Shaun Pretends Like He Knows What I’m Reading

You should never cease learning and refining your craft.

Every Thursday, my main squeeze, Shaun, takes over the blog so I can have a rest and so you can get to know him a little bit better. This is his offering. He’s a bit off about the recent books, but it’s all good. 🙂 He still gets to be my main squeeze.

An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine
An adorable Florida man who moved to Maine

Hey there! It is Thursday blogpost time again and this week I am not experiencing that groggy feeling of last week, so here goes. I believe it to be a fact that most authors also love to read, so today I thought that I would give you a glimpse into what Carrie is currently reading. She is a multi-book at a time kind of reader and mixes business and pleasure into her reading, although, as a writer, she is always learning whenever she reads. I chose the five most recent books that I have seen Carrie reading and here they are.

What Shaun Thinks Carrie Is Reading Right Now

  • SAVE THE CAT! The Last Book On Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder.
  • SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need, by Jessica Brody.
  • PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION The Black Book of Scientific Ghost Hunting and How to Investigate Paranormal Phenomena, by Brian Sterling-Vete and Helen Renee Wuorio.
  • THE DAY SASQUATCH BECAME REAL FOR ME, by Steve Isdahl.
  • TOM BROWN’S Field Guide NATURE OBSERVATION and TRACKING, by Tom Brown Jr. and Brandt Morgan.

Quite the variety isn’t it?

I mean, really there are only two subject matters there, writing and the hunting of real and/or mythical beings, but both of them are very important to Carrie.

The first two books are strictly work related.

Carrie is of the mindset that you should never cease learning and refining your craft. There is always something new to learn, no matter how much of a veteran you are in your field and one of the easiest ways to gather new authoring intelligence is through reading other’s works!

The last three books are more leisurely reading content for Carrie, but believe it or not, they too are work related.

As a matter of point, everything that she reads can be considered to be work related due to the fact that she loves the intricacies of storytelling so very much that she can read for leisure and still look for new methods of writing and increasing reader interest.

Of course, the search for real or mythical beings is of interest to both of us and it also provides fodder for our new, live podcast, Loving the Strange, and as you can see, she has been delving into those topics quite heavily as of late.

I will say it again, reading is one of the most simple and fun ways to improve your knowledge of writing!

Other positive aspects of learning through reading, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, may be the generation of new book ideas or perhaps just an inkling that gets you out of a writing slump or provides you with that one little thing you were wracking your brain for to really make your book pop.

Lastly, reading is just plain great for your brain and has the added benefit of sometimes being wonderfully somniferous. 

I would also like to mention that the books that both Carrie and I have read in the last few years have been both traditionally and self-published with a high number of them being self-published.

As an author, Carrie believes that it is extremely important to support other authors.

This includes those authors who don’t have the benefit of being traditionally published and having all of the advertising attention that often comes with that.

Plus, the world of books gets vastly larger when you include the self-publishing realm and many of them are very good indeed! Carrie has ventured into the self-publishing world lately and has a number of awesome books that are available at her website, carriejonesbooks.blog.

So, make some time for yourself to read, have a great day and remember to always love your way through it.

Shaun

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!

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loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

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

Claw Your Way Out

Success doesn’t ride on the coattails of forgetfulness or excuses. It rides on doing and getting things done!

You ever have one of those days where you wake up, claw your way out of bed to start your day and after five minutes the only thing you really want to do is go right back to bed?

As I write this I have been awake for approximately one hour and fifty minutes and returning to the sleeping realm still seems to be the only thing my brain can concentrate on.

But, I have work to do, work outside of and away from the house and my beloved wife, Carrie, is counting on me completing my Thursday assignment of authoring a blog post.

I never want to let Carrie down, so regardless of what my brain is telling me I have sat down in front of my computer and started to type. Why would I torment myself this way, you may ask.

The answer is simple.

We all have responsibilities, usually to many people who are counting on us to get one or more things accomplished and usually within a certain frame of time.

The only way to get anything done is, simply put, just start doing it!

If you never start, it will never get completed.

Not only do you need to start, you need to persevere, come back to it if you have to take a break, but never stop doing it or it will always go unfinished.

That includes writing.

Maybe you don’t feel like writing on a given day, maybe you are experiencing writer’s block or maybe you have a long ago forgotten unfinished work.

Whatever it is, you need to sit down and just start!

Just put words on paper or screen and let them flow forth from you. They don’t have to be perfect, nothing is the first time around, but pretty soon you will have a much increased word count.

As you write you may even have an epiphany, a new idea or path for your story to take. Some of the best ideas come from just letting whatever thoughts and words ooze out of your noggin.

After you have logged a few paragraphs or pages, you can go back, reread your beautiful work, do a little editing (because you were just going with the flow the first time around) and most times you will find that there is something within that dribble that you can really use. It may require a little tightening up, a little changing around, but it’s there, a story, or at least the bones of one.

As you complete this sequence, hopefully you will find yourself getting into the process more, your body feeling more awake and excited about the drudgery that you had no interest in even beginning a short while ago.

Now, I realize that we have all read or heard this advice before. I am simply reminding you of it.

Sometimes we need reminders about the tiniest and most simplistic of ways to fool ourselves into doing something we don’t want to. We all forget and we all make excuses, but success doesn’t ride on the coattails of forgetfulness or excuses. It rides on doing and getting things done!

YOU can do it, just start, go grab your dreams and don’t forget to love your way through it!

Shaun

Shaun clawing his way into a hat.

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!

If you like what you read, please heart it below or share it, it means the world to this writer. x0- Carrie

LOVING THE STRANGE Shaun Takes Over the Blog

In fact, anything can seem strange at times, but aren’t these sometimes the most incredible moments of life? Does strange have to equal bad or even be a negative? Heck no!

What is strange?

Well, the answer to that question is probably as huge and varied as any other non-fact based question.

In my opinion, strange is everything and everything is strange!

The reason I believe this to be true is because everyone is going to have different answers to what is strange and what is not strange. If you polled a substantial population I think the answers, if grouped and sorted, would be a giant Venn diagram of “normalcy” and “strangeness.” Of course there are so many factors that influence any person’s ideas of normal and strange; psychology, sociology, geography, religion, etc. that I would likely be writing for days trying to cover all of the different influences and I would be doing it with barely more than a layman’s knowledge of most of the subjects, so I am not attempting that.

When I posed the question as my opening sentence, I was simply trying to get your brain to think about the question within the parameters of what you know, think and believe.

For instance, I find it strange that some people profess true love and affection for inanimate objects. But then again, I also find it strange how mainstream love is commonly defined and all of the different variables of this love that satisfy different people.

For instance, Carrie professes to love me and sometimes I can’t understand why she would. I mean, I am the most awesome husband ever, but I do lack so many attributes that others would seemingly look for in a partner. I am not outwardly beautiful. I am not wealthy. I tend to emote my emotions (mostly the negative ones I am told) so powerfully that they are noticeable to even the most casual observer and I can be so attentive to certain that I think I can make people feel badly about themselves simply by trying to put things in order in “my world.”

Of course, these are just a few examples of what is probably a very long list of human defects, defects that while we may not have a lot of them in common, every human being possesses.

How do we overcome these imperfections? Well, around here we have adopted a mantra of love your way through it.

Simply put, it means what it says, love your way through it, but there is another side to that, which is, to be thankful for what you have.

If you have life and you have love, you have everything you need to live another day and to make that day the best day it can be, no matter the circumstances. Okay, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, there are many caveats to this and sometimes love cannot conquer all things, but this is supposed to be a more positive blog post so I am foregoing those topics today. The point is that if it works, sometimes it simply works, no matter how strange it may seem!

Alright, I’ve gotten off track and want to remind you that I was talking about what is strange and not love. Love was just an example of what can seem strange sometimes.

In fact, anything can seem strange at times, but aren’t these sometimes the most incredible moments of life? Does strange have to equal bad or even be a negative? Heck no! Strange can be awesome and amazing and as long as it’s not a strange that causes intentionally inflicted personal pain ,we should embrace it as an opportunity to enrich and fulfill our lives.

In this effort, Carrie and I are starting a new podcast called, Loving the Strange. This will be a live podcast during which we will attempt to delve into the strange, any kind of strange, and dissect it a bit and discuss the potential that it may have to enrich lives.

Of course, not all strangeness is going to be life enriching, some will just be dorky like us, but we believe that if you can teach yourself to approach the new, the different, the strange with an open mind that you might see a new side of this incredible journey we call life.

Our first live podcast will be tomorrow, Friday, February 12th at 7 p.m. eastern standard time. If you would like to join us as we explore this strange that we call life, you can find it on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All the links to Carrie’s channels are at the bottom of the post. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

You can also watch it at your leisure if you can’t make it Friday at 7 on those sites, or just listen to the audio on a whole bunch of platforms starting this Saturday.

So go out there, get your strange on.

As always, thank you so very much for taking the time to read my ramblings and have an awesomely strange day!

Shaun

best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird

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: Hunt and Peck Method

I believe that the stories that come from the heart are always the best ones!

            I don’t know what the productivity rate of the average author is, but in this house, it is high. Real high!

Not from me of course. You can’t possibly be productive when, no matter how much you type, you absolutely refuse to give up the two-finger hunt-and-peck method. Well, I actually use three fingers because I use my right thumb to hit the space bar as I use both of my middle fingers to find the appropriate letters. Carrie says that I am a pretty fast hunter and pecker, but when I watch her type, I am convinced that my method is the inferior one.

            Hardly any of that has anything to do with my point though, so please forgive me.

My point is that Carrie is always working on more than one book (of her own making) at any given moment. I am usually tasked with helping her edit her works at some point in time. My reading skills are far superior to my typing skills, and I love helping her out because then we can talk further about other aspects of her books and I get to read them before they are actually printed.

At this very moment, I have chapters from three different books of hers on my desk awaiting my attention as soon as I am done hunting and pecking this out. One of the books has been submitted to her agent and she is doing recommended edits on that, the second one will be self-published and she has not decided which route to go with the third.

            Part of my point is this; it doesn’t matter how much you produce or how many times you read your own manuscript (No matter what kind of superior editor you think you are.) you will always miss some of your own mistakes. It really pays to hire someone to edit your work for you! Of course, you must edit it yourself first, but I would always advise an author to employ an editor, even if it is someone who you are paying with home-cooked meals or similar wages.

            This is especially true if you decide to self-publish your work.

Carrie and I have been purchasing a lot of self-published books lately. She loves to support other authors, and while some are very well edited and formatted, some are definitely disappointing. You work very hard on making your masterpiece come together, shouldn’t you see it through to the very end and produce a book to be proud of for more than just the amazing words that are on the paper? So, this is where I make my shameless plug for Carrie. Not only does she offer editing for other authors (I never touch a paying customer’s work, I promise!), but she can format your self-published book and help you to be a better author. You can find information about all of the professional she offers at carriejonesbooks.blog. Or at the links below.

            Now that I have done my professional and husbandly duties (which I truly love doing), let me say that everyone has a story to tell and those of you that take the time to try and capture it in some medium deserve mad respect!

Let me also say that if you are writing because you want to make bags full of money, I can very much appreciate that, however, you may want to first concentrate on telling your story in the most heartfelt way possible. I believe that the stories that come from the heart are always the best ones!

Follow your heart and have a most incredible week, people!

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!

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!