Avoiding the New Year’s Suck – Dogs are Smarter Than People Podcast

Okay. Okay. I know we always try to be positive because we are positive people. Cough. But New Years? It’s a little frustrating.

That’s because it’s all about goals and new starts. And you know, every day should be about that, right? And then you’re like, “Crap, I failed in my goals. Crap, I need new goals. Crap, why is this party boring? Crap, should my new goal to be to never attend a party?”

And so on.

But that pressure? To be Instagram-worthy, to be super achiever goal person, to be extra? That’s what makes New Years suck. At this house, we like to just celebrate that we’re still alive, not bankrupt, and not in jail. It’s way better that way because there’s not as much pressure.

A long time ago – back in the 1980s – this guy Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was studying happiness. He gave people pagers. Remember this was in the 1980s. Then he and his research assistants would send the people messages at random times and ask how they were doing, feeling, what they were doing, etc. It sounds a bit like when your mom texts you, honestly.

And he discovered flow. People were happy when they were super engaged in the task they were doing. People weren’t happy when they were doing nothing. They were happy when they were involved in something.

Minds were blown.

When people were in the ‘flow,’ they forgot about time, space, all the other detritus in their lives. They were focused on the now, on what they were doing. What they were doing might be writing, sports, hanging out with other humans, art, and so on… But for them the involvement was so intense that they became engaged and absorbed into it and were happy.

Writing should do that for you.

Writing Tip of the Pod

If you aren’t in the flow, why are you writing? Give yourself ten minutes. Set a timer. If it isn’t working, get up and go back later. Life is too short to be unhappy. Make that your new year mantra.

Dog Tip for Life

Fun and work aren’t mutually exclusive. Having fun and being useful aren’t either, man. Pull out your inner dog and go with the flow this year. Look for the flow.

Be a Part of the Podcast!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

Advertisements

Muppet Resolutions

This past 10 days I’ve been doing throw-back posts because I’m so super busy, but also because it’s sort of cool to look back and the old you, and the things you once thought and/or posted.

The old me was a little obsessed with Grover. And this post? It comes from January 1, 2008, which ended up being a really good year for me despite losing an election and a marriage. Whoa… I know, right? You’d think that would make a year suck. It didn’t. It actually made the year interesting and full of growth and helped me move on to this next stage, which I really like.

Here is the post! I hope you like it, THE WAY I’m LIKING THIS STAGE IN MY LIFE.

Last week I took Grover for a little field trip to a wedding. It was Grover’s first car ride and he was feeling a little bit cocky. You know, all LET ME DRIVE! LET ME DRIVE!

Grover: Pretty please with a cookie on top? 

I am a softie, so I let him drive even though the speed limit on the Maine turnpike was 45 or something ridiculous like that because of the massive amounts of snow trundling down from the sky.

Grover: I LOVE DRIVING CAWWIE!
Grover, dude, can you actually see the road?
No. I drive by the power of Grover Zen.
That’s so cool Grover, that’s how I drive too.

But any way… we made it. Here are my New Year’s Resolutions via Grover. They are in second person. I’m not sure why.

1. When you see the ice cream truck or any other good thing coming up YOU MUST SQUEE and SQUEE LOUDLY! Do not be afraid to squee.

SQUEE!

  • 2. Don’t be afraid, just embrace your inner dork.
  • 3. Remember to smile when you are at a wedding and someone takes your picture even though you HATE pictures. Also remember to carry that joy from the wedding into everything else you do.

 Me: Doesn’t Sarah look beautiful, Grover?

Grover: Aw, Cawwie. She is the hottest bride ever. Look at her red hair. Look at her dark dress. Why did you leave me, the adorable monster, in the car?

Because, I know you, Grover. You’re kind of a horn dog.

I am not! Grover is NOT a horn dog. 

I’ve seen you hump the steering wheel, Grover. I know what you’re about. 

Aw, Cawwie. Even Muppets have needs. 

I wanted Sarah to have a nice wedding, Grover… oh… ack. Let’s continue on here. 

  • 4. Sometimes when things have you down, it’s okay to just pass out.

and always ALWAYS remember to bring a barf bag because sometimes all the joy and fear that comes with being a writer and a human and/or a Muppet can get to you

Grover: Oh, Cawwie. How could you post this? 

I told you not to eat ALL the ice cream in the 18-wheeler carrying the Ben and Jerry’s, Grover. You are not the ice cream monster and you are lactose intolerant, silly.

  • 5. Honor all the people and/or muppets you’ve ever been and that you still have yet to become.
This is the creepiest photo I could find of past Carrie and her hand-me-down stuffed animals. Check out the wallpaper.

And that’s it! Those are the best resolutions I can think of – with Grover’s help. I hope you have an amazing 2019.

Be a Part of the Podcast!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

Blog Break – Sort Of

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy
Flying

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

APPLY NOW!

We Need More Hobbits In this World, Drugs, My Dad, Cancer and the Boston Marathon

The first time I blogged the first section of this post back in 2013, I checked with my dad to make sure he was okay with it. He was.

My dad is dead now and reposting this is hard, but also good. Because that’s how life can be – hard and good.


So lately, thanks to brilliant blog posts by writers like Jo Knowles and Tim Wynne Jones, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to love life and to really live it. Jo’s post ponders Maurice Sendak’s NPR interview where he implores people to live their lives, and the sadness and urgency that he has as he expresses that thought as he, himself, is in the last months of his own life.

And for me, that is even more poignant as I listened to my own father sob on the phone last Friday, lamenting a family member who is still alive with us, but whose personality has been twisted by drug use. 

“Where is that person I used to know?” my dad asked. “Where is that person I was so proud of?”

I told him that the person is still there, buried beneath the drugs, that their soul is still a bright light underneath all the layers of drug dependence and anger and need. 

But it made me wonder about how people can change for good or for bad, about how we are all a product of our choices and our intentions. 

“Our family is shrinking,” my dad said, “and I am so alone. In the mornings, when it is bleak, I look out at the cold trees and I am so very lonely.”

I listed all the people my father has, all the people who love him. My sister and all her grown kids live near him. My brother, his son. My dad’s brother and his sister-in-law have him to dinner every single night. My dad has friends still alive that he has gone on grand adventures with, but the worry about his drug-addled relative has devastated him. All the good things don’t matter any more because he has chosen to only look at the horror of the present.

And that’s sad.

And it’s easy and normal to feel that way. 

And I have felt this way too — times when I am impossibly sad even though I am one of the luckiest humans in the universe — times when I think that the days are too cold to leave the bed and walk the dogs and eat. But the thing is, you fight through them. It isn’t that life is a gift. It isn’t that life is a curse. It’s just that life is. It is. And we are meant to experience it and travel through it and we can choose to make that journey have meaning like poets do, like Jo does, like Tim does, or we can choose to just manage, to slug through. Our choices can change. Our intentions can change. Our purpose can change. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are meant to experience this life – this great big is — and how we do experience it is up to us. 

And so in that phone call I had with my dad I told him, “I love you. What is happening to our relative is not your fault and not all your responsibility and whatever choices you make, you will make with love, and that is all that matters. What matters, Dad, is that you love, that you have always loved, and that you always will love with all your heart.”

He said with a shaking 83-year-old hobbit man voice, “I am such a coward. I am so scared. I am so scared for them.”*

But my little dad isn’t a coward. He faces his pain, his sorrow, his worries, his life head on. He touches the sad, hurt parts of his own soul and knows them. My dad doesn’t hide. He doesn’t pretend to be someone he isn’t. 

“Being scared doesn’t make you a coward,” I tell him. “You have never run away from life, Dad. You will never run away, and that makes you one of the bravest men of all.”

*I changed the pronoun to ‘them’ because that makes it even more difficult to identify the person but also because them is a pretty cool pronoun.

And then less than four months after that post, I posted this:

It is Thursday and an oncologist whose last name is Snow has just told my father that he has a few weeks to live. Sometimes poets use snow to signify death. As I wander through the tiny patch of woods off the Glen Mary Road in Bar Harbor, I think that this is appropriate in a bad way. The doctor’s name is Snow. Snow. A lone crow alights from one pine tree bough to another, leading me down the trail. There are superstitions about crows. One crow is meant to signify death.

“I already know,” I tell the bird as he lifts his shiny wings, “but thanks.”

And about five hours away from me and the crow, Doctor Snow leaves my dad’s hospital room and my sister hands my dad the hospital phone so that I can say hi.

“Carriekins,” he says to me and his voice is cheerful somehow.

“Hey Dad! I love you!” This is the only thing I can think to say. I try to make my voice cheerful, too, but it isn’t strong like pine boughs and it can’t hold up the weight of me. I try again and manage to sound chipper. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” he says. “How is your day going?”

The first thing he asks, moments after he finds out that he is about to die, is how my day is going. This is how my dad works. He asks people questions. He wants to know how they are doing, what they’ve done, what they think, why they think it. His favorite thing to say is, “I don’t know enough about you. What can you tell me?”

And I never know what to say. I never feel like I have anything to tell.

“My day kind of stinks, Dad,” I tell him, stepping on a fallen pine cone. Crushing it  will help to scatter its seed, but I still feel badly about it somehow. “I mean, it does stink because of what the doctor just said, but it’s good because I get to hear your voice and talk to you.”

It is the last time I have a real conversation with my dad. The next day they fill him with morphine and move him to a hospice center. He can’t talk because of the drugs. That is Friday. On Saturday, he can only wheeze into the phone.  I tell him he sounds like Darth Vader and that I will be there Monday after a wedding I have to go to and after I drop my daughter, Em, off at college.

He dies that night or really early Sunday morning right after the sunrise. He loves sunrises.

Doctor Snow had given him weeks. He lasts two days because of a fast moving, wildly spreading small cell cancer that has already officially claimed the area around one of his lungs.

Before we knew he had cancer he said, “You know I would go down on my knees and kiss the ground and praise God if I could breathe again. Isn’t that something? Isn’t that something you’d never expect to hear from me?”

And it was.

My dad was a hobbit kind of man. He believed in breakfast and laughing. He believed in second breakfast and laughing even more. He believed in dancing and smiling and telling stories and listening and a third breakfast that included cake. He believed in life and people. He was capable of looking straight into someone’s soul and getting right to the core of what made them special and because he had that gift, he forgave everyone everything. He forgave people all the time and he loved them just as much as he did no matter what they put him through.

Two weeks before he died

Right after the Boston Marathon bombings, I am sitting in a Cambridge, Massachusetts restaurant with my daughter, Em. People are eating, but mostly everyone is craning their heads, watching the television screen that displays what little information exists about the attacks. My cell phone vibrates and I learn that my dad, who has gone into the hospital three days earlier because he couldn’t breath has tumors. They don’t know if the tumors are cancer. They just know they are there.

On the screen above my head are news people trying to make sense of a tragedy that I have just personally witnessed because I had been at the marathon. I don’t need the television to see the blood and the pain, the hope of people helping, the determination of doctors and civilians and paramedics and cops.

Tumors.

People before me have compared hate to cancerous tumors, compared the way hate metastasizes and invades a society, taking it over the same way cancer takes over a body. It is not new to think about this, but I do.  The hate isn’t in the restaurant this night though. In the restaurant, the patrons and servers are still trying to understand how things like bombs can happen in their city, trying to isolate the type of hate that this cancer was, trying to understand it.

Some things are hard to understand. You can label all different types of cancers (lymphoblastic, Kapoki sarcoma, fibrous histiocytoma, ovarian, oropharyngeal), and you can label all different kinds of hate (misogyny, domestic terrorism, international terrorism, fear, self-righteousness, homophobic, racist, religious, ethnic, sociopathic) but those labels are just labels, they don’t get at the core of the hate, the essential interwoven elements of it.

“Grandpa Barnard has some sort of tumors,” I tell Emily, “and fluid around his lung.”

“It is cancer?” she asks.

“They don’t know yet.”

It isn’t for another ten days that they tell him that it is definitely cancer, and a bad kind. In those ten days, I spew out a blog post about the goodness I saw at the marathon, I talk to librarians, I attend a wedding full of love.  The doctors aren’t sure where the cancer originated. They just know that it is. My uncle who is in his late eighties immediately starts citing statistics about Raydon. My family has never been a family that has cancer. He wants to find a reason. He wants to understand.

But we won’t ever understand exactly what made my dad’s body become cancerous or where that cancer first struck or even where else in his body that it is.

“There is no point in doing scans,” Dr. Snow says on this Thursday. “The only point is that we have to keep him comfortable, manage his pain.”

And this is where cancer and violence part ways. Because as a society we always have to do the scans, always have to figure out where the hate started, what tools it uses to kill others, what elements it needs to thrive. Because as a society, we need to feel safe and we need to be a place where nobody wants to destroy innocent runners or spectators or children. We have to be a place that understands hatred and actively works to try to stop it, to turn it into something good and peaceful.

When my dad finds out about the Boston Marathon he says, “Humans can be so horrible to each other, can’t they Carriekins?”

And I say that they could, but I add, remembering what I had seen at the Marathon, “They can be good too, Dad.”

“Yes, they can.” He sighs. “I would have liked to been a locksmith. I would have liked to have a nice, simple job helping people.”

“You helped people all the time, Dad,” I tell him. “You are a good, sweet man.”

“I wasn’t a great success.”

“Yes, you were. You were a success because you made people laugh,” I tell him. “You were a success because you try so hard every day to be good.”

And it is true. Even at the hospital he is flirting with nurses, complimenting their bright orange pants, asking them how their days are going.

Even when he finds out he has less than a month to live, he asks me, “How was your day?”

That is what good is. That is what gives me hope when cancer tries to infect our country or even our own souls with blame and anger and bigotry. People like my dad give me hope. It is the hobbits of the world, the ones who find the beauty in breakfast or a nurse’s fluorescent pants, who find the love inside a angry person’s heart, who want to save those who hurt them, the ones who find the kindness and joy and laughter inside a hospital room, these are the people who make our world good.  We need more hobbits like my dad. He may have not have been a famous man or a ‘successful’ one, but he was good. He was unrelentingly good and I will miss him.

I do miss him.


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

BLOG BREAK – SORT OF

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mockup-8408a5d6.jpg

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 786d9806-f7ed-494b-83a4-a5c0d4d0ddee.jpg

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5b972961-d571-4514-8b96-9928956614bb.jpg

APPLY NOW!

Star Trek FanFic? Bring it.

These 10 days are all throw-back blogs because my brain is tired from the holidays.

This one is a story I tell a lot of kids when I visit schools. It’s about how writing isn’t always awesome. But that doesn’t matter.

It’s also about the first thing I ever wrote, which was Star Trek Fan Fiction. Yeah, huh. I know, right?

Here goes:

The first thing I ever wrote was back in fourth grade and it was fan fiction for my much older brother’s birthday (14 years older, actually) . I thought he liked Star Trek because he once got stuck baby sitting me for a whole weekend and it rained the entire time and so he just sort of plopped me down and made me watch Star Trek, the original series, because he didn’t want to actually have to do stuff with me. I don’t blame him. I was totally annoying. I slurred my s’s and had glasses and was kind of pudgy and totally had this self-righteous hero complex and had never watched a single episode of Star Trek before this. I was more of a Doctor Who human.

Anyway, his birthday was coming up and I needed to get him something awesome so he would love me, but I was in fourth grade and had NO INCOME AT ALL, so I thought in this brilliant epiphany moment, “I shall write him a Star Trek story starring a pudgy girl who has glasses and slurs her s’s and has this self-righteous hero complex.”

So, for the next 10 days or so, I brought all these notebooks and my magic markers out to the woods and instead of looking for Big Foot (my usual pastime), I wrote this story for my brother, in long hand. It ended up being about 423 pages of this girl whose name was Cassie Bartlett (my name was Carrie Barnard) who saves the entire universe, but not before Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Sulu, and Spock fall in love with her. Yeah. Even Mr. Spock who is supposed to not have uncontrolled emotions (even though he TOTALLY has uncontrolled emotions for Kirk) falls in love with Cassie Bartlett/Carrie Barnard.

I thought this was pure genius.

You know Spock would totally go for me rocking this vest in the best fourth-grade way possible.

I even had her die in the end saving the entire Star Trek universe. Everyone cries. Even Mr. Spock.

But when I gave my notebooks to my super jock, Varsity-letter-in-three-sports brother, he sort of frowned and tried to sound nice and said, “What is this, Squirt?”

He called me Squirt. This was sort of evil.

And I said, “It’s a Star Trek story! I wrote it for you for your birthday! It’s 423 pages and it stars this girl, Cassie Bartlett and she has to — ”

And he said, “I don’t like Star Trek.”

Then everyone had birthday cake and ice cream. Except me. I had a belly ache and went in my room and cried.

Back then, I didn’t know that not everybody is going to like your story. And I didn’t know that sometimes writing your story is way more fun than publishing it. And I didn’t know fanfiction existed or what it was or that I just wrote it. (According to the online Merriam Webster dictionary, fan fiction is: “stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet —called also fan fic.” Now I know! ).

And I didn’t know that even if your brother watches Star Trek with you all weekend, he may not like the actual show, he just might not want to hunt for Big Foot with you in the backyard for 15-hour stretches at a time in the rain because he is cooler than that.

His reaction didn’t stop me from writing forever though.

I cried.

Okay, I totally cried a lot, but next year in fifth grade I kept winning the Author of the Month contests that we had in Language Arts class. And even later in fourth grade I wrote a lot of really bad poems like: Cassie’s not feeling well today/ Some boy stole her heart away. (For the record, that boy was Jamie Schneiderheinze). And even now, when I get rejected or someone posts a review on Amazon that says Nick in the NEED series is ‘totally not hot,’ (SIDE NOTE: HE TOTALLY IS HOT! DUH), I keep writing.

Why?

I don’t know how to stop really. I don’t know how to not write. I try and I get cranky and feel lost. I try and I act like a vegan at Whole Foods who has only eaten kale all week. You do not want to be near me.

I don’t stop because I am addicted to story, addicted to getting better as a writer, and addicted to making worlds where I can sort of control things, which is so different than my real life that it is kind of silly.

But I think it really comes down to these two things: 

I write because I think it’s really fun

I write because it’s how I understand the world a teeny bit more.

And believe me, I have a really hard time understanding the world. So, if you want to write? Do it. If your teacher or your brother or your spouse or your boss hates it? Whatever. Seriously. Whatever. It’s just not for them, that story.

Do you know who that story is for?

It’s for you.

So, go write it.


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

BLOG BREAK – SORT OF

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mockup-8408a5d6.jpg

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 786d9806-f7ed-494b-83a4-a5c0d4d0ddee.jpg

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5b972961-d571-4514-8b96-9928956614bb.jpg

APPLY NOW!

My Daughter Wants to Quit Sixth Grade

IMG_4934


I found this old Livejournal post from December 2005, from my first month blogging, from when people actually commented on my blog and I actually knew everyone who did. All very weird. It’s a continuation in my 10 days of throw-back posts.

Here it goes.

My daughter wants to quit sixth grade.

Yesterday, as a result of a student rep meeting, the school stopped serving cookies.

Em, my daughter, said at the student rep meeting that it seemed strange to her that the school sells cookies for a quarter and salad for a dollar, when there’s this big “Healthy Eating Campaign.” She said it made it easier for rich kids to eat healthy because the rich kids have more money. Plus, you can get four cookies for the price of one salad, which makes you think it’s a much better deal so everyone who has a dollar buys four cookies.

The principal wrote in the minutes, “Kids question cost of healthy food vs cookies.”

The cook read it, thought, “They want no snack food. I’ll get rid of the cookies.”

The cook did.

Now, there are no more cookies. Now, there is no more ice cream. Not Em’s intention. Nor did she know it was happening. She likes cookies. She loves ice cream. She just doesn’t eat them all the time.

So, yesterday, a mean eighth grader named Sebastian spent all of recess running around demanding to know whose fault it was. Someone said Em mentioned something about cookies at a rep meeting. Sebastian with an ever-growing gang of followers (all eighth-grade boys) found some of Em’s friends and surrounded them.

“Do you know Emily?” they demanded. “Where is she?”

“She’s in Mr. Stackpole’s room, working on an essay.”

The bell rang. Three eighth grade boys sprinted for Mr. Stackpole’s room, where ring leader, Sebastian yelled in Emily’s face, “There are no cookies! There are no cookies! Bitch!”

Em had no idea what he was talking about. Because she is totally tough, she tried to ignore them. They didn’t stop. Her classmates filtered in.

“You took our cookies!” Sebastian screamed. 

Em gave in, looked up at the face of a big eighth-grade boy, who easily outweighs her by a hundred pounds and said in her takes-no-prisoners way, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Yes, Em does say sentences like that with that kind of Liam Nieson composure. I hear them all the time, especially when I ask her if she’s ready to wake up for school.

So, another classmate tells them to leave her alone and the boys leave when the teacher comes. Em is filled in about the cookie thing. All the 7th and 8th graders are angry at her. The sixth graders get it. The principal talks about it at the honors banquets. Emily, really, really, really does not want to go to school again.

“I do not like eighth grade boys,” she tells me this morning. “I really do not like them.”

“That’s okay,” I tell her. 

“Is that what men are like?” she says. She waits because I haven’t answered and then she repeats, “Men?”

I nod. “Not all men. Not all boys. Not all people are like that. Girls are mean too, right?”

“Yeah,” she says and stares out the window, “I guess.”

She doesn’t seem convinced.

And as I’m re-reading this post in the now, I’m sort of wondering how this event helped shape Emily into the awesome person she is today. How awesome?

1. She could be my body guard. She’s taken Krav and she’s a field artillery officer. I am serious.
2. She went to Harvard and has a super-high GPA but she is still nice and not pretentious and won awards for her thesis.
3. She still thinks healthy choices should be as inexpensive as not-so-healthy choices

I am proud of her, so super proud of her. Not because she is strong or smart, but because she has so much integrity and so much will, because she battles it out in crappy situations and doesn’t publicly lose her cool. I am proud of her because she is such a warrior. And because she thinks about things like healthy choices, because even in sixth-grade when someone huge and angry called her a bitch, she didn’t flinch.

She didn’t flinch because she knew that she was awesome.

I want everyone to be like that.

I want to be like that.

But I’m also so proud of her because she didn’t quit sixth grade. She came through it. And as a parent, it’s so hard sometimes to believe that your kids will make it through really tough times. Sometimes they don’t. And all we can do is love them and try to be empathetic and strong for them. And sometimes we don’t do that perfectly. That’s because we’re human. We’re all human. And we all need to love.

We like to think that we can control our kids’ choices, always heal their pain, but we aren’t all-powerful, none of us. We can’t fix so many things and we definitely can’t control outcomes and feelings of other people. And that’s hard to come to terms with. We want to save the world. We want to save our family. We want the power to fix all things and we don’t have that. We can only make our own choices and hope.

All we can do is do our best. Speak our truths. Love our loves. Respect and listen to other experiences and stop judging so much when other people’s experiences and thoughts and loves and life choices aren’t our own.


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

BLOG BREAK – SORT OF

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mockup-8408a5d6.jpg

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is My-Post-copy-6.jpg

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy
Flying

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 786d9806-f7ed-494b-83a4-a5c0d4d0ddee.jpg

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5b972961-d571-4514-8b96-9928956614bb.jpg

APPLY NOW!

Top Signs of Author Sell-Out also known as Desperation

It happens to so many writers we know and love. Holidays. Birthdays. The amount of money in their checking account has decreased exponentially and they suddenly realize that they need to make more money, quickly, somehow.

The situation becomes desperate.

Here are the signs. Know them so you can support your own sweet author family and friends.

  1. You’ve started having all your characters drink Coke while posting on Instagram in every scene in hopes of a sponsorship.

“Mmm, this Coke is yummy,” Chloe said, quenching her thirst and then staring at Brad as the realization sunk in. She quickly took a selfie to capture the moment. “What do you mean, my dad is a koala?”

“He’s a koala, I swear. I saw him drinking a Coke with Principal Johnson,” Brad said, sipping his own Coke. “They were using bananas for straws.”

“Liar!” Chloe threw her Coke at Brad. Precious Coke spilled over the floor. Cola, the dog, quickly lapped it up. Chloe snapped another shot and posted. 

The Book That Sucks

2. You’ve started signing all your picture book query letters to agents, “OBAMA” or “BRENE BROWN” or “MADONNA” or even “THE BEIBS” in the hopes that someone will read it.

Note: This is likely to be more successful if you also dress up like Madonna and send a photo of yourself in that pointy bra thing she used to wear in the 1980s. This works for both men and women.

Hint: Try not to send Audio Files of yourself singing “Material Girl.” Only your mom finds that cute. Really. This is also true for both men and women.

3. You agree to put full page ads for diet pills in your tween novel about girls in cliques who like hair products and spas. Just for the heck of it, you put in hair product advertising spreads on pages 229 and 123-124.

4. You post a mantra on your computer: IT’S NOT SELLING OUT. IT’S JUST  ENSURING FISCAL SUCCESS.

5. You sit at the coffee shope, sobbing, holding a placard that says, “WILL NAME CHARACTERS AFTER YOU FOR MONEY” and another one that reads, “WILL KILL OFF YOUR EX-BOYFRIENDS IN MY BOOK IN A HORRIBLE WAY (Death by dinosaur? Hamster suffocation? Bombing by fireside? Your choice..) FOR A LATTE.”

Be a Part of the Podcast!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

You can also support the podcast monetarily (cough) via this link . Your support helps us justify doing this and also buys dog treats.

Blog Break – Sort Of

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a new podcast next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. So, she’ll be posting random blogs from her past. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy
Flying

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

APPLY NOW!

It’s The Christmas Podcast with Singing About Unicorns and General Panic! What the what?

So, because Christmas is on the same day as the podcast release and we weren’t – cough – super organized, we’re sharing with you our day before Christmas.

What? Are there writing tips?

Nah. Not really.

It’s just us. Randomly taking voice memos as we go about our days and then splicing that stuff together so you can see what it’s like for us on Christmas Eve Day.

Be a Part of the Podcast!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

Blog Break

It’s a big holiday week here and so Carrie is going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a podcast today and next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for Carrie’s brain to recharge and rest. Thank you for understanding!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy
Flying

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

APPLY NOW!

What? You Hate Your Job? Here are Tips on How to Make it Better.

When I was a teenager, my first job was with the League of Conservation Voters and I canvassed neighborhoods asking people to sign petitions and give the organization money.

I was 14.

I sucked. I couldn’t even knock on people’s doors with confidence. And when I asked them for money? I apologized in the middle of the ask. My hand would shake holding the petition.

Let’s just say that I’m not a natural salesperson. Most people donated out of pity. That’s how sad I was.

That job was hell for me. Work wasn’t joyful. Though I believed in the cause, it wasn’t meaningful. All of it was pure stress. Constant stress.

Tangent: I moved on to be the salad girl at Wendy’s for a weekend before I got in a fight with the management over whether the old lettuce should be shoved to the bottom of the bin on the buffet or the new lettuce should.  I ended up being the pretzel girl at the Mall of New Hampshire.

I went from horrible canvasser to argumentative employee to Pretzel Girl.

Pretzel Girl.

People actually started calling me that.

As adults especially, work makes up so much of our lives and our identities. When we hate what we do at work, that hate and stress often leaks over to other things, including our self-esteem and self-image.

For some of us though, work is part of how we want to be, how we want to express ourselves in this world and we love it. We get as excited about going to work as we do about meeting our friends, or getting to pet a dog, or exploring a new book or show.

Is that you? Do you love work? Do you hate work? Do you bounce between those emotional peaks?

Not all of us can quit our jobs like I did when I was 14.

But what we can do is look at the associations we have with work. When I say, “work,” what do you think of? Write the words down if you have a second, or just kind of hold them in your mind.

A lot of people think:

  • Stress.
  • Hell.
  • Necessary.
  • Money.
  • Health Insurance.
  • Adulting

And so on. If those negative words are your associations with work, that’s because you’ve had negative experiences that you associate with work and they’ve become a part of the internalized story of your life, part of you. A lot of those associations start in your childhood.

  • How did you parents talk and think about work?
  • Can you remember your first job?
  • Did you like your first job?
  • Were people proud of their jobs in your family?
  • Did they run away to their jobs?

Last week we talked on the podcast and blog about stakeholders who shape your feelings of success and failure. That’s true about work, too.

Tips on How to Free Yourself of Negative Associations

Be Aware.

That’s the first thing. When you aren’t aware of how your experiences have shaped your associations, those associations become truths to you.

Realize That How You Associate With Work Doesn’t Have to Be Truth.

When you start deconstructing and challenging the truths in your brain, you start to take power over those stories.

Avoid Confirmation Bias.

When you believe really hard in a way of thinking such as “Writing is so hard and to do it one must be miserable,” every little moment becomes twisted into a moment that supports (confirms) that belief. Every rejection. Every time you have to figure out a plot twist. Every millisecond of writer’s block becomes not an opportunity to grow and make your work even better (rejections), an opportunity to use the logical fun puzzling part of your brain (plot twists), or an opportunity to pause and dream and think (writer’s block), but instead part of the construct that your brain has created that writing is miserable and hard.

Challenge Your Story.

When you realize that your negative associations with work are a self-fulfilling prophecy, you can start to change the narrative that you live by. What are the constructs and mental models that you’ve always thought about work? Do you think it is joyous and fulfilling? Do you think it is hard and evil and stressful? Why?

Think About Polarities.

A lot of us think that you can’t have fun and be productive. Are you one of those people? Why do you think that? I’m the president of my local Rotary club this year and all I hear is that it’s a huge investment of time and energy and how hard it must be. It isn’t. It isn’t hard at all. Club members make constant jokes about how glad I’ll be when my year is over because it’s so tough. I tell them over and over that it isn’t hard. It’s easy. But they refuse to believe that narrative. It’s a useful position, a needed position, so therefore it can’t possibly be fun. And it can’t be for them because that’s the narrative they’ve created. According to them, fun and productive can’t be in the same action.

Blog Break

It’s a big holiday week here and so I’m going to be taking a bit of a blog break for the next two weeks. There will be a podcast tomorrow and next Tuesday, but other than that? It’s a little time for my brain to recharge and rest. Thank you for understanding and I hope you found this post helpful!

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

31702754 copy
Flying

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

APPLY NOW!


Oreo Truffle Chocolate Balls Recipe of Awesome from Cooking With a Writer

Print Recipe
Oreo Truffle Chocolate Balls of Awesome
Oreo Truffle Chocolate Balls of Awesome Recipe
Course dessert
Cuisine american
Keyword oreo
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
allegedly
Ingredients
Course dessert
Cuisine american
Keyword oreo
Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
allegedly
Ingredients
Oreo Truffle Chocolate Balls of Awesome Recipe
Instructions
  1. Take most of the cookies except maybe 9 cookies. DO NOT EAT THE 9 COOKIES! You are not Cookie Monster. You are a person. You have will power, don't you?
  2. Go to the store and buy another pack of cookies because obviously you are more Cookie Monster than human and Oreos are irresistible.
  3. Okay. Let's get started for real. Crush 9 cookies in a blender or food processor or a sealed bag and smack with a rolling pin Set them aside for future fanciness. The crushed cookies. Not the rolling pin.
  4. Crush the rest of the cookies. NOT IN YOUR MOUTH! DO NOT PUT THEM IN YOUR MOUTH! HAVE CONTROL, I BEG OF YOU! Writers need will power. They should be fine crumbs, excellent crumbs, actually.... fine, excellent, tasty crumbs.
  5. Put the crumbs in a bowl NOT YOUR MOUTH! Add cream cheese. Mix until it is super blended. Make into 42 1-inch-diameter balls. Do not giggle about the word balls because that's not the kind of writer you are, is it? Wonder how such a nice word like 'balls' can turn so naughty. Think about how we ruin good words. Be sad. Eat a ball.
  6. Chill the balls in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or 30. Find this amusing. Think that "Chill your balls" should be somebody's wrestling catchphrase or something. Realize the sugar from the Oreos has made you punchy. Delight in your punchiness and dance around singing, "Chill your balls" for that 20 minutes.
  7. Melt the chocolate. You can do this on the stove (in a pot) and stirring it slowly. Do not burn it. You can do it in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Don't burn it there. Make it smooth and delicious looking.
  8. Take your balls out of your fridge. Oh man.... I can't publish this, can I? Okay. Take the cold balls and roll them in chocolate so they are covered in it. Use two spoons. Put them on wax paper and store them in the fridge. Maybe lock the fridge.

So, this is adapted from Bakers recipe on that all recipes site and I’ve legit been making them for 10 years, only around the holidays because they are so super addictive. In the quest to convince the Man in the House that meat is not necessary, this is a good food.

Man Verdict: Mruummm Mrummmm. Munch. Sigh.

Dogs’ Verdict: Stop making food with chocolate! Give us bacon and chicken liver. 

My Verdict: I am not into sweets. I am into these. 

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

31702754 copy
Flying

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

APPLY NOW!


What? Your Childhood Wasn’t Awesome? Welcome to the World of Writers

A lot of us writers had childhoods that were less than the spectacular childhoods written about with nostalgia like The Christmas Story. And you know, what? That’s okay. If your childhood was hellish, I’m so sorry for you and I hope that you’re okay and recovering now. If your childhood had angst and worries and hormones and mistakes? Well…

Welcome to the world of humans. 

And welcome to the world of writers. 

As writers, we often get to mine the experiences of our childhood to make better, more emotionally resonating, stories. But also as writers, the fear of failure – of not being good enough to write – also often stems from this same time in our lives.

Do you have a Fear of Taking Chances, of Stigma, of Failure?

Look back on your youth.

As kids we had a lot of things happen. Memories were made. Some of them are amazing. Some? Some are horrifying. A good way of going deeper in your writing and to address your fear of failure is too kindly delve into those times. 

TIPS ON How to Think Back On Your first failures and Use them 

  • Think back about being a kid. Do you remember failing?
  • Think of a time where you knew you messed up somehow, when you understood that you failed.
  • Write down your thoughts about that.  Now, look at the next set of questions and write about those, too.
  • Who was there when you failed? 
  • How did they respond to your failure? 
  • Did their response become internalized? Did they judge you? Did you internalize that? 
  • Did their response become more important than your own response? 

What you just wrote down, what you remembered, is part of your personal associations with failure from just that one memory. When we’re aware of these associations it helps empower us to make choices that are stronger, deeper, and more reflective of our true wants and dreams. 

Often, our associations with failure is a big part of what holds us back from our successes. 

For me, the act of writing holds a lot of positive feedback and feels like success. That’s partly because of the early childhood associations that I have with it.  I was put into the gifted program at school because of a second-grade haiku. People thought I was cool in fifth grade because I kept winning the Author of the Month contest with a funny story about a girl in the Army who falls in love with a dog named Abba. A high school teacher told me I was a ‘keeper’ because of my writing and that I’d be a bestseller someday.

All those people gave me really positive associations with writing. They helped shape me into being someone who believed I could do this, that I was meant to write. 

But when I look back on childhood, there are two other moments when I can see that other people’s judgements really held me back from what I love doing. 

One, I’ve talked about before, and that’s my mom declaring that “Nobody in this family has an artistic bone in their body” after watching me draw Sunday after Sunday, hour after hour.

Disclaimer: My mom was actually awesome. She just doesn’t sound awesome here. 

I never pursued art because I was positive that I was genetically incapable of it. Now, one of the hardest things I make myself do is share on my Facebook  timeline paintings that I’ve made. I’ve been doing it every Friday.  It’s so hard, but I know it’s necessary for me to face that stigma and fear and just be. 

Another thing that happened to me as a kid was I loved singing. My grandpa was a professional jazz drummer and people in my family love music. I think I was in fourth or sixth grade and I tried out for something at school. We had to sing “America the Beautiful” and I just got back from being out for two weeks with bronchitis. I was terrible. So terrible! Seriously. It was so bad.

I had no breath control. I was hoarse. I coughed. No… I hacked up a lung in the middle. The music teacher made me stop.

I’ll always remember the music teacher’s cringing face and all the other kids’ looks – pity, anguish, horror. And though I ended up singing in a professional troupe eventually, I’m horrified still at the thought of auditioning or singing in front of other people. So horrified. I love singing as much as I love writing, taking photos, painting and hugging dogs, but I don’t even like singing “Happy Birthday” at Rotary meetings. So obviously,  I still need to work on that bad boy.

But the thing is…. It isn’t that fear of my failures in the past that’s keeping me down. That’s already happened. It’s my fears of failing in the future – of the looks, the stigma, the gossip behind my back. 

And that’s ridiculous. Because I can’t do anything without potentially failing. There is a chance of failure in every big thing we do, new thing we try.

The thought of potentially failing can cause us to freeze, to ignore our dreams and our loves. That’s not cool. We have to fight it. 

So, look back in your own life. See what happened. See how you internalized that. And if you’re a writer? Use those memories and emotions for your characters, let them come out in your story. When your characters suffer failures or stigma or setbacks, remember your own and use that to make fuller, richer characters who leap off the page. 

WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

MOE BERG 

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

31702754 copy
Flying

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

WRITING COACH

I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

WRITING BARN

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn!

Are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here

APPLY NOW!