He Built a Guitar Out of His Uncle’s Skeleton And Over-explaining Makes Bad Writing

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
He Built a Guitar Out of His Uncle's Skeleton And Over-explaining Makes Bad Writing
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Authors, let’s just admit it. We’re insecure.

Writing is communication and we want to make sure that our readers are getting what we’re putting down (Translation: Understanding what we’re saying).

So, what do we do?

We over-explain.

And that over-explaining slows down our pacing and makes our reader not want to read anymore.

There are lots of bigger ways of overexplaining.

And what is overexplaining? It’s when you just keep adding things on to make your reader get what you’re saying.

Like this:

Shaun punched the wall. He was so angry he could spit. His hands clenched into tight fists. “What kind of butthead are you?” he roared.

So, all four of those sentences tell us the same thing.

Shaun is angry.

You can cut down that to one or two and the reader is still going to get it. Trust the reader’s brains. Trust yourself.

Here’s a rewrite.

Shaun punched the wall. “What kind of butthead are you?”

But it’s not just in long passages that us writer people do this. We do it in short bits too.

Here are some big ones.

            She shrugged her shoulders. (She shrugged)

            He nodded his head in agreement. (He nodded) or (He agreed)

            They shook their head no. (They shook their head)

            He looked at his watch to check the time. (He checked the time)

Other things we do is

            Tell something that we just showed. (Shaun punched the wall. He was so angry.)

            Add in a dialogue tag that we don’t need, (the she said/they asked) when we don’t need it.

            Add in silly adverbs that we don’t need.

            Add in a bunch of statements all saying the same thing. (See that original example).

Acting like the reader is stupid. (Of course we know the person is nodding their head. We don’t think they are nodding their butt.)

            Info dumps

When you do this over-explaining thing you:

  1.  Slow down the pace
  2. Ruin the subtext.
  3. Break my heart.
  4. Make the scenes dull. Over-explaining takes out the pizzazz.
  5. It takes away the immediacy and the forward motion of the plot and scene.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Be all one and done, people. Trust the reader to get it. Trust your skills to communicate well.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE.

If you want a treat, sit in front of the pantry and drool on the floor.

LINKS WE TALK ABOUT IN THE PODCAST

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article254523322.html

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article254523322.html

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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Toxic People at the Grocery Store

This post is about choices.

I just walked to the grocery store to get three things.

And all the lines were incredibly long, which was not the grocery store’s fault. It’s a small place and we have a ton of tourists.

In happy news, the line moved quickly and I was almost out of the aisle 12 with all the toilet paper and about to get one of the self-check-out machines when I turned to say something to the man behind me apologizing for my false starts. I kept thinking one of the men at a kiosk was leaving when he wasn’t.

The very tall man behind me in his polo shirt looked all the way down at me, didn’t respond to what I said and instead questioned, “You haven’t been here. Did you step in front of me?”

“Of course not. I’ve been standing in front of you all the way down that aisle.”

I’m pretty sure I smiled and even said, “I’ve been here.”

He looked down his nose even harder, saw my mere three items in my arms and said, “I’ll let you go.”

He’ll let me go?

How absolutely lovely of him.

I’m a conflict-averse person except for when I’m defending other people (and then I’m all in) and so I deflected and tried to joke because that is how the people in my family deal with conflict and I said, “I’m kind of short, but I was here. Maybe you just didn’t see me.”

He harrumphed. This man exuded that stereotypical wealthy white man vibe. I would cast him as an older investment broker who plays golf and tennis a lot, but doesn’t make quite enough money as he should be making. In a Law and Order-style show, he’d die early on and people would shrug.

I get to my kiosk. His wife joins him and he is now at the kiosk right next to me. She’d been off collecting items while he held their place in line. She bumps me while at the kiosk and apologizes.

I say nicely, “Oh, that’s okay. I’m invisible today.”

Because apparently I am?

But then, as I’m leaving the store, another local woman recognizes me and says, “Carrie. I saw that man. I had your back. I was about to say something. But I had your back.”

And that makes it all better. She has my back. I didn’t even know she was there, but she had it. How cool is that?

Even when some people demean us, make us invisible, accuse us of things that we haven’t done, if we’re lucky there can be someone who sees us, who is ready to jump in.

While we are talking, the man and his wife leave the store, turning a sharp left into the parking lot. He lifts his arm super high in the air and gives me the finger.

Me? I laugh. Because it must be amazing to be so clueless, so full of yourself, and so unable to see the people standing right in front of you for a good seven minutes.

And I laughed because this man’s anger means that I get to bond with another woman who probably feels invisible sometimes even though she’s so amazing and kind and talented.

I laughed because people like him are truly missing out. He could have spent time laughing with me in that line. But instead? Instead he chose to be angry. To wrongly feel slighted.

We all can choose to go out into this world looking for enemies, but life is SO much happier when we go out looking for friends.

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is here!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know! I might send you something!

It Isn’t Too Late to Be There For Your Kids Our Most Personal Be Brave Friday Ever

So all of us need to reach up, reach out, be responsible. Inaction is often just as horrible as bad actions, but we can always climb our way out of the hole we’ve dug by making those good choices, those kind choices (even when they are so damn hard).

Carrie Jones Books
Carrie Jones Books
It Isn't Too Late to Be There For Your Kids Our Most Personal Be Brave Friday Ever
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It’s Be Brave Friday where Shaun or I (from Dogs are Smarter than People and Loving the Strange and just being an author in Maine) share people’s stories, but this week, I’m sharing ours. It’s the first time I’ve talked publicly about this and it’s kind of hard.

Trigger Warning for parent issues (not us).

We have an adorable kid who has autism and ODD and ADD. And here’s the thing. They are funny and creative and have big emotions about their world.

That isn’t the easiest thing to handle for some people.

And we get judged about them all the time. Their ADD manifests in wanting to do a project all night long when they’re really into it. Their ODD manifests in not dealing well when we tell them they need some sleep. Their psychiatrist has said on multiple occasions, “This is not the bridge worth dying on.”

They’re right.

But people don’t get that.

And they judge. A lot.

And whatever. I’m fine with that because though I’m self-deprecating to the point that I tend to drive other feminists crazy, I’m confident that I’m a parent who is full of love and appreciation for her kids. The judging doesn’t matter because what matters is the human who is growing and learning and becoming.

That’s not what this post is about though. This post is about our kid’s other mother. The one who gave up on them two years ago. The one who has to get texts from the kid in order to even think to visit with them. The one who is trained as a teacher but didn’t even send a text to their own child to ask them how their first day of school in a new school system went. And two weeks later, still hasn’t.

This post is about anger, honestly, because I am so angry on behalf of our kid. And I not usually brave enough to talk about this or my anger. I’m a pretty conflict averse human except when it’s about things that hurt others.

But this post is also about hope. We all have moments every single day to do the right thing. To reverse the path that we’re on and actually be responsible and good, to reach out with kindness and with love.

That’s hard sometimes when you’ve sucked for two years. But it’s going to be a lot harder after you’ve sucked for twenty.

So all of us need to reach up, reach out, be responsible. Inaction is often just as horrible as bad actions, but we can always climb our way out of the hole we’ve dug by making those good choices, those kind choices (even when they are so damn hard).

We can all do this. Every single one of us. In order to make our families, our communities, our nation and our world better? We have to.  

Here’s the video where I don’t stick entirely on script because I suck at that, honestly.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

I Wish I Could Explain To My Kid . . .

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

Do you remember being in middle school?

I do. I remember many variations of middle school because I went to at least three of them in different cities in Florida. The demographics of each one were vastly different and I am quite positive that my middle school experiences played a large role shaping me into the person I am today.

But, overall, all twelve years of my public school experience were not a huge deal for me. I would rather have been doing something other than attending school of course, but wouldn’t most of us?

Carrie: Cough. No. Learning is fun!

So, with that tiny bit of backstory in hand, I pose to you this question.

Which did (or do) you hate more?

Having to get up for school when you were actually the one attending or having to get up for school because you are a responsible parent and you have to get your child prepared for the day and then to school?

I know that question makes me sound like a horrible, selfish and unloving parent, but that is just not true.

It is really the fact that now that I am an adult, some things are so much harder!

I mean, it sucks having to get up and attend school when you are a kid.

It sucks having to get up and attend class when you are a young adult and going to college.

And it really sucks to have to get up and go get an education when you are well into adulthood, already have a college degree (probably a job and possibly kids) and just want a better degree because you actually care enough to try and make your life better.

Why then do we do it?

We do it because we want to live the best life possible and we want our kids to have an even better life than us in the end.

I wish I could explain all of this to my kid. I wish they would accept the fact that while adults don’t necessarily know everything, we damn sure know more about most things in life!

I wish I could explain to my kid that yes, in fact, you are growing up in a totally different world than I did, but that damn sure doesn’t make your fairly cushy life any harder than mine when I was your age!

I wish I could explain to my kid that yes, I do love you and care about you and I damn sure know what’s better for you than the people online!

Some day people! Some day they will appreciate us and most of what we have done for them. That is what we can hope at least. But if they don’t? Well, if they don’t, we were successful because they are better people or have better lives because we did our jobs as loving parents then so be it. We are all still winners!

So, take this convoluted blogpost to be nothing more than a reminder that you are doing a good job. You, parent, are doing what is right and all of your sacrifices, hard work, and lack of sleep is the job you took on when you decided to procreate and you are doing one hell of a good job!

Pat yourself on the back and have some “me” time when that little hellion is sleeping. You deserve it!

Remember, it is easier when You Love Your Way Through It!

Peace,

Shaun


NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

Publishing a Book a Month is Fun, I Swear

Earlier this year, I decided to do this big experiment where I independently publish one book a month for the rest of the year and everyone thought:

  1. I was depressed or something.
  2. I was going to kill my career in traditional publishing.
  3. I was going to burn out doing that on top of podcasting, editing, coaching, and just humaning.

This is going to sound weird, but it’s really hard to only publish one book a month.

Why is that?

It’s kind of addictive being in charge of your own work and having deadlines and getting it out there.

This is especially true because I’m really excited about these books and I’m especially excited about THE DUDE/JESSICA GOODFEATHER SERIES and the BAR HARBOR ROSE series and I’m working on the third and fourth books in each of those right now. And it’s so fun! And scary. And it’s getting sexier.

I also have a couple of ideas for a crime procedural and a romance brewing, but those are big steps for me. So, I’m focusing on these book babies right this second.

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.

So What Is My Point?

My point is that it can be fun to take risks and do what you want to when it comes to creating. And it’s okay to do that. Once you start worrying about what people might think or that they might judge you, you start holding yourself back. Don’t hold yourselves back, okay? You’ve got this.

THE UPCOMING BOOKS

September – INCH WORMS! Second in the DUDE SERIES!

October – THE TREASURES WE HIDEThird in the Bar Harbor Rose Series.

November – ALMOST DEAD, an adult paranormal set in a Maine campground. It’s so much fun. So quirky.

December – When You Bring Them Back, YA paranormal – This title might change. 🙂

January The People Who Leave. Third in the Dude Series!

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.

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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 263,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

One of our newest LOVING THE STRANGE podcasts is about the strange and adorably weird things people say?

And one of our newest DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE episode is about fear setting and how being swallowed by a whale is bad ass.


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

You can order now! It’s an adult mystery/thriller that takes place in Bar Harbor, Maine. Read an excerpt here!

best thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Let’s Not Flash Each Other

Flashbacks happen in a novel when your character remembers or relives something that happened in their past.

Flashbacks get a super bad rap in the world of editors and publishing, but sometimes you need them. WARNING: Even when you need them, you don’t want to stay in them too long.

So why would you ever need that dastardly flashback?

It helps the plot move forward.

I know right? How can something that has the word ‘back’ in it, move the plot forward? It can if . . .

The remembering of the past event (flashback) moves the plot forward. The remembering of that flashback needs to trigger the character to act or change their way of thinking.

And the other thing?

It can’t be boring.

That backstory that they are remembering, that flashback needs to be sexy enough for us readers to enjoy being there with the character.


When you have a character flashback to past events, you’re pressing a giant pause button on the forward narrative flow of the story. So the rewards of that need to be HUGE.

What makes a huge reward?

A plot revelation or

A massive energizing moment for character development.

Flashbacks have to:

  1. Give the reader some new juicy bits about the character and/or situation.
  2. Not take away from the current main focus of the plot.
  3. Not ruin the subtext of the story.
  4. Not be right in the beginning of the story.

Let’s talk about point #4 for a second: Your reader has to care enough about the character and relate to them for a bit, become acquainted before they want to hear about their backstory. Treat them right before you throw them into your character’s sundry past.

And now let’s spend a hot second with point #3 because that tends to be the harder one to get because it’s about subtext, that confusing beast. It’s like a unlabeled vegetable (not a carrot) in the produce department and you think it’s a cabbage, but it’s really kohlrabi.

The subtext of a story is according to good ole MasterClass:

“Subtext is the implicit meaning of a text—the underlying message that is not explicitly stated or shown. Subtext gives the reader information about characters, plot, and the story’s context as a whole. Using subtext is a great way to communicate underlying emotion that a character doesn’t directly voice.”

There are all different kinds of it, too.

But for our purposes here, the character’s background is something you the writer should know, and you want to make sure that there is still subtext in that flashback that is sexy and interesting and so sexy and interesting that it doesn’t matter that this flashback is old news. That’s a whole lot of sexy.

And you want to be a sexy writer, right? So use those flashbacks wise and sparingly.

NEW BOOK ALERT!

INCHWORMS, the second book in the DUDE GOODFEATHER series is coming out September 1!

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.

You can buy it here!


NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Breaking Down

The tourists will start to leave our town any day now. Our daughter will go back to Harvard for graduate school. Our other child will probably get kicked out of eighth grade at least twice as they readjust. My husband woke this Saturday morning, sad, tears in his eyes.

“I can’t talk about it,” he said, dutifully putting dog food into bowls. “If I talk about it, I’ll break down.”

“There’s nothing wrong with breaking down,” I said. “Sometimes you need to break down to build back up.”

He kept feeding the dogs, moved on to making tea. The tears collected there. They didn’t fall. He wouldn’t let me help him with the chores and he wouldn’t talk about what was created such huge sadness.

There’s nothing wrong with breaking down.

New moments will begin any day now. October will come and leaves will fall, routines will become. Last year October didn’t even feel real—No big Halloween, no in-person school, but there were certain less worries, too. We didn’t have to worry about anyone getting triggered or kicked out of school because there was Zoom.

Any day now can become a mantra in our lives sometimes.

COVID will be over any day now.

Things will get back to normal any day now.

We’ll make progress any day now.

We’ll get a break any day now.

I’m not supposed to write or even Facebook post about our other child because their mother gets too upset and can’t handle it. I’m not sure why. During COVID she barely called or texted. Even now, our kid has to text her to get to visit. One visit maybe every two weeks and only if asked. It’s not a lot. And there’s a sadness that comes from her choices.

There’s nothing wrong with breaking down. There’s nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed sometimes and scared for your kid especially when your kid doesn’t fit in to society’s norms. But my husband refuses to break down.

Here’s the thing. Breaking down doesn’t mean you aren’t strong. October comes. January comes. But so does May and July. Our lives and worries ebb and flow and we can’t always be strong. Breaking down is part of evolving and rebuilding yourself and your life into something bigger and better.

Any day now if you just keep working towards it every day.

Peter Korn wrote in Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman. “I was becoming aware that a good life was not some Shangri-La waiting to be stumbled upon. One constructed it from the materials at hand.”

In order to build something powerful, you have to know where the pressures points are in the structure. Defining those, locating them? That’s not weakness. That’s what gives you the strength to sturdy up the frame, to put in brackets to handle those pressure points. Novelists know that they have to go through their stories with a critical eye looking for places that need to be shored up, revised, layered, or taken away. Carpenters, engineers, they do that as well.

That’s what we have to do with our lives too, build them step by step, moment by moment, hope by hope.

“It’s okay to cry,” I told him.

“But what if I can’t stop?”

“You will. We always do.”

He finally told me that he was worried about the about-to-enter-eight-grade child. Would they be okay? Would they get kicked out? Triggered? Would their anxiety overwhelm them and then they’d overwhelm their teachers and peers.

Probably. And then we’d deal with it and move on, move them on, work on things over and over again. And that’s okay.

There’s nothing wrong with breaking down especially when it’s because of love. It’s strong. It’s being strong enough to realize how much you love and feel and hope and worry. There’s nothing wrong with breaking down because it means how beautiful you really are.

NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

The Death of Shaun’s Computer

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

best podcast ever

Ugh, so last Friday I was preparing to begin our live podcast, Loving The Strange, when Carrie realized that my laptop’s camera had stopped working. It was very close to the time when we were supposed to go live, so I brought my computer and sat next to Carrie and we shared her computer for the podcast.

I had brought my computer along with me because I was using it my research, in the form of internet sites, on it. So, here we are, happily doing our podcast, when I look down to reference my computer and realize that I now have the dreaded “white (grey) screen of death!”

I said something; it wasn’t the “Holy F***!” that I wanted to say to Carrie and showed her my dead computer screen.

We managed to get through the podcast and after we were done, Carrie was able to get my computer into some mode that neither of us was comfortable exploring.

I shut the cover and mentally sprinkled some dirt on my computer while praying that the computer gurus at the local repair shop we use could at least salvage most of my data. The following Monday I took it in and dropped it off. The receptionist said that they were extra busy lately and it would probably be two or three days before I heard back from them.

It was three days and on Thursday, today actually, she called and said that my computer had actually started up fine for the technician and that I could come and get it. Boy, was I excited! Not so much that my computer was working, but that I would have the opportunity to salvage the majority of my important data from it. Because, you know, unless you absolutely cannot afford it, you should always buy a new computer once you start experiencing major failures on your current one. And I was definitely planning on buying a new one!

So, I went and picked up my computer, paid a very minimal charge and was super happy…until I got home.

I plugged my computer in, opened it up, and pushed the power button. It started up and immediately went to the white (grey) screen of death once more!

Hmmmmm, sometimes things just don’t work out as good as you are expecting! Damn it!

So, now the shop is closed, tomorrow is Friday and I will undoubtedly be taking it back where it will sit for the weekend. I am quite positive that I will be ordering a new computer over the weekend and simply hoping that they can get my old one running again long enough to salvage my important stuff.

That’s the way life is though, sometimes things just don’t end up like you think they would.

However, you just read this blogpost! Sorry if it was boring and totally inconsequential to your life, but you read it. That means that you are alive! That you have the time to be reading boring blogposts by some random dude! That you, like me, may have tons of stuff to bitch about. But why?

But why? Why whine about the little things in life? Why not realize how lucky and/or blessed you are? Why not remember that you are not in a garbage dump picking through other people’s trash to survive?

You, my friend, have a lot to celebrate, even if it seems small and trivial.

Be happy!

Make the very best of your life every day and enjoy whatever it may be that you have!

Peace!

And remember to Love Your Way Through It!

Shaun

NEW BOOK ALERT!

I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.

Here’s what it’s about:

A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.

A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.

And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.


What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

What is Bigfoot? Bigfoot theories – sexy humanoid, demon, alien pet?

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
What is Bigfoot? Bigfoot theories - sexy humanoid, demon, alien pet?
/

This week on the podcast, we discuss the theories of Bigfoot

Is Bigfoot real or not?

That’s the first question.

A Smithsonian Magazine article says,

“1958 footprints transformed the myth into a media sensation. The tracks were planted near Bluff Creek in Northern California by a man named Ray Wallace—but his prank was not revealed until his death in 2002, when his children said it had all been “just a joke.””

“Giant footprints puzzle residents,” a headline in the Humboldt Times announced in 1958 and since then, there’s been a growing cultural obsession with the possibility of a large bipedal furry creature roaming around.

When the famous Patterson-Gimlin tapes happened in the late 1960s, people became even more excited especially since it was filmed in the same area as the alleged Wallace hoax.

For some cryptozoologists, the problem is that there are so many hoaxes that even believers like Maine’s Loren Coleman, founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland say, “Technology has ruined the old cryptozoology.”

Ben Crair writes for the Smithsonian,

“Some people see these cryptohominids as symbols of pure freedom, living by instinct and foiling every effort to pin them down. To search for Bigfoot in the forest is to taste that freedom. On the trail, you become extra-attuned to nature: the smell of scat, the sounds of breaking branches, the curious impressions in the dirt. As long as there are wild places in America, Bigfoot remains a possibility that, to its most ardent proponents, cannot be disproved.”

And that might be true, but the feelings/thoughts behind Bigfoot are changing in the United States and Canada and much of that change is coming from a YouTube channel howtohunt, where the host, a backwoods hunter and guide, shares emails from listeners who have seen/heard/believe in Bigfoot.

A lot of those stories are about Bigfoot being nefarious. He’s not some chill guy that you want to hang out with in Harry and the Hendersons or a slightly annoyed and bullied sasquatch in Jack Link’s commercials. Instead, Bigfoot is potentially part of a much bigger conspiracy that might involve nuclear scientists and aliens, not someone to cuddle.

That juxtaposition isn’t new.

In a Popular Mechanics article, Matt Blitz writes,

“In California, there are century-old pictographs drawn by the Yokuts that appear to show a family of giant creatures with long, shaggy hair. Called “Mayak datat” by the tribe, the image bears a resemblance to the commonly held vision of Bigfoot.

“Some tribes really love Bigfoot, they have a great relationship with him,” says Kathy Moskowitz Strain, author of the book Giants, Cannibals & Monsters: Bigfoot in Native Culture and archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service. “To other tribes though, like the Miwoks, he’s an absolute ogre, a monster, and something best left alone.”

So even the most elementary questions—Is Bigfoot real or not? Is Bigfoot good or not?—are inconclusive.

But for Shaun, as we discussed on the podcast, there are three main thoughts.

Bigfoot is a hominid—an ancient branch of the tree, related to us, but not us.

Bigfoot is an alien or an alien pet—people link Bigfoot to UFOs, orbs, and portals.

Bigfoot is a spiritual creature—not of this dimension or beyond it. Some think he/she/they are a minion of the devil.

What do you think?

RESOURCES WE USED IN THIS PODCAST

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/why-so-many-people-still-believe-in-bigfoot-180970045/

https://www.popularmechanics.com/adventure/outdoors/a23622082/bigfoot-history/

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/48870/11-crazy-bigfoot-conspiracy-theories

https://www.hcn.org/articles/essays-even-if-bigfoot-isnt-real-we-still-need-him

https://crosscut.com/opinion/2021/06/ufos-and-bigfoot-two-local-enigmas-get-another-moment-sun

https://wakingbear.org/is-bigfoot-an-alien-2/

https://www.masslive.com/news/worcester/2015/10/is_bigfoot_an_extraterrestrial.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisibility

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo

https://www.foxnews.com/science/bigfoot-is-part-human-dna-study-claims

New Book Alert – SAINT – A YA paranormal

I have a new book! It’s about to come out!

Big breaths.

If you don’t remember, I’m doing this BIG EXPERIMENT where I’m independently publishing a book every month even though

I’m terrible at pushing my own books and getting people to buy them.

Yeah. That’s basically it. But I coach and edit so many writers who choose independent publishing over traditional publishing and I wanted to do a big year-long experiment and immerse myself in that world so I could learn about it, too.

But the problem is:

I still want people to buy those books because I really really love them.

Which leads me to the problem of:

I hate marketing my own books. It just makes me feel dirty somehow. Yes. I should probably go to therapy for this, but I can’t afford therapy thanks to American healthcare. 🙂

So, here goes:

My book coming out is SAINT. It’s super fun. It’s part of a series of stand-alone paranormals all set in the same world/same town in Maine. And I’m SO in love with the lead character Cole and his bestie, Norah. And also there are Bridge to Terabithia references. It’s such a book of my heart.

Think – Guy who levitates and is followed by birds.

Think – Guy who has a crush on his best friend and a skeleton knocking on his window.

Think -An evil curse on a town and a demon demanding guy’s best friend be sacrificed.

There you go!

Look! That’s me with Tobin and Tammy and Kekla and Katharine Paterson! Cool, right? Yes, I’m in Tobin’s armpit.

Okay. Here’s more about the book!

What would you do to make a difference?

After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.

Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.

Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED seriesSaint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.

BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.

The cover. Creepy, right?

You can read an excerpt right here.

And please buy it if you’re feeling like helping a writer pay for therapy some day. Or if you just like fun books. I’m a pretty good writer, I promise. 🙂

So many thanks for my awesome patrons who help support me write new books. I wouldn’t be able to do any of it (emotionally especially) without you cheering me on.

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