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).

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
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?

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


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 261,000 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?

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


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 261,000 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.

Elusive or Scared? When a Bird Lands on Your Shoulder.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Elusive or Scared? When a Bird Lands on Your Shoulder.
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Our house is styled a bit like a farmhouse even though it’s in the middle of Bar Harbor, across the street from the YMCA’s back, dirt, and (until recently) unused parking lot, secure behind a row of tall ,cedar bushes that hide our porch, our windows, our selves.

There is a deep urge in me sometimes to just hermit myself and just do the work, to write, to cook, to paint, to help others make stories, and I’ll occasionally freeze in terror when someone knocks on the door or calls on the phone, or whenever anyone shocks me out of the realization that I am not alone. 

“You are a bit elusive,” one of my friends told me when we were walking through town together, past the storefronts full of t-shirts and mugs, the ice cream shops and restaurants, the big mailbox full of free masks.

I said, “Oh. I don’t mean to be elusive. I’m just scared.”

The day was scented with salty ocean air and all the houses and stores that we passed had lights on and the hum of music and videos and laughter.

“Scared of what?” she asked.

I didn’t know.

But I did know that I didn’t want to be controlled by those fears, that I wanted to sit out on the front porch and talk to people as they passed by rather than hunkering in my backyard.

In our backyard, we have a couple of bird feeders that Shaun (my husband) put up and is in charge of. My parents divorced when I was three or so, and my mom was horribly afraid of birds—all birds, even cartoon birds. So, we never had bird feeders. And the crows cawing in the trees, the jays making the feeders rock with their weight, the graceful hovering of hummingbirds, and the tiny steps of finches thrill me like they are magic, forbidden magic.  

My mother would not be able to go in our backyard.

All my life, I’ve wanted to have a bird land on my hand. I’m not sure where that urge came from. A passing romanticism? A proof that my soul was good enough for a bird to trust? A way to convince myself that I was linked to something bigger and more profound than I was?

Sometimes when I go out into our backyard, the birds startle and rush into flight and I coo to them, “No. I’m not a threat. I’m not a threat. I’m just here. . . .  Um, we gave you the food in the bird feeders. Friendsies?”

The pigeons are usually the boldest and they’ll just watch me from the eaves of our house and sometimes they’ll coo back. A tiny trickle of adrenaline will rush through me and I’ll whisper, “Yes.”

Sometimes, I think that the backyard birds are elusive, but they probably just want to be safe like I do. But sometimes in that urge for safety we miss opportunities. We are stuck wondering: What is it to be whole?

It’s so much easier to answer: What is it to be broken?

When I was little, after my stepfather died, I would go out into the woods and flop in the tall ferns, smell the New Hampshire soil above the hard granite and stay absolutely still.

Waiting.

If I was still enough, I hoped, a bird would think I was just part of nature, that my cords were dirt and my K-Mart shirts were flowers or stones. If I was still enough, I was sure, a bird would come and land on me. We’d be—connected.

The world would go on all around me. Squirrels would hop from pine tree to spruce to oak to maple. Chipmunks would scurry along the ground. Birds would alight and gather. Deer would tiptoe by.

And I’d be waiting. Hoping a bird would come along, land in my small, upturned palm and claim me as part of it all—connected.

But I already was. I just didn’t realize it. A deer smelled my hair. A chipmunk scurried across my stomach. A squirrel would drop acorns near my feet. My spine rested against the ferns, the moss, the soil and for hours would feel the rustlings of a world beneath me, rooting. Connected.

Sometimes, my mom would come and find me and yell, “What are you doing out here? You’re going to make yourself sick.” She’d hurry me back home, complaining of the dirt on my legs, the flicks of moss, the ferns that had somehow twined themselves into my hair. “Look at your fingernails, Carrie! What am I going to do with you?”

I’d be ordered into the bath or shower, to clean my nails, wash my hair, and be just myself again.

To be whole is to be afraid, to long for safety, but also to stretch beyond it. To be an artist or a writer or even a person is to remember that we are not just individuals, scared all by ourselves, acting all elusive even when our hearts pine for connections. Mortality is terrifying sometimes. Pain? Not so fun. Fear and rejection and ridicule sucks.

Like the birds often fear us for our predatory natures, we can really fear each other, fear exposure to trolls, to negative-nellies, to grumpy people in restaurants, shops, or even our own Facebook, Twitter or TikTok pages and of bigger villains who do unspeakable things.

When we try to connect, we can be admonished by people who love us and look after us, people like my sweet, fearful mom who worried about the dirt I was collecting, the potential bugs, ants, ticks, predators.

But we’re bigger than those fears. We’re more than our resentments, our pain. We’re more than our flaws and egos. We are part of something huge and connected and divine, connections so massive that it’s hard to comprehend sometimes.

A bird can’t land on our hands unless we show them our palms.

We can’t heal or help or love other people unless they step outside.

This weekend, I went on the hammock in the backyard to read a book for work and less than a minute after I flopped down there, a sparrow alighted on my shoulder. She was barely on me for five seconds and her wings fluttered and beat the whole time.

But she was there.

It’s okay to be elusive sometimes, even fearful sometimes; it can help protect us, but we don’t want our fear to become our prison. We are bigger than that, our whole nature is bigger than that. We just have to reach out our hand and let the bird land in it and settle for and rejoice in a shoulder, and we have to be the bird and not always fly off or hide away, building our nests bigger and bigger until we can’t find the way out.

There is a way out if we want. We have to want it.

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?

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


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 261,000 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.

Naughty Transitions are A Writer’s Best Friend

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Naughty Transitions are A Writer's Best Friend
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There are certain traps us writers fall into.

  • We generalize.
  • We are too abstract.
  • We summarize.
  • We fail at transitions.

And a lot of those negative tendencies can quite easily be fixed when you think about them a bit more and learn to recognize them.

Scenes are a bit like connected shots in a movie. I think everyone from Blake Snyder to Robert Olen Butler has said this, but they’re right.

The scene is the basic element of your story. You want to stay in one point of view. Think of it like the camera lens zooming in.

In film, the shot is similar, right? You stay in one uninterrupted image for a shot. Right? Then you hook those shots together. A lot of filmmakers, like novelists, use transitions. They move us from one place to the other.

Butler defines a scene as “unified actions occurring in a single time or place.” Shots becomes scenes become sequences. There is a beginning, middle, and end to all of these. And then you can have long-shots, close-ups, super close-ups, etc.

What we want to do as writers is to use those tools as well (even in first person). We want the extreme close-up of deep POV, but then also to pull back sometimes and see the world and big-picture setting, and then to see that middle distance scene where the character is interacting.

When I write YA and adult genre, my first drafts are almost all deep POV and I have to go back in and add those wider shots, sensory details, setting.

When I write middle grade, my first drafts are almost all middle shots and long shots, and I have to go back and do those extreme close-ups and close ups and that’s okay.

What you want to do as a writer is to know where you tend to lean. Are you a big-picture, abstract, distancer? Are you she-who-is-only-into-close-ups? He who does no transitions and only black-out cuts?

And you want to layer in those elements that you don’t have for effect.

When you don’t do this, you risk one of two things. If you’re a big picture writer with that long-distance point of view, you risk never showing intimacy or immediacy.

If you’re an extreme close-up writer, you risk never showing the reader that bigger world or big picture and sometimes your story can lack setting so it’s all just talking heads and interior monologue.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up.

And don’t be afraid to mix up those transitions, those movements between scenes. Sometimes they can be big cuts and scene breaks and chapter breaks, but sometimes they can be softer and gentler transitional words like –

A week later (or whenever)

At the same time

Afterwards

For two weeks/days/minutes

Meanwhile

At night

The next day

The next night

For a month, I cried into the phone

In the morning

When the sun rose

When the sun set

The following Monday/night/morning

Months passed

Weeks passed

When we got back to the office

When they got back home

As the neared the date site

Then there are the phrases that show us a change in location:

They boarded the train

Down the street

Up on the third floor of the office

Over by the water cooler

Back in my living room

The motorcycle was situated

She ran fast through the dark alley

In the hall of the hospital

Outside on my front lawn

And so on.

Sometimes though, us writers tell our readers TOO much and it ends up sounding like script or stage directions. Those are things that slow the narrative down and just read a bit awkward or stilted.

It would be a sentence like:

When I arrived at the elevator to go up to the office on the fourth floor, I pushed the button to close the door and rode it to the floor.

Or:

            They drove to the restaurant and waited in line for their table and she hummed a little bit.

Instead you just want the transition to get us there into the juicy part of the scene:

Twenty minutes later, they were sitting at their table, playing footsie under the fancy white linen tablecloth when the giant hedgehog with a man bun stormed through the wooden doors.

Places like the bad examples are not really needed because:

  1. It doesn’t really add to the story.
  2. It doesn’t really add to the character.
  3. It’s unnecessary information.

You really only want things in your story that:

  1. Show your character’s inner state/characterization/choices
  2. Move the plot forward.
  3. Set the reader in the moment

The key here is this: Don’t use the same transition every time. Don’t even use the same transition technique every time.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Mix it up. Good story is about variety. Do long shots. Close-ups. Location transitions, big cuts, fade-outs, scene transitions.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t be boring in life either.

Carrie had the epiphany that she’s tried to fit in with other writers for far too long, clinging to the idea that she can’t be as weird and dorky as she is. No more, my friends. Her witch cackle is coming out.

LINKS WE MENTION IN OUR RANDOM THOUGHTS

Angel shots.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/bartender-explains-what-angel-shot-24605557

Nudist cruise.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/couples-anniversary-dinner-interrupted-nudist-24612029

Weird image on the CCTV.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/mum-calls-priest-bless-home-24611677

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.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link.