My husband Shaun just showed me a video he took of me when we were in Belize on a wheelchair project with Rotary International a few years ago. It was during an absolutely terrible time in my life.

But on the video, I’m swimming with some sharks in the warm water, thrilled. In another one, I’m at a restaurant laughing at the amazingly beautiful dessert I’m about to eat.

I’m happy.

“This time sucked for you,” Shaun said as hunkered over the laptop screen, watching. “But look at how happy you are.”

“I’m pretty resilient,” I said.

The reason I’m resilient is because I know exactly who I am.

My daughter Em said on Thanksgiving, “Last summer was a bad time for you. I was a little worried.”

“It was. But I bounced back,” I told her.

Litany of Terrible Things Paragraph

Like a lot of other people, some terrible things have happened to me in my life and I’m not the most prime physical specimen. I have to wear knee braces to hike or run. I have no depth perception, epilepsy caused from a virus that a rapist gave me, constant shoulder pain. I’ve seen a lot of people die in person. I have no parents or grandparents left.

Enough of That

But there’s a reason I bounce back and can usually find my happy place again. It isn’t because I’m awesome or special in any way that is different from anyone else.

Why Do I Always Find My Happy Again?

It’s because I know who I am. My values and beliefs? They are so strong that they can be pretty damn annoying, honestly.

Let me rephrase that: I can be pretty damn annoying, honestly.

No Pretending

I don’t know how to be who I’m not. I don’t pretend on social media and I don’t pretend in real life.

Live In The Moment

I live in the moment, every single moment, and occasionally worry obsessively about money or the health of the people I love or the state of the world, but when I do? It’s always a worry consistent with my values and beliefs.

That’s the secret.

We can’t wait for something huge to happen and shake us out of the monotony of our lives or our selves, to make us evolve into someone who will behave in a way that actually reflects their values.

We have to put in the work every day.

And sometimes (Okay, a lot of the times) I screw up and when I do?

I get sad and disappointed in myself.

And sometimes the people I love screw up and when they do?

I get sad and a little disappointed but then I forgive them.

Why? Because that’s one of my values: forgiveness.

And that forgiveness that we give to other people? It has to extend to ourselves.

Your Values And Actions And Happiness Are Connected

Your values have to dictate your actions if you’re going to be happy. That’s going to annoy some people in your family or your coworkers or your friends. But there’s no other way. To be happy, you have to live the way you think matters, you have to hold onto your integrity.

It matters.

You matter.

And so does your happiness.





And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here.

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

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How to Be A HAPPY writer, Big Foot, Statues that Pee

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. 


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


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.


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.


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.

How to Be Happier Writers, Dogs, and People and A Little Talk about Cat Butts

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How to Be Happier Writers, Dogs, and People and A Little Talk about Cat Butts

How can we make our organizations and ourselves happy? 

We talk about this ALL THE TIME in our house. To be fair we also talk about expelling gas out the rectum and cookie recipes, but happiness gets mentioned a lot.

We like to think of this, which Will Durant wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do.”

Humans are pattern seekers, but sometimes those patterns aren’t helpful ones. We fall into our default patterns; they become like well-used highways, constantly-used routes to our thinking. Our brains are like mechanical devices, wired for efficiency and for those learned patterns. 

How many of us get up, make coffee, go out and exercise, come back drink our coffee, go to work via the same road, every day – or some pattern like that. We’re wired for efficiency. We’ve learned the pattern.

But the cool thing about our brains is that we can rewire them. 

The currency of the media, social media, blog posts makes it that news is attention. And negative news gets a lot of attention. Threats get attention more than positive stories and inspiration. Or do they? 

The more entrenched in our lives and our organizations and our networks that we become, the less we see the need for new patterns.

But we need are inspired evangelists.  What we need is growth and change in our lives and in our writing.


Go write somewhere new. Seriously. If you are able-bodied, get up and go write somewhere besides your normal desk or coffee house or library. Switch it up.


Routines are important for dogs, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t get bored. Let your dog stop to sniff an interesting bush. Let yourself stop to notice an interesting tree. Add in 15 minutes to your schedule to allow yourself some room to discover and roam.

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.


Shaun was painting the walls in a super small room right before recording the podcast. You can tell.

Help Us and Do An Awesome Good Deed

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. 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!


Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.



I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

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You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy


The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.

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Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them hereor anywhere.

31702754 copy


I offer solo writing coach services. For more about my individual coaching, click here.

I am super psyched to be teaching the six-month long Write. Submit. Support. class at the Writing Barn


So are you looking for a group to support you in your writing process and help set achievable goals? Are you looking for the feedback and connections that could potentially lead you to that book deal you’ve been working towards?

Our Write. Submit. Support. (WSS) six-month ONLINE course offers structure and support not only to your writing lives and the manuscripts at hand, but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors.

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Past Write. Submit. Support. students have gone on to receive representation from literary agents across the country. View one of our most recent success stories here