The Haiku That Changed My Life

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

Why?

Because poetry changed my life in second grade. Seriously. 

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

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

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

The poem was:


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

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


That one poem got me noticed.


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

So, yeah, I like poems. 

Poems are how I stopped being silent.

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

WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST

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

This week’s episode link. 

NEWS

Over 180,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them.

Continue reading “The Haiku That Changed My Life”
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Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome

Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome

 
 
00:00 / 00:23:47
 
1X
 

A lot of time I’ll be reading scenes in books and it will be two characters talking and I’ll only have a vaguely general idea about where they are. Maybe I won’t have an idea at all. We call this evil beast the talking heads syndrome. 

Cue scary music here. 

WHAT IS TALKING HEADS SYNDROME?

No, it’s not about the iconic 1980s group. Sorry!

It’s where there’s a lot of dialogue going on but there’s no actual anchor for the characters. It’s like they are floating in space blabbing at each other. There’s no physical world placement. 

This happens a lot and it’s because some of us are writers who really hear our scenes rather than see our scenes or live in our scenes. It’s also because we sometimes forget to get those anchors in there. 

How to Imagine Yourself in a Scene

To do this exercise you have to step away from the keyboard for a second and stand up. We know! We know! Writers are all about sitting down and putting their butts in the chair and getting the work done, right? Well, give yourself five minutes and stand up in a quiet place preferably not in Starbucks or anything. 

Now close your eyes and think about your scene where there are talking heads.

SMELL

There you are with your characters. Maybe you can even imagine yourself as one of the characters. Possess them like they’re Zac Bagans and you’re filming Ghost Adventures. Inhale. What kind of smells are you smelling? Remember that. 

SOUND

You’re still there with the characters standing in the setting. What do you hear? Remember that. 

TOUCH

Your characters don’t stay completely still for the whole scene, do they? Have them move even if it’s to fidget. Let them touch things. What do those things feel like? Are they hot? Textured? Hands aren’t the only things that touch. Does their hair sweep over something? Does their foot kick against a table? Do their shoulders lean against the rough wood of the wall? 

TASTE

What does it feel like inside their mouth? Dry? Coppery? Do they need to brush their teeth? Please make them floss. Everyone should floss. 

SIGHT

This is the fallback for most writers and it can have some issues. We want to be able to visualize the setting and where things are happening, but we don’t need the buffer of the character seeing what’s happening. 

There are a lot of stories where it says, 

“Shaun looked over and saw the cat dangling from the curtain.”  

Don’t pad the details with distancing words. Don’t tell us that Shaun’s looking. Just have us see. 

Instead write, 

“The cat dangled from the curtain.”  

It’s so much more powerful. 

MOVEMENT

Have the characters move. Give them actions and objective correlatives to their emotional states. 

What are the next steps to Banishing the talking heads?

No, it’s not casting David Byrne to an isolated bunker in Nebraska. It’s also not putting him on SNL. It has nothing to do with him! I promise.

The next step is incorporating what you imagined for tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing, movement into the actual scene. You have to have your characters’ perceptions of the outside world and setting incorporated into that dialogue and action. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper. 

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Don’t be full of talking heads. Write scenes that come alive. 

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Be in the moment, man, and actually notice things. 

Note: In the random thoughts in bed section of our podcast we talk about Liberal cheers, famous for being losers, getting thick thanks to the Coronavirus and Shaun binging Swedish Fish, and golf balls. How’s that for random? 

SHOUT OUT

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

Last week’s episode’s link.


WHERE TO FIND US

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

This week’s episode link. 

NEWS

Over 180,000 people have downloaded episodes of our podcast, DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE, you should join them.

Continue reading “Rebel Reading the Hobbit & Talking Head Syndrome”

Don’t Be Like My Mom. You Can’t Run From Fear; You’ve Got to Snarl at It Instead

It all began with my mom freaking out about a feather.

My mom has always been afraid of birds. That fear started long before I existed and was made worse by a visit to a science museum in Boston where an owl swooped near her head and glared at her. Apparently, that powerful owl glare was enough to push her over the edge.

I wasn’t allowed to have bird feeders or stuffed animal birds. If there were robins outside on our lawn, Mom would avert her eyes and draw the shades in the windows.

My mother’s fear of birds grew so big that she screeched when I was four years old and proudly brought a peacock feather home from a nursery school field trip to a wild animal farm. I was so psyched about this feather, which I won by answering a bunch of animal questions correctly.

The feather made me feel super smart for the first time in my little life. It was my prize and my reward and I was the only one in the whole nursery school who received one. It was like a Nobel Prize or a Pulitzer in my four-year-old head. It was such a super big deal and I knew — I just was absolutely positive — that my mom would be psyched and put it on the wall and maybe frame it or something while she announced to all her friends, “My youngest daughter, Carrie? She is so smart. So smart, I tell you! See this feather? It proves it.”

When I presented the coveted prize to my mom, she screamed and made me throw the feather outside.

“Get it out! Get that dirty thing out of our house!” she yelled. Actually, she screeched.

I remember pivoting in our heavily wooded, dark kitchen, running out to the screened-in porch, and into our yard. I took the peacock feather to a giant boulder where I played deserted island and Wizard of Oz and all my lonely made-up games, and I climbed up to the top of the rock.

Once there, I kissed the feather, the dirty thing, goodbye. I cried because it was so beautiful and I won it and then I had to let it go.

I let that beautiful feather go. I didn’t hold onto it the way we tend to hold onto our fears. It is just so hard to let go of our fears. That’s especially true for my poor mom who wouldn’t go to friends’ houses if they had birds in cages. She hated the beach because birds were at the beach. Every year black birds would hang out on our front lawn during their migration. There would be hundreds of them. She’d call in sick to work. Her fear held her back over and over again.

Years after the peacock incident, my mom ran screaming from a park where we were having a picnic with my daughter who was then two. A seagull had come too close. Too close was about a football field away.

When I caught up with my mom, she was standing in the doorway of a local restaurant, shaking.

“Don’t judge me!” she said. She was reapplying her lipstick with a shaking hand.

I grabbed her hand in mine because the lipstick application was not going well.

“I’m not judging you,” I told her, “but I don’t want Em to grow up afraid.”

That’s when I realized that my mom missed out on so much of life even though she was the liveliest, absolutely most alive person I knew. She missed out because she listened to her fear.

My daughter grew up to study Krav Maga in Israel, to apply and get in to Harvard, to become a field artillery officer in the Army. She’s jumped off roofs at stunt camp, log rolled, rock climbed, was the flyer of her cheerleading squad. She is known for picking up birds that she finds in parking lots, shopping centers, and bringing them to safety.

She is bold and unafraid most of the times. She’s not a fan of spiders, but she deals with them. Even when she is afraid, she faces her fears, snarls at them, and tells them to stand down.

She made my poor mom’s heart race and palpitate more than once.

Even for those of us who don’t have phobias like my Mom, the biggest fears that we have are often the ones about not being enough, not smart enough, not loved enough, just not enough. Of failure. Of being imperfect. Of being alone. There are so many fears we punish ourselves with. But we don’t have to listen to those fears. We can face the fears, see them for what they are and ignore the fears’ advice to cower, to yell, to blame, to run away.

My mother was afraid of a feather.

A feather.

And our fears? The ones we hold inside of us? The ‘not good enough’ moments that feel so dam real? They are even less substantial than that feather.

That’s right. Those fears are not even as heavy as a feather, nowhere near as substantial. Still, we let them hurt us and hold us back.

Here’s the thing: You don’t have to let them hold you back.

Here’s the other thing: You can’t ignore your fear and you can’t give in to it. You have to jump headlong into the scariness and embrace the fear and snarl at it and know what it is. What is it? Fear is that voice that rings so loudly in your brain telling you what to do or what not to do. When you refuse to listen to it? That’s when you win.

You can beat your fears.

What are you afraid of? What makes you shake and cower? Not your phobias. But your fears. Are you afraid of failing so much that you don’t try to succeed? Bankruptcy? Not being loved? Commitment? Being evil? Being good? Being taken advantage of? Taking advantage of others? Face them head on because those fears are keeping you from being your best self.

I’m trying to be my best self. I fail a lot! So much! But I hope you’ll grab my hand even when it’s shaking and try with me. I think we can do this. Together.

Email or comment if you want to say hi and talk about it, okay?

Latest podcast is here!


Continue reading “Don’t Be Like My Mom. You Can’t Run From Fear; You’ve Got to Snarl at It Instead”

Tips on Not Going to Jail on a Monday

Oh, you know you need this.

I’m on a road trip right now, so I’m reposting this old blog from a couple years ago because we all need to not get car sick (This is what happens if I write in a car.) and not go to jail.

Tips on Not Going to Jail on a Monday

TIP ONE – NO THROWING TURNIPS

When you say “hi” to a mean lady while perusing the turnips in the produce section and she TOTALLY ignores you, pretend she did not hear you.

Do not decide she is rude. 

Do not throw a turnip at her. This counts as an assault, possibly with a deadly weapon, depending on the hardness of the turnip.

DO NOT DUNK ANYONE IN A LOBSTER TANK

When the mean lady cuts in front of you at the fish counter at the grocery store and then asks what the difference between sea scallops and bay scallops are and then follows up that question with the comment on the price ($4.49/lb) and then asks if they’ll be fresh tomorrow and then asks for a different amount than originally specified and then once she’s finally done buying a pound of scallops, asks about whether it’s halibut season, not because she’s going to buy any, (“Gosh, aren’t they cheaper in late Spring?”) and then verifies that the price for the damn scallops was $4.49 not $4.41 

Do not kill her, no matter how tempted you are. 

Dunking someone into the lobster tank is not a good idea either. This counts as murder. 

You go to jail for a long time for murder.

TRY NOT TO MAKE THE I-WANT-TO-KILL-YOU FACE

When the fish man finally gets to you and finishes your order in 20 seconds, do not ask him why he skipped you in the first place, or lecture him about it, because he has probaby had a hard day. Plus he might give you bad fish in the future. Try to smile. It will be hard.

TRY NOT TO GET HYSTERICAL AND THROW THINGS

When the nice cashier lady asks you if you found everything okay and how your day is going, do NOT get hysterical and tell her about the mean lady saga and then compare it to being invisible and unloved and unworthy and how maybe you should just have an all-dessert lunch to make up for it, so you can be sugar high and guilty feeling as well as depressed over your new invisible status because then the nice cashier lady might call the police who might take you in for disturbing the peace, especially if you stand on the check-out line conveyor belt and try to choreograph a dance in a mad attempt to prove that you are human and you are visible.

DO NOT USE YOUR CAR AS A WEAPON

Just calmly walk out. Smile. Get in car. Do not run the red light. Do not bash into mean lady’s car when she decides to stop at a GREEN LIGHT! Yes! Yes! I swear she did.

BE GRATEFUL

Just go home, crawl into bed. Vow to never go to grocery store again. Feel guilty for being so angry. Wonder if perhaps you need therapy. Wonder if you’ll see mean lady there at therapy. If so, vow you will not go to that therapist.

Be grateful you are not the mean lady and that nobody is writing a blog about you. Breathe. You have your fish. You have your freedom. You’re okay. You’re visible. And if you aren’t? Well, that invisibility can be a super power, right? Feel powerful.


DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

Be one of the 161,000 downloads and listen to our quirky life tips, writing tips and general weirdness. 

Our latest episode is here!

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.

Big News!

I just published 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 order 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.


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. 

DESPERATE CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITER DECIDES TO COMMIT FELONIES

NICE TOWN, MAINE — Today, children’s author Willow Whitehouse decided to commit some hardcore felonies in hopes of landing an elusive  book contract.

Her first  illegal act consisted of running naked down Main Street screaming, “I’m bad! I’m bad! Give me a contract! Sign me, baby! Sign me!”

“Look,” she told local reporters after her naked fun fest. “I’m just a small-town girl living in the small town world of Maine and I’ve been shopping this book for sooooooo long — like 42 freaking years — and I can NOT get anyone to pay attention.”

Her book, she said, combines the frolicking angst of dazzling-skinned, human-loving vampires with fart jokes and boy wizards who solve alphabet crimes in picture book format. 

She said that once her manuscript wasn’t immediately snatched off the slush pile, she first thought of becoming a celebrity like a Kardashian or BTS or a Trump kid to sell it.

“They seem to get book contracts just like that,” she explained cheerfully despite being naked in the Maine winter weather. “But then I realized that I couldn’t sing, dance, or magically make my father president. So it was on to Plan B!” 

Apparently inspired by naughty ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s signing a contract with MacMillan and Mike Tyson’s shopping around his book, Whitehouse decided it was time to resort to drastic measures.

“I don’t want to have to beat anyone up like Tyson or, you know, try to sell a senate seat like Rod Man,” Whitehouse explained while blowing kisses to cheering, drooling on-lookers from the local Masonic temple. “So I decided to start with naked running, and then maybe progress to naked corn beef hash eating, or perhaps, you know — just checking out some library books and not returning them.”

According to local police office Shane McMurphy, people did not initially know that Whitehouse was an aspiring author. 

“We just thought she was cracked,” McMurphy said smiling. “Then we found out she wanted to publish… In this market? It explains a lot. She needs some help.”

McMurphy, who is shopping around a novel focusing on a heated and ancient Zombie vs. Unicorn rivalry said he was thinking of doing something similar.

“Not running naked.” He laughed, slapping some handcuffs on Whitehouse. “Believe you me, nobody wants to see that. I was thinking more in the line of serial killing. You know? Then option out my life’s story to HBO or SHOWTIME? But the wife told me that’s already happened. Now, I’m thinking of just stealing the toilet paper out of everyone’s house some night and building a giant replica of the Statute of Liberty. Hey? Do you want to hear about my book? It’s brilliant. It’s like a cross between THE PRINCESS DIARIES and TERMINATOR and FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY only with ultra rich girls in a sorority somewhere, right? Brilliant, huh?”

As of press time nobody has requested a full or partial manuscript from either Whitehouse or McMurphy.


DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE PODCAST

Be one of the 160,000 downloads and listen to our quirky life tips, writing tips and general weirdness.

Our latest episode is here!

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.

Big News!

I just published 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 order 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.


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. 

CARRIE JONES DECIDES TO FINALLY ACT LIKE AN AUTHOR

CARRIE JONES DECIDES TO FINALLY ACT LIKE AN AUTHOR
February 10, 2020, Issue 1, Vol 1.

BAR HARBOR, MAINE — Sitting at her constantly breaking iMac and staring at the blank Microsoft Word document, young adult novelist gave it all up today and decided to act like a real novelist.  Surrounded by her agent, her editors, and her dog 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.”

She then whisked out her iPad and texted her international rights agent about the philosophy of the Justin Bieber.

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. 

“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 or at least green tea admonishing her to buck up and hit her deadline. 

“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, her newest addiction. “How do I know they aren’t just trying to get some sort of material for their own novels?”

Nobody responded to this question and in fact averted their gaze and put Jones on mute.

“Plus, the blogging. Why are all our YA authors all about the blogging?” the other editor wailed. 

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.” 

She then started texting again. She turned his attention back to Jones, her client. “You know I love you, baby.”

“She’s just worried I won’t finish the sequel” 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.” 

She then ate an entire carton of Edy’s Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough while the editors looked on. Jones paused in her ice cream fest long enough to sniff some more ModPodge 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.”


Big News!

I just published 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. 

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.


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. 


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST- DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

This link to our last episode, Are You Beige and Do You Think in Words? 

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

BALLSY SPONSORED THIS EPISODE! 

We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy. 

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

Cloud the Kitten’s Cat Inspiration

Some days feel like a battle, right?

But you can defeat that tablecloth.

You can scratch your cheek on the edge of the chair & squint at the camera.

You can hope even when hope seems a radical act.

Let’s make hope not a radical act.

xo Cloud the Kitten

Tips on Being A Debut Novelist

I wrote this back on LiveJournal (I feel so old) when my first traditionally published novel debuted. And… Well, I thought I might share it with you all.


Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend is good to go…
And yet… 
And yet….

I am really scared, which means I must create (you guessed it) a list.

TIPS ON BEING A DEBUT NOVELIST

1. Try not to pass out when you recieve proofs in the mail.

2. If you do pass out, try not to pass out on top of the dog. Vet bills are enormous.

3. Try not to rewrite the entire book when you see your proofs. This will be a temptation. Resist the temptation.

4. Once you mail back your proofs, stop thinking about them. Do not wonder if you should have written the dog instead of a dog. THE ARTICLE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE! HOLY CRUD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? It is over now, let it go.

5. Realize it is not truly over. Your book is going to be out there in three months. THREE MONTHS!!!!!

6. Oh my God.

7. Pass out again.

8. Thank the man standing near you for catching you. Decide he’s cute. Vow to use him in your next book.

9. Realize that the world might not notice your little book. Sure you called it I had Stephen Colbert’s Love Child. Still …

10. Rethink your title. It would have been so much better if it was I HAD STEPHEN COLBERT’S LOVE CHILD IN MY PANTS. Call editor in attempt to change it. When he refuses curse author Maureen Johnson for making you doubt all titles that do not have the tag, In My Pants. 

AND HERE THE LIST GETS EVEN WEIRDER ….

11. Wonder how other authors get on CNN. Wonder how authors get awards. Wonder how authors stay sane. Wonder if they do? Any of them?

12. Then do the worst thing of all: Wonder if anyone will buy your book other than your mother and your high school creative writing teacher. 

 13. Panic

14. Hit your head against the refrigerator door and knock of the cat bottom magnets that you bought in a moment of weakness.

15.  Realize that you bought kitty butt magnets, and you are still being published. How can this be? 

16. Cry.

17.  Pass out again. Refuse to wake up this time. Shout, NO. NO! I’M DEAD. REVIVE ME IN 6.2 MONTHS WHEN MY BOOK IS BACKLISTED.

18. Decide to be a dentist.

19. Wonder if you’re smart enough to be a dentist if you can’t even get the numbering of a list quite right.

20. Decide yes.



Big News!

I just published 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. 

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.


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. 


WHERE TO FIND OUR PODCAST- DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

This link to our last episode, Are You Beige and Do You Think in Words?

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.

BALLSY SPONSORED THIS EPISODE! 

We’re super psyched because this episode is sponsored by Ballsy. 

Best sponsorship ever. 

And why is that? 

Because Ballsy is for fun couples like us who are not into lame gifts for Valentine’s Day and they have a cool gift set just for Valentine’s Day and people like us. 

You want this, don’t you?

There’s an I’m Nuts About You gift set and the You’re Incrediballs heart box set. 

They are running a promo right now for LOVE DAY and all days, really. The retail price is $less than $50, and the coupon code is for 20% off.

Here is your code for you, our cool listener: DOGS20 

It has the word DOG in the code. That’s so cool. Just like you’ll be cool if you give this to your special man for Valentine’s. So go check Ballsy out at ballwash.com

When You are Terrified Nobody Will Buy Your Book and All Hope Is Gone Butternut Squash Recipe

So, sometimes you might have a new book coming out and you might freak out that nobody will read it and that is when you make this soup and try to breathe through your nose and cry. Not like I know this personally or anything. Not like I’ve been doing it all week.

Print Recipe
When You are Terrified Nobody Will Buy Your Book and All Hope Is Gone Butternut Squash Recipe
When You are Terrified Nobody Will Buy Your Book and All Hope Is Gone Butternut Squash Recipe
Cuisine american, vegetarian
Keyword soup
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine american, vegetarian
Keyword soup
Servings
Ingredients
When You are Terrified Nobody Will Buy Your Book and All Hope Is Gone Butternut Squash Recipe
Instructions
  1. Look at that squash. It's so bright. It's like a writer's hope in finding a million readers. Put that hope in a soup pot and water it down with some water or writing statistics. Whatever.
  2. Bring it to a boil. Feel despondent. Will more than five people read your book? If you could resurrect your Mom from the dead, she'd read it. That would be six. Cry then lower heat.
  3. Cover and cook till that hope/squash is so tender and soft, which will be about 25 min or the time it takes to Google 'uplifting writer quotes.'
  4. Stop googling and instead heat oil in frying pan. Sauté the onions like you're a fancy author and not a starving one. Sauté the thyme with it until it's all nice and lightly browned.
  5. Add the onion to the squash.
  6. Puree the mix in a blender until all hope is unrecognizable. There are no chunks left really. It is smooth and deceptive. How could hope once have been in there? Just 30 minutes ago, you were so hopeful.
  7. Try to leave a few chunks. Pray to them. Pray to hope squash. Pray to anything that will get you more readers, honestly. Feel guilty about this and realize that if you are Christian it is probably a sin to pray to your soup.
  8. Find the frying pan again. Put the heat on low and melt the butter.
  9. Add flour.
  10. Stir butter and flower about 1 - 2 minutes. It should be vaguely brown and well mixed.
  11. Add half and half.
  12. Stir so it is all blended well and add to the soup.
  13. Heat the soup back up to a simmer.
  14. Add ginger, soy sauce and black pepper.
  15. Simmer 15 minutes uncovered.
  16. Garnish if you are feeling fancy, but how can you feel fancy when YOU ARE SO WORRIED NOBODY WILL BUY YOUR BOOK?

Man Verdict: This tastes like hope.

Carrie Verdict: Exactly

Dogs’ Verdict: Please spill some on the floor.

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 order it here. Please, please, order it. 

So, um, please go buy it. I am being brave, but that means that despite all my reasons for doing this, I’m still terrified that nobody will buy it and I really, really love this book. A lot.


DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE

This week’s podcast is up and excited to be there! Join 154,000 downloads and see how weird yet helpful we are.

How Weird Are You and Does Your Family Appreciate That?

When my first books went under contract, another debut writer interviewed me and asked me:

Now that you’re under contract, does your family better appreciate your writing?

Interviewer person

This was a hard question because I was always the weird, youngest child by fourteen years, the one who didn’t fit in, the self-righteous weirdo with Snoopy shoes. My brain didn’t think like the rest of my family and it was always, really obvious.

“Aliens dropped her off,” one of my siblings would say as I wrote 274-page long Star Trek fan fiction in my notebooks or hunted for Big Foot in our woods or re-enacted all of the movie E.T. with myself playing every single role or when I started donating money to the New Hampshire-Central American Network and tried to start an Amnesty International chapter with my fifth-grade friend.

Does your family appreciate you? Do they Better Appreciate you now?

And it would be a hard question now because my immediate family of two daughters and husband? They love my writing always. It doesn’t matter to them if I get published or not. What matters to them is that I get to write and create stories.

Which is so cool, honestly.

Also, they prefer it when I’m not cranky and writing makes me not cranky.

If there was no such thing as “make money to pay for health care and shelter and food” I would never have any worries about writing at all.

But, thirteen years ago when I first got published, my parents were still alive and this is how I answered that question:


Now that you’re under contract, does your family better appreciate your writing?

This is what my dad said.

“Someone bought your book? That’s great. What’s it called?”

Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend.

My dad began laughing, “Ho boy. Ho … boy. Wait till I tell your Aunt Athelee that one. Tell me that again…. Gay what?”

Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend.

My father then laughed some more. “Let me write that down. That’s really the title? Ho … boy.”

Then today, about six months later, I was talking to my dad on the phone while simultaneously trying to make vegan shepard’s pie and he said, “How many books have you sold?”

I told him that I had three books under contract.

“Three? Three! In less than a year?”

“Yep,” I said, dicing onions, which always makes me cry.

He was really quiet and then he said, “Your grandfather was a really literate man. He was a great reader, you know. And my mother … she loved poems.”

“I know that, Dad,” I said, wiping my eyes with a paper towel that smelled like onions and only made things worse.

Then he swallowed so loudly I could hear it and he said, “I’m dyslexic you know. I don’t read very well.”

“I know, Dad. You’re super smart though,” I said this because sometimes my dad forgets that he is super smart.

The silence settled in and he finally said, “I’m just really proud of you. You know that, right? I’m really, really proud of you.”

So, even if no lovely people ever buy my books, at least I know that I did something that made my dad proud.


When I sold my first book, my mother said, the way my mother always says, “Oh, sweetie. That’s so wonderful. I knew you could do it. I am so proud of you. My daughter, the writer.”

To be fair to my sweet mother and to be honest, this is what my mother says about everything I do. Like the first time I made an angel food cake she said, “Oh, sweetie. That’s so wonderful. I knew you could do it. I am so proud of you. My daughter, the angel food cake maker.”


The rest of my family, I think, are appreciative of the fact that I sold a couple of books. It makes me more legit to them somehow. Which is strange but typical I guess. In our culture it often seems that the process of learning and creating is often only considered worthy if a tangible product comes from it and if that tangible product has market value.

But to me … the big value is that I made my dad think about his parents and think about books and think about me and made him proud.

Here’s the thing. We have to embrace our differences, our weirdness, even when other people scoff or demean us. This isn’t easy when the dynamics of oppression are built in, but it’s worth it. Trust me, it’s so worth it.


Dogs are Smarter Than People

This week’s podcast is up and excited to be there! Join 154,000 downloads and see how weird yet helpful we are.

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. 

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.


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.