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Local author ñ multiple creative outlets

Falcon author CJ Dunham is one busy lady. Dunham not only has a young adult novel coming out soon, ìThe Crying Chandelier,î but also she is a storyteller, a mentor and a teacher. Dunham said she began writing at an early age; however, much later, when her first marriage ended in divorce, she lost confidence. Instead of writing, she found her creative outlet in storytelling. After her first performance as a story teller, Dunham said she would never do it again. She was too scared, she said. ìBut people came up to me, applauded and gathered around,î Dunham said. ìThen, my friend signed me up at a local library to do another storytelling, and I just kept going.î She currently performs in Colorado Springs with Performing Arts for Youth.Dunham eventually went back to writing, alongside storytelling. She has plenty of advice for budding authors. For ideas, she said, ìDonít look further than your own backyard.î Most of her stories have been based on memories from her youth. ìOur youth forms and molds us,î Dunham said. Crystals often appear in her novels because as a child she and her dad used to crack open geodes, discovering the crystals inside.Reach outside of the best seller list when looking for motivation and ideas, Dunham said. Getting published can be a challenge, and self-publishing is costly and time consuming, she said.As a new author, publishers donít always do a good job of marketing. So, itís important to know how to promote oneís book to stores and libraries, Dunham said.ìLetters I got from kids were the best part of publishing a novel,î she said. One child in Black Forest dressed as a character from her first book, ìThe Quest for Eloshidii,î which debuted in 2004. ìIt was then that I knew I had arrived,î she said. Dunham said she aspires to work with and influence younger people.In the first few months of 2010, Cricket magazine published a three-part story by Dunham as well, she said.Dunham also offers writing workshops that require a minimum of 10 people. The workshops approach creative writing differently than many other courses, she said. Instead of technical jargon, she likes to teach creative writing ìcreatively.î She uses plots and characters but also a ìtreasure map of the main points of writing,î Dunham said. The cost is $150 for three two-hour sessions.According to her website, Dunham is writing another book ñ a ìhumorous, romantic, intrigue.î She also has plans to publish a gluten-free cookbook.Visit her website at

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