Things I’m Up To – Books and Poems and Podcasts and Interviews, Oh My?

I realized that I tend to never give update blogs — or at least I don’t in the way that marketers would want me to.

This is because I’m bad at talking about myself and my work.

But that changes for a hot second right now, my friends, and this is what I’m up to.

Feeling short is the #1 thing I’m up to
Still feeling short (but in a TARDIS).

WRITING BOOKS

I still have some books that will be coming out this fall/winter. And that’s a frantic/frenetic frenzy (look at that alliteration) of work.

What books?

Well, thanks for asking! Just kidding. I’m only pretending you’re asking.

October

THE THINGS WE SEEK

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

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

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

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

November

ALMOST DEAD

This is an adult paranormal about a young woman who sees people’s deaths

Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.

Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.

Join New York Times and internationally bestselling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

December

WHEN YOU BRING THEM BACK

This is a YA paranormal about a secret necromancer dealing with a family

Some secrets should stay buried.

Self-trained necromancer Snow secretly sells her services to raise the dead so that she can someday raise enough money to get out of her dead-end Maine island and away from her dead-head mom and her assortment of criminal friends.

But when she’s out raising Colonial Buck, Silas, the sexy golden boy of her high school tries to save her and is killed by a demon contained to cemeteries and who is collecting souls for his return to the world of the living. Distraught, Snow mourns Silas only to find him reanimated and trying to figure out how he could possibly be . . . dead?

A family curse.

An angry ex-girlfriend.

And Snow’s increasing desire for Silas complicates finding Silas his answers and stopping the demon.

If they can’t stop the demon from killing more people, it won’t be just their hearts that are broken, but the barrier between the living and the dead . . . forever.

January

THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE

Jessica “Dude” Goodfeather’s mother walked off and left her and her kind stoner dad when she was just a little girl, but after a mysterious email leads to some serious questions, Dude and her friends realize that her mother might not have willingly abandoned them after all.

The third book in Carrie Jones’s exciting Maine mystery series forces Dude to grapple with the ghosts of her family’s past so that she can finally head towards a hopefully brighter future.

POEMS

My writing life started off as a poet. Yes! I know! Weird, right?

But poetry is what I first published and poems are where I express my anger and wonder and where I witness this world and try to find little, resonating truths.

So for August I started what I call a “fun project” with no expectations and started posting poems on Medium every day. It turned out to be terrifying and so much fun.

Getting poems back in my life earned me a whopping $5 on Medium, lol, but it gave me new friends and a new focus and outlet that I’ve missed so much.

If you want to go check them out, please do. I’m right (or write) here!

PODCASTS

And talking about MEDIUM, one of my new friends there is Martin Vidal and he’s going to be starting off our returning bonus podcast interviews for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE this week! I’m so excited to introduce him and his marvelous mind and writing to you.

Martin’s going to be kicking off a series of new and established writers (of a bunch of genres) interviews. I hope you’ll check them out and give the authors some love.

Writing With Dogs Who Slobber: The Three Secrets to Awesome Characters

So, you’re probably looking at the blog post title up there and thinking, “What?”

Stay with me a second; I’ll explain, I swear. I’m going to boil down the basic elements of crafting a good story by using my rescue dog, Gabby.

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Gabby is the sort of dog who people love or hate.

Gabby is the sort of dog that lets children climb all over her and hug her and kiss her nose.

Gabby is also the sort of dog who judges people by smell.  

If you have alcohol on your breath, she will sneeze and then bark at you. If you are male and have ever had a serious time taking cocaine and you are in my house? She’ll bark incessantly at you and never stop even if your cocaine use was over a decade ago.

So, why am I mentioning this?

Gabby is a conflicted character. You want a character like Gabby in your story.

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A conflicted character is a dog or person with a goal. There is a motivation for that goal and a conflict.

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Gabby’s goal is to keep me safe. She is super focused on making sure nothing happens to me or her dog brother Sparty or her cat sisters, Marsie, Cloud and Koko.

Her motivation? Probably because I feed her or because she’s a Great Pyrenees, and that breed’s instinct and training is to keep her charges happy and safe. We are basically her sheep.

IMG_9899Marsie insists she is nobody’s sheep, but I have seen Gabby carry her around the house. She is totally a sheep. 

And it might be because Gabby was abused as a puppy and spent her first year chained to a tree, always chained to a tree, never off a tree. She came to us small, terrified, malformed and malnourished. This is her backstory. All characters have backstories, the what happened before we meet them, the what happened that made them who they are when the story begins.

When Em and I picked up Gabby in Cambridge, Gabby was beyond terrified.

Every car was about to run her down. Every person was about to hit her. I sunk to her level and she pushed herself against me. Her ears were infected and full of pain. Everything about her was pain. But there was something else there. It was fear and want and need. She wanted to be loved so badly. She wanted to love back.1930658_10154095751489073_788625899982421964_n

The entire time we were in Cambridge she didn’t bark once.

The entire car ride back and the whole first week? She never barked.

“I have a miracle dog. It is a silent Great Pyrenees,” I told everyone.

The vet laughed.

The rescue organization people laughed.

I was so wrong.

Gabby started being able to sleep with both eyes closed. Gabby’s ears got better. We got her surgery on her knee. She took walks without being afraid that trees were going to fall on her, without thinking that every car held a monster inside of it that would hurt her.

She ate, but she would never fill out.

And she barked.

She barked at everyone who reminded her of where she used to be. She barked at dogs she didn’t know. She barked and jumped and tried to be as threatening looking as possible when she is easily the dog least likely to ever bite a human and most likely to snuggle. You know when experts say dogs hate hugs? Gabby would let you hug her all day.

Actually, Gabby’s dream day would just to be constantly hugged. 

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So, she’s got a lot of back story there?

What’s the conflict for Gabby or for your characters?

The conflict is the struggle. The conflict is how the reader engages with the character. It’s why the reader keeps reading. It’s how empathy is built. It’s how story is built.

So every character has this trifecta of things: 

Goal

Motivation

Conflict

As a writer, if you muck this up? You’re story will be flat.

As a dog friend/owner, if you don’t realize that your dog’s goal might conflict with a happy silence that comes with a life without barking? You’re going to have an unhappy dog.

So, Gabby’s trifecta of character is:

Wants to stop threats by barking (goal) because she wants to keep her happy home and the creatures within it safe (motivation we all understand), but everyone gets a headache when she thinks squirrels are threats and barks too much at them (conflict).

Meg’s in A Wrinkle in Time is:

Wants to get her dad back (goal) because who doesn’t want to get someone awesome back (motivation that is pretty understandable if your dad rocks), but dude, she has to travel through time and deal with this great darkness, basically like all the evil in the universe because why not (conflict).

But what makes a character conflicted?

Basically anything that stands in the way of her goal.

This can be herself (Gabby wonders if barking is her true calling and doubts herself – an internal conflict).

This can be others (The neighbors call the police because of Gabby’s barking – an external conflict).

This can be the environment (Gabby is in space and cannot bark because there is no sound. Horror! – a conflict caused by setting).

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Writing Tip

Make sure your  main character has that trifecta of conflict, motivation, goal.

Writing Prompts- 

Write about wanting to sing when you have to be quiet.

Write about wanting to tell a secret.

Write about being a zombie who is allergic to meat.

Do Good MONday – 

So, I wrote a lot about Gabby being a rescue dog. All my dogs have been. If you have the money, consider donating to a dog rescue. If you have the time and space and need and love, consider adopting. If you have the time, find a rescue near you and be a volunteer. I’ve done home visits and photos for rescues. If you don’t have any of these things, but have social media, share a rescue’s site or a post about a dog (or cat or gecko). You could be the step that helps bring a dog like Gabby to her forever home. Even the smallest things help.

Here are the rescues where I got Sparty the Dog and Gabby the Dog.

New England Lab Rescue

National Great Pyrenees Rescue

And this rescue is possibly my favorite one.

Big Fluffy Dog

 

Random Marketing Things

 

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.

Shaun Pretends Like He Knows What I’m Reading

You should never cease learning and refining your craft.

Every Thursday, my main squeeze, Shaun, takes over the blog so I can have a rest and so you can get to know him a little bit better. This is his offering. He’s a bit off about the recent books, but it’s all good. 🙂 He still gets to be my main squeeze.

An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine
An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine

Hey there! It is Thursday blogpost time again and this week I am not experiencing that groggy feeling of last week, so here goes. I believe it to be a fact that most authors also love to read, so today I thought that I would give you a glimpse into what Carrie is currently reading. She is a multi-book at a time kind of reader and mixes business and pleasure into her reading, although, as a writer, she is always learning whenever she reads. I chose the five most recent books that I have seen Carrie reading and here they are.

What Shaun Thinks Carrie Is Reading Right Now

  • SAVE THE CAT! The Last Book On Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder.
  • SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need, by Jessica Brody.
  • PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION The Black Book of Scientific Ghost Hunting and How to Investigate Paranormal Phenomena, by Brian Sterling-Vete and Helen Renee Wuorio.
  • THE DAY SASQUATCH BECAME REAL FOR ME, by Steve Isdahl.
  • TOM BROWN’S Field Guide NATURE OBSERVATION and TRACKING, by Tom Brown Jr. and Brandt Morgan.

Quite the variety isn’t it?

I mean, really there are only two subject matters there, writing and the hunting of real and/or mythical beings, but both of them are very important to Carrie.

The first two books are strictly work related.

Carrie is of the mindset that you should never cease learning and refining your craft. There is always something new to learn, no matter how much of a veteran you are in your field and one of the easiest ways to gather new authoring intelligence is through reading other’s works!

The last three books are more leisurely reading content for Carrie, but believe it or not, they too are work related.

As a matter of point, everything that she reads can be considered to be work related due to the fact that she loves the intricacies of storytelling so very much that she can read for leisure and still look for new methods of writing and increasing reader interest.

Of course, the search for real or mythical beings is of interest to both of us and it also provides fodder for our new, live podcast, Loving the Strange, and as you can see, she has been delving into those topics quite heavily as of late.

I will say it again, reading is one of the most simple and fun ways to improve your knowledge of writing!

Other positive aspects of learning through reading, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, may be the generation of new book ideas or perhaps just an inkling that gets you out of a writing slump or provides you with that one little thing you were wracking your brain for to really make your book pop.

Lastly, reading is just plain great for your brain and has the added benefit of sometimes being wonderfully somniferous. 

I would also like to mention that the books that both Carrie and I have read in the last few years have been both traditionally and self-published with a high number of them being self-published.

As an author, Carrie believes that it is extremely important to support other authors.

This includes those authors who don’t have the benefit of being traditionally published and having all of the advertising attention that often comes with that.

Plus, the world of books gets vastly larger when you include the self-publishing realm and many of them are very good indeed! Carrie has ventured into the self-publishing world lately and has a number of awesome books that are available at her website, carriejonesbooks.blog.

So, make some time for yourself to read, have a great day and remember to always love your way through it.

Shaun

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

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

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. 


Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

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

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

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


And Carrie has new books out! Yay!

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

best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.

On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.

It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.

And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.

almost dead book by carrie jones
almost dead book by carrie jones

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

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

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