70 episodes

Join an internationally bestselling children's book author and her down-home husband and their dogs as they try to live a happy, better life by being happier, better people . You can use those skills in writing and vice versa. But we’re not perfect, just like our podcast. We’re cool with that.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivatio‪n‬ Carrie Jones and Shaun Farrar

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    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

Join an internationally bestselling children's book author and her down-home husband and their dogs as they try to live a happy, better life by being happier, better people . You can use those skills in writing and vice versa. But we’re not perfect, just like our podcast. We’re cool with that.

    Literary Agents Behaving Badly

    Literary Agents Behaving Badly

    So, there’s a lot of scuttlebutt in the children’s book world about agents behaving badly, which sounds like a Spring Fling Road Trip kind of thing, honestly.



    But it’s more about agents being dicks and unprofessional. One recent superstar agent has been outed for allegedly “no longer agenting ethically” and not telling clients about their foreign rights, submissions, and speaking badly about authors to other industry professionals or being sexually harassing, bigoted, racists schmucks.



    There’s a weird power dynamic that happens between traditionally published authors and their agents. The agents are really gatekeepers to the industry even if they don’t want to be, and it’s good for writers to remember that they can expect to not be treated like crap.



    Things you don’t want your agent to:



    Ghost you.Be such a tool that most editors don’t want to work with them.Give you hives.Not telling who your book is being submitted to.Sexual harass you, be racist, be too burnt out or wigged out on drugs or alcohol that they don’t represent you well.Be too busy that they don’t represent you well.



    We aren’t going to call out agents here because that’s not what we’re about, but here are myths about agents that new authors really need to understand:



    They work for you. You don’t work for them.They are human not gods. Be gentle with them, but expect them to be professional.Though it’s awesome when they are, it’s not their job to be your bestie.They may not be your agent for life.



    So what is their job?



    Get book contracts for you.Negotiate those contracts for you.Submit your manuscripts to get those contracts.Protect your interests.



    Doing all this they should always:



    Respond in a timely fashion to your inquiries. But don’t be a punk and spam them.Tell you where they are submitting your stories.Tell you when your stories are rejected or accepted and relay feedback.



    When you look for an agent, you want to:



    Research the hell out of everyone and find your top ten. Make sure they actually represent the kind of book you’re writing.Check to make sure they aren’t villains.Check the proper way to submit to them.Query them in a professional way.



    Writers Beware is an awesome site for understanding what agents should or shouldn’t do. The link is here and in our podcast notes. You should check it out.



    Writing Tip of The Pod



    Don’t be a schmuck. Don’t let your agent be a schumck.



    Dog Tip for Life



     When you look for treats, make sure to give them to everyone.



    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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.



    And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.



    Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about loving places and feeling called to them when you have never been there before.



    LET’S HANG OUT!



    HEY! DO YOU WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER?



    MAYBE TAKE A COURSE, CHILL ON SOCIAL MEDIA, BUY ART OR A BOOK, OR LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST?



    JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK AND FIND OUT HOW WE CAN.



    And to hear our podcast latest episode for DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE about cats on Tinder and other bad advice click here.



    Our first episode of LOVING THE STRANGE is here. It’s about loving places for no logical reasons.



    The visuals for our podcasts are all on Carrie’s YouTube channel. You can like and subscribe there, too!











    HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED



    Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMART

    • 22 min
    Keep Your Cat Out Of Tinder and Other Sucky Advice

    Keep Your Cat Out Of Tinder and Other Sucky Advice

    In our Random Thought section of the podcast (Notes not transcribed), we talk about how straight men aren’t supposed to let the world know they like/have cats on social media. Shaun has thoughts.







    The rest of the podcast follows.



    Every weekday Carrie posts on her personal Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin, inspiring quotes from our dogs and cats.



    Sometimes they are just about bacon and naps because bacon and naps can be inspiring.



    But it made us think of famous writing quotes and whether or not they are kind of b.s. And how very privileged some quotes are.



    Like Marianne Williamson, who we are sure is an incredibly lovely person wrote this:



    “Nothing binds you except your thoughts, nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs.”



    Which is lovely and partially true, but it comes from the perspective of a really lucky person who is white, who is good looking, who had a lot of advantages as a white American, right? It’s hard to say nothing binds you except your thoughts to a political prisoner who is legit in chains, to a Black man or woman in the U.S. who is jail for pot, for someone who has paralyzing fear because of trauma that’s happened to her or him or them, right?



    Generalizations can be so inspiring and they can have truth in them for some people and sometimes even for most people, but it’s never going to work for everyone.



    Writing advice and quotes are like that, too.



    Like even the most amazing Ray Bradbury wrote



    “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”



    That’s a good quote, right? Us writers are easily destroyed. But being drunk on anything all the time usually means for most of us that we’re not helping create a solution to problems. Instead, we’re being drunk, putting lampshades on our head and saying, “Nah. Nah. Nah. I can’t hear you.”



    It’s not the best look, really.



    But sometimes the advice is pretty cool.



    “Be strategic and resilient in the pursuit of your dreams. That sounds like a cheesy quote, right? But nah, I’m serious. Resilience is one hell of a quality to master and not many have the skin for it.” —Tiffany D. Jackson



    “People are going to judge you all the time no matter what you do. . . . Don’t worry about other people. Worry about you.” —Jacqueline Woodson



     “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” — Henry David Thoreau



    “Write what should not be forgotten.” — Isabel Allende



    “Healing begins where the wound was made.” -Alice Walker (The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart)



    WRITING TIP OF THE POD



    Blow off the b.s. And realize where it’s coming from. Sometimes it’s coming from people whose lives and brains are nothing like yours and sometimes it’s just coming from people who want to make a butt ton of money selling their advice to you.



    DOG TIP FOR LIFE



    Cats are okay. They’re good to snuggle with, too.



    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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.



    And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.



    Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about loving places and feeling called to them when you have never been there before.



    loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird



    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 and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast. We’

    • 24 min
    Werewolves on Bikes and Stupid Bad Writing and Life Advice

    Werewolves on Bikes and Stupid Bad Writing and Life Advice

    RANDOM THOUGHTS



    In our random thought, we talk about werewolves on bikes and what would happen if SuperBowl players dressed up like zombies and vampires. Who would win?



    Here are the photos we promised.













    The Advice Part!









    So, advice is cool, right? It’s other people sharing their wisdom, but sometimes advice? It just sucks.



    This goes for writing advice and life advice.



    I was driving from Manhattan to Long Island with my boyfriend and his parents. These were wealthy people with a really expensive car. The dad was a partner at one of the top firms in the city, and he was brilliant. He was not, however, the best driver.On this drive, my boyfriend and I were in the backseat and suddenly the car was bumping along. We looked up and his dad was legit driving his car on the median of the road, the bumped out divider thing.His mom was screaming and he was just totally oblivious. The traffic was flowing, but heavy and there are signs in the median.“Jimmy!” she screamed.The sign is getting closer and closer.And he said, “It is fine.”He swerved off into oncoming traffic. People screamed. He swore. He veered back up onto the median. The sign was still there, waiting.I was clutching the door handle. My boyfriend yelled, “Dad! You’re going to hit the—”His dad slammed on the breaks. We waited about five minutes for his mom to stop swearing and for someone to let us to get back on the road.And he said, I swear to God, “Let this be a lesson to you kids. Roads are not for everyone. You find your own damn way.”Carrie



    Bad advice, right? Sometimes it’s okay to stay on the road. When you deviate off, you want to deviate safely and not run over signs or almost get people killed.



    I also had a relative who told me college was for fools and that I read too much so I wouldn’t get anywhere in life.



    Also the thought does count, but it usually doesn’t count for the person you’ve kind of failed.



    And credit cards aren’t free money, Mom.



    There’s good life advice out there too like:



    Check your credit card and bank statements a lot.Don’t make big decisions when you’re super angry.Don’t not do things because you’re afraid of rejection.Don’t not speak your mind because you’re afraid of trolls.Floss your teeth so you can keep having teeth.



    And there’s bad writing advice out there too like:



    You always have to outline. If you see “always,” it’s probably going to be a bad piece of advice.You should never outline. If you see “never,” it’s probably going to be a bad piece of advice.Adverbs are always demons. You really don’t honestly want them to be totally almost every other silly word, but you can totally use them sparingly. Sorry! I couldn’t resist.Semicolons are always demons. They aren’t; sometimes they help when a conjunction just doesn’t work.Write the way you talk. This isn’t necessarily a good idea if you’re a person who talks like Carrie. Plus, it’s limiting. Do you want every character to sound exactly like you? Every book?



    WRITING TIP OF THE POD



    All advice is not created equally.



    DOG TIP FOR LIFE



    Live your life for yourself sometimes.



    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 “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.



    And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.



    Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about loving places and feeling called to them when you have never been there before.



    HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED



    Thanks t

    • 20 min
    Florida Man and the semicolon is too sexy for its own good

    Florida Man and the semicolon is too sexy for its own good

    Okay, recently I’ve been working on a lot of people’s stories that are fantastic except for one thing—one easily fixable thing—they have semicolons everywhere.



    The semicolon is that little bit of punctuation that looks like there’s a comma on the bottom and a period topping it. And judging from people’s use of it? It’s an addictive, sexy beast.



    Most people think they understand the semicolon. It’s a period topping a comma, right? You use it to do something or um … yeah …?



    Here’s the thing, a semicolon is a divider. It’s like a comma and a period that way, but it’s not. It creates a different length of the pause for the reader between the words that it divides.



    Yes! There are different levels of pause.



    Here check it out. We’ll do it with three sentences.



    The first is a comma, but it will be a minimal pause.



    Shaun wanted to talk about naughty things, but Carrie was not going to let him do that today.



    Here is that same sentiment but with a medium-weight pause.



    Shaun wanted to talk about naughty things; Carrie was not going to let him do that today.



    Here is the same sentiment with the pause heavyweight fighter, the period.



    Shaun wanted to talk about naughty things. Carrie was not going to let him do that today.



    Your punctuation choice controls the pacing of your paragraph and sentence and if you put 18 of them in one paragraph? You’re going to slow down the pace of your story and also make readers get crinkly noses and hate you.



    So how do you use semicolons?



    There are three major ways to use this sexy beast.



    One. To connect a certain kind of thing.



    Semicolons connect two independent clauses. You know something is an independent clause if it can stand alone as it’s very own sentence.



    It’s like using the conjunction and between two independent clauses to show they are really related.



    Shaun is wearing big boy pants; he has been for forty-five years.



    Two. To separate things in a list (sometimes).



    If you’ve got a weird list with lots of internal punctuation, then you can start that list off with a semicolon. Here’s an example.



    My wife had a list of things that she wanted me to accomplish that day and it included taking out the trash; going into the basement to look at the copper pipes which, by the way, are boring to look at and are not linking; and singing—I’m a horrible singer, by the way—a whole mess of show tunes and not the ones from Hamilton for some reason.



    Three. Conjunctive adjective moments



    These are tricky beasts, but mostly happen with these words when they join two independent clauses.



    The words are:



    moreover, nevertheless, however, otherwise, therefore, then, finally, likewise, consequently. 



    Here’s a quick example.



    Shaun had been told that he should definitely not fart in the bed at night; however, Shaun decided that this household rule was absolutely unfair.



    WRITING TIP OF THE POD



    So there you go. Don’t put semicolons everywhere because that’s a flag to agents, editors or readers. Use them when you need to because they can really help for clarity in lists, but remember too much of a good thing is a bad thing in writing.



    DOG TIP FOR LIFE



    Embrace the semicolon. You can change direction in your life, lean into the pause, but not into the end.



    Check out Project Semicolon and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).



    RANDOM THOUGHTS



    In our random thoughts section at the beginning of the podcast, we talk about the people in South Carolina filming their procreation acts everywhere and wonder why there is no Maine Man when there are so many Florida Men.







    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.

    • 23 min
    Making Your Story Believably Bad Ass (and your characters too)

    Making Your Story Believably Bad Ass (and your characters too)

    A lot of time you’ll write a story and a beta reader, agent, editor or reviewer will say, “This is not believable.”



    And a lot of time, you’ll tweet something and some rando on Twitter will say, “WTF. You lie.”



    And a lot of time, you’ll just be telling a story at a party (or during Zoom in COVID times) and people will say, “No way! No freaking way.”



    This can be annoying especially when you’re trying to sell a book and you get that note.



    Why Does This Happen?



    Sometimes people react that way because their world and experience doesn’t mesh with your own and they don’t understand that everyone in Downeast Maine calls everyone else “dear,” even straight men say it to other straight men.



    Sometimes it’s because you just haven’t suspended disbelief for them.



    This happens in real life, too.



    Sometimes Lies Aren’t Believable



    This man who used to be a Houston police officer (He resigned January 14.) went into the Capitol Building on January 6.  And when he was interviewed, he told the federal agents that he wasn’t really part of the riots. He just wanted to see the amazing art. He was only in D.C. to help out his wife who had a business (cooking). But his phone (which the agents looked at) showed a bunch of videos and photos of him.



    The photos and videos were allegedly in a deleted folder. But the folder was not all the way deleted.



    And he was arrested because his story? It wasn’t that believable to those federal agents, right? I’m sure that when Shaun used to be a cop, he heard a lot of stories like this, too.



    One time our youngest daughter who has autism and likes to make really big stories told other campers at the campground that we went to Disney but she had to sleep in a chair. The other campers gawped at us and said, “What?”



    They didn’t believe her because it wasn’t believable. It didn’t match the people we were. Every time she does this, we say, “Buddy, if you’re going to lie, which we hope you won’t, you kind of want to make it more believable.”



    And then I tell her about the girl I met in college who told everyone during freshman orientation that her parents died in a plane crash in Alaska. About two parties later that morphed to a plane crash in Hawaii. Then during homecoming weekend, her parents showed up in their BMW very much alive. Don’t be that girl. In life or in story.



    How To Make Your Story Believable and Bad Ass



    Michael Hauge over on “Story Mastery” has some great, easy ideas on how to make your story believable. They are pretty basic, but important to remember.



    “1. In every sequence of your story, ask yourself, “Do my characters behave the way people with their backgrounds would normally behave in this situation? Is this their most logical response to the danger they’re in, to the desire they’re pursuing, or to the actions of the other characters?”If you’re in doubt, ask yourself, “Is this what I would do if I were in this situation?”2. Don’t confuse credibility with documented reality. One of the weakest arguments you can make in support of your characters’ actions is, “But that really happened.”3. Foreshadow the characters’ actions and abilities. If you want your hero to use karate in a fight with the villain, reveal her martial arts talents before it’s important to the plot. Show her practicing in the dojo early in the movie, when it doesn’t seem important, or open the novel with her beating down a mugger with her martial arts skills. That way, when it counts, your audience will subconsciously say, “Oh, that’s right. This everyday school teacher has been learning karate.””4. Openly admit the incredibility of a scene. If, against all logic, your hero pursues a lover who might be a hit man, have her best friend say to her, “Are you nuts? This guy could be a col

    • 31 min
    Are You Brilliant but Things Still Suck?

    Are You Brilliant but Things Still Suck?

    There are people out there who are just brilliant. Their brains are amazing. Their art is gasp-inducing.



    But they can’t seem to achieve their goals.



    These are the people who know twenty-two languages, have maybe five masters degrees, and shrug it off like it’s no big deal.



    They can quote Derrida and Angela Davis in the same breath and make the connections between the two.



    According to writer/blogger Jessica Wildfire, some people are ‘too good for their own good.’



    She calls this the Cold Mountain Effect.



    She writes:



    Someone can know too much. They can be too talented. They’ll turn any project into an epic journey through the Himalayas. They don’t get tired of working. They don’t want to see the end. They’re not even perfectionists. They just love their work too much.



    This stems from the story of the writer of Cold Mountain.








    It made history in 1997 with a 61-week run on the New York Times best-seller list, moving 3 million copies.



    Based on its success, Charles Frazier got an $8 million deal for his second book, with nothing more than a 1-page proposal. Cold Mountain swept the award scene that year, and went on to become a hit film that earned seven Academy Award nominations.



    Sometimes it takes an intervention.



    You probably don’t know that Frazier spent almost a decade working on Cold Mountain. According to lore, he couldn’t stop.



    One of his friends finally snuck an unfinished copy of the manuscript to a literary agent, who signed Frazier on the spot. That’s the only reason anyone knows anything about Charles Frazier. It’s hard to imagine how long he would’ve kept revising it.




    It’s not perfectionism that keeps them going, she argues, but the fear of their own success. Or it can just be the joy that they get from creating and doing and not wanting that joy to stop.



    Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD on Psychology Today’s blog talks a bit more in depth about this fear. She’s dealt with a lot of clients who are afraid of success. Many of her clients had PTSD.



    She wrote



    For them, the excitement of success feels uncomfortably close to the feeling of arousal they experienced when subjected to a traumatic event or multiple events. (This feeling of arousal can be linked to sexuality, in certain cases where trauma has been experienced in that realm, but that is not always the case.) People who have experienced trauma may associate the excitement of success with the same physiological reactions as trauma. They avoid subjecting themselves to excitement-inducing circumstances, which causes them to be almost phobic about success.



    There is another layer to the fear of success. Many of us have been conditioned to believe that the road to success involves risks such as “getting one’s hopes up” — which threatens to lead to disappointment.



    And many of us — especially if we’ve been subject to verbal abuse — have been told we were losers our whole lives, in one way or another. We have internalized that feedback and feel that we don’t deserve success. Even those of us who were not abused or otherwise traumatized often associate success with uncomfortable things such as competition and its evil twin, envy.



    She suggests this exercise.



    Recall an event where you were successful or excited when you were younger, and notice what you are feeling and sensing in your memory. Stay with the sensation for five minutes. Recall an event where you were successful and excited recently in your life, and notice what you are feeling and sensing. Stay with this sensation for five minutes.Now tap into the sensation of a memory of an overwhelming situation. I suggest not to start with a truly traumatic event, at least not without a therapist’s support. Start with something only moderately disturbing to you. Now, go back to visualizing your

    • 26 min

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Lots of fun

These two crack me up. Carrie offers a lot of great writing advice as well!

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