Friday, September 21, 2012

Opportunity for MG and YA Writers

Keilin Huang of Lee & Low Books writes to us about this new award for aspiring writers:

The New Visions Award, established this year, will be given for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by an author of color. The Award winner will receive a cash grant of $1,000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. The deadline this year to submit manuscripts will be October 30, 2012.

Lee & Low Books is known for striving to give authors of color a chance to have their voices heard. This New Visions award is modeled after their New Voices Award for picture books, which was established in 2000.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'M BORED Giveaway Winner!!

Thanks to everyone who commented on our posts about potatoes, boredom and other things to commemorate the release day of illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi's picture book:

We've tallied up the entries and we're excited to announce the winner:

Jaye Robin Brown

If you want to get in on more I'M BORED fun, MiG Writer Christina Farley has an interview with Debbie Ridpath Ohi over on her blog, Chocolate for Inspiration, with another chance to win! (Entry deadline is September 19th).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Synopsis tip

I’m working on a new non-fiction book for my publisher. This one is on electricity and while most of my previous books incorporate experiments and inventors, this is my first all-out-science title. It’s pretty exciting. But it’s also a little challenging.

Electricity is *not* something I know a lot about. I’m having to do a good deal of research to make sure I’m getting facts right and picking all the important information to include in the tight format. Typically, after I’ve researched something I call my dad (who does know a lot about electricity) and explain what I've learned to him. Articulating things out loud before I commit words to paper helps me. 

I recently came across an interesting quote (which is now taped to my computer monitor!)

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Albert Einstein 

I was reminded of this quote yesterday when I read Andrea Mack’s blog about writing the dreaded synopsis. 

Only instead of not understanding our books well enough, I think the problem with writing a synopsis is that we know our books TOO well! We keep wanting to cram in all the little details and the results aren’t pretty. It’s a challenge to step back and find those bare bones.

Andrea shared a link to a post by Susan Dennard. I read it and bookmarked it and I highly suggest you go do the same. It's an extremely helpful post and includes a template for a 1 page synopsis. 

I think that when we find these little gems we just gotta share them. Hope you find them as helpful as I did!

Anyone else have a tip about writing a synopsis or a link you'd like to share? 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 4: I'm Bored Celebration

I don't know about you, but I've always thought potatoes were kind of a boring vegetable. So how surprised was I when I went into my kitchen on the release day of I'M BORED, only to find....a potato celebration party!

I think seeing a fellow potato illustrated in a picture book went to their heads...or their hats, anyway.

These two had a lot to say:

So I was wrong. Potatoes are not boring. Still don't believe me? You'd better check out I'M BORED, and see for yourself.

Even better, you can win a copy of I'M BORED by commenting on this post. For even more chances to win, comment on all of our MiG Blog posts this week:

 Day 1: Happy Book Birthday to I’M BORED

Or tweet about our celebration and mention it in your comment.
 Our contest closes Sunday September 9 so make sure you get your entries in!
To find out more about I'M BORED and Debbie Ridpath Ohi's illustrations, visit her I'M BORED Scrapbook.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 3: The Celebration Contest Continues (and is not boring)!

Look at how expressive Debbie's illustrations are! This is the most fun looking bored kid ever. Don't you wish you could give this book to a bored kid in school?

If you win our giveaway contest, you can give I'M BORED to that kid suffering through long division. Or keep it for yourself, which is what I'd probably do. I mean, school is such a unique combination of boredom and enforced sitting and staring. Who'd want their kid to miss that feeling?

Things to do in school when you're bored and you're short so the teacher makes you sit up front:

1. Draw scribbles while you look at teacher. Make scribbles into portraits when your teacher looks away. Someday you may be as good as Debbie!

2. Recite the states in your head, along with what you'd rather be doing in them. Alabama: eat barbecue. Alaska: see a glacier. Don't forget to eat a potato in Idaho.

3. Give your teacher a potato name. Like Mr. Russett Spuds or Ms. Frenchie Eyesprout. Uh, keep it to yourself.

Unlike the news about our giveaway contest. Spread that everywhere like magically non-caloric butter on a baked you-know-what!

Just comment and you're entered for a free copy of I'M BORED, written by celebrity author Michael Ian Black. Tweet about the contest and tell us in your comment, and your entry counts double.

So check out I'M BORED on Debbie's website...
Or follow her on Twitter at @inkyelbows...
Or read about her in Publisher's Weekly...

I promise, you won't be bored. Congratulations, Debbie and Michael!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day Two - I'M BORED Celebration

I’m so excited to be a part of the celebration for Debbie’s first book, I’m Bored!! I remember when Debbie first started working on the illustrations for this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Too bad I can’t win our contest, but YOU can, all you have to do is comment on our blog sometime this week. If you tweet the contest and tell us, we’ll give you another entry.

To help celebrate Debbie’s exciting news, I’d like to do something a little different today. I’m going to share something my kids and I love to do with a POTATO. Make chips! (Potatoes know about fun - read the book. :-) ) 

Making potato chips is a bit time consuming but so worth it. Nothing like a warm, salty chip...cue Homer Simpson drooling 

You’ll need:

1 to 2 large potatoes (we use baking potatoes)
Potato slicer
Vegetable oil
Deep fryer and slotted spoon
Sea salt 
Paper towels

Slice potatoes as thinly as you can. If you don’t have a slicer, just do your best to keep the slices uniformed. 
Rinse slices with cold water and pat dry. This is an important step so don’t skip it.
Fill fryer about half way with vegetable oil and heat. (We don’t have a temperature dial on our fryer so we just keep testing the oil until a small potato slice begins to fry and float.)
Working in small batches, add potato slices to oil and heat until golden brown. Use the spoon to occasionally flip the chips so they are evenly cooked. I know from experience you’ll be tempted to start making bigger batches but resist that urge. Bigger batches won’t cook as evenly.
Carefully spoon out chips (let oil drip out of slotted spoon) and lay them in a single layer on paper towels. 
While chips are still warm, sprinkle with salt. You can also experiment with other spices. We’ve tried pepper, vinegar and salt, and cinnamon. 

Tip: it helps to have an assembly lines of sorts. My kids and I set up a system where I cook, my son sprinkles the salt and my daughter carefully pours the batch that’s ready into a bowl. 

So there you go - a good thing to do with a potato! Now, while you’re munching on your homemade chips, check out more about Debbie’s book here:

Check out what Publisher's Weekly has to say about I'M BORED here.
Follow Debbie on Twitter: @inkyelbows 
Check out Debbie's website:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Book Birthday to I'M BORED!

Today is a big day here at the MiGs. I'M BORED, written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by our very own Debbie Ridpath Ohi, is released today!

To celebrate the release of I'M BORED, all week here at the MiGs we will be talking about what makes us bored or something related to I'M BORED.

And for every comment you post, you will automatically get entered to win a copy of I'M BORED! Tweet about this contest and tell us you did so to receive an extra entry. You can comment every day for more entries.

Check out what Publisher's Weekly has to say about I'M BORED here.
Follow Debbie on Twitter: @inkyelbows
Check out Debbie's website:

My story about being bored:

The other day, Debbie released her homemade book trailer (which is totally awesome) and I watched it while my boys were in their rooms finishing their homework. After I watched it I knew my boys would LOVE it.

So I had it all set up and I waited. Because I knew, KNEW what my youngest would tell me the moment he walked out of his room (because he's been saying all the time lately). Sure enough, he shuffled out and said, "I'm bored."

I said, "Really? That's great!" That was when he looked at me oddly. "Because I have the perfect video for you to watch."

And he loved it. In fact, both boys liked it so much we had to watch it over and over and over again.

Check it out!

So, what makes you bored? (and don't you just love that potato?)