How to Make a Good Book Better – Revision Tips of Awesome – Part Three

So, these past three Mondays, I’ve been giving revision tips to help with people’s stories. And this is the last in the series! I know! I know! The horror!

Get ready writers and put your revision hats on. As I write this, we’re in lockdown because of CoVid-19 aka the coronavirus, and I know you all just want to draft and eat, but get dressed and do the hard stuff, too. Revising makes your book so much stronger.

11.  GIVE YOUR CHARACTERS A REASON

Do not have your hamster kill your cat without a motivation. The cat’s tormenting? That’s a reason. The cat’s snoring? That’s a motivation. 

Every character has to have a want and a motivation, a reason for doing what they do.

In other words: Your characters need to make sense.

12. THINK ABOUT TIME FRAME

Should your story be an hour in the protagonist’s life? A day? A year? Does it really need to end with the prom? Plath says to think of the story as “an image stamped in Silly Putty, until it became distorted and possibly more interesting?” 

Pull out that image. Think about how long your story is in the character’s life.

13. ADD SOME TEXTURE

Think about figurative language. Think about symbols and allusions and metaphors. Use the tools of literature and the sounds of poetry to make your story resonate.

But, um, don’t put a simile in every paragraph.

14. MAYBE YOU SHOULD GO UNRELIABLE

Narrators who are reliable are sometimes narrators who are boring. What would happen if yours went to the dark side? 

15. BE TRIVIAL. BE DEEP

We want to hear what matters to the character and what trivial parts of his/her existence make him/her real. If she’s a bus driver. Let us know how that impacts her thinking. Let us see her job.

PART ONE OF THESE TIPS IS HERE!

PART TWO OF THESE TIPS IS HERE!


These revision tips this week are all originally from James Plath’s article “Twenty-one Tweaks to a Better Tale,” which was published in THE COMPLETE BOOK OF NOVEL WRITING, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinatti, Ohio, Edited by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron, and the Editors of Writer’s Digest.


WRITING AND PODCAST NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow! 

Last week’s episode’s link.

This week’s episode’s link.


Continue reading “How to Make a Good Book Better – Revision Tips of Awesome – Part Three”
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How to Make Your Good Book Better – Revision Tips of Awesome – Part Two

I am still chugging along trying to get my draft done so that I can get to the fun stuff:

No, not drowning my sorrows in Sanka.

No, not learning the fine art of belly dancing.

I’m talking about revisions. Yes! I think that’s the fun stuff! I know! I know! Wild!

Check your scenes

Sometimes we have scenes that don’t fit.  And those scenes have to go.

Yes, you may want to have an especially poignant scene in your sci-fi thriller where Douglas, the hamster, gets out of his cage and is trapped in the minivan beneath the cushions. But does it really fit in a futuristic fable? 

“A scene should reveal something about the character, advance the plot in a significant way, provide insight into the ‘theme,’ or, as Eurdora Welty suggested, do all three,”   James Plath says. 

Too little? Your story feels like a writing exercise.


Too many? Your story is lost in a lot of moments and more moments and all the oomph of your story is gone. 

Think About How the Story is Framed.

This is the set-up. Think about THE COLOR PURPLE or Jay Asher’s 13 REASONS WHY. Brilliantly done. 

Don’t Forget That We Have More Than Eyes


Readers can smell and feel and taste, too. Make them do that in your story. Make your story a world that isn’t just visual. 

Think about Place


We’ve had a lot of posts about place here at the Tollbooth. 

Plath says, “Many stories exist in a vacuum, where lines are spoken without any description of an interior or exterior settling. That’s like going to the theater and having the house lights never come on …..”

These revision tips this week are all originally from James Plath’s article “Twenty-one Tweaks to a Better Tale,” which was published in THE COMPLETE BOOK OF NOVEL WRITING, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinatti, Ohio, Edited by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron, and the Editors of Writer’s Digest.

Part One of these Tips is Here!


WRITING AND PODCAST NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow! 

Last week’s episode’s link.

This week’s episode’s link.


I HAVE A NEW BOOK! 

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

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 order it here. 


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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

As writers, how do we give kids hope?

As I struggle to finish the first draft of my new novel before my April 1 deadline, I can’t stop thinking about hope and suffering and how it relates to children’s novels and us as writers. 

Because, seriously, as writers how do we determine how much suffering children can bear to see. Do we want them to see it? 

This is me back when I was a little kid. I hadn’t read THE LORD OF THE RINGS yet. I think you can tell. Please ignore the vest. *cringe* Also, please ignore the uneven bangs. We couldn’t afford hairdressers.

A mother I know had three teens. She thought her youngest, a high school freshman, didn’t know that rape exists. She asked me for books to recommend to her daughter but wanted them to be pure and good. Only pure and good.

I know this kid. Believe me, she knew that rape existed when she was eleven. She knew that sex (in lots of forms) existed. She’d talked about it when she slept over my house and hung out with my daughter. 

But her mom wanted to protect her, keep her from suffering, keep her innocent. 

 This is the Emster. At this point in her life, she has read LORD OF THE RINGS and ANIMAL FARM here, but she hasn’t read SPEAK yet. Can you tell? 

Sometimes a parent will tell me that there are no hate crimes in high schools; yet in a 2007 GLSEN survey 86.2 % of LGBT students reported they were verbally harrassed, 44.1% said they were physically harassed and 22.1 % said they were assaulted. 

This was at school.
This was because of their sexual orientation.

This is Joe, my high school boyfriend and me after the prom. We dated for three years. Everyone thought we would get married. It was that kind of thing. Joe was gay. He is gay. He never told anyone until college. He couldn’t tell and survive. Not then. Even now it’s hard. But back then there were no books for him or for me (the girlfriend of a gay guy). There were no stories of our suffering, no written words that paralleled our lives and would help make us strong.

And those statistics I quoted up there? That’s just suffering kids endure because of sexual orientation. I’m not talking about gender or race or religion or disabilities or even political views. 

And my question is;  As writers, how do we give kids hope?
And my question is:  As writers, how do we show the hellmouth of the world, what Nietzsche called the “innumerable shouts of pleasure and woe” without pushing teens and children into despair? 
And my question is: How can our characters’ suffering give readers hope? 
And my question is: How can we make sure that kids like Joe or me or Em’s friend have the stories that they need to survive?

Because our books are the books they read first; the books that inform them; the books that show through story how they will survive the next 70-80-90 (hopefully) years of the joy and suffering we call life. 

Is it our responsibility as purveyors of craft to think about these things? Or is it just about writing a story? Hopefully, getting said story published and then hopefully seeing that story get five-star reviews and lots of face-out shelf time at the book store. 

E.B. White said, “All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation — it is the Self escaping into the open.” 

So, what is it we want to reveal to the kids who read our books? What is it that we want to reveal to ourselves? 

Man, is it any wonder I’m having a hard time getting this draft done?  Sigh.


WRITING AND PODCAST NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow! 

Last week’s episode’s link.


I have a new book!

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

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 order it here. 

Continue reading “As writers, how do we give kids hope?”

How to Become Confident (if you want to)

I don’t want to pretend to be someone I’m not. That’s a form of lying to me. I’d rather be honest and raw than polished and fake. I prefer honey over white sugar.

Because I have social anxiety and I’m super open about my fears and vulnerabilities, a lot people think I’m not confident and tell me to not sell-myself-short of be self-deprecating. I know that they’re only trying to be kind, but their mindset about authenticity and confidence is not the same as mine, which seems to be something I have to explain a lot. 

I actually once had an editor who told me, “Carrie, you are the weirdest mix of incredibly confident and secure and insecure that I’ve ever met.” 

I took that as a compliment. 

And other people have told me, “You are amazing. Don’t present as insecure! Know your power! You are hurting yourself by showing the world who you are.” 

Which is kind of them because I know they’re trying to be helpful, but the thing is that I don’t want to pretend to be someone I’m not. That’s a form of lying to me. I’d rather be honest and raw than polished and fake. I prefer honey over white sugar.

Being Open About Insecurities is Cool

I’m lucky. I’m secure enough to be open about being insecure. Weird, right? It shouldn’t be. I know I’m flawed – so flawed – but I’m okay with it because people are supposed to be flawed. We’re supposed to grow and mess up and make mistakes and ask forgiveness and forgive. We’re supposed to put the silverware in the dishwasher the wrong way and accidentally put our shirts on backwards. 

So I embrace my lacks and goofs and imperfections. With my slurred s’s and my total lack of depth perception, I’ve never had a chance to present myself to the world as perfect. I’m too busy walking into doors and people and walls. 

I know! This is not a culture that likes imperfections. We bully people for their difference. We call them names on social media and in real life. We all present the nicest, most filtered photos of ourselves doing the nicest, most acceptable things. 

Embracing your failures and your lacks can seem like a fool’s journey, but here’s the thing: the fools have the most fun. I hope you’ll be a fool with me. 

People Pretend

People pretend. A lot of us pretend we’re secure. And usually it’s the loudest, most seemingly confident people who are the least secure. 

They boast. They tend to guffaw. They have loud voices. They hide themselves behind fancy toys and clothes and cars. It’s their costumes to get through life. And that’s so sad because I don’t want anyone to have a costume. The fool’s journey, my journey, is so much more fun. Laughing at your mistakes is a lot happier than dealing with the constant pressure to be perfect, to be constantly awesome. 

Truly confident people? They don’t need the costumes and the accessories. They can have them of course, but they don’t need them and that’s a big difference. They embrace their fool. They fangirl and fanboy over all sorts of random things. They collect toenail clippers or memes about dolphins or whatever. They allow their feelings to be real and their dreams to be known. They wear whatever they want to wear – what feels like them.

Clothes Don’t Make the Person

All my life, I’ve been teased for my clothes and I don’t care, but I use those moments to understand other people and their insecurities. 

I went on a date with a man once. I thought we were just having lunch. I didn’t realize that we were on an actual date date because I am clueless about things like that. It was way below freezing. I had to walk to get to the restaurant. Imagine walking in 18-degree weather and there is a sea wind gusting down an almost abandoned street. Even the clams were hiding. I was layered. So layered. 

I got there and the man, a banker, looked at me and said, “You look homeless.” 

Nice way to create a hierarchy of worth, right? But he didn’t care that I looked a bit over-layered. He still liked me. What he cared about that he was with someone who wasn’t looking snazzy. I was insulted. I felt badly for him because that’s a whole lot of insecure. 

Let’s just say that we were not meant to be. 

Clothes Don’t Make a Person

Once when I was a first-year college student I visited my boyfriend’s family in Manhatten for New Year’s. His mom immediately tried to buy me new clothes. She was terrified that I wouldn’t fit in. I didn’t. I was an absolute bumpkin from New Hampshire who wore pastels from K-Mart in a world of black designer clothes. We went to one of my boyfriend’s fancy friend’s house for a New Year’s Eve party and her dad, a famous food critic and writer, looked at me in my pink cashmere sweater and said, “Oh, honey. Where are you even from?” 

I stared into the sea of black cocktail dresses and sports jackets and said, “New Hampshire?”

He nodded. “Makes sense.” 

I went in there, everyone gawped at me. I smiled and eventually everyone was too drunk to notice that I was pastel in a sea of mourning. It was a good time.

Random Movie Quote

In the movie American Gangster  Denzel Washington’s character says to his really well-dressed kid brother, 

“That. What you got on. That’s a very, very, very nice suit? That’s a clown suit. That’s a costume. With a big sign on it that says, ‘Arrest Me.’ You understand? You’re too loud. You’re making too much noise. Look at me: The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.”

American Gangster

That’s true about standing out to cops, but it’s also true about confidence.

Anecdote About My Hobbit Dad

My sweet little hobbit dad was a truck driver and spent his whole life thinking he was dumb because he didn’t get past second grade. Dyslexic, he was the smartest man I knew. With his pants falling off his bum, and his low-key attitude, would talk to presidential nominees, poets, scientists, servers, cabbies, the greeter at Wal-Mart. He talked to everyone and anyone, asking them insightful, poignant questions that went right to the heart of who they were. 

Despite his insecurities, he was confident in who he was – that essential part of his nature and soul – and he gave off the vibe of being authentic and real and confident because he didn’t know how to be anything else. He approached everyone as if they were a potential friend, but more than that . . . he approached everyone like they were a quality human being. 

To be confident you have to do a few things and practice doing them: 

  1. Embrace your anxieties, your perceived flaws. Know that everyone else you see has them too. 
  2. Practice being confident. How do you do that? Practice being okay with who you are. 
  3. Embrace the fool in you and abolish the perfectionist. Practice this, too. Do things that you’re afraid to do. 
  4. Approach the world with an outlook of potential instead of paranoia. 

All of that boils down to one tip:

Be real. Be who you really are.

I hope you’ll go on this fool’s journey with me, being more fully okay with who you are, showing the world your spirit and personality, perceived flaws and all. 

I just released a book on Amazon and it’s an adult mystery and I’m in love with it. You should read it. It’s an adventure. 


Gabby The Dog, Wisdom for Monday

Hundreds of beings can smell one rose bush.

The roses keep on creating scent. Love is like that. So is contentment.

Sharing your joy & kindness never lessens it. And you deserve to share in its smells. Smells are good. Dogs know.

Gabby the Dog

Random Dog Thoughts are posted every weekday over on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.


NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow!

This week’s episode’s link.


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 PODCAST” then like and subscribe.

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

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 order it here. 


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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

Don’t Be Like My Mom. You Can’t Run From Fear; You’ve Got to Snarl at It Instead

It all began with my mom freaking out about a feather.

My mom has always been afraid of birds. That fear started long before I existed and was made worse by a visit to a science museum in Boston where an owl swooped near her head and glared at her. Apparently, that powerful owl glare was enough to push her over the edge.

I wasn’t allowed to have bird feeders or stuffed animal birds. If there were robins outside on our lawn, Mom would avert her eyes and draw the shades in the windows.

My mother’s fear of birds grew so big that she screeched when I was four years old and proudly brought a peacock feather home from a nursery school field trip to a wild animal farm. I was so psyched about this feather, which I won by answering a bunch of animal questions correctly.

The feather made me feel super smart for the first time in my little life. It was my prize and my reward and I was the only one in the whole nursery school who received one. It was like a Nobel Prize or a Pulitzer in my four-year-old head. It was such a super big deal and I knew — I just was absolutely positive — that my mom would be psyched and put it on the wall and maybe frame it or something while she announced to all her friends, “My youngest daughter, Carrie? She is so smart. So smart, I tell you! See this feather? It proves it.”

When I presented the coveted prize to my mom, she screamed and made me throw the feather outside.

“Get it out! Get that dirty thing out of our house!” she yelled. Actually, she screeched.

I remember pivoting in our heavily wooded, dark kitchen, running out to the screened-in porch, and into our yard. I took the peacock feather to a giant boulder where I played deserted island and Wizard of Oz and all my lonely made-up games, and I climbed up to the top of the rock.

Once there, I kissed the feather, the dirty thing, goodbye. I cried because it was so beautiful and I won it and then I had to let it go.

I let that beautiful feather go. I didn’t hold onto it the way we tend to hold onto our fears. It is just so hard to let go of our fears. That’s especially true for my poor mom who wouldn’t go to friends’ houses if they had birds in cages. She hated the beach because birds were at the beach. Every year black birds would hang out on our front lawn during their migration. There would be hundreds of them. She’d call in sick to work. Her fear held her back over and over again.

Years after the peacock incident, my mom ran screaming from a park where we were having a picnic with my daughter who was then two. A seagull had come too close. Too close was about a football field away.

When I caught up with my mom, she was standing in the doorway of a local restaurant, shaking.

“Don’t judge me!” she said. She was reapplying her lipstick with a shaking hand.

I grabbed her hand in mine because the lipstick application was not going well.

“I’m not judging you,” I told her, “but I don’t want Em to grow up afraid.”

That’s when I realized that my mom missed out on so much of life even though she was the liveliest, absolutely most alive person I knew. She missed out because she listened to her fear.

My daughter grew up to study Krav Maga in Israel, to apply and get in to Harvard, to become a field artillery officer in the Army. She’s jumped off roofs at stunt camp, log rolled, rock climbed, was the flyer of her cheerleading squad. She is known for picking up birds that she finds in parking lots, shopping centers, and bringing them to safety.

She is bold and unafraid most of the times. She’s not a fan of spiders, but she deals with them. Even when she is afraid, she faces her fears, snarls at them, and tells them to stand down.

She made my poor mom’s heart race and palpitate more than once.

Even for those of us who don’t have phobias like my Mom, the biggest fears that we have are often the ones about not being enough, not smart enough, not loved enough, just not enough. Of failure. Of being imperfect. Of being alone. There are so many fears we punish ourselves with. But we don’t have to listen to those fears. We can face the fears, see them for what they are and ignore the fears’ advice to cower, to yell, to blame, to run away.

My mother was afraid of a feather.

A feather.

And our fears? The ones we hold inside of us? The ‘not good enough’ moments that feel so dam real? They are even less substantial than that feather.

That’s right. Those fears are not even as heavy as a feather, nowhere near as substantial. Still, we let them hurt us and hold us back.

Here’s the thing: You don’t have to let them hold you back.

Here’s the other thing: You can’t ignore your fear and you can’t give in to it. You have to jump headlong into the scariness and embrace the fear and snarl at it and know what it is. What is it? Fear is that voice that rings so loudly in your brain telling you what to do or what not to do. When you refuse to listen to it? That’s when you win.

You can beat your fears.

What are you afraid of? What makes you shake and cower? Not your phobias. But your fears. Are you afraid of failing so much that you don’t try to succeed? Bankruptcy? Not being loved? Commitment? Being evil? Being good? Being taken advantage of? Taking advantage of others? Face them head on because those fears are keeping you from being your best self.

I’m trying to be my best self. I fail a lot! So much! But I hope you’ll grab my hand even when it’s shaking and try with me. I think we can do this. Together.

Email or comment if you want to say hi and talk about it, okay?

Latest podcast is here!


Continue reading “Don’t Be Like My Mom. You Can’t Run From Fear; You’ve Got to Snarl at It Instead”

Tips on Not Going to Jail on a Monday

Oh, you know you need this.

I’m on a road trip right now, so I’m reposting this old blog from a couple years ago because we all need to not get car sick (This is what happens if I write in a car.) and not go to jail.

Tips on Not Going to Jail on a Monday

TIP ONE – NO THROWING TURNIPS

When you say “hi” to a mean lady while perusing the turnips in the produce section and she TOTALLY ignores you, pretend she did not hear you.

Do not decide she is rude. 

Do not throw a turnip at her. This counts as an assault, possibly with a deadly weapon, depending on the hardness of the turnip.

DO NOT DUNK ANYONE IN A LOBSTER TANK

When the mean lady cuts in front of you at the fish counter at the grocery store and then asks what the difference between sea scallops and bay scallops are and then follows up that question with the comment on the price ($4.49/lb) and then asks if they’ll be fresh tomorrow and then asks for a different amount than originally specified and then once she’s finally done buying a pound of scallops, asks about whether it’s halibut season, not because she’s going to buy any, (“Gosh, aren’t they cheaper in late Spring?”) and then verifies that the price for the damn scallops was $4.49 not $4.41 

Do not kill her, no matter how tempted you are. 

Dunking someone into the lobster tank is not a good idea either. This counts as murder. 

You go to jail for a long time for murder.

TRY NOT TO MAKE THE I-WANT-TO-KILL-YOU FACE

When the fish man finally gets to you and finishes your order in 20 seconds, do not ask him why he skipped you in the first place, or lecture him about it, because he has probaby had a hard day. Plus he might give you bad fish in the future. Try to smile. It will be hard.

TRY NOT TO GET HYSTERICAL AND THROW THINGS

When the nice cashier lady asks you if you found everything okay and how your day is going, do NOT get hysterical and tell her about the mean lady saga and then compare it to being invisible and unloved and unworthy and how maybe you should just have an all-dessert lunch to make up for it, so you can be sugar high and guilty feeling as well as depressed over your new invisible status because then the nice cashier lady might call the police who might take you in for disturbing the peace, especially if you stand on the check-out line conveyor belt and try to choreograph a dance in a mad attempt to prove that you are human and you are visible.

DO NOT USE YOUR CAR AS A WEAPON

Just calmly walk out. Smile. Get in car. Do not run the red light. Do not bash into mean lady’s car when she decides to stop at a GREEN LIGHT! Yes! Yes! I swear she did.

BE GRATEFUL

Just go home, crawl into bed. Vow to never go to grocery store again. Feel guilty for being so angry. Wonder if perhaps you need therapy. Wonder if you’ll see mean lady there at therapy. If so, vow you will not go to that therapist.

Be grateful you are not the mean lady and that nobody is writing a blog about you. Breathe. You have your fish. You have your freedom. You’re okay. You’re visible. And if you aren’t? Well, that invisibility can be a super power, right? Feel powerful.


DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

Be one of the 161,000 downloads and listen to our quirky life tips, writing tips and general weirdness. 

Our latest episode is here!

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.

Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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

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

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

You can order 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.


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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

CARRIE JONES DECIDES TO FINALLY ACT LIKE AN AUTHOR

CARRIE JONES DECIDES TO FINALLY ACT LIKE AN AUTHOR
February 10, 2020, Issue 1, Vol 1.

BAR HARBOR, MAINE — Sitting at her constantly breaking iMac and staring at the blank Microsoft Word document, young adult novelist gave it all up today and decided to act like a real novelist.  Surrounded by her agent, her editors, and her dog she admitted that she might as well become one with the Hemingway.

“I always knew I was failing at being a writer,” she said while gulping down some boxed wine (red variety), “but I never understood what it was that I was missing. Now I know: it was misery. I was missing the whole misery element. But lately, I’ve been feeling really depressed and consequentially, I feel like more of a writer. That rocks!”

“You are a rock star baby,” her agent agreed. “But you’ve got a little of that wine on your chin. Ew. So gross.”

She then whisked out her iPad and texted her international rights agent about the philosophy of the Justin Bieber.

After apologizing for using adverbs in her above quote, Jones explained that she’d always been a happy and productive writer and she used to shake her head at other writers who would moan a lot about missing muses and being blocked. 

“I thought they were just being pretentious,” she admitted. “I mean … seriously. .. muses? Like in that old movie Xanadu or something? It seemed so hoity-toity.” 

Now she understands. Devastated by the thing people call winter (“All those cold dark days,” she murmured.), plus a cold that would not quit (“A woman can sniff in only so much before the snot affects the brain,” she added, sniffing in.), Jones has decided that despite the fact that she writes children’s books she is no longer going to skip and happy dance in her kitchen, she is instead — going to embrace the misery. 

“I will wrap my arms around it and pull it to my heaving bosom,” she said and then added, “Oh. Was that too melodramatic? It was … It was … wasn’t it? Damn, can I do nothing right?”

Her editors pet her on the shoulder and offered more box wine or at least green tea admonishing her to buck up and hit her deadline. 

“Her friends have already noticed a change. They have kindly inundated her with well meaning emails asking what is wrong,” said one editor who frantically pointed at the keyboard. “But that’s just making her procrastinate more.”

“But they’re writers,” Jones said sniffing some ModPodge, her newest addiction. “How do I know they aren’t just trying to get some sort of material for their own novels?”

Nobody responded to this question and in fact averted their gaze and put Jones on mute.

“Plus, the blogging. Why are all our YA authors all about the blogging?” the other editor wailed. 

Jones added that her agent has called her multiple times for no reason in the last week.

“It’s my job to check in,” her agent said. “The well-being of my writers is very important to me.” 

She then started texting again. She turned his attention back to Jones, her client. “You know I love you, baby.”

“She’s just worried I won’t finish the sequel” Jones sighed. “Although … it is nice hearing a human voice occasionally. You know she is human. And when she calls I remember how dialogue is supposed to go. Plus,  I’m tired of talking to my computer.” 

She then ate an entire carton of Edy’s Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough while the editors looked on. Jones paused in her ice cream fest long enough to sniff some more ModPodge and added, “Did I ever tell you that Steve Wedel said I was like a puppy? Or that Cynthia Leitich Smith said I was like a kitten? Yeah? Well, whatever, I’m telling you again. People used to pet my head and tell me what a good writer I was. .. Now… Now…”

She then started sobbing. “None of this would have happened if I had a writing group.”


Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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

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

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

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

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.


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST- DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

This link to our last episode, Are You Beige and Do You Think in Words? 

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. This week’s episode is here!

BALLSY SPONSORED THIS EPISODE! 

We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy. 

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

It’s My Anniversary and I Never Remember My Anniversary

So, it’s my anniversary and I never remember my anniversary. What I remember is the love.

The bodyguard I am married to says it this, “Every day is our anniversary, baby.”

I love the bodyguard despite the fact that he calls me baby and we are profoundly different in our thoughts and reactions and essence.

This blog is a quick excerpt of our life from awhile ago when I went to Conestoga, this convention in Oklahoma and it was super fun. I talked. I met cool people. I saw strange things. I presented on panels, but then it was time to come home to Maine with the bodyguard.

Our first sign that something was off should have been the airport. I am a person who like airports. I think they are neat. There’s all this hustle and bustle and people going off to exciting places like – um – Hawaii or something. I am never actually going to those super cool exciting places. 

But to me Tulsa, Oklahoma was exciting.

This was evidenced by the airport. 

The zombie airport of Tulsa

We get to the UNITED counter to check in at the handy dandy self-serve kiosk and there were only two other people there. Seriously. Two other people! There were four people behind the counter. Do you know what this means? There were MORE UNITED workers than customers. Score!

But wait, I thought, perhaps this is a bad omen. I looked around the airport. There were hardly any people anywhere. I told the bodyguard my thoughts.

He said, “Baby. Take deep breaths.”

I ignored him as I will whenever he gives me good advice.

“Oh my God,” I said. “Was there a zombie apocalypse? I totally should have gone to the panel at Conestoga about how to survive a zombie apocalypse. AND I AM IN AN AIRPORT! There are no weapons here. They don’t even have metal steak knives. Everything is plastic. How am I going to survive? Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”

The bodyguard hugged me, which is an effective way of making me stop talking. He is a smart bodyguard.

“Miss,” the airplane guy from UNITED said. “Can I help you?”

I looked up at him. His flesh did not seem to be decaying. 

“You aren’t a zombie, are you?” I asked.

He lifted an eyebrow. It didn’t fall off. I figured it was safe. 

I cautiously approached the counter wondering if I could throw my suitcase at him. BUT I DIDN’T HAVE TO! Instead of eating us, he told me that our flight to Chicago has been delayed for 500 hours. 

“But we have a connection,” I said.

“You have forty minutes to make it,” he said. He frowned. “If there are no more delays.”

FORTY MINUTES!

I had sudden images of being trapped in a Chicago airport surrounded by zombies and the bodyguard trying to fend them off. I decided this was vaguely sexy.

“Um,” I managed to say. “Is there a reason for the delay like – um – like – um – zombies?”

“Did you say zombies?” he asked.

I shook my head really fast.

“It’s weather related.” 

“Okay,” I say, “cool.” 

Because we now had four hours to waste in the Tulsa Airport. We did this super slow walk over to the security check-in where you get to take off your shoes and walk through the cool metal detector thing, which always reminds me of Star Trek and futuristic things because – well, because I am nerdy and live in Northern Maine where we don’t have a lot of futuristic things. We do have lobsters ….

And blueberries …

Which can be kind of scary actually.

The Land of TSA and Bodyguards

So, we get to the security part and still – THERE ARE ONLY TWO OTHER PEOPLE THERE. 

“We are totally in a Stephen King novel and almost everyone is dead,” I said to my bodyguard.

My bodyguard, however, didn’t hear me because he was stuck in the futuristic cool metal detector thing because he was made of metal or something and he was kind of big like bodyguards are supposed to be. 

I swallowed hard as TSA agents surrounded him. Were the TSA agents actually high-functioning zombies?

“Do not take my bodyguard!” I started to say. “I totally need him to — to — um — guard my body?”

The bodyguard smiled. They let him through. He puts his shoes back on.

Side note: May I just say that bodyguards in bare feet just aren’t as threatening? 

So, there were other people who have put their shoes back on. We all randomly roamed around a pretty empty concourse. I decided to go to the bathroom.

I am the kind of person who constantly thinks, “I am going to be in a ________(Fill in the blank. Car. Airplane. Deserted Wilderness. Bad theatrical production of GUYS AND DOLLS) for hours and I may never get to pee again. I should pee now.”

“I am going to try to pee,” I announced to my bodyguard. “If I don’t return, the zombies got me. Get back-up.”

The Lady In the Bathroom

And I headed to the restroom. But there was a woman with a badge there, blocking the door! The last time I was in Tulsa there was a woman security person blocking the door. It is like Groundhog Day mixed with a Stephen King novel now. 

“You can’t go in there,” she said. 

“Is it zombies?” I whispered.

“Go away weirdo,” she said. 

I went away. I suddenly had to pee a lot more. 

There was no place to pee in the Tulsa airport except the restrooms. Normally, this was a good thing. Not today. 

Police came. She let them in the bathroom. Firemen came. She let them in the bathroom. I wondered if they were there to help or to pee. After hours pass, they took a fragile-looking older lady out of the bathroom. They let us in. There were blue gloves and EMT type things all over the floor. It was scary looking. But there were no zombies. I started to worry a lot about the fragile-looking older lady. When I came out, I tell my body guard. 

“She’ll be okay,” he said in a very reassuring bodyguard way. 

I decided to believe him. 

“But will we be okay?” I asked.

“Of course.”

Getting on the Plane

This is because the bodyguard doesn’t worry the way I worry or think the way I think. He just knows, which is possibly why I married him eventually and we have an anniversary that I can never remember.

We boarded and it was the SMALLEST PLANE IN THE UNIVERSE! It was like a Playskool airplane and tall people had to sort of shuffle sideways down the aisle bent at the waist.

I was suddenly happy that I was not tall.

The happiness didn’t last though because the pilot said, “Um. Folks. The plane has been delayed another fifteen minutes. It’ll be that long before we take off.”

Fifteen minutes! 

We would never get our connection. I would be stuck in Chicago forever with zombies and just my bodyguard.

Bible College Girl

The girl in the seat behind me started murmuring. I thought she was praying. She said before that she went to Bible college so I was hopeful. The plane takes off! SCORE 1 for Bible College Girl.

But no – as we were landing, the back of my seat suddenly thrusted forward. I heard a funny coughing noise and Bible College Girl’s hair seemed to touch my hair through the crack between the seat and the airplane wall. Suddenly, there was a smell of parmesan cheese and eggs. It was NOT a good smell.

I gagged. 

I looked at my bodyguard who was reading. I make big eyes. He sniffed. He gagged.

Bible College Girl had upchucked all over the place. 

“Sean,” she whimpered to her seatmate, this cool young guy coming back from a wedding. “Um … Do you have anything I can wipe up with?”

He didn’t. 

There were no barf bag things. We were landing and the flight attendants were all sitting down. There was no way to clean up the mess. It was all in her hair. I gagged again. 

“I think I might throw up,” I said to my bodyguard.

“Do. Not. Throw. Up,” he said and put his massive bodyguard hand over my mouth and nose so that all I could smell was bodyguard-hand smell, which was much nicer than parmesan cheese-acid-egg throw-up smell. 


“It is in my hair?” I shrieked this but it came out all muffled because of the hand. “Is it in my hair too?”

“No,” he said after deciphering my mmphh mumpphhs. “I swear it is not in your hair.” 

We landed. The flight attendant came over. 

“Oh,” she said to Bible College Girl. “You poor dear.”

Bible College Girl said, “There were no bags.”

Flight attendent made scoffing noise and rushed off to get cleaning supplies.

“Bodyguard,” I said. “Are we going to be okay?”

“Yes,” he insisted and gagged. “We are going to be okay.”

We got off plane. Bible College Girl had now morphed into Throw-Up in Long Hair Girl. Satan has scored one for his team. Boo Satan!

THE SKIRT ISSUE

We got off the plane onto the tarmac in Chicago and we had to walk down these steps on this narrow staircase. But the problem was not that it was a super steep staircase. 

The problem was: I WAS WEARING A SKIRT! 

Anyway, there is a reason they call Chicago, “The Windy City.” 
This reason does not involve flatulence. 

Oh no,” I said to Mr. Bodyguard aka my seat mate. “Will you hold my bag?”


“Sure,” he said as all nice bodyguards do. “Why?”


“Um ….” I coughed. I stuttered. I ended up pointing at my flouncy skirt. This same flouncy skirt made me get patted down by a TSA officer in Manchester, NH. She said I could hide things in there.

Let me tell you: I needed more than two hands to hold that baby down. 

So, once down on the ground, I grabbed my bag back and sprinted across the tarmac towards the airport terminal. 
“My skirt!” I explained. “I only have (gasp!) thirty minutes to get to my next flight. ARE WE GOING TO BE OKAY?”

Mr. Body Guard nodded. He had to wait for his carry-on luggage, which became carry-under luggage during the flight. 


I sprinted to the terminal. Bible College Girl With the Vomit Hair (as she is now known even to her mother) sprinted behind me. I held the door for her so she wouldn’t touch it and spread germs and then scooted inside, holding my breath so I didn’t have to actually smell her and become Writing Person with the Weak Stomach and Vomit Hair of Her Own.

Inside the building were masses of people waiting for some delayed planes, more masses of people were in a customer service line complaining.

There was no easy path through the sea of people and luggage. I am not super tall or big. I could not push my way through.

“Excuse me!” I yelled. “I need to get through.”


Nobody moved.
“Excuse me! Zombie attack!” I yelled.


Nobody moved.


“Excuse me! Brad Pitt! Oh my God. Is that Brad Pitt getting off that plane?” I yelled.

Everyone rushed to the window screaming.


I took my clear path and dashed up the escalator looking for the screen that would tell me where the next flight is. 
 

I gasped.
It was not good.

Our flight was in C terminal (at the end of it). I was in F terminal (at the end of it). We had a mere twenty minutes to get there.  Could Mr. Bodyguard sprint that far carrying me in less that 20 minutes? Wait! Where was Mr. Bodyguard? 

 I had lost Mr. Body Guard in a sea of carryon luggage and zombie humans

I looked around frantically. Mr. Bodyguard was nowhere! I was a lowly writer without a bodyguard.

Screaming,  I went down the escalator I just came up. Mr. Body Guard was going up the escalator. We were on different escalators separated by a divider thingy. 

“Mr. Body Guard!” I screamed waving frantically at him. “Our flight is  42 miles away! And we have 20 minutes! And I am going the wrong way on the escalator!”

Mr. Bodyguard assesses the situation and reached over the escalator divider and yanked me up and over. I was now heading in the right direction.

“We are going to have to run,” Mr. Body Guard said.
“Run!” I gasped. “Like Whitney and Kevin Costner in that movie? About the bodyguard?”

“No.” He shook his head and grabbed my hand. “And please stop talking about that movie. I hate that movie! And that song! No, I meant like in the tv show CHUCK when there’s about to be an explosion. And if they don’t run they will explode into tiny little body parts and not even their teeth will be whole.”

And right then I realized that Mr. Bodyguard was not actually all that different from me.

“Got it,” I said, clutching his hand getting ready to run. “Are we going to be alright?”

“Yes, baby.” He smiled even as I cringed and he kissed me before adding. “It will always be alright.”

So, happy anniversary to my more stable, stronger half, the man who gives everything to take care of his girls, who steps into the role of full-time dad and anxiety coach with ease. It’s hard to imagine anyone else I could ever feel safer with or love any more. That’s because there isn’t anyone. Sometimes we both suck because we’re human, but there’s nobody I’d rather go on adventure with, fight against the zombies with, or make a podcast and life together.



Other News

Hey! Ballsy is sponsoring our podcasts this week and it is an awesome company. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 


The link to our episode

Our last regular episode.


Big News!

I just publish eda super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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

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

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

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


Cell phones, Yeti hair, and community

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

The main reason I don’t?

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

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

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

Oh, I thought. I am soooo smart.

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

Ah, I thought. I love my kid.

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

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

“Popcorn?” Em suggested.

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

“Oh,” I said. “Oh . . . no!”

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

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

“Oh no!” people said

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

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

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

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

Please, I thought. Pleaasseeeeeeeeee.

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


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

Then someone kind of clapped. The clapping became bigger.

Someone else says, “Thank God.”

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

Em bowed.

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

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

How cool is that?

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


Dog Love for the Day

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


Don’t let your failure become your truth.


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


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


xo

Sparty Dog


Big News!

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

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

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

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

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

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

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

WHERE TO FIND US

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

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

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

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

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


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

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

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

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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

What I’m Up To

Last week, I was in Georgia helping my daughter who had surgery. She’s totally fine! Thanks to everyone for asking.

While I was there, I had an epiphany. Ever since Book Expo America in 2011 or 2009 or something when I had this ridiculously long signing line, I’ve been thinking, “This is it. This is the top of my career. It will never get better than this.”

And I said it.

And my editor at the time was like, “Yeah. Probably.”

I love her, by the way.

I was a New York Times bestseller and an international bestseller and I didn’t know what else to do. Because I am one of those over thinkers, I can think two ways about this.

  1. I can be fine with it because holy crud, I got to be a NYT bestseller. Someone bit someone else in line because they wanted my book. Someone committed assault for my book! Which is so wrong, but kind of an honor.
  2. I can not be fine with it because I am achievement oriented and don’t want to peak already.

These two possibilities have been fighting inside my consciousness for so long and they are pretty self defeating. So, in Georgia I had this epiphany.

There are four things I want in my life that don’t involve my family being safe and happy and all that.

  1. To write stories and share them people.
  2. To paint.
  3. To not worry about money all the time so I can do #1 and #2 in a happy way.
  4. To make the world a tiny bit better and make people a tiny bit happier with themselves.

So, I realized that my goals don’t have to be about achievement. They can be about stability and contentment, about balance and love.

And that’s okay.

(Although, to be fair, as I’m writing this, I teared up so I probably have some work to do on that still.) You can insert an ironic smiley-faced emoji here if you want.


Here are the things I’m doing right now and if you’d like to learn with me or buy my book or subscribe to our goofy podcast? That would be amazing. It’s nice to be on a journey with friends.

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.”

Write. Submit. Support’s Mission: To empower writers, pre-published or published, as well as the instructor, to embrace the many joys and challenges of leading a literary life.

WSS for Novelists will meet February 2, March 8, April 5, May 3, June 7, and June 28, 2020.

Last week there was a bit of a video about it. I wasn’t there for the questions and answers because of Em’s operation, but the Writing Barn founder was. 

And here is the link for the session with me.

WSS Novel with Carrie Jones begins on February 2. 

And there is a $200 off code here –  WSSRC2 – this code is only for my class and only for my friends (That’s you if you’re reading this).

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

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.

NEW BOOK!

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up? It is a mystery. It is romantic. It has death. It has Maine.

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 and my epiphany, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.