DUDE, DON’T WHATEVER ME

DUDE, DON’T WHATEVER ME

 
 
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We like to think that our lives have a point and that they matter. I think they do, but we’re not here to get all esoteric on you. We’re here to help you be better writers and humans and one of the biggest things we need to tell you is this. 

You need to ban the ‘whatever.’ 

If you want your life to have a point then you need to give it a point. 

If you want your story to have a point? Same thing. 

Your life and your story should never be about ‘whatever.’ 

In life, you fix things when they break. You create goals. You move forward to solve things. In your story? Well it needs to happen that way too. We have to lean into the guiding force that creates every moment and scene in our stories. 

We focus so much on our feelings and our emotions, but here’s the thing – emotions change, feelings are flighty. What matters is our point or our purpose and that matters both overall and in the moment. 

Remembering your point or purpose works really well when you’re arguing with your partner because they failed to hear you when you said, “Can you put the onions in the pot, right now?” Instead of being super cranky and resentful that they didn’t put the onions in the pot for two minutes, you can think, “Wait. What is my purpose of being with this person?”

Chances are your purpose isn’t about getting onions quickly into a pot or having someone to boss around. Usually your purpose about being someone is something like, “To build a happy, safe, collaborative life together.” 

So, how do you find your life’s purpose? That’s a bit question that Carrie’s always struggling with.

A good first step is to ask yourself these five questions: 

  1. What happens because I am here? 
  2. What wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t here? 
  3. What am I good at and think is pretty easy? 
  4. What do I love doing when I do it? 
  5. What do I actually look forward to? 

Ask yourself these questions over and over again and if you’re blocked on them, if you think you don’t make a difference in anyone’s life? Ask again. Keep asking. Wonder for a second if it’s easier to believe that you don’t matter than accept that you do.

Because you do. 

You have a point. 

Writing Tip of the Pod

Just like our lives, our characters in stories need to have a point and a purpose and so do our stories. Ask yourself what each characters’ points are. Ask yourself what the story’s point is? Is it a treatise about government corrupt? A call to love? 

Dog Tip for Life

Dog’s don’t ask what they should be doing. They ask, what their purpose is? A protector dog protects. A hunter hunts. A lap dog laps. A lab eats. Their purpose propels their choices and gives them a point to existence. 

So, think about it. What is your purpose right now in this second? 

SHOUT OUT

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


WHERE TO FIND US

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

Gabby’s Dog Tip for Today

Hello!
Look at you showing your best self to this world even when other people are being not so best.

Look at you leading by example, making your story, making community, lifting others up, reaching for them, noticing. Make room for the beauty you are.

xo
Gabby Dog

Big News!

I’m about to publish a super cool adult novel. Gasp! I know! Adult! That’s so …. grown-up?

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

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

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

You can preorder it here. Please, please, preorder it. 

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. 

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Are You Drama or Melodrama, Baby?

Are You Drama or Melodrama, Baby?

 
 
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At its most basic a story’s components are these – a beginning, a middle, an end. 

The beginning is the situation or set up.

The middle are the complications.

The end is the resolution.

Our lives are like this too. We begin in certain circumstances. We live and encounter complications and then we end. 

But even within that simplified construction there are divisions. There are vertical stories and linear stories, which is a fancier way of saying stories that are character driven or plot driven. 

Linear – plot driven

Vertical – character driven.

But the key word is up there twice and that’s – driven. We drive the stories we write and we also have to drive the stories that we live, controlling our own destiny so that we can handle the murky middles and complications and so that by the time we get to the resolution, we can feel satisfied by who we are and what we’ve done. 

We tend to think of stories as either or. They are plot driven or they are character driven, but the truth is that most stories are intertwined. 

And then there’s drama and melodrama. I think people can be roughly categorized as these types, too, but we can oscillate between the two. 

A drama is usually more realistic. People will ponder things. The set might be a bit depressing or quirky or dull because – well, because real life involves these things, too. 

A melodrama usually involves a chase sequence.  The scenery rushes by quickly. There are things – all the things – happening. 

What kind of story you’re writing is an important first step to think about even if you’re a writer who doesn’t outline ahead of time. What kind of life you’re living? That’s an even more important thing to think about honestly. 

So what are you? Are you drama? Or are you melodrama? Are you linear or vertical? Do you oscillate between them all? 


Writing Tip of the Pod: 

Think about stuff.

Dog Tip for Life:

Be the drama or melodrama or middle-drama that you want to be? Also, it’s okay to be a drug cocktail.

The New York Post article we reference in the podcast is by Lindsay Putnam. 

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.

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

Continue reading “Are You Drama or Melodrama, Baby?”

Facing Your Fears

This past week, I travelled six hours to Vermont to do four days of writer residencies at a cool small school in Orange, which is the best name for a New England town other than Banana. I then drove eighteen hours (Thanks traffic!) to High Point, North Carolina for a funeral.

And during this time I had a lot of anxiety because:

  1. I want to do a good job when I hang out with students.
  2. I am a terrible driver who doesn’t see out her left eye.
  3. I get nervous about meeting people.

To be fair, once I actually meet people then all bets are off and I become ridiculously extroverted and happy. I just have stage fright about real life.

This all made me think about my first book series, NEED, which came out in 2008 because the main character, Zara, was obsessed with fears. While other people are focusing on photos of themselves at the beginning of this decade (2009) and now (2019), I thought it would be cool to see if I’m not older (obviously) and have less eyebrows (also, yep), but if my fears have changed.

Back in 2008, I actually did a fear meme, which I’ve posted below.

Fear Questions

The first bracket is 2008. The second is now.

[ ] the dark
[ ] staying single forever
[ ] being a parent
[ ] giving birth
[ ] being myself in front of others
[ ] open spaces
[} closed spaces
[ ] heights
[  ] dogs
[ ] birds
[ ] fish
[ ] spiders
[ ] flowers or other plants

Total so far:0, still 0

[ ] being touched
[ ] fire  
[ ] deep water
[ ] snakes
[ ] silk
[ ] the ocean
[ ] failure
[ ] success
[ ] thunder/lightning
[ ] frogs/toads
[ ] my boyfriends/girlfriend’s dad
[ ] boyfriends/girlfriend’s mom
[ ] rats
[ ] jumping from high places
[ ] snow

Total so far: 0 and 0

[ ] rain
[ ] wind
[ ] crossing hanging bridges
[ ] death
[ ] heaven
[ ] being robbed
[ ] falling
[ ] clowns
[ ] dolls
[ ] large crowds of people
[ ] men
[ ] women
[ ] having great responsibilities
[x ] doctors, including dentists – I am no longer afraid of them.
[ ] tornadoes 

Total so far: 1 and now 0

[ ] hurricanes 
[ ] incurable diseases
[ ] sharks
[ ] Friday the 13th
[ ] ghosts
[ ] poverty – I am now afraid of this. This is a problem.
[ ] Halloween
[ ] school
[ ] trains
[ ] odd numbers
[ ] even numbers
[ ] being alone
[ ] becoming blind
[ ] becoming deaf
[ ] growing up

Total so far: 0 and now 1

[ x] creepy noises in the night – Nope. Not any longer.
[ ] bee stings
[ ] not accomplishing my dreams/goals
[ ] needles
[ ] blood
[ ] dinosaurs
[ ] the welcome mat
[ ] high speed
[ ] throwing up
[ ] falling in love
[ ] super secrets

Final Total: It was 2. It is now a big 1

The original poster wrote:

If you get more than 30, I strongly recommend some counseling.
If you get more than 20, you’re paranoid.
If you get 10-20, you are normal.
If you get 10 or less, you’re fearless.
People who don’t have any are liars.

So, apparently I am fearless.

But I’m ot.

Actually my true phobia is downhill skiing! I know! I know! How ridiculous. The other one? Being afraid of poverty? It limits me and keeps me from taking chances so I really have to work on it.

I feel like I should do a shameless, want to help me not face poverty? Buy art. Buy a book. Be a patron. That’s shameless though. Or is it just good marketing? Hm….

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

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

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

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

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

Yo! We’re High Concept.

Yo! We’re High Concept.

 
 
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So there’s a quick and easy way to figure out who you are and who you want to be, but also figure out what your book is and what it wants to be. 

It’s called the high concept. It’s the dramatic question. It’s the way you describe in a quick captivating phrase all the energy inside your novel. 

You can also do this for your life: 

Like mine would be: Latchkey kid overwhelmed by family secrets sets out to find out who she is in a world that really couldn’t give a crap. 

Sorry! Sorry! That’s so negative. 

How about: Stuck in small-town New Hampshire, a weird psychic kid manages to survive thanks to her intellect until a rapist gives her a disease that attacks her brain. She survives anyways. 

There are sort of standard questions for every genre of story and movies. Will they fall in love? Will the killer be caught? Will our hero survive the zombie gerbils? Will the events of our youth make us into fractured adults? 

Don’t be shy about what your story is about. Will ET make it home? Will the Skywalkers go to the dark side – all of them? Will the Avengers defeat Thanos? Will Hugh Grant fall in love with someone in a fulfilling way? Even ghost ‘reality’ shows on tv have a dramatic question – Will they catch evidence – real evidence of the ghosts? Will they get possessed? Will they survive the night in the haunted castle? 

An awesome dramatic question isn’t enough to make something a bestseller, but it’s an important start. Go get one. For your life and your story. 

Next add in the obstacles. What’s making it complicated for ET to get home? For the ghost hunters to find evidence? Add those obstacles up so that we doubt that dramatic question is going to have a good answer. 

Finally, make sure that your hero is someone with some damn strong convictions. ET knows he has to get home, right? Scarlett O’Hara is positive she has to marry that Ashley guy. Harry Potter/Iron Man/Captain America/Black Widow must defeat Voldemort/Thanos/Whatever Big Bad you want to insert. 

That character’s super strong convictions are what makes us root for them. We feel that conviction. The stakes resonate. 

Writing Tip of the Pod:

Make a dramatic question.

Add obstacles.

Make your character have convictions.

Dog Tip For Life

Make a dramatic question.

Realize you have obstacles.

Make yourself have the convictions to bash through those obstacles.

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 PODCAST LINK!

WRITING NEWS

LEARN WITH ME AT THE WRITING BARN!

The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more. Learn more here! 

“Carrie’s feedback is specific, insightful and extremely helpful. She is truly invested in helping each of us move forward to make our manuscripts the best they can be.”

“Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching.”

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

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

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

PATREON OF AWESOME

Get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

THE WEEK BEFORE LAST WEEK’S PODCAST! 

LASt WEEK’S PODCAST LINK!

Shoving it to the Mean People

So when good writing things happen or podcasting or art things happen, I sometimes have a little moment where the word “HA!” snarks out of my lips.

I really know that I have so much to learn still as a writer and as a person, I really do, but part of the reason that I am so ultra-psyched is that back in seventh grade one of my teachers actually told me: 

“CARRIE BARNARD , YOU WILL NEVER MAKE ANYTHING OF YOUR LIFE.”

(Note: Real teacher’s chest was not that nice.)

The reason he said I would never make anything of my life was:

“NOBODY WILL EVER TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY WITH THAT VOICE. YOU WILL NEVER GET A JOB. YOU PROBABLY WON’T EVEN GET INTO COLLEGE.” 

This is because I slurred my s’s. And I have an all-around goofy voice. 

Not like the teacher or most humans.

But still my voice isn’t quite normal, but it is normal enough for me to be an emergency dispatcher, and sing, and talk to other humans, and nobody’s really made fun of it that much since college, which I totally got into EVERY DARN ONE I APPLIED TO by the way and they were kick-butt colleges. So YAY! 

The thing is that I believed that MEanie HEad Teacher. I believed that there was no hope for me to do anything that I wanted to do. 

And there are sooooooo many MEanie HEads out there (or people who have MEanie HEad moments – Trademark me). They might post an Amazon review. They might be grumping through your house or totally diss your outfit at school or steal your chair at lunch (NOTE: I HATE THAT!). They might not believe you have what it takes about writing, or about singing, or about being a good person, or about acing your SATs, or about finding true love, or whatever! 

Remember: They are being MEanie HEads.
 

You can do whatever the heck you want! You just make up your own internal cheerleader (I use the Muppet Grover) and find cool friends and you blow them off and believe in yourself. Right Grover? 

Grover: Any of you have issues with Mr. MEanie HEads and I, Grover, your adorable, furry Muppet friend will take them down for you. I am not a pacifist like Cawwie and I will totally jack them. Do not doubt the power of my fine Muppet self, or the power of YOU! See? I have a knife.

Hm. Note to Grover self: Blade should face away from Grover’s neck. 

Um. Okay. Thank you, Grover. 

Hey. If anyone wants to friend me on Facebook I am here

I am here on Twitter, by the way.

Friends are good.

WRITING NEWS

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! 

You can 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

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

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. 

Flirt Your Eyelashes Off, Writers

Flirt Your Eyelashes Off, Writers

 
 
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A quick web search for the words ‘flirting’ and ‘dangerous’ gets a lot of hits.

To be fair, so does a quick web search for the words ‘flirting’ and ‘fun.’

But we’re not here to tell you about the perils and delights of flirting. We’re here to talk about writing, life, and dogs. Actually, flirting is part of most people’s lives. But we’re FOCUSING on the writing aspect.

Flirting is showing someone that you are attracted to them.

Hall, Carter, Cody, and Albright, (2010).

If you’ve listened to the random thought portion of the podcast, it’s obvious that Carrie fails at flirting and in knowing when other people are flirting with her.

Side note from Carrie: This is because it’s really extremely rare for me to be attracted to people in that way.

So, when it comes to writing about flirting, she has to do a lot of research about how people flirt, how people react to flirting, what the common aspects of flirting are.

All of us, as writers and humans, have blind spots or flaws. These places can be viewed as writing weaknesses or human weaknesses, but they honestly just make us real.

Second side note from Carrie: Not being attracted to people that way isn’t a flaw, it’s just something that’s different than what our society considers the ‘norm.’

When we’re writing, we have to look for those places where we’re not as strong. It could be setting. It could be showing our character’s emotions. It could be plot. It could be making a character realistically flirt. It could be making dialogue real. The secret to becoming a better writer is to dive into those places where you’re not as strong, and focus on them.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

Be courageous. Go right to where your weaknesses are and excavate them. If you can’t write a fight scene. Go write fight scenes. Read them. Watch them. Go into the places where your weaknesses are.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Flirting is not the same as being friendly. It’s about intent.


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 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!

ART

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_0393-2.jpeg

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. 




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?


Do You Have To Write Every Day? Stephen King Twitter Torches versus the Anti-Burnout Crew

Your character’s motivations, her wants, the thing she’s longing for and living to get? That’s more important than her love of teal. Usually.

So, one of the big debates in the world of writing advice is the Write Every Day Debate.

I know! I know. Sexy name. High stakes.

But, honestly, it gets people so riled up. There are in the Write Every Day Camp. They carry lit Twitter torches and follow Stephen King who famously wrote:

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” 

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

And then there is the Anti-Burnout Crew who say that you can’t possibly write every day because your fingertips will fall off.

People have Twitter wars about this.

But to be fair, people also create character sheets and become hyper-focused on knowing their character’s favorite color and think that’s more important than what it is that the character wants with all her heart, or what the character is terrified of happening.

WRITING Hint:

Your character’s motivations, her wants, the thing she’s longing for and living to get? That’s more important than her love of teal. Usually.

WRITING TIP OF THE POD

There is no one way to be a writer. If you can write every day, write every day. If you can’t, don’t, but make sure you still actually write. You can’t really be a writer if you only talk about writing and don’t actually do it.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Nobody cares what Lassie’s favorite color might have been. They cared that he wanted to save his family. Don’t stress the meaningless details. Not in your story and especially not in your life. Focus on what matters.

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 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!

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. 

Risk Everything Like a Boss Dog

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

Risk Everything Like a Boss Dog

 
 
00:00 / 00:17:47
 
1X
 

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.


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.