Welcome!

Hi! I’m Caryn Caldwell. I live in the desert with my husband and daughter, plus 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 Danielle Barthel and Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. Learn more about me here.

 About to bloom! Sometimes the scariest-looking plants make the prettiest flowers.⠀ ⠀ QOTD: What do you have planned for the upcoming weekend?  National monuments are too often undervalued, especially when compared with official national parks. Cedar Breaks National Monument, in western Utah, is one of my favorites -- especially at sunset.⠀ ⠀ QOTD: Have you visited many national monuments? Which one is your favorite?  Prince's Plume flowers blooming at Dead Horse Point State Park in Southeastern Utah. QOTD: What's your favorite place to find flowers?
 I just finished listening to WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by @sandhyamenonbooks on audio, and it's just as amazing as everyone said. I loved the humor, the romance, the characters, the cultural references -- all of it! And I must say, I'm glad I listened to the audio version, because the readers were fantastic, adding even more depth to the story. Well worth the listen! Now I just have to decide what book to listen to next... QOTD: What's your favorite audiobook?  You guys! I just finished LOVE AT FIRST INK by @bridgidgallagher and it is so good! My favorite type of romance -- enemies-to-lovers, with tons of humor and heart. And the description is amazing; I felt as if I were right there with Elle and Justin. If you're looking for a sweet romance with a laugh-out-loud voice, I highly recommend this one!⠀ ⠀ QOTD: Do you like romance? What are some of your favorites?  All I wanted was to do a little second-draft brainstorming on my WIP in my new @journalingjane notebook. But now my cat has stolen my supplies and is holding them for ransom. The payment? Petting, of course. Which I can't do while writing. Dilemmas, dilemmas!⠀ ⠀ QOTD: What keeps YOU from writing some days?
 July is peach season, at least on the tree in our backyard. QOTD: What is your favorite fruit?  Day lily gone to seed in our flower box. Perhaps will have even more lilies next year?⠀ ⠀ QOTD: Do you have garden? What do you grow in it?  And on the subject of poppies... QOTD: What do you like best about summer?
 Having a lovely morning brainstorming stories in my rather appropriate @journalingjane notebook. QOTD: What does your favorite notebook look like? (Come on. You know you have one!)  a.k.a. Fate Can Be Such a Pain Sometimes. QOTD: What's your current read? Tell me about it!⠀  Confession: Posting this one makes me feel rather nervous and vulnerable since I've never shared my drawings in a public forum before. Still, I wanted to show a follow-up from 20 Ways to Draw a Tulip (profiled in my previous Bookstagram post). This is a very early attempt at learning to draw poppies -- my mom's favorite flower -- in the hopes of one day giving her something more practiced and sophisticated. It is far from flawless, but my intentions are true. Thank you, @lisacongdon and @creativebug, for the art inspiration! Drawn with @fabercastellglobal pens on watercolor paper -- to be filled in with watercolor as time permits. There's more to say about my art journey, but I'll save that for another day...

Shh! Baby’s Sleeping.

I am sitting in our family room in the dark, listening to my baby cry in her nursery, just as I have for the last hour. At ten months we are finally, supposedly, teaching her to fall asleep on her own, and apparently it involves tears. Her torment is incessant, a tide of misery building into giant, shuddering sobbing fits and then subsiding, only...
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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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On Finding an Agent (or Two): A Post with Pictures for the Visually Curious

Last April I broke up with my agent of nearly three years. It was necessary, and risky, and terrifying. It meant leaving the only person in publishing who'd thus far agreed to champion my work, in order to find someone else who would, you know, champion my work. Writing that message was hard. It couldn't be undone, and there was no guarantee I...
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I Am Unstoppable Now…Well, Once I Figure Out These Directions

When I was six, I thought grownuppery would happen at nine. At nine, I thought thirteen was the age of adulthood. At thirteen, I knew I was at the pinnacle of wisdom and maturity – if only my teachers and parents would acknowledge that I was their equal. Once I got over that assumption, I always aimed a few years ahead for the exact moment when I...
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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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41 Ways to Conquer Writer’s Block

For the past several years I have volunteered at the local high school, advising a number of very talented students in the creative writing club. This year I mentioned NaNoWriMo to several of them. Word spread, and now we have a large group of students who are all determined to write an entire novel this month. Only problem? Some of them had no...
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Carrot Cubes, Green Pea Puree and Other Baby Food Misadventures

Somewhere between buying thirty-six cloth diapers for Sunshine and committing to what our local Target calls 'natural feeding' (because some people consider 'breast' a terrible word) I heard about the wonders of making your own baby food. The magazine article claimed it was Easy! Wholesome! Cheap! Fun! And Totally Not Messy At All! Since I'm into...
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A Warning

Dear Spring: We would like to thank you for your continued years of faithful service. Your performance has been unfailingly cheerful and, at the risk of sounding politically incorrect, your grooming beautifies the place. However, it has come to our attention that your lack of consistency has caused a number of problems, especially in the areas of...
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Anybody Want a Cat? Or Three?

Free to good any home: Three moon-drunk felines weighing a total of thirty pounds. Can be separated, but extra vocalizations ensue when two youngest are apart. Special skills/talents: pitiful looks, persistence, precociousness, curiosity, ability to jump long distances, enthusiasm, admirable dedication to chasing computer cursors and wrestling...
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Table for One

"Just...one?" The hostess eyes me, a long sweeping look, as if trying to figure out what's wrong with me that I have to eat out alone. I used to answer, "Yep!" with a smile, all peppy and bright and for God's sake don't look at me like that, I have lots of friends, I'm fine, I'm great. Or I'd hold up my notebook or stack of papers, maybe even a...
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