Cloud The Kitten’s Friday Advice

Repeat after me: It is okay to have fun.

It is okay to have fun.

Joy is not a four-letter word. 

*Double checks because my brain is still forming*

Yep, three letters. 

Don’t let other people dictate your choices, your emotions, your you. You’re better than that.

xo
Cloud


This week’s podcast!

This week’s big news!

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

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

I have a new book coming out!

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. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.

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Refried Beans Recipe – Yang Gang Style

Recipe Inspiration

So, my quest to make the family eat less meat and be more vegetarian is kicking mostly because meat cost so much! This made me think about presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Universal Base Income and how many cans of beans this writer could afford if I had a guaranteed $1000 a month.

But also the environment and the animals and commercial farming and all the other real reasons for me to move towards this choice.

As always – this is meant to be silly, but the recipe works and is delicious!

Print Recipe
Beans, Refried like Revised but Better
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Mince the cilantro, garlic, parsley. Stay true to your vision. Don't think about the cilantro haters. They won't know it's in there if you don't tell them just like NO READER will ever figure out that the evil mayor in your magical town in your middle grade fantasy is actually the president. Oops. They know now.
  2. Dice the onion and tomato. Don't think about the tomato haters. They are always whining. This is why they have no Twitter followers. Stay true to your vision.
  3. Open the cans of pinto beans. Yep. Open them. Don't just toss them around and juggle them like your subplots. Drain excess liquid and think about how draining is such a mean-sounding verb. "DRAIN THE BEANS!" Wonder if this could be a campaign slogan if you ever transition from writer to politician.
  4. Cough uncomfortably. You'd secretly like that, wouldn't you? All those cool speeches. People would APPLAUD your words or write mean tweets about you, but you would get attention - real attention. Imagine how many Twitter followers you could have. Maybe you should write about this.
  5. Go write. Think about UBI and how many cans of pinto beans you could afford if that happened.
  6. Actually come back and make the food. Put oil in a pot.
  7. Set the temp to medium.
  8. Saute the garlic, onion and tomato in there.
  9. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano.
  10. Add the parsley and cilantro.
  11. Cook 10 minutes or so until onions are translucent or about 10 minutes.
  12. YOU CAN WRITE YOUR SPEECH IN THIS AMOUNT OF TIME! GO WRITE!
  13. Make sure to get "DRAIN THE BEANS" in there.
  14. Add beans.
  15. Stir.
  16. Add 1/2 cup water.
  17. Lower temperature to a simmer that resembles your new political aspirations.
  18. Realize you have a chance at this if you use the hashtag #yanggang on a all social media.
  19. For 30 minutes write your political thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag. Watch your following grow.
  20. Eat.
Recipe Notes

UBI stands for Universal Base Income. You can find out more about Andrew Yang's proposal here

Man Verdict: Anytime you have beans or rice I love it.

My Verdict: HE DIDN’T NOTICE THE TOMATOES! Also, I could totally afford cilantro if Andrew Yang became president.

Dog Verdict: We should probably not give the man this many beans. Evacuate!

Sparty’s Daily Doggy Wisdom

Look at how beautiful you are.

Yes you.

Nobody else gets to be you, know you the way YOU know you.

So enjoy who you are.

You’re beautiful.

Yes. You.

Just own it.

You’re made of stars and magic and imagination. You deserve snacks.

xo Sparty Dog

Writing News

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

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

I have a new book coming out!

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. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.


This week’s writing podcast.

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

Liminal Ascent

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

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”

Gabby Dog and Cloud the Kitten Friday Animal Inspiration

Sometimes the world seems a bit … much?

Hang onto love and friends. Let go of the stuff that keeps you from being strong. Hang on.


Hang on.


This world needs good. You are the good.

Also, please remember not to poop in the sink.

Cough.

Looking at you, kitten.

xo

Gabby Dog and Cloud the Kitten


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.


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.”

Continue reading “Gabby Dog and Cloud the Kitten Friday Animal Inspiration”

Cloud the Kitten in a Bucket’s Thursday Inspiration and Some Links to Things

Cloud in a bucket

Good morning!

Today is a good day to explore, jump in a bucket, hang out there like a cat boss, and jump out when you’re ready.

It’s a good day to love, and to be love.

It’s a good day to be you.

You is pretty awesome.

You’ve got this.

xo

Cloud the Kitten

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.


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.”

Continue reading “Cloud the Kitten in a Bucket’s Thursday Inspiration and Some Links to Things”

Hungover Writer Burrito

Sometimes your writer self (the vegetarian kind) might need a bit of a pick-me-up after a long night of channeling Hemingway or any of the other dead authors of the 1900s or living authors of the 1980s.

Here is our offering, tweaked and twisted from a really good recipe (see the notes) and super yummy.

Print Recipe
Hungover Writer Burritos
Man Verdict: YOU do NOT have to be hungover to eat this. Or a writer. My Verdict: All vegetarian burritos are good burritos. Dog Verdict: They'd only let us eat the plain rice and the tortillas. No fun at all.
Burritos
Cuisine american
Keyword burrito
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine american
Keyword burrito
Servings
Ingredients
Burritos
Instructions
  1. 1. Toss the rice and cilantro. Do it in a microwave-safe bowl. Don’t just toss it. You aren’t still drunk are you? NYE was two days ago, writer! Get a grip!
  2. 2. Drizzle lime juice on it. Think about how the word drizzle is a cool word.
  3. 3. Drizzle.
  4. 4. Put it in the microwave for 45 seconds or so.
  5. 5. Take it out of the microwave.
  6. 6. Stir it, but not super enthusiastically. More like a last revision pass where you’re just putting in the time and trying to find out how many times you’ve made your characters nod. 87? That’s too many.
  7. 7. Back to cooking. In a big skillet, saute garlic and onion in oil for ttwo minutes. The onion wants to be soft like the protagonist’s skin in a romantic thriller featuring damsels and pirates. The damsel is the protagonist.
  8. 8. Lower the heat (medium-low). Add beans. Put the cumin, hot sauce, and chili powder on there. Roll with salt if you’re into that. Let it cook for five minutes.
  9. 9. Put rice into tortillas. Put bean mixture in tortillas. Realize you did not warm up the tortillas.
  10. 10. Warm up those tortillas in the microwave (under paper towel that’s damp for 15 seconds) if that’s how you roll or in an oiled-pan on the stovetop (low heat) if you’re like that. It really depends on your level of lazy. If you’re still hung-over, I’m guessing that lazy level is high.
  11. 11. Eat.
  12. 12. Watch Hulu or Netflix or something while you eat. Claim it’s book research. Realize that in 2020 writers lie like that to themselves. That’s why they do fiction. Be glad you write fiction
  13. 13. Eat more.
  14. 14. Go get a beer to go with it. Actually get the whole case so you don’t have to get up off the couch too many times.
  15. 15. Realize you’ll have to make this again tomorrow. Decide you’re okay with that.
Recipe Notes

This is adapted from a much better recipe on the amazing website of awesome called Spruce Eats. You can find it here. 

 

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”

Sparty Dog’s Thoughts on a Tuesday

You and me?
We are here to transform ourselves and the world. Right now.
Yeah, rolling out of bed is a difficult first step, but we can do this.We have to do this.
Inside of us is something special. It’s called our hearts. Let’s use them. Hug first though?
xo

Sparty Dog

Podcast

Gabby Dog’s Monday Motivation

Sometimes it’s hard to open your heart to life that feels different, but
that’s the best time to open your heart.

You get a cool soft place to rest your head & to just be.

Loving is just being.

Opening your heart? It’s not about taking or giving. It’s about being.

I want that for you.

Love,

Gabby Dog

Sparty’s Friday Urge

Sparty's Dog Thoughts
Sparty’s Friday Motivation

The world we see is the one we create.

When we figure out why we do what we do, that’s when we can figure out how to do things the way we actually want.

Put cats on your head.

See the world differently than everyone you know.

Be different.Deviate.Question why.
xo

Sparty Dog

This week’s podcast.