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.

 Unread books, just waiting to be opened so the magic can spill out. QOTD: What's at the top of your TBR (to-be-read) pile?⠀ ⠀ #tbrpile #dftba #amreading #booknerdigans #alwaysreading ⠀  Writing essentials: A notebook, a pen, and a good pair of headphones. Not pictured: the @focusatwill music blasting through said headphones. QOTD: Do you listen to music when you write, draw, or do other creative pursuits?⠀ ⠀ #nanowrimo #amwriting #writinglife #dailymotivation #seekthesimplicity⠀  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
 Hey there, human. Whatcha doin'?⠀ ⠀ #cateyes #cutekitty #kittyface #kittygram #realhousecats  Winter has its own sort of beauty; even the flowers look like snow.⠀ ⠀ #bokehful #bokehlicious #flowerlove #flowergram #macroflower⠀  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⠀
 Once upon a time there were flowers growing in our garden. Until they return, I have photos to remind me of their delicate loveliness. QOTD: What is something you're looking forward to?⠀ ⠀ #amreading #booknerdigans #readingtime #readingweather #ilovereading⠀  I love the simplicity of page edges on fresh, clean books. QOTD: What are you reading today?⠀ ⠀ #booklr #booknerdigans #amreading #alwaysreading #booklove  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
 Ice plants in winter. It's only fitting, after all.⠀ ⠀ #upclose #bokehlicious #bokehful #iceplant #winter2017  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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Dear Black & Decker: What Were You Thinking?

Setting up a new toaster oven should not under any circumstances require the following ingredients: 1) A plastic spoon 2) Four paper towels 3) All ten fingernails 4) Frequent misting of household chemicals 5) 28 minutes This goes double when above tools are necessary to forcibly remove a colorful, life-sized sticker whose only purpose is to tout...
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Imagine, if You Will…

The other day someone referred to me as "creative", and that got me thinking. Most of the time, I’m grateful for my imagination. It’s gotten me through many a meeting without having to spike my ubiquitous water bottle with something clear, strong and illegal in Utah. But it’s also responsible for such weird quirks as my never falling asleep in...
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