Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

For the past few years, my New Year's Resolution was to get published. In 2008, I did! Now, I suppose it's time to find a new resolution. This year, I've decided to start making writing goals for myself, spreading them out over the year at intervals I can accomplish.

I think this time of year is the perfect time for us all as writers to reflect on our past years, our successes, failures, and progress made with our careers. Today, I'll share some of my writing successes with you. Tomorrow, I'll make a list of what I hope to accomplish in 2009.

In 2008, I:

Published a picture book
Met Naomi Shihab Nye
Completed my thesis, my very first YA novel
Got my MFA!


Happy New Year, everyone! Let's make 2009 a productive one.

Monday, December 29, 2008

5 Ways to Get Ahead

I don’t claim to be an expert in publishing. I’ve been a “published author” for just a couple of weeks now. But almost from the moment my book Angeline Jellybean was accepted for publication, I’ve been promoting and learning the ins and outs of publishing. I am a strong believer that authors need to be their own advocates. Sure, you can hire someone to promote your book for you if you have the money, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be involved in the process. Self-promotion isn’t easy, but it is a fun and worthwhile pursuit. I have learned more about publishing, branding and promotion in the past nine months than I ever did in grad school. Here are some easy tips I think everyone can benefit from. You may find that by taking charge of your promotion, you’ll learn more about the publishing business and feel rewarded by the process.

1) Virtual Book Tours. In addition to the blog tour I’m doing with my publisher, I also belong to a Yahoo! Group for authors who wish to take their books on “Virtual Book Tours” 2) Blogging. Simply blogging about your book and related topics can enhance your credibility (and visibility) as a writer. Don’t just blog about your book, but also about the writing business, other books that you have read, and subjects that are related to your book. Gain interest!
3) Create promotional materials. Flyers, bookmarks, postcards and business cards are all fairly inexpensive ways to promote your self and your book. I got giant full-color postcards with the front cover of my book on them for next to nothing at www.vistaprint.com
4) Volunteer. Find a teacher friend who wants an author to read to his or her class. Start making public appearances for free. Eventually, word gets around about you and your book, and you can start charging for appearances.
5) Network. We as writers tend to like to seclude ourselves in our offices to write our masterpieces. But I have found that by networking with other writers in your genre, you can not only make like-minded friends, but also learn a few tips and gain some readers! I have been told by many of my writer friends that they have purchased a copy of Angeline Jellybean. They have created a nice little foundation for my sales that would not have been possible had I not allowed them to take a peek into my life through my blog.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Experimentation

Some of your may be surprised to learn that I have only been serious about writing children's books for the past year or so. I wrote my very first picture book, Paws the Puppy, a little over two years ago. I was also working on my first, still unfinished fantasy YA novel at that point, too. But it wasn't until I took my first picture book class in the Fall of 2007, that I realized I really wanted to write for kids.

I'm a recovering poet. It's not that I don't see myself ever writing poetry again, but I just don't know if my poetry is right for traditional publications. In grad school, I became jaded over poetry. I mass-produced crappy poetry at a high rate, and none of it satisfied my professors. I was told that I wrote poetry for me, and that some poetry simply wasn't meant for public consumption. I grew tired of having to write poetry that fit a mold, that was socially acceptable, and therefore publishable. In my children's writing classes, I was encouraged to work with what my imagination came up with it, taught how to hone my craft and make it into something worthy of an audience. Most importantly, in fiction I could write whatever I wanted without being accused of writing every single detail true to something in my life. (That aspect of my poetry classes annoyed me the most. Other people could write persona poems successfully, but when I tried I felt as if they were all judging me. It was as if they didn't think I had the ability to step outside my comfort zone.)

I still sometimes get a feeling like some people think my writing is unfocused. I have written everything from picture books to YA novels to non-fiction articles for middle schoolers. I say, what is wrong with experimentation? I will admit that I have not found my niche in children's writing yet. Until I do, what's wrong with me working on many projects at once, working with different genres and writing for different age levels? The beauty of writing for kids is that you are not put into a box. Look at Jane Yolen. She has had a very successful career in both middle grade novels and picture books. No one tells Jane Yolen to settle on one.

I say, if I want to, I can do it all. Of course, I need to work on my craft before I become a highly-successful writer. All the more reason for me to experiment within the genre.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The History of Jellybeans

In honor of the Angeline Jellybean blog tour--which kicks off tomorrow-- here is a brief article on the history of the sugar-filled, egg-shaped concoctions, by CandyFavorites.com:

http://www.candyfavorites.com/shop/jelly-bean-history.php

Angeline Jellybean can now be purchased at Amazon.com and the 4RV Publishing Store.



The Angeline Jellybean Blog Tour:

Ransom Noble at http://ransomnoble.wordpress.com/ -December 28th
Vivian Zabel at http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com -December 29th
Laura Peters at http://www.renaissance-seamstress.com/blog/ -December 30th
Elysabeth Eldering http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com/ -December 31st
Susan Thompson at http://www.susansmiththompson.com/ -January 1st
Sarah Adkins at http://seapeanut.wordpress.com/ -January 2nd
Lea Schizas at http://thewritingjungle.blogspot.com/ -January 3rd
Crystalee Calderwood at http://crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com -January 4th

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Website, and Updating Old One

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to get kids more interested in reading and writing. I am working on a new website where I can take questions from kids about the writing process, post writing exercises, and share some of their work. I'm excited about starting it up, and I hope that I can keep up with it on a regular basis.

I'm also giving my regular site at http://crystaleecalderwood.bravehost.com a makeover. You can't see it yet, but it's getting a fresh, simple new look that I hope will be easy on the eyes.

It's been a busy week for me planning promotional stuff for Angeline as well. Look for updates about that soon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Where Reading Has Taken Me

Recently, my parents were helping me pack for an up-coming move. As my mom threw a massive pile of heavy books into a box, she grunted and joked "I knew when you knew how to read before kindergarten, I was in trouble!"

"Yeah,"I said back. "Now your daughter is standing in front of other parents telling them why they should read to their kids."

I'm currently working on a mini class for Adult Basic Education students on why and how to read to their kids. I feel qualified to teach such a class not only because I've had training from an early literacy organization, but also because my mother read to me. I credit my mother for bestowing on me a lifetime love of reading. I spent countless hours in her lap with a book. In fact, those times are some of my most vivid memories from childhood.

I would never be where I am today if it weren't for my mother reading to me and letting me read to her. I spent most of my adolesence curled up with a book. I was never told I shouldn't be a bookworm. Writing, to me, was my next logical step. I loved to read so much that I knew words were the most powerful way of expressing emotions. Eventually, I realized that the best way for me to share my love of reading with others is to write books that they would love to read. Now, as a published author, I am grateful for that lap time that got me ahead in life. I am 25 years old and holding my first picture book in my hand!

So, on this Christmas Eve I'd like to say thank you, Mom, for giving me the best gift ever. And I'd like to encourage all the parents out their to give their children that gift this year as well. Remember, it is never too early to give your child a book and it is never too early to read to them.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Join us on the Angeline Jellybean Blog Tour!

Angeline Jellybean Blog Tour Schedule

Ransom Noble at http://ransomnoble.wordpress.com/ -December 28th
Vivian Zabel at http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com -December 29th
Laura Peters at http://www.renaissance-seamstress.com/blog/ -December 30th
Elysabeth Eldering http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com/ -December 31st
Susan Thompson at http://www.susansmiththompson.com/ -January 1st
Sarah Adkins at http://seapeanut.wordpress.com/ -January 2nd
Lea Schizas at http://thewritingjungle.blogspot.com/ -January 3rd
Crystalee Calderwood at http://crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com -January 4th

Join my fellow writers for interviews with myself and the illustrator Stephen Macquignon, book reviews, and other fun things, next week!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Honest Scrap Award


Vivian Zabel has nominated me for the Honest Scrap Award on her blog Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap!

The guidelines for winning this award include the following:1. List 10 honest things about yourself (make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep)2. Pass the award on to 7 bloggers

10 honest things about me (Hope they're interesting!):

1) I had my very first alcoholic drink when I was 22.
2) I also got my first real boyfriend at age 22. (The two aren't related.)
3) I took my first airplane flight, also when I was 22.
4) I moved away from home for the first time when I was 21.
5) I lived in the same house for the first 21 years of my life, and my dad also lived there almost his entire life.
6) I played the viola for 9 years
7) I could read when I was 4.
8) My first real crush happened in 1st grade. He was a new boy at school named Brandon.
9) I don't have a middle name.
10) I was supposed to be named Crystal Gale, after the country singer

Now, to tag 7 people:

Deborah Ramos
Holly Jahangiri
Sarah Adkins
Laura Peters
Karen Fabian
?
?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Reviews of The Duke of Dubai

“Fast paced adventure novel with historical background of the blossoming city of Dubai. Based on personal experiences of the author, read how American gas dollars built Dubai’s Desert Disneyland.

Carved from the sun-baked sands of Arabia, Dubai has evolved from an oil boomtown into one of today's most exciting and opulent metropolises. In this world of wealth and power, mystery and intrigue, Luigi Falconi is transformed from a na├»ve youth to Lou Falconi—The Falcon. Adopted into the brotherhood of eccentric expatriates, amusing Arabs and assorted adventurers led by The Duke, Lou is swept up in the excitement of Dubai's burgeoning development, discovers its morally conflicting cultural codes and uncovers many of its secrets.

He also discovers within himself greed—the desire to accumulate wealth like that of his compatriots, which leads him through the back streets of his conscience to various get rich quick scams and schemes.

This book takes the reader on a magic carpet ride deep into the political, cultural and sometimes perilous realm of modern Dubai—one of the wonders of the modern world, where money begets power, and power rules.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More about The Duke of Dubai

Book Details

The Duke of Dubai
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Headline Books, Inc. (May 9, 2008)
LanguageISBN-10: 0929915763
ISBN-13: 978-0929915760
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
$24.95
BOOK BANNED IN DUBAI

From Sand Dunes to Indoor Ski Slopes
Did American Gas Dollars Build Dubai’s Desert Disneyland?
Or Are Arabs Just Good Businessmen?

FORMER DUBAI EXPATRIOT WARNS IT’S MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER FOR AMERICA TO STAY FRIENDLY WITH DUBAI

For most people, Dubai conjures up images of grandeur and wealth. The Arab city is home to the world’s only seven-star hotel, some of the world’s most extravagant shopping centers, and man-made islands shaped like palm trees. Celebrities flock to Dubai to experience the latest innovations. But how does such a small city pay for these luxuries?

Louigi ‘Lou’ Falconi, author of The Duke of Dubai, says oil money built Dubai, but not necessarily from the US consumer. He knows that about which he speaks, having worked with movers and shakers in the region for decades in the oil business.

“Dubai is no longer a major oil producer – their production has dropped considerably,” says Falconi. “But Dubai got their oil-rich neighbors – Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and even Russia – to invest their oil dollars in Dubai. Arabs aren’t bad people – they’re just good businessmen.”

Falconi spent 35 years in Dubai and watched as it evolved from an oil boomtown into one of today’s most opulent cities. Falconi says America’s need for oil has made Dubai one of the richest cities in the world and that wealth is slowly destroying them.

He’ll take on the tough topics such as:

Are our high gas prices supporting this desert Disneyland?
Oil and how it’s changing the world
The Middle East versus our oil and gas supply
The misunderstanding between Islam and Christianity
Why it is more important than ever for America to maintain a friendly relationship with Dubai
How ordinary Dubai residents have had to change their life because of American greed
The lengths Dubai is willing to go to protect its wealth

Lou Falconi uses his years in Dubai and his oil company experience to help America better understand the Gulf Arabs and, in turn, understand how we can work together to bring an end to our oil and gas crisis.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Meet Luigi Falconi, author of The Duke of Dubai



The love child of the local priest and the parish housekeeper, Luigi Falconi was born in Tricarico, italy, in 1945. Soon after his birth his parents immigrated to the United States.

He attended Mary Magdalene High School in Hoboken, New Jersey. Although an honor student with a football scholarship to Notre Dame, he left school to study Kabbalah. When fear of adult circumcision led him to give up the idea of converting to any religion that required surgery, he became an apprentice to a shoemaker on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

A skilled artisan, Luigi designed and crafted Chippewa moccasins while attending Michigan State University where he earned a BA in 1967 and an MA in 1969. While shoemaking and taking full-time university classes toward his Ph.D. in rocket science, he wrote three unpublished novels and one volume of poetry. The shoe shop burned in 1971, destroying Luigi’s manuscripts and his innocence. Mentally drained from this tragedy, he did the only thing left for an educated shoemaker to do: he became a teacher and, soon after, an administrator.

In 1974, Luigi uprooted his family from the security and comfort of their middle-class American home to become the headmaster of a small oil company school in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. he left education in 1978 and went to work in the Middle East oilfields.

After thirty-two years in the hot desert sun of Arabia, Luigi, unable to distinguish fact from fiction in his own life, left Dubai and moved to Italy to learn Italian and rediscover the truth.

http://www.thedukeofdubai.com/

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hosting Another Author Tomorrow

Come learn about Luigi Falconi, author of the book The Duke of Dubai, starting tomorrow on my blog.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thesis Defense

Today, I finally had my thesis defense. And I passed! I only need to do some minor fix-ups, print three copies, and have them bound. But the process of going through the defense helped me realize that the novel still has a way to go before publication. I need to fill in some plot holes and make some minor characters stronger. I am leaving the manuscript sit until summer, at which point I will pick it back up again and begin revisions.

In the meantime, I'm aleady formulating ideas for my next novel.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Angeline Jellybean Blog Tour!

Angeline Jellybean and I will be going on a blog tour the last week in December! Please drop by these awesome blogs to learn more about me, the illustrator Stephen Macquignon, and Angeline Jellybean herself!

Ransom Noble at http://ransomnoble.wordpress.com/ -December 28th
Vivian Zabel at http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com -December 29th
Laura Peters at http://www.renaissance-seamstress.com/blog/ December 30th
Elysabeth Eldering http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com/ -December 31st
Susan Thompson at http://www.susansmiththompson.com/ - January 1st
Sarah Adkins at http://seapeanut.wordpress.com/ -January 2nd
Lea Schizas at http://thewritingjungle.blogspot.com/ -January 3rd
Crystalee Calderwood at http://crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com/ -January 4th

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Angeline Now Available at Amazon.com!

You can now order your very own copy of Angeline Jellybean at Amazon.com! (Click the link for a direct link to the book.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More about The Year the Music Died


THE YEAR THE MUSIC DIED
by Dwight C. Rounds

Paperback: 307 pages
Publisher: Bridgeway Books (July 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1933538694
ISBN-13: 978-1933538693
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches

http://www.animalstozombies.com/
Contact author: dcrounds@aol.com

Publicist: Denise Cassino
www.wizardlywebdesigns.com
dencassino@gmail.com
303 838 3399

ORDER BOOK
Free Shipping!
The Year the Music Died Book
Price: $16.95
Each order comes with two fifty-minute CD compilations.

The first has all the #1 song clips in chronological order from 1964-72.

The second has the "best of the rest" during that era.

To pay by check, please e-mail the author ("CONTACT"), and he will mail you a book. An invoice will be sent with the book. For Pay Pal payments, also use "CONTACT", and an invoice will be sent.

Shipping included for US. UK orders are an extra $9 for shipping costs, Canada $7.

Monday, December 1, 2008

About Dwight Rounds, author of The Year the Music Died



Dwight Rounds probably can’t name the bands or songs on the radio today, but ask him to name two No. 1 songs from 1964 and 1965 whose lyrics were written before 1930, and he’ll answer you faster than you can change the dial.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, and raised in northern California, Rounds developed a fascination and eventual obsession with popular music when he watched the Beatles perform live on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on February 7, 1964, the official launch of the British Invasion. Rounds began collecting every Beatles album produced, eventually branching out to other bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Byrds. By 1972, Rounds noticed a marked decline in the quality of music on the charts and began listening to contemporary pop music less and less. To this day, Rounds only listens to bands from 1964 to 1972, an era that has defined his musical taste.

Rounds has compiled his knowledge of his true passion—popular music from the 1960s and early 1970s—into his first book, The Year the Music Died (Bridgeway Books, 978-1-933538-69-3, $16.95, July 2007). This collection contains insightful commentary and trivia about the music from 1964 to 1972, including charts and ratings, information on music festivals and commentary on the social movements of the time. The book offers baby boomers a chance to rediscover the music of their childhood and introduce it to today’s generation of listeners.

Rounds received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from DePauw University in 1976, earned his M.B.A. from The University of Southern California in 1978 and was a self-employed CPA for 22 years. He currently resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife and two children. When not listening to music, Rounds enjoys following baseball and playing golf (once with Alice Cooper) and tennis.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What the readers have to say about Anna Maria' Prezio's book

What Readers Are Saying About Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster

“Anna Maria’s easy-to-read book on how to release ghosts is upbeat and full of
insights. This book is well worth the read. She mixes the old with the new in an
intelligent way.”
– Pam Case, Chinese Astrologer and Intuitive

“This book, “Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster” is for the person who
likes to take matters into their own hands………to be in control of their world!!!
Anna Maria’s insights to taking charge are so very helpful. Her writing is easy to
understand. With the Feng Shui approach you get clarity and purity.”
– Victoria Burrows, Casting Director for Film and Television

“Finally someone has written a book about ghosts that is helpful and charming
without being hokey. The combination of real world experience with academic
study makes for a great read. Curl up with some of that tea I hear so much about
and enjoy.”
– Ramsey Moore, Actor

“Anna Maria and I share great passion for Feng Shui and the removal of ghosts,
Anna Maria’s new book is a must have for anyone who realizes the power of
“Positive” energy.”
– Dan McBee, C.E.O. Whisper International
“I love your book…very well written and I love the family photos too. FABULOUS!
– Rozetta Mowery, Author,’Tragedy in Tin Can Holler’

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Featured on Deborah Ramos' Blog!

Check out the interview Deborah Ramos did with me about my writing and my new book Angeline Jellybean at http://backyardsafari.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Synopsis of Confession of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster

Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster

This book was written to enlighten the reader on feng shui and reveal how it connects and relates to clearing negative energies,which can often be ghosts or spirits. This exciting new book is unlike many feng shui books on the shelves. “Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster is the first of its non-fiction genre to combine two unlikely art and science forms to guide those traumatized by entities and ghosts to overcome their fear through understanding, knowledge and resolve from such supernatural forces. This simply written book on how to release ghosts invites us on a personal journey with uplifting tales that begin in a small village in Southern Italy. Anna Maria’s confessions will levate your spirits, clarify your need for a productive environment
and help you to create a serene sanctuary we all call home.

Over many years of feng shui consultations, Anna Maria Prezio was able to make the connection between negative energy and the presence of ghosts in an environment. In her book she explain this radical concept in an easy–to-read practical guide on how to apply feng shui principles to ghost-busting.

Keeping a secret such as interacting with a spirit or entity can haunt you and create a feeling of dis-ease with yourself and your environments. Some of us are more sensitive to the spirit world, see entities and oftentimes sense them around us. The ability to talk about it and clear the air through many different methods as defined and expressed in my book, can free us from the fear and allow us to discuss a subject that has been taboo for many years.

“The more we know and understand about what we fear, the easier it is to accept a solution”

Learn one of the many feng shui mysteries on removal techniques in “Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster”

More about Anna Maria Prezio at www.prezio.com
at www.lulu.com/content/1681674

Monday, November 17, 2008

Interview with Anna Maria Prezio, Part II

Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?

While studying journalism in college, my first English class project involved writing poetry that I enjoyed.

What is going on with your writing these days?

I write every day and as much as I can.

What are your future goals for your writing?

I would like to do public speaking, consultations, radio shows, and TV shows to bring about awareness of how ghosts can be released and how to alleviate the fear around the subject of spirits, ghosts and entities as well as to introduce people to the positive effects of Feng Shui.


Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

There is nothing typical about a writing day. Inspiration comes in many forms.
Sometimes my book ideas come to me in a dream. Sometimes they come to me in my meditations. I’m blessed with inspiration.


Why do you write?

Writing for me is cathartic.
I write to inspire, to heal, to give of myself, my knowledge and my wisdom.
I write to enjoy wonderful words on paper. I write to teach. I write to be heard.
I write to give something to someone who needs it. I write because the imagination gives us new experiences to pass on to others and old stories, traditions, cultures, experiences to hand down to generations to come so that they can be preserved. Writing allows me to tell my innermost part of me in the form of a character or a story. Writing is creating, imagining, dreaming. What would be do if we could not imagine, dream or create?



What writer most inspires you? Why?

Writers who inspire me are so many from Aristotle, Plato and Socrates to Tom Clancy, Ernest Hemingway and Anne Frank. The authors who inspire are those who give a bit of themselves as they write, fertile with imagination and spirit.

How do you define your writing?

Simplistic, Daring and Provocative in a very understandable way…I want to provoke your thinking and I want you to open your mind and your heart when you read my works.

In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

She was ahead of her time.
Art and Science do mingle, mix and match…
Anna Maria Prezio was an innovator…



Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?

www.prezio.com
www.fengshuiharmony.net
“Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster”
My blog on my website is full of information.


Is there a place where readers can reach you?

prezio@sbcglobal.net or my website, www.prezio.com

Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

You can opt-into my website and receive my free report entitled, “Power &Prosperity Through Feng Shui and Color”



Clarity, knowledge and intrigue on a subject I write about for the
first time. It will inspire you and enlighten you to a new way of thinking about entities, ghosts, spirits and supernatural forces.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Angeline Jellybean is available for pre-order!

Angeline Jellybean is now available for advance order from www.4rvpublishingllc.com/store-books.html ! You may order your books now, but please keep in mind they won't be available to mailing for 10-14 days.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 1 of an interview with Anna Maria Prezio

Today, I will start off with the beginning of an interview with Anna Maria Prezio. Day 1: Personal questions. Day 2 will be questions related to her writing life.



What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Generous, Intuitive, Humanitarian

How do you think others would describe you?
Humorous, Generous, Dependable

Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
Photography, Cinema, Family.

Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.
No but I love animals.

What is your most precious memory?
Seeing my son for the very first time.

What is your most embarrassing memory?
Standing in from of my 4th grade class with a drippy nose and without a tissue.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
Fundraising



You can read more about Ann Maria Prezzio at:

http://www.prezio.com/
http://www.fengshuiharmony.net/



or contact her at: prezio@sbcglobal.net

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ann Maria Prezio on November 15th!

On November 15th, I will be hosting Ann Maria Prezio's blog tour for her book Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster. Come learn a little about the author and her unique book.

Anna Maria Prezio, author of Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster, is a professional Feng Shui Consultant. She has audited hundreds of Feng Shui sites. Her clients include: Hollywood producers, directors, actors, doctors, architects, and corporate executives.

As a marketing consultant in health care, entertainment, and the non-profit sectors she has
incorporated her knowledge of Feng Shui and its effects on personal environments to enhance people’s lives. Ms. Prezio’s mission is to help people gain the knowledge and tools of Feng Shui to improve and enhance their wealth, health, creativity and relationships.

Ms. Prezio is a writer. She has published screenplays, articles and books. Her love for the visual arts has led her to produce feature films, film shorts, music videos,and photography. Her experience, Feng Shui knowledge and highly intuitive talent gives her the ability to sense
people, places and things which help to nurture and facilitate her clients’ lifestyles.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Winner of Midnight Hours Treasure Hunt!

Congratulations to MaryAnn Miller! You are the randomly chosen winner of the Midnight Hours treasure hunt. Your book will be in the mail soon.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Midnight Hours Treasure Hunt

Today is my turn to host the Midnight Hours Blog Tour! Midnight Hours by Vivian Zabel is available now from 4RV Publishing at http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com/Store-Books.html .

For my stop, I've decided to do something a little different. Welcome to the Midnight Hours Treasure Hunt!

To participate in the Treasure Hunt, please e-mail your answers to me at crystaleecalderwood@gmail.com On November 9, 2008, I will randomly choose one person who has successfully completed the treasure hunt, and that person will receive a copy of Midnight Hours, courtesy of me. (Must be willing to give out address in order to receive the prize.)

Answers can be found at: http://midnight-hours.weebly.com/

1) What is Midnight’s real name?
2) How did Jackson Mason die?
3) Who published Midnight Hours
4) What is Martin Rogers’ official title?
5) How long has Vivian been married to her husband?

Good luck!



Also, don’t forget to enter Vivian’s contest for a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate!

Prize: $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com

Rules:
1. Each person who comments on a blog stop receives one entry. For example, if a person leaves a comment (or more) on four blog stops, he has four entries. (one entry per blog tour stop)
2. A purchase of Midnight Hours from the 4RV Bookstore, or from the author, receives fifteen (15) entries. Books must be bought directly from the author or from the publisher. A person may have entries from a purchase and from leaving comments.
3. The final step in the contest: Each person with entries must send an email to president@4rvpublishingllc.com with the answer to the following question: What time does Midnight appear on the game site to chat with Martin?November 5, a random drawing will be held using a program online to choose a winner. Vivian will notify the winner by email and will post the result on her blogs at Vivian's Site and Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Midnight is Coming!

The blog tour for Vivian Zabel's book Midnight Hours will be here on Saturday, November 1st! I have a cool, interactive Treasure Hunt lined up for that day, so I hope you all will participate. In addition, don't forget about Vivian's Contest. You could win a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate! See rules below.


Prize: $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com

Rules:1. Each person who comments on a blog stop receives one entry. For example, if a person leaves a comment (or more) on four blog stops, he has four entries. (one entry per blog tour stop)

2. A purchase of Midnight Hours from the 4RV Bookstore, or from the author, receives fifteen (15) entries.

Books must be bought directly from the author or from the publisher.A person may have entries from a purchase and from leaving comments.

3. The final step in the contest: Each person with entries must send an email to president@4rvpublishingllc.com with the answer to the following question: What time does Midnight appear on the game site to chat with Martin?

November 5, a random drawing will be held using a program online to choose a winner. Vivian will notify the winner by email and will post the result on her blogs at Vivian's Site and Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On November 1st, I will be hosting the blog tour for Vivian Zabel's new novel Midnight Hours, here on my blog. As part of this blog tour, 4RV is running the following contest. You could win!

Prize: $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com

Rules:

1. Each person who comments on a blog stop receives one entry. For example, if a person leaves a comment ( or more) on four blog stops, he has four entries. (one entry per blog tour stop)

2. A purchase of Midnight Hours from the 4RV Bookstore, or from the author, receives fifteen (15) entries.
Books must be bought directly from the author or from the publisher.
A person may have entries from a purchase and from leaving comments.

3. The final step in the contest: Each person with entries must send an email to president@4rvpublishingllc.com with the answer to the following question:What time does Midnight appear on the game site to chat with Martin?

November 5, a random drawing will be held using a program online to choose a winner. Vivian will notify the winner by email and will post the result on her blogs at Vivian's Site and Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap.

URLs:
4RV Bookstore: http://4rvpublishingllc.com/Store-Books.html
Vivian's Site http://vzabel.multiply.com/journal
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com/
Information about Midnight Hours can be found on http://midnight-hours.weebly.com/

The schedule is as follows:
Oct. 26 Holly Jahangiri http://blog.jahangiri.us/
Oct. 27 Brian L. Porter http://tinyurl.com/4qa4tw Patty @ TAL http://talauthros.com/ & http://talwriters.blogspot.com/
Oct. 28 Karen Syed http://karensyed.blogspot.com/ Joyce Anthony http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog
Oct. 29 Elysabeth Eldering http://elysabethsstories.blogspot.com/ Joyce Anthony http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog
Oct. 30 Joyce Anthony http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog Jean Henry Mead http://advicefromeditors.blogspot.com/
Oct. 31 Aidana WillowRaven http://coverchatter.blogspot.com/ Joyce Anthony http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/blog
Nov. 1 Crystalee Calderwood http://crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com/ Lee Lofland, The Graveyard Shift http://www.leelofland.com/wordpress
Nov. 2 Vivian Zabel http://vzabel.multiply.com/journal and http://vivianzabel.blogspot.com/

I hope to see everyone on the tour!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rejection Letter Week

Everything that I have sent out in the past month is coming back rejected. Picture book, poems, even a query about writing for Capstone Press. This week, I received a rejection letter three days in a row.

I'm not dwelling on it, though. I really need to start submitting again, because you can't get published if you don't try.

Inspiration

Last weekend, I had the pleasure to see and meet two very awesome writers, Jan Beatty and Naomi Shihab Nye. It was my first "literary" weekend in awhile. On Friday night, I attended the Gist St. Reading Series to see Pittsburgh native Jan Beatty read her poetry. I've admired her work for a couple of years now and even own one of her books (which, unfortunately, I forgot to take for her to sign). When I left the reading, I had this strange desire to write poetry again, something I haven't done in months. It was like my brain had opened up and all of this creativity had rushed in again. I was thinking like a poet, seeing things for their hidden meanings once again.

Then, on Sunday, I met Naomi Shihab Nye at the Bridges to New Worlds Literary Festival at Chatham University. Her workshop was amazing! Naomi is such a friendly, down-to-earth, yet wise woman. Naomi is just like me-- a poet at heart turned children's writer. She is probably best known for her poetry, but her YA novel Haibibi is outstanding! I left the workshop on Sunday morning floating on a cloud, my signed copy of A Maze Me: Poems for Girls in my hand and another push to start writing more.

The point of my stories is this: we must live in order to write. When we stop allowing ourselves to commune with other writers, to share our work, to seek out inspiration, that's when we prevent ourselves from being constructive with our work. I feel as if I've allowed myself to get so busy with life that I've prevented myself from truly living the life of a writer. It took a weekend like this past one to remind me how great it feels to have this gift.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

From start to finish, the cover of Angeline

Check out how illustrator Stephen Macquignon went about drawing the cover of Angeline Jellybean, step-by-step, in his blog: http://scketch2color.multiply.com/journal

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Midnight Hours! On November 1st

On November 1st, I will be hosting the last stop of the blog tour for Vivian Zabel's mystery Midnight Hours. I hope you'll all stop by and see what I've cooked up for that day. In the meantime, you can learn about Vivian and her book at http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com/Vivian_Zabel.html

Playing Tag

1) Link to the person who tagged you: Vivian at http://vzabel.multiply.com

2) Post the rules on the blog: Posted

3) Write six random things about yourself:

1. I have never ridden a rollar coaster. Ever. Do not make me!
2. I've never had cable TV in my life.

3. I used to want to be a country singer.
4. I've never broken a bone, which is surprising because I'm really clumsy
5. I flew in the airplane for the first time when I was 23.
6. I was born with a heart murmur

4) Tag six people at the end of your post.

5) Let each person know they have been tagged. Haha no way.

6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up. It's up, Viv. :-P

"Tag, You're It!"

Do I KNOW six people?? Ok... Laurie, Sarah, Stephen Macquignon, Elysabeth Eldering, Aidana WillowRaven and. . . Akira and Shiro. ;-) (Cross posting this on my blogger blog so everyone sees it.)

THIS IS YOUR NOTIFICATION ;-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Somes Scenes From Angeline

Where Did Angeline Come From?

Like every writer, I've been asked numerous times where I get my inspiration. My standard answer is "everywhere!" It's the truth. Most of my ideas come from everyday life. Mango Dance, a new picture book manuscript of mine, came from my travels in Trinidad, where I leanred the art of knocking mangos off a tree. My current picture book project is Mr. Betta, inspired by my own newly-purchased red betta.

Angeline Jellybean was a little different. I can't even remember how I came up with the concept. I was taking my very first class in writing picture books, a year ago now. Angeline just came out of me in a flowy rhyme, almost in the exact same form it's in today. This was way before I had ever read A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon. In fact, I didn't even know it existed back then. I was just writing a fun and catchy story. Several of the girls in my class loved it. I did some minor revisions, but nothing major because the book is incredibly short.

Almost a year later, I was checking out the website for Vivian Zabel's publishing company 4RV (www.4rvpublishingllc.com). On a whim, I sent it in. I was very surprised and delighted when, within a month or so, I received an e-mail from Viv that said "We are considering your manuscript for publication. . ." I tried not to be too excited about it, but the farther we got into the process, the harder it was to keep from dancing around my apartment. (haha!)

I still don't think it will feel 100% real until I have the book in my hands, but my dream is pretty close to being fulfilled! When I saw the first few illustrations, Angeline brought to life right before my eyes, I knew what it was like to be a real author. Now that the cover is done, I can feel those book sales creeping toward me and it feels really, really good.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Revisions

I dislike revisions. It's just not fun to me anymore. I'm not sure why. Right now, I'm attempting to do first revisions on my thesis, and it's boring me. I'm grumbling through it. haha. I'd much rather be writing something brand new. But, it is a necessary part of being a writer, not to mention these particular revisions are required for me to graduate with my MFA, so I have to do it.

If I'm acting this way with the minor revisions, I don't know how I'm going to get through any major restructuring that needs done-- and believe me, I know there has to be some!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Banned Books

In light of Banned Books Week (September 27–October 4, 2008) and all of the recent news about a certain Vice Presidental candidate, I present you with a very eloquent, thought-provoking article by often-challenged author Judy Blume: http://www.judyblume.com/censorship/happens.php I've never read a better first-hand account of censorship.

For more about Banned Book Week, see the ALA Website.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Classes and other random things

So, I've decided to take a class with the Institute of Children's Literature on top of my six credits this semester at Chatham. The first set of materials arrived today and I'm really excited! The course is in writing for the magazine market, both fiction and non-fiction. I decided to take it because I've never had a class in writing for magazines before, and I really think it's the one area I need work in. Besides, I need a way to keep writing, publishing and making a little money while I'm waiting for my next children's book to be published by a big publishing house and become the next bestseller. ;-) I read over the instructions for the first assignment, and so far the course seems interesting and creativity-inducing.

I am about to embark on my very last semester as an MFA student. I need to finish my thesis and take one children's lit class, and then I will be done. It's kind of strange, and scary, that I'm only taking one class in the classroom and then I'll be expected to get a "big kid job."

In other news, I am writing again. I've started a brand new YA novel (just in time to have my life taken over by classes, therefore causing me to put the new project aside, as usual). I've also signed up for a workshop with Naomi Shihab Nye as part of a literary workshop at my school. Until recently, I wasn't even aware that Nye had published children's books. Kathy suggested that my thesis would be a good thing to submit, since Nye has poetry and YA experience. So, I did. . . and now in October we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I'm Having Issues

I've been told that the last rhyming picture book I wrote was not a picture book, but a poem.

I've also been told that my rhythm in this poem is all off. Everytime I think I understand how to fix it, I mess it all up again. Despite four years as an English major and two years in an MFA program I WILL NEVER GET IT!

Yet, I keep insisting on writing rhyming picture books, which is ironic because I despise adult poems in rhyme. I find "regular" narrative picture books boring and harder to write.
I cannot make myself work on this poem. Nor can I make myself write one word of anything else. But I'm so bored I don't know what to do with myself. So, I'm just sitting here staring at the computer screen and letting my brain rot. *sigh*

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thesis Update

I just completely finished the first draft of my thesis, 2 weeks early! I'm not completely happy with the second half, but hey that's why it's called a rough draft, right? I'm taking a break from it before I go back in and revise.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saying Good-bye to Literacy AmeriCorps Year 14

Last night, the entire corps met for one last hurrah. We looked at photos taken throughout the year, ate ourselves silly, laughed and almost cried a few times. MaryRose made this awesome slideshow of our memories from throughout the year. I teared up while watching it. She also presented us with certificates and framed group photos. Sarah was there! She just got back from Bulgaria so we had some catching up to do. It was great, but at the same time extremely sad. I don't know what I'd do without AmeriCorps again next year. . . I guess I'll get the chance to find out after my second year of service over.

I miss everyone already. :-(

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Save the Dates- Pittsburgh

Heather McNaugher, Assistant Professor of English at Chatham University's MFA program, will be reading this Sunday, August 17th at 2PM at the Carnegie Library in Oakland.

The Fall Festival of Children's Books will take place Friday October 17th from 9AM-5Pm at the Children's Musuem on the North Side.

My picture book, Angeline Jellybean, comes out in February 2009!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jumping Jellybeans, it's me!

Check out my profile on Vivian Zabel's blog entry yesterday (8/9/08). http://vzabel.multiply.com/journal

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Illustrations! Submissions! Readings! Oh, my!

I got to see some sample illustrations for Angeline Jellybean last night and--wow! I am so thrilled with them I could dance in the streets.

I've been working on a number of projects. My thesis (still not titled with only 10 pages left to go), a couple of picture books (Mr. Beta and You Oughta Like the Otters which desperately needs reworked and a different title), and random other things. I think my next round of submissions might be a picture book called Jason and Jamal. I wrote it around the time I wrote Angeline, so maybe that was when I wrote all of my brilliant work. haha.

I sent some poems out awhile ago. I'm not really expecting any acceptances. Of course it would be awesome, but I rather enjoy collecting rejection letters too. ;-)

Here's good news not about me: My boyfriend, Mark C. Bradley, will be a featured local writer at Ukazoo Books in Towson, MD on September 14th! Yay, Mark!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This is My Home

Here in Pittsburgh, TV station KDKA has a "This is your home" campaign. I'd like to share with you a piece of what has made Pittsburgh home to me:

http://www.popcitymedia.com/features/americorps0730.aspx

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Submitting Again

I am submitting poetry again. I'm not sure what's made me do it. I think I'm craving results-- results of any sort, really. Even rejections would make me happy; I consider rejections a measurement of how much I've tried. And since I have all of this random poetry I've written in the past two years laying around, I thought why not?

Ironically, I'm also thinking about writing a poem that begins with the line "You killed my poetry." Not directed towards anyone in particular, of course. . . ha.

If things were simple. . .

I would have picture books floating around at different publishers right now. But things aren't simple, so instead I'm sitting here with a list published by SCBWI trying to find a home for Mango Dance, totally overwhelmed by the mass number of publishers and their imprints.

You know, it's ok, though. Doing the grunt work is part of being a writer, and something we all have to go through. What is starting to drive me crazy is the number of people I see asking other writers to do the tough stuff for them. "Can you recommend an agent?" "Which publishers publish multi-cultural picture books from the point of view of a five year old boy. . . " You get the point. I don't know the best publisher for your manuscript, simply because I don't know it as well as you do.

If things were simple, I'd have my thesis written by now. Totally revised too! But the world doesn't let me sit down and work non-stop on any one writing project. I have responsibilities beyond writing. That's just the way it is. But, I make time to write because I love it. I may not always be in the mood for it, but once I get started, it's like a natural high and I don't want to stop.

If things were simple, I wouldn't be stressed out right now about a million different things. Then again, if I weren't stressed out, I wouldn't need writing to relax me.

Thank goodness things aren't always simple

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thesis Update

It has taken me four excruciating weeks to get caught up on my thesis. I don't know what's been going on with me, but I've been totally unmotivated.

Maybe I was just worn out, or maybe my old "I don't have to do anything productive in the summer!" additude came back. Whatever it was, I think I've kicked it.

I finally have my office 100% unpacked and set up, so I've been doing my writing at my desk like a real writer. Music playing in the background, internet disconnected-- it was the best feeling in the world last night to pound out those pages.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My bio on 4RV Publishing

http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com/Crystalee_Calderwood.html

Thanks to Sarah for letting me use her awesome picture. :-) Although it's a little old, I haven't had anything professional-looking done since I was in high school.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Me, me, me all over the internet!

My name now appears on the 4RV publishing website here: http://www.4rvpublishingllc.com/4RV-Authors.html

And look for my own bio page up within a couple of days!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Website Makeover

My website is getting a facelift. I fell in love with this template and decide to redo the entire thing! It's not completed yet, but you can take a sneak peek at http://crystaleecalderwood.bravehost.com/index.html

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Killing your darlings

They say writers must kill their darlings. I feel like I've already killed Angeline a thousand times. . . So one more time, for the sake of publishing a really, really good book, couldn't hurt, right?

I've written a brand new picture book in the same kind of style as Angeline. It's called Mango Dance, and it's based on an experience I had in Trinidad.

Oh, and that thesis is really running from me again! But it can't hide forever. Oh, no. I will catch up with it again!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Non-scientific equation

No computer+95 degree weather which prevents me from walking to the library=no work done on thesis. I did, however, start writing a new picture book. That's mildly exciting news. Maybe I'll go to writer's group next week and workshop it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Considering...

Writing some articles about how to format and submit writing for publication. I don't consider myself an expert, but there are a whole heck of a lot of people out there who haven't been lucky enough to be taught how to do these things properly.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Writer's Group

So, I went to my children's writers group full of people from the class I had with Kathy Ayres, which meets every Monday night. . .

I workshopped "Samual Modico III, Sleuth of the Sixth Grade, and the Mystery in the Nurse's Office."

So, considering that I finished it yesterday, I'd say it came out pretty decent. I know it still needs a lot of work, though. Writing it served two purposes to me: 1) to educate children about diabetes, and 2) as a form of therapy and research to deal with Mark's diabetes issues. I'm afriaid that I accomplished #2 more successfully than #1, though.

It was kind of hard for me to write-- all of the research in the world doesn't really prepare you like real-life experience does, and even though I've certainly had some of that, I don't know that I've had enough of the right kind, if that makes any sense.

At any rate, I'm proud of myself for having written anything at all this week. It wasn't my thesis, but it was something important and it was fun to write. I'll be revising it in the near future; I really feel like if I did it now, I would go on overload. It's already taken over my life for an entire weekend. Maybe I'll put the second draft up on the SCBWI critique boards.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Website

Sometimes, having a website doesn't seem worth it. I tried to make my children's writing website better, and in the process I've completely messed it up.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

SCBWI

I joined SCBWI today. I actually feel like a children's writer now, so I figured it was about time. The site is incredibly helpful and full of great stuff. I'm considering doing a manuscript critique exchange through the mail, and maybe even joining a local writer's group. I'd recommend a membership to anyone who writes for children.

Getting into Dodge

You know the expression "Get the Hell out of Dodge"? I have no idea what it means, but I wanna get into Dodge. The Dodge Poetry Festival in Stanhope, New Jersey, that is. As an English major in college, it was the coolest place to be at the end of September, and I always wanted to go, but never got to. This year, Ted Kooser is reading on Sunday! So, naturally, I want to go just to see him. And I've asked Mark to go with me and make a weekend out of it. After the last failed attempt, his time I will meet Ted Kooser, come hell or high water.

In other news: I am working on a short story for middle schoolers about a "sixth grade sleuth" with an over-active imagination. When he notices one of his fellow sixth graders going to the nurse's office every day, all kinds of crazy things run through his mind. Like maybe the kid is an alien getting tested by the nurse for the government. Turns out, his friend is not an alien, but a diabetic who must get his sugar level tested daily before lunch. So the "sixth grade sleuth" must learn a thing or two about diabetes and the mysterious box that is attached to his friend's hip.

And now for the official announcement: My picture book Angeline Jellybean will be published by 4RV Publishing in early 2009!! It still doesn't feel real to me; maybe that's why I haven't told anyone but Mark about it. But I secretely love thinking about my name on a book. This will be my very first book in print! Needless to say, I'm excited but overwhelmed with the thought.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hehe

We now interrupt this blog for a bit of totally non-professional celebration:

*bounces off the walls with a big silly grin*

Ok, I'm good now. :-)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Angeline

Angeline might have home in a few months! I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Question

Are there any good books out there for kids about diabetes? Are any of them NOT self-published? More importantly, WOULD a book like that get published at a traditional publishing house??

Not that I'm saying I have any ideas or anything...

Note to self

Never buy a power cord on E-bay from China. You'll probably accidently buy the wrong one. It's probably not an issue with the power cord anyway.

Another note to self:

Stop coming up with picture book ideas and just start on one already!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

About a thesis, jelly beans, Ferris wheels and power cords

I think my thesis needs a title. Maybe it'll make it seem more real to me that I'm writing a publishable book if I name it. I just haven't written a poem with a line or a title yet that has stood out to me as "that's it!"

News: Angeline Jellybean is now out at a publisher. My Ferris wheel article is on its way to Cobblestone magazine. Unfortunately, I forgot to put an SASE in both. :-( We shall wait and see if they get immediately tossed in the slush pile or if I get responses. *crosses fingers*

No news on the power cord yet. I think I'm going through laptop withdrawl. My fingers are itching and I'm bored as ever.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Random semi-Updates

My computer is broken. :-( Something is wrong with the power cord. I'm going to see if it's possible to buy a new cord somewhere online. It's a writer's nightmare, for sure. I'm in the library attempting to work right now but it's not the same.

I couldn't mail my Ferris wheel piece and Angeline Jellybean today, either. Darn lack of big yellow envelopes in my apartment. I must add that to the list of things I need at the store.

In better news, my least favorite place to go on the storymobile wasn't horrible today. We signed up five new kids, and met an amazing young father with a two and a three year old, and he actually reads to his kids and was genuinely interested in books! Woo-hoo! People like that make my position so much less frustrating.

My goal: have something decent written to workshop on Monday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Baseball Books and New Submissions

I was told by a preschool teacher today that there's also a lack of good baseball books for that age group.

I have Mickey's Baseball Dreams open and I'm pondering a way to spice it up.

Also, I've actually totally completed all of the submission materials for my Ferris wheel piece! Plus, while I was doing that I found the submission stuff for my picture book Angeline Jellybean, which I had totally forgotten about. So, now I have two pieces to ship off ASAP. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Poetry Finale

So, I got a B in my poetry workshop. . .

I guess that was to be expected. Oh well, at least it was the very last poetry workshop I ever have to take. I can't say as I'll miss them, really. . .

Monday, May 5, 2008

My Niche

As per the lack of quality bug books out there. . . I've decided that bugs should be my niche. I'll be the bug picture book lady. Or at the very least, I should make bugs the next project on my list.

Bug Books

Why are 95% of the bug-related picture books out there crappy??

The exceptions are:

Diary of a Worm
Hey, Little Ant
The Bugliest Bug
Inch By Inch
Clara Caterpillar

I hope there are more that I don't know of. . . I just can't find them. Also, most of the books I listed are way too wordy to be read-aloud books. *sigh*

Going buggy over bugs,

Crystalee

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Good Side of Things

The good thing about being thrown for a loop in the middle of an otherwise normal week-- you have something to write about.

I'm off to attempt to make this situation into a children's story that I can hopefully workshop on Monday. . .

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Online support for children's writers

So, I was talking to an online friend of mine today about the lack of support for children's writing, especially online. Think about it for a sec-- there are online support and critique groups for poets, fiction writers, and every genre from Erotica to fantasy. . . so why aren't there any for children's writers? Neither one of us could name a single one. We children's writers are perhaps the most secluded, misunderstood, and least supported of all writers.

I took a quick look at the work listed as "children's writing" on Writing.com, and I was disappointed at what I saw. Most people have no idea what's popular in children's literature, don't realize that kids shouldn't be talked down to OR treated like adults, and are totally clueless about things like the importance of rhythm and rhyme. While I don't pretend to know everything there is to know about writing for children, I don't allow myself to work inside a bubble that prevents me from learning, either.

I guess I'm really lucky that I have great teachers who have published everything from picture books to YA novels and are willing to share their secrets and support their students. I'm also lucky that I have such close interaction with children that I know their language, what they like, and how to engage them. Those two things, I truly believe, put me ahead of a lot of others.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


PA ONE BOOK

Kathy Ayres' wonderful picture book Up, Down and Around has been chosen as Pennsylvania's One Book for Every Young Child! Kathy is currently touring the state reading her book to children is daycares and libraries. I encourage everyone to check out this book from one of my favorite professors/children's writers. :-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Love's Chance?

Anyone know how I can get some recent copies of Love's Chance magazine? Apparently, they're so small that they can't afford to pay for publication in copies. I feel kind of dumb not knowing what kind of quality the magazine is, even after I've been published in it. Especially because it seems like they published me so quickly. I'm going to write a letter, but if anyone knows anything about the publication, could you please let me know? Thanks.

Getting my manuscript ready...

I'm planning on submitting my non-fiction article about the invention of the Ferris Wheel to Cobblestone Magazine. They're having an upcoming issue on great inventors, so I figured it would be a great fit! Yesterday, I sat down and wrote the cover letter and a fresh bibliography. Now, I need to write a detailed outline with all the info included in the article and send the whole package off. While I'm waiting for a response, I'll be attempting to cut the article down from over 1,000 words to a mere 800. . . what fun. :-P

Also, my new website (my children's writer-related one) has gone live. It's been up for awhile but I've been self-concious about letting a lot of people see it because I pretty much did the entire thing myself, and I know there are lots of mistakes. I should be proud of it, though. I needed very little help in its creation. You can find it at http://crystaleecalderwood.bravehost.com :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Writing is Not For Wimps

Why must I constantly be reminded of this?

They need to sell kits to new writers. Hearts of steel and skin of leather. Must be taken in for maintance yearly for the rest of your life.

In other news, The Giver is still the most haunting book I have ever read.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rectangle

Today in the mail I received my two copies of the Rectangle as payment for publication! For those of you who don't know, the Rectangle is the literary journal of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Major Honor Society. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was among a great group of poets, including Cameron Conaway, former PSU-A classmate, Chatham MFA grad Nimi Finnegan, and current Chatham MFA student Meghan Tutolo. Congratulations to all of you! I'm honored to be listed among your talent. :-)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It's been awhile. . .

I have a gmail e-mail address that I use exlusively for this blog and writing-related projects. I haven't received an e-mail in it since March 2nd. My point? Nothing has been going on in my writing life. I've been stagnant, stuck, unmoving, for over a month. Not that I haven't been writing, because I have. It's just that when it comes to submitting my work, setting up my website, and generally promoting all things literacy, I've been lazy. Most of that is due to the fact that I've been getting things done for America and working my butt off. When I think about it, ALL I have been doing is promoting literacy. :-P And, in fact, I've been the total opposite of lazy. I just have too much on my plate to think about submissions right now. Putting in 50 hour weeks on a storymobile and doing service projects all over the city can take a lot out of you. I'm even a little behind on my thesis. Ack ack ack!

Ok, all calm now. Let's talk about what I've been writing-- The Thesis (as I will refer to it until it has at least a working title) is going well, if not a little slow. I'm also currently working on a short story about a mother and daughter traveling on the Titanic. Kathy listened to me read it and said "This feels like a novel." I almost died, because I know it does. And maybe it will be at some point. But not right now. I already have one started from over a year ago that I doubt I'm ever going to have the patience to finish, plus I have to concentrate on my thesis right now. The last thing I need is another novel coming my way. . .

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Check out a fellow writer's website!

Friend and fellow AmeriCorps member Laura Peters has written a book and started a website all about it and her life! You can check it out at http://www.renaissance-seamstress.com/index.html .

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's up!

My story Mickey's Baseball Dreams is now available in text, as an e-book, and as audio at http://raenidaystorystation.com/mickeysbaseballdreams.aspx :-)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Submission Opportunity, Thesis Update, and More

Ok, so it's been a long time since I've written here. So, it's about time I do a complete update of everything that's been going on.

I'm finding myself, at this point in my life, much more challenged and entertained by writing for children than poetry. Maybe it's because I work with children and children's books every day. Maybe I was just ready for something new. Poetry has lost its novelty for me-- I no longer feel like I'm a master of it, nor do I enjoy sitting down and reading a poetry book as much as I do a children's book or YA novel. . .

An online friend of mine has created a site for children which includes poetry, short stories and activities. It's absolutely amazing the amount of work that has gone into this thing! She's now accepting submissions from children's writers, so if you are one please check it out at http://raenidaystorystation.com/default.aspx . You won't get paid for your work, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing it's being read and enjoyed by children everywhere.

Anyway. . . I'm going full spead ahead on my "povel" as my thesis. I've been busy reading lots of povels and examining what works and doesn't work about them. I have my proposal submitted and have actually started the manuscript! More about that later, though.

I'm also currently working on a non-fiction piece for children about the invention of the ferris wheel. This paper is the first time I've ever written non-fiction for children, but the topic is interesting and the process has been so much fun!

In other news, the issue of Rectangle (Sigma Tau Delta's literary magazine) with my poetry in it is coming out next month! Yay! Now I have to get my butt moving and submit some more. I want to really start trying to get my picture books published.