Would You Read It Wednesday #275 – The Love Song of Jubal Jacques (CB)

I have something VERY important to say this morning!

Tomorrow is March!

Doesn’t that just give you a little pick-me-up?

March means the clocks change (a totally stupid system, but let’s not get sidetracked 🙂 ) so in a couple more days we’ll have light into the evening for those lovely after dinner strolls.

And March is the official beginning of Spring

I realize that “official” doesn’t mean Spring actually comes.  Around here, Spring takes its own sweet time and generally wanders in around the 4th week of April 🙂

But just knowing that in a couple of weeks it will officially be Spring is uplifting!

So in the spirit of uplifting, let’s have some cookies, shall we? 🙂

You’ve heard of Chocolate Lava Cake… today, for our Something Chocolate, let’s try Chocolate Lava Cookies!!!

Chocolate Lava Cookies
(like the nice springy green letters I chose?)

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 3.13.32 PM

Recipe HERE (including helpful video!) at Tastemade


I recommend some coffee, hot chocolate, or milk for dunking!  Delish!  And like the commercials say, they’re part of a complete breakfast with eggs, toast, juice, fruit, pancakes, oatmeal, bacon, maple syrup, bran cereal, Belgian waffles, biscuits, muffins, and a couple of pastries!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Ann who recently wowed us in the Valentiny Contest with her wonderful story, The Hope Of Spring, and who says, “I’m a freelance children’s author living in Cygnet, a small town in rural Tasmania. My jazz musician husband and I love being a part of this vibrant, creative community. I write as Carol Ann Martin and am published mainly by Scholastic Australia. Visitors are always welcome at my blog, Carol Ann Martin Spinning Stories for Children, and my Facebook page, Henhugs and Ticklefeathers.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Love Song of Jubal Jacques

Age/Genre: Chapter Book (folk-style fantasy ages 8 to adult)

The Pitch:  The ten-year-old narrator has been sent to stay with her grandmother on a small, green island, to convalesce after a long illness.

Her Uncle Jubal is in love with the honey-haired lady who lives on the hill. He writes her a beautiful lovesong and sings it to her, but the lady just sits on her verandah and weaves and weaves, never as much as turning her head. How can she be so cruel?

It is the child who finally guesses the secret that will enable Uncle Jubal’s lovesong to reach the honey-haired lady’s heart.

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 Ann 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 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!

Ann is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I (could you tell by the beginning of this blog post?) am looking forward to SPRING! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

18 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #275 – The Love Song of Jubal Jacques (CB)

  1. Lynne Marie says:

    Maybe. Perhaps there is a good story in there, but for a Chapter Book for children, there is much too much adult presence, situation and pov, IMHO — with the Grandmother, Uncle Jubal and the honey-haired lady all having more “presence” in the pitch than the “10-year old narrator.” What does the child want? How is she directly connected with the outcome? What are the stakes? What is she willing to do get what she want? How will SHE change at the end of the story? Because she is passive (sent away) and sitting in the shadow of her uncle’s romance, it does not seem likely from the pitch that the story will answer the questions I posed. Also be certain to try and approach from a child’s mind. What will hook them and keep them reading? Hope this is helpful in rewriting pitch and story. http://www.literallylynnemarie.com

    • Ann Martin says:

      Thanks, Lynne Marie. I do take all your points and can see that I still have a lot to learn about pitching! I guess I can best explain where I’m coming from if I say that the story is definitely in the fairy/folk tale genre; stories which traditionally are centred around enchantment, adults and romance and do not necessarily involve a child as the protagonist. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast are all examples of this genre and children have read them for centuries. Something the Disney Studios have picked up on with great success. So yes, the child is mostly an observer, but a very caring one, who does help beloved uncle to find true love in fairytale fashion.

  2. authoraileenstewart says:

    Maybe. I had a little trouble with the title and wondered how to pronounce the second name as it appeared French. And as Lynne Marie suggested, this story seems to be more about the uncle and his lady than the child narrator. Why does the child care about the uncle and his love life? Is she bored because she is convalescing? Is she particularly close to him? How does the problem or conflict affect her? What is her stake in the matter and what benefit will she reap when she solves the issue? Hope this helps.

  3. Katie Engen says:

    Yes. The writing style is light, deft. And a new (or new-to-me) fairytale always intrigues. The setting into in the first 2 lines is a bit ‘so what?’ The hook starts with Jubal and the honey-haired lady.

  4. ptnozell says:

    Hi, Ann, I agree with the first two comments, and confess to being a bit confused. Is there a reason the narrator isn’t named? What do her uncle’s problems have to do with her? I am, however, intrigued by the mysterious goings on & look forward to reading a revised pitch that highlights the narrator & her problems.

  5. authorlaurablog says:

    I’m intrigued by many of the details in your pitch but I’m not sure how a book is aimed at ages 8-adult. My novel, which I have been workshopping and revising for a year, has been deemed NOT YA because even though the protagonist is 17, her mother is also a main character. This makes it an adult book. Even with a child narrator, your book sounds more appealing to adults than children.

  6. ingridboydston says:

    I agree that you have the seeds for something really lovely here, but your audience might be a bit older. If you want to refocus the pitch/Story so the stakes affect the Ann more directly that might do the trick. As in “ the uncle she loves never smiles anymore. Ann has to solve the mystery or discover the secret that will bring back his smile…” something like that perhaps? Have fun with this! Love the Lava Susanna! Happy almost spring! 😃

  7. matthewlasley says:

    It sounds to me that you have an endearing story. A pitch needs to deliver your character’s plight, but I did not get that from your pitch. Though your narrator is 10, from your pitch, the story seems to be about her uncle; we don’t even get her name. Your 10 year-old should be the main character and not just the narrator of the story. Her uncle having an issue is okay, but in solving his problem, she needs to solve her own.
    Also, for a chapter book, the words are too complex. “Convalesce” is not a word most adults use, let alone being in the decodable range of 8-10 year olds.
    I am also concerned about the content for a chapter book. The story itself sounds like a romance told from a child. While love is a concept of children, romance is not. This sounds like something that could fall into a Young Adult field, but not Chapter Book.

    For those reasons, I would not read this story. I believe you need to rethink the story and figure out if chapter book is the best place for it.

  8. viviankirkfield says:

    We are all waiting for spring, Susanna. 😉 And what better way to wait than to enjoy those delicious LAVA cookies…yum!

    Ann, I love the whole idea of your story…but I agree with the wonderfully helpful comments you’ve gotten here so far. If this is a story for kids, even older kids, the child probably needs to be named and have a goal/problem from the get-go. I do love the title…perhaps you could add the child’s name up front: Lyla Lattimore and the Love Song of Jubal Jacques. That would lend itself to becoming a chapter book series about Lyla and her other adventures. Maybe she is a detective type kid like Nancy Drew. Just a thought.
    I don’t know your story (although I’m think the lady may be deaf and that is why she doesn’t turn her head?), but here’s a reworked pitch that puts the emphass on the child character.

    10-year old Lyla Lattimore would do anything to see her favorite Uncle Jubal smile.But the honey-haired lady who lives on the hill refuses to listen to the beautiful lovesong he wrote. Digging deeper, Lyla discovers the secret of the lady who only sits and weaves, but can she also discover how to enable Uncle Jubal’s lovesong to reach the honey-haired lady’s heart.

  9. rosecappelli says:

    Maybe. I am curious about the illness and the relationships, but the pitch as it is written is not pulling me in. As others have said, what is at stake for this young girl? What might she have to do with her uncle’s perceived romance? Who, exactly, are the main characters? But I think there is potential as a chapter book.

  10. Judy Sobanski (@jkspburg) says:

    I love the idea that a young ten-year-old girl would be the one to solve this dilemma for her Uncle, however; I wanted to read more about HER in your pitch. I felt since the girl is the narrator, she is vital to the story. This is important if your readers are to be kids 8 and older. So make her the focus of your pitch even if most of her interactions in the book are with adults. Maybe less detail about the Uncle’s problem and a little more about the MC and how/why her being on this island is integral to the story. The plot sounds very intriguing! Best of luck!

  11. bababloggayaga says:

    Arr, I loves me they folk style tales, but I agrees with they earlier comments. Me questions be:Does her uncle live with them? Or where does he come in? Does the child’s illness fit into the story? Putting it in the first sentence makes it seem important. Who be yer main character? The girl? The uncle? The mysterious lady?
    Chapter books they not always be needing a child protagonist, but the main character he, she, or it should be child-like.

    So I be saying I not be sure about reading it unless the pitch it be revised with the excellent suggestions the peoples be giving above.

  12. Rebekah Hoeft says:

    I would read it–as an adult for sure–love the language you used–it did give it a fairy tale feel to me, and I like child narrators.

    As a kid, I probably would have too–because of liking that the kid has a role in the grownup world–something most kids think they should have.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Welcome, Terry! So glad you’re here! I think you replied successfully, just some people’s comments I have to approve for some unknown reason and yours seem to be in that category. This one should show up now, though, and if you comment again I’ll approve it again if need be 🙂

  13. fspoesy says:

    Right now this pitch earns a Maybe from me. The age range kind of threw me but I’m guessing this would be what I think of as a Middle Grade novel. The Folktale/Fantasy genre definitely caught my eye. I think that is a winner. That said, I agree with most of the other commenters about the focus needing to be on the main character. I would need to be assured by the pitch that this isn’t mostly about a middle-aged man finding love. Also, I have the feeling there may be much more magic/faerie happening/present on this little green island than comes through in the pitch. But I don’t know if I’m just adding that because it is what I hope for. If I’m right, then I think that should be spelled out very clearly in the pitch. Good luck with this story, Ann, I look forward to seeing an updated pitch to see if I was right or not about the magic. 🙂

  14. Ann Martin says:

    Hi to all the lovely folk who commented on my pitch for Jubal Jacques. I have read and appreciate every one of them and thank you all very much. I did respond to Lynne Marie, but after that the response procedure just seemed to seize up! I typed a reply to each of you, but nothing came through! I hope you can see this and I hope that my one and only response answers some of your questions. I am now going to spend time learning how to present a perfect pitch! 🙂

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