Loving the Strange – Let’s talk about ghosts

“I talk to her all the time.” Shaun about his ghost doll friend.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Loving the Strange - Let's talk about ghosts
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It’s our second podcast and you can hear how:

  1. Shaun has a haunted doll friend.
  2. A ghost felt Carrie’s thigh.
  3. The seance where the pencil caught on fire.
  4. Carrie’s grandmother’s ghost.
  5. And Shaun swear and be slightly naughty because he’s Shaun.
  6. How Maine is the most haunted state and Mainers don’t really seem to care.

This podcast isn’t about writing. It isn’t about life tips. It’s really inspired by how Shaun and I are such opposites about so many things and yet we still love each other. There’s got to be a lesson somewhere in there, right?

It’s unscripted and fun and just meant to make you feel like you’re hanging out with two weird people talking about strange things.

Please like and share and subscribe, it totally helps us out!


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 257,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

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!

Shaun Takes Over the Blog: Living With an Author, the Schedule Edition

This is Shaun, Carrie’s husband, and I’ve taken over the blog again to tell you what it’s like to live with a writer.           

So, having cohabitated with Carrie (the writer) for many years now, I have learned quite a bit about her work style and ethic. I have also come to know that individual authors have differing work routines and habits that, hopefully, keep them motivated and working but often vary greatly from one author to another. Some habituations lend themselves to greater success than others, just like in any other career.

Today I am going to give you a glimpse into what a typical day in Carrie’s life looks like, as far as earning money goes at least. 

            First, let me say that I know that everyone’s life is different. Heck, in our house every day is different and any particular day can go off the rails in a split second. I am not trying to promote any particular way of working. This is simply a husband bragging about his wife, mainly because she works circles around me, and I am amazed every single day.

Me last year before the masks.

THE CARRIE DAY

            Depending upon the day of the week, Carrie gets up between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sometimes 5 a.m.

She will awaken earlier if it is a running day and she will get up and run on the treadmill or outside when it is not cold. Because I am lazy, I usually get out of bed after her, however, by the time she is done running, I will have made her a glass of ice water and her morning tea.

As soon as she is done running, we have said our morning pleasantries and she has given me a nice tight and sweaty hug, she sits down at her computer and goes to work. If it is a non-running day, the routine is the same except she hasn’t earned her glass of ice water and only gets a cup of hot tea when I drag myself downstairs. And the hug is dry.

Giving Up Coffee

            As a sidebar, can I just say that I was a former coffee addict and even though every day is still an addiction struggle, Carrie was finally able to get me clean and now I drink hot tea every morning instead?

Total honesty compels me to say that on Saturday and Sunday mornings I do relapse and make us each a cup of Cuban coffee, but it is more of an enjoyment of the sugar-laden espresso-like goodness rather than a caffeine fix. Regardless of my relapses, I will sing the praises of switching from coffee to tea and how much better my body has felt for the past year or so because of it. You should try it if you are a coffee hound!

Back To Carrie’s Day

            So, yes, Carrie literally goes right to work after she has awoken (or awoken and run) and she works diligently. A good portion of her days now are spent editing other author’s work or coaching other writers and I have watched as she has changed her work schedule over the years to find the best fit for herself.

For twenty-five minutes, and she actually uses a timer so that she doesn’t get too engrossed in what she is doing and lose track of time, Carrie will work and then take a five-minute break.

Unfortunately for her, she usually does other types of work on her five-minute break and that is okay if it makes her happy because the real purpose of the five-minute break is to get out of her chair and move around so she doesn’t get “dead butt syndrome.” Occasionally, she will do something that she enjoys on her breaks, such as visiting her dungeon art studio and painting in tiny, happy spurts.

            Of course, this regimented schedule also has its caveats. I mean what parent can make it through the day without parenting? Sometimes these parenting breaks can really put a damper on your work flow. Regardless of whether it is a happy interaction or a stressful one, they can discombobulate the flow of information through your brain and your state of mind in general.

Heck, right now as I write this she is upstairs visiting with the seventh grader and most likely doing some general life counseling. If you have kids, you have to make time for them!

The To-Do List Of Awesome (By Of Awesome I mean OfHell)

This brings me to another thing that Carrie does every day, she makes a to-do list. She actually has more than one going at any given time and they include yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily lists. These lists are how she stays on track and tries not to forget anything. My favorite is her daily list, which she prepares the night before and I get a big kick out of watching how it morphs during the day depending on how things go. Not being a list-making type of person, I am truly amazed by how she utilizes and manipulates them in order to get everything done when it is supposed to be done.

            Her most favorite worktime activity is being able to work on her own stories, which, sadly, she doesn’t get to do nearly enough. Daily, she attempts to have enough time at the end of the day, which for her is well after dinner, to enjoy her true passion of writing, and I love it when she does. The change in her personality is palpable and she is so much more carefree and happy. Plus, it means she can occasionally submit a new book to an agent or self-publish one online.

Speaking of which, she will be publishing the sequel to one of her most recent books, The Places We Hide, soon and we will be sure to give you plenty of warning before it comes out. In the meantime, if you would like to purchase any of her previously published books, read older blogs (written by her and much more interesting) or if you need some authoring or editorial help, you can find links to all of those services are below in the HANG OUT WITH US section, but also, just peruse the tabs above.


In short, my points are thus:

  • Be disciplined in your work ethic and utilize tools that help you to be more efficient. Always make time for family.
  • Always leave time in your day to spend a bit of quality time with yourself doing what you love
  • And most importantly, love your way through it.

Success will find you!

May you best wishes come true for you!

Shaun

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 257,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!


Shaun Takes Over and Talks About Character

            Hi! I know this is Carrie’s blog and you all look forward so much to hearing from her, but today I have commandeered it and I may do that once in a while because she is such an incredible woman and I don’t want her to be so overworked that her magnificence dulls.

An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine
Look! It’s Shaun!

By the way, this is Carrie’s husband. Actually, it should be Carrie’s Husband because that is the actual title I have come to be known by to a good portion of our friends. My birthname is Shaun though, if you didn’t already know, and I am okay with being Carrie’s Husband, because she is that crazy awesome!

            But I digress. I am not an author by any means and Carrie asked me to talk about something to do with writing, maybe a prompt. Ugh, my brain hurts already! So, I took a few minutes to mull over what I would have a hard time doing if I was trying to write a book (I have tried and many accolades to you writer folks.) and I came up with so many ideas it is embarrassing. But I got stuck on one and that is, character traits and/or development. Heck, maybe these are two totally different subjects to you, but as I said, writing is not my bailiwick.

            I thought, “I have no idea how to give words on a page human traits and make them feel real to people. How would I do that?”

Well, I decided that I would sit down and just think and reminisce about the people in my life who influenced me as a young person and who helped make me who I am today.

            My mother and father divorced when I was two years old and I never saw him again until I was nine years old when he came back into my life bearing my two-year-old half-sister. He and my mother eventually got married again, my mother adopted my half-sister. They had another child, my younger brother, and eventually got divorced again when I was in my early  twenties.

I never really liked my father nor did I mesh with his viewpoints on life, although as we both matured, we grew into a polite relationship of acceptance. In reality I just gave up on arguing with him and trying to make him see anybody’s point of view other than his own. Within this paragraph, there are hundreds of story possibilities, but I am only telling you this so that I can say that I was raised and influenced mainly by my mother and my grandfather. There were times when my mother and I lived on our own, with roommates (friends of my mother’s), and also with my grandparents.

Thinking about my mother, father and grandfather brings back so many memories, both good and bad, and to replicate their personality traits would be relatively easy because even as my memories seem to fade, memories of them are still strong and vibrant. 

           So, to make that supremely realistic character I am going to ask you to not think about those people in your life that are so easily remembered, but go beyond them and dig deeper. Think about someone whom you may have forgotten, someone who may not have been in your life long perhaps, but still left an impression, good or bad. We do need both kinds of characters after all.

Just writing this is causing me to remember people that I have forgotten. People who I didn’t otherwise know, but for a brief, chance meeting, but who still left an indelible mark upon me. Such an experience, possibly long forgotten by you, can help you create a character of difference or help you get out of a rut where you feel your characters are not deep enough or possibly seem to similar. 

            I don’t know if anything that I have written will be useable advice to you, but I can say that I have been thinking about this off and on for about four hours now and I have had a great time. Regardless of whether or not I have helped, I would recommend taking this thought journey! I am not one into yoga or meditation but just sitting quietly and pondering this I have basically run the full gamut of emotions and rejuvenated many memories that had faded from the forefront. Truth be known, my eyes are watery ,but that is just part of the process and sometimes I can be an emotional wimp. If there were no emotions involved, it doesn’t seem like a worthwhile experience whether you are trying to create a better character or you are just reminiscing.

            Carrie and I have spoken about character building, in many ways, on our podcast Dogs Are Smarter Than People and I would invite you to listen if you haven’t yet made that journey. There’s a link below.

            Thank you taking the time to read my ramblings and may you have a happy and safe 2021!

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 257,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!



LET’S HANG OUT!

HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?

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

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!

Facing the Facts About Wedgies, Soccer Coaches, and Elections

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Facing the Facts About Wedgies, Soccer Coaches, and Elections
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Once, one of our kiddos had two soccer coaches.

And one time at the game, her jv coach yelled at her. She cried the entire way home. She refused to cry on the bench because she’s stoic like that.

Carrie talked to the varsity coach the next morning and he said, “Yeah. I had to do damage control on four or five players after that game. He had them all crying.”

It is hard for us to handle my kid crying about soccer.

One because in the big scheme of things it’s not important. But also, having someone yell at you is like having them give you a wedgie. It’s embarrassing, you feel the opposite of awesome and it can hurt.

That’s the thing reality hurts.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who wrote, FINDING FLOW, says, “To achieve excellence, we must first understand the reality of the everyday, with all its demands and potential frustrations.”

Crying because of soccer coaches counts as the reality of the everyday moments. 

So does not putting the filter in the coffee maker right so that eight cups of water and coffee grinds spill all over the counter and the floor. 

So does getting a wedgie or trolled on Facebook by your Great Aunt Mary’s best friend who thinks wearing masks is a conspiracy sent by aliens from the planet GoodSpa.

So does realizing your WIP is in need of serious help.

Part of improvisational comedy and improvisational life is facing the facts even when those facts suck.

That’s Patricia Ryan Madson’s seventh maxim in her book IMPROV WISDOM is about facing fact.

Carrie really hates facing the facts, sometimes. But she likes the facts (even when they aren’t in her favor) because the facts aren’t lies.


We have to go with what truths we have and sometimes what we have is a middle school jv soccer coach who makes people cry. Or a politician or a family member who does the same thing

Sometimes the truth is a ton of coffee-stained water on the floor or a dog who peed when she woke up and somehow that pee created a big puddle under your king-sized bed.

Sometimes the truth is a WIP that needs serious help. Sometimes it’s a relationship that needs that, a country, a community.

And today, the day, we’re releasing the podcast is election day in the United States and it’s not an understatement to say that the U.S. is having a difficult year and a lot of us are really worried about today.

But worries and wishes? That’s not where it’s at.

As this brilliant woman says,

Wishing things were different simply wastes time. The improviser can’t afford unrealistic thinking. Instead, she builds bridges over rocky terrain and turns lemons into lemonade. She works with what is actually in front of her, setting aside the temptation to dwell on what is not.”

Patricia Madson

She is so smart.

Now is not the time for just worrying and wishing. It’s a time for action. Write your books. Protest. Vote for your candidates. Create the community and laws and system that seem fair and equitable to you.

But do it. No matter what

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Wishing your story into existence doesn’t make your story exist. Dig in. Write it. Write it now.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Don’t laze around on the couch and let all the other dogs do the work. Bark. Guard things that are important to you. You can’t complain that you don’t get any treats if you never make an effort.

SHOUT OUT

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.


NEW BOOK ALERT!

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

There’s a bit more about it here.

Cool Book I Wrote

Carrie Jones Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Let’s Hang 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?

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!


CARRIE’S TEACHABLE CLASS!

I have a quick, pre-recorded Teachable class designed to make you a killer scene writer in just one day. It’s fun. It’s fast. And you get to become a better writer for just $25, which is an amazing deal.

Rules for Writers and Money (and everyone else too)

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Rules for Writers and Money (and everyone else too)
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You will find a lot of popular content all about how to make money. There are a lot of random blog articles about HOW I MADE 8 TRILLION DOLLARS IN PASSIVE INCOME A MONTH or 22 AWESOME PASSIVE INCOME IDEAS.

Which is lovely. But a lot of us writers are thinking, “What are these even talking about?”

What Is Passive Income?

Passive income is money that happens and builds from things that already exist. They can be from investments (like you rent a room in your house or an entire house or you open a savings account or CDs). It can also come from the investment of effort and time in something you build. This could be a YouTube channel or your eBook once it’s up and running. It could be affiliate marketing or selling prints of your art.

What is Active Income?

Active income is money that someone pays you when you do something for them that’s a service. It can be your salary at the grocery store. It could be an hourly wage at a bookstore. It could be a commission. It could be a tip.

So what’s all this have to do with writing?

According to a study by the Authors Guild, the average full-time writer’s median pay was $20,300 in 2017. That’s full-time. For most of us that’s not a big ton of money. There’s no real standardization of pay and that number doesn’t account for pay discrepencies for sex and race.

On Publishers Lunch, Erin Somers, looks at average earnings instead and wrote,

“For the 63 percent of authors who reported receiving book related income in 2017, the average total income was $43,247, which paints a very different picture . Over 2,000 authors had average publisher royalties of almost $32,000; close to 1,700 self-published authors reported royalties of just over $31,000, and a smaller group of about 700 authors also had average ebook subscription service earnings of over $13,000.”

Somers

But that’s only the writers who actually survived and didn’t give up. About a quarter of the authors that the guild surveyed received no money at all from book activity that year.

So, yes, most of us writers have to have other sources of income outside of writing. And that my friends, is why we’re writing this blog.

Being constantly terrified of not making money makes me, Carrie, a stressed-out writer who sometimes worries more about money and profitability than the actual craft. And a stressed-out Carrie equals a cranky Carrie. Nobody wants a cranky author.

So here are some examples of passive income investments when you have money to spend

  • Buy an investment property and rent it.
  • Invest in a high-yield savings account.
  • Check out crowdfunded real estate with REITs. Sites like Fundrise are a great place to start.
  • Peer-to-peer lending like on the Lending Club where you can loan money to others and get a return.

Examples of passive income investments that are more initial work than initial money.

  • Affiliate marketing on your blog. When people click through an ad that’s on your blog, you get a commission when they buy something that’s affiliated with that link.
  • YouTube – if you get a big enough following you can monetize your YouTube channel and have ads during your content.
  • Create an Online Course – Teachable and Udemy are great places to show off your skills.
  • Sell your art prints or your photos. Shutterstock Is a great resource for photographers.
  • Make an eBook – Seriously, especially if it’s nonfiction.
  • Rent out some storage space or your car or a room in your house.
  • Sell your clothes. Thredup and Poshmark will often give you cash or credit on their site. And it’s good for the environment, or at least better for the environment.

OTHER WAYS TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR MONEY SITUATION.

Those are ways to make extra income, but it’s also about not spending too much money and saving, right?

Live Like A Student

Mark Cuban (the guy from Shark Tank) is a big cheerleader for living beneath your means. Don’t buy all the things. Pretend you have less money than you have.

His yacht is anchored outside our town a lot and his yacht is HUGE so I’m not sure that Mr. Cuban is doing this? But I guess maybe he could have an even bigger yacht? It’s good advice for the rest of us though.

Step Away From the Credit Card

My dad was always murmur-screaming, DO NOT USE CREDIT CARDS! THEY ARE EVIL DEMONS FROM HELL! And he was right. Don’t use them if you don’t have to. Use your debit card.

The interest rates on these babies are horrific. You end up owing these companies so much money. Try to pay off or pay down your bill every single month. And then step away. Lock them in a gun safe or something. Seriously. Try not to use them.

Gather Information

Reading blogs and books (much more in depth usually) can give you the information you need and generate the ideas necessary to move your life or your business or your writing to the next level. A $25 investment with a potentially thousand-dollar return? That’s kind of a no-brainer.

Be as informed as you can be so you can make the best possible decisions.

Don’t Be Afraid

Because I grew up poor and because I heard a TON of stories about the depression and the stock market crash of the 1920s (my grandfather was a stockbroker allegedly and watched one of his friends die), I became a bit terrified about stocks and things.

There are three rules that help me deal with this and invest my money.

  1. I ignore everything that’s happening in the stock market when it comes to my portfolio. I pretend that once that money is invested, it’s just gone. This lowers my anxiety even as I plug in $25 a week automatically to a random Edward Jones account.
  2. If you want to invest in something scary, only invest 5-10 percent of your total investments in that scary possibility.
  3. Standard & Poor’s mutual funds are good places to put a bit of money into. But go for the cheapest ones possible.
WRITING TIP OF THE POD

It’s okay to talk about money and to be smart about it.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Do not gobble all your box of dog treats (or writing advance) in one big gulp.

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.

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 257,000 downloads if you’ve given us a listen!

HANG OUT WITH US!

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!

CARRIE’S TEACHABLE CLASS!

I have a quick, pre-recorded Teachable class designed to make you a killer scene writer in just one day. It’s fun. It’s fast. And you get to become a better writer for just $25, which is an amazing deal.