Middle Grade and The Doctor Who Connection — Middle Grade Minded


I’d like to think that every post I write can link back to Doctor Who in some small way. Like seven degrees of Keven Bacon except with a Tardis.And David Tennant.Okay, let’s give it a try. The Doctor travels all of space and time, right? Well, MG writers travel too. But not just through time and…

via Middle Grade and The Doctor Who Connection — Middle Grade Minded

My Great and Powerful Comment Box Moment of Oz — Middle Grade Minded


A great writer once said, “As writers for children, we have a responsibility to uphold.” *steps aside as villions claim responsibility for this quote*But only one said it at a specific conference, and only one said it to me when they critiqued an old sci-fi manuscript of mine. Now, this story was my Big #2. Which…

via My Great and Powerful Comment Box Moment of Oz — Middle Grade Minded

Double Dog Doubt …Conquering a Writer’s Enemy #1 — Middle Grade Minded

For any writer battling a case of The Doubts, I’m sharing my most recent post on Middle Grade Minded. Hope it hits the spot (and squashes those suckers flat!) (-:

THS ONE wdesc

Nothing excites me more than starting a new story.The thrill of the blank screen. The heady sensation of creating something from nothing. The power of unlimited possibilities…*record scratch*The dread.The doubt.The chant:“Please don’t let this be crud.”“Please don’t let this be crud.”“Please don’t let this be crud.”Yup, nothing excites me more.I go through these emotions every…

via Double Dog Doubt …Conquering a Writer’s Enemy #1 — Middle Grade Minded

Announcing the 2016 Pitch Wars Mentors! — Brenda Drake


…Woot! And I’m one of ’em! (-:

We’re getting excited behind the scenes for our fifth Pitch Wars! For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also critiques his/her writer’s pitch to get it ready…

via Announcing the 2016 Pitch Wars Mentors! — Brenda Drake

Agent Interview with Victoria Selvaggio of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency (JDLIT) —Middle Grade Minded


We’re playing 20 Questions with my very own lovely agent, Victoria Selvaggio of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. Welcome, Vicki! When I was querying, I loved checking out all the agent interviews as part of my research. It was a great chance to get a feel for a prospective agent to see if we’d…

via Agent Interview & Critique Giveaway with Victoria Selvaggio of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency (JDLIT) — Middle Grade Minded

Pack Your Gear! We’re on Blog-Tour With TREASURE AT LURE LAKE By Shari Schwarz! -Plus a Giveaway! — Middle Grade Minded

I’m so excited to be the next stop on Shari Schwarz’s TREASURE AT LURE LAKE blog tour! *tugs horn* *shouts: ALL ABOARD!* You guys, I LOVED this book! Twelve-year-old Bryce and his big brother, Jack, absolutely won my heart in this fast-paced, heart-pumping camping adventure. (I’m still thinking about them). I was immediately invested in the plight…

via Pack Your Gear! We’re on Blog-Tour With TREASURE AT LURE LAKE By Shari Schwarz! -Plus a Giveaway! — Middle Grade Minded

Jan-ONE Kenobi


I’m terrible at making resolutions.

I’m even worse at cleaning kitchen cabinets.

I could say that I’ll resolve to make better resolutions in the New Year, but that’s like my equivalent of asking for more wishes. Like cheating…like how I really need to clean out my kitchen cabinets.

The truth is, I feel bad for January 1st.

Imagine the crushing pressure that tiny number 1 has as the sole keeper of everyone’s promises, while December 31st just chills and loads up on champagne, slurring during the countdown, “Don’t worry ‘bout me, folks, Jan 1 will clean up this mess tomorrow…he always does.”

Poor, poor, Jan 1.

How can one day live with all that responsibility?

With all that pressure?

Every single person in the world making a promise to start on that one day.

The day that will change ALLLL the things for ALLLL the people.

Who started this mess? Was there ever an advocate for Jan 1?

*reaches out to Bono for free concert date*

All’s I know is that IF I were to make any promises for the New Year, it’d be to help that poor Jan 1 guy out as much as possible by NOT making any major promises (and trust me, he’ll thank you).

I mean, why do we have to be all official? Why not make our resolutions mid-year so that when Jan 1 comes along, he can just be like the substitute teacher who checks our papers to make sure we did  what we said we were going to do?

Do you see the logic? Do you see the reasoning?

Do you see all the dust in my cabinets??

*Stands up to face New Year’s Resolution Anonymous group*

I vowed to be a better cleaner one New Year’s Eve long, long, ago.

And failed.

I then vowed to vow better in the next New Year.

And flopped.

BUT…one day, on a mid-year, sunny Tuesday afternoon, I just cleaned my cabinets.


Nobody told me to, there wasn’t any carrot or cupcake dangling under my nose, and the Promise Police didn’t come after me with a warrant.

I just did it.

All on my own.

And Jan 1’s across the galaxy heaved a sigh of relief.

A promise finally fulfilled.

The force could finally be saved.

BUT THEN another sneaky New Year rolled around, and I got sucked right back into making resolutions…and poor Jan 1 was left (once again) to watch me NOT clean my cabinets or lose the ten pounds I swore to dump after my son was born—thirteen years ago—and…and….and…


(I did mention I was terrible at resolutions, right?)

The New Year’s Resolution Anonymous President, Mr. 365, gives me a gentle pat of understanding and faces the group.

“You will all be the best you can be.” He points to the months splayed across his boxy chest. “And you don’t need the crutch of Jan 1 to do it.”

*Jan 1 gets up and slips 365 a twenty*

“So please,” he says, directly into the blog camera, “if not for yourself, how about for Jan 1? Let’s give him a break and let go of that New Year’s pressure.”

*heads nod*

*resolutions are re-set to everyone’s own pace*

And the world rejoices as Jan 1 is free to just be a regular day once more, the pressure and responsibility lifted from his meager stick shoulders–for he’s just three little lines, people.



…Okay, next year I promise to write a better New Year’s post. (-:



Dream Agent Come True


YOU GUYS!!!!!!!! I’ve dreamed about writing this post a million times!!

A million times!

That’s A LOT of dreaming these past three years. *apologizes for dirty laundry piles and massive amounts of take-out*

Not really.

But I just pinched myself again and I’m awake!  The dream-coma is over!

I have an agent!!!

*Twirly Heel Squee!*

A FABULOUS, she-totally-gets-me agent––the lovely, Victoria Selvaggio of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency! ❤ ❤   *mouths no backsies!*

She is amazing!!!!

And I know I should’ve brought gifs, TONS and LOADS of gifs, but I just couldn’t wait to get the words out. So please excuse any unsightly typos and imagine the most honored, deliriously happy, teary-eyed Gif-Girl you can think of (hourglass figure optional, but very much appreciated), and blast her here!

Blink her like a motel sign gone haywire, ‘cause that’s how red neon-flavored thrilled I am to be rep’d by her!!

After three years, four books, and uh, well let’s just say a tidy collection of rejections later, I wrote the Middle Grade story that brought me to Vicki’s querying doorstep. Three years!

But you know what? Every day of my writing journey up until this point (yes, including the rejections-–yes, even the form ones) has been irreplaceable!

I wrote my first whole book, then another, then another…and although I consider all these very much starter stories, I love them just as hard. In fact, I have some unforgettable memories with them, like:

Hey, ‘member when I sent out that first 70,000 word MG story and then realized I left out a period––in the first sentence?

Oh! And how about those first queries that were like 579+ words each?!

Ahhhh…Good times.

*head desk*



All part of the journey.

All those with a similar cringe-worthy memory, please raise your hand. Okay, put ‘em down, I can’t see.

BUT!! (warning, many BUTS ahead) BUT!!…Then came my writing buddies.

My unbelievably talented CPs.

*pets screen*

The writer friends that stuck with me and cheered me on (and put up with my zillionth revision of like, the same three words–over and over and over and over and…)

The angels who continue to make me a better writer, because they, no-joke, spillover with awesome sauce on a daily basis. *laps up brain extrees*   mmmm…commas

I ADORE you guys, you know that, right?


And then came #PitchWars, hosted by Brenda Drake (aka, our Twitter Fairy Godmother), and Brooks Benjamin, who I was lucky enough to be mentored by in 2014 when he chose my MG Contemporary story (still can’t believe it!). I could totally gush on him all day (and have), but even though I got picked for this amazing contest, I didn’t get any requests in the agent round. It was actually the next story I wrote that connected with my agent.

BUT you know what?

She loved my #PitchWars story, too! So now we have two stories to shine up for submission. And that story wouldn’t have been in the shape it was in if not for #PitchWars! Cue gush.

So, needless to say, if it weren’t for ALL these guys––every single person who was kind enough to have eyes on my words at one time or another––I would NOT be writing this post.

A writer writes alone, but a writer is never really alone––unless they chose to be. (Squee! My first quote! *hands out embossed cards*).

So for anyone out there still waiting on their “yes” and who might think, “Will that ever be me?” (like I did many, many, many times), I’d just like to Vavoom-shout say:


And if WordPress weren’t watching, I’d even throw in a couple-a bobbly head shoulder shakes. That’s how much I don’t want you to give up––I’m willing to risk Blog Prison!!

These past three years, I practically lived off my fellow writer peep’s success stories! Each awesome post fed me with hope. They were my Ramen noodles. And each one of them always told me the same thing: NEVER GIVE UP! So I’m just passing on the truth, here (in my outside voice).

BUT juuuust in case you could use a little more than screamy-fonts…how ‘bout this?

Just Write.

You know, that thing you love more than anything? That passion that moves you like nothing else?

Just Write.

Create those characters that scream to be heard. The ones you can’t stop thinking about. The ones that crack you up or frustrate you beyond belief. Pump them up with as much inventive DNA as possible until they all but breathe off the page, demanding to be let out to meet the world.

Just Write.

And read.

And research.

Enter contests and put yourself out there––The generosity of our writing community will utterly astound you!

And give back, lend an eye whenever possible. Reach out to other writers. Swap chapters, or queries, or ideas, or whatever! And surround yourself with the most positive, creative CPs you can find, those who are just as passionate about this writing journey as you are. Support and cheer each other on! (‘cause cake-emojis are free, y’all!)

And don’t ever stop making those amazing writer connections––because those writers will enrich your journey and make you better than you could ever imagine!

Just Write.

Because it’s what you do.

Just Write.

Because how else will the world ever get to know your amazing voice?

Just Write.

And the rest will follow.



THANK YOU ALL for being a part of my journey and for allowing me to be part of yours.  <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3!!!!!! Melyssa

Oh, and I’m not really a cat, I just play one on Twitter. (-:

16327371d2d6e89794c052662917d989 me and mac

P.S. If you’re just starting out, below are some blog follow-links to those astoundingly generous writers I was telling you about. Some host contests, some post essential info about the publishing industry, but all are plain awesome. Go follow them. The path is gold!

Fine print:

Every time you compare your success to someone else’s journey, an angel loses its wings. And you get a zit. And an incurable jungle-rash. True story. Maybe. #SaveYourSkin #ShouldaQuitAtFirstQuote

(For the after-I-calmed-down version of my Getting the Call story, my lovely CP, Jackie was kind enough to host me on her gorgeous blog <3)

The Voice of Never Ending-Possibilities…and utter nonsense

Nerdy Book Club

A community of readers

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, writing, books

Writing and Stuff

The Voice of Never Ending-Possibilities...and utter nonsense

Middle Grade Mania

The Voice of Never Ending-Possibilities...and utter nonsense

Middle Grade Mafioso

The Voice of Never Ending-Possibilities...and utter nonsense


The Voice of Never Ending-Possibilities...and utter nonsense


Middle Grade books and Middle-Grade authors

swirl and spark

the site of middle grade author Jackie Yeager


How to Write and Publish Children's Books

Melissa Lenhardt

Yep. I'm a writer.

The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment

The Voice of Never Ending-Possibilities...and utter nonsense

Down Under Wonderings

The Voice of Never Ending-Possibilities...and utter nonsense

Smack Dab in the Middle

The Voice of Never Ending-Possibilities...and utter nonsense


The Voice of Never Ending-Possibilities...and utter nonsense