Seven Cool Things About Being A Writer

Okay. There’s like a trillion million things but here’s a short list OF WHy it’s cool to be a writer.

I am making this list a non-serious post, because I had TWO serious posts on Monday and I need some lightness, you know?

Okay. Here goes for real. Cool Things About Being A Writer



1. You do NOT have to get up early in the morning to go to work. Score! 

2. You get to go to the bookstore and look at books in your genre and stay stuff like, “Gwenda Bond. I went to school with her. Tiffany Trent. I slept with her. John Green. He is so nice. Tim Wynne-Jones. I have seen him dance. Varian Johnson. I love Varian. Etc….”

3. You get invited to high schools and they expect you to just talk about yourself and writing. Instant therapy anyone? Plus, sometimes you get to flirt with the librarians. I LOVE flirting with librarians. 

4. You get to know awesome writers and sometimes read their stuff before they are even published. God, how cool is that?

5. You get fan mail. Seriously? How many professions get actual fan mail? Okay. You also get the occasional review that’s made of evil but whatever… Honestly every time I get a piece of fan mail I freak out like, “What the heck? This is to me? Because of my book?” It is really the best feeling and if you are about to be a published author get ready BECAUSE THIS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU!!!!!

6. Did I mention the whole not-having-to-get-up-early to go to work thing? 

7. When cool stuff happens to your author friends and/or mentors or Twitter friends or whatever you want to scream and happy dance all around your kitchen AND YOU CAN because nobody expects writers to act sane. Score!

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Art

You can buy some of my art. I paint to help inform my stories and some of the prints are available now. There will be more soon. You can check it out here.

Advertisements

Roombas, Shaun Talks About Robbing Houses, and Random Mashed Potatoes in Jackson, Mississippi

The city of Jackson, Mississippi is having a weird situation.

To be fair, Jackson has had weird situations before. People left Christmas trees in potholes. They decorate road signs in ways road signs aren’t supposed to be decorated.

But now what’s happening in Jackson is about something sacred.

It’s about the mashed potato.

People are leaving bowls of mashed potatoes in all sorts of random places.

According to a Huffington Post piece, a resident is quoted as saying, “So we don’t know if someone is just playing a prank or if someone just had a lot of leftovers.”

Nobody knows what it’s about. That’s sort of creepy. Also, it’s a great base for a story. The best stories come from unexpected details and places. The best stories involve mysteries to be solved and motivation to solve them.

Writing Tip of the Cast

Don’t be afraid to take something beautiful like a potato and turn it into something creepy and evil. Keto certainly wasn’t afraid to do that.

Dog tip for Life

Always sniff things before you eat them.

SHOUT OUT! 

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


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Lambs Growing On Trees, Man. Write Your Truths Because Other Truths Change

Science isn’t always right.

I know! Shocker.

Once, some scientists had this theory about the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. They truly believed that the lamb grew on a tree.

To be fair, it was the Middle Ages in Europe and things were kind of like America right now. People had no clue about stuff, but they pretended to.

Anyway, according to Ripley’s Believe it Or Not,

There were believed to be two distinct varieties of Vegetable Lamb: a bizarre plant that produced tiny lambs inside pods, and an equally-bizarre hybrid creature that consisted of a whole, full-sized lamb, which lived suspended from the ground by a small stem! 

Chris Littlechild, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not

People believed this for centuries, right? Centuries.

What does this have to do with writing? When we write, we bring our pasts, our systems of belief and it ends up on our pages. Our work reflects our society and it reflects our own morality and beliefs. To be a good writer, we have to know what our truths are but also be willing to be challenged about them.

Writing is a communication, a social contract between the writer and the reader. We’re asking our readers to share our story, but also more subconsciously, to hear about our world views and thoughts. We’re inviting them in.

Writing Tip of the Pod

It’s good for us to look at our own beliefs and morality occasionally. What do we believe in? Why do we think that’s right or true? How is that showing up in our stories?

Dog Tip For Life

Dogs truths are simple. Love is good. Food is good. Sleep is good. Squirrels are evil. Don’t be afraid to gel your beliefs down into simplicity.

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

Lambs Growing On Trees, Man. Write Your Truths Because Other Truths Change

 
 
00:00 / 00:19:04
 
1X
 

TIPS ON CREATING A WEB PRESENCE BEFORE YOU’VE ACTUALLY SOLD A BOOK OR AFTER…

Normally, I give writing tips on Wednesday, but instead, I’m looking at two websites that totally rock by two novelists who make me all weak-kneed. Seriously, I don’t know them. I wish I know them, but I feel like I do.

Why is this?

Because of their made-of-awesome websites. 

Both Meg Cabot and Chuck Wendig have websites that make you feel like you know them; like they’re your friend. Sure, Meg’s home page is full of links to buy the books and things like that, but it’s her personality and energy that comes through everywhere. 

You look at her website and think she’s saying:

 Hi, I’m Meg Cabot! I am beautiful, brilliant, and fun to hang out with. Don’t I look like someone you want to go to a football game with and complain about the cold while simultaneously scoping the world for hotties? 

Meg Cabot stolen from her Twitter page



On Meg’s site she’s clean lines everywhere. She gossips. She’s had contests. She talks about her kitties. I am emotionally invested in her kitties. This is sad, but it’s true.

She updates her blog monthly. She (or some web guru person) updates her site. AND IT ALL WORKS!

Why does it work? 

Because she’s got the Meg Cabot brand going down: Funny, Kind, Kitty-loving, Occasionally Snarky in a Best Friend Whispering at a Slumber Party Kind of Way. She rocks it. 

And I think a lot of it has to do with her blog. 

Chuck Wendig? Same thing, only it’s not about cats. It’s about snark and writing advice given in a snarky way.

Chuck Wendig’s photo from his website.


 It makes you think:

This man is a terrible mind (the name of his blog), but he’s pretty damn unafraid and it would be cool to be that unafraid.

Chuck’s blog changes often and gives funny glimpses into his life and often has really powerful discussion about the writing craft and industry. His wit and intelligence and passion always come through. That’s the Chuck Wendig brand, plus occasional swearing.

So, what does this mean for the rest of us? It means that we need to think about our blogs and our websites and how we brand ourselves to the people out there.

Tips on Creating a Web Presence Before You’ve Actually Sold a Book or After… 🙂

1.      Write a blog.

2.      Do not tell your mother about your blog so that you can actually blog about fun things. My mother reads my blog. This is not good. 

3.      Do not think that blog is a good place to talk about your marriage failing or your medical problems unless you can do that in a way that is really poignant or really funny. 

4.      Do not talk about your mother on your blog if she reads your blog. Have I said this already? It’s an important point. Believe me.

5.      To build a community you should comment on other people’s blogs and say NICE things, Do not say, “You are a stupid idiot and nobody cares about your toe nails. STOP WHINING ALREADY.” This does not win friends and fans.

6.      Create a website.

7.      Have that website be MORE than just your bio and a list of your books. Update it often. Create the public persona you want to create. Do you want to be M.T. Anderson brilliant? Neurotic like me, Carrie Jones? Sexy? Witty? Sweet? 

8.      Have your blog be part of your website so that the information is constantly changing. 

9.      Be kind to the people reading your things especially if they email you or comment. Unless you  are super famous and can’t keep up, do NOT ignore people’s emails and comments. 

10.  Be honest and stick to the web persona you are. If you are always snarky people expect snarky. If you are always funny people will expect funny. Do not suddenly talk about Dafur if you usually only talk about toenails and Supernatural. You can do both, but you want to be a little consistent even in your inconsistencies. 

11.  It’s okay to celebrate good book news but don’t be a big bragger head. I absolutely ignore one of my friend’s blogs because she does this ALL THE TIME. And that is all she does. She’s great in person but on the net she drives me nuts.

12.  Remember you are a writer and you are also a person. Use the best parts of you as both writer and person to create your blog and your websites.

13.  Don’t be afraid to be a dork

14. Tweet or Gram or Facebook post and remember the rules apply there, too. Be mutual and reciprocate people’s kindness.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app. Our latest episode is above. It’s also on YouTube here.

What I Did Before My Dad Died, Dealing With Grief Through Love

Lately, it feels like a lot of my friends are losing loved ones and family. Grief comes in big ways and small as we all adjust to such huge loss of friends, partners and loves. Sometimes accepting that loss becomes almost unbearable and even as we plan a funeral, a memorial service, we are still in denial. Because it seems so wrong that someone we love so much could suddenly not be there.

I’m a person who doesn’t have any parents or grandparents left and hardly any aunts or uncles. I went from a huge, outgoing family to a family with just a few stragglers. Sometimes it makes me feel terribly alone, so alone that it’s hard to breathe.

My dad died of a quick-moving cancer and lasted about two weeks from his diagnosis to his death, but before all of that, at one of his birthday parties, I wrote him this.

What I Wrote

When I was a little girl, I would sit on the golden sofa in our house and my dad would sit on the floor. I’d take a black plastic comb, the kind you can still buy for 10 cents. With that comb I would pick through his hair.

“Whatcha looking for Carriekins?” he’d ask.

“Bugs,” I’d say in my little three-year-old voice.

“Lice?” he’d ask.

“Nuh-uh.”

Lice were far too icky and required shaving off your head. Even imaginary lice were too scary to be in my daddy’s hair. 

“Nits?” he’d guess.

“Uh-huh.”

“Find any?”

And I would take a pretend bug and show him.

“Oh…” he’d grab the imaginary, nasty bug, carefully look at it and then say, “Yummy.” 

He’d pretend to gobble it up. I’d giggle and giggle and keep finding more. He’d keep eating them. Night after night, he’d do this. Other dads would have rolled their eyes. Other dads may have sighed and gotten up to watch TV. Other dads would have grabbed that comb and said, “Enough.”

Not my dad.

My dad knows how to love.

He still does.

That was so many years ago.

 You’re 75 years old now, Dad. And I haven’t inspected your hair for bugs, but I think there may be a couple or two invisible nits in there right now.

You are 75 years old now and let me tell you and everyone here a few things I’ve learned about you.

I’ve made a list. Of things you aren’t good at. 

You are not a good liar. You always start to fidget and look away when you are supposed to fib. Uncle Kilton is like that too.

You are not a good cheater or pranksteM. Your eyes twinkle too much when you try to pull a fast one and we all know what’s coming.

You are no good at sitting still. You always seem to ache for the movement of your hands and feet, swaying into a purpose. There’s a lawn to fertilize, a chair to build, a person to see, a cat to feed.

You are no good at being selfish. Even though you guys are divorce when Mom needs a ride to the airport. You take her. When a friend is ill. You visit. When there is a presidential election. You volunteer.

You are no good at shirking. You stand up to your responsibilities. You stand up as the man you are, never pretending to be someone different, even if your pants keep falling down.

You are no good at lying, cheating, shirking, sitting still and being selfish. But you are good, you are so good at being Lew Barnard. You are so good at being a father, at being a friend, at being a man.

That’s why we are all here. You are easy to love and for 75 years you have blessed your friends and family with your goofy wit, genuine smile, toothpick eating, ever questioning mind, your forgivenessand your honesty. We love you for it. 

Why I’m Sharing This

There’s only one reason I’m sharing this with you. I wasn’t always a perfect daughter. At one point in my early twenties and I was taking seizure medicine, I barely knew what reality was because my body couldn’t metabolize the medication. I was a grouchy teen. I was bad at staying on the phone with him for hours. But in that one moment, I was so lucky, because I was able to tell my dad how much he meant to me.

And that matters.

And I want to somehow convince all of you to have that moment with the people and animals you love, to show them how much you love them even though you’re imperfect and their imperfect. Don’t be afraid to show them love.

Love isn’t always an easy choice, but it’s a choice to take, always the best choice. Always.

Choose love every day.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app. Our latest episode is above. It’s also on YouTube here.

What Makes a Story Awesome

I posted this back in June and I’m vaguely burnt out this week, plus I think it’s good advice, so I’m reposting it. Spoiler: I’m not vaguely burnt out. I’m pretty dragging.

It needs emotion.

Emotional tug and resonance. That’s a big key about what makes a story awesome, but there are a couple more important ingredients that you need to make your story shine bright like a diamond. Thanks Rihanna.

Your character has to have emotions and emotional reactions so that your reader has emotional reactions to what’s going on.

It needs conflict.

There needs to be a want and obstacles to the want.

It needs to be fresh.

When I wrote Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend, I was trying to understand a hate crime that I’d heard about, but I also was trying to write not from the point-of-view of the evil bully or the gay man. I decided to write from the point of view of the ex-girlfriend. It was a different angle. And it was picked up off the slush pile out of thousands of novels and published because it was fresh. And it won a IPPY award because of the same reason.

It needs to be believable.

It may end up being a story about a boy wizard, but it needs to start somewhere real, like ‘What if there were magical people and one of them was evil and killed the parents of a boy. But what if he didn’t die because his mother’s love was the greatest, strongest magic of all? And what if he survived to fight that wizard, eventually?” The what-ifs are a writer’s best weapon. But the premise needs to be based in something we all understand (or want to), which in that case was love.

Do Good Wednesday

So, since I have a tendency to come on people in stress and duress and since it’s my stepdad’s death-i-versary and he died of a heart attack, here is my do good Wednesday idea.

Take a CPR class.

It’s important. It helps. It can buy people time until an ambulance arrives or a defibrillator is there.

This link takes you to CPR classes run by the Red Cross, but there are so many places you can take them.



WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!

Risk Everything Like A Boss Dog, Man – Dogs are Smarter Than People Podcast

A good story involves risk – risk to the character – risk to the things she or he loves.

In our random thought we talk about a Twitter thread by writer John Paul Brammer (@jpbrammer), which details how a cat and two dogs showed up at his apartment door and how they wanted inside. He couldn’t figure out what the animals were doing there and what to do with them.

His tiny story had everything – confusion, an objective (to keep the animals safe), a mystery (where did the animals belong) and a conclusion when the owners came back home.

There was risk involved – a massive amount of risk to the animals and a smaller amount of risk to Mr. Brammer who obviously isn’t a pro about dogs.

But, he pushed back his confusion and put himself out there to help the animals and keep them safe. He took a risk by opening the door to the dogs and cat. Twitter heralded him for it.

A good story involves risk – risk to the character – risk to the things she or he loves.

In life, sometimes those risks work out well. And honestly, sometimes they don’t. But if you want to grow, you sometimes have to take those risks, reach beyond the ordinary and go after your dreams.

Writing Tip of the Pod

The act of writing, of communicating your thoughts is a risk in itself. Take it one step more and be risky in your story, your dialogue, your ideas.

I think all writers should have one t-shirt that says Take The Risk. I’ve heard people say writing has changed their lives forever. I believe that. It changed mine in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine. Because the moment I let risk in, the world became a very easy place to navigate.

Susan Tupper, The Review Review.

Dog Tip For Life

Humans tend not to be risk takers, but dogs? Dogs come from wolves, but according to studies, wolves are totally into taking risks, while dogs are a bit more hesitant. That’s because dogs depend on their friends to help them out. Friends help alleviate the need for risks. Call on your friends when you need support and help. And be a friend when others need you.

SHOUT OUT! 

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


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app. Our latest episode is above. It’s also on YouTube here.

Don’t Hate the People You Write For, Writing Tip Wednesday

It seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?

You write books for readers. You shouldn’t hate your readers or think you’re better than them and yet…?

This is one of those blog entries you regret later, but I don’t care. I’ll erase it tomorrow morning if I get terribly regretful.

On a forum for Children’s book writers, a long time ago, a fellow student wrote, “Kids are morons.”

I had a really hard time with that.

Why?

Because that statement is just so wrong on so many levels.

1. It’s bigoted. Why do people think it’s okay to write bigoted statements about kids? Why is this somehow more acceptable than writing a bigoted statement about gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, class. I know. I know. People do say bigoted statements about all of those things, too. But it seems like no one at all notices when the bigotry is against kids.

2. This person who said that “kids are morons” is a children’s book writer. HOW WRONG IS THIS? YES! I AM SHOUTING! Talk about a total disrespect for your client. How condescending. How not to market yourself. Can you imagine if a congressman openly said, “All voters are morons.” Or if a singer said, “Everyone who listens to my songs is an idiot.” They’d be getting a lot of votes and downloads.

3. It’s also wrong because it’s a blanket statement. It’s the classic bigotry set-up. Show difference (Kids are not adults). Make differences bad (Kids have less life experience than adults). Make the other group lesser (Kids are morons). 

It’s bigger than kids

This is obviously bigger than just a kids book writer hating on kids. It’s about generalizations and not realizing that you can’t make a blanket statement of any category of people because of their demographics. All 15-year-old kids from Maine are not the same. All 47-year-old men from Seattle are not the same.

When we make blanket statements that are full of derision we hurt ourselves and others. We miss out on how cool other people are, but we also add to the amount of stupidity and hate in the world.

As writers, we’re supposed to understand difference, character, choices and actions. We’re supposed to be able to create stories that resonate with multiple truths, not just our own. It’s suppose to be about empathy, responsibility and story. Not judgement and derision.

I’m wandering off to grumble now.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app. Our latest episode is below. It’s also on YouTube here.


Dutch Oven Your Hero

So, last month Carrie was on an airplane, where she was trapped on a Philadelphia runway for awhile. Okay, hours. And someone kept expelling gas out the rectum.

In Shaun language that means fart.

Anyways, they were all trapped there, smelling this smell, and it was bad. Not bad enough for them to cancel the flight, which has allegedly happened in the past, but it was bad.

It was a giant multi-person dutch oven.

We’re not talking about the nice kind of dutch ovens from Le Creuset where you make phenomenal meals. We’re talking about the kind where you’re in bed with someone and you make a bad smell and then yank up the covers and trap your loved one in there so they must smell the smell and they can’t escape.


What does this have to do with writing?

Dutch ovens are all about being trapped in a situation you’d rather not be in, right? That tension and need to escape is a big part of writing, especially writing thrillers.

Writing Tension Tip #1

Writers need tension in their story, but you don’t want to kill your reader with that tension. Your tension has a goal and a purpose. It’s not just thrown in there for no reason. It’s like when you’re in a fight. You don’t throw a punch without a purpose. You want to knock someone down.

Tension is like that.

But if you let it all loose at once (think bad gas) and then trap someone in there with it? They’re going to want to escape. If there’s no point in the tension except for tension then the reader is going to be overwhelmed and try to escape.

Writing Tension Tip #2

However, your hero? You want to trap them. You want that hero to be stuck in the dutch oven and trying to get out. Trapping your hero makes the reader sympathize with the hero.

Trap your hero. Put her in an impossible situation. Make him work to get out of it. Have them trapped emotionally and physically and need desperately to escape. All the tension must be around that.

Writing Tip of the Pod

Trap your hero but not your readers.

Dog Tip for Life

It’s best to expel gas silently and blame the humans.



SHOUT OUT!

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


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app.

ART.

I do art stuff. You can find it and buy a print here. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_9486.jpeg

TIME STOPPERS!

You can order my middle grade fantasy novel Time Stoppers Escape From the Badlands here or anywhere.

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

Time Stoppers Carrie Jones Middle grade fantasy

FLYING AND ENHANCED

Men in Black meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You know it. You can buy them here or anywhere. It’s fun, accessible science fiction. Image

31702754 copy

The Best Writers Care

I was just visiting an awesome school in Greensboro, North Carolina talking about my Moe Berg picture book biography and I was telling the kids about how to show not tell emotion and I had an epiphany right after a kid asked if I was Italian because I spoke with my hands so much.

Spoiler Alert: I am a lot of things, but I am not Italian.

Anyways, I realized that the biggest writing tip I can give is to live unafraid in your words, live unafraid in your loves, live unafraid in your experiences.

Live the biggest, fullest life you can imagine because every person you meet, every thing you do will help you shape not only the stories and people you put in your books and fiction, but also in your lives.

So here is the thing. 

We are all human. 
We all suffer. 
We all make mistakes. 
We all do good things. 

And it feels, often, that we can never do enough. Or learn enough. Or get to touch other people’s stories.

I realized all this when we were delivering wheelchairs to this man, David Castellanos, and his family in Belize. One wheelchair helps. Raising money for a wheelchair helps. But there is still so much more to do. 

Part of that is hearing and truly listening to other people.

David had a stroke. He is 42. Social media isn’t tweeting and posting about him. He and his family are quietly living their stories, the happy ones and sad ones.

David’s wife asked me if I knew of a way to get more money for him to help with his medicine. I didn’t. There’s no nice easy way for them to get a GoFundMe. They already work hard and barely manage financiallyAfter . I asked the local Rotarian in charge if he could help. He was not helpful. 

After we fitted David and his wheelchair, Mrs. Castellanos stood at the gate to their home and watched us go. She watched the truck full of wheelchairs go. She watched the first van go. Then it was our van.

We couldn’t just go.

I couldn’t handle it. Shaun jumped out of our van and gave her some money. Yes, I know it’s not enough still to help with his medicine and yes, I know it’s not a long-term solution.

What I’d Like

I would like people to live in a world where they can be sick and not feel like they are draining their family’s income and future. Belize. The United States. Everywhere.

I would like people to live in a world where a wheelchair isn’t a verdict, where you can lift out of poverty even when you are in pain.

That hopelessness is here, too, in Maine, in the United States. We should be able to do better than this. And I am lucky to see this, to witness it, to even witness my own helplessness, because it makes my own story bigger and richer.

David matters. You matter. I matter. Our stories matter. Our lives matter and we all deserve a chance to live them as fully as we possibly can.

When you write your life, when you tell your stories, remember that we are all surviving and loving and struggling. Put that heart in there, make your feelings, your wants and your emotions resonate. The world needs to hear stories – all stories – and their tiny pinpricks of hope and truth and reality that peek out even when embedded in fiction.

The best writers care about more than their own success or follower-counts. Every tweet isn’t about how awesome they are. Every moment in their life isn’t just about them. The ability to have empathy, to see, to observe and care about things? That makes a difference and you read that difference on every single line of every page. The magic of caring comes through and makes your story resonate with truth.

Rotary

Rotary allows me to meet Rotarians in other countries. It allows me to meet David. It allows me to take action to make change in my community and in the global community. Thanks to Rotary, I get to hear stories that are different than mine and like mine all at once. That’s the best kind of gift.

If you’d like to learn more about Rotary, check it out here or message me and/or comment.


WRITING AND OTHER NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!

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

You can preorder 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?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b5314ed645a47991655395d180f52f5c.jpg

HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON

On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m be reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Last-Gods-3.jpg

WHAT IS PATREON? 

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Superheroes-7-1.jpg


HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED

Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!


BE A PART OF THE PODCAST!

Hey! If you download the Anchor application, you can call into the podcast, record a question, or just say ‘hi,’ and we’ll answer. You can be heard on our podcast! Sa-sweet!

No question is too wild. But just like Shaun does, try not to swear, okay?

Here is the link to the mobile app. Our latest episode is below. It’s also on YouTube here.