World Builders

Pat Rothfuss, a colleague of mine and a New York Times best selling author, is once again running World Builders, a fundraiser for the Heifer Project

Pat, who has become hugely famous because of his fantasy novels The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fears, has gotten novelists, publishers, and generous individuals to donate books, illustrations, maps, trinkets, and all sorts of really cool stuff. 

For every ten dollars a person donates to the Heifer Project, that person gets one chance at having his name drawn from a hat for a cool, donated item.  ($20 earns 2 chances, etc.)  Although Pat is a fantasy writer and much of the cool stuff comes from the world of fantasy, there are exceptions, including a couple signed copies of The Stolen Goldin Violin.

Other donated items are so desirable that they are not a part of the lottery but instead will be auctioned off. 

If you don’t feel like hoping to win the lottery, and don’t want to bankrupt yourself at an auction, you can visit the very cool “Tinker’s Packs” and purchase cool, donated items straight up.

All proceeds benefit the Heifer Project.  You can visit Heifer to learn more about that organization, but to be a part of the lottery/auction/Tinker’s Packs, you need to donate through the World Builders page.   

I encourage you to visit World Builders, check out the cool stuff, and make a donation today !

Holiday Fest Book Signing

Once again, we will be selling The Stolen Goldin Violin at this year’s Holiday Fest.  Holiday Fest is one of Stevens Point’s biggest and best arts and craft shows. 

Saturday, Nov 12 from 9am to 3pm

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 600 Wilshire Blvd.

Proceeds from the show benefit community holiday baskets.  So come and check out our booth, have lunch, buy some crafts, and know that you are helping feed the needy in our community !

NaNoWriMo 2011


It’s that time of year again, and I don’t mean Halloween.

It’s time for writers to put pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard!

It’s NaNoWriMo time!

This will be my third year as a NaNoWriMo participant.  The first year, if you remember, I wrote The Stolen Goldin Violin.  The second year, I upped my word count on Wilde Wagers.  This year, I plan to spend the month of November completely revising Syncopation and getting it ready to submit to Cornerstone Press in January.

So, I’m a NaNoWriMo cheater. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to turn off one’s internal editor and write an entire novel, from start to finish, during the month of November.  I did that the first year, but these past two years that system hasn’t really fit into where I’m at as a writer, so I’ve adapted the program to suit my own needs.  I love the supportive emails I get from NaNoWriMo, and being part of a writing community is amazingly wonderful.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress, and I encourage anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel to sign up.  It’s great fun!  Just go to and sign up today.  You are running out of time for 2011!!

Why High School Students Don’t Read

Elementary schools are alive with reading. Students are excited about the books they read in class, they enjoy going to the school library, and they beg their parents to fill out the Scholastic book orders. Teachers of elementary aged children seek out new material, read it, and incorporate it into their classrooms. What are your elementary aged children reading? Most of it is not what you read as a child. The books are new and hip and relevant to today’s kids. The world of children’s literature is alive and vibrant, and elementary schools bring that world to students. Exciting stories in the classroom promote reading outside the classroom.  This doesn’t happen in later grades. Between elementary school and college, students stop reading. It happens in junior high and high school, and the current curriculum is the reason.

When examining what my children are experiencing in junior high and high school English classes, and listening to my college students about their reading experiences in high school, I see that the books being taught in high school are not chosen to encourage an enjoyment of reading. In eighth and ninth grade, my son read Great Expectations, The Fall of the House of Usher, Fahrenheit 451, Lord of the Flies, and Robinson Crusoe. I loved these books (English major that I am) when I read them, but couldn’t something contemporary be added to mix? The most recent of these books was published more than fifty years ago.

Classics are good for teaching; they show “universal truths” and provide good opportunities for analysis and discussion, but they are dated. They are hard to read. There are contemporary novels that handle the same “universal truths” and provide similar opportunities for analysis and discussion that adolescents would enjoy much more than the ones being used in today’s classrooms.

My son spent the first twelve years of his life an avid reader; he called the library his favorite place to be. Last year, he told me he hated English. His comment at the end of eighth grade: “The Diary of Anne Frank was the most cheerful book we read this year, and it was only cheerful because she didn’t know she was going to die.”

The classics should not be thrown away, nor should contemporary books be ignored. Amazing books are being written for young adults that could be used in combination with the classics. Compare The Lord of the Flies to The Hunger Games; Have journalist Anne Frank interview The Book Thief‘s Liesel Meminger. How would one of Sarah Dessen’s protagonists handle being stranded on a desert island? Students bored and not participating in group discussions? Get them to read Jodi Picoult and you’ll hear their opinions on a whole range of topics. Topics that matter to them.  If they discover a new author in school that they like, there is a good chance they will want to read outside of school as well.

Junior high and high school English teachers should take a look at what is going on in elementary schools. Reading is alive; it is dynamic; it is exciting in the early grades. It could be this in the older grades too.


Dick Caulfield dies

Richard “Dick” Howard Caulfield died August 19, 2011, in Bloomington, Indiana, following a brief battle with cancer. He was born November 28, 1936, to Howard and Dorothy (Lovelace) Caulfield. Dick grew up in Indianapolis, went to Shortridge High School and received a bachelors and masters in education from Indiana University. He married Betsy Pearson, and they had four children.

Dick was first and foremost a teacher, at the elementary and middle school levels, all the way through graduate school. He was always willing to share his knowledge and experience gained from nearly fifty years of experience. He taught elementary and middle school in Indianapolis, worked as an educational consultant, and was a visiting professor at Indiana University.

Dick was active in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. He was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a Danforth Fellow, a regular presenter at conferences, and a writer for educational testing services and professional journals.

In his free time, Dick enjoyed golfing and watching Indiana University sports. He had season IU football tickets for more than fifty years.

Dick was one of the most generous people who ever lived. If you needed something specific, he would give. If you needed something vague, he would give. If you didn’t think you needed anything, he would give. If you didn’t need anything, he would give. Giving is what he did. Because of this, there are a lot of people walking around with holes in their hearts today.

A memorial service followed by a reception will be held Saturday, August 27, at 11:00am at Trinity Episcopal Church, 111 S. Grant St., Bloomington. Donations in Richard’s name may be sent to Waycross Episcopal Camp, 7363 Bear Creek Road, Morgantown, IN 46160 , or to the IU Foundation/Varsity Club at 1001 E. 17th St. Bloomington, IN 47408.

We encourage those who cannot come to Bloomington for the service to reserve 11:00 ET on Saturday to spend a few moments thinking about Dick and joining us in spirit.

My Dad

I’m an irregular blogger. I only post when I feel I have something interesting, clever, funny, or informative to say, but I’m a quiet person, both in person and on paper, and meaningful conversations develop slowly (if at all). My blog forces me to spend time in my head, trying to be poetic, to be a writer that people will want to read. For me, planning a blog post is an enjoyable mind-puzzle–more personal than a Sudoku, more challenging than a crossword, with no wrong answers but with some solutions being much better than others.

I’ve been in my head a lot the past few weeks, but I don’t feel like words are coalescing into anything worthwhile. A part of my life has been crumbling all around me, and I want to pick up the pieces through my writing and create something meaningful and beautiful. Something about my father. My father and I did not agree on very much, but he was a man with a large heart who wanted the best for everyone.

He died of cancer a few days ago. He was diagnosed with cancer only about three weeks earlier. For my family, death has moved swiftly.

I’ll write more when I can think what to say.

This blog post is a lame solution to my current mind-puzzle.  When I come up with something better, you’ll read it here.

Congratulations Winners!

Wendy Wetzel has won my blog/facebook name-your-favorit- children’s-story contest and will receive a copy of The Stolen Goldin Violin!

The Goodreads Giveaway winners are:

Katrina Buell, Indiana

Holly Kinsey, Georgia

Sam Pierce, Arkansas

Jo Ashley, North Dakota

Lionel Garcia, California


Their copies of The Stolen Goldin Violin are on the way.  I posted them today!

Thanks for playing and I hope readers enjoy our story!  If you didn’t win and would like to buy a copy, Order Here!


Bravo J.K. Rowling!

I finished the Harry Potter series several years ago but having just watched the last movie, I want to state how much I admire J.K. Rowling.

When Harry Potter first moved into the limelight, everyone loved the series, then of course, the nay-sayers found voice. I don’t want to pretend here that I find the Harry Potter series the best literature I’ve ever read, or that I believe J.K. Rowling to be the most adept wordsmith, but the truth is, what Rowling did is phenomenal. Her story is immense—and because it was being published as she wrote it, she couldn’t go back and fix things. My heart races and sweat drips from my brow at the mere thought of it.

The idea of publishing part of a story before the full story is written terrifies me. In a stand-alone novel, if I get near the end and decide that it would work better if the protagonist didn’t have a brother, I can go back and fix it—or turn him into a sister. If the strange rash that breaks out on her hands in chapter two doesn’t evolve into anything, I can go back to chapter two and delete the whole rash incident. If J.K. Rowling had decided that it would be better for Harry’s …. well, I can’t even think about what she might have wanted to change because she couldn’t “fix” anything. She was forced to work with what she had previously decided, and she was able to make it work. Always. Stupendous!

In addition to being unable to revise those early books, J.K. Rowling was under an incredible amount of pressure. Can you imagine trying to finish a story when you know millions—MILLIONS! of people are waiting to see what you write? And they want you to hurry. What if you don’t feel like writing today? What if the characters stop talking to you? What if the story has become boring to you? J.K. Rowling had to finish, with critics and fans and practically everyone in the world looking over her shoulder.


Some people will lean back and rub their fat stomachs and say, “Well, she got paid a lot of money for all that,” as though money causes the creative process to flow smoothly and perfectly. I don’t think money is the recompense so many people seem to think it is.

As much as I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and as much as I’d love to write something that was as beloved as the Harry Potter series, I don’t think I would ever want to write under that kind of pressure.

I realize J.K. Rowling will never read this blog, I will pretend for a moment that she is:

Well done! Brilliant! <insert standing ovation>

Win a Book Contest

Tell me about your favorite children’s novel–and win a signed copy of The Stolen Goldin Violin.

Do you remember one of your first favorite books? I’m excluding picture books, although there are, of course, wonderful picture books.  I want to hear about that first novel, that first full-length story you fell in love with. Tell me what you remember about it and why you loved it so much.  This contest is open to everyone, so children can tell me about their current favorites, older people can tell me about books they loved as children, or books they discovered by reading to their own children.  I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Email your stories to elizabethcfelt at (replacing “at” with the proper symbol and eliminating spaces), or friend me on Facebook and post a description of your favorite children’s book on my wall.

Valid entries must include more than just a title–I want to hear about your connection to the book. One valid entry per person.  For every person who enters, I will write his/her name on a card and put it in my “hat.”  I will draw the winner on August 1.

Have questions about the contest?  Email me or post to me on Facebook.