LOVING THE STRANGE Shaun Takes Over the Blog

In fact, anything can seem strange at times, but aren’t these sometimes the most incredible moments of life? Does strange have to equal bad or even be a negative? Heck no!

What is strange?

Well, the answer to that question is probably as huge and varied as any other non-fact based question.

In my opinion, strange is everything and everything is strange!

The reason I believe this to be true is because everyone is going to have different answers to what is strange and what is not strange. If you polled a substantial population I think the answers, if grouped and sorted, would be a giant Venn diagram of “normalcy” and “strangeness.” Of course there are so many factors that influence any person’s ideas of normal and strange; psychology, sociology, geography, religion, etc. that I would likely be writing for days trying to cover all of the different influences and I would be doing it with barely more than a layman’s knowledge of most of the subjects, so I am not attempting that.

When I posed the question as my opening sentence, I was simply trying to get your brain to think about the question within the parameters of what you know, think and believe.

For instance, I find it strange that some people profess true love and affection for inanimate objects. But then again, I also find it strange how mainstream love is commonly defined and all of the different variables of this love that satisfy different people.

For instance, Carrie professes to love me and sometimes I can’t understand why she would. I mean, I am the most awesome husband ever, but I do lack so many attributes that others would seemingly look for in a partner. I am not outwardly beautiful. I am not wealthy. I tend to emote my emotions (mostly the negative ones I am told) so powerfully that they are noticeable to even the most casual observer and I can be so attentive to certain that I think I can make people feel badly about themselves simply by trying to put things in order in “my world.”

Of course, these are just a few examples of what is probably a very long list of human defects, defects that while we may not have a lot of them in common, every human being possesses.

How do we overcome these imperfections? Well, around here we have adopted a mantra of love your way through it.

Simply put, it means what it says, love your way through it, but there is another side to that, which is, to be thankful for what you have.

If you have life and you have love, you have everything you need to live another day and to make that day the best day it can be, no matter the circumstances. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, there are many caveats to this and sometimes love cannot conquer all things, but this is supposed to be a more positive blog post so I am foregoing those topics today. The point is that if it works, sometimes it simply works, no matter how strange it may seem!

Alright, I’ve gotten off track and want to remind you that I was talking about what is strange and not love. Love was just an example of what can seem strange sometimes.

In fact, anything can seem strange at times, but aren’t these sometimes the most incredible moments of life? Does strange have to equal bad or even be a negative? Heck no! Strange can be awesome and amazing and as long as it’s not a strange that causes intentionally inflicted personal pain ,we should embrace it as an opportunity to enrich and fulfill our lives.

In this effort, Carrie and I are starting a new podcast called, Loving the Strange. This will be a live podcast during which we will attempt to delve into the strange, any kind of strange, and dissect it a bit and discuss the potential that it may have to enrich lives.

Of course, not all strangeness is going to be life enriching, some will just be dorky like us, but we believe that if you can teach yourself to approach the new, the different, the strange with an open mind that you might see a new side of this incredible journey we call life.

Our first live podcast will be tomorrow, Friday, February 12th at 7 p.m. eastern standard time. If you would like to join us as we explore this strange that we call life, you can find it on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All the links to Carrie’s channels are at the bottom of the post. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

You can also watch it at your leisure if you can’t make it Friday at 7 on those sites, or just listen to the audio on a whole bunch of platforms starting this Saturday.

So go out there, get your strange on.

As always, thank you so very much for taking the time to read my ramblings and have an awesomely strange day!

Shaun

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loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

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HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Shaun Takes Over the Blog: Hunt and Peck Method

I believe that the stories that come from the heart are always the best ones!

            I don’t know what the productivity rate of the average author is, but in this house, it is high. Real high!

Not from me of course. You can’t possibly be productive when, no matter how much you type, you absolutely refuse to give up the two-finger hunt-and-peck method. Well, I actually use three fingers because I use my right thumb to hit the space bar as I use both of my middle fingers to find the appropriate letters. Carrie says that I am a pretty fast hunter and pecker, but when I watch her type, I am convinced that my method is the inferior one.

            Hardly any of that has anything to do with my point though, so please forgive me.

My point is that Carrie is always working on more than one book (of her own making) at any given moment. I am usually tasked with helping her edit her works at some point in time. My reading skills are far superior to my typing skills, and I love helping her out because then we can talk further about other aspects of her books and I get to read them before they are actually printed.

At this very moment, I have chapters from three different books of hers on my desk awaiting my attention as soon as I am done hunting and pecking this out. One of the books has been submitted to her agent and she is doing recommended edits on that, the second one will be self-published and she has not decided which route to go with the third.

            Part of my point is this; it doesn’t matter how much you produce or how many times you read your own manuscript (No matter what kind of superior editor you think you are.) you will always miss some of your own mistakes. It really pays to hire someone to edit your work for you! Of course, you must edit it yourself first, but I would always advise an author to employ an editor, even if it is someone who you are paying with home-cooked meals or similar wages.

            This is especially true if you decide to self-publish your work.

Carrie and I have been purchasing a lot of self-published books lately. She loves to support other authors, and while some are very well edited and formatted, some are definitely disappointing. You work very hard on making your masterpiece come together, shouldn’t you see it through to the very end and produce a book to be proud of for more than just the amazing words that are on the paper? So, this is where I make my shameless plug for Carrie. Not only does she offer editing for other authors (I never touch a paying customer’s work, I promise!), but she can format your self-published book and help you to be a better author. You can find information about all of the professional she offers at carriejonesbooks.blog. Or at the links below.

            Now that I have done my professional and husbandly duties (which I truly love doing), let me say that everyone has a story to tell and those of you that take the time to try and capture it in some medium deserve mad respect!

Let me also say that if you are writing because you want to make bags full of money, I can very much appreciate that, however, you may want to first concentrate on telling your story in the most heartfelt way possible. I believe that the stories that come from the heart are always the best ones!

Follow your heart and have a most incredible week, people!

Shaun



LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Shaun, the Oreo Thief, Takes Over the Blog

  It’s Shaun, taking over the blog again.

          Oh, writer’s block, why dost thou come to me every Thursday afternoon when I am in desperate need of an idea for this blog?

Even though I start to think about what I am going to write a day or two ahead of Thursday sometimes it seems utterly pointless.

How do you professionals do it I wonder? Carrie never seems to have writer’s block! Of course, she is working on so many different projects at once, hers and others, that I think moving from one project to another gives her not only a respite from any one project but also allows her brain to roam freely about and not be locked into that dead zone of no new ideas.

Me? I just try to think of anything I can that is not related in any way to the subject matter at hand. Get it? At hand … writing, typing, it is a hand joke and in no way meant to be a sexual inuendo.

Even after all of this rambling, I’m still stuck so I’ll take a mental break and see what happens if I just think of the first thing that comes to mind and randomly type what I’m thinking.

So, I was probably somewhere between the ages of two and three, I theorize this because I remember I was very young and I also remember that my mom and dad were already divorced and that happened when I was two. These memories are almost fifty years old, so Mom, if you read this, don’t hold me to it.

My mom will never read this, no worries! I’m more worried about Carrie and the hand joke, honestly.

There I was, an outstanding Saturday morning and son number one, the only son for another ten or eleven years, had arisen early and sat himself on the living room floor to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Remember those? The good ones, the basic ones, the ones which don’t get any attention in the modern world.

Well, son number one decided he was hungry and went to explore the refrigerator. Hmmm, not much in here for an inexperienced chef to prepare, but wait! What was that? In the blue wrapper, the most divine of sweet snacks. Why were they in the refrigerator? Mom, don’t you know that if you refrigerate Oreos if is almost impossible to separate the chocolate wafer from the cream without breaking the wafer. Dammit woman, who does this?

            I was not allowed to eat cookies without permission. Peanut butter and bread, maybe I could have gotten away with that, but who thinks about lowly peanut butter and bread when you have a package of Oreos sitting in front of you?

I was starving and apparently Mother needed her sleep so much that she could not possibly awaken and feed her starving toddler so I had to take matters into my own hands! Besides, she wouldn’t, couldn’t, possibly notice if I only took two or three Oreos and closed up the package exactly as I found it. Problem solved! Let’s take three because it’s harder to recognize an odd number missing than an even number. I thought.

            Let me tell you, there is nothing better than watching the coyote lose at his own game over and over again while munching on Oreos. Little did I know that anvil was soon to be falling on my head.

As I sat on the floor, munching Oreos, I remember thinking that I really wanted to be a part of the excitement taking place on the screen in front of me. I know! I thought. I can just jump through the television screen and I will be magically transported to the world of coyote’s and road runners, Bugs Bunny, and Yosemite Sam!

I stood up, ready to leap. But wait, something was wrong with that theory. I touched the screen of the television, hard glass. No, this couldn’t be right. Glass cut you and I did not want to be cut.

Phew, close call!

 I was brilliant, but all of that thinking had made me hungry again. Mom would not notice if I took just another couple Oreos, I wondered. Would she? Nah, never!

            By my fifth trip back to the refrigerator, I knew that I was just as screwed now as if I had tried to jump through the screen of our television. Why did I have to be such a hungry kid? Why wouldn’t my mother wake up and feed me healthy and nutritious food like a good parent and prevent me from being a thief who is surely going to get caught?

I sat back down in front of the television to watch more cartoons and await my inevitable demise. For some reason the cartoons weren’t as joyous and funny as they had been just a short time ago.

            Finally, Mommy made an appearance and we exchanged our morning pleasantries. Everything seemed fine. Somehow she has not noticed my chocolate wafer lipstick!

She asked if I wanted some breakfast and I immediately answer no and that I was not hungry. I was. I was always hungry, but she couldn’t enter that refrigerator under any circumstances! I heard her piddling around in the kitchen for a while and things were going great. I was going to get away with this.

            I felt a presence behind me and I turned my head to see my mother’s leg, so I looked up. She was scowling.

            My heart exploded into a red, dusty cloud of terror.

She asked the question.

Did I eat any Oreos this morning?

I immediately replied with the most truthful answer I could think of under such tremendous pressure.

No.

I do not remember what happened after that. My mother was a calm and loving mother who would occasionally lose her temper with me but had two huge sticking points when it came to child rearing—lying and losing one’s temper.

I can only assume that was my first taste of my most often suffered punishment. Time in my bedroom, sitting on my bed, alone, to think about my crimes. She was a time tyrant when it came to timeouts and they were always long! I mean, an hour is an eternity to anyone less than ten right?

So, there you go, now I am ready to write a blog and I have a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, I have used up my allotted space in the world of internet writing and it

will have to wait until next week. Hopefully, if you happened to have been stricken by writer’s block when you embarked on this reading journey that it is now gone and long forgotten. Go write something, anything, the good words will come to you.

Peace!

Shaun


Let me tell you all that Shaun still sneaks Oreos. Only now he does it at night when he lets Sparty out into the backyard and he doesn’t get time-out for his crime. I just buy more Oreos and pretend like I haven’t noticed.

xo

Carrie

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

Making Your story believable
Making Your story believable

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Shaun Takes Over the Blog: Living With an Author, the Schedule Edition

This is Shaun, Carrie’s husband, and I’ve taken over the blog again to tell you what it’s like to live with a writer.           

So, having cohabitated with Carrie (the writer) for many years now, I have learned quite a bit about her work style and ethic. I have also come to know that individual authors have differing work routines and habits that, hopefully, keep them motivated and working but often vary greatly from one author to another. Some habituations lend themselves to greater success than others, just like in any other career.

Today I am going to give you a glimpse into what a typical day in Carrie’s life looks like, as far as earning money goes at least. 

            First, let me say that I know that everyone’s life is different. Heck, in our house every day is different and any particular day can go off the rails in a split second. I am not trying to promote any particular way of working. This is simply a husband bragging about his wife, mainly because she works circles around me, and I am amazed every single day.

Me last year before the masks.

THE CARRIE DAY

            Depending upon the day of the week, Carrie gets up between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sometimes 5 a.m.

She will awaken earlier if it is a running day and she will get up and run on the treadmill or outside when it is not cold. Because I am lazy, I usually get out of bed after her, however, by the time she is done running, I will have made her a glass of ice water and her morning tea.

As soon as she is done running, we have said our morning pleasantries and she has given me a nice tight and sweaty hug, she sits down at her computer and goes to work. If it is a non-running day, the routine is the same except she hasn’t earned her glass of ice water and only gets a cup of hot tea when I drag myself downstairs. And the hug is dry.

Giving Up Coffee

            As a sidebar, can I just say that I was a former coffee addict and even though every day is still an addiction struggle, Carrie was finally able to get me clean and now I drink hot tea every morning instead?

Total honesty compels me to say that on Saturday and Sunday mornings I do relapse and make us each a cup of Cuban coffee, but it is more of an enjoyment of the sugar-laden espresso-like goodness rather than a caffeine fix. Regardless of my relapses, I will sing the praises of switching from coffee to tea and how much better my body has felt for the past year or so because of it. You should try it if you are a coffee hound!

Back To Carrie’s Day

            So, yes, Carrie literally goes right to work after she has awoken (or awoken and run) and she works diligently. A good portion of her days now are spent editing other author’s work or coaching other writers and I have watched as she has changed her work schedule over the years to find the best fit for herself.

For twenty-five minutes, and she actually uses a timer so that she doesn’t get too engrossed in what she is doing and lose track of time, Carrie will work and then take a five-minute break.

Unfortunately for her, she usually does other types of work on her five-minute break and that is okay if it makes her happy because the real purpose of the five-minute break is to get out of her chair and move around so she doesn’t get “dead butt syndrome.” Occasionally, she will do something that she enjoys on her breaks, such as visiting her dungeon art studio and painting in tiny, happy spurts.

            Of course, this regimented schedule also has its caveats. I mean what parent can make it through the day without parenting? Sometimes these parenting breaks can really put a damper on your work flow. Regardless of whether it is a happy interaction or a stressful one, they can discombobulate the flow of information through your brain and your state of mind in general.

Heck, right now as I write this she is upstairs visiting with the seventh grader and most likely doing some general life counseling. If you have kids, you have to make time for them!

The To-Do List Of Awesome (By Of Awesome I mean OfHell)

This brings me to another thing that Carrie does every day, she makes a to-do list. She actually has more than one going at any given time and they include yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily lists. These lists are how she stays on track and tries not to forget anything. My favorite is her daily list, which she prepares the night before and I get a big kick out of watching how it morphs during the day depending on how things go. Not being a list-making type of person, I am truly amazed by how she utilizes and manipulates them in order to get everything done when it is supposed to be done.

            Her most favorite worktime activity is being able to work on her own stories, which, sadly, she doesn’t get to do nearly enough. Daily, she attempts to have enough time at the end of the day, which for her is well after dinner, to enjoy her true passion of writing, and I love it when she does. The change in her personality is palpable and she is so much more carefree and happy. Plus, it means she can occasionally submit a new book to an agent or self-publish one online.

Speaking of which, she will be publishing the sequel to one of her most recent books, The Places We Hide, soon and we will be sure to give you plenty of warning before it comes out. In the meantime, if you would like to purchase any of her previously published books, read older blogs (written by her and much more interesting) or if you need some authoring or editorial help, you can find links to all of those services are below in the HANG OUT WITH US section, but also, just peruse the tabs above.


In short, my points are thus:

  • Be disciplined in your work ethic and utilize tools that help you to be more efficient. Always make time for family.
  • Always leave time in your day to spend a bit of quality time with yourself doing what you love
  • And most importantly, love your way through it.

Success will find you!

May you best wishes come true for you!

Shaun

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

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