My Guest Author This Month is Crystalee Calderwood

I am delighted to have Crystalee Calderwood as my guest. She is another great, energized, busy, talented writer that I hope you’ll put on your list of favorites.

Crystalee, have you always wanted to be a writer? When did you get started?

I’ve been writing for almost as long as I can remember and reading for even longer. I remember writing some of my first short stories in first grade. I didn’t always want to be a writer; my career aspirations as a kid changed every five minutes. I didn’t really start thinking of writing as a feasible career until I was in grad school and started writing for children.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

That is a really hard question. I love almost everything about writing, from the moment when I come up with a cool concept, to making it come alive on the page, to revisiting it like visiting an old friend, for revisions. But my all time favorite thing about writing has to be that I know I’m creating worlds and characters that will someday come alive for the children who read my work.

What is the most challenging part of being a writer?

To me, the most challenging parts have to do with publishing: finding markets, sending out manuscripts, and then once your book is published, marketing and promoting it.
Who is your favorite author?

Another very hard question, since I rarely hate any authors and love different authors for different reasons. I rarely ever read adult novels, but I love picture book writers like Mo Willems, Karen Katz and Katherine Ayres (who I owe so much to). In YA novels, Lois Lowry, Jane Yolen and Sharon Flake come to mind.
What’s new that you’re working on right now?

I’m finishing up my very first full-length YA novel! (Hopefully, it will be finished by time your readers see this interview.) It is a modern YA novel set in Pittsburgh about a 17-year-old named Chelsea Anderson who must fulfill a volunteer requirement at school. She finds herself in the Hill District, a predominantly black area of Pittsburgh, tutoring kids at an after school program. The novel is about coming-of-age and breaking out of your comfort zone as much as it is about race. It is also based on some true events in my life, although my breaking out occurred when I was 24, not 17.
What are your goals for the rest of 2009?

Finish this YA novel! I also hope to revise the novel in verse I wrote for my thesis in grad school. And, of course, I’m still trying to get more things published: poetry, short stories, but especially picture books.

To find out more about Crystal and purchase her awesome book use these links:

The link to my blog is

You can buy my book Angeline Jellybean from or

More about Karen Cioffi’s book

                                                                                                                      Days End Lullaby


Bedtime is the most precious time between a loved one and a child.  Day’s End Lullaby will soothe any precious little one to sleep after a long day of play.  I look forward to sharing this book with my daughter every night and waiting for Mr. Sandman to kiss her thoughts to dreams.

Veronica DePaolo
Assistant Principal, The Abigail Adams School
Jamaica, New York

This book is an appealing addition to any collection of bedtime stories for preschoolers.  Colorful and attractive illustrations pair beautifully with the rhyming text.  Day’s End Lullaby provides the reassuring tone young children will love as part of their bedtime routine.

Kathleen Cavanagh
Librarian, Old South School
Ozone Park, New York

Here is order information for this great children’s book. It is on my list to get for our new grand daughter who is due in September.

Thanks for visiting this week with me, Karen.

Meet Karen Cioffi

I am so glad to have Karen Cioffi as my guest today. She is a wonderful and dedicated lady. She is on of the two women in charge of our Virtual Book Tours – Writers on the Move each month. She shares the duties of keep all of us organized with Kathy Stemke. 

Karen Cioffi is a former accountant. Having to leave the accounting profession due to MS, she turned author and freelance writer.  Having to leave the accounting profession due to MS, she turned author and freelance writer.  She is the co-author of Day’s End Lullaby, a children bedtime picture book. Karen wrote the poem and music to the story over 30 years ago for her firstborn who didn’t like sleeping. 

 As a hardworking writer, Karen is on the team of DKV Writing 4 U which provides writing services, and she is the creator and manager of the Yahoo group Writers on the Move. This is a marketing group of authors who use a number of promotional strategies and tools to cross-promote. She is also the co- moderator of a children’s writing critique group. Along with this Karen is a member of SCBWI, Children’s Writing Coaching Club, The Muse Conference Board, Linkedin, JacketFlap, AuthorsDen, and Goodreads. And, she recently joined BookPleasures as a reviewer. 

Karen has a number of articles published through and is currently revising a middle grade fantasy chapter book and working on a picture book along with writing articles for children’s magazines. Living in New York City all her life, Karen looks forward to one day moving to another state. She is married and has two grown daughters and two very young grandsons.  She spends much of each day writing, learning her craft, researching and reading, managing her groups, and following up on things.

Karen’s co-author, Robyn Feltman holds a master’s degree in Children’s Literature and Administration/Supervision. She is a fourth grade elementary public school teacher and is an initiator of environmental and humanitarian projects in her school; one of these projects is the Oambassador Program. Robyn continues to move forward in her academic career and recently completed her Superintendent certificate. She lives in New York City and has the cutest black cocker-spaniel, Luna. The authors have a number of projects in progress and ideas for many more. You can learn more about these authors at: