You Don’t Need Good Fences to Make Good Neighbors

When the first giant tree from a neighbor’s yard fell into our fence and demolished a lot of it, I didn’t post about it. There had been a horrific tornado in another part of the U.S. that took so much property and killed so many. People were hurting and grieving and to post about our event seemed more than a little tone deaf.

A fence didn’t matter much.

Trees-1, Fence-0

But what did matter was that our neighbor (we don’t know him very well) came over as soon as he heard and helped remove the tree.

We didn’t have to argue about responsibility. We didn’t have to beg him to help. We decided he could take care of the tree, and we’d take care of replacing the fence.

The fence is important because our big white dog Gabby is a Pyr and Pyrs roam. To be fair, Gabby only roams in straight lines and directly to Acadia National Park, but still. We’ve barricaded our back porch for when she needs alone time.

Gabby

Soon, I hoped, our fence would get repaired. Shaun ordered the panels, but winter happens and snow comes and goes and so do horribly frigid temperatures.

“You’re never going to fix the fence,” I said.

“I will,” he said. “When it’s time.”

“I bet that some other random tree will fall and you’ll be all, ‘Aha! I didn’t fix it yet for a reason,’”  I said.

He muttered something the way spouses do sometimes. Since I want to stay married, I didn’t ask him to repeat himself.

But this past weekend, during a big windstorm, another neighbor’s tree spiraled into our back fence and yard killing one of our three-year-old fruit trees and taking out more of the fence.

Trees – 2, Fence – 0

“Oh,” I said, “the poor trees.”

It bashed another tree. We aren’t sure if that one will survive. If it does, we’ve decided to call it the miracle tree.

Shaun just got grumpy while I mourned. But then that neighbor (a totally different one) who rents his house, found out, came over with a small, borrowed chainsaw with just enough gas and chopped up the other trees. We stacked them on the first neighbor’s property (with permission) and ordered another fence panel.

But the thing is? We were all lucky. All those trees could have fallen on people or structures or dogs. All those neighbors could have been punks and not helped. But instead? Instead, we got to know our neighbors, work alongside them, and that’s pretty awesome. We were lucky in so many ways even though those trees took out our fence.

And the thing is that if it wasn’t for Gabby’s need to roam? I might rather have that fence taken down—all the way down. The saying is good fences make good neighbors, but I call poop on that. Good actions, kind hearts? That’s what makes good neighbors. I learned that a lot this past month and I’m so glad it’s true.

But here is the book . . .

It’s called THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE and it’s the latest installment of the Dude series. Shaun (the husband) and I are currently arguing about whether it’s the last installment. I say yes. He says no. Feel free to weigh in if you’ve been reading it.

WHAT IT IS ABOUT

A heartbreaking and romantic must-read thriller from New York Times and internationally bestselling author Carrie Jones brings a Maine teen’s past into a terrifying present.

Jessica “Dude” Goodfeather’s mother walked off and left her and her kind stoner dad when she was just a little girl, but after a mysterious email leads to some serious questions, Dude and her friends realize that her mother might not have willingly abandoned them after all.

The third book in Carrie Jones’s exciting Maine mystery series forces Dude to grapple with the ghosts of her family’s past so that she can finally head towards a hopefully brighter future.

Join New York Times and internationally bestselling author Carrie Jones in the third book of the Dude Mystery Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

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.

Being A Writer Takes Ovaries Sometimes

1. One of my blogging friends was feeling sad even though he is published because, basically, he’s worried about being a mediocre writer.

2. It is easy to worry about this.

3. There’s that essential sense of horror about never being good enough, never making a difference, never being on a NYT bestseller list or being nominated for a National Book Award.

4. That’s not what writing is all about. (Note: I forget this a lot.)

5. One of my friends who became my husband wrote me this in an email back when he was just my friend when I was worrying about not doing enough good in the world because I am just a writer:

 “You never know what kind of positive effect you are having in someone’s life as an author. Even if it is just that someone can escape for an hour from their life, that may be the best part of their day. Think of the kid who doesn’t like their home life or maybe their school life or maybe both. When they pick up a book by Carrie E. Jones, they get to escape the realities of their life and lose themselves in somebody else’s for a while. How cool is that?”

If you are a published writer and having a bad day you can just substitute your name in there because it’s true for everyone.

If you are unpublished writer and having a bad day you can do the same thing because you are writing, you are creating, you are escaping and thinking and plotting and feeling and that is a positive for you FOR YOU and hopefully for other people too some day.

Being a writer can be hard. People write stuff in reviews that can be cruel rather than constructive. You’ve got to ovary up to deal with that stuff when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a story.

So, be kind to authors when you review them. And musicians. And businesses. Don’t get off on being clever and cruel. Get off on being kind, okay?

Spreading kindness is so much lovelier than spreading cruelty.

NEW BOOK OUT!

It’s super fun. An adult paranormal/mystery/romance/horror blend. Think Charlaine Harris but without all the vampires. Instead there are shifters and dragon grandmothers and evil police chiefs and potential necromancers and the occasional zombie and a sexy skunk.

It’s out November 1, which means you can buy it now, and I seriously love it. So, it would be cool if you bought it so I can be all motivated to write the next book.

Oh, and it’s quirky.

This is because most of my books are quirky.

Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.

Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.

Join New York Times and internationally best[selling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s kind of like Charlaine Harris, but a little bit more achy and weird.

best maine paranormal carrie jones
Almost Dead Series – Meet Alissa Thea, a sexy skunk, a haunted campground and a lot of quirky

Why It Is Good I Am Not Famous

Okay. Let me just say that I am super glad that I am not famous.

Here is why:

There are no paparazzi following me around.

If there were I would ALWAYS be on sites like THE SUPERFICIAL and GOODCELEBSDOAWKWARDTHINGS.COM (I made that one up) because I am SUCH a klutz.

Bella in Twilight and half the women in rom-coms have nothing on me. NOTHING!

Why?

Well, all in one day I:

1. Drove my car over a curb.

This is not my car unfortunately. I used to have a MINI Cooper, but I basically made it explode on the turnpike. It was a spectacular death, but that’s a story for another day.


2. Twisted my ankle and did that half fall-down thing when going into a gas station.

3. Drove the car over the curb AGAIN!

Also not me or my MINI. My MINI was red.


4. Set the microwave on fire.

There were blue flames and fire and now there is a GINORMOUS scorch mark in the microwave.

5. Wore two different shoes out in public.



Can you imagine if people were filming my life? They would totally think that I was:

  1. Drunk
  2. Taking bath salts.
  3. Possessing a human body for the first time.

Sigh. I feel so badly for famous people. It’s not just all those horrifying up-skirt shots, it’s also just all the goofy faces and awkward moments and wardrobe malfunctions. I know some famous people don’t mind and actually get off on that stuff, but I bet a lot more don’t.

GOOD LUCK FAMOUS PEOPLE! I AM ROOTING FOR YOU!

NEW BOOK OUT!

It’s super fun. An adult paranormal/mystery/romance/horror blend. Think Charlaine Harris but without all the vampires. Instead there are shifters and dragon grandmothers and evil police chiefs and potential necromancers and the occasional zombie and a sexy skunk.

It’s out November 1, which means you can buy it now, and I seriously love it. So, it would be cool if you bought it so I can be all motivated to write the next book.

Oh, and it’s quirky.

This is because most of my books are quirky.

Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.

Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.

Join New York Times and internationally best[selling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s kind of like Charlaine Harris, but a little bit more achy and weird.

best maine paranormal carrie jones
Almost Dead Series – Meet Alissa Thea, a sexy skunk, a haunted campground and a lot of quirky

Sangria of Thanksgiving Awesome for Writers Who Need Some Magic, Damn It

In the summer months, the Portuguese part of my family really loved their sangrias, which they usually made from Tempranillo from Rioja, but if things were desperate, they would use Bartles and James.

One of my aunts would shove all sorts of sliced fruit in there, something orange (sometimes booze, sometimes an orange, sometimes both) and put a ton of ice and some sort of soda water. I always thought it was magic. Sometimes I’d get to suck on some of the fruit, which was probably illegal now that I think of it.

This is a more Thanksgiving take on that same thing.

Sangria of Thanksgiving Awesome for Writers Who Need Some Magic

Recipe by CarrieCourse: Uncategorized
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking timeminutes
Calories

ha

kcal

Stuff That Goes In It

  • 1 cup apple cider

  • 1 750-ml bottle dry white wine

  • ¼ cup orange juice (about one navel orange)

  • ¼ cup brandy, if you are fancy — Calvados

  • Sparkling water or club soda to put on top

  • One apple, cut into ½-inch cubes

  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds or another apple or pear

How to Make It

  • Look, you’re a writer, you deal in magic. You create worlds and story and happiness. Take a deep breath. It’s your time to have some magic.
  • Find a pitcher that can contain six quarts of fluid. Look up what a quart is. You’re a writer, you’re used to researching things like “how to kill a demonic pixie;” this should be easy.
  • Put fruit in that pitcher. Look at that. Fruit is sort of magical isn’t it, like a narrative arc that makes sense. Gorgeous.
  • Put wine in there because it’s the most important magical ingredient. Think about writing a book with alchemy. Tell yourself you are practicing it right now.
  • Put in the apple cider, juice, and brandy. Wonder if any of your characters drink apple cider. Decide not to worry about it. THIS IS ABOUT YOU AND YOUR NEEDS, WRITER! Not those demanding characters.
  • Put it in the fridge to make it cold. Wait impatiently.
  • Stir it. Top it off with that sparkling water. Drink it and let your mind take you to magical places that do not include dialogue punctuation, character motivation, or plot.

Notes

  • This beautiful, magical recipe is adapted from the fantastic site, Wine Mag, and it’s from Emily Saladino. Hit the link and you’ll get to the real thing. 🙂

Maybe It’s Time We All Help Each Other Instead of Being Jerks

One day when I lived in Ellsworth, Maine (I don’t any longer.) I threw on some ballet flats and jumped in my MINI, zipped up my driveway hill and there was my dog (Scotty) barking and protecting the driveway from a car that had fallen into a ditch and the man trying to shovel the car out.

I jumped out, put Scotty in the car and said, “Can I help?”

The man was Joe, an older guy who has some major health issues and lived down the street.

He was like “oh yeah.”

A white-haired lady inside the car looked at me and said, “Please.”

She had a front-wheel drive car. It had no super cool studded tires like the MINI. And she’d tried to get up the snow-covered monster hill that was my road and slid all the way down. Her car was tilted at this funky angle that no car should have to endure.

Joe and I got behind it and pushed.

We pushed some more.

My ballet flat went in the snow. I fell down. Joe fell down. The car didn’t move.

We tried again. We tried again. And again.

I lost feeling in my butt since it was so cold because i didn’t put a jacket on or anything and my hair was wet from  the shower once I realized there was a problem out on the road.

I had never lost feeling in my butt before. It was pretty weird.

This whole time that Joe and I were fighting against the wicked machine that was Mrs. Austen’s unbudging car, I was thinking about helping people and books and writing because let’s face it … you get bored pushing cars that don’t move.

So a lot of the time when people start to criticize books they get really … um … agitated (and rightfully so in a lot of cases) if they think the female character gets rescued too much.  And people are sort of SUPER sensitized to it so much that they flip out if anyone helps out the female character ever. 

And I get that.


I get that female readers need to know that they can rescue themselves, that they don’t need a boy to do it, and that if girls think that then it makes them dependent. I mean, I thought about that all the time when I wrote the NEED books. And Zara (my main character) thought about that all the time. I think about it when I write the Rosie mystery/thrillers and Alisa’s haunted campground story.

But it also makes me worried.

Because the truth is that we all need rescuing constantly. We all need help. Boys need help. Girls need help. Authors who are neurotic about their next book coming out need help. And I want a balance in books and in movies. I want different genders and ages and races and religions and physical abilities to help each other, to respect help, to be able to receive help.

It’s about balance and intention and not being a stereotype or trope.

And the thing is that in real life? You just do it. You just help (hopefully, unless you’re in a reality show or something and think it’s all about you).

I wasn’t about to ignore that older woman in her car because she was:

1. Older
2. Female

3. Judging from her bumperstickers a different political party than I am.

I didn’t think, “Hm … Perhaps, I shouldn’t help her because she should get that car out of the ditch all by herself even though she does have a cane and a fake hip that hasn’t fully healed yet. If I help her, I am actually oppressing her.”

And Joe who almost died the year before didn’t think that either, I bet. 

Yesterday was an election in our town. People got all riled up. People were mean to female realtors, but not male realtors. People were cranky and unkind on political posts about local politics.

But the thing is? Almost all those people are going to be there helping each other out when help is needed. How do I know? Because I’ve been a reporter here and I’ve seen it over and over again.

Helpfulness is just as natural as hate–if not even more so. It just doesn’t get as much press.

So, I guess that’s my point.

Go help somebody today! And thank somebody who has helped you.

Here is mine: Thank you to everyone who has rescued me from writer insecurity this year, who have saved me from sad, who has made me laugh, who bought a book or let me edit your story or supported me on my patreon.

You have totally been my rescuers and I owe you! YAY YOU!!! xoxxo

NEW BOOK OUT!

It’s super fun. An adult paranormal/mystery/romance/horror blend. Think Charlaine Harris but without all the vampires. Instead there are shifters and dragon grandmothers and evil police chiefs and potential necromancers and the occasional zombie and a sexy skunk.

It’s out November 1, which means you can buy it now, and I seriously love it. So, it would be cool if you bought it so I can be all motivated to write the next book.

Oh, and it’s quirky.

This is because most of my books are quirky.

Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.

Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.

Join New York Times and internationally best[selling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s kind of like Charlaine Harris, but a little bit more achy and weird.

best maine paranormal carrie jones
Almost Dead Series – Meet Alissa Thea, a sexy skunk, a haunted campground and a lot of quirky

I Don’t Remember The Devil’s Church

The other week on our podcast, one of my high school friends mentioned in the chat that we had once gone to the Devil’s Church in Manchester, New Hampshire when we were teens.

I absolutely didn’t remember it.

They were stunned.

And I was stunned that I went to this great allegedly haunted, urban legend place of my childhood and couldn’t remember it.

“It was deep in the woods. It was terrifying,” she explained.

Still nothing.

Other people had made sacrifices there. Bones are found in the woods of animals. Symbols of hate were painted onto the hard walls; gaping holes made floors treacherous.

Still nothing.

And a lot of my high school was like that. And kind of a lot of my life. I have chosen apparently to move on and forget those bits of my life.

Anne Lamont said, “I am all the ages I have ever been,” which is probably true even if you can’t remember those ages.

There’s a layer inside all of us that is the sum of all our actions and interactions, experiences and thoughts, but there’s also a thing called living in the moment. And to live in the moment, we have to acknowledge who we were in the past, but also exult in who we are in the now. We have to take the power of our choices.

We have to seek for what is gorgeous and powerful and good in ourselves and our society. We have to evolve both upwards and outwards and keep creating who we are and what we want our world to be.

We write our own stories of our lives and we star in them. The other stories people write about us where they make us the villain or the hero or the sidekick or the bystander? They don’t matter as much as the awareness that we write our own stories. We get to decide what experiences we remember and matter, and we get to choose who we want to be in our own story.

Kind?

Ambitious?

Quirky as all get out?

Aesthetics believe that who we are can change and change quickly. The activist and political theorist Michael Foucault, it can be argued, believed that your actions create your character. Your character creates your lifestyle.  If you are aware, you can self-create who you want to be.

How do you want to shape your life? Your art? Who do you want to be?

Foucault said, “From the idea that the self is not given to us, I think there is only one practical consequence: we have to create ourselves as a work of art.”

Let’s create ourselves into something amazing, okay?


Want to support my writer self and keep the dogs in bacon? Please think about buying a book or being a Patron or even just listening to our free podcast.

The books are great, I promise!

And thank you for being so lovely!

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is here!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

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

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know! I might send you something!

Toxic People at the Grocery Store

This post is about choices.

I just walked to the grocery store to get three things.

And all the lines were incredibly long, which was not the grocery store’s fault. It’s a small place and we have a ton of tourists.

In happy news, the line moved quickly and I was almost out of the aisle 12 with all the toilet paper and about to get one of the self-check-out machines when I turned to say something to the man behind me apologizing for my false starts. I kept thinking one of the men at a kiosk was leaving when he wasn’t.

The very tall man behind me in his polo shirt looked all the way down at me, didn’t respond to what I said and instead questioned, “You haven’t been here. Did you step in front of me?”

“Of course not. I’ve been standing in front of you all the way down that aisle.”

I’m pretty sure I smiled and even said, “I’ve been here.”

He looked down his nose even harder, saw my mere three items in my arms and said, “I’ll let you go.”

He’ll let me go?

How absolutely lovely of him.

I’m a conflict-averse person except for when I’m defending other people (and then I’m all in) and so I deflected and tried to joke because that is how the people in my family deal with conflict and I said, “I’m kind of short, but I was here. Maybe you just didn’t see me.”

He harrumphed. This man exuded that stereotypical wealthy white man vibe. I would cast him as an older investment broker who plays golf and tennis a lot, but doesn’t make quite enough money as he should be making. In a Law and Order-style show, he’d die early on and people would shrug.

I get to my kiosk. His wife joins him and he is now at the kiosk right next to me. She’d been off collecting items while he held their place in line. She bumps me while at the kiosk and apologizes.

I say nicely, “Oh, that’s okay. I’m invisible today.”

Because apparently I am?

But then, as I’m leaving the store, another local woman recognizes me and says, “Carrie. I saw that man. I had your back. I was about to say something. But I had your back.”

And that makes it all better. She has my back. I didn’t even know she was there, but she had it. How cool is that?

Even when some people demean us, make us invisible, accuse us of things that we haven’t done, if we’re lucky there can be someone who sees us, who is ready to jump in.

While we are talking, the man and his wife leave the store, turning a sharp left into the parking lot. He lifts his arm super high in the air and gives me the finger.

Me? I laugh. Because it must be amazing to be so clueless, so full of yourself, and so unable to see the people standing right in front of you for a good seven minutes.

And I laughed because this man’s anger means that I get to bond with another woman who probably feels invisible sometimes even though she’s so amazing and kind and talented.

I laughed because people like him are truly missing out. He could have spent time laughing with me in that line. But instead? Instead he chose to be angry. To wrongly feel slighted.

We all can choose to go out into this world looking for enemies, but life is SO much happier when we go out looking for friends.

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is here!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

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

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know! I might send you something!

Don’t let your fear make you into a monster.

I’m releasing a book today and if you could buy it? That would be great.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about memory and fear and being unapologetic in your joy and your fear.

It begins with fear and memory.

Sometimes, other people seem to remember my life better than I do. I’m not talking about Facebook posts here either—those tiny little moments that are forever embossed in the narrative of a social media life, tiny moments that strung together help define me even if I don’t always remember them.

But they do help me remember.

I see the images on ‘memories’ on social media and think, “Look, I was fitting people into wheelchairs in Belize, in Panama. Look, here is where my marriage almost broke apart but didn’t. Look, here is when I stopped. Just stopped. Oh, a pretty sunset. I must have started again or pretended to.”

But there are other kinds of memories that often don’t make it onto social media.

There are things I deliberately don’t remember—usually bad things—those painful moments that I push into the back of my head so that they aren’t they main things defining me and I only bring out to help other people (hopefully).

Robin Williams has said, “The things we fear the most have already happened to us.”

Which doesn’t quite explain my mom’s phobia of birds, but does explain so many other things and choices that we make as people.

But the Williams’ quote does make me wonder why we are so afraid, especially us writers.

Failing just means nothing changes.

Success? That’s where the unknown happens.

We become so used to shrouding ourselves in doubt and fear that we don’t realize that we can shed those things, but also? We don’t realize that we can put on new clothes, new positive emotions.

We don’t have to bond with each other in collectives of despair and mutual fear, but we can reach out and up, and lift ourselves and others into something good, something brave, something that isn’t full of fear and doubt, but bravery.

How cool would that be?

I grew up in a family full of fear. My mom was afraid of birds, swimming, bridges, closed in spaces, big open spaces, bugs, dead animals, storms, miscarriages, eventually cats, so many things—too many things. One of our big family stories was how when my sister was a toddler she was terrified of grass. She’s worked her way through that, thankfully. And my mom worked her way through moments that she didn’t want to remember. They were both brave even when fear seemed overwhelming.

But what was cool about my family—especially my extended family full of steps and halves and diversity—is that when something awesome happened? Almost everyone celebrated. There was no jealousy, just joy. There was hardly any “that should be me,” only “look at you go!”

So often our insecurities make us want to tear down the joys of others, even the tiniest of happiness. And that? That’s what matters. That’s what drowns us and our own creativity and propensity for joy.

We all know someone who is a bully even as a grownup, always looking for angles to pull others down. And no, I’m not just talking about people on Twitter, but people who elate in other’s miseries. Usually? Those people are bullies, blowhards and buttheads (I wanted to use the swear word there) because they are so insecure and riddled by fear that they last out.

That doesn’t make it hurt any less when they lash out at you, but you don’t want to be like them, you know? Don’t let your fear make you into a monster.

We need to spend less time pulling people into our own fear and insecurities and more time lifting people up into bravery and light.

One of my acquaintances was having a miscarriage once and was trying to get to the hospital, walking, because it happened during a walk around town. Panicked, she called another of our mutual friends who was out of town. And then they called me.

I have lost babies. Not many people know that.

I was on massive bedrest for five months for Emily (the baby who made it) to try to keep her inside me long enough to increase her chances. Pregnancy is a scary place (and joyful one) for me.

When I drove my acquaintance to our local hospital, cars were blocking intersections, tourists were yelling at locals and vice versa and in my car the unthinkable, the harrowing, was happening. It was terrifying. The fear was all over her beautiful face, in the shake of her voice, and there we were moving through all these happy families, all this joy and chaos and in my little car something very big was happening very quietly.

I was grateful and lucky to be there for her as she endured those horrible moments with such grace, and I am grateful and lucky to be there for anyone’s tragedy and celebration because it means that I was there. That I am there.

That’s what we have to be.

There.

Despite the fear.

Despite the worry.

Despite everything.

And when we are there in the moments of our lives and others’ lives, we can choose to react with fear or with compassion, with jealousy or with joy. We get to define that in our choices over and over again, and we damn sure aren’t going to be perfect each time, but what we can do? Is try.

Try to be unapologetic in your joy, in your success.

Try to take off that shroud of fear.

Try to stand with people as they fight for things that matter.

Try to be unapologetic in your moments, in other moments, to be there, to truly be there.

Try to live bravely, to create bravely, to love and mourn and sing bravely.

We can do this. Our past sorrows and fears are there, they can be remembered when we feel strong, but we get to choose how and if they define us in the moments that we are living now. That’s pretty powerful stuff. You are pretty powerful stuff!

NEW BOOK ALERT!

INCHWORMS, the second book in the DUDE GOODFEATHER series is coming out September 1!

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.

You can buy it here!

Losing my Rings and my Balance

Friday night I took my rings off during the podcast because they were making noises—small noises—against my wooden desk.

Noises like that can be annoying.

I wear three rings, the typical wedding band duo and a clear ring from ETSY that has tiny flowers in them. You can’t really see the flowers unless I take the rings off because they match my skin. You can just see the glint of the gold paint that the artist used to make the flowers’ centers stand out. The glint reminds me of pixie dust, which reminds me of my NEED series, which is how my relatives will get to write “New York Times” and “international” bestseller on my obituary.

This morning, I woke up and went to my desk. The wedding ring duo sat there right by my hot pink sticky note of all the things I had to do this Saturday to keep my family sheltered and in food, but the clear ring was gone.

“The cats must have taken it,” Shaun the Spouse said. “We’ll never see that again.”

“Don’t say that!”

He shrugged.

The ring isn’t like my other rings. It’s barely there, unobtrustive, a memory of something that was a big deal once. When I got it for Mother’s Day, I almost cried. It made nose against my skin somehow. The heavy thickness of it created a weight that seemed to ground me in remembering that I had a right hand too, not just a left and that it was okay to have balance in both hands, both sides of your life—that balance was possible even when it felt like a far-off impossible thing.

Up here in Maine, on an island that’s so large some people (usually tourists) forget it’s not attached to land, almost to the Canadian border, I have a hard time fitting in even though this island is pretty forgiving about weirdness, about wearing fleece, wearing pearls, about never wearing make-up, about believing in God or not, Hell or not, people or not, politicians or not, love or not.

There aren’t a lot of jobs here unless you want to work in restaurants or retail in the summer. Nonprofit workers move from one small place to another. Scientists work at one of two labs. People take care of the wealthy people’s summer estates and a dwindling few lobster or work construction.

And me? I write, alone, at my desk. I edit other writers, staring at their pages, living their stories. I make a podcast. I coach writers. My life is at a computer. And I love it. But there’s no balance. No outside. Even when I paint I do it inside in the basement. Without my ring I’m reminded of that.

So, today, this Saturday that the ring was gone, I stepped away from the computer, swept all the floors looking for it. Nothing. I gave up, made blueberry muffins from Covid-19 inspired sourdough starter that a bookstore owner gave to me a year ago. Nothing. I walked on the treadmill for twenty minutes. Painted for fifteen. Nothing. No balance no ring. I went outside, pulled tomatoes and cucumbers that I barely remembered planting, came back inside to work, stared at the blank page and then—my ring, my glinty ring, right there on my finger.

I texted my husband.

“No way,” he texted back. “Did you just not notice before?”

Maybe.

I told one of my favorite writers students via email this weekend, “ I’m trying to re-remember who I am. I know that sounds weird. But I used to be married to a hospital CEO from old money and I realized I lost a lot of my ‘adventure in the woods,’ write poetry and nonfiction self. And it’s been ages but I’m finally getting it back, I think.”

And they said, “Carrie I fully believe and support you in this journey but I must also remind you that at least one if not several summers that I have known you, you have lived at a campground. While I know this has not been the case during the pandemic, it is still indicative of the core nature you have described.”

I gasped. I love them so much.

Sometimes, I think, we become so focused on things like not fitting in or not having a work-life balance that we don’t realize that maybe we do. Maybe we do fit in. Maybe we do have some balance. That our right hand is there along with our left. All my life, I’ve been afraid of not getting enough done, and that’s not going to change, but I can maybe realize that what I do get done can be fun. That’s balance. But more than that? That’s good.

NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

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