Don’t Be Like My Mom. You Can’t Run From Fear; You’ve Got to Snarl at It Instead

It all began with my mom freaking out about a feather.

My mom has always been afraid of birds. That fear started long before I existed and was made worse by a visit to a science museum in Boston where an owl swooped near her head and glared at her. Apparently, that powerful owl glare was enough to push her over the edge.

I wasn’t allowed to have bird feeders or stuffed animal birds. If there were robins outside on our lawn, Mom would avert her eyes and draw the shades in the windows.

My mother’s fear of birds grew so big that she screeched when I was four years old and proudly brought a peacock feather home from a nursery school field trip to a wild animal farm. I was so psyched about this feather, which I won by answering a bunch of animal questions correctly.

The feather made me feel super smart for the first time in my little life. It was my prize and my reward and I was the only one in the whole nursery school who received one. It was like a Nobel Prize or a Pulitzer in my four-year-old head. It was such a super big deal and I knew — I just was absolutely positive — that my mom would be psyched and put it on the wall and maybe frame it or something while she announced to all her friends, “My youngest daughter, Carrie? She is so smart. So smart, I tell you! See this feather? It proves it.”

When I presented the coveted prize to my mom, she screamed and made me throw the feather outside.

“Get it out! Get that dirty thing out of our house!” she yelled. Actually, she screeched.

I remember pivoting in our heavily wooded, dark kitchen, running out to the screened-in porch, and into our yard. I took the peacock feather to a giant boulder where I played deserted island and Wizard of Oz and all my lonely made-up games, and I climbed up to the top of the rock.

Once there, I kissed the feather, the dirty thing, goodbye. I cried because it was so beautiful and I won it and then I had to let it go.

I let that beautiful feather go. I didn’t hold onto it the way we tend to hold onto our fears. It is just so hard to let go of our fears. That’s especially true for my poor mom who wouldn’t go to friends’ houses if they had birds in cages. She hated the beach because birds were at the beach. Every year black birds would hang out on our front lawn during their migration. There would be hundreds of them. She’d call in sick to work. Her fear held her back over and over again.

Years after the peacock incident, my mom ran screaming from a park where we were having a picnic with my daughter who was then two. A seagull had come too close. Too close was about a football field away.

When I caught up with my mom, she was standing in the doorway of a local restaurant, shaking.

“Don’t judge me!” she said. She was reapplying her lipstick with a shaking hand.

I grabbed her hand in mine because the lipstick application was not going well.

“I’m not judging you,” I told her, “but I don’t want Em to grow up afraid.”

That’s when I realized that my mom missed out on so much of life even though she was the liveliest, absolutely most alive person I knew. She missed out because she listened to her fear.

My daughter grew up to study Krav Maga in Israel, to apply and get in to Harvard, to become a field artillery officer in the Army. She’s jumped off roofs at stunt camp, log rolled, rock climbed, was the flyer of her cheerleading squad. She is known for picking up birds that she finds in parking lots, shopping centers, and bringing them to safety.

She is bold and unafraid most of the times. She’s not a fan of spiders, but she deals with them. Even when she is afraid, she faces her fears, snarls at them, and tells them to stand down.

She made my poor mom’s heart race and palpitate more than once.

Even for those of us who don’t have phobias like my Mom, the biggest fears that we have are often the ones about not being enough, not smart enough, not loved enough, just not enough. Of failure. Of being imperfect. Of being alone. There are so many fears we punish ourselves with. But we don’t have to listen to those fears. We can face the fears, see them for what they are and ignore the fears’ advice to cower, to yell, to blame, to run away.

My mother was afraid of a feather.

A feather.

And our fears? The ones we hold inside of us? The ‘not good enough’ moments that feel so dam real? They are even less substantial than that feather.

That’s right. Those fears are not even as heavy as a feather, nowhere near as substantial. Still, we let them hurt us and hold us back.

Here’s the thing: You don’t have to let them hold you back.

Here’s the other thing: You can’t ignore your fear and you can’t give in to it. You have to jump headlong into the scariness and embrace the fear and snarl at it and know what it is. What is it? Fear is that voice that rings so loudly in your brain telling you what to do or what not to do. When you refuse to listen to it? That’s when you win.

You can beat your fears.

What are you afraid of? What makes you shake and cower? Not your phobias. But your fears. Are you afraid of failing so much that you don’t try to succeed? Bankruptcy? Not being loved? Commitment? Being evil? Being good? Being taken advantage of? Taking advantage of others? Face them head on because those fears are keeping you from being your best self.

I’m trying to be my best self. I fail a lot! So much! But I hope you’ll grab my hand even when it’s shaking and try with me. I think we can do this. Together.

Email or comment if you want to say hi and talk about it, okay?

Latest podcast is here!


Continue reading “Don’t Be Like My Mom. You Can’t Run From Fear; You’ve Got to Snarl at It Instead”
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DESPERATE CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITER DECIDES TO COMMIT FELONIES

NICE TOWN, MAINE — Today, children’s author Willow Whitehouse decided to commit some hardcore felonies in hopes of landing an elusive  book contract.

Her first  illegal act consisted of running naked down Main Street screaming, “I’m bad! I’m bad! Give me a contract! Sign me, baby! Sign me!”

“Look,” she told local reporters after her naked fun fest. “I’m just a small-town girl living in the small town world of Maine and I’ve been shopping this book for sooooooo long — like 42 freaking years — and I can NOT get anyone to pay attention.”

Her book, she said, combines the frolicking angst of dazzling-skinned, human-loving vampires with fart jokes and boy wizards who solve alphabet crimes in picture book format. 

She said that once her manuscript wasn’t immediately snatched off the slush pile, she first thought of becoming a celebrity like a Kardashian or BTS or a Trump kid to sell it.

“They seem to get book contracts just like that,” she explained cheerfully despite being naked in the Maine winter weather. “But then I realized that I couldn’t sing, dance, or magically make my father president. So it was on to Plan B!” 

Apparently inspired by naughty ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s signing a contract with MacMillan and Mike Tyson’s shopping around his book, Whitehouse decided it was time to resort to drastic measures.

“I don’t want to have to beat anyone up like Tyson or, you know, try to sell a senate seat like Rod Man,” Whitehouse explained while blowing kisses to cheering, drooling on-lookers from the local Masonic temple. “So I decided to start with naked running, and then maybe progress to naked corn beef hash eating, or perhaps, you know — just checking out some library books and not returning them.”

According to local police office Shane McMurphy, people did not initially know that Whitehouse was an aspiring author. 

“We just thought she was cracked,” McMurphy said smiling. “Then we found out she wanted to publish… In this market? It explains a lot. She needs some help.”

McMurphy, who is shopping around a novel focusing on a heated and ancient Zombie vs. Unicorn rivalry said he was thinking of doing something similar.

“Not running naked.” He laughed, slapping some handcuffs on Whitehouse. “Believe you me, nobody wants to see that. I was thinking more in the line of serial killing. You know? Then option out my life’s story to HBO or SHOWTIME? But the wife told me that’s already happened. Now, I’m thinking of just stealing the toilet paper out of everyone’s house some night and building a giant replica of the Statute of Liberty. Hey? Do you want to hear about my book? It’s brilliant. It’s like a cross between THE PRINCESS DIARIES and TERMINATOR and FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY only with ultra rich girls in a sorority somewhere, right? Brilliant, huh?”

As of press time nobody has requested a full or partial manuscript from either Whitehouse or McMurphy.


DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

Be one of the 160,000 downloads and listen to our quirky life tips, writing tips and general weirdness.

Our latest episode is here!

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.

Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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 order 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.


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!

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

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

What’s Killing Your Relationship and Your Character?

What’s Killing Your Relationship and Your Character?

 
 
00:00 / 00:20:58
 
1X
 

There was a post on Medium on PS I LOVE YOU called, “The Silent Relationship Killer You Never See Coming” about how the silent relationship killer is basically routine and sameness.

The author, Barry Davret, compared relationships to a song that you love so intensely you listen to over and over again obsessively, but then suddenly, you are done with that song.

Couples, he says, set weekly and daily routines after that initial burst of frantic attraction and then? They get bored of having intercourse every Saturday, date night every Friday, laundry every Monday.

If they’re polite, they’ll still ask each other how their days went, but they won’t actually care about the answer because the answer is always the same.

He writes

“Look back on the last six months. Does it feel like it was one day lived 180 times?”

How do you defeat being bored in your relationship?

He suggests two tips to not be bored

  • Occasionally be spontaneous
  • Pursue separate passions


This has never happened to us. As you can tell from our random thoughts, we’re weird. We’re so weird especially when we’re alone. I will fall down laughing because of the things Shaun says.

We think that Barry has it right, but he also has it wrong.

Yes, people get dulled by routines and because of the comfort in routines, and that might be partially be because they’ve stopped doing things on their own. But it’s also more about empathy and building walls around yourself so you don’t get hurt. The person you’re in a relationship with sees you warts and all? And that, my friends, can be a bit scary.

To have a relationship that lasts and evolves you have to do the following things:

  • You have to find humor in yourself and each other even during the bad times.
  • You have to blow off the assumption that you know absolutely everything about your significant other as if they are a blank piece of paper rather than a living, breathing, changing organism. There is still mystery in them even if you aren’t seeing it.
  • You have to be willing to be vulnerable so that your partner can see that mystery inside of you. There is nothing dull in courage and it takes courage to be vulnerable.

How does this relate to writing? Hold on! We’re getting there.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Our novels and characters also need to have tiny doses of the unexpected to keep people from being bored. We want to have each character have differences and not be the same. That sameness, that lack of diversity? It makes Johnny a dull boy. Insert quirks into your characters.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Even when you’re on the same walk that your person always takes you on, there’s going to be a nuance in the smells you sniff up on the side of the road. Rejoice in that nuance. Seek it out. Live in the moment. It’s a good way not to be bored.

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.

Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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 order 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.


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!

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

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

CARRIE JONES DECIDES TO FINALLY ACT LIKE AN AUTHOR

CARRIE JONES DECIDES TO FINALLY ACT LIKE AN AUTHOR
February 10, 2020, Issue 1, Vol 1.

BAR HARBOR, MAINE — Sitting at her constantly breaking iMac and staring at the blank Microsoft Word document, young adult novelist gave it all up today and decided to act like a real novelist.  Surrounded by her agent, her editors, and her dog she admitted that she might as well become one with the Hemingway.

“I always knew I was failing at being a writer,” she said while gulping down some boxed wine (red variety), “but I never understood what it was that I was missing. Now I know: it was misery. I was missing the whole misery element. But lately, I’ve been feeling really depressed and consequentially, I feel like more of a writer. That rocks!”

“You are a rock star baby,” her agent agreed. “But you’ve got a little of that wine on your chin. Ew. So gross.”

She then whisked out her iPad and texted her international rights agent about the philosophy of the Justin Bieber.

After apologizing for using adverbs in her above quote, Jones explained that she’d always been a happy and productive writer and she used to shake her head at other writers who would moan a lot about missing muses and being blocked. 

“I thought they were just being pretentious,” she admitted. “I mean … seriously. .. muses? Like in that old movie Xanadu or something? It seemed so hoity-toity.” 

Now she understands. Devastated by the thing people call winter (“All those cold dark days,” she murmured.), plus a cold that would not quit (“A woman can sniff in only so much before the snot affects the brain,” she added, sniffing in.), Jones has decided that despite the fact that she writes children’s books she is no longer going to skip and happy dance in her kitchen, she is instead — going to embrace the misery. 

“I will wrap my arms around it and pull it to my heaving bosom,” she said and then added, “Oh. Was that too melodramatic? It was … It was … wasn’t it? Damn, can I do nothing right?”

Her editors pet her on the shoulder and offered more box wine or at least green tea admonishing her to buck up and hit her deadline. 

“Her friends have already noticed a change. They have kindly inundated her with well meaning emails asking what is wrong,” said one editor who frantically pointed at the keyboard. “But that’s just making her procrastinate more.”

“But they’re writers,” Jones said sniffing some ModPodge, her newest addiction. “How do I know they aren’t just trying to get some sort of material for their own novels?”

Nobody responded to this question and in fact averted their gaze and put Jones on mute.

“Plus, the blogging. Why are all our YA authors all about the blogging?” the other editor wailed. 

Jones added that her agent has called her multiple times for no reason in the last week.

“It’s my job to check in,” her agent said. “The well-being of my writers is very important to me.” 

She then started texting again. She turned his attention back to Jones, her client. “You know I love you, baby.”

“She’s just worried I won’t finish the sequel” Jones sighed. “Although … it is nice hearing a human voice occasionally. You know she is human. And when she calls I remember how dialogue is supposed to go. Plus,  I’m tired of talking to my computer.” 

She then ate an entire carton of Edy’s Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough while the editors looked on. Jones paused in her ice cream fest long enough to sniff some more ModPodge and added, “Did I ever tell you that Steve Wedel said I was like a puppy? Or that Cynthia Leitich Smith said I was like a kitten? Yeah? Well, whatever, I’m telling you again. People used to pet my head and tell me what a good writer I was. .. Now… Now…”

She then started sobbing. “None of this would have happened if I had a writing group.”


Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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.


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!

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

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST- DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

This link to our last episode, Are You Beige and Do You Think in Words? 

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 episode is here!

BALLSY SPONSORED THIS EPISODE! 

We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy. 

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

Cloud the Kitten’s Cat Inspiration

Some days feel like a battle, right?

But you can defeat that tablecloth.

You can scratch your cheek on the edge of the chair & squint at the camera.

You can hope even when hope seems a radical act.

Let’s make hope not a radical act.

xo Cloud the Kitten

Hey you, human!

Hello!


Relax your shoulders. Lick your lips. Hope for treats. No, just take some treats. Stretch.Look at you! You’ve got this day. You are made of stars and dreams.


We believe in you!


xo

Gabby and Sparty Dogs


I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST- DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

This link to our last episode, Are You Beige and Do You Think in Words? 

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.

BALLSY SPONSORED THIS EPISODE! 

We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy. 

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

Tips on Being A Debut Novelist

I wrote this back on LiveJournal (I feel so old) when my first traditionally published novel debuted. And… Well, I thought I might share it with you all.


Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend is good to go…
And yet… 
And yet….

I am really scared, which means I must create (you guessed it) a list.

TIPS ON BEING A DEBUT NOVELIST

1. Try not to pass out when you recieve proofs in the mail.

2. If you do pass out, try not to pass out on top of the dog. Vet bills are enormous.

3. Try not to rewrite the entire book when you see your proofs. This will be a temptation. Resist the temptation.

4. Once you mail back your proofs, stop thinking about them. Do not wonder if you should have written the dog instead of a dog. THE ARTICLE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE! HOLY CRUD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? It is over now, let it go.

5. Realize it is not truly over. Your book is going to be out there in three months. THREE MONTHS!!!!!

6. Oh my God.

7. Pass out again.

8. Thank the man standing near you for catching you. Decide he’s cute. Vow to use him in your next book.

9. Realize that the world might not notice your little book. Sure you called it I had Stephen Colbert’s Love Child. Still …

10. Rethink your title. It would have been so much better if it was I HAD STEPHEN COLBERT’S LOVE CHILD IN MY PANTS. Call editor in attempt to change it. When he refuses curse author Maureen Johnson for making you doubt all titles that do not have the tag, In My Pants. 

AND HERE THE LIST GETS EVEN WEIRDER ….

11. Wonder how other authors get on CNN. Wonder how authors get awards. Wonder how authors stay sane. Wonder if they do? Any of them?

12. Then do the worst thing of all: Wonder if anyone will buy your book other than your mother and your high school creative writing teacher. 

 13. Panic

14. Hit your head against the refrigerator door and knock of the cat bottom magnets that you bought in a moment of weakness.

15.  Realize that you bought kitty butt magnets, and you are still being published. How can this be? 

16. Cry.

17.  Pass out again. Refuse to wake up this time. Shout, NO. NO! I’M DEAD. REVIVE ME IN 6.2 MONTHS WHEN MY BOOK IS BACKLISTED.

18. Decide to be a dentist.

19. Wonder if you’re smart enough to be a dentist if you can’t even get the numbering of a list quite right.

20. Decide yes.



Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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.


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!

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

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST- DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

This link to our last episode, Are You Beige and Do You Think in Words?

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.

BALLSY SPONSORED THIS EPISODE! 

We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy. 

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

Are you Beige? Do you Think in Words?

Some people, it seems, have a constant inner monologue that never stops.

Are you Beige? Do you Think in Words?

 
 
00:00 / 00:20:20
 
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This week, I’ve been editing two male authors’ stories and there is a lot of internal monologue embedded within the paragraphs of dialogue and exposition. At the same time that I’ve been doing this a man’s reaction to some people not having an inner dialogue has gone viral. 

It began with a tweet as so many things do. 

Kyleplantemoji wrote: 

Fun fact: some people have an internal narrative and some don’t. 

As in, some people’s thoughts are like sentences they “hear,” and some people just have abstract nonverbal thoughts, and have to consciously verbalize them. 

And most people aren’t aware of the other type of person. 

Later, on his blog, Ryan who is also Kyleplantemoji wrote: 

My day was completely ruined yesterday when I stumbled upon a fun fact that absolutely obliterated my mind. I saw this tweet yesterday that said that not everyone has an internal monologue in their head. 

This became a very big deal.

Some people, it seems, don’t hear thoughts in word or sentence form in their heads. Ever. 

Some people, it seems, have a constant inner monologue that never stops. Ever. 

And people are stunned, flummoxed, and sometimes horrified that not everyone processes information or thinks the way that they do. 

Some people simply share their experiences like Skva who responded to Ryan’s blog post by saying,

I myself have a dialogue going on 24/7, it will keep going non-stop to the point that I cannot fall asleep. I sometime have to chant sleep sleep sleep, Just so my mind doesn’t go off around in loops or one thing to the next.

And some people superimpose their realities upon the others in an attempt towards understanding.

“I can’t possibly understand how people function without one. In fact, when you mentioned the person who “sees words” in her head? That really stumped me. Like you, I asked “But how does she ask question? Answer questions? She has to read her own thoughts before she can speak them?” I can’t take it in. I have come to the conclusion that they have an internal voice but that, like people who claim they never dream, they simply don’t remember their voiced thoughts in the same way some people instantly forget their dreams. It’s the only way I can make sense of it.”

As humans and writers, it’s important to remember that our way of doing things isn’t necessarily the only way, or the only right way and that’s not just true about how we load the dishwashers, or our political ideologies. It’s also true about how we process and think. Don’t be beige.

Writing Tip of the Pod

When writing, try to think of how your characters aren’t like you. How are their speech patterns, values, and thoughts different from yours. Do they all sound alike? They shouldn’t. 

Dog Tip for Life

When living, don’t expect all people to be the same and instead of superimposing your thoughts and values and experiences, realize that they have their own experiences. It’s like in the dog world, a Rottweiler has a different life and interactions than a poodle wearing a tutu. They are both dogs and have similarities, but they aren’t the same. Even two poodles aren’t the same. We’re all unique and amazing. That should be respected not diminished as we all try to raise each other 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.


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.

BALLSY SPONSORED THIS EPISODE!


We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy. 

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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.


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!

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

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

It’s My Anniversary and I Never Remember My Anniversary

So, it’s my anniversary and I never remember my anniversary. What I remember is the love.

The bodyguard I am married to says it this, “Every day is our anniversary, baby.”

I love the bodyguard despite the fact that he calls me baby and we are profoundly different in our thoughts and reactions and essence.

This blog is a quick excerpt of our life from awhile ago when I went to Conestoga, this convention in Oklahoma and it was super fun. I talked. I met cool people. I saw strange things. I presented on panels, but then it was time to come home to Maine with the bodyguard.

Our first sign that something was off should have been the airport. I am a person who like airports. I think they are neat. There’s all this hustle and bustle and people going off to exciting places like – um – Hawaii or something. I am never actually going to those super cool exciting places. 

But to me Tulsa, Oklahoma was exciting.

This was evidenced by the airport. 

The zombie airport of Tulsa

We get to the UNITED counter to check in at the handy dandy self-serve kiosk and there were only two other people there. Seriously. Two other people! There were four people behind the counter. Do you know what this means? There were MORE UNITED workers than customers. Score!

But wait, I thought, perhaps this is a bad omen. I looked around the airport. There were hardly any people anywhere. I told the bodyguard my thoughts.

He said, “Baby. Take deep breaths.”

I ignored him as I will whenever he gives me good advice.

“Oh my God,” I said. “Was there a zombie apocalypse? I totally should have gone to the panel at Conestoga about how to survive a zombie apocalypse. AND I AM IN AN AIRPORT! There are no weapons here. They don’t even have metal steak knives. Everything is plastic. How am I going to survive? Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”

The bodyguard hugged me, which is an effective way of making me stop talking. He is a smart bodyguard.

“Miss,” the airplane guy from UNITED said. “Can I help you?”

I looked up at him. His flesh did not seem to be decaying. 

“You aren’t a zombie, are you?” I asked.

He lifted an eyebrow. It didn’t fall off. I figured it was safe. 

I cautiously approached the counter wondering if I could throw my suitcase at him. BUT I DIDN’T HAVE TO! Instead of eating us, he told me that our flight to Chicago has been delayed for 500 hours. 

“But we have a connection,” I said.

“You have forty minutes to make it,” he said. He frowned. “If there are no more delays.”

FORTY MINUTES!

I had sudden images of being trapped in a Chicago airport surrounded by zombies and the bodyguard trying to fend them off. I decided this was vaguely sexy.

“Um,” I managed to say. “Is there a reason for the delay like – um – like – um – zombies?”

“Did you say zombies?” he asked.

I shook my head really fast.

“It’s weather related.” 

“Okay,” I say, “cool.” 

Because we now had four hours to waste in the Tulsa Airport. We did this super slow walk over to the security check-in where you get to take off your shoes and walk through the cool metal detector thing, which always reminds me of Star Trek and futuristic things because – well, because I am nerdy and live in Northern Maine where we don’t have a lot of futuristic things. We do have lobsters ….

And blueberries …

Which can be kind of scary actually.

The Land of TSA and Bodyguards

So, we get to the security part and still – THERE ARE ONLY TWO OTHER PEOPLE THERE. 

“We are totally in a Stephen King novel and almost everyone is dead,” I said to my bodyguard.

My bodyguard, however, didn’t hear me because he was stuck in the futuristic cool metal detector thing because he was made of metal or something and he was kind of big like bodyguards are supposed to be. 

I swallowed hard as TSA agents surrounded him. Were the TSA agents actually high-functioning zombies?

“Do not take my bodyguard!” I started to say. “I totally need him to — to — um — guard my body?”

The bodyguard smiled. They let him through. He puts his shoes back on.

Side note: May I just say that bodyguards in bare feet just aren’t as threatening? 

So, there were other people who have put their shoes back on. We all randomly roamed around a pretty empty concourse. I decided to go to the bathroom.

I am the kind of person who constantly thinks, “I am going to be in a ________(Fill in the blank. Car. Airplane. Deserted Wilderness. Bad theatrical production of GUYS AND DOLLS) for hours and I may never get to pee again. I should pee now.”

“I am going to try to pee,” I announced to my bodyguard. “If I don’t return, the zombies got me. Get back-up.”

The Lady In the Bathroom

And I headed to the restroom. But there was a woman with a badge there, blocking the door! The last time I was in Tulsa there was a woman security person blocking the door. It is like Groundhog Day mixed with a Stephen King novel now. 

“You can’t go in there,” she said. 

“Is it zombies?” I whispered.

“Go away weirdo,” she said. 

I went away. I suddenly had to pee a lot more. 

There was no place to pee in the Tulsa airport except the restrooms. Normally, this was a good thing. Not today. 

Police came. She let them in the bathroom. Firemen came. She let them in the bathroom. I wondered if they were there to help or to pee. After hours pass, they took a fragile-looking older lady out of the bathroom. They let us in. There were blue gloves and EMT type things all over the floor. It was scary looking. But there were no zombies. I started to worry a lot about the fragile-looking older lady. When I came out, I tell my body guard. 

“She’ll be okay,” he said in a very reassuring bodyguard way. 

I decided to believe him. 

“But will we be okay?” I asked.

“Of course.”

Getting on the Plane

This is because the bodyguard doesn’t worry the way I worry or think the way I think. He just knows, which is possibly why I married him eventually and we have an anniversary that I can never remember.

We boarded and it was the SMALLEST PLANE IN THE UNIVERSE! It was like a Playskool airplane and tall people had to sort of shuffle sideways down the aisle bent at the waist.

I was suddenly happy that I was not tall.

The happiness didn’t last though because the pilot said, “Um. Folks. The plane has been delayed another fifteen minutes. It’ll be that long before we take off.”

Fifteen minutes! 

We would never get our connection. I would be stuck in Chicago forever with zombies and just my bodyguard.

Bible College Girl

The girl in the seat behind me started murmuring. I thought she was praying. She said before that she went to Bible college so I was hopeful. The plane takes off! SCORE 1 for Bible College Girl.

But no – as we were landing, the back of my seat suddenly thrusted forward. I heard a funny coughing noise and Bible College Girl’s hair seemed to touch my hair through the crack between the seat and the airplane wall. Suddenly, there was a smell of parmesan cheese and eggs. It was NOT a good smell.

I gagged. 

I looked at my bodyguard who was reading. I make big eyes. He sniffed. He gagged.

Bible College Girl had upchucked all over the place. 

“Sean,” she whimpered to her seatmate, this cool young guy coming back from a wedding. “Um … Do you have anything I can wipe up with?”

He didn’t. 

There were no barf bag things. We were landing and the flight attendants were all sitting down. There was no way to clean up the mess. It was all in her hair. I gagged again. 

“I think I might throw up,” I said to my bodyguard.

“Do. Not. Throw. Up,” he said and put his massive bodyguard hand over my mouth and nose so that all I could smell was bodyguard-hand smell, which was much nicer than parmesan cheese-acid-egg throw-up smell. 


“It is in my hair?” I shrieked this but it came out all muffled because of the hand. “Is it in my hair too?”

“No,” he said after deciphering my mmphh mumpphhs. “I swear it is not in your hair.” 

We landed. The flight attendant came over. 

“Oh,” she said to Bible College Girl. “You poor dear.”

Bible College Girl said, “There were no bags.”

Flight attendent made scoffing noise and rushed off to get cleaning supplies.

“Bodyguard,” I said. “Are we going to be okay?”

“Yes,” he insisted and gagged. “We are going to be okay.”

We got off plane. Bible College Girl had now morphed into Throw-Up in Long Hair Girl. Satan has scored one for his team. Boo Satan!

THE SKIRT ISSUE

We got off the plane onto the tarmac in Chicago and we had to walk down these steps on this narrow staircase. But the problem was not that it was a super steep staircase. 

The problem was: I WAS WEARING A SKIRT! 

Anyway, there is a reason they call Chicago, “The Windy City.” 
This reason does not involve flatulence. 

Oh no,” I said to Mr. Bodyguard aka my seat mate. “Will you hold my bag?”


“Sure,” he said as all nice bodyguards do. “Why?”


“Um ….” I coughed. I stuttered. I ended up pointing at my flouncy skirt. This same flouncy skirt made me get patted down by a TSA officer in Manchester, NH. She said I could hide things in there.

Let me tell you: I needed more than two hands to hold that baby down. 

So, once down on the ground, I grabbed my bag back and sprinted across the tarmac towards the airport terminal. 
“My skirt!” I explained. “I only have (gasp!) thirty minutes to get to my next flight. ARE WE GOING TO BE OKAY?”

Mr. Body Guard nodded. He had to wait for his carry-on luggage, which became carry-under luggage during the flight. 


I sprinted to the terminal. Bible College Girl With the Vomit Hair (as she is now known even to her mother) sprinted behind me. I held the door for her so she wouldn’t touch it and spread germs and then scooted inside, holding my breath so I didn’t have to actually smell her and become Writing Person with the Weak Stomach and Vomit Hair of Her Own.

Inside the building were masses of people waiting for some delayed planes, more masses of people were in a customer service line complaining.

There was no easy path through the sea of people and luggage. I am not super tall or big. I could not push my way through.

“Excuse me!” I yelled. “I need to get through.”


Nobody moved.
“Excuse me! Zombie attack!” I yelled.


Nobody moved.


“Excuse me! Brad Pitt! Oh my God. Is that Brad Pitt getting off that plane?” I yelled.

Everyone rushed to the window screaming.


I took my clear path and dashed up the escalator looking for the screen that would tell me where the next flight is. 
 

I gasped.
It was not good.

Our flight was in C terminal (at the end of it). I was in F terminal (at the end of it). We had a mere twenty minutes to get there.  Could Mr. Bodyguard sprint that far carrying me in less that 20 minutes? Wait! Where was Mr. Bodyguard? 

 I had lost Mr. Body Guard in a sea of carryon luggage and zombie humans

I looked around frantically. Mr. Bodyguard was nowhere! I was a lowly writer without a bodyguard.

Screaming,  I went down the escalator I just came up. Mr. Body Guard was going up the escalator. We were on different escalators separated by a divider thingy. 

“Mr. Body Guard!” I screamed waving frantically at him. “Our flight is  42 miles away! And we have 20 minutes! And I am going the wrong way on the escalator!”

Mr. Bodyguard assesses the situation and reached over the escalator divider and yanked me up and over. I was now heading in the right direction.

“We are going to have to run,” Mr. Body Guard said.
“Run!” I gasped. “Like Whitney and Kevin Costner in that movie? About the bodyguard?”

“No.” He shook his head and grabbed my hand. “And please stop talking about that movie. I hate that movie! And that song! No, I meant like in the tv show CHUCK when there’s about to be an explosion. And if they don’t run they will explode into tiny little body parts and not even their teeth will be whole.”

And right then I realized that Mr. Bodyguard was not actually all that different from me.

“Got it,” I said, clutching his hand getting ready to run. “Are we going to be alright?”

“Yes, baby.” He smiled even as I cringed and he kissed me before adding. “It will always be alright.”

So, happy anniversary to my more stable, stronger half, the man who gives everything to take care of his girls, who steps into the role of full-time dad and anxiety coach with ease. It’s hard to imagine anyone else I could ever feel safer with or love any more. That’s because there isn’t anyone. Sometimes we both suck because we’re human, but there’s nobody I’d rather go on adventure with, fight against the zombies with, or make a podcast and life together.



Other News

Hey! Ballsy is sponsoring our podcasts this week and it is an awesome company. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 


The link to our episode

Our last regular episode.


Big News!

I just publish eda super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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 order it here. Please, please, order 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.


Banff, Beer, Balls, and Going to the Dark Side, Baby

Banff, Beer, Balls, and Going to the Dark Side, Baby

 
 
00:00 / 00:19:36
 
1X
 

We have a bonus podcast this week and it has swears in it and some adult content, so we’re going to give it an explicit rating even though it’s not super explicit. We’re just chill like that.

The bonus podcast features:

  1. Shaun lying
  2. Banff Film Festival!
  3. Carrie talking about third grader writers. Note: They have their characters rip their own hearts out in stories.
  4. The fact that the word ‘fart’ is a terribly ugly word and Carrie never quote-unquote ‘rips one.’
  5. Bud-Lite

We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy.

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set.

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

The link to our episode.

Our last regular episode.