Tag Archives: Chris Crowe

My Friend, Chris Crowe

I haven’t been writing lately. My grief for friends lost and parents and children mourning has been overwhelming.

This is no different today as I write a note of sorrow for Chris. He lost his oldest grandchild. Ella’s funeral is tomorrow.

Lots of you know Dr. Crowe.

He’s a husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, writer, jokester. He’s hilarious. Compassionate. Loving. Devoted. The adjectives are endless with him. If he were reading this as I wrote, I know just what his expression would be. There’s be a little bit of a smile and then zing! A joke from him. Chris is who he is, in part, because of wife Elizabeth. She is just so good.

Many years ago, Chris came to me and asked, “If you could run any kind of writing conference or workshop, what would it be?” With John Bennion we brainstormed what became Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. For several years we ran the conference together. And sang If I had a Million Dollars, Oops, I Did It Again, and Paperback Writer for everyone (agents and editors included). The words changed, of course.

Here’s the thing. With all the joking, all the teasing, all the tricksies you almost miss Chris’s kindheartedness.

He loves babies and I remember when my youngest was born. Anytime we were together and I brought Carolina, he took her from me and held her. He should have been the father to a hundred kids. The grandfather to a million. One day, I’m sure he will be.

But for now, I am heartbroken he’s doing this. Ella was a baby the Hughes fought to get. I remember when she was born. She was a beautiful girl. And she grew into a talented young lady. Not unlike her grandmother and grandfather, not unlike her stunning mother, Christy, and her artist father, Daniel. And Chris adored her. Has adored each of the children and grandchildren that have come into his family.

There are no words for this kind of loss. I haven’t been able to say the right things to any of my friends who have lost parts of their hearts lately. I wonder at my inability.  My frozen fingers, weeping heart. Shouldn’t a writer know how to say the right things? Be able to reach out? Soothe?

Some of you (of the 8) who read this post know I am a faithful Latter-day Saint. A few days ago, as I wept for Stephanie Moore at the loss of her baby, something came to my mind that offered me insight and comfort to lots of what’s going on now. And while I won’t share that here, I have a feeling Chris and his family already know what I learned during prayer.

Chris, thank you for believing in me as a writer and as a possible conference organizer. Thank you for the jokes, even though I did go and tattle on you to Elizabeth. Thank you for being an example –by loving your family and God more than the writing or teaching or anything else you do.



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LuAnn Brobst Staheli


Many years ago I spoke at NCTE. After my presentation, a woman came up to me. She was full of life, had a loud voice,  and a terrific smile. “I’m LuAnn Staheli,” she said, “and I teach in Utah.” She went on to tell me that she read my novels and loved them. She was especially fond of If I Forget, You Remember as it reminded her of a family member.

I was so grateful to see a friendly face in Colorado. To have LuAnn approach me several times that weekend. To have her show me around. Let me know what I was supposed to do. She pointed out the famous people. We talked books. Writing. Teaching.

It goes without saying that LuAnn and I became fast friends.

What a pleasure to know her.

To know she loved me.

Over the years I have gone to LuAnn when I’m sad, happy and when I needed advice. LuAnn knew everything. About books. About writers. About writing. She had me visit her classes. We did a presentation together. She showed me how to save money. She tried to get me to talk more about myself and my books. And when The Chosen One was nominated for a Whitney Award, I asked if I could sit with her at the ceremony. “I would love to sit with you, Carol.”

By the way, The Whitney Awards are a fancy affair. I bought a dress. Wore a pushup bra.  Heels. Was completely out of my element.

Not LuAnn. She took me in, introduced me to everyone and before the announcement of who won in the YA category, she leaned close. “The girls look like they’re fighting to get free,” she said of my bosoms. I laughed and rearranged  ‘the girls’ right before I was called on to the stage as the YA winner.

LuAnn was ballsy. She spoke her mind about writing. She loved fiercely.

And I loved her right back.

I’ve known for a while my friend was sick and had a chance to go see her a couple weeks back.

We’d been keeping in touch on Facebook, but I needed to tell her, with my mouth, that I loved her.

That afternoon, I let her know  she was the 2015 mentor of the year for Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. We talked that maybe she could accept the award from home. That we could film her acceptance speech. That maybe she would be at the conference in June.

As she worsened, several friends and I prepared to go to her house this morning.

To award her and speak our love to her in front of her family.

Here’s what I would have read from Chris Crowe: LuAnn, thank you for being, not just a champion of good books for kids, but also for being a friend and supporter of education. Many of our graduates are now successful teachers because of you. We always knew we could count on you to provide our students with great experience.

From Ann Edwards Cannon–a blurb from her book The Shadow Brothers: “Everything in life changes. Everything. Seasons, styles, the two you grew up in, the people you know, even the way you feel about all the people you know. All those things change. In fact, change is about the only thing you can really count on. Still, it’s like Diana said the night I first heard her sing. You can still decide to care. You can decide to love someone even though they’ve changed. Maybe you can even learn to love them because of it.”

From illustrator Julie Olson: LuAnn, a fellow Spanish Fork writer, was one of the most kind-hearted and generous people with her talents and knowledge. I sincerely enjoyed working with her occasionally on the youth writer workshops at the jr high in town and greatly appreciated her support and friendship through the years. LuAnn truly made a difference.”

That didn’t happen.

LuAnn passed away last night, peacefully, at 2:18. All night I tossed and turned, waking at one point because I couldn’t breathe, worrying about my friend.

It’s been a hard few months.

And now here’s this writer without words.


This is what writing has done for me–given me friends that I will love forever. Sure. There are books and having them published is fun. But the best part of writing are the people I have met. My best friends. The people I am at home with.  The people who have changed me.

LuAnn. Thank you for your friendship. I was at home with you. You changed me. You are a part of me.

I will miss you terribly.


by | February 9, 2015 · 2:51 pm

Three Things Thursday on Friday

First Thing from Carol!
We’re back. It’s been a very long month and a half with many thousands of miles put on a couple of cars. I am still tired. But almost everything I did these last few weeks was worth it. I may have even come up with a scene for a book. What book? I don’t know. But maybe I know the climax of that unwritten, un-thought-of book.
So next week we start in full swing back with the blog.
And we have several fun plans. Plus, we’ll need to set up a meal at Olive Garden for sometime in August!
I have a few goals for myself and the rest of the summer.
Number One–The girls and I are spending lots of quality time together. Dinners. Movies. Game time. Laughing. Arguing. Etc.
Number Two–I am gonna read like crazy. So far I have read THE END OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT and LIFE AS WE KNEW IT and I am halfway through Chris Crowe‘s book DEATH COMING UP THE HILL and halfway through Robin McKinley‘s ROSE DAUGHTER and I have  Ilima Todd‘s REMAKE and Courtney Alemeda‘s SHUTTER and Jandy Nelson‘s I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN. Plus I’m reading THE BOOK OF MORMON each day. 🙂
Number Three–I am going to finish four books in various stages of edit and writing.
I will also get my Dyson fixed.
And then vacuum really well.
AND I’m decluttering and preparing for my fall class and working on my website and learning twitter.
But One, Two and Three are most important and I intend to do what I love most the rest of July and August and September AND maybe the rest of my life.
Cheryl Van Eck says:
On my first attempt at writing a novel, my MC was a teenage boy with superpowers who was in love with a girl.
It sucked.
As a woman, I struggle to write like a man, particularly like a man in love.
It goes both ways, too. There’s a certain YA series out there by a man who pumps out about ten books a year.
I was about 50 pages in, doing pretty well, reading about this hardcore, James Bond-type main character with tons of action.
Then suddenly, the MC starts talking about how attractive this other guy is. My first thought: They’re gay?
Really, I considered that the MC was gay before I considered that the MC was a girl with a masculine nickname. She didn’t think like a girl or act like a girl. It was poor characterization.
Are you trying to write like the opposite sex? Do you feel you are successful? And if so, how do you do it?
Brenda Bensch says:
I love cool quotes from cooool writers about cool, writerly subjects. This oldie but goodie is from Ursula K. Le Guin back in October of 2000: “There are a lot of people who will say I’m the exception, the only good science fiction writer.  That’s nonsense.  I do seem to be somebody who has carried people from realistic literature to fantasy and back.  I’m happy to do that.  If I’m a steppingstone, walk on me, for heaven’s sake.”
That was then, this is now.  And I know plenty of writers who have been steppingstones for a lot of us.  Some of the leaders of the pack are Rick Walton, Dave Wolverton/Farland and, of course, Carol Lynch Williams.  If we’re lucky, we’re “walking” — if not on them — at least in their well-worn footprints. Thank you all for leading the way!
(Thank you, Brenda!)


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Day of Accountability

So, how did you do this week?

What happened in YOUR writing life?

I spent yesterday getting to listen to authors Chris Crowe, Ann Dee Ellis, and Martine Leavitt.

The day before I was with author Laurel Brady.

Today I will see Julie Berry and Alane Ferguson.


For those who are interested, Alane is doing a one-day conference tomorrow. Email me for information on signing up. Do it quick!


Tonight Julie Berry will be at the Provo library.


And Ann Dee and I MAY have decided what book we will write together.


This week I finished the book–and sent off a real draft to the publisher–that Cheri Earl and I are working on.

And Laura and I finished our book, too. And sent it off. Yippee!

I still haven’t started really writing. My computer has been doing weird things and when I took it to the shop to be repaired, they said it’s fine. I hope! I’d like to start writing a new book. And preparing for NaNo.


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