Vote for “Makeup” in the TNT Horror Contest!

I have some news!!!

TNT (the TV network) is hosting a horror contest. There are some BIG prizes involved and the winner’s story will be purchased by the network.

I’m thrilled to announce that my story “Makeup” has made it into the top 100 entries! The stories are now in the hands of Wattpad voters. Voting ends this TUESDAY (December 6th). At that time, the top 35 stories will advance to the next level.

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“People don’t believe me when I say I’m not afraid of clowns, so I tell them this story to prove it. Of course, I leave off the ending.”

If you have a Wattpad account and enjoy disturbing stories about creepy clowns, please consider voting for “Makeup” or sharing it with a friend. And if you don’t have an account, you can still read the story for free here.

Disclaimer: Although most of my work is for YA or middle grade audiences, this story is adult and contains some mature content. You have been warned!

Thanks so much for your support! I’ll keep you posted about the results.  

Listen Louder Than You Sing

It’s hard to believe that just two and a half months ago I was still substitute teaching. I feel so at home in my new classroom and so involved in the lives and lessons of my seventh graders that I sometimes forget I didn’t start the year with them. They feel like mine now. My kids. And that feels really good.

The truth, though, is that ten short weeks ago I was still spending my days with other people’s kids, and I was reminded of that today when I found something in one of my notebooks.

Subbing can be a hard job. That probably doesn’t surprise anyone. But it can also be a really fun job, a really inspiring job. There are so many amazing teachers in Austin, and once in a while, as a sub, you get to see those teachers in action.

On September 2nd, I “subbed” a girls’ choir class at Bowie High School in south Austin. I put the word in quotes because sitting in a chair and listening to beautiful music for an hour and a half does not count as work. The class I was in was co-taught, so, as the sub for one teacher, I just had to sit by and watch while the other teacher– Randy Cantu— flawlessly and fearlessly taught/encouraged/conducted/coached 50+ high school singers.

I was mesmerized.

The girls were so talented, the class flowed so smoothly, and Mr. Cantu worked so hard every minute to make them better singers, better students, better people.

For an hour and a half, I listened, and I wrote what I heard. Words, phrases, advice, small admonishments, questions, answers, lyrics, and laughs. I filled my page and then some with the language of the lesson. Later that day, I sat down with my notes and wrote a found poem from the list.

I’m so grateful that I had the pleasure of watching this teacher do his job. His enthusiasm and work ethic and joy has stayed with me and, I hope, carried into my own classroom.

Here’s the poem I wrote from the words of Mr. Cantu and his students:

Listen Louder Than You Sing

1, 2, 3, ready and
so fa me fa
let me hear the la
big beautiful brave sound
tall vowels, lots of space
make sure you travel
sing what you see
la ti la so la me re do
tone, posture, contour
now we are here

ma meh me mo mu
think about that for 30 seconds
ma meh me mo mu
sing it in your head
ma meh me mo mu

Do it again from the same place
so me re me do
it gets more complicated
it’s breathy, uncomfortable
don’t give up
this business—it’ll get better over time
keep singing
from the beginning
starting from scratch and it’s ok
1, 2, 3, ready, be brave

– Carie Juettner

[found poem composed of phrases heard while observing Randy Cantu’s choir class at Bowie High School in Austin, Texas, on September 2, 2016]

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(Take a moment this week and thank a teacher!)

 

 

Where Did October Go?

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I blinked and it’s November.

Where did October go? One moment it was here, in the coyote’s howl and the spider’s skittering legs and the moon’s game of hide-and-seek, and the next moment it was gone like that shadow that lingers in the corner of your eye, the one you can’t quite catch.

Those of you who’ve been following my blog for the past few years may have been confused or even alarmed at my near-silence these past few weeks. After all, October is my favorite month, and I usually fill my blog with creepy stories and spooky poems and tips for how to best haunt your neighbors.

Don’t despair for me, dear readers. Although I kept quiet this October, rest assured that I was happily haunting all the while.

I decorated my yard with ghouls and ghosts and tombstones…

My spooky display this year.

I carved jack-o-lanterns…

The jack-o-lanterns I carved.

And I dressed up not once, but twice, as a ghost writer for my family’s party and a witch on Halloween…

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I also went to House of Torment with my new coworkers, ate way too much candy, and celebrated the publication of my flash fiction story “The Night Children” in last month’s issue of Havok Magazine. (Psst! You can actually read my story for free with the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon.)

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Besides that, I also graded a lot of papers, took a great class at The Writing Barn with the wonderful K.A. Holt, graded some more papers, squeezed in a bit of reading time with my most snuggly cat, and then graded a few more papers just for good measure.

So, you know, I’ve been busy.

I hope to see you more often over the next few weeks. I’m keeping my eye on November. This month is not going to slip away from me.

Wait… is it already the 7th? How did that happen?!?!