April Book and Life Update!

It’s an April update!

So, I bought an author marketing program for $27 and found out that you’re supposed to write a status about your writing progress and book progress every month! 

Who knew? 

Not this author. 

So, here’s what I’m up to. 

I’m starting a super cheap, super new, super cool writing course. You can check it out here and you can still join although it’s getting pretty full, which is awesome since I only announced it this weekend. But if you want to learn more, check it out here. I call it the WRITING COURSE OF AWESOME because I am original like that.

What else? 

I’m still revising ANOTHER NOW, which is a big time travel story. It is killing me. 

Here’s a tiny excerpt: 

Chapter One

“The Ghost Inside”

The Broken Bells

Dear Dad, 

I know you’ll never read this and you’ll probably think I’m weird for even writing it since you didn’t care enough to hang around when I was born. Now, your first impression of me (if this letter IS your first impression) will be, “Wow. My daughter is old-school emo with a lot of retro drama writing me a letter longhand and not on the actual computer like a normal person.”

I don’t care. 

That’s a lie. I probably do care what you think of me because I am needy like that, but I don’t care enough so that it makes me stop writing this letter.

Even though it’s super one-sided communication since you’ll probably never read it.

Even though I do feel a little drama over writing it this way. 

Even though I shouldn’t care about communicating with you.

You made your choice a long time ago and that choice was not me and Mom. 

And that hurts. 

Mina (Your daughter)

The goal is to throw the stone out the farthest: 

Watch it drop into the waves.

Breathe out as it disappears into the cold Atlantic. 

Try again to beat your last throw. 

That’s it. I never seem to beat my last throw even though Abby always beats hers. 

I’m a person without a father and whenever she feels too badly for me, my newish best friend, Abby Shriver, makes us head to the boulders and rocks that line the ocean’s edge of the Shore Path, this mile-long gravel path that abuts some of the fancier houses in Bar Harbor. She thinks that will make it better. The ocean, she says, is fatherless too and according to ancient Greeks, the ocean was the father of everything. The ocean doesn’t take sides in all the wars of man and gods. It just is. 

            But that’s old myth. 

            And the Atlantic Ocean off our Maine coast is so real. 

Today, we’re quiet when we walk. It’s barely a half of a mile down a one-way road, another small road, and then a dirt path to the ocean where we can throw our stones into the ever-moving abyss. 

When we get there, the wind keeps lifting up Abby’s hair, mixing the smell of honey with that of clam flats. Her hair keeps striking me in the face until she binds it in one of those utilitarian black elastics that most people keep on their wrists. Abby only keeps bracelets on her wrist – silver ones that jangle when she moves. 

“They remind me of fairy bells,” she says when I try to get her to stop talking about my lack of a father and randomly try to shift the topic to her. 

I take a rock and throw it, but the wind’s strength works against me and it barely makes it past the shore. 

And finally, my new Patreon story

And over on Patreon, I’m starting a new story this week! It’s a chapter a month if you want to check it out. It basically costs $1 a month to listen to my story and $3 a month to read it. There’s a new chapter every week. It’s super fun; I promise.

Chapter 1

The birds tap at the kitchen window with tiny beaks. They hover there above the azalea bush and the still-to-bloom tiger lilies, wings wide open, eyes staring inside at where Mom and I bustle around the kitchen. They smack and caw and coo. There are seagulls, pigeons, crows, a couple of hummingbirds, a few owls, robins, blue jays, finches, doves and a random eagle tonight. All of them coexisting in some sort of peaceful bird truce. All of them watching us.

            “Hey guys.” I give them an air first bump that I hope is cheerful. “Everything is okay.”

So, yeah, things are a bit bizarre around here, and Mom’s worried that I may not be able to handle it. This isn’t just because I have a tendency to levitate. And it isn’t because a news reporter has noticed that I exist, and it isn’t even that I seem to have ridiculously randy feelings about my best friend, Nora. My mother, thank God, does not know about that last part. No, she worries because of the door upstairs and the birds that are appearing absolutely everywhere all the time now.

            “I am so tired of those darn things and their – and their – and their defecation.” She puts the stress on the last word of the sentence, wrinkling up her long nose.  “It’s impossible to get it off the deck. And the chirping and squawking.”

            She crosses herself. 

writing podcast
Carrie Jones

Here’s our latest podcast! We’re adding extra interview episodes starting this Thursday!

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.

Last week’s episode link. 

This week’s episode link.

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The Haiku That Changed My Life

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH is almost here so I am totally going to theme out this April.

Why?

Because poetry changed my life in second grade. Seriously. 

I was this kid who talked like a Muppet. Everyone made fun of me so I didn’t talk at all in first grade. I was known as THE QUIET KID WHO GIVES HER SNACKS AWAY – SO DO NOT BEAT HER UP.

The teachers couldn’t figure me out. I never said anything. Teachers tend to like kids who raise their hand and talk. 

Then, I wrote a haiku in September of second grade. I had all the syllables right. It wasn’t about Tonka trucks. It was about nature so the teacher, Mrs. Snierson, posted it in big letters on the wall and decided I was gifted. Whew. Did I fool her. 

The poem was:


Spring is fun you see
Because flowers grow with rain
And robins come home.

This is how I learned that teachers are important to writers’ egos.That one poem got me into gifted programs.


That one poem got me noticed.


That one poem put my life on a trajectory that didn’t have to do with silence.

So, yeah, I like poems. 

Poems are how I stopped being silent.

So, I’m going to write poems and talk about poems sometimes in April. I hope you’ll join me!

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST

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 link. 

NEWS

Over 180,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them.

Continue reading “The Haiku That Changed My Life”

How to Make a Good Book Better

I am currently being whipped down into one of Dante’s lower circles of hell due to:

  • 1. My deadline crunch on a million things.
  • 2. My dog who has decided that something evil is in the lot behind our house and she must press her body into mine at all times in order to keep me safe. She simultaneously barks while doing this. It is making writing a little – um – difficult? Have I mentioned that she’s a large dog? 
I love my people. I protect them with my furry charm and big bark.

Here are some things I (should) think about when I’m revising. Hopefully, they’ll help you out, too.


I’ve taken them from James Plath’s article “Twenty-One Tweaks to a Better Tale.” 

1. Does the beginning need to be an ending?



Sometimes our beginnings stink. 

Beginnings need to be:
powerful
witty
stunning

This could be a powerful piece of dialogue, a witty description or a stunning scene. 

Sometimes we writers have to amp up, sort of rev our engines before we start the race of the story. 

My engine is revving. Shh…..


Side note: Some of us never get started.

It’s okay to cross entire paragraphs or a chapter out. 

2. Check Out How It Ends



Just like a beginning needs to be powerful or witty or stunning to draw us in like a really good appetizer, the ending has to linger (not in the way heartburn lingers). The ending has to resonate.

Is there a way to echo earlier images or words or a phrase so that it has that extra kick, making the reader realize that there are deeper things going on, that there is a deeper meaning, that this story or poem somehow touches on the truth that is life. 


3. Make Love to the Image

Have an image that resonates throughout the story. In the movie, Brokeback Mountain, it’s when one guy is hugging the other guy from behind him or it’s when he says, “I wish I knew how to quit you.” 

Think about a book like Carolyn Coman’s MANY STONES or THE HOBBIT or CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS. There are central images in there. Do that. Use an image. A strong image will keep your story in readers’ memories. 

4. Is the right person telling the tale?


I mean, I have often written gothic murder love stories from the point of view of Barney the Dinosaur, but it never seems to work. Have you had this problem too? 

Do not be afraid to switch that tale teller to Baby Bop.

I giggle! I am Baby Bop! 

5. Is your narrator talking to him/herself too much?


My former teacher and amazing writer-man Tim Wynne Jones once yelled at me (via email and in a lovely way) because I stopped a fight scene to have the narrator look at her Snoopy shoes. 

Dude. That is just not cool. 


Don’t have the character talk too much internally, but don’t have them not talk at ALL internally because then they are just robotic or perhaps a little shallow.

Nobody wants to read a whole novel from Barney’s point-of -view. It is not super-dee-duper. 


So get some internal monologue in there. 

Everything is super-dee-duper, writers! If a purple dino can dance and have his own tv show then you can revise! 

6. Do you have enough people in your story? Too many? 


I once wrote a story with three characters in it. It even actually won an award, which had actual money attached to it, but it did not get published.

Of course, my agent hasn’t submitted it, but that’s probably because it’s soooooooooo thin. A story with too few characters is like going out to dinner and only getting a cracker. It is not satisfying usually unless it’s a really big, yummy, super-cool cracker.

It’s the same thing with too many characters. I am one of those people who are easily confused. If there are twenty character names in the first two paragraphs I pretty much give up on the book.

Get rid of those unnecessary characters. 

It’s all about me! And my core group of friends! Sometimes you have to trim those expendables. That’s why they call them expendable. They are totally expendable. 

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. 

What I’m Up To

So, I’ve recently paid $27 to learn that I’m absolutely failing at what authors are supposed to do on social media and their blogs.

And my $27 has taught me that I’m supposed to post a monthly book update to keep readers excited about my books.

Oops. You can imagine me grimacing here. I’ve been writing for ten years and I have absolutely failed at this.

So, here’s a quick update.

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.

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. 

What’s Next

I’m finishing up my book, THE LAST GODS, on Patreon and starting to think about what to do on there next.

I’m editing a ton of people and being a writing coach. You can find more on my website about that. And I’m still teaching an awesome class at the Writing Barn. And I’m thinking of creating a more cohesive business surrounding all of that because it turns out that I really love helping people with their books and writing craft.

I’m starting the sequel to THE PLACES WE HIDE and it’s a doozy. A doozy, I tell you! Full of murder and small-town realism and romance.

I’m revising a young adult fantasy that my agent will be shopping around.

I’m thinking about writing something nonfiction and big and it’s scary. So, I’ll talk more about that soon.

I’m trying to be better about YouTube. I’m sort of failing. But you can check my videos out. They are goofy and informative, which is pretty much me.

WHAT’S STILL HAPPENING

Well, we’re chugging along with our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, which has had over 169,000 downloads. We talk about life tips from our dogs and writing tips from ourselves and are all around goofy.

I’m still painting, writing dog and quote inspirational quotes on my Facebook and Twitter, and dealing with kittens.

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST

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. Let us know if you’d like to be a sponsor. We’ve had some great ones.

DESPERATE CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITER DECIDES TO COMMIT FELONIES

NICE TOWN, MAINE — Today, children’s author Willow Whitehouse decided to commit some hardcore felonies in hopes of landing an elusive  book contract.

Her first  illegal act consisted of running naked down Main Street screaming, “I’m bad! I’m bad! Give me a contract! Sign me, baby! Sign me!”

“Look,” she told local reporters after her naked fun fest. “I’m just a small-town girl living in the small town world of Maine and I’ve been shopping this book for sooooooo long — like 42 freaking years — and I can NOT get anyone to pay attention.”

Her book, she said, combines the frolicking angst of dazzling-skinned, human-loving vampires with fart jokes and boy wizards who solve alphabet crimes in picture book format. 

She said that once her manuscript wasn’t immediately snatched off the slush pile, she first thought of becoming a celebrity like a Kardashian or BTS or a Trump kid to sell it.

“They seem to get book contracts just like that,” she explained cheerfully despite being naked in the Maine winter weather. “But then I realized that I couldn’t sing, dance, or magically make my father president. So it was on to Plan B!” 

Apparently inspired by naughty ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s signing a contract with MacMillan and Mike Tyson’s shopping around his book, Whitehouse decided it was time to resort to drastic measures.

“I don’t want to have to beat anyone up like Tyson or, you know, try to sell a senate seat like Rod Man,” Whitehouse explained while blowing kisses to cheering, drooling on-lookers from the local Masonic temple. “So I decided to start with naked running, and then maybe progress to naked corn beef hash eating, or perhaps, you know — just checking out some library books and not returning them.”

According to local police office Shane McMurphy, people did not initially know that Whitehouse was an aspiring author. 

“We just thought she was cracked,” McMurphy said smiling. “Then we found out she wanted to publish… In this market? It explains a lot. She needs some help.”

McMurphy, who is shopping around a novel focusing on a heated and ancient Zombie vs. Unicorn rivalry said he was thinking of doing something similar.

“Not running naked.” He laughed, slapping some handcuffs on Whitehouse. “Believe you me, nobody wants to see that. I was thinking more in the line of serial killing. You know? Then option out my life’s story to HBO or SHOWTIME? But the wife told me that’s already happened. Now, I’m thinking of just stealing the toilet paper out of everyone’s house some night and building a giant replica of the Statute of Liberty. Hey? Do you want to hear about my book? It’s brilliant. It’s like a cross between THE PRINCESS DIARIES and TERMINATOR and FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY only with ultra rich girls in a sorority somewhere, right? Brilliant, huh?”

As of press time nobody has requested a full or partial manuscript from either Whitehouse or McMurphy.


DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

Be one of the 160,000 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. 

Tips on Being A Debut Novelist

I wrote this back on LiveJournal (I feel so old) when my first traditionally published novel debuted. And… Well, I thought I might share it with you all.


Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend is good to go…
And yet… 
And yet….

I am really scared, which means I must create (you guessed it) a list.

TIPS ON BEING A DEBUT NOVELIST

1. Try not to pass out when you recieve proofs in the mail.

2. If you do pass out, try not to pass out on top of the dog. Vet bills are enormous.

3. Try not to rewrite the entire book when you see your proofs. This will be a temptation. Resist the temptation.

4. Once you mail back your proofs, stop thinking about them. Do not wonder if you should have written the dog instead of a dog. THE ARTICLE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE! HOLY CRUD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? It is over now, let it go.

5. Realize it is not truly over. Your book is going to be out there in three months. THREE MONTHS!!!!!

6. Oh my God.

7. Pass out again.

8. Thank the man standing near you for catching you. Decide he’s cute. Vow to use him in your next book.

9. Realize that the world might not notice your little book. Sure you called it I had Stephen Colbert’s Love Child. Still …

10. Rethink your title. It would have been so much better if it was I HAD STEPHEN COLBERT’S LOVE CHILD IN MY PANTS. Call editor in attempt to change it. When he refuses curse author Maureen Johnson for making you doubt all titles that do not have the tag, In My Pants. 

AND HERE THE LIST GETS EVEN WEIRDER ….

11. Wonder how other authors get on CNN. Wonder how authors get awards. Wonder how authors stay sane. Wonder if they do? Any of them?

12. Then do the worst thing of all: Wonder if anyone will buy your book other than your mother and your high school creative writing teacher. 

 13. Panic

14. Hit your head against the refrigerator door and knock of the cat bottom magnets that you bought in a moment of weakness.

15.  Realize that you bought kitty butt magnets, and you are still being published. How can this be? 

16. Cry.

17.  Pass out again. Refuse to wake up this time. Shout, NO. NO! I’M DEAD. REVIVE ME IN 6.2 MONTHS WHEN MY BOOK IS BACKLISTED.

18. Decide to be a dentist.

19. Wonder if you’re smart enough to be a dentist if you can’t even get the numbering of a list quite right.

20. Decide yes.



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.

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

How Weird Are You and Does Your Family Appreciate That?

When my first books went under contract, another debut writer interviewed me and asked me:

Now that you’re under contract, does your family better appreciate your writing?

Interviewer person

This was a hard question because I was always the weird, youngest child by fourteen years, the one who didn’t fit in, the self-righteous weirdo with Snoopy shoes. My brain didn’t think like the rest of my family and it was always, really obvious.

“Aliens dropped her off,” one of my siblings would say as I wrote 274-page long Star Trek fan fiction in my notebooks or hunted for Big Foot in our woods or re-enacted all of the movie E.T. with myself playing every single role or when I started donating money to the New Hampshire-Central American Network and tried to start an Amnesty International chapter with my fifth-grade friend.

Does your family appreciate you? Do they Better Appreciate you now?

And it would be a hard question now because my immediate family of two daughters and husband? They love my writing always. It doesn’t matter to them if I get published or not. What matters to them is that I get to write and create stories.

Which is so cool, honestly.

Also, they prefer it when I’m not cranky and writing makes me not cranky.

If there was no such thing as “make money to pay for health care and shelter and food” I would never have any worries about writing at all.

But, thirteen years ago when I first got published, my parents were still alive and this is how I answered that question:


Now that you’re under contract, does your family better appreciate your writing?

This is what my dad said.

“Someone bought your book? That’s great. What’s it called?”

Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend.

My dad began laughing, “Ho boy. Ho … boy. Wait till I tell your Aunt Athelee that one. Tell me that again…. Gay what?”

Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend.

My father then laughed some more. “Let me write that down. That’s really the title? Ho … boy.”

Then today, about six months later, I was talking to my dad on the phone while simultaneously trying to make vegan shepard’s pie and he said, “How many books have you sold?”

I told him that I had three books under contract.

“Three? Three! In less than a year?”

“Yep,” I said, dicing onions, which always makes me cry.

He was really quiet and then he said, “Your grandfather was a really literate man. He was a great reader, you know. And my mother … she loved poems.”

“I know that, Dad,” I said, wiping my eyes with a paper towel that smelled like onions and only made things worse.

Then he swallowed so loudly I could hear it and he said, “I’m dyslexic you know. I don’t read very well.”

“I know, Dad. You’re super smart though,” I said this because sometimes my dad forgets that he is super smart.

The silence settled in and he finally said, “I’m just really proud of you. You know that, right? I’m really, really proud of you.”

So, even if no lovely people ever buy my books, at least I know that I did something that made my dad proud.


When I sold my first book, my mother said, the way my mother always says, “Oh, sweetie. That’s so wonderful. I knew you could do it. I am so proud of you. My daughter, the writer.”

To be fair to my sweet mother and to be honest, this is what my mother says about everything I do. Like the first time I made an angel food cake she said, “Oh, sweetie. That’s so wonderful. I knew you could do it. I am so proud of you. My daughter, the angel food cake maker.”


The rest of my family, I think, are appreciative of the fact that I sold a couple of books. It makes me more legit to them somehow. Which is strange but typical I guess. In our culture it often seems that the process of learning and creating is often only considered worthy if a tangible product comes from it and if that tangible product has market value.

But to me … the big value is that I made my dad think about his parents and think about books and think about me and made him proud.

Here’s the thing. We have to embrace our differences, our weirdness, even when other people scoff or demean us. This isn’t easy when the dynamics of oppression are built in, but it’s worth it. Trust me, it’s so worth it.


Dogs are Smarter Than People

This week’s podcast is up and excited to be there! Join 154,000 downloads and see how weird yet helpful we are.

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. 

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.


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. 

TIPS ON NOT MAKING YOUR EDITOR THINK YOU ARE A LITTLE TOO WEIRD

There are certain things in the editor/author relationship that you just are not supposed to do.

I have consistently screwed that up.

Fortunately, I have a very, very tolerant editor.

I am only telling you so that you don’t do this too. And I’m putting it in tips form because it’s easier for me to deal with the nasty truth of it, that way …

TIPS ON NOT MAKING YOUR EDITOR THINK YOU ARE A LITTLE TOO WEIRD

  1. Do not answer the phone while you are in the shower. No. Really. Even if you think it’s your little girl calling from school to say she forgot her lunch. Even if you think it’s a neighbor calling because they found your dog humping their light-up reindeer in their front yard. Do not answer the phone.
  2. Remember the person on the other end may be your editor.
  3. Remember you do not want your editor to realize that you are naked. Because the truth is, people take showers naked. You do NOT want people imagining you naked. 

4. If, for some insane, inane reason you do answer the phone, do not, DO NOT, bring the phone in the shower with you.

5. Do not do this even if you still have conditioner in your hair.

6. Do not do this even if you have to be somewhere in 20 minutes.

7. Just don’t do this. The shower makes a lot of noise, and it’s probably dangerous to have the cordless phone in the shower with you, like you could electrocute yourself or something. 

8. If you do, do this, which you shouldn’t, please make sure to rinse the conditioner out of both sides of your hair, keep your head tilted and the phone OUT OF THE RUNNING WATER.

9. Remember it is hard to have an intelligent conversation with your editor while getting conditioner out of your hair and worrying about being late and worrying about being electrocuted and worrying about whether he knows you are in the shower or not.

10. Shut off the water. Ignore your editor when he says, “Oh. I can suddenly hear you better.” 

11. Act all innocent. Say, “Really?”

12. Dry off. Comb hair. Be thankful Mr. Editor Guy does not have a camera phone.

13. Hang-up.

14. Spend the entire day with crunchy hair, because you forgot to rinse the conditioner off the top of your hair, just the sides.

15. Realize that crunchy hair is not worth it and VOW never to answer the phone while in the shower again.

16. Forget the vow the next day and try to say in a nice non-panicked voice when you answer the phone and the warm water is streaming down, “Oh. Hi, Mr. Nice Editor Guy. It’s you.”

Sparty’s Wednesday Wisdom

Notice everything, humans.


Usually the things we see, the stories we hear and don’t hear? There’s deeper stuff going on there.


Notice the deeper stuff. Then roll around in the grass, sniff weird objects and ask for snacks. That all makes a good Wednesday.

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).

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. 

Waiting in the Army hospital

I’m waiting in an army hospital in Georgia somewhere for my soldier-daughter the puppy-ballerina-princess-girl who could never decide on just one thing to be for Halloween. 

She’s having surgery on her eye. It’s not super major, allegedly, but it’s a big enough deal that I had to take planes down from Maine to be here for her. 

I’m waiting for hours, which is fine because people wait in this hospital for hours for much worse things. I see them walk by. Most of them wear dark clothes. Most of them wear sadness over their skin like make-up. No. It’s more like moisturizer. It’s sunk in. 

These men and women wear uniforms and camouflage that sticks out in beige, fluorescent lit halls. One soldier walks by, jaunty, singing. I want to follow him around, spread his light. 

I’m at a table in a room where two hallways meet. A man walks by with his arm in a black sling. A civilian worker in a green shirt jingles as he walks behind him. The table I sit at is small, square wood on a metal pole. Casters are on the bottom. It’s unbalanced and tilts if I lean too hard on it. 

When I grew up half of my family said the point of family is to lean on each other. The other half of my family insisted that the leaning? It makes you weak. They are almost all dead now so I lean mostly on air, on walls, on tables. 

It’s hard not to worry when you can’t control anything like surgeries or politicians or people with guns and hate-hearts. It’s hard to move beyond that worry and live. It’s hard to feel like you’re not always waiting for something to happen instead of actively making things happen. Good things. I want to make good things. 

Making anything is scary and vulnerable and real. I think I want most to be real, to matter somehow. 

I am waiting in an army hospital and they call a code red, which probably means something horrible, but I’m clueless, just a clueless civilian. Lately, I’ve been feeling like we’re all clueless about this world, this universe, even ourselves. How do we work? How does anything work? Relationships. Data. The internet? Lights. The stove. It’s all connections and collections and movement. Maybe.

People walk by me, mostly soldiers, some families. I only catch pieces of conversations and never the full thing. 

Dogs are Smarter than People
Love

“’Hey Joe. Hey Joe. What’s up?’ He doesn’t even say, ‘What’s up.’”

“He talks to us.”

“He talks to me like I was cavalry.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means he talks to me like God.”

The other guy laughs and they are lost down the hall. I will never know what’s up with Joe who when he talks, ends up talking to the laughing soldiers like they are God. 

I am waiting in the army hospital and I will have no nice conclusions, no Marvel-style resolution to these stories. But mostly what I hear is people thanking each other, wishing each other a good day. I hear, “God bless.” I hear children whining, bored out of their minds. I hear a woman yell, “I got you.” 

I got you. 

I am waiting in an Army hospital. The hospital is everywhere. 


BIG NEWS! 

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

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

This week’s podcast!

A Book Is Coming! A Book is Coming!

I am about to release a book.

Yep. Me.

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.

It’s an adult book. And I’m scared that:

  1. It will suck.
  2. Nobody will read it.
  3. People will think that because it’s self-published my career is over and I’ve failed.

I know! I know! I’m not supposed to write that because I risk:

  1. Alienating self published writers
  2. Putting ideas in people’s heads that I’ve failed.

But I care more about honesty despite all my fears.

This is why I’m self publishing a book.

It’s an adventure.

I’ve never done it before and I want to see what it’s like. I am all about new experiences and believe me – this is a totally different experience than traditional publishing.

Also, I’ve learned that I hate formatting things. So I’m learning?

It’s scary.

Being responsible for all your own words and edits and marketing is terrifying. I’m used to the world of traditional publishing where you have a whole team backing you up. Multiple people edit your book. These people are brilliant and skilled.

And it’s easy for us traditionally published authors to get big heads especially when our books do well. We get fan mail. People bite each other in line to get our book (True story). People cry when they meet us sometimes.

But we are not the only ones who make these books happen. There are agents, assistant agents, editors, assistant editors, proofreaders, copy editors, marketing teams, beta readers, publicists, booksellers, marketers.

So many people.

It’s scary to do it alone. I lean into the scary.

I’m impatient and I write too much.

Coming from the newspaper world, I write fast. I write a lot. I have so many manuscripts in so many genres on my laptop that my agent can’t keep up.

I’m impatient and I write too much and it’s a different genre.

This book is an adult book. It’s a bit like if you crossed Charlaine Harris’s less vampire-style books with Murder She Wrote. It’s not something my agent has read. I normally write children’s books and I love them, but I’m someone who started as a poet, became a reporter, won awards for nonfiction, became a kids book author and have written picture books, literary fiction, fantasy, science fiction and contemporary fiction. Which leads me to…

I don’t like boxes and labels.

I’m all about breaking expectations. It breaks expectations for a New York Times and internationally bestselling author to self publish and hopefully it breaks down the stigma about self publishing a bit more.

Why does that matter?

Because the point isn’t about being the best. Story is about communication and empathy. The world of books is a world where you build understanding, escape, go on adventures, but also become a better person. All the stories that people write? They are the stories that need to be told and the hierarchy of which stories deserve to get traditionally published is a bit subjective.

I’ve been so lucky. Andrew Karre pulled my first novel off the slush pile and published it. It won awards. I had a series that sold all over the world and hit lists. But not everyone is lucky and there are great authors out there who aren’t traditionally published.

They are authors, too.

Their books matter too.


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.

This week’s writing podcast.

Em Update

A lot of people have messaged me about my daughter, Em. She is not stationed in Iraq or deployed currently. Thank you all for remembering she’s an Army lieutenant and for worrying about her. It’s so kind of you.