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.

 The leaves have been clinging to their branches for weeks. Long autumns are the very best kind, though I wouldn't mind a little snow in time for the holidays. QOTD: Are you a fan of snow?⠀ ⠀ Currently reading: GRAY WOLF ISLAND by @traceyneithercott . It's so good, you guys! Eep! Can't wait to see what happens next.⠀ ⠀ #autumncolors #natureshot #autumnmood #takeahike #outdoornation  INSERT WITTY CAPTION HERE. ⠀ ⠀ No, really. These are my brother's neighbors' goats, and I'm too busy wishing I could pet them again to give them the caption they deserve. ⠀ ⠀ So please! Contribute in the comments below. Tag a few of your wittiest friends in a new comment, too, so they can contribute. (Wouldn't want them to feel as left-out as that poor goat in the background seems to be.)⠀ ⠀ When you're done captioning the goats, please slip a snack between the bars of their corral. They're partial to carrots and animal crackers, but let's be honest: even a moderately hungry goat will chomp on just about any foodish item. Thanks! I knew I could count on you. ⠀ ⠀ #goatstagram #goats #colorado #captionthis #studybreak  Seal says hi. Throwback from our California vacation. What is your favorite vacation spot?
 Fancy book spines are the very best kind -- like a delicious secret hiding under a book's dust jacket. QOTD: Which hidden book spine(s) do you admire?⠀ ⠀ Books in the photo: ⠀ Stone Field by Christy Lenzi⠀ Jubilee Manor by Bethany Hagen ( @authorbethanyhagen )⠀ Ship of Dolls by Shirley Parenteau⠀ Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods ( @woodswrites )⠀ ⠀ #booklr #bookish #bookphotography #booknerdigans #amreading  Morning sunlight. A fresh book. Flowers. Cozy quilt. And, off to the side, a purring cat. A perfect combo to start what promises to be a very busy week. ⠀ #booklr #booknerdigans #flashesofdelight #lifeissweet #ilovereading⠀  @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?
 Golden hour at an autumn pond in rural Colorado. I love evenings. QOTD: What is your favorite time of day?⠀ ⠀ #autumncolors #goneoutdoors #autumnmood #landscapelovers #optoutside⠀  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.
 I'm so excited for this new release by my dear friend Bridgid (@bridgidgallagher)! It feels like the perfect book to curl up with on an autumn afternoon. Book: Too Close to Home by Bridgid Gallagher. Link to purchase in @bridgidgallagher 's bio. ⠀ #bookstagram #booklr #amreading #readingtime #booknerdigans  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.)

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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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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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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Chat with Suzie Townsend & Danielle Barthel of New Leaf Literary (Part I)

UPDATE: Great news! The fantabulous Danielle Barthel is now officially taking queries. Find query instructions here, her New Leaf profile here, and her Pinterest MSWL board here. I have a special treat for you: the first installment of a two-part chat with agent Suzie Townsend and assistant Danielle Barthel (Bar-THELL) of New Leaf Literary &...
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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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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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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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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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The Art of De-Collecting

Other than the occasional college hand-me-down, garage sale find, or unnecessary kitchen appliance, my main contribution to our household's decorating scheme comes in book form. Hardcover, paperback, electronic - if you can read it, I've probably owned a copy. Sometimes two or three due to forgetfulness and a variety of gift-giving occasions. I...
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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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