People Used To Spit On My Dad When He Was Little

I haven’t had a BE BRAVE FRIDAY for a bit, but it’s something I used to do all the time to try to push myself out of my comfort zone, especially about sharing my art.

There’s this old Simon Sinek quote that goes, “A star wants to see herself rise to the top. A leader wants to see those around her become stars.”

I like this quote a lot, but I think that there doesn’t have to be a dichotomy. I think we can all rise together; we can all make ourselves better; make our communities better.

That’s a choice that we make, every single day, a choice to make our selves or our communities better.

My dad was basically ancient. He was born in late October 1929, the youngest child of three. His mom’s grandmother was Jewish, but he didn’t even know if his mother knew that. His dad was about as protestant as a man can be before a man turns into an atheist. Before he became an atheist, he was a stock broker. He was a stock broker in October 1929, working in a ground floor office in Manhattan. One day something thudded. Screams echoed down the street.

One day he looked out his window and saw that another stock broker, a man he knew, a man that he was friends with, had jumped out of a window to his death. Another man followed him down to his death, jumping on purpose because life had become too much. It had no hope for them anymore.

When the U.S. stock market crashed in October, 1929, it wasn’t just numbers that crashed; it was people too.

It was a time of death, and fear. It was a time that began a ten-year depression that crashed even more American families. That was when my dad was born. He was born not into an atmosphere of joy and the American Dream and prosperity, but into a time of fear.

My grandmother was a tiny woman – maybe 4 feet 10 inches tall. Her favorite thing in the world? A beautiful ripe tomato. Her other favorite thing? Butchering her own meat. She was a poet who never submitted a poem. She was an artist who never showed a painting. She was a mother who brought three children into the world and the last of those was my dad. But most of her favorite things had to do with food.

She could weep over the perfection of a tomato.

She could do a happy dance over a good cut of meat.

She knew how hard it was to survive after you were used to surviving. She knew how hard it was to eat when there was no food.

So, my dad grew up a pessimist. The first ten years of his life were grim. He expected bad things to happen. He expected the government to fail you, for life to be scraping and angry and tough. His father went from stockbroker to ideologue. Disheartened by a system that could allow such things to happen, he made my father stand on street corners, passing out political leaflets that my grandfather wrote, but that my father was too young to read or understand. Those leaflets talked about people working together for the common good, about people taking care of one another, about the role of government. Some people would take the leaflets and throw them at my dad’s sweet three-year-old and then nine-year-old face, screaming at him that he was a socialist or an idiot or worse. Some took pity on him and just pretended he didn’t exist. Some spat. Some pushed him in a puddle. But my dad would get up again. He’d wipe his face. He’d stand there.

My grandfather ran for state senate and U.S. Representative for New York. He always lost. By a lot.

My dad ran for nothing, but he always lost, too.

My grandmother watched them struggle and dreamt of food to feed her family. My grandfather dreamt of changing the world. My dad probably dreamt about sweets and girls or something like that. He hadn’t told me. It would be kind of embarrassing, since I’m his daughter, but when his life was ending, he was still an 84-year-old player, so I’m guessing it’s likely.

This story of my dad’s has no pretty end. The economy got better. My grandmother was able to buy meat and grow tomatoes and cry. My dad grew up to be a truck driver who always felt stupid even though he was smart, into a man who always was grateful when people were kind to him instead of mean, a man who always longed for sweetness—sweetness in his food and in his people.

The true stories don’t always have pretty ends, I don’t think. They are hard to make sense of. How do you explain to your wife about a friend who was joyous a mere six months before, and then plummeting to his death in front of you? How do you explain to your infant son that the world is full of cycles of joy and pain and want and have and some people only get to see one part of the cycle? How do you make sense of people being cruel to a three-year-old boy holding political papers on a street corner in New York City?

You don’t.

Because true stories sometimes can’t be explained easily. Just like the world now, like the news now, like the stories now, true tales have to be picked at, layer by layer. They are the lived-out poems of people, and the truths aren’t always easy to see, but the meanings rest underneath the laid-out facts.

My father was a man who expected the worst and gave his best. His father expected the best and often gave the worst. My dad’s mother found miracles in everything and nothing. And they survived. My father survived to have three children of his own. I am the last and the youngest by a lot, sort of an afterthought. My grandfather fled the country to Mexico and Canada, reading books and getting irate and dying in a bathtub when he was in his 90s. I don’t remember him. My grandmother lived until she was 104, scribbling out poems, admiring tomatoes, rejoicing in protein. And my dad kept living too, until he didn’t, plagued by worries about the country and the world, plagued by people’s apathy or conversely their inability to investigate deeper than reposted Facebook statuses and twisted truths, plagued by a quick moving cancer in the area around his lungs. It was a cancer that volunteer firefighters like him often get.

“What will become of us, Carrie?” he always asked me. “What will become of people?”

And I told him, “We will survive if we want to survive, Dad. We will find tiny moments of hope and truth if we want them. We will make our lives and our friends’ lives into stories that we tell each other again and again.”

And then he would tell me a story about how his dad and uncle (after the Crash) ran a tug boat business in the Hudson River, hauling trash across the water on barges. My grandfather would be on the barge and his brother-in-law would drive the boat. Once, the barge began to sink. Neither of them could swim. All they could do was try to hurry across the open water to get to the shore before it was too late. The whole time, my grandfather expected to drown in the garbage other people didn’t want any more. He clung to the tow rope as his brother-in-law tried to get the tug boat to speed. He survived.

“Can you believe that, Carrie?” my dad would ask me for the 1,000th time. “He survived.”

And I’d think, “Yes. Yes, I can.”

People are still enslaved. Now. People are still killed for no reason. Now. People still starve. Now. People struggle and excel and fall to hate and thrive in love. Now.

So this Be Brave Friday, here is my hope. My hope is that you do things. Go change the world. Change it with your stories. Change it with your money. Change it with your hope. Change it by running for office. Change it by helping others. Change it by just surviving. Change it by being informed. Change it by being brave. Change it by making yourself and others stars.

And feel free to check out these links:


End Slavery Now


Don’t Make Your Readers Bad Swoon

Writing action scenes means picking details.

Readers, have you ever read an action scene and it made you feel dizzy?

You are not alone.

This happens when the writer wants to put every single detail of the scene inot the scene, on the page, and in your mind. This is a really kind want of a writer, but the thing is that it doesn’t really work.

Writers, I’m talking to you now. Take off your reader hat and just put on your writer hat while I tell you this: You do not want to make your readers swoony in a bad way.

When you tell us every single characters’ actions, thoughts, emotions, and placement in an action scene, it overwhelms us. So, what you want to do is pick and choose here.

You want to pick and choose:

1. The characters that have the most at stake emotionally and physically.

2. The characters that the reader is the most attached to.

The best way to deal with this is to usually try to stay super close to your protagonist during the action scene. Make sure that you are writing the scene from the viewpoint of that characters. If your puppy main character is watching a Star Wars style space battle, you want to make sure you tell it from that puppy’s point of view.

Our jobs as writers is to pick and choose the details that matter and then trust the reader to recreate that scene in their brains. We don’t want to distract them with the color of the puppy’s collar unless that matters.

If we do the opposite, if we show the reader every little action that happens, then we risk boring the hell out of them, but also we don’t give them to focus on.

Spoiler: You want them to focus on your protagonist and then maybe the antagonist. You want them to focus on the stakes, what your hero wants, and what’s standing in her way.

Think of it like this: You are a movie director. The page is your camera. You want to put the things in focus that matter.

Masterclass has this lovely tidbit.

via Masterclass

That’s all a direct quote. What I love about it is that it talks about the most important part.

You don’t want a sword fight in there just for the sake of a sword fight. That sword fight or the hamster zombie troop running down the street after you needs to be there for a purpose.

Once you have that purpose, pick the details.

I think I’ll probably talk more about this next time, too. I hope you’re doing well and safe. It’s snowing madly here right now. And poor Shaun’s just had his third cancer (in less than a year) scraped out of his hand. He’s had three types of skin cancer in one year. This is the kind of overachieving we don’t want. 🙂

our front porch. You can totally tell this isn’t staged because we still haven’t taken the cushions in for winter (Yes, it is March) and one is lopsided. 

I’m posting writing tips and things about how we’re trying to live better lives over here if you want to check it out. My regular website is here. No pressure though, obviously. Thanks for reading this! And happy writing. 

Death By Grocery Store Cart

I have a grocery list that is miles long because of the holidays.

Seriously, it’s so long. And I go to the grocery store.

Then I realize it. I have to get a grocery cart. 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 Dora the Explorer songs 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, I buy MASSIVE amounts of food and go absolutely in debt for the rest of my life.

Side note: Why do crackers cost $5.99?

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 then, when I’m just standing there in the really long line someone bumps into me WITH THEIR GROCERY CART.

I swear if those things ever go AI, I’m going to be dead within the first week.

My little, creepy book baby is out in the world because who doesn’t want sad, quirky, horror with some romantic bits for the holiday season?

It’s a young adult novel (upper) called WHEN YOU BRING THEM BACK, please buy it!

It’s super fun.

I Survived Christmas and All the Naughty Traditions

So, I have survived Christmas 1 and 2 in the house, and it was basically super cool amazing and I should really post about it, but instead I am going to post about holiday traditions.

So here it goes…


First we get a tree. See earlier post by my dog, Tala, to understand this process. Then we put up tree. It is a crooked kind of perfect  and it somehow manages to stay up.

Cloud is really into the tree.
Sparty? Not so much.


n this tree we put elves. These elves are secret Santa spies. They move around. They report back about the whole naughty/nice thing.

The Emster (my daughter)? She hates these elves.

She wants the elves to die.

 Please do not kill me, Emster. I will tell Santa that you are an angel! I swear. That is if I can ever get myself out of the fetal position.

Emster’s ELF DEATH WISH is why we put them high in the tree.

They wisely stay high when they move around.
The Emster is a formidable opponent. Elf Number Two does not understand this. Check out his fighting pose.

 Dude, I may be fabric and wire, but I can totally take her. C’mon over here, Emster. You wanna piece of elf? I’m gonna give you a taste of elf you ain’t never gonna forget.


For some strange reason we have a swaying snow couple that sings the whole controversial BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE song.

Did you know Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton have a version of this song?

Not Dolly and Rod.

And as much as I love Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton and respect them for the zombie people that they are, I can’t stand this song any more because … okay, are you ready?…. because it makes me think of Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart FORNICATING!!!

And, well, the final aspect of this tradition is that Mr. Snowman always seems to end up in a position where he seems to be feeling up Mrs. Snowman. This seems wrong.

I know snow people need a little joy in their lives, but look at the smiles on their faces. Do they not seem like they are getting a little too much pleasure out of the situation.

And here’s a hint snow couple: WE ALL CAN SEE YOU!!! I’m sure Rod and Dolly don’t do it in public. I mean there are not Parton/Stewart sex tapes are there?

Please, for the love of all things Twitter, let there not be any of those out there.

Tradition Number Four

An advent calendar. Nice and easy there, folks. I thought you might need a little break after the love fest.

Tradition Numbers 5, 6, Etc, because I’m getting tired.

We also chalk the initials of the three wise men above our front door.

We also burn a yule log we make.

We also hide a pickle on the tree. Find the pickle = get a present.

Jesus has a little parade and goes into the manger on Christmas Eve.

We sometimes open one present on Christmas Eve and it is a book.

We smash a peppermint pig when we remember to.

We have seven fishes at dinner the night before.

If there are any fortune cookies anywhere, we read the fortunes and add “IN BED” because that’s the way this family has always rolled.

Speaking of rolls, we have cinnamon rolls and fruit salad for Christmas Breakfast with Em and southern Christmas food for Christmas morning when Em’s at her dad’s.

Santa Mouse also always hides a yellow ribboned present on the tree. GO TEAM SANTA MOUSE!

And we always make a birthday cake for Jesus.

Yeah, it says, Grandma. But it’s kind of the same thing:

1.They both want what’s best for you.

2. They both tell a lot of stories about things that happened centuries ago.

3. They both think that THEY KNOW EVERYTHING, and if you’re a Christian, they kind of do. At least Jesus does. You’ve got to forgive Grandma for loving gross stuff like Moxie and saying that it’ll grow hairs on your chest though, because, quite frankly, she is old. And she does not ACTUALLY know everything, because she is grandma and not God.

4. They both say JESUS CHRIST a lot. Jesus does because it’s his name. Grandma does because… well, her dentures give her some trouble and Don Vicente Fernández died this year.

But enough with the nice stuff… let’s move on to:

Tradition Number Too High For Me To Count

A love fest!
We always put out the Playmobile Santa House.

It looks so innocent!

Isn’t it cute?

Doesn’t the elf at the door look like he’s saying, C’mon inside. It’s warm. There are cookies. Hold on let me go get Santa and the Little Mrs.

And yet…
And yet…
This is what we ALWAYS find in there.

Why hello! Grandma does not approve.

Seriously, why else do you think there’s so many darn elves?

You have to love tradition.

Do you have any cool traditions in your house for any holidays? Let me know if you have a chance!

Secret Writing Advice





No. Sorry. That’s not it. Although that is good important advice I wish someone had told me before it happened to me.

Below is my real advice and it’s not about computer fraud or even strictly about the craft of writing. Instead it’s about the mind state of being a writer.

Yes, the mind state.

Yes, that sounds hokey.

The thing is that sometimes writing is easy.
The thing is that sometimes writing is not … easy.

These are the days of writers. People blog. They text. They NaNoWriMo.

You are probably one of those people. You know that it’s hard. I know that it is not easy for me to be one of those people, a writer in the days of writers and especially in these times of economic turmoil where people are getting laid off or fired and entire publishing houses are restructuring, trying to stay alive.

Let me tell you something about writers in these days of writers.  Sometimes when we look at a page we see the world. Sometimes when we look at a page we see hope. Sometimes when we look at a page we see nothing at all.

But even on those horrible days — those self doubt/writer angst days — we approach the page anyway. We lurch towards it, hands bloodied, heart attacking our ribs. We lurch towards it because we want so badly to reach out to others; we want so badly to make story; we want so badly to be heard.

Writers matter. Stories matter. You matter.

It all matters despite the economy and the pandemic and the divisions or maybe even more so because of it.

It all matters despite the fact that the whole world can write and blog and text, or maybe even more so because of it.

So we lurch. So we bother. So we search our mirrors and our lives. So we search in hearts and in actions and we make stories.

No matter what: We make stories.

So go on. Read and study, think and play, feel the truths that form solidify hard in the gut and in the throat. Write your stories, blogs, texts, and poems and don’t worry if it’s Proust or gobbley gook or even if it will get published.

That’s my secret advice: Just write.

You owe it to the world and the world owes it to you.

My little, creepy book baby is out in the world because who doesn’t want sad, quirky, horror with some romantic bits for the holiday season?

It’s a young adult novel (upper) called WHEN YOU BRING THEM BACK, please buy it!

It’s super fun.

Stopping Doomsday Thinking

A lot of great clients and students that I’ve worked with have what I like to call Doomsday Thinking. I’m pretty sure I didn’t coin that phrase.

What is doomsday thinking?

It’s basically catastrophic thinking.

In Psychology Today, Toni Bernhard J.D. writes, “The term refers to our irrational and exaggerated thoughts: thoughts that have no basis in fact, but which we believe anyway.”

Those thoughts become so big and so distorted that we get anxious.

I am a pro at doomsday thinking

I basically had these kinds of thoughts until last year.

Those negative, spiraling thoughts can become so big, so huge, that it’s almost impossible to be happy about who we are, what we’ve done, what we will do, or our life.

We forget there can be good outcomes too.

Instead, we think about all the bad potentials and build them up like super stores, giving them so much space in our thoughts that they take over.

The why is it always me syndrome.

One of my most brilliant and adorable relatives does this all the time. She gets stuck on a highway coming home from work because of a traffic jam and thinks, “Why does this always happen to me? The universe hates me.”

When in reality, she’s not alone in that traffic jam, right? It’s almost self-absorbed to think that the frustrating things are out to get you and only you.

Or, we get rejected when we send our book to an agent and think, “This is impossible. I will never get published. I am doomed to suck forever. I give up.”

When in reality, you don’t suck at all. Writing is subjective and that particular agent just wasn’t for you.

Change happens.

In doomsday thinking whenever something bad happens, we assume that this is the way it will always be. It isn’t.

The world is chaos and full of change.

I just was texting with one of my friends the other night and I wrote, “I bet Five-years-ago Steve would never have imagined this.”

The this was good stuff happening in his life. And he hadn’t. He hadn’t predicted any of it.

We’re all like that. I didn’t imagine I’d be where I am five years ago. That’s because change happens. Even the bad doesn’t stay always bad. We can’t predict the outcomes and all the variables even when we think we can.

Here’s the good thing about change

Since things change, it means that you don’t need to stay stuck forever. And you don’t need to stay in those negative thought patterns forever either.

Why not? It’s pretty easy to lean into your internal critic, right? But you don’t have to. You can stay calm. You can take chances and make choices and shut them up.

We all have inner critics, but we also need inner cheerleaders

I used to imagine my inner critic as John Wayne (the dead movie star/cowboy). He was so harsh on me. Always telling me to work. So, I created an inner cheerleader who turned out to be the Muppet, Grover. Yes, from Sesame Street. My brain is a weird place.

John Wayne and Grover would duel it out for supremacy in my head.

Weird! Weird! I know. But by giving an identity to that negative voice/inner critic, it helped me to recognize that doomsday thinking and shut it down so that I could take chances and risks and do things.

Allow yourself to treat challenges and projects like you’re playing

Another thing that helps is giving myself a chance to play and fail. You can do this, too.

Find something you’ve wanted to do. Start a blog? Make a video? Learn to paint? Ride your bike every morning? Make it something that excites you.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Give yourself a time frame. I have 30 days to do this! That sort of short timeframe.
  2. Schedule time into your day/week to do it.
  3. It helps if you have an end project. So, tell yourself what your end product will be.
  4. Do it.

By giving ourselves a product and a timeframe, we give ourselves a chance to try things. It doesn’t seem like a forever-worry that way and it usually shuts up our doomsday thinking and John Waynes a tiny bit.

You’ve got this. I believe in you. You need to believe in you, too.




Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.




Email us at


Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 

Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.

And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

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


If I Am Dressed, I Consider It A Miracle and Other Important Writer Answers to Questions

 I have been tagged a couple times now so here goes:

Rules: Answer the questions, add one of your own if you want, then tag five of your friends. (I am skipping that part because I hate tagging. You can tag yourself and say I tagged you if you want).

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 collar and maybe guest star in Evil.

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?


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 lover and I’ll do anything with a genre. Wait, you don’t even have to pay me, so that means……

I’m just easy.

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

My teachers at Vermont College: TIm Wynne-Jones, Sharon Darrow, Kathi Appelt and Rita Williams-Garcia 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?

Walk the dogs outside and call it exercise when it’s really just standing around watching them smell things, pee on things and smell things again. All of that tugging on leashes makes me get back into that writer flow.

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 Angie Thomas or Miguel Syjuco or M.T. Anderson or Rita Williams Garcia or Jason Reynolds. Write like you.


I have a quick, pre-recorded Teachable class designed to make you a killer scene writer in just one day. It’s fun. It’s fast. And you get to become a better writer for just $25, which is an amazing deal.


On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.


So, I am terrible at promoting myself because apparently I am an introvert. I know! I know! I don’t present that way at all, but I am a person who cringes when the phone rings.

But I am going to be brave and try because I love this story so much. Why? Because it’s about hope and faith even when things are impossible.


But I have a book coming out October 1. It’s just an ebook because it’s small. It’s incredibly different from all the other books and stories that I’ve published, but I hope you’ll take a chance on it anyways because I love it terribly much.

It will be .99 on pre-order and 2.99 once it’s live.

And did I say I love it very much?


  1. You can spend .99 cents and make Amazon think, “Wow! People are buying Carrie’s book.”
  2. That will basically give me .35 cents. I can buy a stamp with that! So, that means when I send everyone holiday cards, you’re helping! Oh! You’re helping me and the post office.
  3. You can write a review on Amazon after you read it. This actually really helps authors a lot. So much. Insert begging voice, “Please buy my book and review it.”



The soul-wrenching story starts here….

Becca’s young life is about to change when she meets a boy in the playground, a boy who seems too magical to be real. Barely, surviving at home, Becca’s new friend quickly teaches her what it means to have hope and faith.

A compelling novella that’s sure to resonate and leave a lasting impression.


This story won a few awards a long time ago, but it’s too short for traditional publishing really and it’s so different than what my readers expect from me that it feels…? Scary. It feels scary.

It’s hard to write something radically different sometimes.

And it’s also the story that helps me through my own grief, which is a deeply personal thing. So, maybe the reason I’m so scared is because it just feels so incredibly personal? Who know.

But I hope you’ll take a chance on it, check it out, and like it. And if you don’t like it? I hope you’ll still like me after you read it anyways.


How are you doing this Friday? Are you being brave? Scared? Is there something you’d like me to cheer you on about? Just let me know!

Anxiety Is Us: How Can Writers Deal, Part Three

It’s the last of the anxiety posts and … um… I might be feeling anxious about that.

Last Monday, I posted part one of this two-part (now three-part) post which is all because one of my writing students asked: 

“Seems like a lot of us writers struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem. All I can do, apparently, is grind out a page here and there during my more lucid moments. I don’t suppose you’ve got the magic key to overcoming emotional struggles so that the writing gets done?”

Writer who I’m not going to out here because that would be horrible

I have my own way of dealing with this, but my way? It’s not everyone’s way and it’s not that writer’s way so I looked to my Facebook friends for help. 

A lot of people were super kind and gave recommendations. I’m going to share some of more of them.

Start With A Word

What I do is I take a single word, whether it’s an emotion, a description, or anything else, just the first word that comes to mind. Then I build on it. I describe the word. Find synonyms, antonyms, I write what I think that word looks like as an image. Sometimes, I might even attempt to draw it (but I don’t draw well so I usually just laugh at myself for that one). Then I’ll write associations to that word. What does it remind me of? Who does it make me think of? When did I experience it last? 

Then, if I’m still feeling blocked or stuck after this, I’ll do it with another word. And another word. There have been days where I literally only write about words like this.

Allyna Rae Storms

Make It Work for you

I put my anxiety into my work. Writing or creating (painting or making jewelry) I use my extra emotions in my work. I write my fears into my characters, or I let it out into my art work. Some of my best pieces have been created when I have been frustrated, angry, or upset. Music also helps some times. 

Jenn Duffield

Look Beyond

It’s not about you, the writer. Look beyond yourself and just tell the story.

John Scherber

The Five Minute Rule

 I give my students and myself smaller assignments. Write for Five minutes. Revise one page. Then we celebrate these small accomplishments.

Ann Angel

Don’t Let Your Head Kick Your Ass

 I got this way a few times when I wrote the first draft of a short novel not too long ago. When the head kicked my ass a bit too much and my focus went to zero, that’s when I did an outline and wrote up a big picture idea of what would be happening next in my story. Then when I felt more focused, I was able to see the trees in the forest and was able to go back and flesh out my outline. This took all the pressure off me of having to think of the details and just have fun with the overall story ideas. I’m pretty certain that without this approach, that novel would never have gotten finished and I’d still be staring at blank pages.

Rick Hipson


I think acceptance helps a lot with all of this. “I’m feeling anxious today. I’m going to try to write for half an hour anyway.” “I think everything I write is crap. It probably is, but I’m going to keep working on this chapter anyway.” Half an hour here, half an hour there, they add up. I use my timer a lot. “I just have to do this for half an hour and then I can be done.” Whether it’s paying bills, sweeping floors, sorting through old clothes–that method helps me get stuff done. It’s a simple method but it does the trick.

Cathy Carr

Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis is the answer for me. Helps with the anxiety and to fall asleep at night.

Stacey O’Neale
Continue reading “Anxiety Is Us: How Can Writers Deal, Part Three”

What I’m Up To – Art, Books, Editing, Coaching, Posting on Patreon and Medium and the Bar Harbor Story

So, here’s a quick summary of what I’m up to right now because I realized that I tend to fail to forget to do that. And if I don’t talk about it then you all won’t know about it.

The problem is that I was raised where you don’t talk about what you’re doing because that was considered gauche. Now we consider it marketing.


I’ve started blogging once a week on MEDIUM because:

  1. I’m all about communication.
  2. My first-ever post got curated and positive feedback makes me happy.
  3. I’m all about the creative nonfiction and communication.

Here’s my first one. It’s all about picking up the gauntlet and family. If you clap for it? That would be amazing. There are a lot of cool articles and posts over there, actually.


Over on Twitter, I post doggy or kitten motivation (with photos) every weekday morning (EST). It is cheery and motivating. My dogs are the best.

You will see lovely posts like this:

Let no one, even someone with good intentions, tell you who you ought to be or how you should present yourself to the world.

You can only be who you are & only you can determine if you want to change that. Our freedoms come from thought, reading, & ourselves.

Be you.


Writing Coach

I am an independent writing coach, teach a six-month online class at the Writing Barn in Austin and also edit books on Reedsy. There are testimonials here and on the Reedsy site.

Helping other writers is one of my favorite things ever actually. Here’s a testimonial if you’re feeling too lazy to click over.

I was in the Write. Submit. Support class from The Writing Barn that was led by Carrie, and it was exactly what I needed.

I’ve worked with a lot of different writing teachers and mentors in college classes, my MFA program, a playwriting apprenticeship, and various workshops and residencies, and Carrie was by far one of the best.

Her feedback on my writing was extremely helpful but also encouraging and uplifting. She gave us a lot of thought-provoking and beneficial information in the monthly classes that helped me to see my writing from a different perspective.

Every month, after our classes or after I received notes from her, I was inspired not only to write and improve my craft but to create in general–to write fiction, to write songs, to write plays, and to write content that would help other creative people and artists. 

I also love how supportive Carrie is. She takes the time to really listen to you, encourage you, and support you, no matter where you are in your writing career or what your goals are. I also appreciate that she understands that everyone’s publishing path is different, and I was so grateful that I could turn to her for advice and support as I had to make some difficult decisions about my own career.

For anyone looking for a writing mentor/teacher/coach, I can’t recommend Carrie enough.

Sara Crawford

Dogs are Smarter Than People

This podcast is all about trying to live a happy, better life and being happier, better people and how you can use those skills in writing and vice versa. But we’re not perfect, just like our podcast. We’re cool with that. And even though 107,844 (Not that we’re counting) people have downloaded it, we still feel like newbies because we are.

You can like, listen, subscribe, share. It’s all good. You can find us here and all these places:





Bar Harbor Story

I have a baby website called Bar Harbor Story, which is about where I live.

Bar Harbor Story isn’t a newspaper, but it’s not fiction. It’s about the story of Bar Harbor and MDI, its people, its players, even its introverts. It’s about a different way of telling our story that doesn’t worry about advertisers, subscriber rates, press awards for being normal or making ourselves more money.

It’s just about story and people and community.

How cool is that?

A picture I took of where I live.


My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!


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


You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. I will mail you signed prints if you want. Just email me.


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. 


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. 


I am still the public image coordinator for part of the United States and Eastern Canada for Rotary International. This is a volunteer gig for the 1.2-million strong global organization that’s all about people coming together, taking action, creating ideas to make their local community and global community a better place. You should check it out.

Ending Polio? That’s just one of Rotary’s gigs.


Rotary is where neighbors, friends, and problem-solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change.


And talking about volunteer gigs. I’m also a ShelterBox ambassador for Maine and Quebec. What’s ShelterBox?

Right now, around 85 million people around the world have been made homeless by natural disaster and conflict. We’re working to change this. 

By providing emergency shelter and tools for families robbed of their homes by disaster, we’re transforming despair into hope.

We want to see a world where no family is left without shelter after disaster. Find out more about us.

And that’s it. I’m over on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. I blog here where you’re reading this.

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