The Dog Guide of Five Easy Ways To Make Your Humans Act Less Like Potatoes And Get Moving

This is Gabby, the dog, with an important message.

Fellow dogs, let’s face it, our humans are moving less and less. They stare at the square things that makes noise and takes photos. They snore louder than us. Our walk time is getting significantly low.

Gabby: This is me, acting like a human, flopped on a bed like a human, unable to move like a human.


This is terrifying. Not just for their bodies, but for ours. Yes, I’m looking at you, Sparty Dog. You’re starting to resemble a dark bratwurst.

Sparty: Bratwurst is delicious!


Look, I know how hard it is to motivate a human and teach her or him a new way of being. But the training is worth the hard work. 

Here are five easy ways to break the human’s habits and get her/him moving around again.


Yeah, that’s right. Run around the couch a few times yourself. Bark at the door. Bring your ball to the door and hit the door incessantly with your paw. Eventually, the human will move off the couch and even the writer-job human will step away from their laptop. This is especially true if you can act like you have to go to the bathroom.


Humans respond well to positive reinforcement and affection. When they move, wag your tail. When they stand up, bark encouragingly and smile. This support goes a long way. Play the “take away the remote” game. This is basically ‘fetch’ for humans. You take their shoe, remote, sock, car keys and run away with them. They must fetch them back.  For your writing-job humans this is especially effective if you can get their entire laptop and/or power cord in your jowls and then run.


I have known Chihuahuas to sit on phones and remotes for days in a heroic attempt to keep their human from watching endless loops of people gluing matches together or brides falling into swimming pools. This is brave and hard on your bottom. I hope it doesn’t come to that for you and your human. If all else fails, enlist the cat to take turns. Writers tend to forgive the cats more for sitting on things.

Marsie the Cat: They forgive us for our indiscretions because we are godlike rather than doglike. 

But seriously, the more time the human watches other humans doing things, the less time your own human moves.  Also, if a writer says she is writing, but her fingers aren’t moving on the keyboard? She’s lying.


I know you hate them, all dogs do, but leashing up your human to you almost always means that you can get them off the couch for at least five minutes. Humans are much easier to control when they are tethered to you, so bring them a leash. My favorite is rainbow. Sparty is partial to the sailboat leash even though he hates water. Weirdest Lab mix ever – but that’s another story.

Sparty: You’re hurting my feelings, Gabby. Water is scary, okay?

According to the American Heart Association if you can get your human walking 30 minutes a day it helps your human’s heart. A lot. Human hearts are suffering lately, so we need to do everything we can to help.


I know it’s hard to hide their cellphones, remotes, and laptops under your butt forever (unless you are Marsie), so when they do talk on it (instead of texting), try to get them to stand. Even that little motion and movement helps. So spill your dog food on the floor, drink your water pretty quickly. Do anything to motivate them to stand and move while they talk.


You can do this, dogs! Our humans need physical activity to keep their hearts healthy. Hearts keep them alive. We need them alive because they make bacon.

Gabby: Bacon is important to happiness.

Random Marketing and Book Things

My nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg, the pro ball player who became a spy,  is still coming out March 1 and I’m super psyched about it. You can preorder it. 

Kirkus Review says:  Jones gives readers the sketchy details of Berg’s life and exploits in carefully selected anecdotes, employing accessible, straightforward syntax.

And also says: A captivating true story of a spy, secret hero, and baseball player too.

Booklist says it’s: An appealing picture-book biography. . . Written in concise sentences, the narrative moves along at a steady pace.  

This is lovely of them to say.

The Spy Who Played Baseball

And the podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, is real. I’m terrified.

There are new podcasts every Tuesday and our handle on the tech gets better as you go along. I promise.

We talk about love, marriage, living in Maine with dogs and also give writing and life tips with linked content back on the blog.

Here is a video about it. Sort of.

My Post-2 copy

Top Five Ways To Channel Your Inner Cat and Get What You Want. 

So, a lot of times when I’m talking to other writers, they tell me that they are full of fear.

I’ve been a firefighter and a dispatcher and a gymnastics instructor and I’ve got to tell you that on a really fundamental life level, writing isn’t as scary as those things. You don’t usually die from typing. I mean, someone could put poison on the keyboard, but that’s pretty rare.

But the thing is that writing is scary because it makes you vulnerable. Communicating is an act of openness. Art is an act of sharing. The potential rejection and judgement that comes from that? It can be scary.

But we want it anyways, us writers. We want it so badly. We want to be published. We want to share our stories.

And that takes an act of bravery, of fierceness.

All of life takes that, really.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the world what you want.

So, I’ve solicited Marsie to help us with the Top Five Ways To Channel Your Inner Cat and Get What You Want In Your Writing Career and Regular Life.

Whew. That was long.


  1. Tell People You Want Something – It feels pretty alpha, but it’s true. If you want people to pick you up and place you near your cat food, you have to meow at them. Marsie is an expert in this. She has me trained. You can do this, too. Ask people to like your blog, to subscribe, to share. Ask people to buy or read or talk about your book. Some people like to help you. Those people are good people.
  2. Don’t Apologize – Cats do not say sorry for their wants. Neither should you. Full disclaimer: I have no idea how to do this. Sorry. SEE! I just did it!
  3. When People Give You Things Be Cool With It – Does the cat turn down the cat nip? No. The cat does not. Why? Because she knows she deserve to get what she wants. You do too. You deserve good things. You deserve blog readers, book readers, gentle pats on the head. You’ve worked for it.
  4. Don’t Give Up – If you don’t give Marsie food when she first meows at you, does she give up? No. No she doesn’t. Cats ask and ask and ask and demand for what they want. So should you. Keep working on your story, your life, your goal. Don’t give up because someone doesn’t hear you meowing. Make yourself heard. Meow loud.
  5. Meow Loud – Really. Writers and a lot of us introverts and those of who have been oppressed or traumatized we aren’t seen. It’s okay to claim your space. Seriously. Meow loud.

For me? The hard asks are these right now: 

  1. Could you please LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my blog and podcast?
  2. Could you spread the word about them if you get the chance?
  3. Could you leave positive reviews if you’ve liked my books?

That’s about it. It’s easy to make this author happy.


I’ll be hanging out at the launch of THINGS WE HAVEN’T SAID on March 15th and having  a panel discussion with editor Erin Moulton, Aaluk Edwardson and Ella Andrews at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, NH. 7pm!

“How to describe the feeling of not being believed? It is the feeling of disappearing.” -Stephanie Oakes


My nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg, the pro ball player who became a spy,  is still coming out March 1 and I’m super psyched about it. You can preorder it. 

The Spy Who Played Baseball

In my big writing news, the podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, is live!

My Post


Please go leave a comment, or a review, and pretend to listen, because I’ve been freaking out about this so hard. It’s on iTunes and Stitcher and Castos at the moment and the RSS feed is also here. The feed has bonus material and free things. It’ll be on GooglePlay if I can ever get the screen to validate to not be just a big webpage of blankness.

How to Be a Fearless Writer… I Mean Cat… I Mean Writer…

Mentors and protectors are there to make sure the dogs don’t eat your face. Notice how your mentors live and survive those dogs. Take what lessons you can from them. Be you, but use other people’s strategies to push away that fear and protect yourself from it.

Marsie the Cat lives pretty fearlessly despite the fact that she is the smallest mammal in a house full of big mammals with really good jaw strength.


Despite the fact that the big, white dog is really protective of her doggy toys, Marsie continues to claim her space and live fearlessly even in her sleep. Here’s proof:

IMG_2672 (1)

Yes, that is Marsie the Cat sleeping on the dog bed. And not only is she sleeping on the dog bed, she’s actually sleeping on the big, white dog’s favorite dog toy. Does Marsie care? No. She knows what she wants and she asserts her cat self and takes it.

Those of us who are sometimes overwhelmed by fear can learn a lot from the Mars Bars. Here are some things you can do.

  1. Find a cozy place if you can and claim it. Seek support if you have to. If your safe space is also the dog’s safe place, make sure that you have humans to back you up. That might be a coach, a counselor, or a really wise friend. Don’t let your fear keep you from going after what you really want.
  2. Be who you are and find people who will love you and protect you. Mentors and protectors are there to make sure the dogs don’t eat your face. Notice how your mentors live and survive those dogs. Take what lessons you can from them. Be you, but use other people’s strategies to push away that fear and protect yourself from it.
  3. Write – the best way to combat your fear of writing or being a failed, sucky writer is to actually write. Make a bargain with yourself and set a tiny goal if you’re feeling trapped by fear. Write 100 words if 1,000 seems daunting. Eventually it won’t.


Why Are We Afraid

  1. We’re afraid of other people’s judgement. We’re afraid they’ll think less of us and judge us for not being perfect. Big hint: Those people (and dogs) aren’t worth it. Big secret: If they judge you for trying hard? They are basically a troll and so not worthy of your time. Ignore them. Come hang out with me.
  2. We’re afraid of failing because we think failure is a big deal. It isn’t. It’s super freaking normal.  But we get embarrassed about it. It’s okay. That embarrassment will pass. My skirt once fell off in front of a ritzy hotel in NYC. People saw my underwear. My underwear had hearts on it. The event was horrifying, but I totally survived and it didn’t go viral.
  3. Fear feels bad. For most of us, fear isn’t pleasant. It’s panic. It’s heart racing, sweaty, and just… it’s uncomfortable so we avoid it. Sometimes, we have to embrace it, to break through the terror and do what we are meant to do – write, live, create, connect. You can do this.


We believe in you!

Writing Prompt:

Are you afraid of failing? Write 500 words about that.

Life Prompt:

How can you be brave this week. Try it out. Let me know.

Random website link is 

Where the podcast will be is here! 


Full disclosure: I have never been afraid of anything as much as I am afraid of this podcast.

Writing Coach: I’m a writing coach sometimes. I am also teaching at the Writing Barn. It’s a lot of fun.

My next book, The Spy Who Played Baseball is coming out with Kar-Ben soon. Preorder Link   

The Spy Who Played Baseball

Marsie the Cat and the Evil Necklace of Tangles

So much joy comes from just exploration, of touching the shiny things, of creating something bizarre like an ice carousel, of doing what you’ve never done before.

 Marsie the Cat: Human, you aren’t going to post about me getting my claw tangled in your Evil Necklace of Tangles are you?



Marsie: Seriously?

Me: Yeah, but it’s good, I promise!

Marsie: Do I come off like an idiot? Will the dogs make fun of me after I read it?

Me: You’re worried about the judgement of creatures that try to eat your poop, Marsie. Think about that.

Marsie: You’re so right, human. Blog away! But make me look awesome.



So, yesterday Marsie saw a necklace that I’d just untangled and left on the table. Marsie thought something like, “Oh, bright! I must touch it.”

Her claw got snared in the necklace.


There was about 30 seconds of cat panic and then both Marsie and the necklace fell on the floor. Marsie was TOTALLY okay. The necklace managed to re-tangle itself because that’s necklaces do.


The dogs watched the whole thing and Marsie did the Cat-Blow-Off-Thing where you could tell she was super embarrassed and was trying to pretend nothing happened at all, but I was like, “Marsie, you are so cool!”

And the reason I though that – other than ALL cats are cool – was that she saw something shiny and she just went for it. She was brave.

This weekend, my friends made an ice carousel on a pond. They hauled out a hammock, a fire pit, a whole bunch of stuff, and had a party. Kids skated. Adults skated. People laughed and connected and there was community going on – this beautiful sharing of story and emotion and also crazy fun.

There’s a lot of risk involved in this.


  1. It’s a party and there is always a risk that nobody will show.
  2. They used chainsaws and cut the ice.
  3. It’s ICE! You can fall through that and die. This little cutie fell in the crack, but luckily his human was right there and snatched him out like a hero human. He is absolutely okay. Don’t worry!


4. It’s ICE! You can slip and break things.

But it was amazing and fun and joyous and nobody got hurt. See Thom and Nicole? They look joyous and unhurt!

IMG_0043And all of this, plus Marsie’s interaction with the NECKLACE OF EVIL TANGLES, made me realize that so much joy comes from just exploration, of touching the shiny things, of creating something bizarre like an ice carousel, of doing what you’ve never done before.

I hope that you all get the chance to do something amazing and new this week.

Writing Prompt: 

Write about something you’re character is afraid to try.

Life Prompt:

How can you do something new this week?

Random website link is 

Where the podcast will be is here! 

The Spy Who Played Baseball Preorder Link   



Marsie’s Monday Motivation – Be Vulnerable and Ignore the Dogs

Marsie the Cat: Let’s talk about fear, human.

Me: Again?

Marsie: Yes. Again.



Me: I’m just afraid of so much stuff.

Marsie: You’re afraid of failing, of being vulnerable, of exposing yourself to the world, am I write? Or worse – What if nobody even notices you?



Me: How do you know so much?

Marsie: I am a cat. Therefore, I know all things. Plus, I know about fear. But I don’t care. I live my life. Look at this photo. I am on the dog bed and right there – it is the evidence that the dogs destroy things! That was a perfectly good owl toy and it is dead now. That dog has jaws of steel and could eat me in a second for daring to be on her bed. But do I care? No! I still claim the dog bed. You, human, need to claim the dog bed.


Marsie doesn’t understand that sometimes it’s hard to claim the dog bed. I wrote about this on Instagram yesterday because I was thinking about my grandmother.

She wrote so many poems and made so many paintings that she never let anyone see.

She couldn’t handle the scorn. But she couldn’t NOT create things.
She was afraid of the ocean, thought it was this massive, beautiful deadly force.

Men can be like that too sometimes, she told me. I don’t know why we are expected to be so strong. Why must we be so strong and vulnerable?

I was like ten when she asked me that so I didn’t have an answer.

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 10.26.04 AM
This painting is inspired by one of her paintings that she left unfinished. I don’t know if she had copied the original or if it was her own, but the woman walking across a realistic earth, approaching the sea all huddled and afraid and then reaching out for the unreal sky makes me think of her. Afraid but reaching out.

I am not an artist. I have absolutely no training at all except for a high school art class, but all I want to do is paint.

I am not a great philosopher, but still I’m compelled to share what I think.

I sound like a muppet and slur my s’s, but still I’m making a podcast and I’m in charge of a really intensive online writing class that forces me to talk on video to 12 people every month. And the whole time I think – I am so afraid to do this. People will hear my voice and laugh (not in a good way).

All these things scare me so much.

And every time I write a book, I think: 

What if nobody reads it?

What if nobody likes it?

But life and creating is all about vulnerability. It’s about saying yes to experiences even though it’s so scary. Yes, just writing a blog post is scary to me because it’s vulnerable.

What is it that makes you vulnerable? 

What is it that makes you scared to say ‘yes’ to things? 

Because here’s the thing: You are enough. You are good enough and real enough and authentic. Your story matters. And if other people don’t see it? Their loss. What matters is that YOU see it.

I’m totally trying to work on this right now. Seriously, all my tweets are about it. The podcast that’s premiering in February is about it.

I hope you’ll work on it with me.

Random website link is here –

Marsie’s Monday Motivation – Cat Loves Dog, TLF

Marsie: It’s Monday.

Me: Yes.



Marsie: Aren’t you going to whine about it?

Me: No.


Me: Aren’t you going to ask why I’m not going to whine about it?

Marsie: I’m a cat. I stopped caring. I’ll care about in like – 32 hours or if you bring out some cat nip or kitty snacks. Then I’ll be your best friend again for like… hm… 45 seconds.


Marsie: Just giving you the truth, human.

Me: I’m happy because today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I’m happy because I like the fact that you and Sparty the Dog kiss each other and snuggle.


Marsie: He’s warm.


Marsie: Fine, I love him.

Me: That’s why I’m okay this Monday. Even though things can suck and people can suck, there are these tiny little glimmers of hope that we might learn a thing or two from other people or from cats and dogs about love.


Me: What I’m trying to say is you inspire me, Marsie, because despite all your tough talk and kitty glares and cat face, you’re really just about the love.


Marsie: Human! Don’t tell! The other cats will mock me!

Me: Sorry, baby, they already know. Sometimes, they just choose not to remember.



Writing News:

I’m super excited because I’m going to be at Book Expo America signing copies of my nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg!

The Spy Who Played Baseball

And I’m super excited because I started teaching the online Writing Barn class and despite the fact that Sparty the Dog expelled gas out his rectum (REALLY LOUDLY) none of the students heard it. And I don’t think anyone noticed my gagging face either.

Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 11.12.12 AM

Sparty: Oops.

Finally, I’m moving forward with the podcast. I had to order a microphone, which was sort of terrifying because I know nothing about microphones. And honestly, I sound like a Muppet, so the whole thought of my voice just being out there? That sort of brings up childhood fears of bullying and one of my old teachers telling me that I’d never succeed at anything because of my s’s. I talk about that in Dear Bully. I’m still going to try though because I am done with fear keeping me from trying things, right? I’m going to channel my inner cat. I hope you do, too!


%d bloggers like this: