Thursday, November 19, 2015

Win a Gondola ride @ the Zorgos Happy Hour!


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SPECIAL EDITION #2 • November 2015

If you are in Oakland, please join me for Happy Hour at Lake Chalet on Tuesday, November 24th to celebrate the end of our fundraiser and kick off The Bullying Antidote give-away! This project will create a cultural shift in Oakland by expanding positive parenting practices throughout our communities.


I may have overestimated my fundraising abilities... but I still have hope to fully fund this project! I received many donations since my last special edition (check out the pix if you haven't seen it yet)—THANK YOU IF YOU DONATED!

I've got ONE WEEK to raise $3500! Please donate, share, participate!

Here is something I wrote for a poetry salon to share why this book and project are so important to me:

*  *  *  *

While writing Chapter 3: Problematic Childrearing Practices,
utside my open window
my nineteen-year-old neighbor
who lives with her unemployed mother
sat with her girlfriend
on the steps of the apartment next door.

Her toddler, ready for a nap,
complained, now and then, 
in a nonverbal way, as babies do, 
about the hot sun.

And every time she made a noise,
her young mother would say,

“Shut up.”

And instead of going outside
and telling her how it hurt me to hear that,
and how wrong she was
because babies need words
to understand what they are feeling
or they will grow up and tell everyone to shut up, 
I had to keep working
to meet my deadline.

So I prayed that she would read my book someday.

*  *  *  *

While editing Chapter 5: Understanding Bullying, 
a boy went to jail, tried as an adult
for doing one stupid thing
that hurt a person in a skirt,
and then telling the grownups
it’s because he didn’t like gays,
which wasn’t the truth.
But to be cool you must be vigilant
against anything different,
and under pressure,
this boy said
what he thought
they wanted to hear.

*  *  *  *

When I wrote Chapters 10, 12, and 17, (about Brains, Communication, and Technology),
my husband, a teacher, came home with stories.

Like of the boy sent home for bad behavior
whose sister put him in a headlock on the front steps
and the staff pulled him back to save him from her.

And the girl who complained
her teacher was mean
so mom came in to beat up the teacher.

And the boy whose mom
smacked him with a shoe
all the way to the classroom door 
(setting him up for a wonderful day of learning…).

And what he tries to teach them all:

“Use your words.”

But the rules in their families clearly state otherwise.

*  *  *  *

When I was writing Chapter 6, Toward a Bully-Free Culture, in which I state:

“Human Rights are what we give to one another,”

I thought of a man
who was born victim class
in a country where inequality was the law,
but his parents knew better. 
And when he became president
knees shook, hearts trembled,
because the ruling class knew
they deserved what was coming to them
for two hundred years of climbing on their power
with full helpings of neglect, abuse and death.

But this man said,

“Let’s move on instead.”

And that day
I found the word
for the superpower
that’s the antidote to bullying
that people can learn,
parents and kids alike.

Zorgos means "I will care."

Moms and dads, let’s talk about the nuances.

*  *  *  *

Please spread the word about The Zorgos Project at Start Some Good.

If you can make a donation TODAY, you will make a difference to Oakland kids, helping parents creating safer and happier families, streets, and schools.

If this project works in Oakland, it can work elsewhere.

Even a $1 donation will be so appreciated!

With Love, Hope, Appreciation, and ZORGOS,

wondering pie
ingredients 4 juicy
Did you know Zorgos is Esperanto for "I will care?" When people care, they will move mountains to achieve success. Zorgos symbolizes the power to shift bullying dynamics into caring and kindness.

The Bullying Antidote provides parents with the research-based tools they need to cure the cultural disease that lies at the root of so many of our social ills.

The Zorgos Project will give 3000 copies of The Bullying Antidote to Oakland parents who will read it in school, church, family, or work-based reading groups.

We know you care, too!

Please help us help Oakland parents help their kids.

3 taste

Have you seen the movie?

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 5.53.10 PM

The books are now living at Oakland Parents Together... and other Oakland locations... until we can roll out the program in January.

the last bite

Do you still have The Bullying Antidote on your reading list? I always say, "Don't read this book alone." If you live in Oakland, START A READING GROUP in your school, church, work or neighborhood. 

If you live elsewhere, or if you are shy... or too busy... you can join our online reading group NOW. There are discussion questions being posted on the Zorgos Reader. Read a chapter and reflect in the comments!


zp postcard


got zorgos sticker_merge


Bully Antidote COVER_sm

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 12.10.02 PM

a walk around the lake

a visit to your school...

In addition to our great perks, all of our donors will get a chance to win a gondola ride

Here's that link again!

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Kristen Caven
3056 Champion St.
Oakland, California 94602

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Clowning Around With Cinderella

Last May, Kristen was invited to do a reading at the Literary Foolery Cabaret by Cal Shakes actor/clown Tristan Cunningham.

Needless to say, hilarity ensued.

Monday, June 10, 2013

2013 Spring Scrapbook!

The book launched in April, with a foot-pampering party on April 27.

A bouquet to celebrate our successful fundraising campaign

Michael arrived on May 19th for a 3-week writing gig. First thing: rubbing elbows with literati.

 And the writing began! "Teen Pregnancy" on paper.

 Much coffee was consumed. Meetings nearly daily. This is where the new finale, "Step Up" was born!

But mostly, music was written! The wonderful spread of "Truth or Dare Waltz." 

After 3 weeks, we hardly recognize ourselves.  

But we're getting closer to having a show!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cobbler: The Glass Slipper... Yes? YES!


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Volume Nine • May 9, 2013

"This was such a fun read! I just loved it. It's a perfectly unique and modern twist on the Cinderella story..."

One Week to Go....

There are only seven more days before our campaign ends... can you help us reach our goal?

Twenty-six people stand behind Michael and I in achieving our dream of completing our musical. Are you among them? Would you like to be? (YES!)

Blook coverA favorite perk seems to be the paperback version of The Souls of Her Feet—which is getting effusively great reviews so far!

"...One of my favorite escapes as a child was piling into my mother's closet where we stored the sleeping bags and reading my seemingly never-ending book of fairy tales, and Kristen Caven took me right back there. She has the skilled hand that it takes to retell a fairy tale without coming off clichéd or overly sentimental..." 

Of course, you can also just buy the book for your e-reader; that helps us too!  
2 books
"...Strong voice, great characters, and upbeat pacing drive this story through to the very end. I identified so much with the cleaning-as-therapy that Ashley begins..."

And if you've read it, please write a review! Reviews make or break books by indie authors like me.

..."I dearly, dearly love Harry! But my absolute favorite part is the "glass slipper".

Here, let me read you some!

This is the "glass slipper" part J.M. Randolph liked so much in her Goodreads review. I read it at the launch ("lawnch") party.

 Lawnch Party video stillWant to donate now? (YES!) THANK YOU!!!

  • 7 days to $2500
  • My first review!
  • Virtual Reading
  • NEW Music!
  • The Last Queen of Hawaii

4 juicy
Listen to this beautiful soundtrack Michael whipped up. The song is "A Girl Like Me," the emotional low-point of the play, in which Ashley is wracked with self-doubt. But it ends hopefully note right before intermission, so we want to come back and see what happens!

Listen to A Girl Like Me

Now wouldn't you like to hear someone sing the lyrics?

3 taste
As soon as the campaign ends, Michael will get on a train and come out to California, where we will put our heads together and get more songs written!

the last bite

Upcoming Reading! 

K with Julie SilerMay 19, 2013, 2pm
Main Oakland Library

A week from this Sunday I'll be reading (a different part) at the California Writers Club. If you've been wanting to check ME out, check the CLUB out, or see bestselling author JULIA FLYNN SILER speak about The Lost Kingdom, her book about the last queen of Hawaii, please join us!

“…a sweeping tale of tragedy, greed, betrayal, and imperialism. The depth of her research shines through the narrative, and the lush prose and quick pace make for engaging reading.” —Library Journal

More than ever, 
Thanks for reading!!!!

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Kristen Caven
3056 Champion St.
Oakland, California 94602

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Put your feet together for: The Souls of Her Feet! (Spring Cobbler #3)

What if Cinderella didn't have dainty little feet? What if Cinderella's fairy godmother was... kind of a drag? What if Cinderella actually found her voice?

The Souls of Her Feet launched today!

Friends of the musical (FOTMs), I'm so very excited to invite you to read The Souls of Her Feet on your kindlekobo reader, or iPad! Heck, you can even read it on your computer, no matter what brand!

tsohf-M-promo(Secret hint - ONE of the links above has the price wrong... and if you've got that reader, you can download the book for FREE this week until it is fixed!)

Did you notice there are THREE covers? That's because there are THREE versions. (I can't do anything simply, can I?)

The Souls of Her Feet (a musical cinderella)

tsohf-N-promoIf you enjoyed reading the blook online, you will be delighted to find Ashley's story entwined with the musical-making subplot in a complementary and enticing design

You'll love pushing the buttons to play the songs (all music by Michael O'Dell), watch the videos (including some great new ones), and finding the pop-up surprises.

The Souls of Her Feet (a novel cinderella)

My super-cool editor convinced me to publish a version with just Ashley's story, which she (yay) thought was very strong and wonderful. Lucky thing, because I could only publish the bells-and-whistles version for the iPad. The 'novel' version, very shortly, be available everywhere!
Blook cover
Anyone who donates $20 or more to the musical gets a physical copy of the book—not available anywhere else! Can you pitch in and help us reach our goal of $2,500 in the next 30 days? We're working hard at this! Michael even went out and shoveled snow for donations, god bless him. We need more love!

Here are some of the other perks for the campaign:
- get a free ebook!
- we'll donate 5 pairs of shoes donated in your name
- a shoe on a shirt
- a jingle written JUST FOR YOU
- a magic tchotchky
- the undying love of the creators (you know it's true!)

I priced the ebook low ($2.99 and $5.99) to make it easy for everyone to buy it. I would love to hear your thoughts — please read and write a review! The more ratings the book gets, the better our chances for world domination and all that. I'll be doing lots of book giveaways this month, so let me know if you want to get one for free and I'll try to send word your way.

Thanks for your encouragement toward this very big step! 


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Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Cobbler - FOTM news

Hooray for our three Prince Charmings, Magic Talisman and Glass Slipper! Are there any Fairy GodWhatevers out there? With your help, we've raised enough with our crowdfunding campaign (donations are now tax-deductible, yay) to fly Michael out here for some serious songwriting. We're still trying to raise $2000 more to record new songs. 

link to indiegogo!

You can still be part of the fantasy! The more supporters we get, the more eligible we'll be for grants when production time comes. Whatever your budget (seriously, NO donation is too small), there is a giving level with fun rewards. One of them is...

teaser coverThe ebook!

It's coming out on April 21st. Yes, you can finally read the story of Ashley, Harry, and Jeff without interruption, on your e-reader. Wherever you are, I hope you can join me for the launch party on April 27! 

The Blook is over and I've got an editor who's an expert on superheros, radicals, girlhood, supervillains, woman in pop culture, and heroes. Plus, I've had so much fun creating the new cover art...this one is a teaser...