Would You Read It Wednesday #213 – Walking With Memphis (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Pick!

Darlings, I need your help.

If you’ve spent any time at all around this blog, you are familiar with Princess Blue Kitty (and if you’re new here, Princess Blue is my 2012 Subaru Outback – the trusty companion with whom I have traveled thither and yon on many a long journey through rain, sleet, snow and dark of night 🙂 )

Well, Princess Blue is currently doing a stint as my daughter’s trusty companion.

Lest you worry that I am trapped on Blueberry Hill, let me assure you I’m not… quite…  Whilst Princess Blue is off in search of the elusive endangered bog turtle (and some plant that those wildlife biologist types are also investigating… I forgot the name), I have the horror honor of driving my dad’s spare car.

Let me tell you about this car.

First, since it rarely gets driven, its battery has a disconcerting habit of dying on a whim.  Keeps life interesting 🙂  Second, although it has relatively low mileage for its age, it looks like it spent quality time as a jungle gym in a preschool – I’m a little afraid to actually sit in it because dirt, damage, and suspicious sticky patches cover the interior.  It also has a huge round air freshener (as old as the car so “fresh” is a misnomer) stuck smack dab in the middle of the dashboard where it does nothing positive for the air quality in the car but does reflect off the windshield in a dangerous and distracting way.  Third, just a few weeks ago it got left running all night and ran out of gas so that it now sports an orange “requires maintenance” light which really fills me with confidence 🙂

Poor old thing.

So here’s the situation.  It needs a name.  Princess Blue is making fun of him (yes, it’s definitely a “him” not a “her” – you can just tell) for not being loved enough to have a name.  All that comes to my mind is Sir Shakes-a-lot (well, he does) or Too Many Beans (because he makes a disturbing grumbly sound that I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know the cause of 🙂 ) and neither of those is terribly complimentary.  Princess Blue is likely to tease him even more.

This is where you come in.  A name.  Something good!  In our writing, naming is critically important.  We spend hours trying on names, searching for just the right one, because it has to fit perfectly!  So who better to turn to for a name than a bunch of writers? 🙂

To help you out, I’ll tell you he’s a Toyota Highlander of some ancient vintage – big and square with a powerful engine and four wheel drive – and if he were clean he’d be silver-ish.  So fire away.  He needs all the help he can get 🙂

Now then, shall we Pitch Pick?

Here are the entrants in the April Pitch Pick:

#1 Sam – The School Supplies Intensive Care Unit (PB ages 5-8)
When a marker is left uncapped, a pencil gets cracked, or a glue stick dries out, there is only one place they can turn; The School Supplies Intensive Care Unit.  After a sudden spike in cases at The SSIC-U, it’s up to Nurse Patchet to track down the culprit and reform the classroom’s worst offender.

#2 Ingrid – The Grumps (PB ages 3-6)
When one friend wakes up in a spectacularly cranky mood, the other knows there’s only one thing to do- join in! Armed with a plan to hog the swings and block the slide The Grumps head to the playground to spread their gloomy mood to every kid in sight. Come along with The Grumps to find out what could possibly go wrong when the plan IS for everything to go wrong and how such a bad day can turn out to be so good.

#3 Karah – Tails Of Witches And Wolves (MG)
Young wolf Nata bargains with Baba Yaga for a spell that opens the door to her dream: a human life away from the dirty and dangerous forest. But when a wolf attack leads to the hunting of wolves across the tsardom, Nata must choose between living as a human and saving the wolf family she left behind.

#4 Tracy – My Name Is Sonny And I Am Special (PB ages 4-8)
Surprise, it’s a…girl, yes, another baby girl.   Sonny is the 5th baby girl born into her family. Dad affectionately calls all his girls, Lovees! But Lovee #5 is different from all the other Lovees.  She walks differently, she talks differently, and she even thinks her thoughts differently.  Everyone always calls her special, and she doesn’t like that. One day, Lovees # 1, 2, 3 and 4 hatch a sticky plan that transforms Sonny’s white bedroom walls into a rainbow of specialness. The room wasn’t the only thing transformed that day.  Sonny now knows just how special she is and exactly what special means. “My name is Sonny and I am SPECIAL,” she proudly announces to everyone she meets.

Please choose the pitch you think is best and most deserves a read and comments from editor Erin Molta and select it in the poll below by Sunday May 22 at 5 PM.  Good lord willing and the creek don’t rise I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday on Would You Read It 🙂

And now, after all that talk about cars and pitches, I think we’re more than ready for Something Chocolate, don’t you?  Hmmm…. how about

Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Bundt Cake from Handle The Heat!

Cheesecake-Filled-Chocolate-Bundt-Cake-square-550x550

Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Bundt Cake Recipe HERE at Handle The Heat

Not sure who thought this up – Handle The Heat or someone they learned it from –  but it’s genius, I tell you, sheer GENIUS!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Melissa who says, “From former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, to former assistant to a comedic author, to New York City designer, I now currently reside in New Jersey and spend much of my time traveling, creative writing, and advocating for animals.  As a rescue volunteer and certified animal trainer graduate, I aspire to tell one real dog’s heartwarming and inspirational story of rediscovering the good life. Readers of all ages can learn more about this lucky dog, Memphis, through his Instagram and web address (below).”

Find her on the web at:

http://memphisthedog.com/
https://www.instagram.com/the_great_memphino/

and on twitter @MelRutigliano

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Walking With Memphis: Inspired By A Real Dog

Age/Genre: Nonfiction Picture Book (ages 3-8 with crossover appeal to animal lovers of all ages, as well as anyone living with a disability)

The Pitch: When Memphis becomes paralyzed and loses his wag, he must learn to walk with a wheelchair.  Rather than waiting for someone to throw him a bone, he dares to dig up his bark for life in an adventurous discovery of what it means to be a lucky dog.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Melissa improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

 

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in June, so you could get your pitch up for some helpful feedback pretty soon, and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Melissa is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward (with fervent hope!) to any names you might think up for poor old High-Ho Silver 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

54 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #213 – Walking With Memphis (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Pick!

  1. ptnozell says:

    Melissa, yes, I definitely would read this! Dog plus disability – you are on to a winner here. I also love the play on the name of the song title.

    Susanna, kudos to you for bringing new meaning to the life of such an honored veteran. The right honorable Sir Miles MacRidey, Order of the Thistle of the Highland Brigadiers and trusted tracker through the Fens of Balmoral. I’m sure he is more than pleased to eschew his royal duties and weekly portion of haggis, to explore the highways and byways of Dutchess County.

  2. Melissa Rutigliano says:

    Yay! Thank you, Patricia. You’re the first to call out the ‘song’ title although this pitch has been making it’s rounds. I’m happy someone finally got it! 🙂 And I thought it was so obvious. Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Lynne Marie says:

    I think the title and topic are both compelling and I would definitely read it. I think the pitch is good. My suggestion is to weed out some of the vague phrases that seem to be packed into the last sentence, and allow one clear, crisp and important phrase to shine and stick with the reader.

  4. ingridboydston says:

    I also think Walking with Memphis is a terrific title and story concept. The phrase about “his bark for life” made me stumble. Would replacing it with “rather than waiting for someone to throw him a bone he emBARKS on an adventurous discovery of what it means to be a lucky dog” be too much?
    Regarding your trusty traveling companion Susannah, I’m sure I was in a play with the character Haggis McGrundy in it. The name immediately sprang to mind upon hearing your description. 😄BTW-All the way through high school my sister & I drove our grandparents’ old, once beautiful Cadillac. Formerly silver with red leather interior, we named her Cleopatra because by the time we got her (sporting a primer grey “paint” job) she looked like she had been buried a thousand years!
    Best of luck to both of you!

    • Melissa Rutigliano says:

      hmmm…that’s an idea. Funny, I LOVED “bark for life”, but I understand what you’re saying about the issue with the second sentence. I’ll consider embarks, that could be a good revision. Am I losing out by taking out the dare to dig and bark for life in playing on the fact that he’s a dog? Hmmmm…… thanks for the feedback!

  5. Gabi Snyder says:

    Melissa, I would definitely read your story. Like others, I LOVE the title and allusion to the song. I like that you end the pitch with discovering “what it means to be a lucky dog.” The one spot that tripped me up was “he dares to dig up his bark for life.” I like “dares to dig up” and “bark for life” but I don’t think they go together. I like Ingrid’s suggestion for fixing that sentence. Good luck!

  6. chattytcp says:

    Melissa,

    I absolutely love the idea! Great story line, connection to the song and it is non-fiction which is a plus.It will reach a wide audience. I thought your pitch was perfect. I can’t wait to buy the book. Sweet! Best of luck 🙂

  7. Wendy says:

    Love any dog story! Like the others, the second sentence tripped me up and I wondered if it could be more specific? I have seen one other book on your topic you might want to check out if you haven’t seen it already. http://joyfulpaws.com/books-2/

    Susanna, I think you need to name your dad’s car something that it can live up to. Imagine living in the shadow of a Princess all the time? Perhaps something like Prince Silver Belch o’Steel? (lol)

    • Melissa Rutigliano says:

      Wendy, thanks for your comments and I appreciate the mentor text. I have already come across this book and I have been trying to get my hands on it but it seems like it was self published and I have to order/purchase. Do you find the same? Thanks again for your help!

  8. kathalsey says:

    Melissa, what a heartwarming, hook-y (I made up that word) story you have here. Yes, I understood the title allusion immediately. Last sentence, as others pointed out, could use some specifics – “an adventurous discovery of what it means to be a lucky dog.” I’d like a bit of the adventure detailed, but not too much. This really sounds like a wonderful ms. My Wiley Corgi says, “BAROO, 4 paws up.”

  9. Susan Schade says:

    Yes, my kids would insist that we read this. Animals that overcome obstacles seems to be a topic that everyone loves. As far as the pitch goes, I would be fine with the facts of the story, (how he was hurt, etc.) but was distracted by “loses his wag” and “throw him a bone” as a play on words. I think your story is strong enough with your topic choice.
    PS. And I love that song.

    Susanna, my car name suggestion is the “Silver Streaker.”

  10. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_) says:

    Melissa, having personally known many three-legged and wheelchair enabled dogs, I am very curious about your story. I would probably read it. I too stumbled over “dares to dig up his bark for life.” I am unclear exactly what this means. I applaud you for working to get “doggy” terms into the pitch, but as written it doesn’t draw me in and is just confusing. I too like Ingrid’s fix. But I wonder if it might not be even stronger if there were an example of his adventure. because right now it sounds like digging in the yard is his big adventure? And I sure hope it involves more.
    Susanna, thank you for the amazing chocolate recipe! it combines so many of my favorites – cheesecake, chocolate, and more chocolate! YUM. 🙂

    • Melissa Rutigliano says:

      Thanks, Maria. Maybe the ‘dares to dig’ is stumping people..? Memphis ‘digs’ up the courage to push on to discover he still can have a ‘lucky’ wonderful life, even being differently abled. He just needs to regain/find his bark for life (the pep in his step) which he used to have before the paralyzation. So maybe,
      “Rather than waiting for someone to throw him a bone, he is determined to dig up his bark for life in an adventurous self discovery of what it means to be a lucky dog.”
      Thanks for the input!

  11. Gail Oakley Cifrodella says:

    .Yes of course I would read this book to my grandchildren. Children need to learn at an a young age that it is “ok to be different”. Children also need to be encouraged to “try and try again” to overcome life’s obstacles. Sounds like a heart-warming story full of good lessons!

  12. viviankirkfield says:

    Susanna…best of luck with finding a name fro your dad’s sweet old jalopy…and thanks so much for the virtual delight of chocolate!
    Melissa…I would DEFINITELY read your story. Great pitch…I agree with the others that we need a bit more specifics…and the title is fabulous!!!!

  13. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    The only thing I LOVE better that a dog story is a dog story with a happy ending. Add in an uplifting message and a look at courage up close, and YES – I would read this to death. I love the pitch. Good luck with it.

    And of course the new old car should be named Cupcake!

  14. jsamaltmann (@Jsamaltmann) says:

    Hi Melissa! As a fellow dog lover, I would definitely pick this up. I do agree with the others, and stumbled on the “bark for life.” However, I think you could still play up the “bark” with Ingrid’s suggestion of “embark”. At first, I wanted you to include more information, but then I realized it’s because I want to know why he’s a lucky dog…hence, what is drawing me into the story. Good luck!

    Susanna, I think you should go with Paul Newman 🙂

  15. Shelby Leigh says:

    Love the book idea! It sounds very enjoyable along with being real and sharing great lessons. It’s okay to be different, as Gail said. Also, the sometimes difficult truth of life’s obstacles and how to gain courage to overcome them. No matter how bad something is, never lose your bark:) Which is exactly what Memphis does and it is wonderful. Such real lessons, yet in such a wonderful way for a children’s book. Those kinds of books are very important. I also admire it because it is relatable to anyone and everyone. It sounds like a beautiful story with lovely lessons and influential motivation. PS. Don’t underestimate pets/animals…They can be the best leaders and role models:) I am sure you see that in Memphis! As previous commenters mentioned, there was a little stumble at the last sentence for me. Maybe test out different words and structure to have it flow easier. I definitely enjoy the meaning of it, though. “Rather than waiting for someone to throw him a bone, he dares to dig up his bark for life…” I interpreted it as Memphis found his courage(bark) again to take the wold by storm, rather than waiting around for life’s accomplishments/rewards(a bone) that were not going to happen by doing nothing. It is nice to get a lot of naps and treats, but life gets boring without happy adventures, too. Bet Memphis does a lot of those. A wheel chair won’t stop that pup;) If I am correct on my interpretation, maybe something like “Rather than waiting for someone to throw him a bone, he emBARKs on a life adventure to sniff out his own.” Just another suggestion using the “embark” idea that a few mentioned. You can play around with it, or run your brain into some more ideas:) Great job and good luck, Melissa!

  16. Ms_Ona (simona) (@SItskovich) says:

    Yes! I would definitely love to read this book!
    This pitch sounds both heart warming and educational. Not only does this story appeal to a wide audience (children, animal lovers, people with disabilities/and their families), it can serve as an educational tool for teachers and parents to promote acceptance, love and perseverance. This is a story that needs to be told!

  17. Keila Dawson says:

    Yes, I would read it. Love your first sentence. It really hooked me. And I have two rescues, a dog and a cat so enjoy animal stories. As mentioned earlier, I too would like to “see” a bit more in your second sentence. What makes Memphis a lucky dog?

    I think Silver Fox may be a good name. It may give the poor fella some confidence and maybe Princess Blue would think twice about making fun of him! Good luck Susanna!

    • Melissa Rutigliano says:

      hmmm…I was thinking maybe if I add something as simple as ‘self’ discovery rather than just discover, people will understand a little more about what I am alluding to that he discovers. I don’t want to give away too much of the ending :/ tricky tricky! And kudos to you for having rescues- yay!!!

  18. lynnie2782 says:

    As a mom and a Kindergarten Teacher, this is exactly the type of book that I want to expose my children and my students to. Children love animals and this book will teach them empathy and how to be accepting of others and their differences. Can’t wait to read it!

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