Shaun Takes Over the Blog: Hunt and Peck Method

I believe that the stories that come from the heart are always the best ones!

            I don’t know what the productivity rate of the average author is, but in this house, it is high. Real high!

Not from me of course. You can’t possibly be productive when, no matter how much you type, you absolutely refuse to give up the two-finger hunt-and-peck method. Well, I actually use three fingers because I use my right thumb to hit the space bar as I use both of my middle fingers to find the appropriate letters. Carrie says that I am a pretty fast hunter and pecker, but when I watch her type, I am convinced that my method is the inferior one.

            Hardly any of that has anything to do with my point though, so please forgive me.

My point is that Carrie is always working on more than one book (of her own making) at any given moment. I am usually tasked with helping her edit her works at some point in time. My reading skills are far superior to my typing skills, and I love helping her out because then we can talk further about other aspects of her books and I get to read them before they are actually printed.

At this very moment, I have chapters from three different books of hers on my desk awaiting my attention as soon as I am done hunting and pecking this out. One of the books has been submitted to her agent and she is doing recommended edits on that, the second one will be self-published and she has not decided which route to go with the third.

            Part of my point is this; it doesn’t matter how much you produce or how many times you read your own manuscript (No matter what kind of superior editor you think you are.) you will always miss some of your own mistakes. It really pays to hire someone to edit your work for you! Of course, you must edit it yourself first, but I would always advise an author to employ an editor, even if it is someone who you are paying with home-cooked meals or similar wages.

            This is especially true if you decide to self-publish your work.

Carrie and I have been purchasing a lot of self-published books lately. She loves to support other authors, and while some are very well edited and formatted, some are definitely disappointing. You work very hard on making your masterpiece come together, shouldn’t you see it through to the very end and produce a book to be proud of for more than just the amazing words that are on the paper? So, this is where I make my shameless plug for Carrie. Not only does she offer editing for other authors (I never touch a paying customer’s work, I promise!), but she can format your self-published book and help you to be a better author. You can find information about all of the professional she offers at Or at the links below.

            Now that I have done my professional and husbandly duties (which I truly love doing), let me say that everyone has a story to tell and those of you that take the time to try and capture it in some medium deserve mad respect!

Let me also say that if you are writing because you want to make bags full of money, I can very much appreciate that, however, you may want to first concentrate on telling your story in the most heartfelt way possible. I believe that the stories that come from the heart are always the best ones!

Follow your heart and have a most incredible week, people!





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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 thrillers The People Who Kill
The people who kill

It’s my book! It came out June 1! Boo-yah! Another one comes out July 1.

And that one is called  THOSE WHO SURVIVED, which is the first book in the the DUDE GOODFEATHER series.  I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it!

The Dude Goodfeather Series - YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones
The Dude Goodfeather Series – YA mystery by NYT bestseller Carrie Jones


Revising a Book Is Sort of Like Hell, Basically, So Take Care of Yourself

Back in 2009, I had just finished the revision of CAPTIVATE (sequel to NEED), and after I happy danced, I pretty much passed out.

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The revision of that book was the hardest revision I ever had to do, basically because during that revision I had to work my brain really hard and I was still pretty new to writing novels.


1. I cut about 40,000 words in two-revision passes.
2. I added about 20,000 more words.
3. I lost all word retrieval skills.
4. I  called everyone I saw BABY  because that was the only word I could retrieve.

5. I lost one friend who didn’t like that I called him BABY and failed to call him back 8,0000 times.
6. I gained three more friends who were into the whole BABY thing.
7. I wondered why I was a writer 74 times (a day).

My whole life went on hold I made lists like this:

Tomorrow I will have to:

1. Call my father who thinks I don’t love him anymore and doesn’t understand that I can’t talk to him in the middle of work when he always talks for at least an hour and it totally ruins my ability to think.

2. Email my mother who is much more understanding.

3. Do push-ups.

4. Pass out again.

5. Reply to blog comments.

Yes, that’s how bad it was. I put ‘pass out’ on my list of things to do.

Revision can be tough especially when there’s a whole lot of pressure on you. To be the best writer and person you can be, you have to take care of yourself, not just your book.

So here are some tips on how to stay healthy while revising

Get Some Sleep

I know! I know! Writers are supposed to write until they are slumped over their desk and drooling on their keyboard, but this is not actually healthy!

Your brain becomes less efficient the more it needs sleep. So no all-nighters, writing friends.

Have Healthy Snacks, Not Sugary Ones.

Sugar makes you fluctuate between big highs and lows. Nobody wants that.

Stand Up A Lot

Sitting at the desk forever isn’t good for you. Stand up and work whenever you can or at least take breaks from the sitting.

Get Exercise

This is right there with not sitting at your desk all the time, but I made it two separate points. If you take the time to work out before you do your actual writing work, it helps keep you focused and awake.

Drink Water

Dehydrated writers are writers who faint. Fainting is romantic in books, but in real life it leads to concussions. Concussions lead to missed deadlines. Nobody wants that.

Do Good Wednesday

Be a kindness ambassador. I know! I know! It sounds corny, but I’m so super serious. Leave a note, a present, anonymously somewhere in your town or school for someone specific or anyone at all.

Need a specific idea on how to do this? There used to be a blog called Secret Agent L (I think) where the person in charge of the blog went around their town doing this sort of thing. It was cool.

The link is here.

Random Marketing and Book Things Since I am an Author and Need To Make Money.


My nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg, the pro ball player who became a spy was all official on March 1 and I’m super psyched about it. You can order it!

Kirkus Review says:   A captivating true story of a spy, secret hero, and baseball player too.

The Spy Who Played Baseball








The podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, has a new podcast that came out Tuesday. All the episodes links are on this page.

This podcast is weird, quirky, and totally authentic. I mean, you can tell we are goofy people just trying to share some writing tips and life tips and we are not sitting in the NPR studio. I mean look at us. We’re total dorks.

And finally, I made a little video for my TIME STOPPERS books.

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

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