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Today on the Mixed-Up Files...of Middle Grade Authors blog, I posted an interview of Ruth McNally Barshaw, the amazing author/illustrator of the Ellie McDoodle series.  She shared an awesome writing and illustrating exercise that I can't wait to try, and wait until you see her giveaway!

Tomorrow afternoon, two lucky people who comment on the Mixed-Up Files site will not only win an autographed and personalized paperback of her newly reissued Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel book, but Ruth will draw a sketch of each winner with Ellie, and will also create a version that could be used as an online avatar, like this wonderful sketch she drew of herself.


Most of our contests are only for people who live in the US and Canada, but anyone can enter this giveaway!  If winners live outside the US or Canada, they’ll still receive the sketch.  Instead of the autographed book, Ruth will give them a peek at a few digital pages from the next Ellie book, Ellie McDoodle: Most Valuable Player, a work in progress that will be published in Spring, 2012.
I had so much fun interviewing Ruth.  She's such a sweet, helpful, down-to-earth person.  She always has so many gems to share, and I love how easily she let us all into her life.  Growing up, my mom always wanted everything to seem perfect when we were out in public.  When I first became serious about writing children's books, I thought that I'd have to try not to show my fears or flaws in public, and I'm so glad that there are people like Ruth who show me that I can can let my writing friends know that I'm a little nervous when reading a new project to one of my groups for the first time.  Or when I finish polishing up a project, there's a part of me that wonders if I'll ever be able to write something as strong as that manuscript again.  It really helps to be able to share this part of me, too, instead of locking all my insecurities away.  Talking about it makes the obstacles much easier to overcome, and I'm grateful to have so many amazing writing buddies to share this journey with. 
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mindyalyse
Mindy Alyse Weiss
I write humorous middle-grade novels with heart and quirky picture books.

I'm an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboard, the FL SCBWI Newsletter Editor and Critique Group Coordinator, and a proud member of From The Mixed Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors

I've been married for twenty years and have two beautiful daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix pup who was rescued from the Everglades.

I've been published in Highlights three times and placed in the 80th Writer's Digest Competition.

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