Gratifying Moments

Hello Mixed-Up Filers!

How are you all doing? I know it always seems like forever between posts, but this one felt excruciatingly long. I missed you!

Well, for the three of you who’ve regularly read my posts, shout out to my mom here, you know that I always wonder what I should write about. I debate and debate for a long time until finally settling on something.

Well, not this time. Nope, this time I was ready. I had a post all lined up, and let me tell you something…it was spectacular. As all of you know, I’m the shy, modest type and don’t like to sing my own praises, but this might have been the best post I’ve ever written. Generation after generation of families would’ve passed this down to their children and their children’s children and talked about this legendary post. However, there was one problem with it.

It was basically a going back to school post and it was filled with books about that topic. But, that’s when I was preempted. Louise had a similar post on Monday. Not that I’m complaining, or not that I shook my fist to the heavens when I saw it, because really, it was a magnificent post, but that’s beside the point.

The thing is, I didn’t want to put two similar posts in the same week. So, it was back to the drawing board and wondering what to put, when something great happened for me.

This morning I received a package. I had no idea what it was at first, but when I rushed to open it, I found books inside…with my name on them! As some of you know, I have my debut novel, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, coming out next year. (Yes, that was a shameless plug). But, this wasn’t that. You see, last year, I also wrote a few books for an educational company, which they liked and published and go on sale now. Yes, right now! And guess what? Those books came today!

I know to some people this might seem silly, but to finally see your name on a book cover after working hard at it for so many years, was a beyond thrilling experience.

Writing is a lonely endeavor. It’s hard to feel rewarded at times. It’s a long process and even if you get some success, it isn’t instant gratification by any means. That’s why today was special for me. All told, there were three books. Two non-fiction for younger readers about animals and one for middle graders called Rockefeller Caper, which is aimed to give readers a taste of life in the 1920’s. I had so much fun doing it and to finally see it in book form was unbelievably gratifying.

rock caper

(Yes, that’s my name in the street!)

Now, I know that next year, when Cuddle Bunnies comes out, it’ll be the best experience I’ve ever had in writing, but for now, this ranks right up there and no matter what, will always hold a special place for me.

Well, that’s my time, Mixed-Up FIilers and thanks for indulging me.

Until next time…

How to Create Complex Characters

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about complex characters. You know—those memorable folks who inhabit our favorite books and keep us awake past our bedtimes. But what is it about these characters that makes them so memorable? What writing tricks have the authors employed to compel us to follow their characters from beginning to end, even if it means sacrificing our sleep?

These are questions I’ve asked myself as I’ve sought to improve the character development in my own stories, so I thought I’d share a writing tip that I’ve found helpful. However, even though it’s probably safe to assume that everyone who reads the MUF blog loves to read, I figured I’d give your reading-brain a 3-minute break today. So instead of an in-depth written post, I’m presenting my writing tip as part of my video series as The 3-Minute Writing Teacher.

If you’re a writer, I hope the video will prove useful as you continue to improve your writing craft. If you’re a teacher, consider using the video as a launch point for a writing mini-lesson. And if you’re neither a writer nor a teacher? . . . Well, maybe you’ll want to watch the video anyway, just to see what Luke Skywalker and a school bully could have in common.

How to Create Complex Characters

Do you have an example of a memorable, complex character from a book you’ve read? What was it that made that good character a bit bad . . . or that bad character a bit good? Feel free to post in the comments below.

T. P. Jagger The 3-Minute Writing TeacherAlong with his MUF posts, T. P. Jagger can be found at, where he provides brief how-to writing-tip videos as The 3-Minute Writing Teacher plus original, free readers’ theater scripts for middle-grade teachers. For T. P.’s 10-lesson, video-based creative writing course, check him out on

The Winners of BOTH Clayton Stone Books are…

I’d like to thank Ena Jones again for her fantastic interview filled with interesting info about her amazing MG Clayton Stone spy series and helpful advice–plus her generous giveaways.

A huge thank you to all our readers who entered and left comments on our blog.

The winners of BOTH signed Clayton Stone books are:

Clayton Stone At Your Service cover









Greg Pattridge


Heidi Grange

Huge congrats to the winners! We’ll be in contact with you soon, so you can receive your prizes. 🙂