Stop Stomping on People

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Stop Stomping on People
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There was recently a piece by a lawyer/poet critiquing a younger, more celebritified (we made up that word) poet that caused a bit of an uproar for multiple reasons.

Here’s the thing: Just because a poem doesn’t speak to you or your ‘idea’ of what a poem is doesn’t mean that it’s not a poem or that the person who wrote it isn’t a poet.

One man writing about one woman doesn’t get to decide that woman is or isn’t an artist or a poet no matter how adamantly he digs in his heels. One liberal doesn’t get to decide that about a conservative or vice versa. We shouldn’t think we have the power to label or un-label another person.

Being a critic doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole.

It isn’t just people on the internet though.

We were walking our puppy, Pogie, and our older dog, Sparty, this weekend, and a woman Carrie often tries to avoid stopped to talk.

The woman said that we needed to take our chunky, arthritic Sparty on more walks so he could lose some weight. She has no idea how many walks Sparty goes on. Disclosure: It’s more than it seems.

Next, she looked at our newly painted blue stairs and said, “Oh, that white splotch is still there. That’s been there forever.”

Then she gave our chubby dog a dog treat. A couple actually. Yes, the same woman who told us we needed to walk him more to lose weight.

Here’s another thing: Being observant doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole either. People don’t need to be celebrities for other people to want to take them down, to criticize, to refuse to say one positive thing.

In this world? It’s so easy to criticize each other, to snark, to deride.

But just because something is easy doesn’t mean that it’s right.

You know what’s hard? It’s finding bits of good in people that have given up on themselves and finding good in people who others have given up on, too. Yeah, it’s so much harder than just criticizing, but you don’t evolve if you don’t do the hard stuff.

And evolving? That’s sexy.

We all think we’re good people. I’m sure that woman walking her dog does. I bet that angry poetry critic and political pundit does.

But here’s the question for all of us: When was the last time we helped someone who was having a hard time?

Here’s another question: When was the last time you ignored someone when they were doing poorly?

Did you criticize their dog, how often they walk them. Did you say, “The blue of your front steps is nice?” Or did you just say, “Oh, that white splotch is still there?” Did you write an essay about how a young Black woman in her early twenties was not a ‘poet,’ and how her poetry, her voice, had no merit?

Authentic leadership and character requires lifting as we climb, not stomping on people below us so hard that they are dragging themselves through the dirty ground or yanking people above us off the ladder so forcibly that they break bones and spirit in their fall.

Nurturing other people’s talents even when it’s hard to see those talents? It’s a skill. It’s leadership. It’s what being a good person is about.

Lifting as you climb is more than a slogan; it’s a way of life. And it’s a good one.

Topple as you ignore? Stomp as you criticize? Doesn’t really work quite so well.

We are all human. We are all flawed, but we are all capable of so much more. Let’s help each other achieve those great things, the great selves we’re capable of.

LINKS WE MENTION

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/javelina-stuck-in-car_n_6254a37de4b052d2bd58fd50

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/weird-news/giant-snake-causes-chaos-seen-26690881

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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Kissing Under the Dung Twig and The Glaring Woman at the Grocery Store

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Kissing Under the Dung Twig and The Glaring Woman at the Grocery Store
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This week in honor of the holiday season, we’re going to talk about a time Carrie did a very Carrie thing at a grocery store in Ellsworth, Maine. It will eventually relate to books, we promise.

One day in the grocery store line a lady behind me dropped her  bag of Cheetos. I picked them up.

She dropped her box of Wheat Thins.

I picked them up.

She dropped her onion. It rolled over to me, shed some purple skin, and hit my foot.

I smiled. I picked it up. I gave it to her.

“I must be missing the belt,” she said.

So, then, it was my turn with the clerk. I opened my bag and my wallet was not there. My check book? Check. But the wallet? MIA.

I told the cashier, terrified.

She said “If you’ve written a check here before, you don’t need an ID.”

???

So, I said, “I don’t know if I have.”

I spent the next three minutes alternately explaining that I had visions of my red cloth wallet hanging out by the 12-grain organic bread in the bread aisle, or in the post office where I’d just used it, or in the middle of the parking lot, or, gulp, in some evil wallet-snatcher’s hands. I looked for sympathetic glances from the food dropper behind me, but she no longer liked me.

I wrote out the check. The machine beeped. The cashier looked at me, apologetically. “You’ve never written a check here before.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll run out and check in the car.”

So, I raced outside despite the fact I was not wearing a sports bra, and unlocked the car, and… no wallet. I gasped. Really. I stepped back and there, beneath the tire, was a flash of red. I snatched it, clutched it to my chest (still without the sports bra) and raced back to the store.

“That was fast,” said the clerk.

“You found it!” said the nice guy who came to finish bagging.

Glare, said the dropping stuff lady who was behind me in line. Glare. Glare. Glare.

It’s like what I imagine happens to my books. I start off really well, everyone likes what I’m doing, and then — bang — I screw up. Drop the voice or something, make a character do something nobody wants her to do.

And then what?

Glares from one. Sympathy from others.

The Carrie Story

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Everything can help inform your story and make a scene to use later on.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Be kind when other people are struggling, not just when you are struggling.

LINKS WE MENTION

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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Maybe It’s Time We All Help Each Other Instead of Being Jerks

One day when I lived in Ellsworth, Maine (I don’t any longer.) I threw on some ballet flats and jumped in my MINI, zipped up my driveway hill and there was my dog (Scotty) barking and protecting the driveway from a car that had fallen into a ditch and the man trying to shovel the car out.

I jumped out, put Scotty in the car and said, “Can I help?”

The man was Joe, an older guy who has some major health issues and lived down the street.

He was like “oh yeah.”

A white-haired lady inside the car looked at me and said, “Please.”

She had a front-wheel drive car. It had no super cool studded tires like the MINI. And she’d tried to get up the snow-covered monster hill that was my road and slid all the way down. Her car was tilted at this funky angle that no car should have to endure.

Joe and I got behind it and pushed.

We pushed some more.

My ballet flat went in the snow. I fell down. Joe fell down. The car didn’t move.

We tried again. We tried again. And again.

I lost feeling in my butt since it was so cold because i didn’t put a jacket on or anything and my hair was wet from  the shower once I realized there was a problem out on the road.

I had never lost feeling in my butt before. It was pretty weird.

This whole time that Joe and I were fighting against the wicked machine that was Mrs. Austen’s unbudging car, I was thinking about helping people and books and writing because let’s face it … you get bored pushing cars that don’t move.

So a lot of the time when people start to criticize books they get really … um … agitated (and rightfully so in a lot of cases) if they think the female character gets rescued too much.  And people are sort of SUPER sensitized to it so much that they flip out if anyone helps out the female character ever. 

And I get that.


I get that female readers need to know that they can rescue themselves, that they don’t need a boy to do it, and that if girls think that then it makes them dependent. I mean, I thought about that all the time when I wrote the NEED books. And Zara (my main character) thought about that all the time. I think about it when I write the Rosie mystery/thrillers and Alisa’s haunted campground story.

But it also makes me worried.

Because the truth is that we all need rescuing constantly. We all need help. Boys need help. Girls need help. Authors who are neurotic about their next book coming out need help. And I want a balance in books and in movies. I want different genders and ages and races and religions and physical abilities to help each other, to respect help, to be able to receive help.

It’s about balance and intention and not being a stereotype or trope.

And the thing is that in real life? You just do it. You just help (hopefully, unless you’re in a reality show or something and think it’s all about you).

I wasn’t about to ignore that older woman in her car because she was:

1. Older
2. Female

3. Judging from her bumperstickers a different political party than I am.

I didn’t think, “Hm … Perhaps, I shouldn’t help her because she should get that car out of the ditch all by herself even though she does have a cane and a fake hip that hasn’t fully healed yet. If I help her, I am actually oppressing her.”

And Joe who almost died the year before didn’t think that either, I bet. 

Yesterday was an election in our town. People got all riled up. People were mean to female realtors, but not male realtors. People were cranky and unkind on political posts about local politics.

But the thing is? Almost all those people are going to be there helping each other out when help is needed. How do I know? Because I’ve been a reporter here and I’ve seen it over and over again.

Helpfulness is just as natural as hate–if not even more so. It just doesn’t get as much press.

So, I guess that’s my point.

Go help somebody today! And thank somebody who has helped you.

Here is mine: Thank you to everyone who has rescued me from writer insecurity this year, who have saved me from sad, who has made me laugh, who bought a book or let me edit your story or supported me on my patreon.

You have totally been my rescuers and I owe you! YAY YOU!!! xoxxo

NEW BOOK OUT!

It’s super fun. An adult paranormal/mystery/romance/horror blend. Think Charlaine Harris but without all the vampires. Instead there are shifters and dragon grandmothers and evil police chiefs and potential necromancers and the occasional zombie and a sexy skunk.

It’s out November 1, which means you can buy it now, and I seriously love it. So, it would be cool if you bought it so I can be all motivated to write the next book.

Oh, and it’s quirky.

This is because most of my books are quirky.

Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.

Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .

But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.

Join New York Times and internationally best[selling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s kind of like Charlaine Harris, but a little bit more achy and weird.

best maine paranormal carrie jones
Almost Dead Series – Meet Alissa Thea, a sexy skunk, a haunted campground and a lot of quirky

Shaun Saved a Dog Hit By a Car and Talks about How Sometimes Going Out of Your Way is Just the Right Thing to Do

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂 But this time we definitely do.

best podcast ever
Shaun Farrar

Yesterday did not start off great for me. It was a stressful morning in a routine sort of way, nothing especially bad, but enough to put me in a bad mood for the majority of the morning.

Of course, I am a firm believer in setting your own mood and allowing yourself to not be negative if you have that choice. Yesterday was just one of those days where it was a bit harder to shake off the gloom of negativity.

And it only got worse.

While I was at a customer’s house working, I heard a noise that was obviously a dog in distress. There are no dogs near this house, routinely, so it struck me as odd. I was on the second floor and looked out of a window that overlooks the road.

I could see a dog lying on the edge of the road directly in front of the house where I was working.

I said, “Oh, shit!” and ran downstairs.

By the time I got downstairs, the poor pooch was gone, but I quickly located it at the house next door. It was a medium-sized mixed breed that was standing on its own and being held by the neighbor’s landscaper. I asked her if the dog belonged there and she responded that it did not.

The dog had no apparent broken bones and was very calm and friendly but was obviously injured because it was sneezing a lot and every time it sneezed, it sprayed blood everywhere. I was pretty sure that the landscaper was pretty much tapped out just holding onto the dog, so I asked her if she would be okay holding onto the dog long enough for me to go back to my truck and get something to use as a leash. She said she was fine.

After securing the pup and bringing it back to my truck, I took a picture of it and asked Carrie if she could post it on Facebook and try to find out who owns it. There are not a lot of houses in the immediate vicinity of where I was and not living there, I was not familiar with the residents and their pets.

Long story short, the owner was not identified in a timely manner and as soon as I was able to secure what I had been doing at the house, I loaded the dog up in my truck and headed for the vet. Carrie called ahead to our local vet and was told that they didn’t have an actual vet on duty that day. So, I had to drive the 45 minutes to the vet a couple towns over.

It was a fine ride and the dog and I enjoyed each other’s company. Or, at least I did!

We only had to wait a few minutes until the vet could exam her and it turned out that she had a significant facial injury that is very common in cases where dogs come into contact with a moving motor vehicle.

After saying my goodbyes, I left my new friend in the very capable hands of the vet, who just so happens to be our vet as well. Okay, we have two vets because we’re overachievers, but he is one of them and he is the type of vet you can trust when it comes to trauma.

Later in the afternoon, I received a call from the owner, and he was very frazzled and understandably it was not the best conversation in the history of conversations.

I didn’t care. Not everyone can maintain a normal level of courtesy under times of stress. It’s human nature.

Then he called me back this morning and it was a totally different experience! He was very apologetic, very thankful, and even offered to call me back and give me an update after his dog had undergone the necessary surgery.

And that my friends is why I took the time to disregard my plans for the remainder of yesterday and bring that beautiful animal to the vet. I wasn’t trying to be a hero. I don’t need any praise from anyone. But I do need people to feel good and I know that if you, yes you, the reader, everyone, doesn’t take the time to be compassionate and kind, even when it is putting you out, the world as we know it will literally implode!

They say that everyone is someone’s daughter, son, wife, or husband. The same can be said for animals. In fact, sometimes I think that there are people who love animals more than humans and that is okay. Wouldn’t you want a stranger to aid your loved one, be it human or animal, if they needed assistance?

Yes, you would!

So, next time you get the opportunity to do the same for someone else, friend, foe or stranger, you should jump on that opportunity to keep the world on its axis and keep the love flowing.

Remember to always Love Your Way Through It!

Peace,

Shaun


This is Carrie again. Shaun never thinks he’s a hero. He’ll save a drowning child in the hotel pool and never tell anyone about it. Where other people will trumpet saving a turtle in the middle of the road, Shaun will just do it.

Shaun’s pretty awesome. We need more Shauns.

BE A PART OF OUR MISSION!

Hey! We’re all about inspiring each other to be weird, to be ourselves and to be brave and we’re starting to collect stories about each other’s bravery. Those brave moments can be HUGE or small, but we want you to share them with us so we can share them with the world. You can be anonymous if you aren’t brave enough to use your name. It’s totally chill.

Want to be part of the team? Send us a quick (or long) email and we’ll read it here and on our YouTube channel.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 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

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

How one ex-cop has mellowed out

On Thursday, my co-podcaster, Shaun, and husband guy, takes over the blog.

He’s adorable. I hope you’ll read what he says even if he does occasionally sound like a surfer dude from the 1990s or Captain Pontification. And no, we don’t always agree. 🙂

Shaun squinting.

I recently read a Facebook post by someone who lives in my community about not letting love and kindness die in today’s confrontational world. This post struck me as important and also something that I have recently adopted. Actually, reinvigorated may be a better word for how I am approaching the “random acts of kindness” way of thinking.

Let me just say that I am not writing this as any type of ego-boosting or self-congratulatory dribble!

Every decent thought or act that passes through my brain and body is solely due to other people who have influenced my life. Most recently, and perhaps most greatly, that person would be my amazing wife, Carrie Jones. Before her there were others, my mother, my grandmother, and especially my grandfather, but all of the credit belongs to them, not really me.

So, here is the thing.

All of us, or at least most of us, seem to always be in a rush. Rushing here, rushing there, thinking only of ourselves and our own perceived priorities. I am almost always that person. I am the human who hates waiting in traffic or getting stuck talking to someone who wasn’t a previously planned contact.

These kind of events make get me perturbed, angry even, and it happens quickly, or at least it used to.

You can ask Carrie and she will tell you how I act when I am driving and other drivers, pedestrians or bicyclists don’t act or react in the way that I think is most efficient. It isn’t pretty!

We must take a quick commercial break for some backstory.

When I was in my early twenties, somebody once said that I was the most calm person they ever met. I was.

I was like a stoner who didn’t smoke weed. I rarely showed anger. I rarely cussed. I rarely ever let anyone see an emotional reaction that wasn’t calm.

Then I became a cop. Then I had a dysfunctional marriage (not with Carrie!). Then I became a high context person who didn’t even try to contain any negative emotion or reaction. If I was not in a good mood, everyone in the room would know it when I walked in without me even saying a word.

What a waste of a lot years that was!

Now we return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

It has taken me five years to shed that shell. But, I am super glad that I have.

Now Carrie may argue this point a bit … but there is a difference between public persona and intimate knowledge of a person . I will readily admit that I am still high context at home but hopefully, as I like to believe, it is not such a negative high context.

I am definitely enjoying being more mellow about life and all of the things that make us humans feel rushed all of the time. I don’t get mind-blowing, swear-word-inducing mad when traffic isn’t flowing at a constant ten miles per hour over the speed limit. I  am happy to stop and let someone pull out in front of me or cross the road in front of me. Even if they didn’t bother to walk the extra ten feet to actually get into the crosswalk!

I am trying not to mumble under my breath or dance in place with anger because the person at the self-checkout kiosk doesn’t have their crap together.

I am holding the door open for people again, even though we are still basically in a COVID crisis and half of the people I hold doors from have apparently not heard of masking.

And most importantly I am enjoying the reactions that I get from people who I stop for or hold a door for or even just say hello to in a nice voice. I like to believe that a “thank you” or a smile means that I have made someone’s life a little bit better. I don’t care if it makes them more happy for the rest of the day or for two minutes until they have to face their next crisis.

I did my part.

Just think what would happen, what a better place the world would be if we ALL did our part! Amazing!

So, give it a try. Mellow out and throw out some kindness and love, randomly! See how you feel after and pretend that the recipient feels one miniscule amount better because of it.

Remember to always Love Your Way Through It!

Peace,

Shaun

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones (That’s me. If you click the image, it will bring you to the Amazon page!)

The third book in Rosie and Seamus’s story of adventure, mystery, and death is here!

I hope you’ll support me, have a good read, and check it out!

great new mystery
romantic suspense set in Bar Harbor Maine

Sometimes the treasure is not worth the hunt . . . .

When a little boy goes missing on a large Maine island, the community is horrified especially almost-lovers Rosie Jones and Sergeant Seamus Kelley. The duo’s dealt with two gruesome serial killers during their short time together and are finally ready to focus on their romance despite their past history of murders and torment.

Things seem like they’ve gone terribly wrong. Again. Rosie wakes up in the middle of the woods. Is she sleepwalking or is something more sinister going on?

What at first seems like a fun treasure hunt soon turns into something much more terrifying . . . and they learn that things are not yet safe on their island or in their world. If they want to keep more people from going missing, Rosie and Seamus have to crack the puzzle before it’s too late.

To buy it, click here, and let me know! I might send you something!

So Many People are Poor and So Many People Don’t Care.

We live in a world where celebrities wear $350,000 watches and nobody thinks of it.

We live in a world where a billionaire parked his $590-million yacht off our Maine island during a pandemic and people mostly shrugged and said, “That’s cool.”

But is it?

“I currently feel like there’s tremendous injustice in this society,” Alexandra Korry said in her final interview before her death from ovarian cancer. “There is ridiculous inequality between the rich and everybody else. And we all have an obligation to do something about it.”

But mostly we just gawp at it. Or most of us do.

We watch Kardashians.

We long for expensive watches and yachts, second and third homes when many people don’t have first homes.

And the gap between the income levels in the U.S. is growing and growing.

I grew up poor even though my older brother and sister grew up middle class. We had credit card companies calling every day. My poor mom would weep about money, struggling to hang on sometimes. My sister and brother didn’t know this or live this and I’m so glad for them.

I have slept in an apartment where the ceiling was caving in and it sucked, honestly.

And I spend a lot of my time trying to make sure that I’m never back in that place. And I spend a lot of my time worrying that I will.

I’m not alone. More and more people are living that fear right now. Living it.

In 2019, the top 20% of the population earned 51.9% of all U.S. income.3 Their average household income was $254,449. The richest of the rich, the top 5%, earned 23% of all income. Their average household income was $451,122.

The bottom 20% only earned 3.1% of the nation’s income. The lower earner’s average household income was $15,286.4

Most low-wage workers receive no health insurance, sick days, or pension plans from their employers. They can’t get ill and have no hope of retiring. That creates health care inequality, which increases the cost of medical care for everyone. Also, people who can’t afford preventive care will wind up in the hospital emergency room. In 2014, 15.4% of uninsured patients who visited the ER said they went because they had no other place to go.5 They use the emergency room as their primary care physician. The hospitals passed this cost along to Medicaid.

The Balance

And then there are the racial inequities. Black Americans have been exploited and discriminated against for centuries. A white household’s median net worth is about ten times more than a Black household. That’s not just not right. It’s a big wrong.

And then there is gender.

In the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap’s 2017 report, “U.S. women own just $0.32 for every $1 a man owns. That amount is even lower for Black and Latina women — mere pennies to every dollar owned by white men and women.”

The Fool

What does that say about us as a country? What does that say about us as individuals?

So What Can You Do and What Can You Do When It Feels Like You’re Barely Hanging on Yourself?

All the way back in 2015, Talkpoverty.com has a great post about fighting income equality. You can check it out and get informed.

john a. powell also has an interesting post about legislative policies here.

The New York Times has a really interesting discourse about what we can do about it. You might want to check it out.

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?

Email us at carriejonesbooks@gmail.com


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 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

TO TELL US YOUR BRAVE STORY JUST EMAIL BELOW.

Three Hot Tips to Make Your Writing and Life Way More Intense in a Good Way – Dogs are Smarter Than People Writing Podcast

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Three Hot Tips to Make Your Writing and Life Way More Intense in a Good Way - Dogs are Smarter Than People Writing Podcast
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It’s Writing Tip Time and we’re going to give you three fast and dirty writing tips today that’s going to make your writing more intense. Ready? 

Think about your tense 

What’s that mean? It means don’t be writing like things are happening now and then shift over to writing like things were happening in the past. If you want the most immediate writing experience, write in the present tense.

Here’s a quick example: 

I lost feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run on Friday. I thought I might be having a stroke. 

That’s in the past tense, right? We read this, notice it’s in the first person and figure that the narrator has survived because she’s telling us about this after-the-fact. 

Try it out in the present tense: 

I lose feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run. I think I might be having a stroke. 

It’s more intense, right? 

Let’s make it more intense.

Intense dog look from Sparty

Take out the distancing words. 

In first person especially, it’s really hard to get away from a lot of lookingand knowingand words that pull us out of the moment and the immediacy of the character’s experience.

Distancing language tends to be the words like ‘seem,’ and ‘look,’ and ‘heard,’ and ‘know.’ When I revise, I think of these words as placeholders for where I can go back and dig in more deeply in certain places. 

So, let’s take that sentence again and make it more immediate. 

I lose feeling on my entire left side of my body during our long run. I think I might be having a stroke. 

Change that up and it looks like: 

My entire left side of my body starts going numb during our long run. My left foot numbs first. Then my left hand and arm. When the left side of my mouth starts going numb, I gasp. I might be having a stroke. 

You’re in there a bit more with that character now right. Is she having a stroke? What the heck is she running for? SHE IS BROKEN! 

Try not to use the same word too many times too closely together. 

In the example above I deliberately use the word ‘numb’ and ‘my left’ over and over again. I’m cool with the repetition of ‘my left,’ but not so much with the numb. There are better, cooler words to mix in there and grab the reader’s attention. Let’s try. 

My entire left side of my body starts going numb during our long run. My left foot disappears first. Then my left hand and arm. When the left side of my mouth starts to tingle, I gasp. I might be having a stroke. 

There you go! 

We’ve learned three fast tips to making your writing more intense. 

Random Thoughts: 

In our random thought time, we go to Denny’s and Dunkin’ Donuts and talk about dog poop as well as this article. You should listen and rejoice in our weirdness. 

Writing Tip of the Pod:

Be in the present (tense). Don’t be distant. Mix up your words, man.

Dog Tip for Life:

Live in the present. Don’t be distant to people or to the experience. Mix up your routine, man. 

Nobody wants to do the same thing all the time, do they? Don’t go numb.

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.

WRITING NEWS

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! 

You can 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

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Not All Politicians are the Same

Okay.

As you know I have a big problem with stereotypes.

This isn’t just about stereotypes about gender or race or ability or sexual orientation or religion or class or age or ability or neurodiversion.

Yeah. Those are the hot button ones . . . the big ones that are easy to see and easy to describe.

But the ones that are bothering me right this exact second are the stereotypes people make about professions, particularly politicians.

Yes.  A lot of politicians are greedy.
Yes. A lot of politicians are horn dogs.
Yes. A lot of politicians have teeth that are just too shiny.

But not all of them do.

And to say that all of them do is a stereotype, just like saying all lawyers are wealthy (Assistant DAs in our county are NOT wealthy) or that all doctors are brilliant or that all nurses are good, kind souls.

It’s a stereotype. It’s a generalization.

This past weekend one of my favorite politicians Andrew Yang teared up a little bit after hearing a woman tell the story of how her four-year-old baby girl was accidentally shot and her baby’s twin brother witnessed it. It was at a town hall about gun violence. It was and is a devastating story. The woman (Stephanie) was asking about what Yang would do about unintentional shootings by kids.

You can read about it here.

After he hugged her, Andrew said that he was emotional because he was imagining that happening to his children. Andrew teared up because he had empathy.

Empathy is not weakness.

Empathy is being human at its best.

Feeling for other people doesn’t make you weak.

Feeling for other people motivates you into action, creates policies and pushes change.

“A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

Brené Brown

You can’t connect if you don’t feel. You can’t lead without compassion or empathy or else your leadership is tyranny, inauthentic and more about you than your country.

At that meeting Andrew Yang answered Stefanie’s question saying, “If we can convince Americans that personalized guns are a good idea then again, if the child gets ahold of the gun then they can’t do anything with it, then it just becomes a very heavy, expensive prop.”

Yang also said, “If you say (to parents), ‘Hey we’ll upgrade your guns for free? ‘ When we can do that, like you can upgrade the guns for free … that would help make kids safer in our homes.”

How would parents say no to that, he wondered?

But his plan isn’t getting the attention. His tears are. Yang’s humanity breaks our ideas of what politicians should be. Politicians have become ‘other,’ unlike the rest of us. They don’t have emotions, right? They are the automatons that Yang is actually warning about – only he warns about automation in relation to the economy rather than warning us about becoming them, emotionless, ruthless, reading their cue cards and teleprompter and giving pat, conditioned responses.

Back in 1972, Edmund Muskie allegedly cried on the steps of the Manchester Union Leader (a newspaper) during a snow storm in New Hampshire while he was running for president. Muskie said he wasn’t crying and that it was melting snowflake on his face. The news said he cried.

My mom was there that day. She said she cried watching him outside the newspaper as he gave his speech.

Muskie was a frontrunner against Richard Nixon. The paper had slurred his wife as someone who liked her booze a bit too much. It also said she told too many jokes. Scandalous, I know. The paper also printed a piece planted by the Nixon administration that said that Muskie said an ethnic slur against French Canadians.

Whether or not Muskie cried for real while defending himself and his wife didn’t matter. The press latched hold again. Tears are not presidential, they said.

Muskie lost.

In 2008, when I ran for office the second time – the time I lost – the other party said that I was a lovely person but I felt too much and I cried too easily.

How could someone who cared so much be tough enough to battle for her constituents?

Let me tell you a secret: It’s those of us who care too much who battle the hardest.

Back to Stereotypes

Yes, I once ran for office. Twice actually. I won once. I lost once. I’ve never done it again, but that made me officially a politician. So if you put up a post that says all politicians are greedy or selfish or have shiny teeth you are making a generalization that includes me. 

The media likes to perpetuate this image. We hear the stories of the bad — the sex scandals, the corruption, the swamp, the money and favors from lobbyists. We don’t hear the stories of the good — the senator who goes out of her way to read to kids every Friday (no photo ops involved) or the ones who lose friends because they fight so hard for something they believe in.

So please stop generalizing about entire groups of people even politicians.

In Maine there are politicians in the state house who are barely scraping by, who earn $18,000 a year, who are serving because they are trying to make a difference and there are politicians who have millions, family legacies and very shiny teeth. 

They aren’t the same.

There are politicians who had dads who were truck drivers and politicians who had moms who were insurance CEOs. There are politicians who want to shove all special-ed kids in one school and politicians who find that morally reprehensible. 

They are politicians who are the daughters and sons of immigrants and those whose families have been here for centuries. There are politicians who are veterans, nurses, poets. There are politicians whose parents stood in the food line for cheese. There are politicians who have never spent the night in the woods. There are politicians who are gay, straight, female, male, asexual, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, atheist, agnostic.

They aren’t the same.

There are politicians who struggle hard to help. There are politicians who struggle hard to make a little extra cash on the side.

They aren’t the same. 

But here’s the other thing. Should it really be news that a presidential candidate has emotions? Shouldn’t we care about policies and ideas and skill-sets?

Shouldn’t we want our leaders to be human? Strong enough to have empathy? Strong enough to think beyond themselves?

A tiny moment of connection from a presidential candidate should be the norm. It should be the norm for all of us.

The Podcast

WRITING NEWS

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! 

You can 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

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 


When You Don’t Have to Say Anything – The Magic of Step Dads and Living From Love Not Fear

It would have been so much easier for my tired dad to leave those girls at their homes, for me not to have a birthday party. He had an out. There was a blizzard.

There was blizzard on the same day as my 11thbirthday party. 

            My mom was packing back and forth across our cramped kitchen’s linoleum floors as one mother after another called to cancel because of the road conditions, the wind, the snow billowing down. The cabinets were old pine, so knotty that I’d use my fingers to draw faces in between the dark circles, connecting the blackness into eyes, a nose, a mouth, something less scary. I would have used a black magic marker to make those faces real if I could, but I wasn’t the type of kid who did that sort of thing. I was the type of kid who followed the rules, who hugged their friends, who cared about everyone’s feelings more than her own, trying desperately to fit in to a town that had exploded with wealth. 

Everyone was rich except us. You get used to that after awhile, but that doesn’t mean you’re ever cool with it. 

My mom wasn’t cool with it either and she always felt excluded and looked-down on. My dad built our ranch house sixteen years before I was born and back then our town was little and all lower working class people. Tractor salesmen were a big deal. Truckers like him were the norm. All the men volunteered at the fire department and everyone knew the three cops by name. My mom was the town clerk back then. But there was a bit of a tech bubble and all these people moved up from Massachusetts, building subdivisions filled with McMansions and wearing clothes that weren’t from K-Mart. We weren’t the norm anymore. We were below.

            And when my parents divorced, we became poor even after my mom and stepdad married because although he was a contractor, he’d moved all the way from California to marry her and he’d had to build up his business from scratch.  When he died was when my Nana would get government cheese for us. Mom would take the giant blocks with a grimace and Nana would say, “But you love cheese. You work hard.”

But this isn’t about my nana. This is about my bonus dad.

           On the blizzard day of my birthday party, his little green Toyota truck trundled up the hill towards the house, a Kermit-The-Frog colored beacon in the snow. Mom joined me at the picture window, arms crossed over her chest, staring out at him trying to make it up the hill, failing as the truck slid backwards a bit, trying again. 

 “I’m sorry, baby,” she whispered. 

“It’s okay,” I told her, but she knew I was lying. 

 Daddy parked the truck and started walking up the hill. She left me to meet him in the kitchen. I leaned my head against the cold pane of the window, listening. He stomped his boots free of the snow and then the whisperings started. I didn’t need to listen. I knew she was telling him about the cancellations, how I actually cried, which I was horrified about. There was the gross sound of lips smacking against each other. Kissing. Muffled noises of secret conversations sounded just below my hearing capabilities.

Daddy came into the living room. His socks were stained from where snow leaked into his boots. The snow line on his pants went up almost to his knees. He held his arms open and I ran into them. 

 “Hey, Miss America, you doing okay?” He had a gruff voice from decades of cigarettes, and it was soft spoken. Old people had to lean in sometimes when he talked, which wasn’t much. He never talked much.

“I’m okay.” I lied again. It was my favorite lie. 

 He kissed the top of my head. 

 “Your mom told me what’s going on.”

“Nobody can come.”

 “I know, I heard.” He bent down and pulled the sock off one foot, exposing dark skin, wiggling toes. Then he moved to the other. “She’s going to make some phone calls and we’re going to see if those scaredy-cat moms will let me go get their girls and bring them here.”

“Really?” I squealed.

 He handed me his wet socks and moved over to the couch. “Really. You get me some new socks, put those on the sink to dry and we have a deal okay?”

 “Deal!” 

 About 15 minutes later, only one mother refused to let my dad pick up her daughter. Mom kissed his cheek, I gave him a great big hug and he ventured out into the storm, picking up five girls. They smooshed together in his truck and later he told me that they all chattered the entire time.

“I didn’t have to say anything.” He tucked me in the next night, after all the sleeping bags were rolled up, the presents tucked away, and the last of my yellow cake with chocolate frosting was being digested in a rumbling stomach. 

The thing is he usually didn’t have to say anything. His love showed in everything he did. There’s a certain magic in that, in acting with love and confidence.

When we have time to choose and make decisions, we often have a moment to think about our intent. Are we acting with love or because of fear?

Here’s a really interesting article about how our intentions and our fear often close us down to opportunity and happiness. We might be afraid to get hurt by loved ones or afraid of losing control over a work situation so we keep information to ourselves, refuse to delegate, are guarded.

But if we let the fear control us then we become that fear. We lose our ability to expand, to share our stories, to pick up little girls during a blizzard.

In a post on Psychology Today’s website, Nancy Collier speaks about ‘operating from love.’

I like this Quote. It is Wise.

Operating from love is to set our own ego aside long enough to listen to the experience of the other, to be courageous enough to be willing to try and understand what the other person is experiencing, no matter how radically different it is from what we intended to happen, think happened, or believe was the cause of what happened. It is to have the strength of heart to understand and open our heart to what the pain is that the other is skillfully or unskillfully trying to express. A response (not reaction) that comes from love is listening to the other’s upset as if we were just ears hearing, ears alone, not ears attached to a head, attached to an ego, attached to an identity, attached to a person intent on remaining intact and unchanged. 

Collier, LCSW, Rev

It would have been so much easier for my tired dad to leave those girls at their homes, for me not to have a birthday party. He had an out. There was a blizzard. He didn’t because he acted out of love. In small and big ways, we have choices every day where we can listen to our intentions and understand why we do what we do.

So What Does It Mean to Live From Love?

To live from love not fear, on a practical level, is to shift from a goal of protecting our ego, being right, winning the argument, being not to blame, and move into actually being kind, being loving—in our actions. It is to be willing to stop proving that we’re a good person and actually be that good person—to be courageous enough to open our heart and be love even when our ego is screaming in fear.   

Collier again

It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? I hope we all can start moving forward in this journey with that intent.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July 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!

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I’m going to launch my Patreon site where I’ll be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

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WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

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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! Here are our last two episodes!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

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 and our bonus podcast below.

ART.

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

Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic
Bar Harbor Art Carrie Jones Welcome to Magic

TIME STOPPERS!

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

MOE BERG 

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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FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction. Who knew there was such a thing?

31702754 copy

Being Evil is a Waste of Time

I was talking to my daughter Em recently about how she was at a Wal-Mart in Georgia and a woman dropped some stuff and how Em helped the woman pick up her things.

Em wasn’t looking for praise and good-person-pats-on-the-back, she was confused by how other people chose not to help that lady.

For Em, her instinct was to help and to be kind.

But it wasn’t that way for the other people who were there.

At the grocery store in Maine that same day, Shaun (my husband) was in line and a lady had pushed her cart right within an inch of his legs. He backed up an inch to get a better angle to get something out of our cart, hit her cart and immediately apologized. His instinct was to apologize for something that wasn’t his fault.

I have trained him well.

Just kidding! Just kidding!

But the woman acted like it was his fault that her cart was in his space. And then… his instinctive kindness fluttered right away.

When I looked at the lines in the store, I was amazed by how many people seemed so sad or angry, frustrated or anxious. Few people smiled. Most people actively frowned. A lot complained.  They were miserable and sure, some of them probably had reasons to be, but all of them?

So many of us are so lucky. We get to have electricity and phones and indoor plumbing. We have problems, too, obviously. People get sick. People have depression or anxiety. Our friends die. Our kids get in trouble. But we also have so much.

We focus so much on the evil though, just slip into that mindset of ‘everything sucks’ that we sometimes forget the good.

That world of evil and misery is not the world I want to live in and it’s not the world I want everyone else to live in either.

Finding Meaning

There’s a theory out there that a lot of us are unhappy, anxious, uneasy, depressed because we want to find meaning in life and finding meaning? That can be pretty damn hard.

We find religion and go to therapy and the gym in the hopes of finding salvation – emotional, spiritual, phsycial. We convert to different ways of thinking, believing, acting in the hopes that… that what? That we get meaning. That we feel better. That we live better.

Even the stories we write, we’re told by editors and agents and teachers, “Let’s see how that character changes and grows. Or how that character digresses. Bring that character to a new place of self awareness, to a new self.”

It’s all so tremendously linear. The growth of a person or book character is condensed to simple steps, actions forward.

But are people like that? Do we work like that?

That’s where some of the disconnect comes in. When we do evolve, we don’t always evolve in a straight line. When we look for meaning, it isn’t always found after a simple pattern of forward steps.

The people who intrigue me are the people who just live. They live kindly, help others, and are just… they are beautiful.  Their instinct is to be kind and they don’t even lose it after it’s met with anger or fear. They actually cultivate the kindness.

Kind Kids

There were some teens like this where I was on Saturday.

My local YWCA has a holiday bazaar where kids go around with volunteers to buy presents for their family. Volunteers act as store keepers at “stores” where items go for .25 to $5 (or so). Every kid has an escort that takes them around to these store tables loaded down with donated items. The escort is usually a volunteer from the local high school. More volunteers wrap the presents.

It’s pretty adorable.

IMG_8566

The best part is watching the high school kids interact with the younger kids. All these kids are obviously awesome because they are sacrificing their Saturday morning to volunteer, but there was this one kid who totally stood out to me and this wasn’t just because he was wearing a sleeveless Celtics t-shirt jersey when it was 9-degrees-Farenheit.

Nah, Mike impressed me because he broke my stereotypes about bros in sleeveless jerseys. He was on the younger side of high school volunteers, but he was so amazingly wise or patient.

“Would your gram like this?” he’d ask the boy he was assigned to, picking up a set of bird mugs.

The boy would stare at the mugs for about one minute, absolutely blankly. Then, he’d turn away. Mike didn’t even flinch. His tone and demeanor didn’t change.

They’d move on to another item.

Then another item.

Then another.

Mike never groaned. Mike never rolled his eyes. Mike was just… He was patient and awesome and kind, so kind.

IMG_8565

“I love him,” said one of the adult volunteers who’d walked through the frigid weather to the Y so that she could volunteer this morning.

“I would like to marry him,” another lady said, “you know if I was 70 years younger.”

Mike wasn’t the only one who was awesome. There were students volunteering who were wiping phlegm of their temporary wards off their hands, and doing it so discreetly so they wouldn’t hurt the kids’ feelings. There were students carrying more than their weight in presents as the followed their charges scrambling through a maze of volunteers and tables laden with gifts all donated by local people and merchants.

And right then, I realized that I wanted kindness to be my religion just like the Dalai Lama said. I wanted that to be the default choice in my life: the choice of kindness.

my-religion-is-very-simple-my-religion-is-kindness-35

For that kid, for Em, for Shaun – their initial choice is to be kindness. Humanity might crush that kindness away sometimes, but that’s their instinct, their true natures. Of course, they’re going to mess up. They’re human. I’m going to mess up. I’m human. But I’m going to actively choose kindness even as I fight against the things that I think are evil.

Kindness might not be a direct shot to meaning and decreased anxiety, but I really think that they are linked. The more times you can be kind, that you can give, that you can lift people up instead of smashing them down – helps.

There is meaning in goodness.

There is meaning in us.

IMG_8574
Gabby and her frog. She loves and protects him and sometimes even gives him the bed and sleeps on the floor. Why? Because she’s kind. 

 

Writing and Other News

Art.

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

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Time Stoppers!

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.

Timestoppers3_005

Moe Berg

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.

FLYING AND ENHANCED

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

OUR PODCAST – DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

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!

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

Writing Coach

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

Writing Barn

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

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.

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

Apply Now!

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