What I’m Working On Right Now – Bit of a Book Excerpt – THE HISTORY OF HATE

I realized that I pretty much never post about bookish things on here, which is very bad in terms of marketing and things like that.

Grover: Cawwie, people will not buy books if they forget you’re a writer, you doofus. You can’t just post dog photos ALL THE TIME.

But before I am a writing coach and editor and even a podcaster, I’m a writer. I’ve been writing my whole life. It may have been poems or magazine pieces about cancer drugs or horses or newspaper articles about sports teams or land use ordinances and columns. It may have been YA or picture books or middle grade or even adult things.

Always. Always, I’ve been a writer. And even if I’m never published again (gasp) that won’t stop.


So, I’m going to remind myself about that a bit, and hopefully remind you, too!

A Baby Novella

I have a short novella coming out on Amazon really soon. I’ll tell you more about that at the end of the week, but for today? Here’s an excerpt of something I’m working on, so we can all remember I’m a writer. 🙂

The History of Hate


Colton

December of his and Anna’s Senior Year

Anna,

I don’t know where you are, or how to reach you, but I’m still writing you these letters. If you ever actually get them, the first thing you’ll probably wonder is why I’m writing you. The thing is, I don’t think I have a choice. I think I have to explain all this to you, whether you want to know or not, whether you want to hear it or not, whether you want to touch this, touch me, have me touch you. Or not.

            I just have to explain and then maybe?

            Maybe? I don’t know.

Love,

Colton


THE BEGINNING

Anna

February, Junior Year

What’s it take to rock an election?  

            It takes a good tagline.

            It takes an asshole opponent, excuse my French.

            It takes a narcissist, a cult leader, a come-to-Jesus moment. It takes that damn feeling of hope or vengeance.

It takes random people like me helping you and believing in you somehow even though we’ve been hurt by so many others we’ve believed in before.

Every four years all the presidential hopefuls come to Manchester, New Hampshire, the former mill-yard city next to my suburban town and they hope for magic to happen, for the New Hampshire hills and frost to lead them down a lucky road to an election win. The journalists and volunteers follow the candidates around, creating a surge in restaurant sales, filling up hotel rooms and parking lots. News vans with their little satellite dishes take up the parking spaces on the downtown streets. Sometimes candidates and even sitting-presidents come speak at my high school. They prance through the mall, shaking hands, while entourages stroll behind them looking like clumps of suits. Our more politically-motivated parents host parties and fundraisers. Cocktails are made. Hands are shaken. Position papers are recycled.

            I always volunteer for some candidate, usually someone that doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning. It’s been like this since kindergarten. I get addicted to helping, to holding signs, sending out campaign mailers, making phone calls to those people who still actually answer their phones.

            Dad says I’m a do-gooder.

            Mom says I have a savior complex.

            I don’t know if either of them are right, really. I just want to make a difference, you know? To believe in something bigger than romance and good grades and getting into college. And it’s exciting to be part of it. This year is no different. I can’t vote yet, which is ridiculous because most of the people I call from the phone bank have no clue about anything other than celebrity gossip, Fox News, let alone read an actual position paper. I meet campaign workers, make friends that I’ll only keep up with on social media and never see again.

            But this year is super different because I meet him. Colton Hardy. And I’m so afraid of losing people, more people, that I don’t know how to actually deal with gaining one, you know? It’s like I’m afraid to make friends or fall in love because it’s just one more person I could possibly lose. I’m tired of grief.

            But I’m standing on the corner of Elm and Maple streets, a totally prime spot because of downtown traffic and the wide safe sidewalks. I’m not holding an actual sign because I’ve put one on my dog Freya, which says Barkin’ for Larkin. She looks adorable. She’s large, white, furry and fluffy and the sign is on both sides of her. Despite her 120 pounds, she’s chill. People laugh, honk and wave. She wags at them and smiles.

            “Brilliant,” says one of the guys standing with me. Art is nerdy and always wears J. Crew mixed with L.L. Bean. He normally goes to NYU but he took the semester off to campaign. “You’re made for this. I can’t believe you’re just a junior.”

            “I don’t know what to say.” I dip my boot in the tiny snowbank at the edge of the sidewalk. The snow’s gone from happy and fluffy whiteness to crusty and gray.

            “Thank you?” he suggests, using his free hand to pull his hat down over his ears. It’s cold out here. The other hand holds a campaign sign.

            “Thank you.”

            “Perfect.” He laughs.

            I think he’s flirting but trying not to flirt because he’s in college and I’m still in high school and that’s a decidedly weird age dynamic, but I’m not into him anyways. I’m way more intrigued by the guy standing on the opposite street corner trying to hawk some posters that he’s obviously made himself. He’s young, too, like me—or at least he isn’t older-guy creepy and he has this weird, tall-confident vibe and a southern drawl that I can occasionally catch while he’s selling his merchandise. He’s so charismatic that people actually buy his posters and hug him afterwards.

            The thing is that this guy also keeps looking at us and when there’s a lull in traffic he strides across the four lanes of Elm Street and right up to me.

            “Hey.” His blue eyes are warm.

            “Hi.”

            “I’m Colton Hardy.” He reaches out a hand to shake. I take it. Ignoring everyone else, he bends down to pet Freya. She wags her tail. “Your dog is beautiful.”

            “Thanks.”

            “I’m selling posters,” he says.  “Obviously.”

            “I’m so sorry, but I don’t have any money.”

            His mouth drops open and he stands up straight again, towering over me. “No! No. I was going to give you one for free, but … I? Well, I don’t think our political beliefs align.”

            His whole body shivers for a second, poor guy. The tops of his ears are bright red. His voice is made of a silk that seems bordered with coffee and the pattern of his sounds are composed of fluid shapes, each containing this promise that seems to inspire trust, but despite all the cliched butterflies in my stomach, I am not a person who trusts because when you look closely at people you notice that they are made of pain and anger and garish wants, like bad TikTok posts that hit you over the head with their need to be seen, to be noticed, to be important.

            “Our political beliefs don’t align? That doesn’t matter. That’s so nice of you. Free. Thank you.” I take the poster which is all about ways liberals and conservatives can come together, making fun of both sides. “You look cold. Do you even have a hat?”

            “I’m from Alabama,” he says like that explains everything, which I guess it does and it doesn’t.

            One of the women I’m with groans. This campaign has not been the best for human rights or America, honestly. One of the leading candidates says sexist, racist things constantly. The South is becoming a hotbed for liberals like me to hate on, which I get because of the confederate flag and the Jefferson Davis monuments and everything, but racists aren’t just in the South, sexists aren’t just running for president, homophobes aren’t just in one region of the country. They’re everywhere and I hate thinking that I’m going to generalize about an entire state or region the way that I don’t want others to hold bigoted notions about women or sexuality or religion or race or ability.

            So, I do something stupid and when he asks me if I want to go out and get some food this weekend, I say yes.

            We exchange numbers and he trots back to his corner, smiling. Freya gives him a bark goodbye and everyone I’m with starts muttering about how that was a stupid move.

            “He’s harmless,” I say, trying to ignore that magic buzz of butterflies in my stomach, flapping their colorful wings into patterns of hope.

            College Guy Art goes, all knowingly, “No man is harmless.”

            “You’re a man,” I tell him and he crumples, laughing, because it’s like he forgot.

            We all laugh with him as the first text from Colton comes in. It says, I can’t wait.

            I close my eyes, try to see if the butterflies in my stomach are good or not and I almost imagine I can hear my dead niece’s voice whisper, “Oh, Anna. Not again. Seriously?”


There you go! Tell me what you think if you’ve read it! I hope you’re all doing well. There is so info behind the jump about ways you can support me. xo – Carrie

Continue reading “What I’m Working On Right Now – Bit of a Book Excerpt – THE HISTORY OF HATE”

How Cosplay & Book Boyfriends Make You Brave: Bonus Interview with Vivian Garcia Rodriguez

How Cosplay & Book Boyfriends Make You Brave: Bonus Interview with Vivian Garcia Rodriguez

 
 
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Vivian Garcia Rodriguez is a secretly the queen to pixie Astley from my NEED series, but we’re not really going to tell anyone, right? Sadly, fate currently has them in different worlds but luckily for us, Vivian is in our world today! Math tutor, cosplayer with a flare for everything, I’m so psyched to have Vivian with us today. 

Vivian talked to us while she was in lockdown because of Covid-19 and in her home in Puerto Rico. We talk about how cosplay makes her more confident and forces her not to pick the farthest seat away from the board at school and how different books help build up people and friendships. 

I hope you’ll check it out! 

And I hope you’ll check out Vivian’s Bookstagram, Mayushiibooks.

Vivian’s instagram of beautiful books.

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

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.

Join the 234,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

This week’s episode.

Extra Thought

So many apologies for not posting a bonus episode. I (Carrie) have epilepsy and I had a bit of a seizure last week after a really long time of no seizures (Yay!) and posting a bonus podcast was the thing that had to fall off my to-do list.

What I See When I Write My Stories

So, a lot of times writers have vision boards for their stories. We fill these with images that represent the theme or the thought or the character. I do this a lot by painting, but sometimes I make real boards somewhere (like Pinterest) too.

Like this would be one for my adult mystery, THE PLACES WE HIDE.

This works really well for the image system of your story and image systems are super cool. Let me know if you want me to blog about them.

And this is the one for one of the stories I’m working on right now. It’s basically a campground for the undead and other strange creatures. The working title is brilliantly called, CREEPY CAMPGROUND STORY. Yes! Yes! I know! Genius title.

And this one would be for the YA story I’m revising, which is a bit of a time travel story, but still awesome and not confusing.

And this one would be for IN THE WOODS, which I cowrote with Steve Wedel and came out this summer.

So, yeah. That’s a peek into the weird image part of my story writing process.

For more about a couple of the stories, check out behind the jump.

But before you go, let me explain. When I write my stories, I hear them inside my head first and then I see the images. Not all writers are like this. When I try to get to the heart and soul of my story and its characters, it is the images that pull me there. Not the words. So in my first draft, I hear the story, but when I revise, I feel the images.

Continue reading “What I See When I Write My Stories”

The First Time I Won An Award As A Grown Up (in age not mentality)

Actually, the title of this blog is wrong. This is about the first time I won a writing award that wasn’t for newspapers.

I won a lot of awards for newspapers.

This award was the Maine Literary Award for creative nonfiction and it was a big enough deal that I had to think about what to wear.

Here’s my excerpt about it. I wasn’t – cough – terribly mature so not much has changed.

I won an award!

Let me first say, that I am stunned by the inability of Maine writers to guzzle down free booze. There was all this wine at the award banquet and NOBODY drank it. Everyone kept sipping Poland Spring water, which is nice because it’s all healthy and everything, but really….

I am not much of a boozer or a winer but I did have a glass. A lady checked it off on a piece of paper. She was keeping a tally. I felt naughty.

The award ceremony for the Maine Literary Awards was nice and I stressed about what to wear for absolutely no reason. There were a few LET US WEAR ALL BLACK AND BE ARTY people there. There were a few LET US WEAR CONTRASTING PRIMARY COLORS AND BE ARTY people there. There were no ball gowns nor nudists nor pinstriped suits, so we Maine writers seemed to lack any real eccentric dressers or at least we did at this awards ceremony. 

As an aside, all those grown-up writers are not so good at hiding the whole jealousy bit, and they don’t hug (or obviously openly drink) as much as children’s writers, which is just a darn shame.

Are children’s writers lushes? Possibly.

Are they fantastic huggers? Most definitely.

I wore a long skirt that wasn’t too flowy or too librarian looking. No offense to librarians. And a black lacy top. I would’ve liked to have down the leather pants thing, but I don’t own any. I would have liked to dress like Ed Briant because he is the ultimate cool boy, but I’m an uncool girl and I had no extra-wide brown and orange striped tie.

There was no pantyhose on my legs either. I just couldn’t do it. Blech.  I would have felt like my mother.

They read excerpts from the pieces, which was embarrassing, but overall it was pretty good. I guess I have to process it a little more.

And it turns out lots of people entered my category (nonfiction), which was a huge surprise but cool. I met the judge who was incredibly nice and upset that I’m not a big nonfiction person, which was also a huge surprise but cool.

I had to tell him I wrote children’s fiction. I think he wanted to take the award away but I clutched it my lacy top and hissed, “Mine. My precious. Mine.”

THE NEXT DAY

And this is what happened the day after that award. . . .

Something funky is going on. That’s for sure. Why? Because I just won a fellowship that goes to “promising Maine writers.”

What am I promising? I don’t know. I promise that my promise is not naughty, is not reality-show worthy, nor Congressionally scandalous in nature.

But this fellowship is cool, because I get $700. 


My income is slowly inching up to poverty level from its abysmal low of nothing. Yee-hawwww.

The dog and I are very excited and have danced around the kitchen, much to the displeasure of the cat.

How About You?

Do you remember the first time an outside source gave you kudos for your work? Did it feel good? Did you feel validated? Stunned? Were you like, “Um. Duh. I am awesome?”

I hope you win all the awards and randomly get $700. I am rooting for you.


My Book Is Out

You can order it here.  (ebook or paperback) 

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

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. 


RECENT EPISODES OF OUR AWESOME DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

A bonus interview with Dr. J.L. Delozier, Pennsylvania doctor and writer. 

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 

Link to Sam’s interview. Sam is my friend and is awesome.

That’s right! Carrie’s (me) doing bonus interviews every Thursday. And they are so much fun.


THE WRITING COURSE OF AWESOME

It’s our very own writing course! 

Basically, it’s set up a bit like a distance MFA program, only it costs a lot less and also has a big element of writer support built in and personalized feedback from me! This program costs $125 a month and runs for four-month sessions!

To find out more, check out this link. It’s only $125 a month, so it’s a super good deal. Come write with us! 

MEET THE CAST OF THE PLACES WE HIDE

No. It’s not a movie or anything. It’s just my adult novel, THE PLACES WE HIDE< and here are the beautiful, adorable people of my book in cat form without any spoilers.

I’m currently working on the sequel and procrastinating a tiny bit because there is a pandemic and an economic crisis and I also have to write a blog post. That is my motivation and an author is all about motivation. So here goes:

Rosie

Rosie’s a new reporter for a small town paper and she’s hiding from her and her daughter from her abusive punk of an ex-husband. She is a little too kind and way too nervous for her own good.

Seamus Kelley

Seamus is a big cop getting a divorce. He has a hero complex and a crush on Rosie who refuses to think of him that way because he’s still married and Rosie doesn’t roll that way.

Lilly

Rosie’s daughter. She’s spunky. She hates milk. Her name is not really Lilly.

The Murderer

I totally can’t tell you who that is. If you feel like supporting an author who is getting hungry and whose real-life cats are also hungry and you need something to do, you can order my book!

You can order it here.  (ebook or paperback)

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT WITHOUT THE CATS

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

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. 


RECENT EPISODES OF Our AWESOME DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

A bonus interview with Dr. J.L. Delozier, Pennsylvania doctor and writer. 

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 

That’s right! Carrie’s doing bonus interviews every Thursday. And they are so much fun.


THE WRITING COURSE OF AWESOME

It’s our very own writing course! 

Basically, it’s set up a bit like a distance MFA program, only it costs a lot less and also has a big element of writer support built in and personalized feedback from me! This program costs $125 a month and runs for four-month sessions!

To find out more, check out this link. It’s only $125 a month, so it’s a super good deal. Come write with us! 

April Book and Life Update!

It’s an April update!

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

Who knew? 

Not this author. 

So, here’s what I’m up to. 

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

What else? 

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

Here’s a tiny excerpt: 

Chapter One

“The Ghost Inside”

The Broken Bells

Dear Dad, 

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

I don’t care. 

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

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

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

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

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

And that hurts. 

Mina (Your daughter)

The goal is to throw the stone out the farthest: 

Watch it drop into the waves.

Breathe out as it disappears into the cold Atlantic. 

Try again to beat your last throw. 

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

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

            But that’s old myth. 

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

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

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

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

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

And finally, my new Patreon story

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

Chapter 1

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

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

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

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

            She crosses herself. 

writing podcast
Carrie Jones

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

WHERE TO FIND US

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

Last week’s episode link. 

This week’s episode link.

How to Be A HAPPY writer, Big Foot, Statues that Pee

How to Be A HAPPY writer, Big Foot, Statues that Pee

 
 
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This week’s podcast is about something really important. It’s about remembering to have fun. For a lot of us, life has a ton of stressors and responsibilities. We have to make enough money to survive. We have to take care of our family and ourselves. We have to deal with a world and not succumb to constant catastrophic thinking about the state of the world. 

It’s easy to forget to have fun. 

Or to feel guilty about having fun. 

Or to feel guilty about having hobbies. 

And here’s the thing. It’s great to be a professional writer and make money at something you love to do, but you don’t have to make money at it. A lack of financial rewards for your efforts doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you aren’t getting money. 

And money, my friends, is not everything. 

What is everything? Having fun. Growing. Enjoying your damn self in this short amount of time you have on this world, making yourself wiser and stronger and embracing your moments of joy. Everyone who sings in the shower isn’t expected to make money at singing in the shower. That should go for those of us who write too. 

Here’s the truth: You can write solely for the joy of writing. 

Don’t let other people’s opinions or standards give you or your writing validation. Don’t let the pressure for external measures of success (publication, an agent, an award, 100,000 social media followers) ruin your joy in creating stories. 

Here are Five Quick Steps to Reclaiming That Joy

  1. Rest when you need to. Take care of your body. Eat food. Drink water. The simple things that all us living organisms should be doing.
  2. Don’t have buttheads for friends. Be with people who make you happy and support you and inspire you. Ditch the others. 
  3. Go outside. Seriously. Go out of the building. Feel the air. You are part of this earth. Remember this and take care of it, too. Study a flower, a rock, a tree. It’ll make you a better writer, too. Notice the whole. 
  4. Be grateful for the good stuff that happens. What do you have? You’re reading this, or listening. That means you have enough that allows you to do that. Pretty cool, right? 
  5. Open your mind and your heart. Try not to be so super judgmental. Be generous and chill when you can. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

If writing isn’t your profession and isn’t feeding you and your family. It’s okay to stop if it’s not giving you joy. Wait until it gives you joy and go back to it. Also, remember that y-o-u-r  (your) means belonging to you and y-o-u-r-apostrophe-e(you’re) means you are.

Dog Tip for Life

It’s good to have a pack of humans to clean up after you. That way you can enjoy life and be messy when you slobber on the windows barking enthusiastically at the Fed Ex guy. Try to find a good pack of humans to be your clean-up crew. 

Sponsor

This podcast was sponsored by BookNotes and this link sets you up for a free seven-day trail. 

SHOUT OUT

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


WHERE TO FIND US

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

This week’s podcast link.

Last week’s podcast.

BIG NEWS! 

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

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

I have a new book coming out!

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.

A Book Is Coming! A Book is Coming!

I am about to release a book.

Yep. Me.

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it.

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

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

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

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

But I care more about honesty despite all my fears.

This is why I’m self publishing a book.

It’s an adventure.

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

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

It’s scary.

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

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

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

So many people.

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

I’m impatient and I write too much.

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

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

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

I don’t like boxes and labels.

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

Why does that matter?

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

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

They are authors, too.

Their books matter too.


So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.

This week’s writing podcast.

Em Update

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

Hey Baby, What’s Your Back Story and why we are running around so much

Hey Baby, What’s Your Back Story and why we are running around so much

 
 
00:00 / 00:26:18
 
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Hey baby, what’s your back story? 

It should be a pick-up line at a bar, yet it somehow is not a pick-up line at any bar that I know of except maybe in a New Yorker cartoon or a bar in a town where there’s one of those MFA programs in writing literature for literary people doing literary things. 

Anyway, it’s a term writers throw around all the time and it is basically just how we imagine our characters’ lives went before they are in the actual story that we’re writing. 

I know! How can you imagine that your character had a life before your story? It’s like imagining your spouse had a life before you that wasn’t totally centered around you. Us narcissists have a hard time with that. 

Do you know, in nine hundred years of time and space, I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important…

Steven Moffat, Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

According to a post on Now Novel there are three uses of back story.

  1. Developing the understanding of the characters. Like if your dad died of a heart attack in front of you and you couldn’t save him, then your character might have a savior complex. It helps the reader understand your characters’ motivations. 
  2. It can heighten the stakes and the suspense. You were once addicted to dating cops. Cops were always bad for you. Will you date this one? NO! YOU MUST NOT. 
  3. It makes it real damn it. By the time, you make it into a book, you’re not going to be a blank slate, born out of Zeus’ head or a clamshell fully formed on page 1. We all have prologues. 

Standout asks how much back story does a story need and answers its own question pretty simply:

If judged solely on complexity, the answer to ‘how much back story should I include?’ would be ‘enough to pay for the reader’s efforts,’ however you also need to consider immersion.

Standout

Ah. Okay?

Here is our advice: 

  • Don’t be fake. Don’t be pretend. We all know people who show up at a party, engage in small talk about absolutely nothing other than the weather, the traffic, where they work. There is no underlayment. It’s like they are a rug thrown on the floor, but if you touch that rug it will just slip away because there’s nothing holding it there. 
  • Do not let your characters be rugs. 
  • Ground those suckers with nails and staples if you have to. ModPodge them to the floor, give them a life before you. 
  • Don’t tell us everything about them. We do not know that they prefer Aquafina to Poland Spring water or that they had an ingrown toenail when they were twenty-four any more than you want to know about the guy at the party’s hemorrhoid treatment unless it’s really good. Be sparing. 

The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.

Stephen King

Writing Tip of the Pod 

Find the balance in your backstory and your life. 

Dog Tip for Life

Run through adversity. Don’t give up. 

SHOUT OUT

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

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 



Big Feelings and Dropping Your Child in the Woods

Big Feelings and Dropping Your Child in the Woods

 
 
00:00 / 00:21:55
 
1X
 

Sometimes us writer people feel broken. We maybe got rejected one too many times. We maybe got a horrifying review. We maybe are stuck on Chapter 7560 in our epic fantasy WHEN THE BUNNY OF DOOM FELL IN LOVE WITH THE HAMSTER OF GLORIOUS GLORY. 

This is normal. Creative people have a lot of big feelings. People who aren’t super creative also have a lot of big feelings. People feel. All of us. And sometimes? Well, sometimes those feelings aren’t always positive. So what do you do? 

  1. DO NOT MAKE YOURSELF HURRY. Remember that feeling better can take a little while. So, can writing or revising a book. 
  2. FORGIVE YOURSELF THE WAY YOU’D FORGIVE YOUR DOG. Give your soul a hug. Seriously. But it’s okay to be kind to yourself the way you’d be kind to a friend. Don’t make yourself suffer forever for a mistake you’ve made. 
  3. REMEMBER EVERYTHING CHANGES. It might be pouring outside. You might not know how to finish your chapter. You might have forgotten to buy dog treats. But all of that can change. It will change. 
  4. LOVE IS THERE WHETHER YOU WRITE THAT DAMN BOOK OR NOT. Seriously. Your worth isn’t about your productivity. You are wonderful and beautiful and amazing and smart. And you have to believe that you deserve good things. You do. Being a writer isn’t the only thing you are. 
  5. DO OTHER THINGS. Seriously. Do not only write. Go out and live your own life, too. It makes for better stories. 
  6. GIVE UP. Yep. You heard me. Look, you can’t control reviews, outside marketing, subjective tastes about people who don’t want to read books about a hamster falling in love with Mike Pence’s rabbit. You have to let go of that, give up trying to control everything. You can only control you and your reactions and thoughts. 

Dog Tip for Life

Dude. Just be. 

SHOUT OUT

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

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.