Top Five Ways To Channel Your Inner Cat and Get What You Want. 

So, a lot of times when I’m talking to other writers, they tell me that they are full of fear.

I’ve been a firefighter and a dispatcher and a gymnastics instructor and I’ve got to tell you that on a really fundamental life level, writing isn’t as scary as those things. You don’t usually die from typing. I mean, someone could put poison on the keyboard, but that’s pretty rare.

But the thing is that writing is scary because it makes you vulnerable. Communicating is an act of openness. Art is an act of sharing. The potential rejection and judgement that comes from that? It can be scary.

But we want it anyways, us writers. We want it so badly. We want to be published. We want to share our stories.

And that takes an act of bravery, of fierceness.

All of life takes that, really.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the world what you want.

So, I’ve solicited Marsie to help us with the Top Five Ways To Channel Your Inner Cat and Get What You Want In Your Writing Career and Regular Life.

Whew. That was long.

IMG_3115

  1. Tell People You Want Something – It feels pretty alpha, but it’s true. If you want people to pick you up and place you near your cat food, you have to meow at them. Marsie is an expert in this. She has me trained. You can do this, too. Ask people to like your blog, to subscribe, to share. Ask people to buy or read or talk about your book. Some people like to help you. Those people are good people.
  2. Don’t Apologize – Cats do not say sorry for their wants. Neither should you. Full disclaimer: I have no idea how to do this. Sorry. SEE! I just did it!
  3. When People Give You Things Be Cool With It – Does the cat turn down the cat nip? No. The cat does not. Why? Because she knows she deserve to get what she wants. You do too. You deserve good things. You deserve blog readers, book readers, gentle pats on the head. You’ve worked for it.
  4. Don’t Give Up – If you don’t give Marsie food when she first meows at you, does she give up? No. No she doesn’t. Cats ask and ask and ask and demand for what they want. So should you. Keep working on your story, your life, your goal. Don’t give up because someone doesn’t hear you meowing. Make yourself heard. Meow loud.
  5. Meow Loud – Really. Writers and a lot of us introverts and those of who have been oppressed or traumatized we aren’t seen. It’s okay to claim your space. Seriously. Meow loud.

For me? The hard asks are these right now: 

  1. Could you please LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my blog and podcast?
  2. Could you spread the word about them if you get the chance?
  3. Could you leave positive reviews if you’ve liked my books?

That’s about it. It’s easy to make this author happy.

APPEARANCES

I’ll be hanging out at the launch of THINGS WE HAVEN’T SAID on March 15th and having  a panel discussion with editor Erin Moulton, Aaluk Edwardson and Ella Andrews at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter, NH. 7pm!

“How to describe the feeling of not being believed? It is the feeling of disappearing.” -Stephanie Oakes

PODCAST AND BOOK NEWS!

My nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg, the pro ball player who became a spy,  is still coming out March 1 and I’m super psyched about it. You can preorder it. 

The Spy Who Played Baseball

In my big writing news, the podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, is live!

My Post

LIVE!

Please go leave a comment, or a review, and pretend to listen, because I’ve been freaking out about this so hard. It’s on iTunes and Stitcher and Castos at the moment and the RSS feed is also here. The feed has bonus material and free things. It’ll be on GooglePlay if I can ever get the screen to validate to not be just a big webpage of blankness.

Ten Writing Prompts for the Weird

I know that everyone in the entire writing universe loves writing prompts.

I do not love writing prompts. I know! Big admission there. Way to bring on the trolls.

The theory is that writing prompts help authors suffering from the dreaded writing block. I do not ever suffer from the dreaded writing block. I know! I’m hiding now.

Full disclosure: I don’t suffer from writer’s block because I have no internal censor, and also because I accept the fact that my first drafts will be terrible. It’s also because I come from the world of newspapers and poetry. In those worlds, you have big work ethics and are used to making no money at all. So, I refuse to have writer’s block because I am too busy realizing how freaking blessed I am to get to do this at all. So lucky. And I don’t want to be a newspaper reporter again.

I want you to be lucky, too. I want you to be a rockstar of writing, but a cool one without ego issues or substance abuse problems.

My Post-2

But back to writing prompts.  They help people and people get unblocked.

I look at them, and I get… I get bored.  So, I decided to jazz up some really common ones with a weird twist. I live on an island in Maine, according to my friends that makes it okay for me to be this weird. My friends are liars.

The Ten PROMPTS OF WEIRDNESS

Outside the Window: What’s the monster outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the monster in your coffee mug? Oh, yeah. You know it’s there.

The Bloodfeud: Write about the conflict that has torn your family apart for generations. Bonus points for the use of the undead.

The Shuffle: You hear a shuffling noise. Is that from outside or in?

Food: Write a poem about the last time you were served for dinner.

Hamsters in Love: Two hamsters. One love. Separate cages. 

Enemies: Write about the person in real life or pretend life or undead life that you can’t stand. Make them your teacher or your parent. What would that be like?

Unicorn Time: There’s a unicorn. What’s she doing?

Done with You: Write a poem where the first line is “Done with you.”

The Found Poem: Find a blog. Print it out. Circle words. Make a poem out of those words.

The Cat: Write about what’s going on in this cat’s mind.

 

IMG_3208

 

 

 

 

 

There! Easy and weird. I hope they help!

 

Adobe Spark-6

PODCAST AND BOOK NEWS!

In my big writing news, the podcast is live!

LIVE!

Please go leave a comment, or a review, and pretend to listen, because I’ve been freaking out about this so hard. It’s on iTunes and Stitcher and Castos at the moment and the RSS feed is also here. The feed has bonus material and free things. It’ll be on GooglePlay if I can ever get the screen to validate to not be just a big webpage of blankness.

 

I am so freaked out this that I actually made a video! And I will probably eventually make a contest or something.

But no matter what, it’s quirky and real, and so much random fun.

I think I’m so worried because it’s so authentic and because I was bullied mercilessly about my Muppet voice when I was a kid. So, yeah…. big vulnerability issues there, which is also why I had to do it. I had to face my fears. Right?

Someone say, “right.”

Please….?

Pausing To Try To Be Chill. Failing. 

My nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg, the pro ball player who became a spy,  is still coming out March 1 and I’m super psyched about it. You can preorder it. 

The Spy Who Played Baseball

CARRIE JONES DECIDES TO FINALLY ACT LIKE AN AUTHOR AND GIVE UP

31 January, Issue 1, Vol 1.

ELLSWORTH, MAINE –– Sitting at her Powerbook with the missing “Y” key and staring at the blank Word document on the screen, a young adult novelist gave it all up today and decided to act like a real novelist.  Surrounded by her agent, her editors and her dogs, she admitted that she might as well become one with the Hemingway.

“I always knew I was failing at being a writer,” she said while gulping down some boxed wine (red variety), “but I never understood what it was that I was missing. Now I know: it was misery. I was missing the whole misery element. But lately, I’ve been feeling really depressed and consequentially I feel like more of a writer. That rocks!”

“You are a rock star baby,” her agent agreed. “But you’ve got a little of that wine on your chin. Ew. So gross.”

img_1604 Right here? On my chin?

Her agent then whisked out her ancient Blackberry and texted the international rights agent about the philosophy of the Britney Spears and remembered fondly when this book sold to so many countries.

need-large-202x300

After apologizing for using adverbs in her above quote, Jones explained that she’d always been a happy and productive writer and she used to shake her head at other writers who would moan a lot about missing muses and being blocked.

“I thought they were just being pretentious,” she admitted. “I mean… seriously… muses? Like in that old movie Xanadu or something? It seemed so hoity-toity.”

Now she understands.

Devastated by the thing people call winter, (“All those cold dark days,” she murmured), plus a cold that would not quit (“A woman can sniff in only so much before the snot affects the brain,” she added, sniffing in), Jones has decided that despite the fact that she writes children’s books she is no longer going to skip and happy dance in her kitchen, she is instead — going to embrace the misery.

DQ2ZLehX4AAXSJj
“I will wrap my arms around it and pull it to my heaving bosom,” she said and then added, “Oh. Was that too melodramatic? It was… It was… wasn’t it? Damn, can I do nothing right?”

Her editors pet her on the shoulder and offered more box wine (it’s cheaper) or at least green tea admonishing her to buck up and hit her deadline for the third book in the TIME STOPPERS series.

51IYF1CSlDL

“Her friends have already noticed a change. They have kindly inundated her with well meaning emails asking what is wrong,” said one editor who frantically pointed at the keyboard. “But that’s just making her procrastinate more.”

“But they’re writers,” Jones said sniffing some ModPodge because it usually makes her happy. “How do I know they aren’t just trying to get some sort of material for their own novels?”

Nobody responded to this question.

“Plus, the blogging. Why are all our YA and middle grade authors all about the blogging?” Jones wailed. “And the tweets. And they all seem to be friends with each other and promote each other’s books will living terribly exciting lives in coffee shops and Scotland. Everyone is always in Scotland!”

Jones added that her agent has called her multiple times for no reason in the last week.

“It’s my job to check in,” her agent said. “The well-being of my writers is very important to me.”

Her agent then started texting again. This time it was an appeal to add a certain someone’s name to the list of HOTTEST AGENTS IN CHILDREN”S LITERATURE.

“That John Green is always winning,” her agent mumbled. Then she turned her attention back to her client. “You know I love you, baby.”

“She’s just worried I won’t finish the third book,” Jones sighed. “Although… it is nice hearing a human voice occasionally. You know she is human. And when she calls I remember how dialogue is supposed to go. Plus,  I’m tired of talking to my computer.”

Jones then ate an entire carton of Edy’s Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough while the editors looked on and added, “Did I ever tell you that Steve Wedel said I was like a puppy? Or that Cynthia Leitich Smith said I was like a kitten? Yeah? Well, whatever, I’m telling you again. People used to pet my head and tell me what a good writer I was… Now… Now…”

She then started sobbing. “None of this would have happened if I had a writing group.”

22310265_10155015429843008_7077529214549352143_n

Writing Tip – Write a fake news story about yourself or your character. Look up there! It’s super easy. If you can’t think of a subject, write about Sparty the Dog wearing a tinfoil hat.

Do Good Wednesday – 

I’ve been talking a lot about big volunteer organizations and apps on Wednesdays, but you can also intentionally do good in smaller ways and that’s powerful.

20726_10153258785664073_732531407035197149_n

Small can be powerful!

So here are a couple ideas, but I bet you can make some of your own! 

  1. Write a thank you on paper and give it to somebody.
  2. Encourage someone that you don’t always remember to encourage.
  3. Thank three people for things in one day.
  4. Be patient.
  5. Think about the person you don’t like, that really super annoying horrible person of evil? Think of one good thing about them.
  6. Say ‘hi’ to someone.
  7. Give someone who never treats his/herself a treat. 

Random Marketing Thing – My nonfiction picture book about Moe Berg, the pro ball player who became a spy,  is still coming out March 1 and I’m super psyched about it. You can preorder it. 

The Spy Who Played Baseball

And the podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, is getting closer and closer to real. I’m terrified.

Marsie’s Monday Motivation – Be Vulnerable and Ignore the Dogs

Marsie the Cat: Let’s talk about fear, human.

Me: Again?

Marsie: Yes. Again.

IMG_2357

 

Me: I’m just afraid of so much stuff.

Marsie: You’re afraid of failing, of being vulnerable, of exposing yourself to the world, am I write? Or worse – What if nobody even notices you?

Me: 

Marsie: 

Me: How do you know so much?

Marsie: I am a cat. Therefore, I know all things. Plus, I know about fear. But I don’t care. I live my life. Look at this photo. I am on the dog bed and right there – it is the evidence that the dogs destroy things! That was a perfectly good owl toy and it is dead now. That dog has jaws of steel and could eat me in a second for daring to be on her bed. But do I care? No! I still claim the dog bed. You, human, need to claim the dog bed.

IMG_2329

Marsie doesn’t understand that sometimes it’s hard to claim the dog bed. I wrote about this on Instagram yesterday because I was thinking about my grandmother.

She wrote so many poems and made so many paintings that she never let anyone see.

She couldn’t handle the scorn. But she couldn’t NOT create things.
She was afraid of the ocean, thought it was this massive, beautiful deadly force.

Men can be like that too sometimes, she told me. I don’t know why we are expected to be so strong. Why must we be so strong and vulnerable?

I was like ten when she asked me that so I didn’t have an answer.

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 10.26.04 AM
This painting is inspired by one of her paintings that she left unfinished. I don’t know if she had copied the original or if it was her own, but the woman walking across a realistic earth, approaching the sea all huddled and afraid and then reaching out for the unreal sky makes me think of her. Afraid but reaching out.

I am not an artist. I have absolutely no training at all except for a high school art class, but all I want to do is paint.

I am not a great philosopher, but still I’m compelled to share what I think.

I sound like a muppet and slur my s’s, but still I’m making a podcast and I’m in charge of a really intensive online writing class that forces me to talk on video to 12 people every month. And the whole time I think – I am so afraid to do this. People will hear my voice and laugh (not in a good way).

All these things scare me so much.

And every time I write a book, I think: 

What if nobody reads it?

What if nobody likes it?

But life and creating is all about vulnerability. It’s about saying yes to experiences even though it’s so scary. Yes, just writing a blog post is scary to me because it’s vulnerable.

What is it that makes you vulnerable? 

What is it that makes you scared to say ‘yes’ to things? 

Because here’s the thing: You are enough. You are good enough and real enough and authentic. Your story matters. And if other people don’t see it? Their loss. What matters is that YOU see it.

I’m totally trying to work on this right now. Seriously, all my tweets are about it. The podcast that’s premiering in February is about it.

I hope you’ll work on it with me.

Random website link is here – www.carriejonesbooks.com

Things We Haven’t Said – Things I Haven’t Said Either

There are a lot of things I haven’t said in my life.

That’s true for almost everyone, I think.

I’ve been tweeting a lot of pictures of my animals and trying to be motivating and uplifting and let people tell their stories. All stories matter. Yours matters. If there is anything I could do in this weird world, I wish I could convince everyone that their stories matter, that other people matter, that we all matter.

53994_900

YOU MATTER! 

I’m in a new anthology that’s coming out and it was hard for me to write the piece that I donated.  I’m not used to writing being hard. I’m used to writing being easy, being an escape from the bad things, a place where I can make my own world and control what happens in that world in a way that I can’t control what happens in my own.

But sometimes you have to write the hard things even when you don’t want to.

This was one of those times.

All net proceeds from Things We Haven’t Said will be donated to support survivor services.

9781942186342-THINGS HAVENT SAID-cover

 

“This book will save hearts.
This book will save minds.
This book will save lives.”
–A.S. King, author of Still Life with Tornado and I Crawl Through It

“Powerful, important and timely, this is a collection of voices that tell, in their own words, what it means to be a survivor–a message of hope and healing that belongs on every young person’s bookshelf.”
–Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be and The Last to Let Go

“Challenging, heartbreaking and ultimately healing…a beautiful firsthand account from rape survivors about the impact of sexual assault on their lives.”
–Christa Desir, author of Fault Line, Bleed Like Me, and Other Broken Things

29914_900

This is me before the thing that I hadn’t said happened. This was my boyfriend, Joe. He’s a good human.  Remember how I blogged about when I got epilepsy. This is how I got epilepsy. 

Silence is a powerful thing. And breaking silence, around heavily stigmatized issues such as sexual violence, can sometimes seem impossible, especially for those who find themselves on the inside. This is particularly true for young people. Things We Haven’t Said: Sexual Violence Survivors Speak Out  features a lot of talented contributors,  and is literally giving voice to those who need help speaking up and getting help. The book — made up of essays, poems, letters, vignettes, interviews, and concrete information — breaks the silence and verbalizes the experiences of these victims and, in doing so, creates a chorus of hope for children and young adults who have experienced similar abuse.

The book comes out Feb. 6. You can preorder it here or anywhere.

Writing Prompt: 

What haven’t you said? What are you afraid to say?

Random Other Writing and Work News:

I handed back my first three packets to my students at the Writing Barn today and I am so amazed by them and how awesome they are. They are gifts to this world.

I’m starting a podcast. The landing page will be on my website. What do you like about podcasts? What do you hate? I’ll try not to do the hate things.

Also, on my website are the stories of how my books like the NEED series or TIME STOPPERS came into being, how I paint to get more into my stories, or more info about me and all that stuff that’s supposed to be on websites.

welcometomagic

RAINN is an organization that helps survivors of sexual violence if you need help and you want to start looking for resources.

Weird Men in the Library – Wednesday Writing Wisdom?

I went to a library in another town so that I could write without being interrupted by the dog, cat or phone.

IMG-2278Marsie, if you don’t know, insists on me petting her whenever she eats. She eats a lot. It isn’t productive for the novels.

Anyway, it was really fun being in a different library, sort of like this spiritual experience, so I wandered around looking at people taking out books, which was awesome.

I meandered through the children’s section, which was much bigger than ours. Then I sat down in the room with all the magazines and the comfy chairs. There were way more comfortable chair there than in my library, too, no offense to my library.

I tried to make myself as unfriendly as possible because the goal here was to work.

I moved a big chair away from where it faced four other chairs, turned it around so that it was one foot away from a big window. I sat with my legs crossed, turned on my notebook, plugged in my headphones and started writing.

One hour later he came… a little, old man brandishing a newspaper.

He motioned to me. “Miss?”

I took out my headphones and smiled.

He showed me the paper, stabbed his finger at a headline.

“I think a young person like you should hear this,” he started and then went into a BIG BIG speech about how bad this person is. How he (the old man) is a former military person. He then listed crimes and talked for about eight million hours about how bad the person he was pointing at is.

I nodded.

I am not a fan of the person he was pointing at. So, I got it.

BUT THEN… the nice, angry, little old man, hiked up his khaki pants so that I could also get a good glimpse of his white socks and he announced in the loudest voice possible, “I don’t know why the Hell someone hasn’t assassinated him already.”

Someone across the refrence room snarfed. I looked for help. Everyone looked away, everyone, that is, except the little old man.

He then went on about it’s so darn hard to assassinate someone.

I was about to tell the angry, little, old man that calling for assassination and murders for hire wasn’t really the best idea in a library, but he decided his monologue was over and stomped off.

First though he yelled back, “I just thought a young person like yourself should think about these things.”

I smiled then, because, hey, he may be a ninety-year-old assassin wanna-be, but he thinks I’m young person who doesn’t think about anything! Me! If only. . . I don’t know how NOT to think about things.

I enjoy it when people size me up and fail. But then it makes me wonder about how many times I think I ‘get’ people and I don’t, about how we’re all the heroes in our own story, but in other people’s stories? We’re the bad guy. We’re the sidekick. We’re Person #3 in the coffee shop.

The thing is that this wild man gave me a gift. Now I can use him for a story. I can think about how he smelled and talked and gesticulated. I can think about those white socks and make them mine.

So, my Wednesday Writing Wisdom is use everything you can for story. File it away. Remember the details, the emotion, everything you can and make the rest up.

DQ2ZLehX4AAXSJj

 

Now for… DO GOOD WEDNESDAY! 

Do Good Wednesday isn’t about advocating for people’s death or staring at their socks. It’s about finding ways to help others.

There are a couple of apps that can help you locate a cool place to volunteer in your community.

One way is GOLDEN, which is meant to help people find ways to volunteer and have those “golden moments” in their lives.  You can find places to volunteer and help the world, but you can also search for volunteers to help your nonprofit with its projects.

392x696bb

And you can also list your volunteer needs for your nonprofit on Eventbrite, which has a Charities and Causes section. Click on the Search icon (bottom of screen or in the search bar near the top of the screen). Charities and Causes will be a category. That’s pretty cool. You can find awesome ways to support awesome things. This is what I saw when I searched for my town:

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 12.03.59 PM

So, go out there. Do good in big and little ways. Write your heart out. Turn uncomfortable people into characters. You’ve got this.

Spilling My Guts All Over the Page – Marsie Motivation Monday

So, it’s Monday and I kind of have a hell week, but Marsie the Cat is all about motivation and I spent a lot of time this weekend reflecting about the things I want to do and why I haven’t done them yet.

IMG_2050

Marsie: Get to the point, human.

Me: I’m trying.

Marsie: It’s slow going here. Nobody is going to read this.

Me: 

Marsie: What?

Me: Bingo!

Marsie: Bingo? Seriously, humans make no sense.

Me: But I make total sense to me.  I’ve been thinking about trying a lot of things. I thought about them all last year. But I’m afraid nobody will notice, or read it, or care.

Marsie: And you haven’t done anything because you’re too scared to, right?

IMG_2048

Me: Bingo again. Freaking-a, cat. Why are you so smart?

Marsie: Because I’m a cat.  I am smart and fearless. You need to channel your inner feline. I’m not afraid to make a podcast. I’m not afraid to start a business. I’m not afraid to quit things that make me cranky. I just quit them.

Me: 

Marsie: Seriously, what are you afraid of?

Me: Sucking. I’m afraid of sucking.

Marsie: Well, I can’t relate to that because I’m a cat and we never suck. We leave that for dogs, but. . . Why are you afraid of sucking? What is the worst that will happen?

Me: People will say I suck? I go bankrupt? I. . . I’m not sure. I think it’s the bankrupt part that freaks me out because I grew up poor. Plus, um…. public humiliation is usually never fun unless you’re into that.

Marsie: Look. Cats have no money. Yet, we get fed. We have a place to sleep. We have friends when we feel like having them and not just ignoring them.  We don’t care if people mock us because we are confident in our own awesome. You must channel your inner cat. No offense, human, but you’re getting old. You have to hurry it up.

Me: 

Marsie: 

Me: I’m not sure if you’re trying to make me feel better or worse.

Marsie: It’s not about better or worse. It’s about truth.

IMG_3115

What I am Afraid to Do: 

So, one of the things I’m afraid to do is share stories or any of my writing that hasn’t been traditionally published yet. But, um, this link is going to send you to a pdf file of a short story that is actually part of a bigger novel I’m working on. The bigger novel follows multiple women in one family. Their ages range from six to 65. This excerpt is self-contained and is the six-year-old’s story.

If you read it and don’t hate it, can you please tell me? Because if you haven’t figured it out by now I am (whispers) terrifically insecure. 🙂

Also, I created a bit of a view book of all my published books. It’s here. 

And thanks, as always, for reading this. Go out there and do massive good in this world! Face your fears! Sing out your story and make that story the one you want to live. I believe in you so much.

And if you want to help me out and can’t afford to buy one of my books right now, you can still help me by:

  1. Sharing this post or at least liking it.
  2. Posting about my books, so other people can know about them.
  3. Signing up as a blog follower or on my email list.
  4. Just being a good person who tries.
  5. Singing out your own story. Be fearless with me. We can do this. The world needs you and your story.

The Spy Who Played Baseball

Book winners! 

Hey! Thanks to everyone who commented on Friday’s blog. I appreciate it so much and I kind of feel like you all did it just to be kind to me. Thank you for being so kind.

So, I made Sparty the Dog pick three winners instead of just one.

If your name is below, please send me (only if you feel comfortable) your mailing address and tell me if you’d rather have a middle grade novel or young adult novel with the SPY WHO PLAYED BASEBALL. And… send your mailing address to carriejonesbooks at gmail with the dot before the com.

IMG_2070

Sparty the Dog: I have to pick the winners? It’s so much pressure!

Me: I know, buddy. I know. That’s why I’m making you do it. Hold on to Mr. Penguin and we can get through it.

Congratulations to commenters:

Heather Lonkard!

Patty Dupre!

Megan (of no last name)!