Broken Brains and Where Shouldn’t You Start Your Story

Broken Brains and Where Shouldn’t You Start Your Story

 
 
00:00 / 00:24:45
 
1X
 

A lot of writing coaches talk about story structure and plots and inciting incidents, which is all well and good but Carrie is burnt-out this week. 


Carrie: I have worked too hard and my brain is broken. 

So, instead we are going to tell you what NOT to do. We are going to be the story police and harsh out the rules. 

Carrie: I don’t like rules or broken brains, but let’s do this. 

What Not To Do According To Conventional Wisdom Right Now

Do not start with dialogue.

This used to be super popular, but MySpace also used to be super popular. Things go out of style and it is not super popular anymore. 

Here’s an example: 

             “I like elephants.”

                        “Awesome. Me too.”

                        “No way?”

                        “Actually, I am lying.” 

EXAMPLE OF AWESOME

You’ve no clue who is talking, where they are or why they do or don’t like elephants and you probably don’t care. We want readers to care from the very beginning of the story.

An alarm clock buzzing. 

Who even has an alarm clock anymore, actually? But no alarm clocks or cell phone alarms or whatever. Waking up is dull. 

            My alarm buzzed and I groaned. 

                        “Another day, another dollar,” I said to my cat, Muffin. 

                        Muffin hit me in the nose with her paw. She’s tired of my clichés. 

Another Example of Awesome

The whole IT WAS ALL A DREAM start.

Unless this is a paranormal or fantasy where the dream is a key part of the power or the threat? Then it’s okay even if people say ‘never ever.’

Cough. You don’t want to be super invested in a story and then find out that it was all crap and not real even to the character. 

Amazing thing happens. More amazing things happen. More amazing things happen for five pages. Oops. It’s all a dream. 

Example of dreamy

Being dorky without meaning to. 

This is when you accidentally make a super silly mistake or state something obvious in the very beginning of your story. Gasp! I know! You would never do that, right?

Spoiler alert: We all do this.

She knew she had to wear a mask in a pubic place.

Try to avoid the typos.

“I love to love you,” I think to myself.

This is an example. We all think to ourselves. Cut the ‘to myself.’

All narrative all the time. 

There is no dialogue anywhere in the first ten pages of this story and instead everything is just a solid block of text in which I, the author, tells you exciting things – well at least they are exciting to me – about the story, but honestly it’s just a lot of navel gazing. Did you know that people get lint in their navels? Did you know that a lot of that lint is actually random fibers from your clothes, if you wear clothes, and dead skin, and then it gets stuck there and mixes all up together. I wonder if you care. I wonder if you care that I care. And so on.

Agh. Did you even read this example? It ruined our SEO readability score.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t start off on the wrong writer foot. 

Dog Tip for Life

It’s okay to start over.

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.


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 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

This week’s episode.

Continue reading “Broken Brains and Where Shouldn’t You Start Your Story”
Advertisements

We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine. It’s about nuance.

We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine. It’s about nuance.

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:34
 
1X
 

RANDOM THINGS YOU LEARN ABOUT EACH OTHER DURING LOCKDOWN

So, in this house we’ve learned a few random things that we didn’t know before we had to isolate ourselves because of the Covid-19 pandemic and these things include some things that were mentioned on Buzzfeed and some that weren’t including: 

  • Treasure Hunting For Gray Hair In Other People’s Hair Is Fun.
  • People Hook Up on the Scrabble app and Words With Friends. 
  • Sometimes Your Relatives Don’t Close Cabinets.
  • How Much Noise Your Fellow Family Members Including Dogs Make. 
  • Your Husband Is More Southern Than You Thought.

So, while we were checking that out we also saw that Buzzfeed had this other article called, “17 Delicious Cookout Recipes That Will Impress Your Southern Friends” and the first thing we thought was, “Do I have southern friends?” And then we remembered we have an entire Southern family and then we were ashamed. 

But the article was not all that Southern and it confused us.

Did the writer think Northern people don’t have BBQ pulled pork, buttermilk fried chicken, BBQ baby back ribs, corn on the cob, fried fish, burgers, baked mac and cheese normally? And why would Southern people be more impressed by that than Northerners? 

Like where did this regionally specific food divide even come from? The only southern thing that was on there that Carrie (from the North) didn’t grow up with were collard greens. She even had peach ice tea. Albeit, it was the Snapple kind.

They had baked beans on there. Dudes, they are called Boston Baked Beans for a reason. They had potato salad on there! It made no sense!  

And someone in the comments actually wrote: “This post should probably be changed to the perfect SOUTHERN cookout. Most of these things aren’t gonna fly at a cookout in Maine!”

And Carrie lost her chill.

All you all, don’t talk about Maine if you’ve never been here. Similarly, give shout-outs to the origins and history of the foods that you’re blogging about because erasure isn’t a cool thing and that goes for socio-economic erasure and ethnic erasure. The foods of different cultures sustain us, build us, bind us, and also reflect our histories–the good and horrible parts. 

What does this have to do with writing?

When you write about regions, think about it from more than your perspective. When you want to add some authenticity into your stories, think about the strange things you learn about your own house and family during lockdowns. Those details and nuance? That’s what makes a story authentic, not a bullshit blog post about how to impress your Southern friends at a cookout or a food post about Kimchi that never mentions it’s a Korean food. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Be smart. Be detailed. Be full of empathy, but don’t be so full of yourself that you forget the backs and lives and hearts of the people who came before you. That goes not just for writers, but for regular humans, too. 

Dog Tip for Life

Dogs are all about origins and details. According to Sparrty, our dog, “We dogs smell poop the way sommeliers smell wine.” 

It’s all about the nuance. Be about the nuance not the generalization. That’s true about writing and thinking. Smell the bouquet, appreciate the differences. 

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.

Come Write With Me!

I coach, have a class, and edit things.


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 222,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Link to Jose’s bonus interview. Jokes, Stuffies, And Using Your Weirdness for Good, An Interview with Jose De La Roca

Link to Caitlyn’s bonus episode. Books, Law School during Covid-19 and just being Kick Butt – Using Law to Create Lasting Change – Interview with Caitlyn Vanover

Link to this week’s episode of awesome.

Last week’s episode. Money Is Not the Enemy and the Habits of the Rich

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. 

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.


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!

 

 

Emotional Immaturity is Us Farts are Everywhere

Emotional Immaturity is Us Farts are Everywhere

 
 
00:00 / 00:24:09
 
1X
 

So, um, as you can tell, during the self-isolation, stay-at-home orders of our pandemic, we have descended into the land of the immature. 

Carrie had high hopes of using this time to build up our intellectual skills and read the NYT and Rousseau and Descartes by the light of the pellet stove. But instead we watched Tiger King and What We Do in the Shadows obsessively. 

Which brings us to the topic of our episode.

Farts? 

No. Not farts again. But a Medium article by Niklas Goke entitled

“15 Signs You’re Emotionally Mature- How you know you handle life like an adult”

(The link is in the podcast notes.)

So, Niklas has a bunch of assertions about how we know if we are emotionally mature, which seems a pretty big construct in itself, right? Like how do we as a society define maturity if we as a society can’t even define what is truth? But whatever, we’re just going to go with it because it’s not farts. 

Niklas says that you have to train yourself to be emotionally mature and build the characteristics. He’s got fifteen characteristics because he’s apparently an overachieving guy. But he actually took his questions from The School of Life’s 25 suggestions about emotional maturity. So, it’s all derivative, baby. 

We’re joining in. And we’re condensing them into five.

It’s Not All About You All the Damn Time 

If someone tells you to stop farting in their face, maybe stop farting in their face? It’s good to remember the world isn’t just about you and the immediate release of your gastric discomfort. That’s mature. 

Not All People are Psychics

You might want to think about what your actions and facial expressions are telling the people who are stuck in the room with you. Nikos says we don’t all have a lovely Sims icon over our heads telling people our feelings. When people don’t realize you’re hungry or sad? That’s not always on them. It’s sometimes because you aren’t giving them the clues. Express how you feel so everyone doesn’t have to guess all the damn time. That’s mature. 

You Are Cool In Your Lack of Coolness

You aren’t perfect. You can be annoying. The people who matter will love you anyway. We have so many bad scripts and biases running in our heads. Don’t waste a lot of time or energy trying to pretend to be perfect.  It’s best to admit when you muck up or that you have weaknesses and be open about your boo-boos. It means your strong. That’s mature and also sexy. 

Try To Be Chill About the Dorks

Realize a lot of time when other people suck, it’s because they are lonely or upset or feeling super vulnerable. Try to respond with kindness unless they are really hurting you or a threat. Then respond with a restraining order. You have to protect you, too. That’s mature. 

It’s Cool To Celebrate Things  

It’s okay to realize that there’s no reason to be angry, to compromise, to love others even though they are flawed and appreciate those flaws, those compromises, your own ‘failures.’ Celebrate being alive every day and having enough money to get coffee, to be able to hug your friends, to go through life without a mask on. Those things we take for granted? They are big things even though they might seem small. Appreciation? That’s mature. And also sexy. 

Writing tip of the Pod:

It’s okay to have a mature character once in awhile.

Dog Tip for Life:

It’s okay to be the mature character once in awhile. It’s also okay to fart. 

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.

RECENT EPISODES OF AWESOME AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

Link to Sam’s interview.

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

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 

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. 

Continue reading “Emotional Immaturity is Us Farts are Everywhere”

Quarantine Karaoke and Top Three Stupid Writing Tips

Quarantine Karaoke and Top Three Stupid Writing Tips

 
 
00:00 / 00:20:36
 
1X
 

Yeah, I know we give writing tips and life tips on the podcast, but some writing tips are just stupid. And they annoy Carrie a lot and she goes all angry monster about it unless we let her vent. 

Here’s a big one that everyone says. 

WRITE EVERY DAY

You don’t have to. You can. But you don’t have to. Writing is not breathing. You don’t have to constantly do it. This is especially true if it’s your damn job. You don’t tell someone to doctor every damn day. You’re allowed to have a break. 

STAY FOCUSED. DON’T GET DISTRACTED

Distractions are where inspirations happen. Your brain is allowed to wander, to dream and make connections. Whoever thinks differently is a sadistic MF. 

DON’T WORRY ABOUT GRAMMAR

Yeah. You should worry about grammar. Writing is about communication. It’s like talking. You don’t want people to strain to hear you. You don’t want to mumble. Grammar makes it so you don’t mumble or meander like a president on qualudes. If you are in the U.S. and writing fiction use Chicago Manual of Style. Newspapers and journals? AP. But for Gods sake, know what a sentence is.


WRITING TIP OF THE POD

It’s like Quarantine Karaoke, you want to be sort of decent or at least find joy in what you’re doing. You may not be a contestant on the Voice or in BTS or whatever, but you can still have fun. Do what makes you happy. Ignore all the rules that say there is only one way to do something. That’s a marketer talking, not an artist.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

You do not have to howl well to howl good.


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 the dog, the co-host that pants a lot.

RECENT EPISODES OF AWESOME 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.

A bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron.

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

Continue reading “Quarantine Karaoke and Top Three Stupid Writing Tips”

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

 
 
00:00 / 00:27:50
 
1X
 

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”

Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome

Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:47
 
1X
 

A lot of time I’ll be reading scenes in books and it will be two characters talking and I’ll only have a vaguely general idea about where they are. Maybe I won’t have an idea at all. We call this evil beast the talking heads syndrome. 

Cue scary music here. 

WHAT IS TALKING HEADS SYNDROME?

No, it’s not about the iconic 1980s group. Sorry!

It’s where there’s a lot of dialogue going on but there’s no actual anchor for the characters. It’s like they are floating in space blabbing at each other. There’s no physical world placement. 

This happens a lot and it’s because some of us are writers who really hear our scenes rather than see our scenes or live in our scenes. It’s also because we sometimes forget to get those anchors in there. 

How to Imagine Yourself in a Scene

To do this exercise you have to step away from the keyboard for a second and stand up. We know! We know! Writers are all about sitting down and putting their butts in the chair and getting the work done, right? Well, give yourself five minutes and stand up in a quiet place preferably not in Starbucks or anything. 

Now close your eyes and think about your scene where there are talking heads.

SMELL

There you are with your characters. Maybe you can even imagine yourself as one of the characters. Possess them like they’re Zac Bagans and you’re filming Ghost Adventures. Inhale. What kind of smells are you smelling? Remember that. 

SOUND

You’re still there with the characters standing in the setting. What do you hear? Remember that. 

TOUCH

Your characters don’t stay completely still for the whole scene, do they? Have them move even if it’s to fidget. Let them touch things. What do those things feel like? Are they hot? Textured? Hands aren’t the only things that touch. Does their hair sweep over something? Does their foot kick against a table? Do their shoulders lean against the rough wood of the wall? 

TASTE

What does it feel like inside their mouth? Dry? Coppery? Do they need to brush their teeth? Please make them floss. Everyone should floss. 

SIGHT

This is the fallback for most writers and it can have some issues. We want to be able to visualize the setting and where things are happening, but we don’t need the buffer of the character seeing what’s happening. 

There are a lot of stories where it says, 

“Shaun looked over and saw the cat dangling from the curtain.”  

Don’t pad the details with distancing words. Don’t tell us that Shaun’s looking. Just have us see. 

Instead write, 

“The cat dangled from the curtain.”  

It’s so much more powerful. 

MOVEMENT

Have the characters move. Give them actions and objective correlatives to their emotional states. 

What are the next steps to Banishing the talking heads?

No, it’s not casting David Byrne to an isolated bunker in Nebraska. It’s also not putting him on SNL. It has nothing to do with him! I promise.

The next step is incorporating what you imagined for tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing, movement into the actual scene. You have to have your characters’ perceptions of the outside world and setting incorporated into that dialogue and action. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper. 

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Don’t be full of talking heads. Write scenes that come alive. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Be in the moment, man, and actually notice things. 

Note: In the random thoughts in bed section of our podcast we talk about Liberal cheers, famous for being losers, getting thick thanks to the Coronavirus and Shaun binging Swedish Fish, and golf balls. How’s that for random? 

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.

Last week’s episode’s link.


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. 

NEWS

Over 180,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them.

Continue reading “Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome”

Don’t Be a Punk. Coronavirus and People Being Liars

Don’t Be a Punk. Coronavirus and People Being Liars

 
 
00:00 / 00:19:01
 
1X
 

If you’re going to write or communicate, it’s really cool to know what you’re writing or talking about.

What? I know, right? Mind blown.

It should be self-evident, but sadly it seems that this is not self evident.

Here’s the thing. You think that you know everything until you realize that you don’t half as much as you thought you did. We live in a time period where everyone is yelling, ‘fake facts,’ and ‘false news’ and ‘liar.’ We live in a time period that’s amazing because so many of us have things like indoor plumbing, internet access, prescriptions, food. But we also live in a time where people think they are omniscient.

None of us are omniscient. We all see things from our own perspectives built upon by our culture and our experiences. Yet, some people think that they know everything and lay down these edicts about what the right way to vote, to write, to think, to create, to live is.

But these same people don’t know the difference between unfazed and unphased. Don’t be one of those people.

When you write, when you live, when you troll people on social media? Check your words and your facts. It makes your argument and your story and your opinion so much stronger when you can spell things correctly or when you have stats to back up your arguments.

And there is nothing bad about realizing that you’re wrong, about growing as a human in your thoughts. Evolving is a good thing. We promise.

Writing Tip of the Pod:

It’s okay to break the rules, but know the rules you’re breaking. Study your craft before you start telling people there is only one right way to do things.

Dog Tip for Life:

Know what you’re barking at, man. Don’t call a blowing bag a squirrel.

Free Write for Your Story:

Write about a character who thinks that he/she/they know everything about something but they are terribly wrong.

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.

This week’s episode’s link.

Note: We hunt for ghosts and talk about douchebags in our random thoughts, which are not transcribed here. 


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. 

NEWS

Over 170,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them. There will be a new episode tomorrow! 

Last week’s episode’s link.


WRITING NEWS!

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. 


THE CASE AGAINST LAZINESS AND DOUCHEBAGS.

THE CASE AGAINST LAZINESS AND DOUCHEBAGS.

 
 
00:00 / 00:22:34
 
1X
 

Okay. I know the title of our podcast this week sounds mean, but it’s truth. You want to be a good writer or good liver, right?

Digression: Not a liver like an organ, but a liver like someone who is alive. 

Anyway, digression over. 

You want to be good. So that means what? You guessed it. It means that you can’t be lazy. 

What’s a lazy writer? 

It’s someone who babbles and has a lot of words that really say nothing.  So here are hot tips about that. 

PROBLEM #1: USING WAY TOO MANY TO-BE VERBS.

TIP #1: Don’t.

A to-be verb is: is, are, was, were, has been, had been,

A to-be verb hides the real importance of your sentence in a layer of whatever. 

How about an example? 

Lazy to-be sentence: 

Being thrilled to be snowboarding is such a real feeling.

So the subject up there is so dull. It’s being thrilled.

How about we switch it up to having a real concrete subject: 

The yeti is thrilled to be snowboarding today. 

Whoa, way better, right? We now know the yeti is thrilled and that’s more concrete, but we still have that ‘to be’ verb with ‘is.’

One more try: 

The yeti snowboards, pumping his hairy fist in the air, screaming, “Yee-haw!” 

We now have a much better image of the yeti and his joy. Also we just all have an image of a yeti, which is always a bonus. 

PROBLEM #2: WRITING LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO HIT A TEACHER-INSPIRED WORD COUNT ON A U.S. HISTORY PAPER ABOUT THE ANTEBELLUM AND YOU ARE JUST PUTTING IN WORDS TO FILL UP SPACE. 


TIP #2: Don’t babble. 

You know what we mean, right? 

We’re talking about the never-ending sentence. Something like this: 

If this economic crisis is able to be adjudicated with both the president and Congress’s  approval, there will likely be an increased number of regulatory-relief provisions that will also be passed, which should make a resulting impact on the home-owner’s monetary status. 

And all you hear is blah-blah-blah-BLAH-blah. 

Don’t do that in your fiction. 


Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t babble. Don’t pad your thoughts down with meaningless words



Dog Tip for Life

Meandering with purpose is the best. Don’t bark for no reason because then people won’t listen to your important growls. 


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.

This week’s episode’s link.

Note: We hunt for ghosts and talk about douchebags in our random thoughts, which are not transcribed here.


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.

Continue reading “THE CASE AGAINST LAZINESS AND DOUCHEBAGS.”

Are you Beige? Do you Think in Words?

Some people, it seems, have a constant inner monologue that never stops.

Are you Beige? Do you Think in Words?

 
 
00:00 / 00:20:20
 
1X
 

This week, I’ve been editing two male authors’ stories and there is a lot of internal monologue embedded within the paragraphs of dialogue and exposition. At the same time that I’ve been doing this a man’s reaction to some people not having an inner dialogue has gone viral. 

It began with a tweet as so many things do. 

Kyleplantemoji wrote: 

Fun fact: some people have an internal narrative and some don’t. 

As in, some people’s thoughts are like sentences they “hear,” and some people just have abstract nonverbal thoughts, and have to consciously verbalize them. 

And most people aren’t aware of the other type of person. 

Later, on his blog, Ryan who is also Kyleplantemoji wrote: 

My day was completely ruined yesterday when I stumbled upon a fun fact that absolutely obliterated my mind. I saw this tweet yesterday that said that not everyone has an internal monologue in their head. 

This became a very big deal.

Some people, it seems, don’t hear thoughts in word or sentence form in their heads. Ever. 

Some people, it seems, have a constant inner monologue that never stops. Ever. 

And people are stunned, flummoxed, and sometimes horrified that not everyone processes information or thinks the way that they do. 

Some people simply share their experiences like Skva who responded to Ryan’s blog post by saying,

I myself have a dialogue going on 24/7, it will keep going non-stop to the point that I cannot fall asleep. I sometime have to chant sleep sleep sleep, Just so my mind doesn’t go off around in loops or one thing to the next.

And some people superimpose their realities upon the others in an attempt towards understanding.

“I can’t possibly understand how people function without one. In fact, when you mentioned the person who “sees words” in her head? That really stumped me. Like you, I asked “But how does she ask question? Answer questions? She has to read her own thoughts before she can speak them?” I can’t take it in. I have come to the conclusion that they have an internal voice but that, like people who claim they never dream, they simply don’t remember their voiced thoughts in the same way some people instantly forget their dreams. It’s the only way I can make sense of it.”

As humans and writers, it’s important to remember that our way of doing things isn’t necessarily the only way, or the only right way and that’s not just true about how we load the dishwashers, or our political ideologies. It’s also true about how we process and think. Don’t be beige.

Writing Tip of the Pod

When writing, try to think of how your characters aren’t like you. How are their speech patterns, values, and thoughts different from yours. Do they all sound alike? They shouldn’t. 

Dog Tip for Life

When living, don’t expect all people to be the same and instead of superimposing your thoughts and values and experiences, realize that they have their own experiences. It’s like in the dog world, a Rottweiler has a different life and interactions than a poodle wearing a tutu. They are both dogs and have similarities, but they aren’t the same. Even two poodles aren’t the same. We’re all unique and amazing. That should be respected not diminished as we all try to raise each other up. 

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.


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.

BALLSY SPONSORED THIS EPISODE!


We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy. 

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

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 preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.


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. 

It’s My Anniversary and I Never Remember My Anniversary

So, it’s my anniversary and I never remember my anniversary. What I remember is the love.

The bodyguard I am married to says it this, “Every day is our anniversary, baby.”

I love the bodyguard despite the fact that he calls me baby and we are profoundly different in our thoughts and reactions and essence.

This blog is a quick excerpt of our life from awhile ago when I went to Conestoga, this convention in Oklahoma and it was super fun. I talked. I met cool people. I saw strange things. I presented on panels, but then it was time to come home to Maine with the bodyguard.

Our first sign that something was off should have been the airport. I am a person who like airports. I think they are neat. There’s all this hustle and bustle and people going off to exciting places like – um – Hawaii or something. I am never actually going to those super cool exciting places. 

But to me Tulsa, Oklahoma was exciting.

This was evidenced by the airport. 

The zombie airport of Tulsa

We get to the UNITED counter to check in at the handy dandy self-serve kiosk and there were only two other people there. Seriously. Two other people! There were four people behind the counter. Do you know what this means? There were MORE UNITED workers than customers. Score!

But wait, I thought, perhaps this is a bad omen. I looked around the airport. There were hardly any people anywhere. I told the bodyguard my thoughts.

He said, “Baby. Take deep breaths.”

I ignored him as I will whenever he gives me good advice.

“Oh my God,” I said. “Was there a zombie apocalypse? I totally should have gone to the panel at Conestoga about how to survive a zombie apocalypse. AND I AM IN AN AIRPORT! There are no weapons here. They don’t even have metal steak knives. Everything is plastic. How am I going to survive? Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”

The bodyguard hugged me, which is an effective way of making me stop talking. He is a smart bodyguard.

“Miss,” the airplane guy from UNITED said. “Can I help you?”

I looked up at him. His flesh did not seem to be decaying. 

“You aren’t a zombie, are you?” I asked.

He lifted an eyebrow. It didn’t fall off. I figured it was safe. 

I cautiously approached the counter wondering if I could throw my suitcase at him. BUT I DIDN’T HAVE TO! Instead of eating us, he told me that our flight to Chicago has been delayed for 500 hours. 

“But we have a connection,” I said.

“You have forty minutes to make it,” he said. He frowned. “If there are no more delays.”

FORTY MINUTES!

I had sudden images of being trapped in a Chicago airport surrounded by zombies and the bodyguard trying to fend them off. I decided this was vaguely sexy.

“Um,” I managed to say. “Is there a reason for the delay like – um – like – um – zombies?”

“Did you say zombies?” he asked.

I shook my head really fast.

“It’s weather related.” 

“Okay,” I say, “cool.” 

Because we now had four hours to waste in the Tulsa Airport. We did this super slow walk over to the security check-in where you get to take off your shoes and walk through the cool metal detector thing, which always reminds me of Star Trek and futuristic things because – well, because I am nerdy and live in Northern Maine where we don’t have a lot of futuristic things. We do have lobsters ….

And blueberries …

Which can be kind of scary actually.

The Land of TSA and Bodyguards

So, we get to the security part and still – THERE ARE ONLY TWO OTHER PEOPLE THERE. 

“We are totally in a Stephen King novel and almost everyone is dead,” I said to my bodyguard.

My bodyguard, however, didn’t hear me because he was stuck in the futuristic cool metal detector thing because he was made of metal or something and he was kind of big like bodyguards are supposed to be. 

I swallowed hard as TSA agents surrounded him. Were the TSA agents actually high-functioning zombies?

“Do not take my bodyguard!” I started to say. “I totally need him to — to — um — guard my body?”

The bodyguard smiled. They let him through. He puts his shoes back on.

Side note: May I just say that bodyguards in bare feet just aren’t as threatening? 

So, there were other people who have put their shoes back on. We all randomly roamed around a pretty empty concourse. I decided to go to the bathroom.

I am the kind of person who constantly thinks, “I am going to be in a ________(Fill in the blank. Car. Airplane. Deserted Wilderness. Bad theatrical production of GUYS AND DOLLS) for hours and I may never get to pee again. I should pee now.”

“I am going to try to pee,” I announced to my bodyguard. “If I don’t return, the zombies got me. Get back-up.”

The Lady In the Bathroom

And I headed to the restroom. But there was a woman with a badge there, blocking the door! The last time I was in Tulsa there was a woman security person blocking the door. It is like Groundhog Day mixed with a Stephen King novel now. 

“You can’t go in there,” she said. 

“Is it zombies?” I whispered.

“Go away weirdo,” she said. 

I went away. I suddenly had to pee a lot more. 

There was no place to pee in the Tulsa airport except the restrooms. Normally, this was a good thing. Not today. 

Police came. She let them in the bathroom. Firemen came. She let them in the bathroom. I wondered if they were there to help or to pee. After hours pass, they took a fragile-looking older lady out of the bathroom. They let us in. There were blue gloves and EMT type things all over the floor. It was scary looking. But there were no zombies. I started to worry a lot about the fragile-looking older lady. When I came out, I tell my body guard. 

“She’ll be okay,” he said in a very reassuring bodyguard way. 

I decided to believe him. 

“But will we be okay?” I asked.

“Of course.”

Getting on the Plane

This is because the bodyguard doesn’t worry the way I worry or think the way I think. He just knows, which is possibly why I married him eventually and we have an anniversary that I can never remember.

We boarded and it was the SMALLEST PLANE IN THE UNIVERSE! It was like a Playskool airplane and tall people had to sort of shuffle sideways down the aisle bent at the waist.

I was suddenly happy that I was not tall.

The happiness didn’t last though because the pilot said, “Um. Folks. The plane has been delayed another fifteen minutes. It’ll be that long before we take off.”

Fifteen minutes! 

We would never get our connection. I would be stuck in Chicago forever with zombies and just my bodyguard.

Bible College Girl

The girl in the seat behind me started murmuring. I thought she was praying. She said before that she went to Bible college so I was hopeful. The plane takes off! SCORE 1 for Bible College Girl.

But no – as we were landing, the back of my seat suddenly thrusted forward. I heard a funny coughing noise and Bible College Girl’s hair seemed to touch my hair through the crack between the seat and the airplane wall. Suddenly, there was a smell of parmesan cheese and eggs. It was NOT a good smell.

I gagged. 

I looked at my bodyguard who was reading. I make big eyes. He sniffed. He gagged.

Bible College Girl had upchucked all over the place. 

“Sean,” she whimpered to her seatmate, this cool young guy coming back from a wedding. “Um … Do you have anything I can wipe up with?”

He didn’t. 

There were no barf bag things. We were landing and the flight attendants were all sitting down. There was no way to clean up the mess. It was all in her hair. I gagged again. 

“I think I might throw up,” I said to my bodyguard.

“Do. Not. Throw. Up,” he said and put his massive bodyguard hand over my mouth and nose so that all I could smell was bodyguard-hand smell, which was much nicer than parmesan cheese-acid-egg throw-up smell. 


“It is in my hair?” I shrieked this but it came out all muffled because of the hand. “Is it in my hair too?”

“No,” he said after deciphering my mmphh mumpphhs. “I swear it is not in your hair.” 

We landed. The flight attendant came over. 

“Oh,” she said to Bible College Girl. “You poor dear.”

Bible College Girl said, “There were no bags.”

Flight attendent made scoffing noise and rushed off to get cleaning supplies.

“Bodyguard,” I said. “Are we going to be okay?”

“Yes,” he insisted and gagged. “We are going to be okay.”

We got off plane. Bible College Girl had now morphed into Throw-Up in Long Hair Girl. Satan has scored one for his team. Boo Satan!

THE SKIRT ISSUE

We got off the plane onto the tarmac in Chicago and we had to walk down these steps on this narrow staircase. But the problem was not that it was a super steep staircase. 

The problem was: I WAS WEARING A SKIRT! 

Anyway, there is a reason they call Chicago, “The Windy City.” 
This reason does not involve flatulence. 

Oh no,” I said to Mr. Bodyguard aka my seat mate. “Will you hold my bag?”


“Sure,” he said as all nice bodyguards do. “Why?”


“Um ….” I coughed. I stuttered. I ended up pointing at my flouncy skirt. This same flouncy skirt made me get patted down by a TSA officer in Manchester, NH. She said I could hide things in there.

Let me tell you: I needed more than two hands to hold that baby down. 

So, once down on the ground, I grabbed my bag back and sprinted across the tarmac towards the airport terminal. 
“My skirt!” I explained. “I only have (gasp!) thirty minutes to get to my next flight. ARE WE GOING TO BE OKAY?”

Mr. Body Guard nodded. He had to wait for his carry-on luggage, which became carry-under luggage during the flight. 


I sprinted to the terminal. Bible College Girl With the Vomit Hair (as she is now known even to her mother) sprinted behind me. I held the door for her so she wouldn’t touch it and spread germs and then scooted inside, holding my breath so I didn’t have to actually smell her and become Writing Person with the Weak Stomach and Vomit Hair of Her Own.

Inside the building were masses of people waiting for some delayed planes, more masses of people were in a customer service line complaining.

There was no easy path through the sea of people and luggage. I am not super tall or big. I could not push my way through.

“Excuse me!” I yelled. “I need to get through.”


Nobody moved.
“Excuse me! Zombie attack!” I yelled.


Nobody moved.


“Excuse me! Brad Pitt! Oh my God. Is that Brad Pitt getting off that plane?” I yelled.

Everyone rushed to the window screaming.


I took my clear path and dashed up the escalator looking for the screen that would tell me where the next flight is. 
 

I gasped.
It was not good.

Our flight was in C terminal (at the end of it). I was in F terminal (at the end of it). We had a mere twenty minutes to get there.  Could Mr. Bodyguard sprint that far carrying me in less that 20 minutes? Wait! Where was Mr. Bodyguard? 

 I had lost Mr. Body Guard in a sea of carryon luggage and zombie humans

I looked around frantically. Mr. Bodyguard was nowhere! I was a lowly writer without a bodyguard.

Screaming,  I went down the escalator I just came up. Mr. Body Guard was going up the escalator. We were on different escalators separated by a divider thingy. 

“Mr. Body Guard!” I screamed waving frantically at him. “Our flight is  42 miles away! And we have 20 minutes! And I am going the wrong way on the escalator!”

Mr. Bodyguard assesses the situation and reached over the escalator divider and yanked me up and over. I was now heading in the right direction.

“We are going to have to run,” Mr. Body Guard said.
“Run!” I gasped. “Like Whitney and Kevin Costner in that movie? About the bodyguard?”

“No.” He shook his head and grabbed my hand. “And please stop talking about that movie. I hate that movie! And that song! No, I meant like in the tv show CHUCK when there’s about to be an explosion. And if they don’t run they will explode into tiny little body parts and not even their teeth will be whole.”

And right then I realized that Mr. Bodyguard was not actually all that different from me.

“Got it,” I said, clutching his hand getting ready to run. “Are we going to be alright?”

“Yes, baby.” He smiled even as I cringed and he kissed me before adding. “It will always be alright.”

So, happy anniversary to my more stable, stronger half, the man who gives everything to take care of his girls, who steps into the role of full-time dad and anxiety coach with ease. It’s hard to imagine anyone else I could ever feel safer with or love any more. That’s because there isn’t anyone. Sometimes we both suck because we’re human, but there’s nobody I’d rather go on adventure with, fight against the zombies with, or make a podcast and life together.



Other News

Hey! Ballsy is sponsoring our podcasts this week and it is an awesome company. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 


The link to our episode

Our last regular episode.


Big News!

I just publish eda 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. Please, please, order it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.