Monday, August 31, 2009

Tomorrow: Meet Deborah Weed

Tomorrow and Thursday: Meet Deborah Weed, author of the children's book The Luckiest Penny. Learn all about the book and her other projects, including children's musicals!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Everyone Loves Mo Willems!

Everyone loves Mo Willems, author/illustrator of great picture books like the ever-popular Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Now you can read his fantastic blog that takes readers behind the scenes of the life of an author/illustrator. You can even follow the rants of the Pigeon on Twitter!

Just another example of how truly everyone is jumping on the blogging/Twitter bandwagon.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vote at First Book!

For many kids, books aren't widely available. That's where First Book can help. Right now, First Book is asking you to vote for the state you feel is most worthy of a donation of 50,000 new children's books! You can vote once a day up until September 30th at First Book also wants to know: What book got you hooked? Results of the national vote – as well as a Top 50 list of books that got readers hooked – will be published in October.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A New Tour of VBT: Writers on the Move Starts Sept. 1st!

VBT: Writers on the Move starts their next round of promotion on September 1st! Each month, a group of talented, award-winning writers set aside their blogs on the 1st and the 3rd to promote each other's latest books and projects. This month, we start the VBT: Writers on the Move Mystery Site Give-away. Each month, the winner will have the choice of receiving the Mystery Site Host's book or a guest spot on VBT Writers on the Move blog. So, go visit all our blogs and see what we've been up to, and you could also be a winner!

VBT Writers on the Move September Schedule

Dianne Sagan hosts Crystalee Calderwood- That's me!

Harry Gilleland hosts Steve Tremp (Author of Breakthrough)

'Karen Cioffi hosts Vivian Zabel (Author or Case of the Missing Coach, Midnight Hours, and many more, and publisher at 4rv Publishing)

Kathy Stemke hosts Heather Paye (15 year old author of A Gift from Above)

Lea Schizas hosts Nancy Famalari (author of Summer's Story)

Nancy Famalari hosts Carolyn Howard-Johnson (Author of The Frugal Editor and The Frugal Book Promoter)

Vivian Zabel hosts Kathy Stemke (Author of Moving Through all Seven Days)

Margaret Fieland hosts Dianne Sagan (Author of Rebekah Redeemed)

Crystalee Calderwood -that's me! hosts Deborah Weed (Author of The Luckiest Penny)

Katie Hines hosts Marvin Wilson (Author of I Romanced the Stone, Between the Storm and the Rainbow, and more.)

Helena Harper hosts Mayra Calvani (Author of Crash!)

Dorothy Massey hosts Harry Gilleland (Author of numerous books of poetry)

Liana Metal hosts Lea Schizas (Author of Bubba and Giganto- Odds Against Us and founder of the Muse Online Writer's Conference)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson hosts Gayle Trent (mystery author)

Gayle Trent hosts Karen Cioffi (Author of Day's End Lullaby)

Mayra Calvani hosts Katie Hines (Author of upcoming book Guardian)

Marvin Wilson hosts Liana Metal (Author of Storytime)

Anita Yasuda hosts Dorothy Massey (her work appears in the Mini Mysteries and Spooky Stories anthology for kids)

Linda Asato hosts Helena Harper (Author of It's a Teacher's Life!: A Collection of Poems Set in a Girl's Private School)

Heather Paye hosts Anita Yasuda (Author of numerous books for both adults and children)

Steve Tremp hosts Margaret Fieland (Author of Moving Through All Seven Days)

Deboran Weed hosts Linda Asato (Author of the 4RV book Spider in Our Mailbox)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Come Visit my Store!

This month on my store, I'm featuring Angeline Jellybean, as well as a number of back to school books for young readers. I hope you'll check it out and purchase books for your children as they head back to school!

Friday, August 21, 2009

As Promised: Winner of the Angeline Jellybean Prize!

Sorry for posting this late. As promised, here is the announcement about the winner of the special Angeline Jellybean prize from!

The winner is Beth Bence Reinke. Congratulations, Beth!

If you could please e-mail me your address ( your prize will be in the mail shortly!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Unfortunately, the contest didn't generate as much activity as expected, but look out for more contests and special events soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Life: Writing and Working

It's been awhile since I've posted here. All of my energy has been eaten up by working on my novel, looking for a job, and looking for an apartment.

My YA novel (working title Comfort Zone) is almost finished! I'm very excited but at the same time it feels a little anti-climatic. It has been such a part of my life for almost nine months that I don't know what to do with myself after it's finished. I know I'll move on to other projects and eventually return to it for revisions, but I'm still sad to see it end.

I've been sending out poetry and flash fiction again. I have some picture books that I want to send out too. And I'm writing all the time. Not just on my novel, but on random other things too. My passion for writing has never been higher.

My second year with AmeriCorps will come to and end next week, and I've been desperately looking for a "real job." I've applied for teaching positions, secretary positions, pretty much anything I could find that I'm half interested in, and all I've received are rejection e-mails (or no responses at all). I did, however, land a gig teaching one writing for children class at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts this winter, which is really, really exciting. And next week I have an interview for an internship with a literary agency, which I'm hoping leads to bigger things, but neither one of those positions is going to pay the rent.

In short, I'm at a crossroads in my life. I've been working desperately for months to figure out what to do with myself after AmeriCorps ends, and now that time is here, and I still don't know. I hope I can get a break soon. I've applied for an alternative teacher certification program that would start in June, so I have nine months of uncertainty ahead of me. Long enough to finish another novel, but not long enough to really get started at a decent job.

I know it's a tough world out there right now for job seakers, so I'm pursuing everything I can and hoping one of the opportunities works out.

Monday, August 3, 2009

More about Helena Harper

Biography of Helen Harper

Helena Harper is a native of England, but she grew up in a household that did things somewhat differently to other English households, because her mother was German (her mother had met her father in Hamburg at the end of WWII, when as a British soldier he had been stationed there). This mixed background has had a profound influence on Helena and her understanding of so-called national divisions and whom we call an 'enemy' and whom we call a 'friend'.

From an early age she loved to read and write, particularly fantasy stories, and later she enjoyed studying foreign languages. At Surrey University she studied German, Russian and International Relations and spent considerable periods of time in Germany, Austria and Russia as part of the course. After university she went into banking, but soon realised that was a big mistake. “I felt like I was being suffocated,” she says of the experience.

She then spent a year teaching languages at a private school in London, and enjoyed it so much she decided she would get properly trained. She did a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Exeter University and then started her career as a modern languages teacher, a career which has lasted twenty years. During that time she has continued to write, concentrating primarily on fantasy stories for young children. However, in the past few years she has also discovered the joys of writing poetry for adults, and her first two books are poetry collections: It's a Teacher's Life...! and Family and More – Enemies or Friends?, which have been inspired by her professional and personal life.

Helena is now a private tutor and translator. She is continuing to write children's stories, and illustrations for her first children's picture book are now being done. Her aim is to see the book in print before the year is out. Many people ask Helena why she likes to write. She feels she can best express it like this:

The blank page calls,
the heart responds,
imagination spreads wide its wings
and launches into infinity...
Fingers dance,
words flow,
the page fills,
the soul takes flight
and the spirit sings.

Copyright © Helena Harper


Author's website:

Authorsden website:


Follow her on Twitter:

Purchase Family and More-Enemies or Friends?:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Family and More- Enemies or Friends? by Helena Harper

Family and More: Enemies or Friends? by Helena Harper

Who influences us in our lives? How do they influence us? Whom do we call an enemy? Whom do we call a friend? And why? Why do we have relationships at all?

These are the questions Helena Harper eloquently asks in her collection of poems that examines the relationships in her own life. She has had to rethink her definition of 'enemy', not least because her father was English and her mother German and they met in the aftermath of World War II in Germany. She has also been forced to rethink her definition of 'friend'. If we learn something from someone that helps us to grow and develop as human beings, becoming more understanding and compassionate in the process, then surely most people we meet in life will be our 'friends'?

Through the memories and experiences of the people in Helena's life, others can hopefully reflect on their own and maybe come to understand themselves and their relationships better.

Review of “Family and More – Enemies or Friends?”

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is more than a collection of poems, it is a story I enjoyed and learned from. As you read this book, it becomes clear that the author put a great deal of time and effort into the choice of every word used. Each poem has a melodic flow that moves smoothly into the next.

Family and More enlightens the reader to the conflicts and confusion that exist in a family divided by war. Being the child of a German mother and English father in the aftermath of WWII, the author delves into her family’s history by examining the lives of several family members as well as other personal relationships. Each poem is an intertwined life. With descriptive imagery these people come alive; you see their struggles and triumphs.
This wonderful poetic story goes beyond a family history; it depicts the futility, frustration and hardship of war, along with the frailties and strengths of the people that make up each of our families.

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is a beautifully written book. I highly recommend it.

Karen Cioffi, Author and Freelance Writer DKV Writing 4 U ( of Day’s End Lullaby

Contact details/more info:

Helena’s website:
Helena’s authorsden website:
Helena’s blog:
Follow Helena on Twitter:
Family and More- Enemies or Friends? is only available was an E-book from the publisher Eloquent Books.

Stay tuned on Monday for more information about Helena!