TIPS ON NOT MAKING YOUR EDITOR THINK YOU ARE A LITTLE TOO WEIRD

There are certain things in the editor/author relationship that you just are not supposed to do.

I have consistently screwed that up.

Fortunately, I have a very, very tolerant editor.

I am only telling you so that you don’t do this too. And I’m putting it in tips form because it’s easier for me to deal with the nasty truth of it, that way …

TIPS ON NOT MAKING YOUR EDITOR THINK YOU ARE A LITTLE TOO WEIRD

  1. Do not answer the phone while you are in the shower. No. Really. Even if you think it’s your little girl calling from school to say she forgot her lunch. Even if you think it’s a neighbor calling because they found your dog humping their light-up reindeer in their front yard. Do not answer the phone.
  2. Remember the person on the other end may be your editor.
  3. Remember you do not want your editor to realize that you are naked. Because the truth is, people take showers naked. You do NOT want people imagining you naked. 

4. If, for some insane, inane reason you do answer the phone, do not, DO NOT, bring the phone in the shower with you.

5. Do not do this even if you still have conditioner in your hair.

6. Do not do this even if you have to be somewhere in 20 minutes.

7. Just don’t do this. The shower makes a lot of noise, and it’s probably dangerous to have the cordless phone in the shower with you, like you could electrocute yourself or something. 

8. If you do, do this, which you shouldn’t, please make sure to rinse the conditioner out of both sides of your hair, keep your head tilted and the phone OUT OF THE RUNNING WATER.

9. Remember it is hard to have an intelligent conversation with your editor while getting conditioner out of your hair and worrying about being late and worrying about being electrocuted and worrying about whether he knows you are in the shower or not.

10. Shut off the water. Ignore your editor when he says, “Oh. I can suddenly hear you better.” 

11. Act all innocent. Say, “Really?”

12. Dry off. Comb hair. Be thankful Mr. Editor Guy does not have a camera phone.

13. Hang-up.

14. Spend the entire day with crunchy hair, because you forgot to rinse the conditioner off the top of your hair, just the sides.

15. Realize that crunchy hair is not worth it and VOW never to answer the phone while in the shower again.

16. Forget the vow the next day and try to say in a nice non-panicked voice when you answer the phone and the warm water is streaming down, “Oh. Hi, Mr. Nice Editor Guy. It’s you.”

Sparty’s Wednesday Wisdom

Notice everything, humans.


Usually the things we see, the stories we hear and don’t hear? There’s deeper stuff going on there.


Notice the deeper stuff. Then roll around in the grass, sniff weird objects and ask for snacks. That all makes a good Wednesday.

Sparty 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).

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. 

Advertisements

What I’m Up To

Last week, I was in Georgia helping my daughter who had surgery. She’s totally fine! Thanks to everyone for asking.

While I was there, I had an epiphany. Ever since Book Expo America in 2011 or 2009 or something when I had this ridiculously long signing line, I’ve been thinking, “This is it. This is the top of my career. It will never get better than this.”

And I said it.

And my editor at the time was like, “Yeah. Probably.”

I love her, by the way.

I was a New York Times bestseller and an international bestseller and I didn’t know what else to do. Because I am one of those over thinkers, I can think two ways about this.

  1. I can be fine with it because holy crud, I got to be a NYT bestseller. Someone bit someone else in line because they wanted my book. Someone committed assault for my book! Which is so wrong, but kind of an honor.
  2. I can not be fine with it because I am achievement oriented and don’t want to peak already.

These two possibilities have been fighting inside my consciousness for so long and they are pretty self defeating. So, in Georgia I had this epiphany.

There are four things I want in my life that don’t involve my family being safe and happy and all that.

  1. To write stories and share them people.
  2. To paint.
  3. To not worry about money all the time so I can do #1 and #2 in a happy way.
  4. To make the world a tiny bit better and make people a tiny bit happier with themselves.

So, I realized that my goals don’t have to be about achievement. They can be about stability and contentment, about balance and love.

And that’s okay.

(Although, to be fair, as I’m writing this, I teared up so I probably have some work to do on that still.) You can insert an ironic smiley-faced emoji here if you want.


Here are the things I’m doing right now and if you’d like to learn with me or buy my book or subscribe to our goofy podcast? That would be amazing. It’s nice to be on a journey with friends.

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.”

Write. Submit. Support’s 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.

WSS for Novelists will meet February 2, March 8, April 5, May 3, June 7, and June 28, 2020.

Last week there was a bit of a video about it. I wasn’t there for the questions and answers because of Em’s operation, but the Writing Barn founder was. 

And here is the link for the session with me.

WSS Novel with Carrie Jones begins on February 2. 

And there is a $200 off code here –  WSSRC2 – this code is only for my class and only for my friends (That’s you if you’re reading this).

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

This week’s writing podcast.

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.

NEW BOOK!

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up? It is a mystery. It is romantic. It has death. It has Maine.

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 and my epiphany, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.

Waiting in the Army hospital

I’m waiting in an army hospital in Georgia somewhere for my soldier-daughter the puppy-ballerina-princess-girl who could never decide on just one thing to be for Halloween. 

She’s having surgery on her eye. It’s not super major, allegedly, but it’s a big enough deal that I had to take planes down from Maine to be here for her. 

I’m waiting for hours, which is fine because people wait in this hospital for hours for much worse things. I see them walk by. Most of them wear dark clothes. Most of them wear sadness over their skin like make-up. No. It’s more like moisturizer. It’s sunk in. 

These men and women wear uniforms and camouflage that sticks out in beige, fluorescent lit halls. One soldier walks by, jaunty, singing. I want to follow him around, spread his light. 

I’m at a table in a room where two hallways meet. A man walks by with his arm in a black sling. A civilian worker in a green shirt jingles as he walks behind him. The table I sit at is small, square wood on a metal pole. Casters are on the bottom. It’s unbalanced and tilts if I lean too hard on it. 

When I grew up half of my family said the point of family is to lean on each other. The other half of my family insisted that the leaning? It makes you weak. They are almost all dead now so I lean mostly on air, on walls, on tables. 

It’s hard not to worry when you can’t control anything like surgeries or politicians or people with guns and hate-hearts. It’s hard to move beyond that worry and live. It’s hard to feel like you’re not always waiting for something to happen instead of actively making things happen. Good things. I want to make good things. 

Making anything is scary and vulnerable and real. I think I want most to be real, to matter somehow. 

I am waiting in an army hospital and they call a code red, which probably means something horrible, but I’m clueless, just a clueless civilian. Lately, I’ve been feeling like we’re all clueless about this world, this universe, even ourselves. How do we work? How does anything work? Relationships. Data. The internet? Lights. The stove. It’s all connections and collections and movement. Maybe.

People walk by me, mostly soldiers, some families. I only catch pieces of conversations and never the full thing. 

Dogs are Smarter than People
Love

“’Hey Joe. Hey Joe. What’s up?’ He doesn’t even say, ‘What’s up.’”

“He talks to us.”

“He talks to me like I was cavalry.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means he talks to me like God.”

The other guy laughs and they are lost down the hall. I will never know what’s up with Joe who when he talks, ends up talking to the laughing soldiers like they are God. 

I am waiting in the army hospital and I will have no nice conclusions, no Marvel-style resolution to these stories. But mostly what I hear is people thanking each other, wishing each other a good day. I hear, “God bless.” I hear children whining, bored out of their minds. I hear a woman yell, “I got you.” 

I got you. 

I am waiting in an Army hospital. The hospital is everywhere. 


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.

This week’s podcast!

Leaning Into Fear in 2020

We all have times in our lives when fear gets the best of us, when we don’t know what’s going on in ourselves or in our world. Our thinking becomes catastrophic and everyone is suddenly an expert in the Book of Revelations and apocalypse horsemen.

That’s no way to live. Not even in winter in 2020.

Marguerite Duras wrote in her novel The Lover that “the art of seeing has to be learned.” That’s true for bravery, too. 

This is my year of leaning in or rather it’s my life of leaning in, of going right at the things that I’m most afraid of. 

I grew up in a house where fear was a normal state of being. My mom was afraid of everything, closed spaces, open spaces, heights, deep water, birds, spiders, dead animals, driving over a bridge, driving into a city, even cats eventually became terrifying to her. Jump scares happened daily and would be caused just by me walking into a room.

My older brother and sister inherited her fears. My sister was afraid of grass when she was little. She got over that, thankfully, but she’s still afraid of a lot. My brother is too. Birds make them nervous, heights, closed in spaces, so many things. 

“You are not like me,” Mom said once when I was in fifth grade after jumping off the roof of our garage. “Or like the rest of us. You’re brave.” 

I thought that maybe fear was a part of our DNA, our family. I thought it might be some kind of inherited disease that I could avoid by being fierce. 

But I had it too. The fear. I just hid it better, fought it. At slumber parties when there would be some creaking radiator that all the fourth-grade girls would be 100 % sure was either a possessed clown doll with an axe or a possessed clown human with a machete and I would grab the closest weapon (usually a flashlight) and yell, “Come on! We have to face our fears!” We’d all grab hands and I’d march them off towards the source of the sound. We’d hold hands for so long. We’d be praying. We’d be shaking. But we always moved forward, holding each other up as we walked towards our terrors. We never met any possessed things. 

“You’re so brave,” my friends would say because I was always the one in front, the one who’d be first to die via possessed clown doll, I guess. “So brave.” 

I’m not. It’s just that we live, if we are to live at all, in a world full of noises, and fears, and possibilities for harm, violence, pain. “I don’t know what this world is coming to,” a man said to me recently in the grocery store parking lot, “but I mourn for us.” 

He reminded me of my dad, plumber’s smile pants, kind smile and eyes full of worry. Cracked skin on his fingers from hard work and cold, dry air.

I live in on a large island in Maine. In the winter, our tourist community loses most of its people and color. Wind sweeps through winter-boarded restaurants. People meet up at the grocery store. People start going to our grocery store every day just to see other people. The world is white and gray and brown. The only color is the sky and an occasional scarf. Even the most of the people dress in navy blue, white, black, and gray.

And this is when I always feel the most scared, the most trapped, when the sun is a distant memory and warmth has been swept away on currents to much warmer places where the lights stream down. Every world event, every life event, every choice feels more dangerous and I feel more vulnerable, less tethered to bravery. 

We all have times in our lives when fear gets the best of us, when we don’t know what’s going on in ourselves or in our world. Our thinking becomes catastrophic and everyone is suddenly an expert in the Book of Revelations and apocalypse horsemen. 

That’s no way to live. Not even in winter in 2020. 

My mother never had the life she wanted, never visited England, never explored the world and became a teacher, never swam with manatees or dolphins, because she was too afraid. When the events of our lives and the world combine to feel catastrophic, we don’t know if there is a design to it or chaos, but we can know what our reaction is to it. We can lean into the fear and hold up signs saying THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING or we can lean the other way, towards courage and possibility. We can hold up signs saying, HOW DO WE MAKE THIS WORLD BETTER? Yes, even if there is only a day or two left of this world, we can still try to make our lives and the lives of others better. 

We can breathe in, take a look, and ask ourselves, “What is happening here?” We can react out of courage, hold each other’s hands and investigate the noises. 

Looking into the darkness and illuminating it,  looking into the light where the ugly truths are illuminated? Both can be terrifying. But to move forward, to evolve as people, or society or as a species, that’s exactly what we have to do. We have to face the truths illuminated, the darkness of our fears. We have to hold hands and face our fears, lean into them, and see not just what they are, but what they reflect about us. Call attention to what we fear, what we see, what we do, because that is the only true way to fight the things that have to be fought. 

Lean in.

Face your fears. 

All day, every day. 

Bravery like seeing – truly seeing the world –  has to be practiced. You stagger a bit in the beginning, but then your own bravery can shock you, becoming a total surprise. And instead of seeking to have it, you’ve just become it. Brave. 


Doggy Thought For Monday

Why hello.
Stretch!!!
Look at you, getting out of bed and into the world, looking so shiny.
I’m proud of you. Let’s go face our fears, be vulnerable and strong, breathe in all the moments.
You’ve got this Monday & this week.
Let’s do it. Let’s adventure!
xo

Gabby the Dog

WRITING 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.


DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

This week’s writing podcast.

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. 

Dealing With Distractions and Trolls and Panting Dogs

Dealing With Distractions and Trolls and Panting Dogs

 
 
00:00 / 00:22:41
 
1X
 

How do you write (or live) when you’re surrounded by distractions? Recently, a great teacher was talking to me about me being his writing coach, but he was hesitant to start right now because of his new class load. 

I’m a seize the moment kind of human because I always expect to die tomorrow. That ticking-clock point of view keeps me moving and going despite distractions, but I know not everyone is that way. 

When I was a newspaper editor and Em was little, I was always dealing with distractions and I would write anywhere – at a planning board meeting, at a swim meet, at the Y on the bike, waiting in the car to pick Em up after school, in bed, standing at the counter, anywhere and everywhere. Noise was everywhere. Ten-year-olds would be having sleep-overs. Dinner would need to be made. Dogs would be barking.

And I would write. 

I knew that if I wanted to write, then I had to write. And to do that? I had to force my brain to filter though the distractions and be in the flow. 

So how do you do that? 

According to an article on the Entrepeneur by Deep Patel, which we’ve linked to in the notes for this podcast, there are several decent methods for dealing with distractions.

Make It Chill

He says to, “Begin building habits that help you eliminate distractions and stay focused. Start by creating an environment in which you’re less tempted to get preoccupied with something other than what you’re working on.”

That means make things quiet. Close your door. Turn off the cell. 

Make Pretend Deadlines

Deadlines make us focus. Make small time limits for you to get your work done instead of giving yourself all day to get your priorities done. I (Carrie) do this all the time, actually and even stress about my completely self-imposed deadlines. That anxiety sucks, but that focus? It makes me get a lot of things done. 

Get into The Pondoro Method

What is this? It sounds sort of x-rated, right? It’s not. 

Patel explains it as a method “in which you set a timer and are completely focused on a task for a period of time, such as 45 minutes straight. Then allow yourself a 15-minute break.”

It’s actually another thing Carrie does all the time, only she’s a 50-10 split. She also makes herself stand for that 10 minutes because she’s afraid of Dead Butt Syndrome, which we talked about in an earlier podcast. You should look it up. It’s wild in a dead-butt kind of way.

There you go. Three hot tips to help keep yourself from being distracted in 2020. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Don’t let distractions become your attention.

Dog Tip for Life

Pant throughout the podcast, look cute, and rest your muzzle on someone’s knee.

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.

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? I’ll be sending out more news about this soon! 

Sparty Daily Wisdom (as seen on Twitter)


Some days you might not feel super wise.

You might accidentally get kitty litter smeared into your side while indulging in your secret nasty addiction.


Your humans who love you will STILL love you. Mistakes happen. But so does joy. Hold onto the joy not the mistakes.

Sparty Dog
Continue reading “Dealing With Distractions and Trolls and Panting Dogs”

Epilepsy, Writing, and Choices

One day I was hanging out in the hallway of the middle school with some other mommies, waiting for all the sports practices to be over so we could shuttle our kids home.

These two other moms standing next to me were talking about diets and diabetes. They were both on Weight Watchers. One mom had lost tons of weight. The moms talk about the effect of weight on piercing private places and all this incredibly personal stuff.

And I am completely uptight so I basically listened with my mouth hanging open while backing up a step whenever I thought that they wouldn’t notice me backing up a step.

Then they started talking about sugar and sugar substitutes (Splenda and Aspartame).

One mom said, “That Aspartame. I stay away from that stuff. It makes the back of my throat feel funny. I think it does something to rats.”

So I said to the ladies who were just thirty seconds earlier talking about private part piercings, “Aspartame gives me seizures.”

I swear both their mouths dropped open and they both actually stopped talking, which was a big deal, because they NEVER stop talking.

And I learned: You can talk about your diabetes, your husband’s joy stick, your own special piercings, your kids’ bed wetting, but you can’t talk about epilepsy.

And, this? This just totally sucks. 

Because, I’m someone who is really, really lucky. I know what makes me have seizures so I avoid those things, but other people aren’t lucky at all. 
About one person in every 50 will have epilepsy at some point in his/her life. And they don’t always have the choice of disclosure, and they just have the stigma. 

So? What does this have to do with writing?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the choices I’ve made in the books I’ve written. With Belle, the protagonist of Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, I made her a member of Amnesty International for really important reasons. I also gave her seizures, the same kind of seizures I have, caused by the same thing.

Her epilepsy is not a part of the plot. It’s not a part of the character development. But it’s there.

And, no matter how bad my book is, or how good, or that it won awards or made me a traditionally published writer, I am really, really glad I made that choice for Belle. 

Gabby’s Monday Motivation

Good Morning!

The world? It can be scary.

But put on your best warrior face.

Go surprise them with your kindness & how fine you are.

Look at you!

You’re so shiny.

Let the world see that. Let the world see you. Face that scary with beauty. You’ve got this.

xo

Gabby Dog

Big News!

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up? I’ll be sending out more news about this soon!


COOKING WITH AN AUTHOR

This week’s Cooking With an Author – vegetarian recipes with a quirky, author twist is here. It’s all about hangover burritos. You do not have to be hungover or to ever have had alcohol to enjoy them. 

Burritos
Writer recipes

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

Last week’s podcast

This week’s podcast 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.”

Continue reading “Epilepsy, Writing, and Choices”

Gabby Dog and Cloud the Kitten Friday Animal Inspiration

Sometimes the world seems a bit … much?

Hang onto love and friends. Let go of the stuff that keeps you from being strong. Hang on.


Hang on.


This world needs good. You are the good.

Also, please remember not to poop in the sink.

Cough.

Looking at you, kitten.

xo

Gabby Dog and Cloud the Kitten


COOKING WITH AN AUTHOR

This week’s Cooking With an Author – vegetarian recipes with a quirky, author twist is here. It’s all about hangover burritos. You do not have to be hungover or to ever have had alcohol to enjoy them. 

Burritos
Writer recipes


DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

Last week’s podcast

This week’s podcast link.


WRITING NEWS

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.”

Continue reading “Gabby Dog and Cloud the Kitten Friday Animal Inspiration”

Cloud the Kitten in a Bucket’s Thursday Inspiration and Some Links to Things

Cloud in a bucket

Good morning!

Today is a good day to explore, jump in a bucket, hang out there like a cat boss, and jump out when you’re ready.

It’s a good day to love, and to be love.

It’s a good day to be you.

You is pretty awesome.

You’ve got this.

xo

Cloud the Kitten

COOKING WITH AN AUTHOR

This week’s Cooking With an Author – vegetarian recipes with a quirky, author twist is here. It’s all about hangover burritos. You do not have to be hungover or to ever have had alcohol to enjoy them.

Burritos
Writer recipes

DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

Last week’s podcast

This week’s podcast link.


WRITING NEWS

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.”

Continue reading “Cloud the Kitten in a Bucket’s Thursday Inspiration and Some Links to Things”

New Year’s Gifts and Open Hearts

Open Hearts at Grocery Store

Two years ago, on the last day of 2017 (the no-good, terrible year), I was in the grocery store line and the cashier said something nice about me making a good meal for my man and how cute we are together and then she said, “You’re best buddies. Best buddies forever. Me and my — ” Her voice caught on grief. “We were like that.”

And my heart broke right there.

And I said, “C–, you’re breaking my heart and you’re working and I can’t get over there on the other side of the grocery belt thingy and hug you because you’re working.”

The bagger girl at the end of the lane looked away. I don’t think she’s good with emotion.

But C– just smiled at me and said, “It’s okay. It’s okay. I have a new man in my life and he’s so sweet to me and he showed up just when I needed him and my J–, I think he sent him to me.”

Her J — is her long-time, forever buddy, her husband who died.

So, I basically emoted all over the place while she rung up my crackers and I was like, “C–! You are killing me. I’m crying because I’m sad. I’m crying because I’m happy for you. I’m crying because you’re so beautiful. And this is all… it’s all so… It’s poignant.”

She laughed.

The bagger kept looking away.

And when I walked out of the grocery store, this person I don’t know, he touched my elbow to make me stop my mad-fast hustle to the car. It was -2 out. It was cold.

The guy who was all bundled up and wearing some Carhartt’s said, “You know. When you have a heart as open as yours, it’s going to hurt sometimes.”

And I said, brilliantly, “Oh.”

“It’s worth it,” he said. “Do good out there, Carrie. Do good.”

I was a little freaked out, but I thanked him, got to my car and sat there, and I just stared at this cold, Maine, parking lot and the people rushing through the grayness that seems to sometimes overwhelm everything during winter and my heart got so full that I started emoting everywhere again because that random Carhartt-wearing man took time out of his day to talk to me. He stopped in the cold to talk to me.

This guy knew my name somehow, but bigger than that? This guy knows about hearts.


Gifts Out There

So, here’s the thing – there are gifts out there (big gifts and little ones) and they can come from the weirdest places. They’re connections. They’re motivations. They are these tiny times where you get to see inside other people’s minds and hearts.

Savor them this year. Try to dwell on those good things as much as we all dwell on the bad.

And let both the good and the bad inspire you to make a difference in your own life and maybe even other people’s lives (big ways and little ways).

cat, cat wisdom, catandkitten, kitten, Maine cat, maine
cat, cat wisdom, catandkitten, kitten, Maine cat, maine

Thank You

Thank you all for everything you’ve done for me this year. You’ve listened to me worry about things like suddenly being a full-time mom again.  You’ve celebrated with me about book stuff and podcast stuff. You’ve mourned with me when Charlene died.

You haven’t mocked me too hard because Grover (the muppet) is my internal cheerleader and John Wayne (dead cowboy movie star) is my internal editor. You’ve been brave with me on Be Brave Fridays when I shared my art, which is still scary by the way.

Some of you have bought my books and become my patrons. On social media, so many of you have been so kind over and over. And you haven’t unsubscribed to my newsletter. That’s such a big deal to me.

Thank you.

I really appreciate how kind and giving you’ve all been and if I write any more I’ll start crying. And there’s no random stranger guy here to make me feel better.


But there is Gabby….

Gabby’s New Year Wisdom

Love is being right in the moment. It’s about enjoying everything around you. And really feeling it, being open to it.


This includes the couch.

It even includes squirrels.


It’s not giving or taking, but who you are in relationship to all else (especially the couch) at that moment.


Love.

Gabby Dog


Last week’s podcast

This week’s podcast link.

Continue reading “New Year’s Gifts and Open Hearts”

Mr. Taco and New Year New You? Maybe. If you’re feeling it.

Mr. Taco and New Year New You? Maybe. If you’re feeling it.

 
 
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1X
 

New Year? New You?


This week on the podcast we talk about:Mr. Taco, Attacking Seagulls, Doing the Raccoons, and Goals. Also, Shaun sings.

So it’s the New Year and as we all know it’s all about goals and looking back and creating our lives in a new way.

People are spending money on exercise equipment and diet food and all that, but you know what? The you that you are? It’s totally fine.

Writers especially feel pushed towards outside affirmations and validations.

We think, “If I traditionally publish a book, I’ve made it. I’m a writer.” Or we might think, “If my self-published book sells 100 copies, I’ve made it.” Or even, “If I get 10,000 Twitter followers, then I’ve made it.”

Here’s the thing though.

You are a person in a moment.

Every moment that you write? You are a writer.

You don’t have to aim for any goals other than the goal of self realization.

You are a writer by writing, not because you hit a list or make an editor you’ve never met buy your story or a critic that you’ll never know give you five stars.

Writing is communication and exploration. It is craft and art. It’s all these things bundled together and just like you – the writer – the human – it is shiny and real and just fine the way it is.

You are a writer by writing. You are a human because you do human things.

This year maybe we can give others and especially ourselves the empathy to not judge each other by our end goals, but by our journey and actions that we perform every day or every week, by how we create our stories and our families and our communities.

It’s okay to just write. It’s okay to just be.

Let the goals that you create be about process as much as they are about achievement.

And have a happy new year as you, not a new you, but the you that you are, right now, in this moment, a beautiful, shiny soul.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Three obstacles are important in your story especially if it’s a picture book about a seagull trying to nab a French fry.

Dog Tip For Life

Life is about community. Make your community good.

SHOUT OUT

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


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.

Last week’s podcast

Continue reading “Mr. Taco and New Year New You? Maybe. If you’re feeling it.”