Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Want to Be a Mixed-Up Author? Now Accepting Applications

https://www.flickr.com/photos/library_mistress/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/library_mistress/

We’d love to add a few new members to our blog who love middle-grade books as much as we do. We are looking for people who are willing to post about 5-7 times a year with original, quality entries that include topics about the changing market, unique book lists, interviews, writing MG books, and anything else middle-grade related.  Each Mixed-Up Author also is responsible for one other “job” that helps keep our site fresh and up-to-date (such as keeping our parent, teacher/librarian, parent or kids pages updated; gathering new release information; or updating our Facebook or Twitter pages). We greatly appreciate when our members join in discussions and help promote our blog via blog/Facebook/Twitter.

If you’re interested in joining us, please send an email to membership @ fromthemixedupfiles dot com, and include the following in the body of your email (please don’t send us an atttachment):

1. Your name and website or blog.

2. A bit about your writing and/or publishing history (a brief description would be great).

3. How you learned about our site.

4. What special skills/talents you have (such as vlogging, webmaster, or web coding experience, artistic skills, teacher/librarian background, etc.) and what you think you can do for The Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors.

5. How you can help promote our group.

6. What you think being a member of this blog will do for you.

7. Why you love middle-grade books.

8. Anything else that you think might be useful for us to know about you.

We will accept applications until Saturday, October 18, 2014. Please spread the word to others who might be interested. If you applied a while back and would still like to join us, we’d be happy to receive a new application from you. We can’t wait to announce our new Mixed-Up members on Saturday, November 1st!

Where Evil Lives

When I saw the infographic below, I knew I had to pass it along to the followers of Mixed Up Files. Movoto has created a visual comparison of “evil villain lairs” from popular culture that really got me thinking about the places in our books where villains can chill out, and where heroes might find themselves deep behind enemy lines.

Some of the lairs below are massive and imposing, but it’s not size alone that makes a great home for villainy. Malfoy Manor (shown below) is a great Gothic castle of infamy, but Lucius Malfoy was only ever a minion at best, and Draco was more of a bully with aspirations of minionhood. Meanwhile Lord Voldemort, the real villain of the Harry Potter series, lived for a while under another man’s turban, in the dreams of a young boy, in the pages of an old diary, and in a bunch of other random objects. Voldemort was terrifying precisely because he did not care where or how he had to live as long as he could find some way to prolong his life and plot his return to power.

Now look at Mordor and Isengard from Middle Earth. These are some tall, imposing structures! This creates an amazing contrast with our primary heroes, the Hobbits, who tend to be short, barefoot homebodies. The Baggins family Hobbit-hole is an inward-looking place of quiet introspection, while the Eye of Mordor is constantly looking outward in every direction. Coincidence? There are no coincidences in well-plotted fiction.

We also see this kind of contrast in the Jolly Roger from Peter Pan, which is the polar opposite of the lair of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. The Jolly Roger is a mobile weapons platform built in a real shipyard and staffed by actual pirates, while the Lost Boys have an underground clubhouse they built themselves. The mismatch in lairs follows other mismatches in the story–Pan vs. Hook, boy vs. man, wooden swords vs. metal blades, youth vs. experience, fairness vs. cheating, playfulness vs. deadly revenge–all giving Hook and his crew every possible advantage. When the poor villain just can’t catch a break, we readers celebrate his defeat.

The villain’s impregnable lair can usually be infiltrated by a scarecrow, a cowardly lion, and a tin woodsman. Guards can be tricked or overcome. Sometimes the entire place can come crashing down at the hands of a seemingly outmatched hero.

The message for the villains is, enjoy your evil lair but don’t get too comfortable!

Villain Lairs

Villain Lairs

What are some of your favorite villain lairs from middle grade fiction? Put your suggestions in the comments below!

Changes at From the Mixed-Up Files

You may have noticed that our site has been a little more mixed-up than usual.  We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused everyone, but we are happy to announce that we have isolated the problem and found a solution.

Part of the issue required updating the look of our site as well, so today we’d like to unveil our new design. Welcome to the all new From the Mixed-Up Files!

The look may be different from what you’re used to, but you’ll notice that our basic design remains the same.  So you’ll still find our OhMG News on the left sidebar; our menus, categories, archives, and much much more on the right sidebar; tabs to our static web pages across the top; and our almost daily blog posts are still prominently in the center of our site.

There is one addition to our new design, and that is that we have moved some items from our right sidebar to the bottom of our page instead. So look there if you can’t find something you used to see on the right.

We hope you’ll enjoy the new look but the same great content.  And thanks for supporting our site as one of our dedicated readers!