Creators, Dirty Feet, and Archetypes

Creators, Dirty Feet, and Archetypes

 
 
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For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about writing archetypes for our characters and how they also apply to the real life humans we used to meet and interact with before Covid-19.

There are lists out there all over the place about this. Most have slight variations on the number of archetypes or the names of the archetypes. 

Oh! If you haven’t heard in our past episodes, an archetype is according to MasterClass:  

An archetype is an emotion, character type, or event that is notably recurrent across the human experience. In the arts, an archetype creates an immediate sense of familiarity, allowing an audience member to relate to an event or character without having to necessarily ponder why they relate. Thanks to our instincts and life experiences, we’re able to recognize archetypes without any need for explanation.

MasterClass People

Last week we talked about the seducers, the week before we talked about the misfits and mavericks. This week, we’re going easy on you with the creator. 

According to MasterClass, the creator is, “A motivated visionary who creates art or structures during the narrative.”

They make things! Like writers! They usually have willpower. They are sometimes self-involved. Or they suck at practical things. 

Over on ArielHudnel.com, it says (all bold their emphasis), 

“Also known as the artist, innovator, inventor, architect, musician, and dreamer, the Creator is solely focused on examining the boundaries or our reality and perception. As a character, they often take the position of the well-meaning scientist, or savant artist.

The Creator carries an inexhaustible imagination, often excelling at their chosen vocation. When presenting as a mortal character in a reality-based world, he is often portrayed as a man ahead of his time. There are often better examples of this archetype in the real world (Galileo, Einstein, Mozart, Steve Jobs) than in fiction!

Mediocrity is the Creator’s worst fear. Whether this result comes from concept or execution doesn’t matter. The creator wishes to be an authentic voice in a world of white noise. They gain rivals easily, answering those challenges with innovation in their work, and their personal outlook.”

ArielHudnel

Zeus. Dr. Frankenstein. Iron Man. All creators. 

Phoebe in Friends. Jo in Little Women. Creators. 

The Issue

All of these characters are white. When researching this, we were overwhelmed by the lack of examples of BIPOC. It’s another glaring example of a lack of diversity in books and movies. And it’s super frustrating. 

Over on the Character Therapist, they list the creator’s goals and fears:

LIKELY GOALS

To create things of enduring value
To see a vision realized 
To hone artistic control and skill
To create culture through self-expression  

LIKELY FEARS

To have a mediocre vision 
To only execute a vision half-way
To believe all is an illusion
To remain unchanged/unmoved by beauty 

Writing Tip of the Pod

We need all types of stories. When you create, think about who your archetypes are. If you are creating and expressing yourself, are you doing so in a way that is beautiful, clear, and fair to the rest of the world? 

Dog Tip for Life

Single minded obsession is never good unless it’s about making bacon. 

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.

DOG INSPIRATION

Every weekday, our dogs have inspirational or motivating tweets on Carrie’s Twitter. Go check it out and be her Twitter friend.

The kittens felt left out.

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.

Join the 239,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Another episode about archetypes and if your sex life was a hashtag. Cough.

Last week’s episode about archetypes and falling out of cars. 

A bonus episode with Vivian Garcia Rodriguez about cosplay, book boyfriends, and being brave enough to get rid of people who hurt you. 

A bonus episode about being a cop’s daughter in Maine and a dance mom in Pennsylvania with Alyson Pelletier Seegmueller.

And this week’s episode link if you’re reading this via email.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME- THE PLACES WE HIDE

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

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Finding Strength in Words: How to Write Strong Sentences

Finding Strength in Words: How to Write Strong Sentences

 
 
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As we do this podcast, the United States is full of protests and pain, Covid-19 is still happening, people are being hurt, people are dying. So, it’s a lot to take in and a lot to process and worry about so for this podcast we’re going to focus on a simple writing tip. 

Ready?

Story is made up of sentences. You want your sentences to be strong. Strong sentences stem from their beginnings. When the beginning sucks, the whole foundation can suck. 

It sounds like a metaphor for a government, doesn’t it? 

Anyways, in English, you want the strongest words on the left-hand side of the sentence. 

Strength comes from the beginning of the sentences and the rest of the words branch out from there. So what are the strongest words you want to put on the left side? 

Nouns and verbs. They are our friends, our battle weapons. Nouns and verbs ignite the fires of imagination. 

Here’s an example of a sentence that’s pretty long, but strong because it begins with solid words: 

Reporters collapsed after cops in riot gear shot rubber pellets directly at their cameraman and on-scene correspondent last night in Louisville, making them understand a little bit more the systemic violence and dehumanization that can happen when power is in the hands of few elements of society. White people weren’t used to that especially not reporters used to watching as others lose their rights, are crushed beneath knees and vehicle wheels and arrested without cause. 

Random nonpolitical sentence.

Sentences don’t always have to branch. Sentences pack powerful punches even when shortened if they begin with a subject-verb one-two punch.

When we put a lot of distance between the subject and verb, we can confuse the reader. 

When we hide the subject underneath layers of clauses? We show the reader how unimportant the subject is to us. The subject of the sentence is important and should matter. 

I feel like that’s a not too heavily cloaked way of saying people matter. Rage happens when injustices never stop. Rage happens when the punishments don’t fit the crime and when nobody hears your voice. 

We hope your voice is heard. We hope you get to be the subject of a lot of sentences and not buried under purple prose and wordage. Make your sentences strong, but make other people’s sentences strong too.   

Writing Tip of the Pod

Look at your writing. Where are your verbs? Where are your nouns/subjects? Are they in powerful places together? Put them there, damn it. 

Dog Tip for Life

Remember the structures that make your life, your community, your family. Are your subjects next to the verbs? How can you make them stronger?


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.

Join the 230,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Last week’s episode.


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.

What I See When I Write My Stories

So, a lot of times writers have vision boards for their stories. We fill these with images that represent the theme or the thought or the character. I do this a lot by painting, but sometimes I make real boards somewhere (like Pinterest) too.

Like this would be one for my adult mystery, THE PLACES WE HIDE.

This works really well for the image system of your story and image systems are super cool. Let me know if you want me to blog about them.

And this is the one for one of the stories I’m working on right now. It’s basically a campground for the undead and other strange creatures. The working title is brilliantly called, CREEPY CAMPGROUND STORY. Yes! Yes! I know! Genius title.

And this one would be for the YA story I’m revising, which is a bit of a time travel story, but still awesome and not confusing.

And this one would be for IN THE WOODS, which I cowrote with Steve Wedel and came out this summer.

So, yeah. That’s a peek into the weird image part of my story writing process.

For more about a couple of the stories, check out behind the jump.

But before you go, let me explain. When I write my stories, I hear them inside my head first and then I see the images. Not all writers are like this. When I try to get to the heart and soul of my story and its characters, it is the images that pull me there. Not the words. So in my first draft, I hear the story, but when I revise, I feel the images.

Continue reading “What I See When I Write My Stories”

The Rural Librarian and the Closet of Doom

The Rural Librarian and the Closet of Doom

 
 
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This week’s bonus episode is all about the Librarian of Awesome, Cara Sawyer, who talks about the beauties and problems of being a small town librarian with a $36,000 budget (including her salary) in the time of Covid-19.

Cara’s doing a lot of programming from her house. Check it out here.

To find out how Cara manages and learn about the Closet of Doom, listen to the podcast here!

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.

Join the 209,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw, weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


RECENT EPISODES OF AWESOME AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

Link to Sam Spellacy’s interview.

A bonus interview with Dr. J.L. Delozier, Pennsylvania doctor and writer. 

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 

The First Time I Won An Award As A Grown Up (in age not mentality)

Actually, the title of this blog is wrong. This is about the first time I won a writing award that wasn’t for newspapers.

I won a lot of awards for newspapers.

This award was the Maine Literary Award for creative nonfiction and it was a big enough deal that I had to think about what to wear.

Here’s my excerpt about it. I wasn’t – cough – terribly mature so not much has changed.

I won an award!

Let me first say, that I am stunned by the inability of Maine writers to guzzle down free booze. There was all this wine at the award banquet and NOBODY drank it. Everyone kept sipping Poland Spring water, which is nice because it’s all healthy and everything, but really….

I am not much of a boozer or a winer but I did have a glass. A lady checked it off on a piece of paper. She was keeping a tally. I felt naughty.

The award ceremony for the Maine Literary Awards was nice and I stressed about what to wear for absolutely no reason. There were a few LET US WEAR ALL BLACK AND BE ARTY people there. There were a few LET US WEAR CONTRASTING PRIMARY COLORS AND BE ARTY people there. There were no ball gowns nor nudists nor pinstriped suits, so we Maine writers seemed to lack any real eccentric dressers or at least we did at this awards ceremony. 

As an aside, all those grown-up writers are not so good at hiding the whole jealousy bit, and they don’t hug (or obviously openly drink) as much as children’s writers, which is just a darn shame.

Are children’s writers lushes? Possibly.

Are they fantastic huggers? Most definitely.

I wore a long skirt that wasn’t too flowy or too librarian looking. No offense to librarians. And a black lacy top. I would’ve liked to have down the leather pants thing, but I don’t own any. I would have liked to dress like Ed Briant because he is the ultimate cool boy, but I’m an uncool girl and I had no extra-wide brown and orange striped tie.

There was no pantyhose on my legs either. I just couldn’t do it. Blech.  I would have felt like my mother.

They read excerpts from the pieces, which was embarrassing, but overall it was pretty good. I guess I have to process it a little more.

And it turns out lots of people entered my category (nonfiction), which was a huge surprise but cool. I met the judge who was incredibly nice and upset that I’m not a big nonfiction person, which was also a huge surprise but cool.

I had to tell him I wrote children’s fiction. I think he wanted to take the award away but I clutched it my lacy top and hissed, “Mine. My precious. Mine.”

THE NEXT DAY

And this is what happened the day after that award. . . .

Something funky is going on. That’s for sure. Why? Because I just won a fellowship that goes to “promising Maine writers.”

What am I promising? I don’t know. I promise that my promise is not naughty, is not reality-show worthy, nor Congressionally scandalous in nature.

But this fellowship is cool, because I get $700. 


My income is slowly inching up to poverty level from its abysmal low of nothing. Yee-hawwww.

The dog and I are very excited and have danced around the kitchen, much to the displeasure of the cat.

How About You?

Do you remember the first time an outside source gave you kudos for your work? Did it feel good? Did you feel validated? Stunned? Were you like, “Um. Duh. I am awesome?”

I hope you win all the awards and randomly get $700. I am rooting for you.


My Book Is Out

You can order it here.  (ebook or paperback) 

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

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it. 


RECENT EPISODES OF OUR AWESOME DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

A bonus interview with Dr. J.L. Delozier, Pennsylvania doctor and writer. 

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 

Link to Sam’s interview. Sam is my friend and is awesome.

That’s right! Carrie’s (me) doing bonus interviews every Thursday. And they are so much fun.


THE WRITING COURSE OF AWESOME

It’s our very own writing course! 

Basically, it’s set up a bit like a distance MFA program, only it costs a lot less and also has a big element of writer support built in and personalized feedback from me! This program costs $125 a month and runs for four-month sessions!

To find out more, check out this link. It’s only $125 a month, so it’s a super good deal. Come write with us! 

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”

Don’t End Up With a Troll or a Douchebag – The Two Question Rule and Relationships

Don’t End Up With a Troll or a Douchebag – The Two Question Rule and Relationships

 
 
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EVERYONE! This podcast is explicit because it has a swear in it (Thanks, Shaun) and also has brief embarrassing talk (for me – Carrie – at least because I am uptight) about the male anatomy. 

Okay. We’re married, but we weren’t always married, right? Like it didn’t happen when we were two and the first people we married were – cough -definitely not each other. 

But we’re going to talk about dating anyway. And there is this concept that’s on Shallon Lester’s YouTube videos called the Two Question Rule. Lester is kind of a gossip columnist and sex advice person, but we’re going to be okay with that for this podcast. 

This is not related to the five-second rule where you get to eat food if it’s only fallen on the floor for five seconds. I am so sorry Shaun.

Here’s the rule, simplified thanks to a Medium article by Emma Austin. 

“When you’re getting to know a guy, especially if you’re flirting or seeing where things are going, pay attention to how many questions you’re asking him and how many questions he’s asking you in return. If you routinely ask more than two questions without him asking you any, take it as a sign that he’s not interested in you.”

Emma Austin

There are exceptions: 

  1. He’s telling a story
  2. You’re telling a story and not giving a pause for questions.

Here’s the thing. We all want to think that the other person is actually interested in us and so we ignore the signs that they aren’t.

What are those signs? 

  1. They don’t ask any questions about you.
  2. They only talk about themselves and are all preeny like a peacock
  3. They don’t answer your calls or texts for days.
  4. They tell you. 

We are creatures of hope and sometimes we’re so desperate to feel loved that we end up with douchebags because we’ve blown off all the signs. 

As Austin says, 

“And a lot of times, you just like someone and it makes you a little too hopeful. You really want them to like you back, so you look for all the little signs that they do — and ignore the bigger signs that they don’t. You project your feelings on them a bit and you find yourself making excuses for their behavior. Because at least the excuses feel better than the truth. You don’t want them to not be interested in you — you’d rather they were just too busy or going through something or having a weird day.”

Emma Austin

Writing Tip of the Pod

When you’re having your characters interact and it’s a romance? Remember this rule. Don’t let your heroine do all the questioning? Don’t make her love interest a douchebag who only talks about themselves and never ask about her.

And remember all of this is super heteronormative because we’re quoting Austin and Lester, but this also goes for same-sex relationships and women can absolutely be as trollish as men when it comes to relationships.  

Dog Tip for Life

Try to remember that it isn’t always all about you. Don’t be the douchebag. Give love as well as accepting the treats. Ask the questions. Be interested. Don’t only be about yourself all the time.

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. Join one of 201,000 downloads and be weird with us!


RECENT EPISODES OF AWESOME AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

Last week’s episode link. 

This week’s episode link if you can’t see it in your browser.

Last week’s bonus interview with Dr. J.L. Delozier.

That’s right! Carrie’s doing bonus interviews every Thursday. And they are so much fun.

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.

Continue reading “Don’t End Up With a Troll or a Douchebag – The Two Question Rule and Relationships”

Pants-drunk, Geico, Stinky Beer, Government Cheese – It’s a podcast of awesome where things get weird

Pants-drunk, Geico, Stinky Beer, Government Cheese – It’s a podcast of awesome where things get weird

 
 
00:00 / 00:25:12
 
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When you think about people getting drunk in their underwear, you tend to think of Joe Exotic and the people on Tiger King, the hot-AF Netflix documentary, but the people who are masters at getting completely sloshed at home are the Finns. 

Yes, the Finns. 

They have a word for it and that word is kalsarikännit. That word means pantsdrunk 

They even have emojis depicted half-dressed emoji people holding a beer or a wine glass that they send each other when they are solo drinking in their undies. 

And that’s what is happening to America in the time of Covid-19. Believe me, this is such a thing that it’s a trending Instagram tag and even the Barefoot Contessa is getting involved. 

Here’s the thing. People in northern, isolated, winter-dark, sun-absent climates know all about staying at home. They know about facing the darkness and drinking in their undies. Yes, undies. Not sweatpants. Undies. Part of being pantsdrunk is stripping down. 

On Harper Collins’s website for Miska Rantanen’s book about the cultural phenomenon, it states:

“When it comes to happiness rankings, Finland always scores near the top.  Many Finnish phenomena set the bar high: the best education system, gender equality, a flourishing welfare state, sisu or bull-headed pluck.  Behind all of these accomplishments lies a Finnish ability to stay calm, healthy and content in a riptide of endless tasks and temptations.  The ability comes from the practice of “kalsarikanni” translated as pantsdrunk.”

Harper Collins’s blurb people

According to an article by Claudia Alarcon in Forbes

“Pantsdrunk is one of the cornerstones of drinking culture in Finland,” says Partanen (an actual Finnish person she quotes). “The Finns are very reserved people, which is why there are jokes in Finland about how social distancing simply means that we keep doing what we’ve always been doing: avoiding physical contact and keeping at least a meter distance from others.”

Claudia Alarcon

When you are undergoing constant stress and anxiety, it increases your risk for both physical and mental health issues. You don’t want that. We don’t want that for you. So, it’s okay to find some joys even as the horrifying happens. Build a fort. Sing in the shower. Read books. Snuggle with puppies. 

What’s this got to do with writing other than the fact that the tradition has been immortalized in a book? It’s about letting go, diving into your story and giving your anxiety a giant finger flip. It’s about tearing off your clothes and your devices and writing the raw, naked tipsy story without your internal critic or internal editor standing over your shoulder telling you to go get the seltzer water and put your clothes back on. That’s when you write cool stories. 

This time we are in now, this pandemic, this physical isolation? It can divide us or it can make us closer. We can choose to despair in our systemic issues and lack and we should recognize it, but is just as important to notice the moments of humanity, of how people still find ways to create and communicate and love. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t give up. Persistence is super in life and in writing. 

Dog Tip for Life

Find your alcohol. Be naked. Live while you can.

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.

Gabby does not approve of alcohol.

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. 

Last week’s episode link.

Last week’s interview with writer Jordan Scavone!

SO, HERE’S WHAT I’M UP TO. 

THE WRITING COURSE OF AWESOME

It’s our very own writing course! 

Basically, it’s set up a bit like a distance MFA program, only it costs a lot less and also has a big element of writer support built in and personalized feedback from me! This program costs $125 a month and runs for four-month sessions!

To find out more, check out this link. It’s only $125 a month, so it’s a super good deal. Come write with us! 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

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. 


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

ART NEWS

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

WHAT ELSE? 

I’m still revising ANOTHER NOW, which is a big time travel story. It is killing me. 

AND FINALLY, MY NEW PATREON STORY

And over on Patreon, I’m starting a new story this week! It’s a chapter a month if you want to check it out. It basically costs $1 a month to listen to my story and $3 a month to read it. There’s a new chapter every week. It’s super fun; I promise. Here’s an excerpt.

The Places We Hide – an Excerpt

Hey, everyone! I realized that I never do book excerpts on here. I know! I know, right? What kind of author am I? Apparently, I am an author who fails to market.

But here’s an excerpt. I hope you’ll read it, like it, and buy it! That’s me marketing. 🙂

The Places We Hide

Chapter One

Hiding women are so similar; most of us are pretending that we aren’t hiding at all and we all seem to do it – the hiding – right out in the open. 

The sky looms over the tops of the little colonials and Victorian houses that line lower Ledgelawn Avenue. The air breathes across the neighborhood like some sort of cold soldier, waiting for things to happen. 

I haul in a bag of pellets off the front porch and into our living room and call for Lilly to hurry up before I open the heavy drapes by the loveseat window. I’m trying to make the room a tiny bit brighter, which is a losing battle, especially given the deep, gray color of the coastal Maine sky. 

            Winter will be fine this year. 

            I tell myself these sort of lies all the time. I tell myself that it is totally healthy to binge on Doritos after a meeting or that other mothers also hate quinoa. I tell myself that our lives are safe and good now. Safe and good. I tell myself that we won’t be found.

            If I was a drinking kind of person, I would be tempted to pour myself some wine, but instead, I just settle into the couch and wait for Lilly to come downstairs. There’s a copy of Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine on the round, farmhouse-industrial coffee table in front of me. It was on sale. Everything I buy is on sale. 

            It’s been over a year though; we’re safe. 

            When I pick up the book, the first page mentions rape. I put the book down and stare at it. Then I turn it over so I don’t have to see the blue cover and the woman’s face up in the sky or the words ‘triumphant national bestseller,’ even though I know those words probably mean that it has a happy ending. Right? 

            Books tend to be liars. 

            No. No, that doesn’t have to be true. For months, I’ve been trying to convince myself that I don’t need to worry about things anymore. Lilly and I have made a life for ourselves. The threat of snowflakes doesn’t change that, doesn’t take away the safety and life that I’ve built. Still, the memories of another winter, a specific winter day, come blizzarding back to me. The screams that I didn’t realize were my own. Lilly in my arms, gasping for breath. Escaping out the window onto the porch roof. Convincing Lilly to jump into a neighbor’s arms. The house on fire behind us. 

            I pick up the book again. Winter will be over eventually. It’s only just starting. Obviously, I need to get used to it – to the short days and cold, the way the memories keep flooding back no matter how hard I try to push them down. 

            “Mommy! I’m ready!” 

            The happy noise of Lilly’s feet tap lightly down the dark-stained tops of the wooden stairs that we just re-stained last week. We painted the baseboards white, hiding the scuff marks of past owners. Moving on, starting over, everyone does it, just not quite so dramatically as we did.

            “Hey there, cutie face,” I say as she rockets over to the couch wearing a glittery rainbow ballerina tutu over her unicorn leggings. She has her favorite pink wool giraffe sweater on and layered over that are the gold fairy wings that I bought her for her Halloween costume. She was a ballerina-fairy-kitty, a Lilly original. Today though, she’s topped her ensemble with a cowboy hat. “You look stylish.”

            She beams. “Do I have to wear a coat?”

            “Yes.”

            “But my fairy wings.” She points at them sticking out behind her. 

            “Need to come off in the car anyways.” I’m bringing her to a play date even though I still worry about not being with her 100 percent of the time. I push the unhealthy anxiety into my shoulder muscles.

            Batting her eyelids, she leans forward. “Mommy. . .”

            “They’ll be crushed. No self-respecting cowboy-ballerina-fairy wants crushed wings, right?”

            “True that,” she says with the fierceness of a fashionista and slings off the wings. She pulls a piece of toast out from the folds of her costume. “My bread is boring.” 

            “Did you put butter on it?” I ask. 

            “No. That would stain my costume.”

            “Not if you don’t put your snack in your costume, silly,” I say, standing up and tweaking her nose. 

Taking her bread, I head to the kitchen and apply some butter pretty liberally. I know that the good mom handbook is against fat in children’s diets and also against excess sugar, but I’m sure that I’ve been not following the handbook for a while now. Relocating your daughter, giving yourself a new name and identity, probably doesn’t fit in with the perceptions of good mom either. 

            “Baby, come in here and eat your bread at the counter,” I call. 

She skips into the kitchen and comes up to the little island/counter that separates the kitchen from our small dining area, which barely fits the table and bookcase that I’d put in it. The table came from Goodwill and had a million marks and scuffs on the wood, but I’d bought some ModPodge, fancy paper, and sponge applicators and made it prettier. It was good enough for us for now. And that is all that matters. Us. 

            Sighing, I head to the addition where the door to the basement, bathroom, and laundry are. I check the door to the little back deck and stare out at the fenced-in yard overlooking a short border of trees and then the town’s ballfield. Everything is secure. I let myself exhale for a second and lean against the big window, putting my forehead against the cold windowpane. I try so hard not to live in fear, to not be paranoid, and I usually think I’m successful, but then it’s habits like these that make me realize that I’m just fooling myself and that underneath the surface of everything is a constant fear made real by routines like this – double checking doors, first-floor windows, always knowing two escape routes from every room that we’re in. 

            Lilly comes in and grabs my hand. “You ready, Mommy?”

            I am. I have to go take photos for the paper and she’s heading to her favorite friend’s house. The beautiful thing about Bar Harbor, Maine compared to Colorado is how quickly the families accepted us and took care of us. Everyone is constantly having playdates and book clubs and gatherings. Allegedly, it’s because in the summer everyone is so overwhelmed by the tourists and then in the winter everyone is so overwhelmed by the nothingness and white grays of winter that they have to gather together in warm places to remind themselves that there is light in the grayness and cold that is the winter world. 

            When we head back to the kitchen, it’s obvious that Lilly has devoured almost all of her bread and has half demolished an apple. 

“You thirsty?” I ask, opening the refrigerator.

            “No.”

            “Want some milk?” I wave the jug in front of her face. It’s one of our running gags because she hates it so much and I always pretend to forget that she hates it so much. 

            She makes a barfing noise while I mock surprise and gulp some milk out of the jug myself. 

            “That’s rude, Mommy.” She crosses her arms over her chest.

            “I am a terrible, terrible human being and should go to prison right this second for such a serious offense.”

            She just sticks her tongue out at me. I put the lid back on the milk and pull out an apple, which I toss to her. She catches it in one hand. 

            “Just in case you get hungry later.” I put the milk back in the refrigerator, inhale through my nose, which is supposed to help with anxiety and fear of it away. I’ve got to tell you though; it’s hard to fear anxiety when it lives inside you like a constant friend. You get used to it hanging around.

            “They always feed me at Michelle’s,” Lilly says, studying the apple. 

            I hug her. “It’s just me trying to take care of you.”

            “You’re such a mommy.” She hugs me back. 

We put on winter jackets, hats, mittens and I resist the urge to recheck the back door and we go. I grab my camera bag and lock the front door behind us. Lilly skips down the sidewalk chanting, “Snow day. Snow day. Snow day.”

            She scurries into our MINI Cooper the moment I hit the fob that unlocks the car. The afternoon air is brisk. We’ve survived many Colorado mountain winters so I doubt a winter on Maine’s coast is going to be a big deal. The ocean makes the island we live on warmer. The snow doesn’t get too deep – not compared to where we were before. 

            Walter Hildebrand, one of those cops that are more a stereotype than they should be thanks to his massive girth and love of donuts, honks the horn at us. It’s a cheerful honk and not what you expect from a patrol car. 

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” he yells out his window, which he’s already rolling up again before we can respond.

            It’s getting closer to Christmas. I’m secretly excited about our first Christmas alone, but also worried because the gifts aren’t going to be nearly as fancy or expensive as the gifts Lilly is used to. She wants a certain doll that costs so much money that I’ve complained about it to everyone I meet. The other big thing she wants is a Lego set that is legitimately the same amount as one week of my small reporter’s salary. And a dog. I grew up poor, lower middle class, but until now Lilly has grown up rich – scared, but rich. Things are drastically different.

            “Buckle up, baby,” I say as she straps herself in. 

            “You don’t have to remind me, Mommy.” She cocks her head in a sort of arrogant way. “I’m a big girl.” 

            “I know.”

            “And I’m very responsible.”

            “I know.”

            I scruff her hair. She smiles at me. And looking over my shoulder, I back out of the driveway onto Ledgelawn. There’s a massive tree in between my house and the neighbor’s house and it makes me nervous whenever I leave. Down the street, Sarah Lowell is walking her big old pittie, heading in the opposite direction from us. Directly across the street, Karol Baker, lifts up his hand in a wave. I toot the horn in reply and Lilly waves enthusiastically at Karol. She loves him because he has a yellow lab that he always lets her pet. 

            “I like this town,” she announces as we drive to her play date. 

Continue reading “The Places We Hide – an Excerpt”

Surviving Road Trips, K-Pop, Stranger Things, and the Takis Burn

Surviving Road Trips, K-Pop, Stranger Things, and the Takis Burn

 
 
00:00 / 00:12:24
 
1X
 

This week, we’ve stepped away from our normal format because we’re on a massive road trip from Maine to Georgia to Florida and back again.

So much time in the car is making our brains a bit – a bit – a bit – broken?

Have a listen. There’s a special guest. She’s eleven. She’s got opinions just like her dad.

Apologies for the car noises. That’s because we’re in the car. Come join us.


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.


Big News!

I just published a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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. 


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

ART NEWS

Becoming

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site.