The Haiku That Changed My Life

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH is almost here so I am totally going to theme out this April.

Why?

Because poetry changed my life in second grade. Seriously. 

I was this kid who talked like a Muppet. Everyone made fun of me so I didn’t talk at all in first grade. I was known as THE QUIET KID WHO GIVES HER SNACKS AWAY – SO DO NOT BEAT HER UP.

The teachers couldn’t figure me out. I never said anything. Teachers tend to like kids who raise their hand and talk. 

Then, I wrote a haiku in September of second grade. I had all the syllables right. It wasn’t about Tonka trucks. It was about nature so the teacher, Mrs. Snierson, posted it in big letters on the wall and decided I was gifted. Whew. Did I fool her. 

The poem was:


Spring is fun you see
Because flowers grow with rain
And robins come home.

This is how I learned that teachers are important to writers’ egos.That one poem got me into gifted programs.


That one poem got me noticed.


That one poem put my life on a trajectory that didn’t have to do with silence.

So, yeah, I like poems. 

Poems are how I stopped being silent.

So, I’m going to write poems and talk about poems sometimes in April. I hope you’ll join me!

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST

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 “The Haiku That Changed My Life”
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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”

What I’m Up To

So, I’ve recently paid $27 to learn that I’m absolutely failing at what authors are supposed to do on social media and their blogs.

And my $27 has taught me that I’m supposed to post a monthly book update to keep readers excited about my books.

Oops. You can imagine me grimacing here. I’ve been writing for ten years and I have absolutely failed at this.

So, here’s a quick update.

I just released a book on Amazon and it’s an adult mystery and I’m in love with it. You should read it. It’s an adventure.

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. 

What’s Next

I’m finishing up my book, THE LAST GODS, on Patreon and starting to think about what to do on there next.

I’m editing a ton of people and being a writing coach. You can find more on my website about that. And I’m still teaching an awesome class at the Writing Barn. And I’m thinking of creating a more cohesive business surrounding all of that because it turns out that I really love helping people with their books and writing craft.

I’m starting the sequel to THE PLACES WE HIDE and it’s a doozy. A doozy, I tell you! Full of murder and small-town realism and romance.

I’m revising a young adult fantasy that my agent will be shopping around.

I’m thinking about writing something nonfiction and big and it’s scary. So, I’ll talk more about that soon.

I’m trying to be better about YouTube. I’m sort of failing. But you can check my videos out. They are goofy and informative, which is pretty much me.

WHAT’S STILL HAPPENING

Well, we’re chugging along with our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, which has had over 169,000 downloads. We talk about life tips from our dogs and writing tips from ourselves and are all around goofy.

I’m still painting, writing dog and quote inspirational quotes on my Facebook and Twitter, and dealing with kittens.

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST

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. Let us know if you’d like to be a sponsor. We’ve had some great ones.

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.


Writers! Eat your Coffee in Brownie Form Recipe!

Vegan friends, this has eggs.

Print Recipe
WRITERS! EAT YOUR COFFEE, BROWNIES!
coffee in brownies
Cuisine american
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine american
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
coffee in brownies
Instructions
  1. Turn the oven on to 350°. Not in a sexy way. Just set it to that temperature. Realize you need coffee.
  2. Dump the kitten out of your big bowl. Replace her with all the ingredients. Combine it. Wish you had coffee.
  3. Think about the writer Honore de Balzac who allegedly drank 50 cups of coffee a day! He would even eat the grounds to get caffeinated more quickly.
  4. Feel badly for him.
  5. Although, to be fair, people ARE still talking about him hundreds of years later.
  6. Coat a 9x9 or 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
  7. Pour batter into the dish. Think more about coffee. Go make some. It worked for de Balzac.
  8. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. That brownie center should be slightly firm. No mushy middles for our manuscripts or our brownies, writers!
  9. Think more about coffee. Make another cup. Smell the brownies.
  10. Cool to room temperature. DO NOT SNORT OR INGEST the hot brownies! Do not do a de Balzac! Have patience, writer friend. No burnt mouths and noses here.
Recipe Notes

This recipe is adapted from Billy Parisi's and Billy's is much more easy to follow! He also has beautiful photos on his website so you should check it out! 

 

Man Verdict: Please marry me again.

Dogs Verdict: People can also marry their dogs, you know.

My Verdict: I love all things. I love all things brownie. I will marry you all.


Gabby’s Thought for the Day

Humans,

You were given your dreams.

Make them true. You can do this.

Also, totally feel free to squint at your Thursdays. Thursdays can be like that. But don’t let Thursday stomp down you or your dream.

Gabby Dog

Big News!

I’m about to publish 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. 

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

This week’s episode is here and it’s all about how to tell a good story (aloud or on paper).  And https://dogsaresmarterthanpeople.castos.com/player/140325" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="100%" height="150">last week’s episode is here and it’s all about how to be happy, Big Foot, and statues that pee, so basically Shaun’s head.

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.

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”


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. 

How to Be A HAPPY writer, Big Foot, Statues that Pee

How to Be A HAPPY writer, Big Foot, Statues that Pee

 
 
00:00 / 00:18:40
 
1X
 

This week’s podcast is about something really important. It’s about remembering to have fun. For a lot of us, life has a ton of stressors and responsibilities. We have to make enough money to survive. We have to take care of our family and ourselves. We have to deal with a world and not succumb to constant catastrophic thinking about the state of the world. 

It’s easy to forget to have fun. 

Or to feel guilty about having fun. 

Or to feel guilty about having hobbies. 

And here’s the thing. It’s great to be a professional writer and make money at something you love to do, but you don’t have to make money at it. A lack of financial rewards for your efforts doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you aren’t getting money. 

And money, my friends, is not everything. 

What is everything? Having fun. Growing. Enjoying your damn self in this short amount of time you have on this world, making yourself wiser and stronger and embracing your moments of joy. Everyone who sings in the shower isn’t expected to make money at singing in the shower. That should go for those of us who write too. 

Here’s the truth: You can write solely for the joy of writing. 

Don’t let other people’s opinions or standards give you or your writing validation. Don’t let the pressure for external measures of success (publication, an agent, an award, 100,000 social media followers) ruin your joy in creating stories. 

Here are Five Quick Steps to Reclaiming That Joy

  1. Rest when you need to. Take care of your body. Eat food. Drink water. The simple things that all us living organisms should be doing.
  2. Don’t have buttheads for friends. Be with people who make you happy and support you and inspire you. Ditch the others. 
  3. Go outside. Seriously. Go out of the building. Feel the air. You are part of this earth. Remember this and take care of it, too. Study a flower, a rock, a tree. It’ll make you a better writer, too. Notice the whole. 
  4. Be grateful for the good stuff that happens. What do you have? You’re reading this, or listening. That means you have enough that allows you to do that. Pretty cool, right? 
  5. Open your mind and your heart. Try not to be so super judgmental. Be generous and chill when you can. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

If writing isn’t your profession and isn’t feeding you and your family. It’s okay to stop if it’s not giving you joy. Wait until it gives you joy and go back to it. Also, remember that y-o-u-r  (your) means belonging to you and y-o-u-r-apostrophe-e(you’re) means you are.

Dog Tip for Life

It’s good to have a pack of humans to clean up after you. That way you can enjoy life and be messy when you slobber on the windows barking enthusiastically at the Fed Ex guy. Try to find a good pack of humans to be your clean-up crew. 

Sponsor

This podcast was sponsored by BookNotes and this link sets you up for a free seven-day trail. 

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.

This week’s podcast link.

Last week’s podcast.

BIG NEWS! 

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up? 

The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones
The Places We Hide by Carrie Jones

I have a new book coming out!

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.

Gabby and Sparty Monday Inspiration

When you find success, you might get glory or money, but when you find a way to love even when love feels impossible, even when the world feels impossible?

That’s when you’re really successful.

We hope you’re successful today and all days.

You’ve got this, humans.

xo

Gabby & Sparty Dog

Losing Brilliance to AIDS

I posted this twelve years ago on WORLD AIDS DAY. It was WORLD AIDS DAY again on Sunday. So I am posting it again.

Back when I was in college someone I adored died of AIDS. He died in December.

This man was brilliant and cool and kind and he made me believe that I was:


1. Smart.
2. Had a responsibility to make the world better.

Believe me, those weren’t easy things for me to believe, and sometimes I have a hard time believing them still.

But this man? This beautiful, brilliant man who died of AIDS complications? He was my example of how you can do it. He grew up really poor with just a mom running the household. He was his class valedictorian in high school and college. He desegregated a fraternity system when that was unheard of. He made the world better. He went to Harvard Law even though nobody else in his close family had even gone to college. His whole life he volunteered and worked and made the world better. He was a lovely father. He was the best kind of friend. He was elegant and passionate and logical.

I miss him terribly.

December 1 is WORLD AIDS DAY. 

Back when he died, I really thought there would be a cure by now. I really thought that the world would ban together and completely fix this. 

AIDS is still a problem. It’s a huge problem. One of many.

Find out more here.

Or here.

There’s a lot of things you can do to make a difference but I guess I’d like to add that the first step is to care.

That’s right.

Just care.

A lot of people died of AIDS. A lot of people still die from preventable diseases. A lot of people die from violence, poverty, hate. I think that we owe it to them to lift up their memories, to live our lives respecting their beauty and their light. I know that I’ll keep trying. I hope you might too.



THIS WEEK’S PODCAST


WRITING NEWS

Continue reading “Losing Brilliance to AIDS”

Lick the Kitten, Embrace Your Vulnerability

Lick the Kitten, Embrace Your Vulnerability

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:12
 
1X
 

Shaun: A week or so ago, someone told Carrie that she’d be better served if she didn’t present as insecure on her social media. 

Carrie: For the record, I am just open about when I’m scared about things. I’m not sure insecurity is the same as fear. I mean, I guess it is to a certain extent. But I’m not insecure about who I am. I like who I am, an occasionally anxious, goofy, smart, creative, quirky, open-book kind of  person. Does that sound like who I am? 

Shaun: Pretty much.

Carrie: Anyways, here’s the thing. You can pretend to be someone you aren’t. You can present any damn way you choose. But that’s it – it’s your choice. Nobody else’s. 

Shaun: And Carrie? She has no problem being vulnerable. In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes that the biggest myth about vulnerability is that it is weakness. And that’s possibly what happened with that person’s comment to Carrie last week.

Carrie: To be fair, about once a year a woman writer, usually older than I am, will tell me to present as more confident because I am strong and talented. They are trying to help me, personally, and the cause of all women, too. I think? But I don’t see the dichotomy between strength and vulnerability. They shouldn’t be on opposite ends of a line. 

Shaun: Brene Brown writes, “We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear and discomfort become judgement and criticism.” 

Carrie: And she also says this, which I think is how it pertains to writers and artists and this podcast, “Vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness.” 

Shaun: So vulnerability is writing. Because vulnerability is risk and emotional exposure. And even the act of writing is vulnerable because almost the first thing someone asks you is, “Oh? Have I read you?” It’s like they determine your worth just by whether or not you’ve been on a bestseller list or not.

Carrie: Exactly, but just writing and deciding to create is a risk because it’s not the most financially secure thing in the world, but it also is because once you put your creation out there – unlike the accountant – you are vulnerable via ratings and bad reviews and internet trolls, which is massive emotional exposure. But it’s more than that. Writers have to incorporate emotion and vulnerability on the page. They create characters who are meant to tweak the readers’ emotions. Writers are like the tsars of vulnerability. 

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

You are a writer. You are a human. Embrace your ability to take risks, to be vulnerable. Emotions are not weakness. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Allow yourself to lick the kitten in public, adopt those who you love. Be open. Be vulnerable. Love.  

Random Thoughts Included:

  • Carrie’s anxiety about dental surgery
  • Bangor (Maine) City Council Signs
  • Carrie not being dead. We think.

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.

Writing News

Cool Contest of Spooky Awesomeness!

Um. MacMillan is having a super cool sweepstakes where you can win the book I wrote with Steve (IN THE WOODS) and four other scary books.
Go enter! Go win! I’m rooting for you!

In the Paper, Baby

I was just in the newspaper and I think the photo of my head is actually larger than my real-life head. Go figure. It was super kind of them to notice me and to write about me. Here is the link.

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN! 

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

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

Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

Last WEEK’S PODCAST

Today’s Podcast Link if you can’t see it below or at the top of this post.

A.S. King is Awesome – Throwback Interview

I love A. S. King. She is brilliant, raw, authentic, and an all-around bad ass when it comes to championing people and moments and writing. I found an interview I had with her back in 2010! That makes me so old, right? But she is too brilliant-adorable for me not to repost it.

Here Goes.

You are now Entering a Time Machine Where A.S. King‘s Second Novel is Coming Out and Hasn’t Yet Become a 2011 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and an Edgar Allan Poe Award nominee for “Best Young Adult Novel.”

Today I am hosting my super awesome friend/writer A.S. King. Here she is in all her awesome pizza-knowledge glory!!! YAY!! I am in BOLD. Amy is not.

Ding dong. Pizza delivery. I’ve got a mushroom, onion and black olive here ...

First, I want to thank you, Carrie Jones (CARRIE JONES!!) for kicking off this blog tour with me. Thank you! It’s hard to think up fun stuff when promoting a book, but Please Ignore Vera Dietz, which comes out TOMORROW, gave me this great idea because Vera Dietz delivers pizzas in the book and I was once a pizza delivery technician too, and so, I’ve decided to go back to my former life for a few months and deliver some cool people some [metaphorical] pizzas.  

Could you please post an embarrassing picture of yourself and explain. it. Please tell me Amy is this picture of embarrassingness typical for you?

I know this looks like a picture of a filthy little boy. But really, this is a picture of me after my first two-week session at summer camp. I can pretty much guarantee you that I hadn’t really bathed in fourteen days, or if I did, I didn’t do a very good job of it. I believe this was the same year as the t-shirt I loved so much I wore it every single day. Also, the year I had a half-eaten apple in my trunk so that when I got home and my mom unpacked it, there were ants EVERYWHERE.

I know I was supposed to post an embarrassing picture, and in ways this is embarrassing, but it’s also kinda cool. Because I loved summer camp and this picture captures what I loved about it. Getting dirty. Soot. Minimal attention to hygiene.


To answer your question–actually, yes. For a little while there on the farm in Ireland, in the months before we got a bathtub or shower, this was pretty typical for me.

You look brilliant and adorable and way cooler than I ever was. So here is question #2: Has anyone ever come to the door dressed in bubble wrap when you delivered a pizza?

No bubble wrap. But I have been greeted by half-naked people, people too drunk to count money, a guy in a Grim Reaper Halloween costume and my favorite, the guy with the gunóno. He wasn’t robbing me. He was just cleaning it, I think. Freaked me out completely. (I was actually robbed at gunpoint a few years later and I think this episode probably had something to do with how I didn’t really take that really-robbing-me guy seriously until he got right up to me and pointed it at my head.) (Don’t worry. I was fine. He got away with about $40. He was wearing nice green slacks. I moved to Ireland where guns are illegal. All worked out.)

3. AMY!!!!! That is so not cool. I’m glad about Ireland though, but that is so not cool! Let’s ask something mellow: What is your least favorite color crayon and why?

Wow. I never thought about this. I mean, I can tell you my #1 favorite color crayon. Periwinkle blue. But least favorite? Hmm. Let me have a look.


[Three weeks pass as Amy goes on a valiant quest to find her least favorite color crayon. During this time she is amazed at how many crayon colors she really loves. Like silver. How cool is silver? Or those cool neon ones they have now? Not a huge fan of the sparkly ones, but the neon ones totally make up for that.] 

Answer: Tumbleweed, hands down. First off, it’s the color of dog poop. Or that dull flesh-colored spandex they use in circus costumes to give the illusion of nudity. Or a beige bra if washed with a load of darks. Sorry Tumbleweed. Nothing personal. You’re just not my thing, man.

Thank you so much for being here and answering three dorky questions, Amy. You’re the best. And your book is, too.

Before I go, I should really tell you a little about my book, shouldnít I?

Cough. Yes! Cough.

PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is a Junior Library Guild selection for Fall 2010!!

18-year-old Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone. Will she emerge and clear his name? Does she even want to? 
  

“Brilliant. Funny. Really special.” –Ellen Hopkins, author of NYT bestselling Crank, Glass and Tricks 

Thank you so much Carrie, for having me over to you blog! I hope you enjoy your pizza and the book! You rock! 

Nope. Amy. You rock. Always have. Always will. Especially when covered with 14-days worth of dirt.

WRITING NEWS

THE NETHERLANDS IS AWESOME

Steve Wedel and I wrote a super creepy book a few years back called After Obsession and it’s making a big freaking splash in the amazing Netherlands thanks to Dutch Venture Publishing and its leader Jen Minkman. 

Check out this spread in a Dutch magazine. I met a whole bunch of Dutch readers last Friday and let me tell you? They are the best. 

Learn With Me at the Writing Barn!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here!

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

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! 

You can 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

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.