Would You Read It Wednesday #271 – Stoyanovich In Paris (MG) PLUS A Plethora of Pitch Winners!


Good Wednesday, Everyone!

It’s snowing at my house.

The dogs are asleep on the couch, the birds are busy at the feeder, and the llama horde and I are practicing hairdos on each other and making up picture book stories.  Although all of theirs are about llamas… 🙂

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 6.59.43 PM

illustration copyright Daniel Wiseman 2018



How do we look? 🙂

If you’re having a snow day at your house and need something fun to do, you can read WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT and then set up your own styling salon with hairbrush and comb, pony tail holders, ribbons and barrettes, hair gel, etc and go to town 🙂  (Though I’d recommend hiding the scissors!)  You can also do hairstyling in the bathtub with bubbles – TOTALLY fun! 🙂

If you don’t have anyone to practice hairdos with it’s okay, because we’ve got all kinds of fun happening here!

First, we have THREE awesome pitch pick winners!!!

The winner of the September Pitch Pick is Katie with Pirate For Hire, the winner of October is Laura with Gustavo’s Big Idea, and the winner of November is Candace with Cock-A-Doodle WHAT?  Woohoo!  Congratulations to all of you for your great pitches!  They are all on their way to editor Erin Molta for her comments and thoughts!

Congratulations also to all the other writers who worked hard to put together pitches for great stories, bravely shared them here, and revised and improved their pitches based on your helpful feedback.  They are all winners because, thanks to you, they all have stronger pitches than they started with, which will hopefully earn them an agent or editor read at some point!

Now then, since we are having a snow day, it’s a perfect time to create delicious things in the kitchen, so for today’s Something Chocolate, we’re going to roll up our sleeves.  I think the old “10,000 hours to mastery” applies to sweets as well… the more times you make something, the better it gets 🙂  Valentines Day is approaching, so no time like the present to practice up on making Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Valentine Hearts!  This allows for plenty of advance taste-testing to be sure you’ve got it just exactly right before sharing with your better half… or your kids and their classmates… or possibly not sharing 🙂

YUM!  We did good, don’t you think?

But I agree… we’d better make more just to be sure… 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Erik.  Erik is a middle-aged dad who never completely grew up, but somehow managed to raise a human being anyway. He is currently hard at work procrastinating on submitting his first manuscript and writing the second.

Follow him on Twitter @duttonerik

Here is his pitch:

Working Title: Stoyanovich In Paris

Age/Genre: MG Historical Fantasy

The Pitch:  Nikolai Stoyanovich Krisayev is the last of a long line of Russian rat nobility, living in exile in 1880’s Paris. When he rescues a visiting mouse princess from armed kidnappers, he is thrust into the midst of a silent war being waged secretly in the streets and sewers of the city.

With only his wits, his father’s sword, and the aid of a shadowy figure who may or may not be on their side, he will have to fight to save both the princess and the city he loves.

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 Erik improve his 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 March, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Erik is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to writing something fun today!  What should it be about?  The llama horde is pushing for another llama story,


but I’m thinking about snowmen…



Or maybe, atronauts…



Or the Olympics are coming… maybe an exciting sports story…




No! NO! NOOO!!!


See what I’m dealing with here?

Here’s hoping Phyllis keeps napping or there’s going to be a knock-down-drag-out over whether today’s story is about llamas or groundhogs! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

22 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #271 – Stoyanovich In Paris (MG) PLUS A Plethora of Pitch Winners!

  1. candicemarleyconner says:

    Congrats to the pitch winners! Would You Read It has helped focus my pitch and subsequent query so much that I feel like a winner too, chocolate llamas for all!
    (And Susanna, that’s so awesome that your characters chime in like that–how fun!)

    Erik, I would so read your book based on that pitch. So much so that I don’t even have any ideas on how to perfect it. I did wonder what it was about the princess that make her a stake, was it ingrained duty since he’s nobility? Does she know secrets to his exile (I’m not even going to try to pronounce his name. I hope, like all good Russian traditions, he goes by an easier to pronounce nickname?) But I don’t think that’s something the pitch needs, it’s information that needs to unfurl as the story does. Just commenting that I am intrigued. Best of luck! I expect to see this on shelves!

  2. hermanator33 says:

    That cookie dough!!!! Goodness, I would brush my teeth with it. (Is my diet showing?)
    I love that pitch enough to call it “Pitch Perfect,,” and would totally read it. Well done E.

  3. kathalsey says:

    I vote for a book that includes both chocolate AND llamas, Susanna. Erik, what a premise – Russian rats meet historical fiction! LOL. I also like how you give the reader just enough in the pitch to tease us. Yes, I want to read more.

  4. authorlaurablog says:

    The pitch is perfectly written which in itself is impressive. The story sounds charming and a nice way for a MG reader to learn some history through the eyes of your adorable MC. Good job!
    I’m so excited to have won the pitch contest for October and for the opportunity to receive feedback in this contest, revise my pitch, and participate again.
    And don’t get me started on the chocolate covered cookie. Thank you Susanna!

  5. Nadine Poper says:

    Hi Erik! You had me at “rescue a mouse princess from armed kidnappers”. This story sounds like it would engage many young readers. Yes, I would want to read it.

    Susanna, if I can just shovel out from under yet another snow day here in PA and get to a grocery store, all I need to make these chocolate treats is the condensed milk.
    Thanks for all you do!

  6. ptnozell says:

    Congrats to all the pitch winners! I look forward to reading Erin’s comments.

    Erik, great pitch! I would definitely read this! Two questions that I have, though, and these may be answered in the story: Why is she a Mouse Princess and not a Rat Princess? Does the Princess help in any way or is she a passive “damsel in distress” character? If she isn’t passive, I’d give some clue to her actions, as a strong female character would strengthen what seems like an already terrific story.

    And those llamas! I have visions of them slipping & sliding in the wintery slush covering our sidewalks today!

  7. matthewlasley says:

    I like the idea. I would read it. I like the drama built up without really giving anything away.

    If I may interject one criticism for the following sentence; With only his wits, his father’s sword, and the aid of a shadowy figure who may or may not be on their side, he will have to fight to save both the princess and the city he loves. Every pronoun in this sentence is singular (his/he) accept one, their. It stands out and is jarring, because no where else in your pitch do you refer to anyone else in the story besides the antagonist(s) and the princess.

  8. ThisKidReviewsBooks says:

    How about a book on llamas AND groundhogs? 😉
    Had to double check when I saw the pitcher’s name! I couldn’t remember putting in a pitch, but you never know! 😉
    I really do like Mr. Erik’s pitch. It sort of reminds me a bit of The Tale of Despereaux (I know that’s not spelled right), but it’s also completely different at the same time. Intriguing! 😀

  9. Tracey Brown says:

    Looking forward to reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT. Congratulations to the pitch winners, Katie, Laura and Candace. Erik, I would definitely read the book based on your pitch. I think you have some great suggestions to consider from the previous comments. Good luck!

  10. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_) says:

    Congrats to the winners!
    Susanna, I LOVE the llamas (and the play on Madeline) 🙂

    Erik – I am intrigued and would definitely read this. Having just read THE NUTCRACKER MICE (MG) this Christmas [Mice and Rats in historic Russia], I am excited for another historical fiction involving rats/mice. This is an amazing pitch – you give us the hero, the setting, the problem ( a “damsel in distress” and a silent war), hint at what’s at stake, and the resources he has to solve his problem. Nicely done.

    One comment, I am not an expert on MG pitches, but I wonder if they (like PB pitches) should include, not just the tools at his disposal, but perhaps a few important actions or struggles that he encounters in trying to save the princess and his beloved city? Otherwise, wonderful pitch. Good Job!

  11. Judy Sobanski says:

    Susanna – Llama tell you how much I love your new board book series!! 😉
    Erik – Great pitch! I definitely would read this. Curious where the mouse princess is from, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be part of the pitch. I know he rescues her but I’m hoping she turns out to be a strong female character who maybe “rescues him right back.” (Quote from Pretty Woman). Best of luck, Erik!

  12. jeanjames926 says:

    Congratulations to all the pitch winners. I absolutely love Erik’s pitch. It’s so well written, I don’t really have much to add other than I would definitely read it while eating those chocolate chip cookie dough Valentine hearts…Yum! Susanna on a day like today I see your Llamas and groundhogs having a good old fashioned snowball fight.

  13. bababloggayaga says:

    Aye, this be a gold doubloon of a pitch. It be speaking to me Russian heritage. And what kiddies not be loving war in they sewers? I agrees with what they others sez about the princess not being passive. Passive princesses, they don’t rule. In the last sentence I might could be saying ‘the city he has come to love.’ If he be in exile mayhaps he not be liking it at first? Good work, matey!

  14. Candy says:

    Yes, I would read this! Rats, mice, shadowy figures and all set in Paris. History and mystery combined. What’s not to love? Maybe add just a bit more about the princess. but I’d read it based on the pitch the ways it is now.

  15. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    That pitch seems excellent to me! Wow! As a read aloud in class (I’m a mid level teacher) I would appreciate an easier name that rolls off the tongue, but I’m sure that can be revealed in the text! Sounds like an exciting read!
    Susanna, all those book ideas sound adorable!

  16. David McMullin says:

    Fun post. The quote on the computer made me laugh out loud. (and I’m generally one of those silent laughers,) And the cookie dough hearts made me drool out loud. (I’m generally one of those silent droolers.) As far the pitch, I’m in the I-like-the-pitch-the-way-it-is camp. Great job, Eric. Really well done.

  17. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    As others have said, the pitch has just the right tone, shows strong action, and is from an intriguing perspective. I have, however, become increasingly sensitive to the traditional male saves female plot line. Would love to see some teamwork, where characters have different strengths and weaknesses and help each other out, when needed. In other words, they take turns saving each other. Good luck with the book!

  18. Nancy Derey Riley says:

    Erik, I would definitely read your book! I don’t have any suggestions on your pitch that others haven’t mentioned.

    Susanna, You and your llamas just gave me and my llamas another idea for my Storystorm list! Thanks!

  19. Erik Dutton says:

    Wow, um… Wow. Thank you all for the great suggestions and kind words!

    Since several of you pointed to this, I can guarantee that the princess is absolutely NOT a passive damsel in distress… I’ll try to clarify that in the pitch. And @MariaMarshall, thank you for the book rec! I’ve been collecting mouse and rat stories recently but had not seen that one. 🙂

    Oh, and yay! for space llamas!

  20. viviankirkfield says:

    Erik…if your book was on a shelf today, I would buy it and read it for myself…and with my grandson…I LOVE your pitch! Well Done!!!

    Susanna…Llama is absolutely adorable…and your virtual chocolate treat has been gobbled up by me.
    Congrats to all of the pitch winners!

  21. ingridboydston says:

    This is one recipe I will HAVE to make! In fact, I think I will print it out for my daughter and viola! Instant valentine! Thanks Susanna! Plus, my students adore the Llama book! I keep forgetting to take pics but I will! The rainbow afro is their favorite page! Regarding the pitch, absolutely YES! I would make hot chocolate and read it now if I could. The only thought I had was does main character has a nickname? Its was fun for me to read through, but some readers may not want to struggle through it and get to the rest of the fun stuff. Just a thought, I could be offtrack. Best of wishes to Erik and congratulations to the pitch winners!

Leave a Reply to Jilanne Hoffmann Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s