Top Five Ways To Channel Your Inner Cat and Get What You Want. 

So, a lot of times when I’m talking to other writers, they tell me that they are full of fear.

I’ve been a firefighter and a dispatcher and a gymnastics instructor and I’ve got to tell you that on a really fundamental life level, writing isn’t as scary as those things. You don’t usually die from typing. I mean, someone could put poison on the keyboard, but that’s pretty rare.

But the thing is that writing is scary because it makes you vulnerable. Communicating is an act of openness. Art is an act of sharing. The potential rejection and judgement that comes from that? It can be scary.

But we want it anyways, us writers. We want it so badly. We want to be published. We want to share our stories.

And that takes an act of bravery, of fierceness.

All of life takes that, really.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the world what you want.

So, I’ve solicited Marsie to help us with the Top Five Ways To Channel Your Inner Cat and Get What You Want In Your Writing Career and Regular Life.

Whew. That was long.

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  1. Tell People You Want Something – It feels pretty alpha, but it’s true. If you want people to pick you up and place you near your cat food, you have to meow at them. Marsie is an expert in this. She has me trained. You can do this, too. Ask people to like your blog, to subscribe, to share. Ask people to buy or read or talk about your book. Some people like to help you. Those people are good people.
  2. Don’t Apologize – Cats do not say sorry for their wants. Neither should you. Full disclaimer: I have no idea how to do this. Sorry. SEE! I just did it!
  3. When People Give You Things Be Cool With It – Does the cat turn down the cat nip? No. The cat does not. Why? Because she knows she deserve to get what she wants. You do too. You deserve good things. You deserve blog readers, book readers, gentle pats on the head. You’ve worked for it.
  4. Don’t Give Up – If you don’t give Marsie food when she first meows at you, does she give up? No. No she doesn’t. Cats ask and ask and ask and demand for what they want. So should you. Keep working on your story, your life, your goal. Don’t give up because someone doesn’t hear you meowing. Make yourself heard. Meow loud.
  5. Meow Loud – Really. Writers and a lot of us introverts and those of who have been oppressed or traumatized we aren’t seen. It’s okay to claim your space. Seriously. Meow loud.

For me? The hard asks are these right now: 

  1. Could you please LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my blog and podcast?
  2. Could you spread the word about them if you get the chance?
  3. Could you leave positive reviews if you’ve liked my books?

That’s about it. It’s easy to make this author happy.

APPEARANCES

I’ll be hanging out at the launch of THINGS WE HAVEN’T SAID on March 15th and having  a panel discussion with editor Erin Moulton, Aaluk Edwardson and Ella Andrews at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, NH. 7pm!

“How to describe the feeling of not being believed? It is the feeling of disappearing.” -Stephanie Oakes

PODCAST AND BOOK NEWS!

My nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg, the pro ball player who became a spy,  is still coming out March 1 and I’m super psyched about it. You can preorder it. 

The Spy Who Played Baseball

In my big writing news, the podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, is live!

My Post

LIVE!

Please go leave a comment, or a review, and pretend to listen, because I’ve been freaking out about this so hard. It’s on iTunes and Stitcher and Castos at the moment and the RSS feed is also here. The feed has bonus material and free things. It’ll be on GooglePlay if I can ever get the screen to validate to not be just a big webpage of blankness.

Marsie the Cat and the Evil Necklace of Tangles

So much joy comes from just exploration, of touching the shiny things, of creating something bizarre like an ice carousel, of doing what you’ve never done before.

 Marsie the Cat: Human, you aren’t going to post about me getting my claw tangled in your Evil Necklace of Tangles are you?

Me: 

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Marsie: Seriously?

Me: Yeah, but it’s good, I promise!

Marsie: Do I come off like an idiot? Will the dogs make fun of me after I read it?

Me: You’re worried about the judgement of creatures that try to eat your poop, Marsie. Think about that.

Marsie: You’re so right, human. Blog away! But make me look awesome.

 

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So, yesterday Marsie saw a necklace that I’d just untangled and left on the table. Marsie thought something like, “Oh, bright! I must touch it.”

Her claw got snared in the necklace.

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There was about 30 seconds of cat panic and then both Marsie and the necklace fell on the floor. Marsie was TOTALLY okay. The necklace managed to re-tangle itself because that’s necklaces do.

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The dogs watched the whole thing and Marsie did the Cat-Blow-Off-Thing where you could tell she was super embarrassed and was trying to pretend nothing happened at all, but I was like, “Marsie, you are so cool!”

And the reason I though that – other than ALL cats are cool – was that she saw something shiny and she just went for it. She was brave.

This weekend, my friends made an ice carousel on a pond. They hauled out a hammock, a fire pit, a whole bunch of stuff, and had a party. Kids skated. Adults skated. People laughed and connected and there was community going on – this beautiful sharing of story and emotion and also crazy fun.

There’s a lot of risk involved in this.

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  1. It’s a party and there is always a risk that nobody will show.
  2. They used chainsaws and cut the ice.
  3. It’s ICE! You can fall through that and die. This little cutie fell in the crack, but luckily his human was right there and snatched him out like a hero human. He is absolutely okay. Don’t worry!

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4. It’s ICE! You can slip and break things.

But it was amazing and fun and joyous and nobody got hurt. See Thom and Nicole? They look joyous and unhurt!

IMG_0043And all of this, plus Marsie’s interaction with the NECKLACE OF EVIL TANGLES, made me realize that so much joy comes from just exploration, of touching the shiny things, of creating something bizarre like an ice carousel, of doing what you’ve never done before.

I hope that you all get the chance to do something amazing and new this week.

Writing Prompt: 

Write about something you’re character is afraid to try.

Life Prompt:

How can you do something new this week?

Random website link is herewww.carriejonesbooks.com 

Where the podcast will be is here! 

The Spy Who Played Baseball Preorder Link   

 

 

Marsie’s Monday Motivation – Be Vulnerable and Ignore the Dogs

Marsie the Cat: Let’s talk about fear, human.

Me: Again?

Marsie: Yes. Again.

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Me: I’m just afraid of so much stuff.

Marsie: You’re afraid of failing, of being vulnerable, of exposing yourself to the world, am I write? Or worse – What if nobody even notices you?

Me: 

Marsie: 

Me: How do you know so much?

Marsie: I am a cat. Therefore, I know all things. Plus, I know about fear. But I don’t care. I live my life. Look at this photo. I am on the dog bed and right there – it is the evidence that the dogs destroy things! That was a perfectly good owl toy and it is dead now. That dog has jaws of steel and could eat me in a second for daring to be on her bed. But do I care? No! I still claim the dog bed. You, human, need to claim the dog bed.

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Marsie doesn’t understand that sometimes it’s hard to claim the dog bed. I wrote about this on Instagram yesterday because I was thinking about my grandmother.

She wrote so many poems and made so many paintings that she never let anyone see.

She couldn’t handle the scorn. But she couldn’t NOT create things.
She was afraid of the ocean, thought it was this massive, beautiful deadly force.

Men can be like that too sometimes, she told me. I don’t know why we are expected to be so strong. Why must we be so strong and vulnerable?

I was like ten when she asked me that so I didn’t have an answer.

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This painting is inspired by one of her paintings that she left unfinished. I don’t know if she had copied the original or if it was her own, but the woman walking across a realistic earth, approaching the sea all huddled and afraid and then reaching out for the unreal sky makes me think of her. Afraid but reaching out.

I am not an artist. I have absolutely no training at all except for a high school art class, but all I want to do is paint.

I am not a great philosopher, but still I’m compelled to share what I think.

I sound like a muppet and slur my s’s, but still I’m making a podcast and I’m in charge of a really intensive online writing class that forces me to talk on video to 12 people every month. And the whole time I think – I am so afraid to do this. People will hear my voice and laugh (not in a good way).

All these things scare me so much.

And every time I write a book, I think: 

What if nobody reads it?

What if nobody likes it?

But life and creating is all about vulnerability. It’s about saying yes to experiences even though it’s so scary. Yes, just writing a blog post is scary to me because it’s vulnerable.

What is it that makes you vulnerable? 

What is it that makes you scared to say ‘yes’ to things? 

Because here’s the thing: You are enough. You are good enough and real enough and authentic. Your story matters. And if other people don’t see it? Their loss. What matters is that YOU see it.

I’m totally trying to work on this right now. Seriously, all my tweets are about it. The podcast that’s premiering in February is about it.

I hope you’ll work on it with me.

Random website link is here – www.carriejonesbooks.com

Spilling My Guts All Over the Page – Marsie Motivation Monday

So, it’s Monday and I kind of have a hell week, but Marsie the Cat is all about motivation and I spent a lot of time this weekend reflecting about the things I want to do and why I haven’t done them yet.

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Marsie: Get to the point, human.

Me: I’m trying.

Marsie: It’s slow going here. Nobody is going to read this.

Me: 

Marsie: What?

Me: Bingo!

Marsie: Bingo? Seriously, humans make no sense.

Me: But I make total sense to me.  I’ve been thinking about trying a lot of things. I thought about them all last year. But I’m afraid nobody will notice, or read it, or care.

Marsie: And you haven’t done anything because you’re too scared to, right?

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Me: Bingo again. Freaking-a, cat. Why are you so smart?

Marsie: Because I’m a cat.  I am smart and fearless. You need to channel your inner feline. I’m not afraid to make a podcast. I’m not afraid to start a business. I’m not afraid to quit things that make me cranky. I just quit them.

Me: 

Marsie: Seriously, what are you afraid of?

Me: Sucking. I’m afraid of sucking.

Marsie: Well, I can’t relate to that because I’m a cat and we never suck. We leave that for dogs, but. . . Why are you afraid of sucking? What is the worst that will happen?

Me: People will say I suck? I go bankrupt? I. . . I’m not sure. I think it’s the bankrupt part that freaks me out because I grew up poor. Plus, um…. public humiliation is usually never fun unless you’re into that.

Marsie: Look. Cats have no money. Yet, we get fed. We have a place to sleep. We have friends when we feel like having them and not just ignoring them.  We don’t care if people mock us because we are confident in our own awesome. You must channel your inner cat. No offense, human, but you’re getting old. You have to hurry it up.

Me: 

Marsie: 

Me: I’m not sure if you’re trying to make me feel better or worse.

Marsie: It’s not about better or worse. It’s about truth.

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What I am Afraid to Do: 

So, one of the things I’m afraid to do is share stories or any of my writing that hasn’t been traditionally published yet. But, um, this link is going to send you to a pdf file of a short story that is actually part of a bigger novel I’m working on. The bigger novel follows multiple women in one family. Their ages range from six to 65. This excerpt is self-contained and is the six-year-old’s story.

If you read it and don’t hate it, can you please tell me? Because if you haven’t figured it out by now I am (whispers) terrifically insecure. 🙂

Also, I created a bit of a view book of all my published books. It’s here. 

And thanks, as always, for reading this. Go out there and do massive good in this world! Face your fears! Sing out your story and make that story the one you want to live. I believe in you so much.

And if you want to help me out and can’t afford to buy one of my books right now, you can still help me by:

  1. Sharing this post or at least liking it.
  2. Posting about my books, so other people can know about them.
  3. Signing up as a blog follower or on my email list.
  4. Just being a good person who tries.
  5. Singing out your own story. Be fearless with me. We can do this. The world needs you and your story.

The Spy Who Played Baseball

Book winners! 

Hey! Thanks to everyone who commented on Friday’s blog. I appreciate it so much and I kind of feel like you all did it just to be kind to me. Thank you for being so kind.

So, I made Sparty the Dog pick three winners instead of just one.

If your name is below, please send me (only if you feel comfortable) your mailing address and tell me if you’d rather have a middle grade novel or young adult novel with the SPY WHO PLAYED BASEBALL. And… send your mailing address to carriejonesbooks at gmail with the dot before the com.

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Sparty the Dog: I have to pick the winners? It’s so much pressure!

Me: I know, buddy. I know. That’s why I’m making you do it. Hold on to Mr. Penguin and we can get through it.

Congratulations to commenters:

Heather Lonkard!

Patty Dupre!

Megan (of no last name)!

Monday Motivation By Marsie, New Year’s Edition

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I am not the kind of person who likes to look back at the year or look forward at the new year.

I’m not sure why that is.

It’s probably because I’m really good at worst-case scenarios and not so awesome at best-case scenarios.

 

Yesterday, the last day of 2017 (the no-good, terrible year), I was in the grocery store line and the cashier said something nice about me making a good meal for my man and how cute we are together and then she said, “You’re best buddies. Best buddies forever. Me and my… ” Her voice caught on grief. “We were like that.”

And my heart broke right there.

And I said, “C–, your breaking my heart and you’re working and I can’t get over there on the other side of the belt and hug you because you’re working.”

The bagger girl looked away. I don’t think she’s good with emotion.

But C– just smiled at me and said, “It’s okay. It’s okay. I have a new man in my life and he’s so sweet to me and he showed up just when I needed him and my J–, I think he sent him to me.”

Her J — is her long-time, forever buddy, her husband who died.

So, I basically emoted all over the place while she rung up my crackers and I was like, “C–! You are killing me. I’m crying because I’m sad. I’m crying because I’m happy for you. I’m crying because you’re so beautiful. And this is all… it’s all so… It’s poignant.”

She laughed.

The bagger kept looking away.

And when I walked out of the grocery store, this person I don’t know, he touched my elbow to make me stop my mad-fast hustle to the car. It was -2 out. It was cold.

The guy who was all bundled up and wearing some Carhartt’s said, “You know. When you have a heart as open as yours, it’s going to hurt sometimes.”

And I said, brilliantly, “Oh.”

“It’s worth it,” he said. “Do good out there, Carrie. Do good.”

I was a little freaked out, but I thanked him, got to my car and sat there and just stared at this parking lot and the people rushing through the cold, and the grayness that seems to sometimes overwhelm everything during winter and my heart got so full that I started emoting everywhere again because that random Carhartt-wearing man took time out of his day to talk to me. He stopped in the cold to talk to me.

This guy knew my name somehow, but bigger than that? This guy knows about hearts.

So, here’s the thing – there are gifts out there (big gifts and little ones) and they can come from the weirdest places. They’re connections. They’re motivations. They are these tiny times where you get to see inside other people’s minds and hearts. Savor them this year. Try to dwell on those good things as much as we all dwell on the bad. And let both the good and the bad inspire you to make a difference in your own life and maybe even other people’s lives (big ways and little ways).

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Thank you all for everything you’ve done for me this year. You’ve listened to me about my Scotty Dog’s death, my daughter’s transition from Harvard graduate to the U.S. Army Second Lt..  You’ve celebrated with me about book stuff and you’ve mourned with me when Don died. You haven’t mocked me too hard because Grover (the muppet) is my internal cheerleader and John Wayne (dead cowboy movie star) is my internal editor. Some of you have bought my books. On social media, so many of you have been so kind over and over. And you haven’t unsubscribed to my newsletter. That’s such a big deal to me.

Thank you.

I really appreciate how kind and giving you’ve all been and if I write any more I’ll start crying. And there’s no random stranger guy here to make me feel better.

Darn.

Happy 2018! Make it yours! Make it ours. Let’s support each other all year long. It’s community that builds strength. Let’s be one together.

Random Writing Stuff

Here are the books I have coming out this year.

The Spy Who Played Baseball

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a nonfiction picture book.

Timestoppers3_005

Escape From the Badlands is the last book in the Time Stoppers series.

And don’t forget about the awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn class that they’ve let me be in charge of!

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