About Us

Middle Grade Minded is a group of up and coming middle grade writers looking to pull together our knowledge and become a resource on middle grade writing. We are but our own unique experiences, and each of us will be sharing advice, lessons learned on our writing adventures, and even some of our own middle grade memories. There will also be reviews, contests, and interviews with middle grade authors and agents. On this journey, we hope to help other writers as well as explore the world of middle grade together. Because let’s face it, middle grade is one of the most fun genres to write. Anything is possible with an infinite imagination.

We look forward to getting Middle Grade Minded with all of you!

About the Contributors

Jamie Krakover
Growing up with a fascination for space and things that fly, Jamie turned that love into a career as an Aerospace Engineer. Combining her natural enthusiasm for Science Fiction and her love of reading, she now spends a lot of her time writing Middle Grade and Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her short story ARCH NEMESIS was be published in the Brave New Girls Anthology: Girls Who Science and Scheme in August of 2017 and the sequel story PYRAMID SCHEME was published in Brave New Girls: Tales of Heroines who Hack. She also has two nonfiction pieces published in Putting the Science in Fiction.

Jamie lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, her son and her dog, Rogue (after the X-Men). When she isn't being a Rocket Scientist by day and a writer by night, she can be found catching up on the latest sci fi TV, books, and movies as well as trolling Twitter. And no, the rocket science jokes never get old!

Follow Jamie on Twitter (@Rockets2Writing) and check out her Blog.

Wendy MacKnight
Wendy's debut Middle Grade Novel, It's a Mystery, Pig-Face!, will be published by Sky Pony Press in February 2017. She is represented by LKG Literary. Wendy lives in New Brunswick, Canada.

She loves to read, write, cook, root for the underdog, garden, watch movies and sometimes pretend she's living in the South of France. Her favourite books include Anne of Green Gables, The Graveyard Books, The Penderwicks, A Wrinkle in Time, A Tale of Two Cities, To The Lighthouse, The Night Circus, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. She'll stop there for now...

Follow her on Twitter at
Visit her online at www.wendymcleodmacknight.com
Check out her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WendyMcLeodMacKnightAuthor/
Follow her on Goodreads


Kim Ventrella
Growing up on the windy plains of Oklahoma, Kim’s fondest dream was to live in a cabin in the woods and write books. No cabin yet, but she does spend her days writing books with the help of her dog/superhero sidekick, Hera. She has always loved creepy, weird, whimsical stories that make you shiver on one page, and then laugh and cry on the next.

When she’s not writing, you might find her racing her dog through the snow, watching old British mysteries or defeating children in Minecraft in her role as a Children’s Librarian. In her previous lives, she’s worked as the overnight staff person at a women’s shelter, briefly taught French and spent two fabulous years in Kyrgyzstan.

Kim’s debut novel, SKELETON TREE, comes out with Scholastic on September 26, 2017 (and it’s also being published in the U.K. and Italy!!!). She’s represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House and Mary Pender at United Talent Agency.

Check out her website: 

Follow her on Twitter: @kimventrella
Like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kimventrella/
Find her on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28807752-skeleton-tree
And…like her dog pics on Instagram: @kimventrella

R.H. Roberts
R. H. Roberts writes in Oklahoma amid the fun and chaos of seven children, one husband, two pets, and she’s not sure how many cows. You can call her Renee. She loves adventure and travel, especially when she can snorkel, SCUBA, explore cool castles and ruins, or immerse herself in fascinating cultures. She weaves her extraordinary experiences into her tales.

Catch up with Renee on twitter, facebook, and pinterest or check out her blog. She'd love to hear from you!

Robert Polk

Robert writes from the home he shares in western Nebraska with his wife and seven children. He's been a teacher, coach, school counselor, and business owner and will readily admit that raising a large family is even harder that writing children's books. He's serious. And writing for kids is hard enough! 

Climbing trees with a rope and chainsaw (his previous business) still provides him with moments of thrill.

His first book was OPERATION TREE ROPER: AN EYE ABOVE by Anaiah Press - October 2014. He's working on more books though, duh.

Follow Robert on Twitter

Shari Green
Shari writes both young adult and middle grade fiction. She's in love with stories and the sea, and can often be found curled up with a good book and a cup of tea, or wandering the beaches near her home on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. She's the author of FOLLOWING CHELSEA (contemporary YA) and a contributing author of FALLING FOR ALICE, an Alice in Wonderland anthology. Her middle grade novel in verse, ROOT BEER CANDY AND OTHER MIRACLES, launches Fall 2016 from Pajama Press.

In her non-writing life, Shari works as a Practical Nurse. She lives with her husband, kids, and the worst watch-dog ever.

Follow her on twitter @sharigreen
or visit her online at www.sharigreen.com.


Stephanie Bearce

Stephanie Bearce is a history detective and a science nerd who loves turning her discoveries into books for kids. As the award-winning author of 24 children’s books, Stephanie is a frequent presenter at education conferences, kidlit festivals, schools, and libraries. When she's not writing books she likes to spend time exploring haunted castles, wandering in bone filled catacombs, and adding to her extensive fossil collection.

Stephanie lives in Missouri with her rocket-scientist husband, but she is always planning her next adventure. Her goal is to visit every continent and all 50 states. She's only five states and three continents away from that goal!

You can learn more about Stephanie and her books at www.stephaniebearce.com

Her nonfiction work is represented by Stacey Graham of Red Sofa Literary and her fiction work is represented by Heather Cashman of Storm Literary. 

Amanda Hoving

Amanda is a teacher and a writer who thinks middle grade literature is the best of all! She enjoys reading and writing funny stuff that has heart (and maybe a little magic). When she’s not reading or writing, Amanda loves to laugh, watch baseball, play the guitar and laugh some more. She is not a good cook, and she wouldn’t mind being a hermit someday.

Originally from the plains of the Chicago suburbs, Amanda and her family now live in the hills of northeastern New Jersey, where they always keep their bear whistle handy.

You can find Amanda’s miscellaneous tomfoolery at her blog and on Twitter.

Kelly K. Clarke

A former Big Four management consultant turned mom, Kelly decided that creative truths and magical worldbuilding were more fun to use in children’s books vs an office anyway. In line with her emotional maturity level and probably unhealthy obsessions with glitter, unicorns, and cryptids, Kelly writes Middle Grade fantasy with sci-fi elements and main characters who share her children’s Afro-Caribbean/white American heritage.

Kelly is a Highlights Foundation scholarship recipient (humor her and say it was all about merit), longtime SCBWI member, and contributor to the Kidlit Exchange review network.

Kelly lives between the feral strip malls of suburban Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband, flatulent superhero son, and diva daughter. When she isn’t nagging her children about homework or sneaking writing in around her job as a marketing technology project manager, Kelly is in the PTA office swilling energy drinks.

Follow Kelly on Twitter @KidlitUndrGrnd and check out her Blog at KidlitUnderground.com.

Past Bloggers

Brooks Benjamin
In 6th grade, Brooks formed a New Kids on the Block tribute dance crew called the New Kidz. 

He wasn’t that good of a dancer back then. But now he’s got a new crew—his wife and their dog. They currently live in Tennessee where he teaches reading and writing and occasionally busts out a few dance moves. 

He’s not much better at it now.

Follow Brooks on Twitter (@brooksbenjamin) and check him out at his Blog and on Facebook.

Brooks is the author of MY SEVENTH GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS (Delacorte/Random House, Spring 2016). He is represented by Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary Agency

Lara Chapman
Lara Chapman lives with her family in Central Texas, where she teaches high school English. She reads and writes daily and is rarely—if ever—found without her laptop and iPhone. Lara has a lifelong love affair with animals, especially daschunds, and always has an animal or two snuggled close when writing.

Lara is represented by the 100% magnificent Holly Root of Waxman Literary Agency. She is the author of FLAWLESS (YA) and her middle grade novel THE XYZs OF BEING WICKED released in July 2014. It's sequel, ACCIDENTALLY EVIL releases April 2015.

Follow Lara on Twitter (@LaraChapman) and be sure to visit her website.

Daniel Kenney
Daniel is a math teacher, professional thumb wrestler, and founding member of Nebraskans for Hufflepuff who stays at home these days raising his seven children and writing silly adventure books for kids. 

Most afternoons you can join Daniel for a drink down at the Leakey Cauldron where he will regale you with tales of his rather unspectacular college football career.

Follow Daniel on Twitter (@DanielKenney), check him out at his Blog or on Facebook.

Jason A. Rust
Jason first realized he wanted to be a writer way back in Mrs. Rollin’s 3rd grade English class, when he would scribble fantastic adventure stories instead of paying attention to the class discussion of Flowers for Algernon. Somewhere along the way, though, he found out that writers mostly make peanuts and survive on weak coffee, imagination, bird seed, and disappointment. So he became a different type of writer for a living, the kind that writes source code for software. Middle age, though, found him once again dreaming up new worlds and needing to tell their stories. He’s been back to scribbling ever since.

A lifelong resident of Northern KY (just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati), when he’s not writing software now, he’s working on the latest fantastic adventure story to take root in his head. In between doing that, he endeavors not to make his wife too crazy or ruin his four children before they can reach the safety of adulthood.

Jason is represented by Danielle Smith at Red Fox Literary.

Follow him on Twitter (@jasonarust) and check out his blog, Puddintopia.

Melyssa Mercado
Melyssa Mercado is a writer of Middle Grade stories. Creative writing has always threaded the needle of Mel's life, weaving worlds and character-friends into a kid's heart. She believes humor is the true chicken soup for the soul (and that nobody really throws up all night). Mel’s wish list will forever include book-scented candles and making readers smile. SCBWI and Eastern New York chapter member. She's represented by the lovely Victoria Selvaggio of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Follow Mel on Twitter @MyInnerMG
or her Blog: MyInnerMG.wordpress.com

Stacey Trombley
Growing up as the youngest daughter of a real life magician (okay, 'illusionist',) Stacey always saw the magic of real life. She traveled to her first third-world country at age twelve, where she learned that even the smallest of people can change the world, just a little at a time. 
She now lives in Canton, Ohio, with her husband and 120 pound Rottweiler,  where she waits for her next big adventure. Til then, she's content creating her own adventure through her wild imagination. She writes YA and MG fiction of all shapes and sizes.
  Stacey's YA contemporay novel NAKED will be published by Entangled teen in 2015. Follow her on Twitter (@Trombolii) and check out her Blog.

Erin Petti
Erin Petti lives by the ocean in Massachusetts and loves to read about magic, dinosaurs, folklore, and ghosts. She has a Masters in Education and a background in improvisational comedy.

Erin lives with her husband, excellent toddler, and cat (who she suspects likes her better than she's letting on).

Her debut novel, The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee, publishes from Mighty Media Press September 2016.

Check out her Website: erinpetti.com
Follow her on Twitter: @empetti
Like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/erinpettiauthor/
Look her book up on Goodreads:

Dan Gemeinhart
Dan Gemeinhart lives, breathes and sometimes eats middle grade lit, meaning that to adults he's kind of weird and to kids he's...well, kind of weird, but kinda fun, too. He lives with his lovely wife and three young daughters in a small town in the mountains of central Washington State. He serves on a state middle grade award committee, works as a K-5 teacher librarian, and writes middle grade books of his own. His debut middle grade novel, THE HONEST TRUTH, comes out from Scholastic Press in January 2015.

You can follow him on Twitter (@dangemeinhart), Instagram, or Facebook. His website bears the strikingly original URL of dangemeinhart.com. If you lived closer he'd buy you a drink.

Stefanie Wass 
Stefanie Wass writes middle grade novels from her home in historic Hudson, Ohio. A member of SCBWI and finalist in the 2012 National Association of Elementary School Principals Book of the Year Contest, her nonfiction credits include the LA Times, Christian Science Monitor, Seattle Times, The Writer, Cleveland Magazine, Akron Beacon Journal, This I Believe, Cup of Comfort, and 15 Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. 

Catch up with her on Twitter @stefwass and her website: www.stefaniewass.com.

Tom Torre
Tom is an IT whiz by day (just think of one of those guys from Office Space), and a comic book artist, video game buff, and middle-grade writer by night. After a few stints as colorist in the comic book industry, he completed his first major middle grade novel, COPERNICUS NERDICUS, which combines his love for video games and robotic warfare.

When he isn't locked away in his man-cave watching The GOONIES for the 347th time, or catching up on some geek-news on Kotaku, he's probably busy cooking up some chaotic food dishes for his wife and his 100 lb doberman named Braveheart's Dantes Inferno. Yes...that's his dog's real name.

Tom is represented by Dawn Frederick at Red Sofa Literary.

Follow Tom on Twitter (@CopernicusNerd) and check out his Blog.

Tom Mulroy
Tom has been an elementary teacher for about half of his life and a writer for even longer. When he isn't doing something related to school or writing, you'd probably find him listening to music, reading, watching movies or playing video games, which makes him about the same person he was at fourteen years old.

He lives in the suburban sprawl surrounding tropical Minneapolis, Minnesota. He thinks potatoes are hilarious, and his sense of humor is so dry that even he can't tell when he's being sarcastic.

Tom is represented by Carrie Howland of Empire Literary. Follow Tom on Twitter (@Tomulroy424) and be sure to visit his blog.

No comments: