COOKING WITH A WRITER – Black Bean Soup of the Soul

So, I am a bit down lately, mostly because:

  1. I am a writer
  2. I live in the U.S.
  3. Politics

I gave up and am giving you all this – the Black Bean Soup that Reflects the State of My Inner Soul Right This Second Because I am DIRE.



Black Bean Soup Because The World Sucks

Sometimes the world sucks and you need a dark soup to match your feelings. Am I right? 

This is a new version of a black bean soup I wrote about before. You can never have enough black bean soup recipes. Can you?

  • 3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 whole onions (chopped)
  • 6 whole garlic cloves (chopped/pressed)
  • 3 ribs celery (chopped)
  • 1 whole carrot (chopped)
  • 5 tsp cumin
  • .5 tsp red pepper flakes or hot sauce (to taste really)
  • 60 oz black beans (canned, drained)
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • .5 cup cilantro (optional, to taste)
  1. Heatolive oil in soup pot over medium heat. 

    Stare at it until it shimmers. 

    Remember when you used to shimmer.

    Sigh dramatically.

    Throw in the onions, celery and carrot.

    Sigh again because honestly? What is the point.

    Put in salt, blood pressure be damned.  

  2. Stir once in awhile. Eventually the vegetable will get soft.

    “Eventually” is 10 to 15 minutes. This is a much shorter ‘eventually’ than when waiting for your editor to return your email. But whatever. 

  3. Add in the smelly things –  garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes.

    Wonder if you’re a smelly thing? When did you last bathe? Was it before 2018? Join the club.

    Cook until things smell more than you do  – 30 seconds. 

  4. It’s time for the dark soul part of this soup. You are miserable, aren’t you? Yes, writer you are. 

    Add beans. Add broth.

    Put the heat on medium high and watch it simmer. Reduce it so it only simmers gently. If only YOU were simmering gently, but honestly? The state of the world makes you SIMMER INTO ROARING, doesn’t it? Yes. Yes. It does.

    Soup is not you though. So simmer GENTLY for 30 minutes, or else it will boil over and stick to the pot and believe me, you do not have the emotional reserves to deal with that mess. 

  5. Put about 4 cups into a blender (make sure not to overload your blender because it is hot and you will get burned and you probably don’t have the medical insurance to deal with that if you are an American writer). 

    Blend carefully.

    You can also use a hot-pink immersion blender if you are tired of the darkness of this soup, your soul, and this world. 


  6. Put the blended stuff back in the soup pot. Mix. Add in  cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.


    Eat it.

    Sigh more. 

Man Verdict – It tastes sad.

Dog Verdict – Isn’t this not good for dogs? 

My Verdict – Yep. Uh-huh. 


ENHANCED, the follow-up to FLYING is here! And the books are out of this world. Please buy them and support a writer.

31702754 copy

The last TIME STOPPERS BOOK is out and I love it. You should buy it because it’s empowering and about friendship and bias and magic. Plus, dragons and elves.


How to Get Signed Copies: 

If you would like to purchase signed copies of my books, you can do so through the awesome Sherman’s Book Store in Bar Harbor, Maine or the amazing Briar Patch. The books are also available online at places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For signed copies – email for Sherman’s or email info@briarpatchbooks.comand let them know the titles in which you are interested. There’s sometimes a waiting list, but they are the best option. Plus, you’re supporting an adorable local bookstore run by some really wonderful humans. But here’s the Amazon link, too!

Art Stuff

You can buy prints of my art here. Thank you so much for supporting my books and me and each other. I hope you have an amazing day.

A new episode of Dogs are Smarter Than People, the quirky podcast with writing tips, life tips and a random thought came out yesterday! Check it out, like and subscribe!


Cooking With a Writer – Grilled Miso Vegetables of Awesome

So, we are currently hanging out in a camper and renting out our house because you make big money renting out your house for the summer when you live in Bar Harbor, Maine.

And this means….

That we’re cooking outside a lot and the man is winning in his quest to be Captain Carnivore and I am losing in my quest to make us a happy vegetarian household… or is it camper-hold?

And to make it worse, Captain Carnivore is not into vegetables, thus his name. He won’t touch cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini or anything actually good.

But I made this anyway because sometimes I want to make something I like. And I like this… I like it a lot.

Miso Grilled Vegetables of Awesome

This recipe owes everything to Cooking Light and Naomi Duguid. All poorly thought out deviations are my fault. 

  • 2.5 tbsp miso – white
  • 1.5 tbsp water (or enough to make it right)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (plus a bit more if needed for consistency)
  • 1 lb zuchinni (cut into slices about ⅓-inch thick)
  • .5 lb eggplant (cut into slices about ⅓-inch thick)
  • 2 whole peppers (red and orange and yellow are the coolest. Sorry. Green. Cut each into six pieces)
  • 1 whole red onion (cut into wedges)
  • 1 big spray cooking spray
  • 2 sprigs mint leaves (optional)
  • 1 whole lime (optional)
  1. Use the cooking spray to coat your grill rack. Not the outside of the grill. Then turn the grill on to high heat. 

    Think about how some writers write under the influence of illegal drugs. Wonder how they keep track of their plot. 

  2. Put miso and water together. Wonder if they like each other or are eyeing each other warily, wondering what will happen next. 

    Shout, “IT’S A PARTY,” and  slowly add oil. Stir them all up with a whisk and sing your favorite party song. Are there writer party songs? There should be. 

    Put the vegetables EXCEPT THE ONION in a pan, say, “Now it’s really a party, babies!”

    Add about 5 tablespoons of the miso party mixture. 

    Toss it up.

    Think about parties from your younger days.  

    Feel badly for the onion, out on its own with no miso mix, unable to be tossed around because it’s too fragile and will break apart.

    Feel like the onion.

    Brush onion with what’s left of the miso marinade, and whisper, “It’s okay… You can party, too. You’re okay. You’re loved and included.”

  3. Put everyone on the rack on the grill, even the onion.

    Zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper can only party for about 4 minutes on each side. 

    They don’t have the onion’s stamina. Be proud of the onion and grill it for 6 minutes on either side.

    Basically, grill the veggies until they are tender veggies.

    Put some mint on them and serve them with lime wedges. Because they are done. 

Shaun Verdict: You are trying to kill me.

Dog Verdict: Rub some dirt on it, we’ll call it good.


Writing News

Next and Last Time Stoppers Book

It’s out! You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere. The official release date was August 7!

Please buy it so I can keep buying food for the dogs… and stuff…


People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.

Moe Berg

The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?

It’s awesome and quirky and fun.


Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow.

dogs are smarter than people carrie after dark being relentless to get published

Writing Coach

Carrie offers solo writing coach services. For more about Carrie’s individual coaching, click here.


Carrie will be at the Maine Literacy Volunteers Festival on September 8. She is not sure where it is in Maine. She thinks… Augusta?


Cooking With a Writer – Mujaddara

When I was a kid, my uncle Charlie was one of my favorite people. This was mostly because he was super mellow. His family was Lebanese and settled in Manchester, N.H. and married my aunt Rosie. Aunt Rosie was the best cook in our family, which annoyed my mom so much. SO MUCH!

My mom was the best baker though, which I have to say or her ghost will strike me down or something. Hopefully, Aunt Rosie’s ghost is holding her back.

Anyway, Charlie’s real name was Kalil, but I never knew that when I was a kid. I can’t imagine that was the easiest name to have in Manchester, N.H. back when he was alive.  He died when I was ten, but I have the best memories of him making me try food that nobody else made. It was pretty awesome. So was he.

In Charlie’s honor, I tried to make mujaddara, which is something I remember vaguely having when I was little. It’s cheap. It’s filling. I hope you like it.  And if you are Lebanese and you know a better recipe for this or tweaks? Please let me know.



This calorie count is not exact. 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 onions (yellow, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp allspice
  • .5 tsp cloves (ground)
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup rice (long grain, jasmine if you can)
  • 1 cup lentils (brown)
  • 1 stick cinnamon (if you have it)
  • .5 tsp black pepper (peppercorn if possible)
  1. Find a pot. Put lentils in pot. Cover with water that rises over it about one inch. 

    Bring to boil.

    Lower to simmer.

    Cook about 20 minutes.

  2. On another burner with another pot, put the temperature to medium-high heat .

    Add oil. Let oil warm for a minute.

    Add in cumin, pepper, allspice, cloves, and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. 

    Add all those onions. Think about how much you cried slicing those onions. Wow. That is how much you want people to cry when they read your book.

  3. Cook those onions for about 15 minutes until they are no longer white. 

    You want those onions to be a dark caramel brown. You will have to stir often.

    Good results, transforming characters, books and food that makes you cry? It requires effort. You’ve got this, writer. You’re used to effort.

  4. Take out half the onions and set them aside. 

    It’s okay. They are not gone forever. I promise. 

  5. Add in any more ground cumin, and add the cinnamon stick.

    Saute about 1 minute.

    Add the rice. Stir a lot.

  6. Add the cooked lentils, broth, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt; bring to a boil. 

    Turn the heat to low, simmer 30 minutes. 

    Turn it off and let it rest for 10 minutes.

    Do not take off the lid! NO LOOKING! SERIOUSLY.

    Okay. Take off the lid. Is there any water left? If so, simmer about 5 minutes.

  7. Fluff it up and make it pretty like editors at traditional publishing houses do to stories. 

    Put those saved onions on top.


This is all part of my lifelong experiment to convince The Man (Shaun of the “Dogs are Smarter Than People” podcast to give up meat.


Man Verdict: I am okay with this.


Carrie Verdict: It reminds me of Uncle Charlie so it’s a win.

Writing News

Carrie’s  super excited about the upcoming TIME STOPPERS book coming out this August.

This middle grade fantasy series happens in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine and it’s all about friendship and magic and kids saving their magical town.

An imaginative blend of fantasy, whimsy, and suspense, with a charming cast of underdog characters . . . This new fantasy series will entice younger fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.” –  School Library Journal 

“A wild and fresh take on fantasy with an intriguing cast of characters. Dangerous and scary and fun all rolled into one. In the words of Eva the dwarf, I freaking loved it!” –  Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of The Unwanteds series

“Effervescent, funny, and genuine.” –  Kirkus Reviews

It’s quirky. It’s awesome. It’s full of heart. You should go by the first two books now. 🙂





For a complete round-up of Carrie’s 16-or-so books, check out her website. And if you like us, or our podcast, or just want to support a writer, please buy one of those books, or leave a review on a site like Amazon. Those reviews help. It’s all some weird marketing algorhthym from hell, basically.


Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips.

We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can.

Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow.

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Cooking With a Writer Squash Me Up Soup Recipe

In order to make a good book, a break-out novel, you have to have inherent conflict, opposing forces that both want something.

This is my house.

I want to not eat meat.

Everyone else wants to eat meat. I think it’s wasteful to make separate meals all the time (no-meat, meat).

So, like any good protagonist, I’m attempting to convince Shaun and the dogs to eat vegetarian meals. But, I am easily bored so I give the recipes a humorous writer-twist. And that brings us to this squishy squash soup recipe that I made this week. It was creamy and delightful and you can add things to it like cilantro!

Gabby hated it so much she resorted to eating licking the comforter.
Gabby hated it so much she resorted to eating licking the comforter.

Squash Me Up Soup Recipe

It’s squash. It’s soup. It’s creamy. It’s orange. That’s got to be good, right? 

  • 2 TBSP Unsalted butter
  • 1 Leek (all chopped up)
  • 1 Butternut Squash (3 – 4 pounds, cube it up)
  • .25 tsp nutmeg
  • .5 tsp black petter
  • 4 tbsp sherry (More if you just got rejected)
  • 3 cup vegetarian stock
  • 1 cup milk (the full-on fat kind because you are a starving writer)
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • sherry vinegar (to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  1. Find a medium stock pot and melt the butter in a medium stockpot. Turn it on medium-lowish heat. Feel like this is how your book feels – sort of mid-list, sort of squishy. Ponder with angst. 

  2. Once the butter is melted, stop staring at it and put the leeks in there.

    They have to sweat.

    So do you, right? Writing is sweat for the heart, grit for the soul, an endurance sport.

  3. Stir it once in a while. That’s how your agent responds to you, right? Once in awhile. Stir until the leeks are soft but not brown.

    This takes about 5 minutes.

    This is much quicker than anything in the publishing world. 

    Except mean tweets.  Mean tweets are fast. 

  4. This looks kind of cool. Admire the leeks. How your book is like them. Good smelling, soft yet not burnt. 

  5. Add the squash, nutmeg, pepper, and some salt.

    Stir it around once in awhile for another 5 minutes. 

  6. Add the sherry.

    For the next 2-3 minutes let the sherry hang out in there. 

    If it is not against your religion, drink sherry straight from the bottle. That’s just what happens when there is nobody helping you cook.

    Do not judge yourself. That’s what reviewers are for.

  7. Add enough stock to barely cover the vegetables. 

    This is sort of like the publicity budget for your book – just enough to cover the basics.

    Drink more sherry. Wipe it off your chin. 

  8. Okay. It’s breakout novel … I mean … soup… time. 

    Turn the heat to high. Make it boil.

    Feel satisfied. That’s success right there. 

    Now reduce the heat to a simmer. Control that simmer like you control your readers’ emotions and keep it there for 20 minutes.

    The squash should be fork tender like your readers’ hearts. 

  9. Add milk.

    Add the 2 tablespoons cream. 

  10. Blend until smooth. 

    This is scary because it is hot so be careful. If you are using a regular blender and not an immersion blender DO NOT TRY TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE! This is like a manuscript. You can’t just throw it all in there for two seconds and call it good. There are steps to blending just like there are steps to revision. 

  11. Add however much salt, pepper, sherry, and sherry vinegar you need to make it taste good.

    If it seems bland go raid the spice rack and add cumin or curry or open the fridge and squeeze some hot sauce in there – a TB or more to taste.

  12. Once it is in the bowl, put cream on top so it seems fancy. 


Man Verdict: This would be better with bacon, honestly

Carrie Verdict: Cilantro is the new bacon!

Cooking With a Writer


I’m on WERU today, Thursday, at 10 a.m. EST. You can call in and ask me stuff. I’ll be talking about writing and books. The link is here. 


Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People

And finally, the podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE is still chugging along. Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of.

Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs