Assumptions Suck in Books and in Real Life

Loving yourself and loving your way through it has a lot to do with forgiveness, but it’s okay to sometimes struggle with the concept of forgiveness, whether it’s about forgiving yourself or other people.

My husband is a tall, rugged white man. People look at him and assume that he played football, not just in high school, but college. Sometimes they assume he was pro.

            Those assumptions don’t stigmatize him, but that’s because he’s pretty lucky.

            We aren’t all that lucky all the time.

            But it’s important to look beyond people’s outsides and not make assumptions or to give advice like it’s absolute edicts. We all live in slightly different bubbles with different backgrounds and sometimes those worlds aren’t going to jive or mesh or even make sense.

When I was talking to him about some editing work I was doing on a self-help book, he looked at me and asked, “It must be nice for these people to be able to have the time and money to run off to a yoga or meditation retreat for three weeks.”

“I know, right?”

“Does this person think everyone can do this?”

“Kind of.”

            Both of us come from poor even though we aren’t poor now. Our parents were hard-working and our mothers were mostly single, but they didn’t have the ability to move beyond their economic brackets. His mom was derailed by lupus. Mine was derailed by diabetes and some bad decisions.

            The point is that both of them would have loved to have spa days and meditation and yoga retreats, chances to pamper their minds and bodies. But they were too busy surviving to find the money to spend on that.

            There are a lot of people posting Medium articles and blogs about how to balance work and life. They are often written by single guys in their late twenties. And it seems like they have it all figured out.

            And I hope that they do because that would be wonderful for them.

            But here’s the thing: Nobody else’s journey and circumstances are going to 100 percent work for you.

            Here’s another thing: Even your own methods and journey aren’t going to work for you 100 percent of the time.

            That’s okay.

            There’s no one path to love, to happiness, to success, or even to publishing a book, let alone writing it. There’s no one way that we are supposed to be. You’ve got to embrace that, embrace who you are and persevere.

Loving yourself and loving your way through it has a lot to do with forgiveness, but it’s okay to sometimes struggle with the concept of forgiveness, whether it’s about forgiving yourself or other people.

            It’s really good to try not to force other people to prescribe to your timetables about forgiveness. We all move at different speeds. That’s okay. We need to give ourselves and other people the space to determine their own damn pace.

            It’s important for us all to remember that our advice might not work for everyone and give space to our assumptions that it will. Not everyone who looks like a football player was a football player. Not everyone can practice self-care via a three-week meditation retreat. It’s okay. We are all okay.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.


NEW BOOK ALERT!

My little novella (It’s spare. It’s sad) is out and it’s just $1,99. It is a book of my heart and I am so worried about it, honestly.

There’s a bit more about it here.

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

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

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

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

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

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

Love Your Way Through It

Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

It’s really easy to get all wrapped up in status and ambition, to fall into the syndrome where you think the grass is always greener everywhere except your lawn, to be jealous at other people’s accolades or family’s or looks or luck.

            Shakespeare said that comparisons are odious. And that long-dead white guy was right.

            Comparisons make you feel like poop.

            I know that a lot of people try to make themselves feel better by comparing themself to others and find the others lesser.

I’ve had people do it to me all my life. I bet you have, too.

My husband before Shaun was a hospital CEO in a small, local hospital. I was volunteering to decorate for one of the hospital’s two annual fundraisers. I was up on a ladder wearing my favorite Snoopy shoes and jeans, hardly hospital CEO wife clothes, but good stuff for climbing ladders, hauling tables and putting out poinsettias.

My hair was its natural color and in a lopsided ponytail. I had no make-up on.

I’ll never forget these two wealthy ladies about two decades older than me loudly saying, “What does he see in her?”

            I tottered on the ladder a bit and the person helping me knew that I heard. It would have been impossible not to hear.

            “Don’t listen to them. They have miserable small lives and they’re jealous. Just jealous shrews,” the helper said.

            She might have been right, but it didn’t matter right that second.

I heard their words and for a moment they hurt me, but then I just felt so sad for them. How lonely their lives must be if they had to say that about me. How sad.

All I could do was love them when I thought about the hurt that they must have had inside of their hearts.

            Neither of those women probably even remember that moment, but I do, and I also remember that I made a choice.

            I could have luxuriated in that hurt instead of acknowledging it, seeing it, and then letting it pass through me.

            I could have lashed out at them and matched their pettiness with my own.

            But instead I chose empathy. I had the luxury and safety of doing that because I’m secretly pretty secure in who I am. I love myself even when I suck. I chose to love them when they sucked, too.

            A translation of Dhammapada verse 223 makes it so that  Buddha once roughly said, “Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.”

Some translations use ‘overpower’ rather than ‘silence.’

Overpower the angry man with love.

            Love your way through it.

            Compassion and empathy makes you stronger. You don’t need to walk through this world with a big stick, scream from a bully pulpit or sermonize with fear. Empathy and kindness for even those who hurt you—or those who try to hurt you—only makes you stronger.

Let’s all be strong together, okay?


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast 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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 255,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

Never Give Up on Writing, Your Community or Your Self.

I was born way after Martin Luther King Jr was killed.

But when I was a kid, a holiday in his honor was signed into law by Ronald Regan, who was pretty much forced into it by a veto-proof Congressional backing. (338 – 90 in the House; 78 – 22 in the Senate)

That was in 1983.

In 1986 it became an official holiday.

But not everywhere.
Not in New Hampshire where I was growing up.

N.H. tried VERY hard to not observe the holiday. So did other states. When I was a kid, I was part of the Martin Luther King Day Coalition.

The goal of the group was to have N.H. recognize the holiday. We had a lot of potlucks, a lot of lobbying, a lot of information collated. I licked a lot of envelopes.

It seemed ridiculous that in the 1980s people had to work so hard to get some states to do what was right: to recognize the contributions towards civil rights and human rights that one man gave his life for.

But they eventually did it.

South Carolina even eventually did it in 2000.

And people are still working really hard towards civil rights and human rights even during a pandemic. People out there are working, thinking, learning, exploring. People are confronting bigotries in themselves and in their workplaces or families or books.

And some aren’t.

Martin Luther King Jr. did a heck of a lot to make this country a better place, a place where one day, hopefully, race or nationality or gender or religion or sexuality won’t determine a person’s worth, won’t determine a person’s wage, won’t determine a person’s rights.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that in certain things we’ve come a long way. We still have such a way to go, but … that man, the people who worked with him, the people who worked with those same goals and who do work with those same goals in 2021, they are all my heroes.

One day to honor that sacrifice, that drive, that push towards equity and fairness isn’t much. One day is tiny compared to what they did and what some people are doing right now.


My thanks goes out to all of them. And if you’re reading this? My thanks goes out to you, too.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for existing. I hope you have the space and safety to fill your lives (and others) with hope and love.


There are so many ways to never give up, to persist, to create change in yourself and in your community. For a lot of us writers, it’s really hard to keep writing in such a subjective field with so many gatekeepers everywhere, but it’s also really important to not give up. Not if you want to make change. Not if you want your story to be out there.

Don’t give up. Okay? Your stories need to be told.



HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast 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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 255,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

Be Brave Friday – Sometimes It’s Hard to Spread Love – Do It Anyway

Every week day on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, I post something from my dogs (Gabby and Sparty) or my cats (Marsie, Cloud, and Koko).

I often wonder if there’s a point or if I’m just annoying everyone I know (and don’t) who follow me on social media.


I often think about how I give my thoughts and words to my dogs and cats because it’s the only way I can feel brave enough to say how I feel.


Every once in a while someone will get cranky with me about them, send me a private message and deride me because I still believe in love and goodness and hope.

“Who are you,” they’ll ask, “to believe such things. To share them with the world like you’re so smart or some sort of goody-goody.”


But every once in a while, someone will give me the most beautiful gift, an act of grace, a surprise, and I will cry because I am so stunned and lucky and grateful and relieved that there are so many good people out there.

Those reminders are so important especially when everything seems to be falling apart or actually is falling apart.


In just this past month, Cheryl Rainfield and Richard Small gave me those moments. And I felt so lucky.

This time it was Nora MacFarland who sent me this.

I cried when I saw it. I cried when I opened her cards. I cried when I sent her a thank you message.

I have cried a lot lately and if you’re the type of person who cries, I bet you have, too.


Last year we became full-time parents to a little person with oppositional defiance disorder and she always says after one of her big moments, “Why are people so nice to you?”

And I say, “I’m not sure, but I think it’s because I love people so much so I try to be kind to them.”

“Even people you don’t know?” she says, pretty skeptically honestly because this is hard for her to wrap her head around.

“Even people I don’t know and especially people I do know. Sometimes those people can actually be the hardest.”


I have been so lucky in this life because I do get to know people who go out of their way to give; people like Cheryl and Richard and Nora and so many more. People who offer pea soup because they know I love it. People who tell me I can rant when I need to. People who just read my books and support me on Patreon. People who I get to be a part of their literary and book journeys.

I know how lucky I am. I want you all to be lucky too. 

Nora was so brave to send her amazing art to me, to make this, to share her genius. I hope you can be brave too. I know you can.

Loving your way through tough times, through big cultural hard times and personal horrors can feel almost impossible. But you can. And love and anger aren’t dichotomies that exist in separate spaces. It’s possible to rage and love and cry and hope all at once.
But I hope that as you go through these days, you turn as often as you can to love.


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast 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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 255,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

I Don’t Understand Lipstick Tubes

Back before COVID-19, I went to a board meeting on a Monday night for a local non-profit.

The people sitting around the table are passing around a tube of lipstick. Full disclosure: I don’t wear lipstick. Ever. The last time I wore lipstick it was for a play. And someone else put it on me.

Anyways, there’s this piece of paper inside where the lipstick would go and it has the nonprofit’s helpline number and info on it.

The point is that a guy wouldn’t see it hidden in the lipstick, wouldn’t think to look for this kind of info in a woman’s lipstick if he were ransacking her things.

He might not be able to even get the lipstick open, they explained.

I’m not sure that’s terribly accurate in these times, but that was the point. The point was that a woman in danger would know what to do with that lipstick tube and a man wouldn’t.

So the faux lipstick gets to me and I can’t get the paper out. I turn it upside down. I stick in my finger and try to pull it out. Nothing works. Then I realize everyone is staring at me.

The woman next to me takes it:
 Here, Carrie let me try.

She then twists the bottom, which is what you are supposed to do with lip stick!!!!!

I make this total OMG face and then cover my eyes.

People laugh.

She gets all apologetic and hands me the lipstick: Here.

Me:

Me (Hiding):

Me:
 Thank you.

People continue to laugh.

Then finally the one man in the room goes: I wouldn’t have known to do that either.

Me: Yes, but I’m a woman.

Sigh.

You can tell I’m more of a lip gloss girl.

But also, the point is that gender roles don’t always apply. And that’s okay. It’s okay if you’re a man who can figure out how to work a lipstick tube and that I’m a woman who can’t.

We make assumptions about people according to our demographics (race, religion, age, gender, sexuality, height, bodies, you name it) all the time.

But those assumptions aren’t always going to be right and they shouldn’t be. Our ability to comply (or not) to assumptions and culturally imposed norms doesn’t make us any more or less of who we are–cool human beings. That’s part of the beauty of difference and diversity and individualism.

I hope you find a lot of beauty today in these horrific times.

I hope you get to be the person you are.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast 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!

Thanks so much for being one of the 255,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


Check out our latest episode about writing platforms here.

Be Brave Friday! Three Steps to Being Brave

Anaïs Nin wrote, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

Being brave isn’t something that you always are. We aren’t all Captain America. We aren’t all always cowards either.

We fluctuate.

That’s what it is to be human. We are brave sometimes, maybe even all the times, but sometimes? Sometimes things feel too much, too big, too impossible and we get scared.

And in these very difficult times it can make a lot of sense to be scared.

How do you be less scared?

1.Know who you are

When you know your values, when you know who it is and what you stand for? It helps when you have things bashing against you.

I’ve always been ridiculously self-righteous about certain things and I know it can be a terrible trait, but it really helps when it comes to being brave. That surety in what I believe and my values allows me stand by those values.

2. Realize Fear Doesn’t Always Go Away

And that’s okay. Fear doesn’t have to always be conquered. It can be dealt with instead.

Understanding what makes you scared, helps you deal with that fear.

I’m terrified of putting my paintings out there because I still hear the negative scripts of my mom from when I was a kid. “Nobody in our family has a lick of artistic talent.”

She’d throw away my drawings and keep my stories. Is it any wonder I’m a writer?

So, I know that my fear about painting is about being rejected. That knowledge helps me do this every Friday. It helped when I was part of an art walk and people perused and scrutinized my work. But damn, I’m still always scared.

One of my lovely writer friends asked, “How can you be so scared when people are so nice about your art all the time?”

Let me tell you. I am scared all the time-scared of rejection, meanness, trolls, bad reviews, confrontations, not achieving, not being good enough according to some random standard that isn’t even my own.

But being scared all the time? That means I get to be brave all the time.

I get to practice being courageous every day.

The same thing goes for my Muppet voice. I know I am still afraid to talk, to podcast, to present because I was told how my voice would keep me from achieving, that nobody would ever love me because I sound so silly and nobody would ever take me seriously and I’d never have a job.

That’s why we do our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

I practice being brave.

I’m still afraid when I do the podcast. Every time. I’m still afraid when I lead a class of writers or speak to a room of 1,000 people. Every time.

But I do it anyway because I don’t want my fear to keep me from opportunities, to keep me from being the best person I can be.

I hope you can do that too. It’s hard sometimes, but it’s so worth it.

Know why the fear is there. Practice living with it.

3. Give Yourself Some Slack

When it comes to being brave, it’s not always going to be awesome. You will sometimes not want to run on a treadmill, present at a meeting, try out for a show. That’s normal.

Be as kind to yourself as you are to your kids, your dog, your best friend. You don’t need to be mean to yourself. Random trolls will do that for you.

The more you give yourself kindness, the easier it is to be brave. You’ve got to be your own cheerleader, not just your own critic.

That’s it. Know who you are and what you stand for, give yourself some of the empathy and kindness you deserve and know that being brave isn’t an all or nothing thing all the time.

Earlier today, our county sheriff told me on Facebook that I was tough. I almost cried (which doesn’t seem very tough) because nobody ever thinks of me that way. But he saw me and that? It meant everything and he was brave enough to tell me what he saw.

Do that for yourself. Do that for others. Being brave isn’t just about helping yourself, it’s about helping other people, too.


Here’s my random painting that I made this week on a plank of wood in five-minute increments during breaks in my work.



LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

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And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

Dear Me In 2031

Dear Me In 2031,

It’s January 7. Things kind of suck right now.

I hope that you’re still alive. I hope that the country still exists and it moves towards something better, something kinder, something more equitable.

I hope you do, too.

Pay attention.

Every single time someone doesn’t think you’re brilliantly awesome? It’s not the end of the world. Every single time you don’t get a client or a podcast ad or an amazing book contract is not the end of the world.

You know what the end of the world is? The actual end of the world.

Let’s move on.

The person you are is a much bigger deal than what you think you know. You will never know enough. There is always more to learn if you’re cool with learning.

Be cool with learning.

If you want to change the world, if you want to help people, if you even want to do something as simple as keep writing books? It’s important to have the knowledge to do that, to grow your knowledge, to LOVE getting that knowledge.

Yeah, sometimes realizing you’re wrong will suck. That suck is worth it. Why?

The suck is better than not ever realizing that you’re wrong, better than perpetuating idiocy or stereotypes or bad advice.

But you also need to remember that you are not the suck. You are courageous because you are here existing, learning, being, forcing yourself to be brave and thinking, “What can I do more? What can I do to make things better? To make myself better?”

But again…

Being imperfect? It doesn’t mean you’re unworthy or unloveable. It only means you are human. Perfectly human.

And that’s okay.

You’re okay.

But you know what? You’re more than okay because you are trying. You are still here thriving and living and doing. And haters on whatever social media exists in 2031 will still randomly tell you you’re wrong or you’re vague or that you’re stupid because of some damn demographic about yourself, be it your race, gender, sex, religion, class, religion, political views, job, or just that you slur your damn s’s.

And that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you care. What matters is that you put yourself out there, vulnerable and beautiful. What matters is that you are who you are and that you’re not trying to be anyone else. What matters is how beautiful your soul is, how it sparkles with light. What matters is that you share that light with others (or try to) in every interaction.

Damn it.

You.

You are okay being you. You are important just being you.

You get to define yourself. You are not disposable, not a statistic, not an anecdote and not defined by being a consumer or by social media or other media.

You are.

That’s all you need to be.

But it helps if you try to learn. It always helps.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

Do You Have To Find Your Bliss?

A woman named Maggie S. had a great post about why she sets goals on the same week that Meg Cabot had this great post about putting on your big girl panties and dealing with things.


Another writer friend, Lisa, had this post of awesome about how you should follow your bliss.

And articles about goals and finding your bliss are constantly all over Medium.

Which made me think.

Note: Me thinking is somewhat dangerous.

But it made me think about what I want out of life and I realized that I have no idea what my bliss is or how to follow it.

Yes, I am blissless!

I mean, I am not like Eeyore and looking sad and finding negatives everywhere.

Eeyore: I can’t believe you used me as an example.
Me: Sorry Eeyore.

I am a pretty happy person actually, but I have never consciously thought to myself: SET GOALS. FOLLOW YOUR BLISS. PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL UNDERWEAR.

Does anyone else not like the word ‘panties?’

I really don’t like that word. Especially when men over 72 say it.

Anyway, I just sort of live and not worry about bliss and it’s worked for me.

But now I want to have some bliss to follow. Not a Tiger Woods kind of bliss where I eschew all responsibility and just sort of follow my libido to the land of porn stars and cocktail waiters because… um… EW!

Not a politically motivated bliss where I ignore all opinions and facts outside my own bubble because also … ew.

But some sort of nice, legal, personal, without-negative ramifications bliss.

And I have to wonder… Am I the only one out there who doesn’t know exactly what her bliss is?

I sort of just find bliss all the time, in random things like Gabby my dog rolling in the snow…

Gabby: Hey! This isn’t a snow picture.
Me: You blend in with the snow in all the snow pictures.
Gabby: True. I will give you that one and add that my bliss is basically these things: squirrels, cats, squirrels, Sparty Boy (my doggy boyfriend), Cloud Kitty (my cat girlfriend), when chicken falls on the floor, car rides, belly rubs, squirrels
and the Fed Ex man with the beard, the one who gives me treats.

Sorry for the Gabby digression.

But I find my little bliss moments with her or Sparty Dog or the cats humiliating themselves by jumping on the counter and missing

best ya authors

Koko the Cat: I am going to go to sleep and pretend you did not mention that event, which should never not be mentioned, Human!

Or getting to touch a copy of DAD WITHOUT A DAD, which came in the mail.

He made this! Isn’t he talented?!?!?!

Or getting this amazing ornament from one of my other friends, Alyson.

SHE MADE IT! Isn’t she talented?!?!

Or just getting some awesome Christmas cards from amazing people like Cheryl and Akiko.

But maybe finding little bliss all the time isn’t how I should be. Maybe I should working for a big bliss, a followable bliss.


Do you all have a bliss?

Is it silly even to ponder this?


Should I just put on my big girl underwear and move on?

Or should I just be psyched that I have some amazing pets and friends and tiny blisses all around me? I think I know the answer, but what about you?


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?

JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, all about Making Sexy Mission Statements and Writing Platforms, click here. And all about Why Brilliant People Sometimes Aren’t The Successes We Expect is here.

The Story Behind My Scar

If you ever meet me, you will instantly know that I am not a supermodel. Actually, you just need to see a photo to get that.

And that’s a good thing (except I’d be much wealthier) because if I was a model I’d worry about all my random scars.

My best scar is on my right forearm.

Ignore my hair follicles, please.


So, we had this massive ceramic planter thing. It was huge. And we did not take it into the garage one winter because we were lazy and it was heavy. So it cracked. There was this big hole in it. 


But I am cheap.

How cheap?

I thought, I will just use the old dirt and put it in smaller pots. It’s still good dirt.


So, I reached in the hole in the pot and scooped out dirt. This went well for an hour. But then, there’s this thing called structural integrity. It is a concept that my brain doesn’t understand. My brain was still frozen and cracked from winter, too.


So, the planter broke more while I was scooping dirt out of the hole in the side.
This part fell on my arm.

I stared for awhile.

I thought, Hhmm…. that’s a deep, long jagged cut that’s almost down to the bone, when is it going to bleed?


Then it bled.


Then I thought, Hhmmm…. shock is such a cool thing, because this doesn’t hurt. Wow. I love shock. I’d better go inside and clean all the dirt out and stop the bleeding.

So, I stood up and went inside. Blood dripped all over the garage floor. I left a trail of blood!

This is like a murder scene, I thought. I bet I can use this for a book. Wow. Look at all that blood.


So my ex-husband looked up from the tractor thing he had for some unknown reason and he was doing something on it. He and his tractor friend were way up on the hill, and he ran down the hill. He was obviously psychic.  He burst into the kitchen. He did not pass out. He cringed. He applied pressure. He swayed and turned pale. He didn’t like blood.

Then my daughter, Em, went into her I should be an ER doctor but they don’t make enough money mode and cleaned the wound. It required a lot of cleaning because of this….

I  refused to go to the ER even though my ex-husband was a hospital administrator. Let’s say we weren’t always perfectly compatible. We pulled the wound together with Band-Aids. How cool was that? 

Going to the Doctor


On Monday, the ex forced me to go to the doctor’s and get a tetanus shot. He actually followed me there because he didn’t trust me to actually go. And once we got there he showed everyone his copy of TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (EX) BOYFRIEND, my first book.

The office manager yelled across the waiting room to me, “Have you had many of those?”


Everyone in the waiting room looked up from their out-dated copies of GOOD HOUSEKEEPING.


“Yep,” I said.


“Me too!” she laughed. “I mean, well, I think he was…”


Then everyone started talking about gay ex boyfriend or girlfriend stories, except for this cool lady who talked about how her ex-girlfriend said she was gay, but on the continuum was really more straight. It was actually pretty fun. Except for the part where I had to explain that I was injured by a pot. 

And then it turns out thatI had a reaction to the Band-Aids. I blistered all over from the Band-Aids. How can you live so long and have a reaction to Band-Aids and not realize this?


Sometimes I really wonder about myself. 


But I wonder about the doctor more because he said, “Yeah, you should’ve gone to the ER, but once when my twins were two, one threw a rock and it smacked his brother right in the skull. Blood was everywhere. We didn’t go to the ER either. I took his hair, all around the wound, and I tied it together in knots to pull the wound together. It worked pretty good, too.”

Stories are Everywhere

You have to love it here in Maine. You just have to. Because we all have our stories and we all have our scars. And that authenticity and lack of plastic? That’s what connections are about. That’s what friendship is about.

Be who you are. Tell your stories. The good ones. The bad ones. Pretending to be things you aren’t only hurts your soul. That lack of perfection? It makes you perfect.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Direct Link to Fiona’s Interview! on DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE. She’s a poet, coach, and awesome human.

Last week’s interview with J.L. Delozier, a Pennsylvania doctor and writer who is on the CoVid-19 frontlines and her debut novel was about a virus killing half the planet. 

This week’s regular episode – The Two Second Relationship Rule

More About My Books and Writing Course Below the READ MORE cut

Continue reading “The Story Behind My Scar”

The Inspiration Behind My Book & What I Learned About Myself Publishing It

I learned a lot about who I was when I wrote this book. I’m not talking about who people think I am, but the actual me.

That’s because I did this book all by myself. I never do things all by myself especially not books. I write them. I have a team at publishing houses who tweak and market and create covers.

Not this time. This time I didn’t even show the story to anyone else. Not my agent. Not an editor. It was all me on my own.

And I learned that this is scary because there is nobody else to take responsibility if things go wrong.

And I learned I liked that.

What Inspired Me To Write It?

I wanted to step outside my own walls and do something that felt scary and vulnerable. This book felt scary and vulnerable. Why? Well, here is why.

Bad Guys Built on Real People

You know how sometimes people seem to be super nice and friendly and lovely. But then you see the mask drop? All of a sudden something shifts in their eyes and you think, “Holy crud muffins. This person could be a serial killer!”

There is a person in my town like that.

Actually, there are a couple of people in my town like that. When their mask drops and you see their true self, it makes you gasp.

The bad guys in this story are some of those people significantly tweaked and mashed-up together to create characters that are real, vibrant, and creepy.

Wanting to Mix Genres

When I wrote THE PLACES WE HIDE, I wanted to have some of the standard conventions of romance and thrillers, but give it that first-person-raw feel.

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

Wanting to Write Good Women Based On Real People

I also based a lot of the women in my story on women like me and my friends – quirky, struggling, real, persistent.

I wanted Rosie and her friends to feel like the moms you actually meet in coastal Maine.

Romance NEEDS

I like love. I like it when people find each other. What can I say?

I wanted to write a story like that.

High Stakes

I can’t help myself. If I’m not writing literary fiction, I tend to write about alien invasions and pixie apocalypses. I wanted to challenge myself to write a realistic story with truly high stakes.

What I Learned

I love writing kids books, but this was so much fun. And it was also really fun to step outside of traditional publishing, which I also love, and do it all myself. It helps me understand what my clients and author-friends who choose self-publishing go through. There’s so much responsibility and control that happens. It’s really a great adventure.

I learned that self-publishing is hard, but freeing. You don’t have to listen to other people helping you make your story better. You don’t have the safety net of the publisher. It’s just you out there – raw and vulnerable.

I learned that self-publishing is addictive. My aunt Athalie died this November. She was really glamorous and lived in California (We were in N.H.) and she was married to a celebrity dentist and then an Oscar-winning art director. She was an artist and believed in reincarnation. All of this was a very big deal to three-year-old Carrie.

She stared at me once as I was doing laps around our living room buck naked and announced loudly, “Carrie is an exhibitionist. Look at all that energy just flow right out of her. Wow.”

Nobody in my family has ever thought I was an exhibitionist. I was (and am) the person who sits on floors instead of chairs so that I can watch everyone else. I hide behind the camera and take pictures of others. I am a writer, for Pete’s sake.

Here’s the thing: Athalie was right.

Self-publishing pushes me towards that exhibitionist side. By marketing everything myself, by having the book be just my voice and my story, I show more of who I am to the world. And I’m okay with that. It’s scary, but all the good things are.

Truth Bomb

It’s really scary sometimes to put your work out there, or to just be who you are – the real you – unpolished sometimes, dorky, self-righteous, befuddled, passionate, fangirly, angry, sad, anxious you.

But it’s so much easier than living a life of pretending and of lies.

Authenticity is brave and vulnerable, yes, but it’s also pretty damn empowering to just exhibit who the heck you truly are to the world and let the world deal with it.

I hope you’ll be an exhibitionist with me. Exhibit who you are. Be who you are.


THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

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. 

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

WHERE TO FIND US

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

This week’s episode link. Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them.

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