• OhMG! News


    July 11, 2014: Apply for a Thurber House residency!

    Thurber House has a Children’s Writer-in-Residence program for middle-grade authors each year and  guidelines and application form for the 2015 residency were just released.

    This unique residency has been in existence since 2001, offering  an opportunity for authors to have time to work on their writing in a fully furnished apartment, in the historic boyhood home of author and humorist, James Thurber. Deadline is October 31, 2014. For details, go to READ MORE

    July 10, 2014:

    Spread MG books in unexpected places 7/19
    Drop a copy of your own book or of another middle-grade favorite in a public place on July 19 -- and some lucky reader will stumble upon it.
    Ginger Lee Malacko is spearheading this Middle Grade Bookbomb (use the hashtag #mgbookbomb in social media) -- much in the spirit of Operation Teen Book Drop.  Read more ...

June 16, 2014:
Fizz, Boom, Read: Summer reading 2014

Hundreds of public libraries across the U.S. are celebrating reading this summer with  the theme Fizz, Boom, Read! Find out more about this year's collaborative summer reading program and check out suggested booklists and activities. Read more ...

April 30, 2014:
Join the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and help change the world

The conversation on diversity in children's books has grown beyond book creators and gate keepers to readers and book buyers. What can you do? Take part in the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign May 1 though 3 on Tumblr and Twitter and in whatever creative ways you can help spread the word to take action. Read more ….

April 11, 2014:
Fall 2014 Children's Sneak Peek
A peek at forthcoming middle grade books (as well as picture books and YA books) in a round-up from Publisher's Weekly. First printed in the February 22 issue, but now available online. Time to add to your to-read list. Read more ...

April 9, 2014:
How many Newbery winners have you read?
You could make a traditional list of all the Newbery Medal Award-winning Children's Books you've read, but there's something so satisfying when you check them off and get a final tally on this BuzzFeed quiz. Read more ...

March 28, 2014:
Middle Grade fiction is hot at 2014 Bologna Children's Book Fair

For the second year in a row, publishers are clamoring for middle-grade, reporters Publishers Weekly. "I’ve been coming [to Bologna] for 12 to 15 years, and I’ve never had as many European publishers asking for middle-grade," said Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency. Read more ...

February 14, 2014:
Cybils Awards announced
Ultra by David Carroll (Scholastic Canada) wins the Cybil for middle grade fiction; Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (Disney Hyperion) wins for Speculative Fiction. Read more.

January 27, 2014: And the Newbery Medal goes to ...
Kate DiCamillo won the Newbery Medal for "Flora & Ulysses"; Rita Williams-Garcia won the Coretta Scott King Author award for "P.S. Be Eleven." Newbery Honor awards to authors Vince Vawter, Amy Timberlake, Kevin Henkes and Holly Black. For all the exciting ALA Youth Media Award News ... READ MORE

November 12, 2013:
Vote in the GoodReads semifinal round

Readers' votes have narrowed the middle-grade semifinals down to 20 titles. Log in to your GoodReads account and vote for your favorite middle-grade (and in other categories, of course). Read more ...

November 9, 2013:
Publishers Weekly Top Children's Books of 2013

Middle-grade and young adult titles selected by the editors of Publishers Weekly as their top picks of the year. Let the season of "top ten books" begin! Read more ...

October 14, 2013:
Middle Shelf: Cool Reads for Kids debuts January 2014

Shelf Media Group, publisher of Shelf Unbound indie book review magazine, will launch a new free digital-only publication for middle-grade readers. The debut issue features interviews with such notable authors as Margaret Peterson Haddix and Chris Grabenstein as well as reviews, excerpts, and more. Middle Shelf will be published bi-monthly beginning in January 2014.
Read more ...

September 19, 2013: Writer-in-Residence program at Thurber House

Dream of time and space to focus on your own writing project? Applications now being accepted (11/1/2013 deadline) for The Thurber House Residency in Children's Literature, a month-long retreat in the furnished third-floor apartment of Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio. Read more ...

September 18, 2013: Vermont College of Fine Arts Scholarship opportunity

Barry Goldblatt Literary launches The Angela Johnson Scholarship, a talent-based grant for writers of color attending the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program at VCFA. Up to two $5,000 grants will be awarded each year. Read more ....

September 16, 2013:
National Book Awards longlist for youth literature

For the first time, the NBA is presenting lists of 10 books/authors on the longlist in each category. The 2013 young adult literature list includes five middle grade novels and five YA. Read more ...

Sept. 13, 2013: Spring preview
Check out Publishers Weekly roundup of upcoming children's books to be published in spring 2014. Read more...

August 21, 2013:
Want to be a Cybils Award Judge?

Middle grade categories are fiction, speculative fiction, nonfiction. Applications due August 31! Read more ...

August 19, 2013:
S&S and BN reach a deal
Readers will soon be able to find books from Simon & Schuster at Barnes & Noble. The bookstore chain was locked in a disagreement with the publisher over how much it was willing to pay for books. Read more ...

August 6, 2013:
NPR's 100 Must-Reads for Kids
NPR's Backseat Book Club asked listeners to nominate their favorite books for readers ages 9 to 14. More than 2,000 people nominated titles, and a panel of Newbery authors brought the list to 100. Most are middle grade books. Read more ...

July 2, 2013:
Penguin & Random House Merger

The new company, Penguin Random House, will control more than 25 percent of the trade book market in the United States. On Monday, the newly formed company began to take shape, only hours after a middle-of-the-night announcement that the long-planned merger had been completed. Read more ...

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  • Get Lucky!


    lucky meCindy Callaghan has visited The Mixed Up Files before, and she’s back with her newest bit of MG fun.

    From Indiebound:

    After breaking a chain letter, can superstitious Megan find a way to turn her luck around?
    Meghan McGlinchey is the most superstitious girl in her family–and probably in the entire state of Delaware. When she receives a chain letter from a stranger in Ireland, Meghan immediately passes it on, taking only a tiny shortcut in the directions.
    But after a disastrous day, made complete by losing the election for class president and embarrassing herself in front of the entire school, Meghan realizes that tiny shortcut was a big mistake. Thankfully, her family was already headed to Ireland on spring break, and Meghan makes it her mission to find the original sender and break her extremely unlucky streak.
    With the help of an eccentric cast of characters–and one very cute Irish boy–can Meghan figure out a way to stop her bad luck? Or is she cursed forever?


    Amie:  Tell us a little about your inspiration for LUCKY ME.

    Cindy:  Who doesn’t love an old fashioned curse?  Mixed with a bizarre family and the Irish countryside complete with thatched cottages and gothic castles…it’s like all my favorite things together in one story.  Truthfully, sometimes I have a story in my head and I write it.  In this case I had Meghan in my head:  a superstitious girl in a rigid environment.  I wrote her story and those were the places she took me.  It’s really all about Meghan. 

    Amie: I love when characters do that!  So, just between you, me and all our readers here at MUF, do you feel as though you have the luck o’the Irish?

    Cindy: I’m actually not Irish in my blood, but I fell in love with Ireland when I was there, except the smell of peat…yuck!  I’m not particularly superstitious, but I’m known to have more than a handful of good luck charms.  It’s the kind of token that makes you feel good.  For example, a bracelet I got on a special trip with my daughter.  A little figurine that I toss in my pocket some days, just in case I need its luck.  Maybe if I believe it’s lucky, it is. 

    Amie:  So. Jealous. *repeats chant “someday I will visit Ireland!”* We’re passionate about middle-grade books here at MUF, but why are you inspired to write for this age group?

    Cindy:  Maybe I’m still middle-grade at heart.  Seriously, a lot about me is totally immature.  My heart just seems to resonate to stories about tweens.  It’s an awesome time: old enough to do lots of fun stuff, but not too old as to have adult responsibilities (bleck, who wants that?)

    Amie: Last question. It’s vital to the survival of humankind, so choose carefully. Corned beef and hash? Or bangers and mash?  

    Cindy: CB & H!!

    Amie: *presses buzzer* Wrong. The correct answer was chocolate. We’ve all become zombies. The apocalypse has begun and now we know it was all because of corned beef and cabbage!

    Cindy Callaghan is the author of the middle-grade novels Just Add Magic (2010) and 2013’s Lost in London (Simon & Schuster). She is a full-time writer, animal advocate, and supermom. A native of New Jersey, Cindy lives, works, and writes in Wilmington, Delaware, with her family and numerous rescued pets. She loves hearing from fans, speaking at schools and conferences, and zip-lining.

    You can visit Cindy at: Facebook, Website &Twitter

    Meanwhile, leave a comment below for a chance to get lucky and win a copy of her new book!


    The ONLY Conference Guide you’ll ever need!

    Book Lists

    The ONLY Conference Guide you’ll ever need!

    Hello Mixed-Up Filers!!

    Hope all of you are doing well since we last spoke only sixty-six days ago. I know I usually come here and say that I didn’t know what to write about, but this time is different. This time was easy. With the L.A. Conference right around the corner, I figured what better thing to do, than give all of you the benefit of my experience and present:

    The ONLY Conference Guide You’ll Ever Need!                  (Cue thunderous applause)


    So, you’re going to SCBWI L.A. and you don’t know what to do. You’re afraid of standing out in a bad way or perhaps even worse, getting lost in the shuffle entirely. Well, never fear, because whether it’s your first, second or even twentieth time going, these tried-and-true methods will ensure that you will get the most out of your conference-going experience. So, without further ad, we first start with:

    The Arrival: You get to the hotel and are immediately intimidated. After all, it’s a large place and it can feel just a little overwhelming, especially if you’re there alone. So, what do you do? Well the first thing is, you need to get there early. I mean, really, really early. The first day of this year’s conference is Friday, August 1st. But, if you get there on that day, it’s already too late. You’ve lost and wasted a ton of money. Today’s conference-goers are savvy. They know all the tricks of the trade. My suggestion to you, is to get there maybe Wednesday, July 30th, or just to be on the safe side, maybe even the weekend before.

    hyatt regency


    Why, you ask? Well, conference-goers are notoriously territorial and you need to carve out the best spots for yourself. Somewhere to see and be seen, if you know what I mean. Some prime locations are next to the bathrooms, near the water-coolers and around the snacks-table. You know, the heavily populated, big-time, foot-traffic areas. This is the way for you to get maximum exposure. But be forewarned, just because you get there first, doesn’t mean you get to keep it. You might just have to defend it. This is not for the weak-of-heart.

    Preparation: You want to be feared and admired when you go. The proper attire can mean everything. War-paint is a must. Project an image that you are not to be messed with. Scaring other writers away is half the battle. Better to avoid a confrontation when you can. Newer conference-goers will cower before you, but by the same token, you need to know that the veterans might make you prove yourself. Don’t worry, this is a rite-of-passage. They’re not just going to back away from some new kid on the block. That’s a sign of conference weakness and they’ll lose respect forever. So, be prepared for…

    war paint


    The battles: Gone are the days of violent physical duels. Not since the  incident of ‘96. I’m not going to get into exactly what happened that day, it’s too grotesque for a family site such as this one, but the grizzly facts were that it involved a quill pen, a dozen EMT workers and a moose. It wasn’t pretty. Nowadays, we have literary throwdowns. That’s why they tell you to bring your first pages from your manuscripts. A conference battle is a wondrous thing to behold. Many have gone down in conference lore and passed down through the generations. Who doesn’t remember that day back in aught-two, when Taylor vs. Morales went at it? Two behemoths at the top of their game. The way it works is this; you enter a ring surrounded by a blood-thirsty mob. And as everyone knows, there is nobody on earth more inclined to violence than a writer. You each read your pages and while the winner gets prizes and accolades, the loser is relegated to the Siberia of the conference: Hanging with the technical writers who are trying to dabble in Children’s lit. Oh, and one word of advice: NEVER get into a battle with a poet. Nobody ever knows what they mean and it’s so subjective, that even the worst poetry may touch someone in some weird way, that’ll leave you scratching your head at just how it was that you lost. Trust me, I speak from experience.


    On making an impression: You’re going to a conference and you want to leave an impression. They give you those little nametags, but you feel like it’s not enough. You’re right. It’s not. You need to make your mark! Go in there Flavor Flav-style. Wear your name in a giant amulet or even a clock around your neck. Bonus points if it lights up and even more for sporting the gold-tooth grill as well. Remember, this isn’t the time to blend into the woodwork or risk being confused with Edna from Dubuque. You need to make sure that people remember exactly who you are.

    flavor flav

    On sitting in workshops: You are going to be in different classes learning from experienced pros. Occasionally, in these classes, there’s a chance that you’re going to be called on to read your work. Here’s what you do. Before class begins, you go in at the very last moment and survey the room. Now, this will be difficult, because you’re going by your gut here, but try to pick out the weakest ones, perhaps even a few innocent questions to each person asking how many conferences they’ve been to. After you’ve made your decision, sit down next to them. And once they read, you quickly thrust up your hand to go next. It’ll only make your work sound better by comparison.


    raise hand

    On meeting Agents or Editors: Agents and editors will be at the conference, just dying to meet new talent such as yourself. And remember, they are just regular people like you and me. Just regular people who have the fate of your career in their hands. So, conference organizers expect you to treat them accordingly. So, never, under ANY circumstances, make eye contact unless being addressed. You must cast your eyes in a downward glance in a display of deference. When meeting them, please make sure to genuflect before them as a sign of respect. You wait for them to end the conversation, not the other way around, even if you have to go to the bathroom. Hold it. And if by some chance, they ask you to accompany them anywhere, make sure you remember to maintain the required five or more paces behind them in a show of subservience. It’s just proper etiquette.




    Well, Mixed-Up Filers, I hope this helps. Please make sure to follow all my advice and drop by here and give me your reports when you get back! I wish you all the best of luck and above all else, have fun and treasure the experience!




    *** The views and opinions expressed in this piece in no way reflect those of Fromthemixedupfiles.com. Any following of the advice in this post, may or may not get you ejected from the conference and perhaps even get a restraining order issued against you. Proceed at your own risk. ***


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    Thicken thou Skin

    Authors, Inspiration

    Writers often stay in the closet about their writing. Why? Because admitting you’re an author opens you up to feedback, critique, and rejection – more than any professional outside of arts and entertainment.

    reject-stamp-100108266Staying in the closet, however, means never getting published. For this reason, writers are encourage to thicken their skin and get used to rejection. Easier said than done, especially since most writers are sensitive and empathetic by nature.

    I am hyper-sensitive to rejection of any kind, even outside of my writing life, and self-doubt has been my worst enemy for as long as I can remember. After five years in the business of being an author, my skin has not been thickened – wrinkled, but not thickened – and my ego is more fragile than ever.

    At first, I thought the self doubt would disappear after I finished my first manuscript. Nope- that was when I first came out of the closet and faced the rejection of publishers.

    First published book? Nope – then it was reviews and sales records.

    Second published book? Nope – ditto to above followed by the rejection of my third manuscript.

    Agent? Well, this is the stage I’m at now, having just signed my first (and hopefully last) contract with a literary agent earlier this month. I am excited about this new step in my career but I have to admit, by this time in the game I am grizzled and wrinkled enough to know that the need for thick skin does not end here. As we work on another set of edits before she makes my first agented submission, I know we heading back at stage one (only this time in a tank with bigger fish – and sharks).

    ID-10086055Since my skin is not thickening on its own, I’ve collected a list of links that can help writers – and anyone with a heart beat, really – face the world of feedback, criticism, and rejection. Not exactly light summer reading but maybe, just maybe, it can help bring us into fall with something more useful than a sunburn.

    Rejection: 3 Methods for Coping (Gotham Writers) A good, quick place to start.

     25 Things Writers Should Know About Rejection (Terrible Minds) Digger deeper with ideas that go beyond the standard “suck it up”. Caution: mostly flowery, but occasionally foul, language.

    5 Ways for Writers to Overcome Self-Doubts (write to done) While some of these pointers apply to more seasoned writers (NOT authors), I love The Pimple Rule. Great links to other posts on making peace with criticism and why feeling like a failure boosts creativity.

    The Seven Stages of Publishing Grief (Writer Unboxed) Describes the ups and downs of writing in the age of google and amazon with a demonstration of how a writers reaction to bad book news follows the seven stages of grief.

    Famous Writers Who Were Rejected Before Making it Big (Bubble Cow)In an industry where comparison is paramount, remembering that all the great ones – our mentors, our role models, the objects of our envy – have also been rejected can literally help keep us sane.

    I truly believe that if you are not getting rejected you are not getting published but sometimes – okay, often – a gentle reminder is in order. And since the web is littered with them, here are some more:

    Best Sellers Originally Rejected (Literary Rejections)

    Famous Authors Harshest Rejection Letters (Flavorwire)

    Literary Rejections on Display: When all else fails, it helps to know you are not alone. This blog is for the not-so-famous among us to share the pain of rejection.

    Famous Writers on Literary Rejection (Aerogramne Writers’ Studio) And finally, some words of inspiration from writers who have been through the tunnel and reached the light of success but still faced rejection.


    If you have any tips to share, please comment! I’d love to hear how you’ve thickened thou skin. Or have you given up?

     Yolanda Ridge is represented by Amy Tompkins of the Transatlantic Literary Agency. Her books include Trouble in the Trees (Orca Book Publishers, 2011) and Road Block (Orca Book Publishers, 2012).

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