You Are More Than The Things That Have Happened To You

So, a long time ago, I was driving the very unhappy cat Lyra to the kitty spa so that she could not be one massive, walking clump of kitty fur, I was listening to the radio and Bob and Sheri, these syndicated talk-show people.

They were talking about what your purpose is in life.

This made Lyra howl even louder, because a ‘life purpose’ talk is pretty heavy stuff for a cat at 7:55 a.m. especially when you’re in a kitty carrier.

Lyra’s Ghost: That is not while I was howling. I was howling because I was in a small, dark place; the radio was on much too loud and existential questions are dull. Your purpose in life was to feed me, that was all.

And Sheri said that her purpose in life is to make people realize that they are more than the things that have happened to them.

You Are More Than The Things That Have Happened To You.

This was way too big a wow moment for me at 7:55 a.m.

This was a big wow moment for two reasons:

1. My old book GIRL, HERO is all about this. It’s all about Liliana defining herself and taking control of who she is instead of having the horrible things that have happened to her define her. Yeah, she figures this out while writing letters to John Wayne, a dead movie star with some major issues of his own, but whatever.

2. I think that making people realize that they are more than the events in their life is really the purpose of all writing even when we (the writers) don’t realize it. 

I mean, isn’t it?

On that ancient tv show Lost, the people stranded on the island realize that they are more than survivors of a plane crash. One by one, they face demons, encounter fate and destiny, make choices that determine who their character is.

Lost Cast: Our purpose is to look sexy while running from smoke monsters and falling out of helicopters and being shot and being locked in cages meant for panda bears and standing fully dressed in water. Isn’t yours? 

Or even on, um…. The Princess Diaries. Do you all remember The Princess Diaries?

Isn’t Mia more than someone who drives a convertible in the rain and gets really wet, and totally messes up the car’s interior and everything? Isn’t she more than someone who stinks at math? Isn’t she more than someone who learns how to shoot an arrow while a really cute boy watches?

Anyway…. Yes. She is. She is more than just the events that happen to her. She is more than the bad things. She is more than the good things. 

I think we all are. Aren’t we?

I hope so, because I’d like to think that I’m not defined just by that one time my skirt fell down when I was getting out of a taxi in New York. Or that time the man in the grocery store parking lot gave me the finger. Or that time…. You get the picture, right?

And when we write stories, we want our characters to be so full and rich that they sing off the page, so we can feel them.

Lyra’s Ghost: Carrie, sometimes I am so embarrassed that you are my human. But I still love you and haunt you from the kitty grave.

Yes, she really does. Haunt me. I’m not sure about the love part. 🙂


The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

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Last week’s podcast about sexiness and consistency! 

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A link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce


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I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

Five Things That Make Me Go “Ick” – My Biggest Book Turnoffs and People Turnoffs

So one day I was driving Em to school and Bob and Sheri, this talk show, was on the radio and the hosts were having callers tell them about what was a huge turn-off. You know, what is it that happens when you are on a date that makes a great big red light flash in your head and you go: WHOA! THIS DUDE/DUDETTE IS NOT FOR ME!

I’ve had a lot of these moments. *Cough. Cough* However, I’ve decided to make a top five list. Yes, I am limiting myself to five.


*Note: All of these have actually happened to me before.

1. A CRIMINALLY Abusive Past

Finding a restraining order under the front seat of his car on your first date when he is out of the car pumping gas.

Actually, my dog found this and I had to take it out of his doggy mouth. Let’s just say protection orders are never good to find under the seat on a first date.

He ended up stalking me for awhile.

2. General Freakyness

He has an apartment with absolutely no pictures on the walls, no knickknacks, no litter, no nothing.

Nothing says serial killer like this. Honestly, I was looking for big, blue tarps and duct tape.

3. MESSY and/or Loud Eating

They possess the inability to get food in their mouth and instead gets it in their hair, my hair, their chin, the table, the floor, etc….

It’s just gross. Plus, it’s a waste of food.

4.Putting on the Passive-Aggressive Compliments.

Telling me I look like a bag lady. Not charming. Even if you add in ‘cute,” as in…. Hey, you look like a bag lady if bag ladies were cute.

To be fair, though, I was wearing a lot of clothes. Seriously. Maine is cold in winter. Sometimes you have to layer. A lot.

5. Being A Horrible Human Being

Telling me that I look like a good breeder because even though I don’t have hips, I’m pale and I have blue eyes? Sorry. Racists and guys who think of women as ‘breeders’ are not a turn on. Ever. Also, you don’t know what is hanging out in my DNA and heritage.

Hint: I’m not as white as I present, but man? Do I present as really white? I truly do. Is that my race? Yes, it is. Unless, you’re a eugenist and then… no.

So what about you? Have you ever been on a date where you were like: Nope. Nuh-uh. Never again.

Five things that make me go "ick" about books and life partners. Things that are super turnoffs

And as I was thinking about this, I realized that there are ways books do this to me, too. Everyone’s turn-offs are different, but here are my current top five.

The love interest is abusive and it’s supposed to be a romance. 

Yeah. No. Enough said.

Everyone is white and straight and rich and able bodied. 

Because… well, I don’t like books that are that kind of creepy.

Really, really bad grammar AND SPELLING.

Stuff like:

‘Your a villain’, he sayid.

‘No freakin’g, way, in a million years” ! she said,

Characters that don’t sound like people.

You know what I mean, right? There’s a super famous, multi-million dollar book that became a movie that’s a first person narrative and I swear the main character sounds like a pretentious 50-year-old man who wears a lot of tweed and only drinks craft scotch while sculling. To be fair, I think I’m the only person who feels this way because all my friends adore this book.

Or the books without contractions and everyone sounds like a computer-generated scam call. I’m totally not into that unless it’s on purpose for a specific character and they get called out on it.


Yeah. No. Again. It’s not something I can handle.


I don’t care about what the character looks like enough to read a paragraph about her looking in the mirror and talking about what she looks like AS IF SHE HAS NEVER SEEN HERSELF BEFORE!

I can about what the character does, thinks, says, feels, but her looks? His looks? Not so much.

Marsie only cares about whether or not people will feed her. And also if they pet her. Not how they look.

How about you? What are you biggest people turn-offs? Your biggest book turn-offs? Teach us all what not to do! And how does this have to do with my Monday Motivation theme? Knowing what we don’t like? It helps us to go after and experience what we love.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be so super grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest. Thank you! I know it’s a super small thing, but it means so much to me. Writing tips and help from NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones


Okay. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but I earned out my picture book biography of Sara Emma Edmonds!!!!

This is such a huge thing for me that I can’t begin to tell you how cool it feels especially since it’s with this picture book. Sara was this cool woman who dressed like a man so she could fight in the U.S. Civil War, but then her superiors asked her to dress like a woman and spy on the other side. So, she was a woman dressed like a man dressed like a woman and taking names the entire time. So amazing. Thank you so much to everyone who bought it!




The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn classthat they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support!is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.


“Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

I swear, I did not pay anyone to say that. I didn’t even ask them to say it. The Writing Barn just told me that the feedback had intensely kind things like that.


These books are out there in the world thanks to Tor.

What books? Well, cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal


Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.