What Happens to Your Mom When You Hit the NYT Bestsellers List

So, I thought I should tell this story about what happened with my mom when my books debuted on the NYT Bestseller Kids Lists. This was back when my mom was alive and everything.

First off, I should probably say for the five years or so before this my mom had been super sick with diabetes and all these horrible complications from it. She’d almost died a couple times. She’d been in the hospital a ton. And basically, that stunk.

The point is that she’d been through a lot.  

And when she called me after hearing the news about the whole New York Times thing she screamed into the phone, “Oh my gosh. Ohmygosh. Oh God, Carrie. I’m hyper. I’m hyperventilating. I’m hyperventilating I’m so excited. Oh my gosh, I’m hyperventilating. I am so proud of you. Oh, I am so very very proud of you.”

Which pretty much cracked me up because it was cute!

Anyway, she had to get infusions or transfusions or something that same week.

She talked to the lab tech/nurse lady one day (the day before the NYT thing) and then the lady called back the next day after my mom had learned.

The woman who was super nice said, “Betty? What’s going on? Something happened. Your voice is different.”

At this point my mother had her prou- mom moment and told her. The woman was all excited for her. It was hard not to be excited for my mother. 

My mother’s appointment was the next day and when she walked into the waiting room the receptionist said in a frantic tone, “She’s here! Betty’s here.” 

Then everyone who worked at the lab came out and started applauding as my mom walked to the check-in desk.

One of them, she said, yelled, “It’s the mother of the New York Times bestselling author.”

So, I have to say three things:

1. I think the best moment in all of this totally belongs to my mom and I am so happy about that.


2. I hope all of you who are trying to be writers or have other awesome goals get a moment like that where you achieve something with someone’s support, and they get to celebrate too. 

3. Even before COVID-19 healthcare workers, grocery store workers, farmers, first responders, teachers? They were making impacts. They were making a difference. They were making people like my mom feel so special. We should make them feel special too.


HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels.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

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

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

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

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

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

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

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

How To Become a Successful Writer The Key Writing Advice to Keep In Your Brain

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
How To Become a Successful Writer The Key Writing Advice to Keep In Your Brain
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If you are the kind of writer who wants clicks and readers, this is the podcast for you. Yes! A helpful podcast from us weirdos. I know, right?

Here’s the first one.

Get Rid of The Crap

Seriously. Get rid of the words, the repetition, the flowery language that exists JUST to be flowery but has nothing to do with your message, your character or your plot.

Don’t have people nod and say yes at the same time. One is enough.

Don’t have people think to themselves. We know they are thinking to themselves.

Unnecessary words are blah. Nobody wants to be blah. Nobody wants to read blah either except maybe that one fourth grade teacher and maybe your honors freshman English teacher, the one who yelled about James Joyce a lot.

Let Your Title Be a Promise and a Gift.

That’s right. Give your readers something. Your title is a promise and a gift.

Think to yourself: Why would anyone care about reading this?

For this podcast, the answer to that would be that people care because they want the tools to be a better writer. Figure out why you’re writing what you’re writing and give that to the reader.

This goes for books too. Even if your answer is just – I want to provide readers an escape. It works.

Actually Write Your Story

Don’t just talk about writing. Write.

Don’t stare at the blank page. Write.

You can always revise. Revision is good. But you can’t revise a blank document or a page full of nothing.

I once had a reporter who was THE BEST guy. He was my best friend. I loved him with all my heart, but he would have writer’s block all the way up to deadline. I’m a chill human. I hate being demanding, but I would have to go into his office every deadline and implore him to write.

“My lede isn’t perfect,” he’d say.

“Done matters. Perfect doesn’t matter.”

I would write ten stories to his one story, over and over again. And the thing was? People liked my stories better. That quest for perfection makes us crazy. But it also keeps us from getting things done.

Don’t Try To Be Someone Else

You should write like you. Not like Anne Lamont or the million other lovelies out there. Not like T-Nehisi Cotes who is brilliant.

You have a unique experience and voice. Use that in your stories. Be brave. Be absolutely who you are. Don’t be shy about it, shout your voice into the world.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Write. Be yourself. Don’t write extra words just to be extra or fill up your word count. And your title is a promise to your reader/listener. Don’t break the promise.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Focus on your wants. Don’t add fluff. Don’t be fluff.

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 new 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.

Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about loving places and feeling called to them when you have never been there before.


LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

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

And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.

Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.

The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!

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 256,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

TIPS ON SURVIVING BANNED BOOKS WEEK

posted this back in 2006 when maybe fifteen people were reading my blog and I knew them all in person, I think. But I thought it might be good for this week, too.

The official Banned Books Week is Coming Up! Are you ready?

Sparty Dog Inspiration
Sparty Dog Approves These Tips



TIPS ON SURVIVING BANNED BOOKS WEEK


1. Remember, it’s okay to get ridiculously mad that people ban George by Alex Gino or Captain Underpants or Judy Blume’s Forever or Brent Hartinger’s Geography Club or The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas or anything by Carrie Jones (Okay. I added this last one in.)

2. Remember, it’s okay to think that it’s stupid for people to think kids (and adults) are so weak of mind that reading about a boy being a wizard will make them become Satan worshipers or that ready about potty mouths will make them about potty mouth and etc…

3. Wonder if you’ve ever met a satan worshiper. You know you’ve met a potty mouth.

4. Decide to google (YOUR STATE) Satan worshipers. Then decide not to, because it’s too freaky.

5. Go back to being angry about Banned Books.

6. Why do this? So you can be intelligent while you’re angry read: Kathi Appelt’s exceptional essay about the interplay of fear and banned books. If you can’t find it (Okay. I can’t right now), read someone else’s. 

7. Tell your friends about the essays you’ve read.

8. Argue with someone who thinks it’s okay to ban books. Try not to swear at them and to not go all potty mouthed. It may be hard. Try not to lose your temper. That may be harder.

9. Think about how my favorite line from Kathi Appelt’s essay is “Fear, of course, has a twin: hatred.” Then go all fan girl over Kathi Appelt.

10. Go check out the always the important and insightful American Library Association’s banned and challenged book news and information.

11. Read a banned book. Do better than that. Read three. Buy one. That’ll show them. Who is them? The book banners. That’s who.

Rejection Doesn’t Have to Be the End

The first story I ever wrote was not the first one I published. It was the story I made up for Em, my kiddo, when we were in the car while I drove to assignments when I worked for our local paper.

Em
Em

I loved this story so much because it was for Em and a piece of it got me into graduate school (It was part of my application) and because it made me realize (again) how much I’d loved writing stories.

I’d spent a lot of time being in crappy situations. My car became my bed for awhile. College-onset epilepsy thanks to a weird Epstein-Barr virus attacking my brain derailed my plans to go to Ireland, to go to law school, and lowered my cognitive abilities. Some people were tremendously mean to me, people that were supposed to love me.

And I forgot who I was and what I loved (other than Em) until I started writing that story.

That sounds like a perfect trope, doesn’t it? Woman finds self by being a writer, becomes international bestseller, blah-blah-blah. Suddenly she is bathed in romantic lighting, hair flitting around her, singing show tunes or something, birds alighting on her wrist?

It wasn’t like that. My writing journey was hard and full of self-doubt and rejection.

I tell a lot of the writers that I mentor not to give up on their old stories, but to put them away for a bit. Writing isn’t a straight line to success and life isn’t always like that either. This post from pre-published Carrie back in 2005 totally shows that.

Hold on.

Today, is my whining day.


Two days left before Christmas and nothing is done. I haven’t bought presents for my parents yet! This is very, very bad.

But that isn’t the problem. The problem is that today I had the epiphany that I am THE STINKIEST WRITER IN THE WORLD and that I am NEVER EVER GOING TO GET PUBLISHED and that I’m spending $6,000 a semester to be a better writer, which means…. what? I won’t be as horrible as I was before, but still not any good. I am like the super ugly girl who keeps entering beauty contests. I keep losing, but I keep deluding myself that trying is a good thing. I really am pretty/an okay writer/not hideous really, really, really.

All of this is because today I received a rejection notice from Scholastic. They took my story off the slush pile and kept it for a couple weeks and then rejected me… on DECEMBER 23… MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

What did I do? Oh, I am mature. I sat in the Subaru in the parking lot at the post office, put my head on the steering wheel and sobbed while my my friend pet my back, and my sweet little girl watched from the backseat, telling me that my story was “Super, super good and that editor just didn’t have good taste.”

I kept crying.

Now, I know I’ve given her something to talk about in therapy when she’s in her 20s…. “My mom was so weak. My mom didn’t believe in herself.”

Thinking about that just made me more depressed, of course.

Truth Time

That story didn’t get published in 2005. It didn’t get published in 2007. It didn’t get published in 2009. I published it in 2016 after I’d published a lot of other books.

This is that book.

Time Stoppers Middle Grade Fantasy Series by Carrie Jones
Time Stoppers Front – US versions

Time Stoppers is still my favorite because it is about friendship and magic and has crow monsters and dragons, but it’s also my favorite because it made me a writer. It made me persistent. Time Stoppers made me cry in cars. It made me push through rejection. This book made me be able to tell other writers, “Don’t give up. You’ve got this. Write.” I knew that it could happen because it happened for me.

So here, writers:

Don’t give up.

You have stories.

Your stories deserve to be heard.

Keep writing.

You don’t need to be a writer to hear this.

Don’t give up.

You have stories.

Your stories deserve to be heard.

Keep writing.




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?

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YouTube and Us

We’ve started (slowly) to post videos on YouTube. I hope you’ll check them out. They aren’t (cough) high-tech, but they are high-goofy.

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!


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.