To Outline or Not To Outline? That Might Be The Question

If you spend any time with me, you’ll notice that I’m super annoying because I don’t think there is one right way to do things and this is especially true about writing stories. 

Authors, however, like to think there’s a right way, a guide that is perfect for everyone that has all the happy little writing, revising and marketing steps. The hope is that if you follow those steps you become the next writing superstar or at least get a full request from an agent. 

The rules that we love, the guidelines and the steps? They don’t work for everyone or even one person all the time. And this is true about outlining too. Some of us love it. Some of us hate it. Some of us are apathetic. Some of us love it for one book and hate it for the next. 

That’s all okay.

But here are some things about outlining. 

  1. It doesn’t need to be all formal with bullet points.
  2. It can actually be fun for some people. 
  3. It can force inspiration sometimes. 
  4. It is usually big picture and is the big details and allows you to be creative in the execution and focus more (sometimes) on sentence structure and word choice.
  5. It helps keep you from writing 120,000 words before you realize you have no plot. 
  6. You can get a good idea of your plot structure and you can fix that before you write 123,000 words. 
  7. Helps with that big-picture pacing.
  8. Let’s you know where you’re at when you’re writing that first draft and can help you not pull out your hair when you’re freaking out that you’re nowhere near done when you’re actually pretty close.

If you all are into this, I can post about how to start an outline. Just let me know, okay?

Continue reading “To Outline or Not To Outline? That Might Be The Question”

Imposter Syndrome and Best Night Ever. Writing a Book with Six Other Authors. A bonus podcast with Ronni Arno

Imposter Syndrome and Best Night Ever. Writing a Book with Six Other Authors. A bonus podcast with Ronni Arno

 
 
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Hey! Welcome to a bonus interview episode of Dogs are Smarter Than People, the usually quirky podcast that gives writing tips and life tips.

I’m Carrie Jones and with me today is author and Mainer Ronni Arno. 

Ronni!

Ronni is a MG and YA novelist who thinks cool and her deubt novel RUBY REINVENTED. She likes to kayak, has adorable rescue dogs, and was actually born in Brooklyn, but has somehow become an absolute New Englander. A morning person who likes fuzzy socks, help us welcome her to Dogs are Smarter Than People.

In this podcast, Ronni talks about a ton of helpful things including imposter syndrome and what it’s like to write a book with six other people.

Check out the interview, like and subscribe, but also check out Ronni’s books and super cool website and spread the love!


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 244,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode link! It’s about dirty feet and archetypes. Sexy! 

Last week’s bonus podcast with writer Holly Schindler!

This week’s link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce

This week’s link to Ronni’s interview.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME- THE PLACES WE HIDE

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


A NEW SESSION OF WRITE! SUBMIT! SUPPORT!


Write. Submit. Support. for Novelists with Carrie Jones ONLINE

 These six-month courses offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions. We offer support whether you’re submitting to agents or, if agented, you’re weathering submissions to editors. We discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, the feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more.
Why Write. Submit. Support.?
It’s worth the money.

 “WSS was worth the financial investment. It helped me prioritize my writing as I sought to prioritize my bank account. When I chose to skip going out to dinner etc., I would remind myself that I was in hot dream pursuit and, maybe, take that time to write. I found that the investment of money helped me get on track with my writing goals and to the next level on my professional path.” -Rebekah Manley, past WSS Attendee
Write. Submit. Support. Mission: To empower writers,  pre-published or published, as well as the instructor, to embrace the many joys and challenges of leading a literary life. Scholarship opportunities available!Read more about the history and philosophy of Write. Submit. Support!
You’ll gain a like-minded community of writers. 

 “WSS has helped me keep going when all the scary, new parts of the process to publication came about. The community of other writers going through similar or different circumstances is priceless, so is the leadership. I’ve had my many, many questions answered and incredible support as I’ve gone through WSS. It has definitely been worth the investment when you’re fully committed to your writing and where it could lead. My money couldn’t have been spent better than following the dream I’ve had since forever.” -Gloria Amescua, past WSS Attendee

Success Stories come out of the connections made in WSS.

 “I understand that not everyone has buckets of money to put toward workshops and courses, but when I think about my times in WSS I always consider the results: the fact that I received a book deal, with an actual advance, less than a year later…WOW! I understand that not everyone cares about that kind of result, but I did and I achieved it. Carrie, my WSS instructor, understood my goal and gave me a lot of practical help and advice, right down to how to format the manuscript for submission.” -Cathy Carr, now agented with Rachel Orr and 365 Days to Alaska forthcoming with Abrams  
Attend our FREE Info + Inspiration Session
Find out if WSS is right for you at this FREE WEBINAR on Thursday July 23rd, from 7-8:30pm CDT.Founder Bethany Hegedus will share an inspiring talk on the literary life and will be joined by WSS instructors/TA’s, plus past and present WSS writers who will answer all your burning questions!

This is a great opportunity to meet this session’s faculty, talk with previous students about their growth throughout the program and participate in some inspirational activities led by Bethany Hegedus. *If you cannot attend live, no need to worry! All registrants will receive a video playback of the event!
Register Now!

Creators, Dirty Feet, and Archetypes

Creators, Dirty Feet, and Archetypes

 
 
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For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about writing archetypes for our characters and how they also apply to the real life humans we used to meet and interact with before Covid-19.

There are lists out there all over the place about this. Most have slight variations on the number of archetypes or the names of the archetypes. 

Oh! If you haven’t heard in our past episodes, an archetype is according to MasterClass:  

An archetype is an emotion, character type, or event that is notably recurrent across the human experience. In the arts, an archetype creates an immediate sense of familiarity, allowing an audience member to relate to an event or character without having to necessarily ponder why they relate. Thanks to our instincts and life experiences, we’re able to recognize archetypes without any need for explanation.

MasterClass People

Last week we talked about the seducers, the week before we talked about the misfits and mavericks. This week, we’re going easy on you with the creator. 

According to MasterClass, the creator is, “A motivated visionary who creates art or structures during the narrative.”

They make things! Like writers! They usually have willpower. They are sometimes self-involved. Or they suck at practical things. 

Over on ArielHudnel.com, it says (all bold their emphasis), 

“Also known as the artist, innovator, inventor, architect, musician, and dreamer, the Creator is solely focused on examining the boundaries or our reality and perception. As a character, they often take the position of the well-meaning scientist, or savant artist.

The Creator carries an inexhaustible imagination, often excelling at their chosen vocation. When presenting as a mortal character in a reality-based world, he is often portrayed as a man ahead of his time. There are often better examples of this archetype in the real world (Galileo, Einstein, Mozart, Steve Jobs) than in fiction!

Mediocrity is the Creator’s worst fear. Whether this result comes from concept or execution doesn’t matter. The creator wishes to be an authentic voice in a world of white noise. They gain rivals easily, answering those challenges with innovation in their work, and their personal outlook.”

ArielHudnel

Zeus. Dr. Frankenstein. Iron Man. All creators. 

Phoebe in Friends. Jo in Little Women. Creators. 

The Issue

All of these characters are white. When researching this, we were overwhelmed by the lack of examples of BIPOC. It’s another glaring example of a lack of diversity in books and movies. And it’s super frustrating. 

Over on the Character Therapist, they list the creator’s goals and fears:

LIKELY GOALS

To create things of enduring value
To see a vision realized 
To hone artistic control and skill
To create culture through self-expression  

LIKELY FEARS

To have a mediocre vision 
To only execute a vision half-way
To believe all is an illusion
To remain unchanged/unmoved by beauty 

Writing Tip of the Pod

We need all types of stories. When you create, think about who your archetypes are. If you are creating and expressing yourself, are you doing so in a way that is beautiful, clear, and fair to the rest of the world? 

Dog Tip for Life

Single minded obsession is never good unless it’s about making bacon. 

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.

DOG INSPIRATION

Every weekday, our dogs have inspirational or motivating tweets on Carrie’s Twitter. Go check it out and be her Twitter friend.

The kittens felt left out.

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 239,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Another episode about archetypes and if your sex life was a hashtag. Cough.

Last week’s episode about archetypes and falling out of cars. 

A bonus episode with Vivian Garcia Rodriguez about cosplay, book boyfriends, and being brave enough to get rid of people who hurt you. 

A bonus episode about being a cop’s daughter in Maine and a dance mom in Pennsylvania with Alyson Pelletier Seegmueller.

And this week’s episode link if you’re reading this via email.


COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME- THE PLACES WE HIDE

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

My Mom’s Eulogy

I have a weird fear of June. It’s because one of my dad’s died in June, my first cat died in June, one of my grandmothers died in June and my mom died in June. To me June equals death even as summer blossoms and becomes abundant.

I go through the month holding my breath, waiting for something terrible to happen instead of rejoicing in the fact that I am still here, that so many of us are still here. Birds grace the boughs of trees. Seedlings break through the dirt stretching for light. Dogs rejoice in walks. June is beautiful.

But I’m super imperfect and I tend to go back around to death again. And to remember my mom, I’m going to put the eulogy I wrote for her here. I miss her terribly much.

Eulogy Of BEtty Morse, MY Mom.

Our mom, Betty, was propped up in a hospital bed in Manchester, NH just about a week ago today, and if she saw herself then she would have had a fit. Believe me. She didn’t like to be out of the house if her hair wasn’t combed or her lipstick wasn’t perfectly applied. I can not begin to tell you how many times I sat in her car, waiting to go to the grocery store, the library, a birthday party or even the dump and counted the seconds while she reapplied her lipstick in that painstaking way that mothers have.  Let’s just say that she took her time, and I was a very impatient kid. But there was a reason she wanted to put that lipstick on: She wanted to make sure she looked beautiful.

And in the hospital last week, ravaged from illness, with her heart trying so hard to beat, with her lungs trying so hard to breathe, my mother wouldn’t have thought she was beautiful. But she was.

She sat up in that hospital bed and Bruce and Debbie used a plastic spoon to feed her some chocolate and vanilla ice cream from a tiny Styrofoam cup. The moment that first spoonful of ice cream hit her lips, our mother, with her eyes closed and her heart failing, broke into a smile that lit up her entire face with a joy so sheer and absolute that it brought tears to everyone’s eyes.       She was beautiful.     She was always beautiful, but that beauty didn’t come from her lipstick, or even from her smile. That beauty came from her soul. That beauty came from her love.

Our mother was an expert in love. “I love you with every ounce of my being,” she would write on birthday cards, Easter cards, those little tags that go on Christmas presents and emails.

And proud? She was brilliant at proud. Every grandchild was a trophy to her – shiny and gleaming full of light and importance. She polished them with her love and words and pride in their deeds. Keith, her firefighting hero boy, her handy man, the first of her grandbabies. Kevin, the one she thought looked the most like her – so smart and now a hero boy police officer who helped bring her the great grandbabies that she thought were so beautiful. Kayla. She would tell me sooo many soccer stories about Kayla but her favorite story was how when Kayla was in first grade or something like that she learned sign language because a little girl in her grade didn’t have anyone to talk to. She was so proud of Kayla’s kindness and intelligence. Brooks, the grandson who made her laugh with his quick wit and indomitable spirit and zest for life that matched her own. She was always hugging on him when he was a baby, and when he was a toddler, and talking about how neat he was. And Emily, the youngest of them, who she saw the moment she was born and declared, “She’s so smart. Look at her eyes. She’s taking everything in. Oh… she’s so beautiful. She looks like a Morse.”  Nana was so proud of you, Em, proud of the love you gave her, your goofiness, and your accomplishments.

My mom’s pride didn’t just extend to her grandchildren. She was so proud of her children and friends as well. I remember one day after one of the 80,000 holiday or birthday parties that Debbie hosted so effortlessly, I got in the car with my mom and she started to tear up. She was always tearing up. Deb and Bruce take after her. We are weepy sort of people given to strong love, strong sorrow, and strong joy.

Anyways, I asked her why she was crying. I was probably impatient about it again, but she said, “I am just so proud of my Debbie. She works so hard. She is so good. She is such a good mother.” It was her highest praise. And then she wiped away her tears and reapplied her lipstick.

She recognized the beauty in Debbie and rejoiced in it so much it made her cry like she’d just read a Hallmark card with the word love in it.

One time we were at a wedding and Bruce was in the wedding party and these women in the pew behind us were gossiping about the gorgeous usher with the dimples and my mom turned around and proudly announced to those women, “That’s my son! He has my dimples.”

“He’s so handsome,” the girls said.

“He has a kind heart,” my mom said. “He has a beautiful heart. And beautiful dimples.”

My mom loved deeply and without reservation. She loved her friends, so many of them are here today. Thank you for being here Mel and Steve and Marie and Clem. Two of you both claim to be my mom’s first boyfriend. I’ll let you fight that out amongst yourselves.


My mom also loved her husbands. Her first love and her second husband was my stepdad John, and their love was a beautiful forever thing. Her funeral is exactly 29 years after his on the same date. There’s a symmetry in that, and a beauty to their love. But what really shows how remarkable she is was her relationship with my dad, Lew. They chatted and gossiped pretty much daily, even though they were divorced for decades and decades, they were supporting each other constantly even until the very last days of her life. Once, they came to visit me in Maine and people compared them to the Costanzas on Seinfeld. They talked simultaneously, teasing each other constantly, voices getting louder and louder. When I said they were divorced, people wouldn’t believe me because the link between them was so strong. Their friendship was a forever thing.

My mom was born 77 years ago to a brilliant woman and a talented man, grew up with two brothers that she loved and was proud to call siblings. She was a wife, a homemaker, an office manager, a Welcome Wagon Lady, a town employee, a real estate broker, and then worked for the Bedford school system. But those are just titles, just occupations. Those aren’t about her soul. She could slam doors with great passion for her small frame. She could laugh hysterically over things as silly as saying ‘in bed’ after you read a fortune cookie. When she got mad she would yell, ‘sugar diabetes,’ the disease that would eventually take her body. She would gossip with her friends about the results on Dancing with the Stars and argue her political opinions without reservation. She was a firecracker and a charmer, spunky and sweet, funny and intelligent, and always, always interested in people’s stories.

It is hard to watch someone dying and in the time that Emily and I spent with my mom I noticed something interesting in her murmurings. She called a lot for her brother Richard who she adored. She often said with her eyes closed, “I see you Richard. Richard. Richard, is it okay?”

I imagine he told her that it was okay. I imagine that he took her hand and then gave her a hug, the way she would have hugged anyone at anytime. My mother was the kind of person who hugged her children and grandchildren for ages. We would call it entering the hug-off with Nana and joke that she never let go first.  My mother didn’t let go of people, not of her dear friends, not of her family members. No matter what we did, she held on to us, was proud of us, listened to our stories of joy and pain and goofiness. She hugged you as long as she could physically, and when she couldn’t hug you with her arms any more, she hugged you with her head, loving you no matter how many miles were between you and her.

Her hugs lasted forever. Her love was that way, too.

But one of the other things my mother yelled when she was dying was a little bit different. She yelled for toast. Honestly, she hollered for toast like it was a long lost love. “TOAST! TOAST! TOAST!” And when she got it and took a bite she whispered to me, “So good. Do you want some?”

And it is such a goofy thing, and so sweet, and in a way encapsulates a major aspect of her personality. She liked to feed people toast and roast chicken and chocolate chip cookies and Boston Cream Pie. She liked to give sustenance. She liked to give.  Whether it was food or love or hugs or an ear, my mother was a giver.

We can all learn from a life like that, a life where one woman created a web of love that connects very different people and friends across space and time. It was a life where love trumped all, a life where helping friends and family ruled, where it was important to  listen to the stories of children as they went into a dance studio or teachers calling on the phone asking for subs,  where it was natural for her to smile at nurses and doctors no matter how much pain she was in, a life where she wanted so badly to know everything that went on in the lives of her loved ones because she cared so very much.

And we care about you Mom. And we were proud of you. And you were and are very loved.

So off you go Mom, off you go, holding the hands of the people you have loved you, with those of us who still love you, waving goodbye, singing you songs, telling you stories, making more stories for you to enjoy from your perch in Heaven and eating lots of toast and Boston Cream Pie and chocolate chip cookies in your honor. May the wings of the angels wrap you up as one of their own and may we all live our lives as you did – with love and pride and beauty.

* I totally stole the ‘off you go’ line from Kevin Costner.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 239,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.


Last week’s episode  (x2) about archetypes and falling out of cars.

Last week’s episode about archetypes and if your sex life was a hashtag. Cough.

Last week’s bonus episode with a former Mainer and current super mom.

COME WRITE WITH ME! 

I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

Tips on Writing a First Page for Kids’ Books

These are what I once learned from the First Pages Panel at New England SCBWI Spring Conference on a Saturday when people were still able to gather in groups.

(The cool editors involved were Katie Cunningham, Alyssa Henkin Eisner, and Diane Landolf)

Eight Hot Tips (Ouch! On fire!) To Writing A Good First Page

Tip 1

It’s cool to be funny. It’s cool to be poignant, but it is awesome to be funny AND poignant. 

TIP 2

It’s good to have lovely language but not too much of it because then it’s easy to forget about character and plot. Yes, character and plot are actually important in children’s stories.

TIP 3

Every sentence should make you move towards the next sentence. Dogs eat cake. The martians have yellow hair. Journal writing is incessant.  Those are examples of sentences that do NOT move forward.

TIP 4

A good strong voice is much better than a wimpy little voice. Voices are like superheroes. We want them to have muscle. They have to save us from evil plots and menacing back story.

TIP 5

Kookiness is good as long as it is kid-friendly kookiness. 

TIP 6

Your first page shouldn’t be a character study. Your character study should be a character study. 

TIP 7

Don’t stay inside your own head too long, Author Person! We need emotion and movement to propel us readers forward.

TIP 8

Don’t sound 87 if you are supposed to be 15. Adult voice or datedness makes us not connect with the narrative.


Come Write With Me!

I coach, have a class, and edit things.


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE.

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

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


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

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

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

Last week’s episode link. Emotional Insecurity Is Us and Farts are Everywhere.

NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Monday Exists and So Do You

Look at you. Working towards your goals. Dreaming big dreams. Inspiring.

Doing.
One word forward.


Another one.


Look at you go.


xo

Gabby the Dog


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

Join the 218,000 people who have downloaded episodes and marveled at our raw weirdness. You can subscribe pretty much anywhere.

Link to Jose’sbonus interview.

This week’s episode link. 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Emotional Immaturity is Us Farts are Everywhere

Emotional Immaturity is Us Farts are Everywhere

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

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

Which brings us to the topic of our episode.

Farts? 

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

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

(The link is in the podcast notes.)

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

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

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

It’s Not All About You All the Damn Time 

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

Not All People are Psychics

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

You Are Cool In Your Lack of Coolness

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

Try To Be Chill About the Dorks

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

It’s Cool To Celebrate Things  

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

Writing tip of the Pod:

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

Dog Tip for Life:

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

SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

RECENT EPISODES OF AWESOME AND BONUS INTERVIEWS

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link 

Link to Sam’s interview.

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

bonus interview with poet and coach Fiona Mackintosh Cameron. 

NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

Continue reading “Emotional Immaturity is Us Farts are Everywhere”

Being a Pennsylvania Doctor, Writer and Disaster Specialist During Coronavirus – BONUS INTERVIEW WITH J.L. DELOZIER

Being a Pennsylvania Doctor, Writer and Disaster Specialist During Coronavirus – BONUS INTERVIEW WITH J.L. DELOZIER

 
 
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With Carrie today is Dr. J.L Delozier who has the afternoon off and instead of resting, she was talking to us.

J.L. Delozier submitted her first story, handwritten in pencil on lined school paper, to Asimov’s magazine while still in junior high school. Several years later, she took a creative writing elective at Penn State University and was hooked. Thriller writer, physician, and cookie addict, we were so glad that she didn’t rest and spent some time with us.  

How cool is she?

Dr. Delozier’s first thriller, Type & Cross, debuted in April, 2016 and was nominated for a “Best First Novel” award by the International Thriller Writers

Type & Cross, is about a virus that starts in China and kills half the world’s population.

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll find out that Dr. Delozier has the writing chops and the medical knowledge to write that book. She worked for the federal government about disaster preparedness and now she’s working at a Pennsylvania hospital dealing with Covid-19 and trying to lift the spirits of both her patients and the staff.

Listen, and you’ll realize that you might want to move to Pennsylvania and have her be your doctor, too.

Here are some places to find out more about J.L.

Her website.

Her Twitter.

And here’s a link to her newest book, CON ME ONCE. It’s pretty amazing just like her.

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s interview with writer Jordan Scavone!

My newest adult novel.

What Was It Like To Get a MFA When You Are From Maine and Have Social Anxiety

If you guys don’t know, Vermont College of Fine Arts offers a master’s program specifically for writing for children and young adults. This is a very cool thing. They actually accepted me and I got a degree there. Eventually, I was even awarded a Distinguished Alum degree at a surprise event in D.C, which was ridiculously cool and a great line for my obituary.

But when I started? I didn’t think I would ever get that far. That’s because I get super shy and social anxious about public events. I present an extrovert, but I basically have stage fright about things like singing in public, or going to board meetings or parties. I still go, but I get anxious ahead of time.

I was so anxious about going to Vermont. I was a newspaper editor. That is not the same as writing books for kids and I would be surrounded by people who were devoted to the craft of writing and that seemed so scary.

What was going to Vermont like?

Um…. It was great. No plots were stolen. I did not go to jail or die. All in all? I’d say it was a success.

But when I first got there it was a more than a little scary. I was petrified. You know how when you go into the cafeteria and realize that you know absolutely nobody. No, seriously, and everyone else looks like they know everybody else and so you just stand there with your tray … wondering how you can go into the kitchen and eat with the cooks because they seem really nice … the cooks. 

And then you meet all the other people in your class and it feels like everyone is SOOOOOOOOO much cooler than you are and they all sort of have roles.

There was HE WHO WRITES YA SEX SCENES and SHE OF THE PEACEFUL POETRY and MAGICAL URBAN FANTASY WOMAN and PICTURE BOOK GURU and I AM FLUFFY and then of course, THE ONE CUTE GUY. This is a children’s writer’s program. There is usually one cute guy. There is also usually one ridiculously beautiful woman.

(Note: We were a rocking class because there were actually three cute boys out of our 18 writers. There was also three beautiful women. This made our class ultra-cool.)

Anyway, I felt like I didn’t fit in because everyone else was so cool,  and basically I almost had a complete nervous breakdown the first residency until Lisa Jahn Clough talked me down and said, “Carrie, writers never feel like they fit in. That’s why we’re writers.”

And I said, “But I’m from Maine. I’m not used to all these people talking everywhere about writing. Actually, I’m not used to people, which is part of why I wear a parka inside buildings at all times. You can hide in a parka and pretend to be a snowman or something.”

And she said, “I know. I’m from Maine too, but it’s good. Really. It’s sometimes overwhelming, but it’s good. And parkas are fine.”

And it turned out she was right. 

Everyone in my class at Vermont helped each other and HE WHO WRITES SEX SCENES eventually WROTE PEACEFUL POETRY, occasionally and MAGICAL URBAN FANTASY WOMAN wrote an occasional picture book, and everyone in my class just basically loved each other, creating a happy ending much better than any 1980s teen movie and we eventually all crunched up together and looked all emotional and dramatic but right together. And we connected and learned.

And I kind of miss it because as Molly Ringwald (1980s actress always wearing pink or black) said in the movie, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone“Us loners got to stick together.”

And you know? Writers wrote that line. And they also wrote that movie. Which is why we all need to support each other because sometimes… well… we writers stink.

Anyway, I really miss learning about craft instead of teaching about craft and becoming an exponentially better writer because of these other amazing writer/teachers.


And I really miss throwing cookies at people in the cafeteria and then looking all happy-faced.

Us loners got to stick together, baby, and that counts for writers and readers both, and writing programs give us writers a place to do it. So congratulations to all my friends who are starting programs, and to all my friends who aren’t. Because, basically, we all have our own paths and they are all cool. 

Well, almost all of us.

As C. JoyBell C. says,

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” 

This week’s episode link. 

Last week’s episode link.

Last week’s interview with writer Jordan Scavone! 


Continue reading “What Was It Like To Get a MFA When You Are From Maine and Have Social Anxiety”

Pants-drunk, Geico, Stinky Beer, Government Cheese – It’s a podcast of awesome where things get weird

Pants-drunk, Geico, Stinky Beer, Government Cheese – It’s a podcast of awesome where things get weird

 
 
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When you think about people getting drunk in their underwear, you tend to think of Joe Exotic and the people on Tiger King, the hot-AF Netflix documentary, but the people who are masters at getting completely sloshed at home are the Finns. 

Yes, the Finns. 

They have a word for it and that word is kalsarikännit. That word means pantsdrunk 

They even have emojis depicted half-dressed emoji people holding a beer or a wine glass that they send each other when they are solo drinking in their undies. 

And that’s what is happening to America in the time of Covid-19. Believe me, this is such a thing that it’s a trending Instagram tag and even the Barefoot Contessa is getting involved. 

Here’s the thing. People in northern, isolated, winter-dark, sun-absent climates know all about staying at home. They know about facing the darkness and drinking in their undies. Yes, undies. Not sweatpants. Undies. Part of being pantsdrunk is stripping down. 

On Harper Collins’s website for Miska Rantanen’s book about the cultural phenomenon, it states:

“When it comes to happiness rankings, Finland always scores near the top.  Many Finnish phenomena set the bar high: the best education system, gender equality, a flourishing welfare state, sisu or bull-headed pluck.  Behind all of these accomplishments lies a Finnish ability to stay calm, healthy and content in a riptide of endless tasks and temptations.  The ability comes from the practice of “kalsarikanni” translated as pantsdrunk.”

Harper Collins’s blurb people

According to an article by Claudia Alarcon in Forbes

“Pantsdrunk is one of the cornerstones of drinking culture in Finland,” says Partanen (an actual Finnish person she quotes). “The Finns are very reserved people, which is why there are jokes in Finland about how social distancing simply means that we keep doing what we’ve always been doing: avoiding physical contact and keeping at least a meter distance from others.”

Claudia Alarcon

When you are undergoing constant stress and anxiety, it increases your risk for both physical and mental health issues. You don’t want that. We don’t want that for you. So, it’s okay to find some joys even as the horrifying happens. Build a fort. Sing in the shower. Read books. Snuggle with puppies. 

What’s this got to do with writing other than the fact that the tradition has been immortalized in a book? It’s about letting go, diving into your story and giving your anxiety a giant finger flip. It’s about tearing off your clothes and your devices and writing the raw, naked tipsy story without your internal critic or internal editor standing over your shoulder telling you to go get the seltzer water and put your clothes back on. That’s when you write cool stories. 

This time we are in now, this pandemic, this physical isolation? It can divide us or it can make us closer. We can choose to despair in our systemic issues and lack and we should recognize it, but is just as important to notice the moments of humanity, of how people still find ways to create and communicate and love. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t give up. Persistence is super in life and in writing. 

Dog Tip for Life

Find your alcohol. Be naked. Live while you can.

SHOUT OUT

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

Gabby does not approve of alcohol.

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. 

Last week’s episode link.

Last week’s interview with writer Jordan Scavone!

SO, HERE’S WHAT I’M UP TO. 

THE WRITING COURSE OF AWESOME

It’s our very own writing course! 

Basically, it’s set up a bit like a distance MFA program, only it costs a lot less and also has a big element of writer support built in and personalized feedback from me! This program costs $125 a month and runs for four-month sessions!

To find out more, check out this link. It’s only $125 a month, so it’s a super good deal. Come write with us! 


NEW BOOK OF AWESOME

I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

THIS IS WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.

But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor. 

As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.

You can order it here. 


IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp!

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!

Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods

ART NEWS

Becoming

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

WHAT ELSE? 

I’m still revising ANOTHER NOW, which is a big time travel story. It is killing me. 

AND FINALLY, MY NEW PATREON STORY

And over on Patreon, I’m starting a new story this week! It’s a chapter a month if you want to check it out. It basically costs $1 a month to listen to my story and $3 a month to read it. There’s a new chapter every week. It’s super fun; I promise. Here’s an excerpt.