Would You Read It Wedesday #238 -Stalking Seagulls (PB) PLUS The November/December Pitch Pick

Big news on Blueberry Hill, my friends!

Cable internet is (AT LAST!) coming to our road!

It just goes to show that technology can even (tually) come to the Back Of Beyond 🙂


It does not get more exciting than this!

Now, I realize that this is a big project.  The cable won’t be laid for weeks…maybe months, and then there’s all manner of high-tech whatnot that will have to be organized no doubt, but it’s coming!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!  The prehistoric internet I’ve been working with for years, which moves at the speed of hibernating turtles…walking backwards…through the mud…, does not allow for Skype, webinars, uploading photos and files, or even accessing email half the time.  So this upgrade is long-awaited and much-anticipated!

Who knows what amazing opportunities await once our internet moves at the same speed as the rest of the world’s!  (And NO! of course the ability to stream Netflix and binge watch Parks & Rec which my children have informed me I must do has nothing to do with my excitement! 🙂 )

So, if you all would stop talking about your favorite TV series to binge watch, we could get down to work! 🙂

First off today, we have the November/December Pitch Pick!

Here are the pitches:

#1 Carolyn – Celebirdy (NF PB ages 7-11)

This nonfiction story tells the account of a chicken that lived without its head for 18 months. The truth doesn’t get much weirder than that!

#2 Anne – Harry’s Magic (PB ages 4-8)

Eliza wakes up on the wrong side of the bed feeling quite grumpy, almost as if a monster has taken over her body. Her brother Harry says will cast a magical spell to drive out the angry beast and restore Eliza to her sweet, silly self.  This 560 word, rhyming picture book will have children ages 4-8 laughing as they watch Eliza running about gathering up all of the necessary and ridiculous ingredients for Harry’s magic potion, but will Harry be able to save his sister in time?

#3 Nadine – Armadillo Pillow Fight (PB ages 4-8)

It is Willow Armadillo’s birthday and she wants a pillow fight party.  She asks her friend to help spread the word of this nocturnal affair. Her animal friends mess up the message spreading details by accident.  Did Willow say to meet at the peat moss or where the streams cross?  Poor Willow. Hopefully she will have someone show up to her burrow tonight.

#4 Noel – Good Old Gus (PB ages 5-8)

No longer safe working on the boat, Gus, an ice cream loving dog is left to retire on the pier and wait for his captain’s evening return. Torn between obeying his master and engaging in the tempting seaside activities, when someone needs help, Gus’s decision becomes clear.


Please vote for the pitch you think is best and most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta in the poll below by Sunday January 22 at 5 PM EST.  Results will be posted next Wednesday!


It’s hard work reading and evaluating those pitches and trying to decide which one is best when they’re all so good!  I think we need Something Chocolate, don’t you?  (Though let’s be honest… when do we ever NOT need Something Chocolate?! 🙂 )

Seeing as how Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and we should be taste-testing and recipe-practicing, I’m thinking Strawberry Chocolate Cake!

It’s what’s for breakfast! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Michelle who says, “I am an active member of SCBWI, numerous critique groups, and am on the advisory board for Authors.me. I am also a mother of 2 and married to a great man from Finland!”

Find her on the web at Twitter @Mmvattula

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Stalking Seagulls

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)

The Pitch: One boy.  One sandwich.  A flock of seagulls.  The dive bomb debacle of last summer will not happen again!  Those sneaky seagulls have one mission, Alec’s sandwich!  It’s Alec’s duty to foil their plans and not let those pesky birds triumph.  Victory is on the horizon until he unwraps his sandwich.

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 Michelle 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 February, so you could have a turn pretty soon to get  helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

One last item on today’s agenda: just a heads up that everybody’s favorite I-Heart-Writing competition, The Valentiny Writing Contest!, is coming soon to a blog near you!  (Er, that would be this one 🙂 )  If someone would just light a fire under the people in charge around here, the guidelines might ever get posted one of these days 🙂  But just so you know, the contest will run from February 10-14, so mark your calendars and get those thinking caps out of mothballs 🙂

Michelle is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting high speed internet (although not holding my breath) and to someone posting the guidelines for the Valentiny Writing Contest (and although not holding my breath for that either , it could happen at any moment and is likely to beat the high speed internet into existence 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

21 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wedesday #238 -Stalking Seagulls (PB) PLUS The November/December Pitch Pick

  1. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, how exciting! High-speed internet! Your posts look so lovely now, I can only dream of the day when you blog in real time – chocolate creations literally leaping from cyberspace; Princess Blue Kitty relieved of oft-daily dashes for library internet; Brownie & friends with front-row tickets for the construction. Such picture book possibilities!

    Michelle, I would most definitely read this – your lead-in hooked me; the stakes are clear, boy against birds; and you bring us to the moment of conflict. I want to read more. My only suggestion is to delete the reference to last summer. My mind stumbled over “dive-bomb debacle” and I was taken out of the immediacy of the situation.

    I look forward to reading a revised pitch & hope the Stalking Seagulls will be appearing in a bookstore near me soon.

  2. kathalsey says:

    Yay for internet faster than a herd of turtles coming to BlueberryHill! But I agree w/Patricia, that you posts always look tres fab. I love the premise of the story being pitched today as it is a rather unusual topic. The stakes and conflict are up-front and the sparse language, especially the the beginning sentences, really draw me in. Yes, yes, I’d read this story.
    The phrase “dive bomb debacle” is a bit hard to say and I agree that the sentence may not be needed. Perhaps you could add one example of how Alec plans to foil the birds’ plans w/out giving too much away. Nice pitch, Michelle.

  3. Judy Sobanski says:

    Susanna, Yay for cable internet! Mine was running rather slow yesterday and I was quite grumpy about it…I know, wah,wah, wah…at least I have cable internet, right? But soon (hopefully) you’ll be part of the high-speed internet “elite” and life will forever be changed. 🙂

    Michelle, I would definitely read your story. You drew me in right away with the conflict between Alec and the seagulls. I agree you don’t need the line about the previous summer. Curious if there is one particular seagull you could focus on who is more aggressive or whether it is the whole “gang” that’s out for Alec’s sandwich? A small hint as to Alec’s plan of defense would be great if it wouldn’t give too much away. Sounds like a fun story! Best of luck!

  4. Karen LaSalvia says:

    Susanna, congrats on the upcoming broadband! They are still refusing to lay any cable where my parents live so I hear from them all the time about how awful it is. Glad you are getting cable!!

    Michelle, it sounds like a different and interesting idea! Can you find a way to work the stakes into the pitch? If he loses the sandwich, what disastrous consequences will ensue? It’s an intriguing idea and has me dreaming of summer days on the boardwalk. 🙂

  5. Pamela Brunskill says:

    Hurray for cable Internet! Michelle, I love your pitch! The only thing I would change is the title. Anything with Stalking in the title for a PB makes me nervous. Otherwise, it sounds like a fun story!

  6. Wendy says:

    Susanna, you are so awesome now, with internet you will rule the world!
    Michelle–your book sounds like fun. I can picture the chaos. What stopped me a bit is that I wasn’t entirely sure whose story it is–the seagulls’ or Alec’s. Perhaps because the seagulls were named first, I had to reread. Good luck!

  7. jeanjames926 says:

    Woohoo…high speed cable. Hopefully it doesn’t take as long to lay the cable as it does for you to get a connection.
    Michelle I can totally relate to those pesky seagulls at the beach, and would love to see how it all works out for Alec (providing those birds don’t go all Hitchcock on him lol). Good luck to you!

  8. Sydney O'Neill says:

    Congratulation, Susanna! Having spent almost a year in a cabin that was a mile from the nearest phone (forget internet), I can relate to your glee. Hope the installation is quick and fully functional for you.

    Michelle, this sounds like such a fun story. I’d love to read it. With the information we have, I agree that the reference to last year could be left out. If you feel it is important, perhaps you could explain what he is doing differently this year.

  9. viviankirkfield says:

    Yay for faster internet! Yay for breakfast that comes in the guise of scrumptious chocolate desserts! Yay for the Valentiny Contest! And…
    Yay for Michelle’s pitch. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the title…you have a winner here, Michelle.
    The pitch is good…maybe a bit of tightening:

    The Pitch: One boy. One sandwich. And a flock of sneaky seagulls who have one mission. Alec must foil their plans or he’ll be left with nothing to eat for lunch. (maybe you can give a hint of what he does)

    Good luck with this wonderful story…I love your story concept!

  10. julielacombeauthor says:

    Oh how I have a love/hate relationship with seagulls! Love to watch them but hate it when they fly directly over me with disgusting results, if you know what I mean.

    I like the pitch and would definitely read this! I agree with what Vivian said. Tightening it up kind of makes it sound like a mission impossible theme song. (at least that’s what I was hearing in my head)

    I also have a love/hate relationship with that chocolate cake! I Love it but hate what it does to my waist! Congrats Susanna on Internet progress!

  11. David McMullin says:

    I can’t believe you do everything you do with unreliable internet. Last year I spent 9 months in a small Mexican town, and it was tough to get anything done with the spotty internet.

    For the pitch, yes, I would read it. The pitch shows a nice humor and and it feels very action heavy for great illustrations. I agree with Wendy, that as written, there is confusion with who the story is about. This is because when you get to the part of the pitch about the plot, you start with what the seagulls want instead of what your MC wants. Maybe reverse it, something like – “Alec just wants (to enjoy a peaceful day at the beach), but some sneaky seagulls have one mission, Alec’s sandwich! …” Good luck, this looks fun.

  12. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    Yes! I would definitely read this. It sounds hilarious. It can prove to be a valuable cautionary tale, actually! 🙂 Unless the “dive bomb debacle” is a necessary part of the story, I think the pitch is fine without it. Good luck.

  13. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_) says:

    Yeah Susanna! You will be invincible

    Michelle, I love this premise and would definitely read it. I like the earlier suggests and Vivian’s tightening. Here is another idea to toss around.

    The Pitch: One boy. One sandwich. And a flock of sneaky seagulls determined to complete their mission. * Alec must foil their plans or he’ll be left with nothing to eat for lunch.

    I also agree with her suggestion to add “a hint of what he does.” I would add that perhaps the addition ought to be something that doesn’t work (assuming he tries a few things, before succeeding) At the * add something that doesn’t work, that increases Alec’s stress, then end with “Alex must foil…..”

    Good luck with it. It really sounds like a fun story. 🙂

  14. Nadine Poper says:

    Susanna, the dessert looks amazing! I want to make it for my critique group next month. I will let you know how it turns out. Looking forward to the Valentiny contest.

    Michelle, seagulls in a story can be so much fun! My only suggestion would be to place the seagull first and foremost in the pitch and then how they play into the conflict. Good luck!

  15. Kathryn Rammell says:

    Hurrah for cable internet! How exciting 🙂 And I cannot wait for the Valentiny Writing Contest. Gotta grease my gears and get my creativity spinning.

    I love the PB idea. Growing up in CA and frequenting the beach, I know how pesky and comical those seagulls can be! Just the thought of a picture book with seagulls trying to steal a sandwich makes me giggle. I agree with previous commenters, the pitch is good but needs to be tightened; 51 words is long for a PB pitch.

  16. ~Yvette says:

    It’s fun to get back to Would You Read it Wednesday, it always puts a smile on my face. Better yet, there is so much knowledge that is shared, thanks to everyone 🙂

    There’s really nothing to add that hasn’t already been discussed. Best of luck, Michelle, this is going to be such a fun book!

    Congrats to you as well, Susanna 🙂 It’s the little things in life…like not running around turning all the phones, pads and computers off to send an email.

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