so in that phone call I had with my dad I told him, “I love you. What is happening to our relative is not your fault and not all your responsibility and whatever choices you make, you will make with love, and that is all that matters. What matters, Dad, is that you love, that you have always loved, and that you always will love with all your heart.”

He said with a shaking 83-year-old hobbit man voice, “I am such a coward. I am so scared. I am so scared for them.”*

But my little dad isn’t a coward. He faces his pain, his sorrow, his worries, his life head on. He touches the sad, hurt parts of his own soul and knows them. My dad doesn’t hide. He doesn’t pretend to be someone he isn’t. 

“Being scared doesn’t make you a coward,” I tell him. “You have never run away from life, Dad. You will never run away, and that makes you one of the bravest men of all.”

*I changed the pronoun to ‘them’ because that makes it even more difficult to identify the person but also because them is a pretty cool pronoun.

And then less than four months after that post, I posted this:

It is Thursday and an oncologist whose last name is Snow has just told my father that he has a few weeks to live. Sometimes poets use snow to signify death. As I wander through the tiny patch of woods off the Glen Mary Road in Bar Harbor, I think that this is appropriate in a bad way. The doctor’s name is Snow. Snow. A lone crow alights from one pine tree bough to another, leading me down the trail. There are superstitions about crows. One crow is meant to signify death.

“I already know,” I tell the bird as he lifts his shiny wings, “but thanks.”

And about five hours away from me and the crow, Doctor Snow leaves my dad’s hospital room and my sister hands my dad the hospital phone so that I can say hi.

“Carriekins,” he says to me and his voice is cheerful somehow.

“Hey Dad! I love you!” This is the only thing I can think to say. I try to make my voice cheerful, too, but it isn’t strong like pine boughs and it can’t hold up the weight of me. I try again and manage to sound chipper. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” he says. “How is your day going?”

The first thing he asks, moments after he finds out that he is about to die, is how my day is going. This is how my dad works. He asks people questions. He wants to know how they are doing, what they’ve done, what they think, why they think it. His favorite thing to say is, “I don’t know enough about you. What can you tell me?”

And I never know what to say. I never feel like I have anything to tell.

“My day kind of stinks, Dad,” I tell him, stepping on a fallen pine cone. Crushing it  will help to scatter its seed, but I still feel badly about it somehow. “I mean, it does stink because of what the doctor just said, but it’s good because I get to hear your voice and talk to you.”

It is the last time I have a real conversation with my dad. The next day they fill him with morphine and move him to a hospice center. He can’t talk because of the drugs. That is Friday. On Saturday, he can only wheeze into the phone.  I tell him he sounds like Darth Vader and that I will be there Monday after a wedding I have to go to and after I drop my daughter, Em, off at college.

He dies that night or really early Sunday morning right after the sunrise. He loves sunrises.

Doctor Snow had given him weeks. He lasts two days because of a fast moving, wildly spreading small cell cancer that has already officially claimed the area around one of his lungs.

Before we knew he had cancer he said, “You know I would go down on my knees and kiss the ground and praise God if I could breathe again. Isn’t that something? Isn’t that something you’d never expect to hear from me?”

And it was.

My dad was a hobbit kind of man. He believed in breakfast and laughing. He believed in second breakfast and laughing even more. He believed in dancing and smiling and telling stories and listening and a third breakfast that included cake. He believed in life and people. He was capable of looking straight into someone’s soul and getting right to the core of what made them special and because he had that gift, he forgave everyone everything. He forgave people all the time and he loved them just as much as he did no matter what they put him through.

Two weeks before he died

Right after the Boston Marathon bombings, I am sitting in a Cambridge, Massachusetts restaurant with my daughter, Em. People are eating, but mostly everyone is craning their heads, watching the television screen that displays what little information exists about the attacks. My cell phone vibrates and I learn that my dad, who has gone into the hospital three days earlier because he couldn’t breath has tumors. They don’t know if the tumors are cancer. They just know they are there.

On the screen above my head are news people trying to make sense of a tragedy that I have just personally witnessed because I had been at the marathon. I don’t need the television to see the blood and the pain, the hope of people helping, the determination of doctors and civilians and paramedics and cops.

Tumors.

People before me have compared hate to cancerous tumors, compared the way hate metastasizes and invades a society, taking it over the same way cancer takes over a body. It is not new to think about this, but I do.  The hate isn’t in the restaurant this night though. In the restaurant, the patrons and servers are still trying to understand how things like bombs can happen in their city, trying to isolate the type of hate that this cancer was, trying to understand it.

Some things are hard to understand. You can label all different types of cancers (lymphoblastic, Kapoki sarcoma, fibrous histiocytoma, ovarian, oropharyngeal), and you can label all different kinds of hate (misogyny, domestic terrorism, international terrorism, fear, self-righteousness, homophobic, racist, religious, ethnic, sociopathic) but those labels are just labels, they don’t get at the core of the hate, the essential interwoven elements of it.

“Grandpa Barnard has some sort of tumors,” I tell Emily, “and fluid around his lung.”

“It is cancer?” she asks.

“They don’t know yet.”

It isn’t for another ten days that they tell him that it is definitely cancer, and a bad kind. In those ten days, I spew out a blog post about the goodness I saw at the marathon, I talk to librarians, I attend a wedding full of love.  The doctors aren’t sure where the cancer originated. They just know that it is. My uncle who is in his late eighties immediately starts citing statistics about Raydon. My family has never been a family that has cancer. He wants to find a reason. He wants to understand.

But we won’t ever understand exactly what made my dad’s body become cancerous or where that cancer first struck or even where else in his body that it is.

“There is no point in doing scans,” Dr. Snow says on this Thursday. “The only point is that we have to keep him comfortable, manage his pain.”

And this is where cancer and violence part ways. Because as a society we always have to do the scans, always have to figure out where the hate started, what tools it uses to kill others, what elements it needs to thrive. Because as a society, we need to feel safe and we need to be a place where nobody wants to destroy innocent runners or spectators or children. We have to be a place that understands hatred and actively works to try to stop it, to turn it into something good and peaceful.

When my dad finds out about the Boston Marathon he says, “Humans can be so horrible to each other, can’t they Carriekins?”

And I say that they could, but I add, remembering what I had seen at the Marathon, “They can be good too, Dad.”

“Yes, they can.” He sighs. “I would have liked to been a locksmith. I would have liked to have a nice, simple job helping people.”

“You helped people all the time, Dad,” I tell him. “You are a good, sweet man.”

“I wasn’t a great success.”

“Yes, you were. You were a success because you made people laugh,” I tell him. “You were a success because you try so hard every day to be good.”

And it is true. Even at the hospital he is flirting with nurses, complimenting their bright orange pants, asking them how their days are going.

Even when he finds out he has less than a month to live, he asks me, “How was your day?”

That is what good is. That is what gives me hope when cancer tries to infect our country or even our own souls with blame and anger and bigotry. People like my dad give me hope. It is the hobbits of the world, the ones who find the beauty in breakfast or a nurse’s fluorescent pants, who find the love inside a angry person’s heart, who want to save those who hurt them, the ones who find the kindness and joy and laughter inside a hospital room, these are the people who make our world good.  We need more hobbits like my dad. He may have not have been a famous man or a ‘successful’ one, but he was good. He was unrelentingly good and I will miss him.

I do miss him.


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

BLOG BREAK – SORT OF

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

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TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

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FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

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Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

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Star Trek FanFic? Bring it.

These 10 days are all throw-back blogs because my brain is tired from the holidays.

This one is a story I tell a lot of kids when I visit schools. It’s about how writing isn’t always awesome. But that doesn’t matter.

It’s also about the first thing I ever wrote, which was Star Trek Fan Fiction. Yeah, huh. I know, right?

Here goes:

The first thing I ever wrote was back in fourth grade and it was fan fiction for my much older brother’s birthday (14 years older, actually) . I thought he liked Star Trek because he once got stuck baby sitting me for a whole weekend and it rained the entire time and so he just sort of plopped me down and made me watch Star Trek, the original series, because he didn’t want to actually have to do stuff with me. I don’t blame him. I was totally annoying. I slurred my s’s and had glasses and was kind of pudgy and totally had this self-righteous hero complex and had never watched a single episode of Star Trek before this. I was more of a Doctor Who human.

Anyway, his birthday was coming up and I needed to get him something awesome so he would love me, but I was in fourth grade and had NO INCOME AT ALL, so I thought in this brilliant epiphany moment, “I shall write him a Star Trek story starring a pudgy girl who has glasses and slurs her s’s and has this self-righteous hero complex.”

So, for the next 10 days or so, I brought all these notebooks and my magic markers out to the woods and instead of looking for Big Foot (my usual pastime), I wrote this story for my brother, in long hand. It ended up being about 423 pages of this girl whose name was Cassie Bartlett (my name was Carrie Barnard) who saves the entire universe, but not before Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Sulu, and Spock fall in love with her. Yeah. Even Mr. Spock who is supposed to not have uncontrolled emotions (even though he TOTALLY has uncontrolled emotions for Kirk) falls in love with Cassie Bartlett/Carrie Barnard.

I thought this was pure genius.

You know Spock would totally go for me rocking this vest in the best fourth-grade way possible.

I even had her die in the end saving the entire Star Trek universe. Everyone cries. Even Mr. Spock.

But when I gave my notebooks to my super jock, Varsity-letter-in-three-sports brother, he sort of frowned and tried to sound nice and said, “What is this, Squirt?”

He called me Squirt. This was sort of evil.

And I said, “It’s a Star Trek story! I wrote it for you for your birthday! It’s 423 pages and it stars this girl, Cassie Bartlett and she has to — ”

And he said, “I don’t like Star Trek.”

Then everyone had birthday cake and ice cream. Except me. I had a belly ache and went in my room and cried.

Back then, I didn’t know that not everybody is going to like your story. And I didn’t know that sometimes writing your story is way more fun than publishing it. And I didn’t know fanfiction existed or what it was or that I just wrote it. (According to the online Merriam Webster dictionary, fan fiction is: “stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet —called also fan fic.” Now I know! ).

And I didn’t know that even if your brother watches Star Trek with you all weekend, he may not like the actual show, he just might not want to hunt for Big Foot with you in the backyard for 15-hour stretches at a time in the rain because he is cooler than that.

His reaction didn’t stop me from writing forever though.

I cried.

Okay, I totally cried a lot, but next year in fifth grade I kept winning the Author of the Month contests that we had in Language Arts class. And even later in fourth grade I wrote a lot of really bad poems like: Cassie’s not feeling well today/ Some boy stole her heart away. (For the record, that boy was Jamie Schneiderheinze). And even now, when I get rejected or someone posts a review on Amazon that says Nick in the NEED series is ‘totally not hot,’ (SIDE NOTE: HE TOTALLY IS HOT! DUH), I keep writing.

Why?

I don’t know how to stop really. I don’t know how to not write. I try and I get cranky and feel lost. I try and I act like a vegan at Whole Foods who has only eaten kale all week. You do not want to be near me.

I don’t stop because I am addicted to story, addicted to getting better as a writer, and addicted to making worlds where I can sort of control things, which is so different than my real life that it is kind of silly.

But I think it really comes down to these two things: 

I write because I think it’s really fun

I write because it’s how I understand the world a teeny bit more.

And believe me, I have a really hard time understanding the world. So, if you want to write? Do it. If your teacher or your brother or your spouse or your boss hates it? Whatever. Seriously. Whatever. It’s just not for them, that story.

Do you know who that story is for?

It’s for you.

So, go write it.


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

BLOG BREAK – SORT OF

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mockup-8408a5d6.jpg

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 786d9806-f7ed-494b-83a4-a5c0d4d0ddee.jpg

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

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My Daughter Wants to Quit Sixth Grade

IMG_4934


I found this old Livejournal post from December 2005, from my first month blogging, from when people actually commented on my blog and I actually knew everyone who did. All very weird. It’s a continuation in my 10 days of throw-back posts.

Here it goes.

My daughter wants to quit sixth grade.

Yesterday, as a result of a student rep meeting, the school stopped serving cookies.

Em, my daughter, said at the student rep meeting that it seemed strange to her that the school sells cookies for a quarter and salad for a dollar, when there’s this big “Healthy Eating Campaign.” She said it made it easier for rich kids to eat healthy because the rich kids have more money. Plus, you can get four cookies for the price of one salad, which makes you think it’s a much better deal so everyone who has a dollar buys four cookies.

The principal wrote in the minutes, “Kids question cost of healthy food vs cookies.”

The cook read it, thought, “They want no snack food. I’ll get rid of the cookies.”

The cook did.

Now, there are no more cookies. Now, there is no more ice cream. Not Em’s intention. Nor did she know it was happening. She likes cookies. She loves ice cream. She just doesn’t eat them all the time.

So, yesterday, a mean eighth grader named Sebastian spent all of recess running around demanding to know whose fault it was. Someone said Em mentioned something about cookies at a rep meeting. Sebastian with an ever-growing gang of followers (all eighth-grade boys) found some of Em’s friends and surrounded them.

“Do you know Emily?” they demanded. “Where is she?”

“She’s in Mr. Stackpole’s room, working on an essay.”

The bell rang. Three eighth grade boys sprinted for Mr. Stackpole’s room, where ring leader, Sebastian yelled in Emily’s face, “There are no cookies! There are no cookies! Bitch!”

Em had no idea what he was talking about. Because she is totally tough, she tried to ignore them. They didn’t stop. Her classmates filtered in.

“You took our cookies!” Sebastian screamed. 

Em gave in, looked up at the face of a big eighth-grade boy, who easily outweighs her by a hundred pounds and said in her takes-no-prisoners way, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Yes, Em does say sentences like that with that kind of Liam Nieson composure. I hear them all the time, especially when I ask her if she’s ready to wake up for school.

So, another classmate tells them to leave her alone and the boys leave when the teacher comes. Em is filled in about the cookie thing. All the 7th and 8th graders are angry at her. The sixth graders get it. The principal talks about it at the honors banquets. Emily, really, really, really does not want to go to school again.

“I do not like eighth grade boys,” she tells me this morning. “I really do not like them.”

“That’s okay,” I tell her. 

“Is that what men are like?” she says. She waits because I haven’t answered and then she repeats, “Men?”

I nod. “Not all men. Not all boys. Not all people are like that. Girls are mean too, right?”

“Yeah,” she says and stares out the window, “I guess.”

She doesn’t seem convinced.

And as I’m re-reading this post in the now, I’m sort of wondering how this event helped shape Emily into the awesome person she is today. How awesome?

1. She could be my body guard. She’s taken Krav and she’s a field artillery officer. I am serious.
2. She went to Harvard and has a super-high GPA but she is still nice and not pretentious and won awards for her thesis.
3. She still thinks healthy choices should be as inexpensive as not-so-healthy choices

I am proud of her, so super proud of her. Not because she is strong or smart, but because she has so much integrity and so much will, because she battles it out in crappy situations and doesn’t publicly lose her cool. I am proud of her because she is such a warrior. And because she thinks about things like healthy choices, because even in sixth-grade when someone huge and angry called her a bitch, she didn’t flinch.

She didn’t flinch because she knew that she was awesome.

I want everyone to be like that.

I want to be like that.

But I’m also so proud of her because she didn’t quit sixth grade. She came through it. And as a parent, it’s so hard sometimes to believe that your kids will make it through really tough times. Sometimes they don’t. And all we can do is love them and try to be empathetic and strong for them. And sometimes we don’t do that perfectly. That’s because we’re human. We’re all human. And we all need to love.

We like to think that we can control our kids’ choices, always heal their pain, but we aren’t all-powerful, none of us. We can’t fix so many things and we definitely can’t control outcomes and feelings of other people. And that’s hard to come to terms with. We want to save the world. We want to save our family. We want the power to fix all things and we don’t have that. We can only make our own choices and hope.

All we can do is do our best. Speak our truths. Love our loves. Respect and listen to other experiences and stop judging so much when other people’s experiences and thoughts and loves and life choices aren’t our own.


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

BLOG BREAK – SORT OF

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mockup-8408a5d6.jpg

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy
Flying

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

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Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

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Top Signs of Author Sell-Out also known as Desperation

It happens to so many writers we know and love. Holidays. Birthdays. The amount of money in their checking account has decreased exponentially and they suddenly realize that they need to make more money, quickly, somehow.

The situation becomes desperate.

Here are the signs. Know them so you can support your own sweet author family and friends.

  1. You’ve started having all your characters drink Coke while posting on Instagram in every scene in hopes of a sponsorship.

“Mmm, this Coke is yummy,” Chloe said, quenching her thirst and then staring at Brad as the realization sunk in. She quickly took a selfie to capture the moment. “What do you mean, my dad is a koala?”

“He’s a koala, I swear. I saw him drinking a Coke with Principal Johnson,” Brad said, sipping his own Coke. “They were using bananas for straws.”

“Liar!” Chloe threw her Coke at Brad. Precious Coke spilled over the floor. Cola, the dog, quickly lapped it up. Chloe snapped another shot and posted. 

The Book That Sucks

2. You’ve started signing all your picture book query letters to agents, “OBAMA” or “BRENE BROWN” or “MADONNA” or even “THE BEIBS” in the hopes that someone will read it.

Note: This is likely to be more successful if you also dress up like Madonna and send a photo of yourself in that pointy bra thing she used to wear in the 1980s. This works for both men and women.

Hint: Try not to send Audio Files of yourself singing “Material Girl.” Only your mom finds that cute. Really. This is also true for both men and women.

3. You agree to put full page ads for diet pills in your tween novel about girls in cliques who like hair products and spas. Just for the heck of it, you put in hair product advertising spreads on pages 229 and 123-124.

4. You post a mantra on your computer: IT’S NOT SELLING OUT. IT’S JUST  ENSURING FISCAL SUCCESS.

5. You sit at the coffee shope, sobbing, holding a placard that says, “WILL NAME CHARACTERS AFTER YOU FOR MONEY” and another one that reads, “WILL KILL OFF YOUR EX-BOYFRIENDS IN MY BOOK IN A HORRIBLE WAY (Death by dinosaur? Hamster suffocation? Bombing by fireside? Your choice..) FOR A LATTE.”

Be a Part of the Podcast!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

Blog Break – Sort Of

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

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Flying

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

APPLY NOW!