Would You Read It Wednesday #248 – The New Girl (MG) PLUS The February And March Pitch Winners!!!

Happy Wednesday, my friends!


Has spring sprung or what?

It was (no joke!) 86 degrees on Blueberry Hill yesterday afternoon!  I’m pretty sure that’s a record for April 11 in these parts!  Of course, it’s unlikely to stay that warm (which is okay because I’d worry even more about global warming if summer had already arrived!), but it sure was nice to be outdoors in a tee shirt and shorts!  It’s forecasted to be 20 degrees cooler today.

The question for the day is: do we think the danger of frost up here on the mountain has passed, and dare I plant my spring bulbs???

Whilst we think on that, let’s congratulate the winners of the February and March Pitch Picks that you all so kindly chose last week!

I’m happy to announce that the winner of the February Pitch Pick was Kathryn, with her pitch for Penelope Pickles And The Troll Kingdom (MG)!

And the winner of the March Pitch Pick was Traci, with her pitch for Riley And The Haunted Cupboard (PB)!

Congratulations, Kathryn and Traci!!!  Your pitches are winging through cyberspace to editor Erin Molta for her comments, and I’m sure you will hear from her as soon as she has time!

And congratulations also to all the other pitchers who so bravely shared their work, opened themselves to constructive criticism and used it to make already good pitches even stronger!  You are all winners, really, because when next you need those pitches they will be ready!

And, as always, I want to thank our wonderful readers without whom Would You Read It would not be what it is!  Thank you all for your thoughtful, considered and helpful comments.  So many writers have had the opportunity to improve their pitches thanks to you! ❤

I think we should celebrate with Something Chocolate, don’t you???!!! 🙂   Since Easter is nearly upon us, I vote for delicious homemade chocolate peanut butter eggs!


Oh my goodness, those are mouthwateringly delicious!  Plus, I know I don’t need to point out to you, my faithful devotees, that peanut butter is an excellent source of extremely healthful protein which will help you focus your brain and build your muscles – writing and otherwise! 🙂  So by all means, please help yourself to several.  There is always plenty of chocolate around here! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Joan.  Joan Leotta is a writer and story performer who haddock been playing with words since childhood.
She loves to use words to entertain, educate and encourage.

Find her on the web at:
Joan Leotta, Author and Story Performer on Facebook and

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The New Girl

Age/Genre: MG

The Pitch: Jenna’s Mom has just been deployed to Afghanistan. Dad is an FBI agent who went missing while on assignment. Jenna is sent to live with her Grandparents in Rural North Carolina, far from her friends in DC’s Virginia suburbs. In an effort to loose weight and gain friend, Jenna starts an exercise walking program so she can join the schools track team…on her first walk she finds a dead body. The man turns out to be a local banker long thought to have skipped town.  Jenna’s efforts to solve the mystery, make new friends and handle the separation from her parents are sided by her grandmas stitcher group  and one leader in her new school who is not afraid to make friends with Jenna, the new girl.

Possible Titles…the new girl,or  crossstitch and crossbones

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?  Also, Joan would love title suggestions if you have any!

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 Joan 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 have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Joan is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to planting my spring bulbs.   Do not ask me what they’re called.  Something purple that blooms in early summer.  As you can see, I am an extremely knowledgable gardener.  They don’t call me the Black Thumb of Poughquag for nothing! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


13 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #248 – The New Girl (MG) PLUS The February And March Pitch Winners!!!

  1. Nancy Tandon says:

    So much going on! I love it! I was a ‘yes’ after the first two sentences. Your pitch is great. In the very last sentence, I think you could omit “Jenna” and just say ‘the new girl.’ But on the flip side, maybe add the name of the leader who is going to befriend her. I’m curious, too, about why Jenna needs to solve the mystery (and not the police?). Consider adding something along the lines of ‘she takes it upon herself (because/reason).’
    I *love* the idea of Gramma’s stitcher group being part of the support network! I was more pulled to your alternate titles (Cross___) with ‘bones’ being the most compelling. It also made me think of “Crosshairs” — which could allude to both mom & dad’s work, too.
    Excellent, exciting story premise! Get this one out there so we can read it!

  2. David McMullin says:

    Susanna, I know nothing about weather and planting, but I say get those purple things in the ground.

    Joan, Great pitch. It sets up the time, place and emotions well. The premise is interesting, and I look forward to seeing how grandma’s club is involved. There are a couple of lines that are possibly unnecessary, and made the pitch feel long. “far from her friends in…” and “The man turns out to be…” Neither add to a better understanding of the story. Two word felt a bit odd to me. “sided” – I wasn’t clear what this meant. And “leader”. Overall, it is cleanly written, and easy to follow.

  3. kathalsey says:

    I feel there may be too much revealed in the pitch as far as plot. See if you can streamline all the “moving parts,” subplots, so to speak. I like the intergenerational quality of the book and would love to see you use more “spy language” or “knitting” terms to weave this pitch and stitch it together. (See what I did there?) Feel the pitch could be more organic, but I would read it. Keep on it. Also, for editing errors such as caps (Mom and Grandparents = no caps). Good luck.

  4. Jen Bagan says:

    Joan – interesting pitch … lots going on in this story! I’d read it but agree it could be streamlined to get it as tight as possible. Also, hate to be a downer but I spotted a lot of grammatical errors – just be careful with this.
    loose should be lose
    friend should be friends (gain friends)
    schools should be school’s (school’s track team)
    grandmas should be grandma’s
    And the caps issue that Kathy pointed out (and rural does not need a cap)
    Good luck with this!

  5. ptnozell says:

    Thanks for the early-Easter treat, Susanna. I vote “yes” on the planting – I’ve already put out pansies & threw in a few early seeds for good measure. Fingers crossed that we’ll enjoy spring for a few weeks.

    Joan, your pitch intrigues me, but I must admit that my head is spinning. I love the intergenerational aspect to the story, but like others mentioned before, a few details sidetracked me as I read, e.g., is the dead person’s career integral to the story. I’m also perplexed as to why newcomer Jenna is tasked (or taking it upon herself) to solve the mystery.

    I look forward to reading your revised pitch at the end of the month.

  6. Judy Sobanski says:

    Susanna – I’m from Ohio where we can have snow in the morning and 70 degrees in the afternoon but I would say you’re safe to plant-away!

    Joan – I am so intrigued by your pitch! I don’t think you need to give away the identity of the body she finds. I assume the police will be involved so maybe “The police investigate, but Jenna’s efforts to solve the mystery herself…”
    The idea that Jenna gets help from her grandmother’s “sticher” group just sounds like that would be a hoot! The word “sided” threw me off. Perhaps that’s a typo and you meant “aided”?
    I was curious whether the one leader was a boy or a girl? A hint about that might add a little interest. You’ve done a great job of defining the background, plot and characters. Good luck!

  7. Wendy Greenley says:

    Thanks for saving me from choco-lust this week, Susanna. No peanut butter for me!

    You’ve gotten great feedback already, Joan. I agree that you need to tighten the focus. Just whet our appetites! Something like: When x-year old finds a dead body on her first morning walk in her new neighborhood she has to X. With her father missing and her mother on deployment in Afghanistan, it’s up to her to . . . .(not sure why she is investigating–so that needs to be filled in but hope you get the gist 🙂 ) I wasn’t sure if this was MG or YA which is why I suggest adding the age. Happy writing!

  8. Geoffrey Hyatt says:

    I like it, I would read it.

    The main character is interesting, and the setting is good – I like that is mysterious and a little exotic (especially for the MC), but also grounded and real.

    Hopefully the story weaves the dad back in to the mystery, it would be nice if it all ties together in a clever way (but not forced).

    My main concern reading this is the grammar problems. I’m not sure why there were so many errors, but if the author writes like this I don’t think any agent or publisher will be interested – so the author should find a co-author or hire an editor. (I’m not an agent so I’m just guessing – maybe they don’t mind bad grammar and are willing to fix it if the story is good enough, I don’t know).

    Good luck, it feels like there is an interesting story here, with an interesting cast of characters, and I hope you can make this happen 🙂

  9. Tracey Brown says:

    I really like your premise, Joan! I would definitely read it. I like the fun, inter-generational hook – Grandma’s stitch group – so your title Cross Stitch and Crossbones resonates with me. Good luck with your story

  10. Angela Brown says:

    Congrats to the pitch winners and always a raucous applause to our pitch submitters 🙂

    Not sure about planting just yet, but I am aware of a homesteading bud here in Texas who is working out the plot grid for her garden. Maybe try planting a week or two after spring to see if you’re clear of a frost scare.

    Thank you for the chocolate. As always, it looks delicious.

    Today’s WYRI pitch combines a nice Nancy Drew mystery with a heartfelt parental separation theme. Adding in grandma’s crosstitch group as support gives the story a cozy feel that can make this novel appeal to MG and older mystery readers. I would read it for sure.

  11. Traci Bold says:

    the first two sentences grabbed my attention immediately so I say “yes”. However, I do have a way to tie things in more with this revision suggestion.

    ‘Jenna’s Mom has just been deployed to Afghanistan. Dad is an FBI agent who went missing while on assignment. Now Jenna lives with her Grandparents in Rural North Carolina, far from her friends in DC’s Virginia suburbs. Besides separation anxiety, Jenna is also exorcising her weight demon and make new friends which not so easy as the new girl. Her plan? She starts a walking program readying herself to make track but on her first walk she finds a dead body, changing her plans. Since Jenna harbors the same mystery solving instincts as her father, she decides to solve the mystery of the dead man. Jenna’s efforts to solve the mystery, make new friends and handle the separation from her parents are sided by her grandmas stitcher group and one leader in her new school who is not afraid to make friends with Jenna, the new girl.’

    I love the title THE NEW GIRL as it sets the tone for the inherent problems new kids always face and also intrigues the reader to learn about THE NEW GIRL. Most younger people do not know what cross stitching is so using that in the title may cause them to pass the book by.

    Good luck with this project. I want to read it when it’s published.

    Susanna, your bulbs will be so happy you have planted them! And thank you for the delicious Easter egg peanut butter recipe. ❤

    p.s. I am beyond excited that I am the March winner! Thank you everyone. 🙂 Congratulations Kathryn on being the February winner!

  12. Sydney O'Neill says:

    Joan, you’ve had good suggestions. I’d just like to add that the mention of Jenna’s weight initially makes me suspect her weight will be a significant problem in the story, but because she wants to join the track team, that doesn’t seem likely. Would “drop a few pounds” work, taking some of the weight off “weight”?

    The mystery and all the characters sound interesting to me. I’d love to read the story! I like the titles that include “cross.” Here’s another suggestion: Cross-Stitching Clues.

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