Welcome!

Hey there. Thanks for stopping by. I’m Caryn Caldwell. I live in the deserts of the southwestern U.S. with my husband, daughter, and a lot of bookshelves. We are accompanied by several armloads of fluffy cats and sweet guinea pigs. When I’m not out hiking with my family, I write middle grade and young adult books, and am represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. Learn more about me here.

 Autumn in the mountains, tipping low-down leaves with frost.⠀ ⠀ #Mountainlife #bokehful #Goneoutdoors #optoutside #Outdoornation  I found this bee flitting from flower to flower while on a summer camping trip in Colorado. The mountains would be a little too cold for this kind of scene now.  This heart-shaped leaf caught my eye while I was out hiking. Autumn is such a lovely time of year.
 Autumn colors for a lovely autumn morning. What is your favorite color? Books in the picture: The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner ( @gaepol ) Guile by Constance Cooper Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman ( @peggyeddleman ) The DUFF by Kody Keplinger ( @kodykeplinger ) Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles  This feels like a good evening for a little brainstorming on my new book. (Yay for the excitement of new stories! And for my @journalingjane notebook, which is perfect for today's plotting session.)  CHAPTER ONE. (Are there any better words in the English language?)⠀ ⠀ (Book: DISSONANCE by @erica_orourke)⠀
 Seal says hi. Throwback from our California vacation. What is your favorite vacation spot?  A slot canyon in a secret pocket of the San Rafael Swell area in southern Utah. (Antelope Canyon isn't the only place that looks like this...)  Some cactus flowers for your Sunday morning enjoyment....
 @BookRoo_Love delivery days are the best! This one brought ROCK-A-BYE ROOM by Susan Meyers (so sweet!) and LAND SHARK by Beth Ferry (hilarious!).⠀ ⠀ What are some of your favorite picture books?  A little evening reading after work. What are you currently reading?⠀ ⠀ Book: THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER by @leslyewalton  Looking forward to an evening of reading. What's something you're anticipating?⠀ ⠀ (Book: SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by @morgamat )

How to Use a “Resealable” Bag

Oh, dear. You’ve really done it, haven’t you? You just fell prey to one of consumerism’s biggest myths — the resealable bag — and now you’re staring at your new purchase, wondering how to get the thing open. What was it? Cheese? Cereal? Doggie treats? Come on, you can confide in me. Well, no matter what it was, let me tell you a little secret....
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Word Nerd

In seventh grade, in the back of my parents' car, on the way home from another disastrous school-wide dance, my friend Rebekah and I lied to each other in the nicest possible way. "Nerds," we told ourselves, "Are awesome." They were the most misunderstood subgroup in the high school hierarchy. Everyone should want to be one. Those snotty popular...
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Things I Won’t Blog About Today

I’ve decided not to blog today. I thought I’d announce this decision, so you’d know that you were being neglected, instead of just suspecting it. It’s a beautiful May morning, and I plan to enjoy it. But just so you know what you’re missing, I’ll fill you in on a few things you will won't learn on here today. I won’t share my new secret...
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Lords of the Laptop

Sometimes it seems as if everybody wants to be a novelist. I'm sitting in my local coffee shop, where I retreated in order to -- what else? -- work on my own novel. The place is not crowded, but I count three others hiding behind their laptop screens. At the table beside mine, a man is explaining his screenplay's entire backstory to a red-haired...
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The Burn

The bedroom door swings open, light from the hallway streaming in. The cats, who have been lumped on top of me, scatter, eyes wide and tails at half mast. "Sorry to wake you," says hubs from the doorway. He was not tired when I succumbed to sleep an hour before, and is still fully dressed and alert. "They said we might need to evacuate, so I...
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A Field Guide to Insomnia – For Reals This Time

Well, that was embarrassing. A couple of days ago as I was typing up my bedside notes, I accidentally published a blog entry I'd written in the middle of the night. Then Sir Google the Vigilant picked up the post before I could erase it. And now it's out there forever, half-formed thoughts and clumsy midnight sentences and all, the draftiest...
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The Trouble with Audiobooks

Warning: Moderately explicit imagery ahead. If you are young and impressionable, easily shocked, or my parents, feel free to move along. This morning I kicked off my list of errands with a stop at the fitness center, where I pounded out a 55-minute suffer fest on their diabolical machines. I find that ignoring exercise is the easiest way to get...
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How (Not) to Cook Oatmeal in the Microwave: A Sort-of (But Not Really) Tutorial

1) Carefully read instructions on oatmeal packet. This time you will do it right. For once, breakfast won't end in messy defeat. 2) Stir together milk and oatmeal. 3) Set microwave according to directions. Hide pre-victory grin. Whistle. Exude confidence. 4) Watch oatmeal spin on tray, ready to halt all cooking at first sign of boilage. Squint a...
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A Post About Repairs — Now With Photos!

Seems everything needed repairs this week. First there was an elderly but sturdy machine at work, which required my second-favorite set of instructions ever: the now-infamous page 36 from the vintage manual I keep in a nearby cupboard. Raise your hand if you had to stifle a juvenile snicker when you read the title above. Raise both if you were...
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Confessions of a Reading Addict

It began innocently enough: a brand new copy of Goodnight Moon and parents patient enough to read it to me night after night after night. But Goodnight Moon was the gateway drug for many of my generation, and I soon turned to more hard-core reads, such as Pickle-Chiffon Pie and Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth. In elementary school, our librarian fed...
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