Fun Friday Photo

So today’s the day Catherine and I are starting our new Fun Friday Photo (maybe that should be Foto :)) Fextravaganza (because there’s no word I can think of that means extravaganza and starts with F – at least not on this rainy morning!  Feel free to make suggestions.  My brain is sluggish before coffee, breakfast and sunshine.)

This week’s theme is CONFUSION.  Here’s my entry 🙂

courtesy google images

If you’d like to play along, post a photo with your interpretation of confusion and then put your link in the comments below and/or over at Catherine’s so we can all visit your blog and enjoy and be inspired by your choices!  Who knows what great stories may be written today based on these pictures 🙂

After that, if you haven’t had a chance to comment on this week’s Would You Read It, please go here and share your expertise 🙂

Catherine and I hope you have fun with the photos fotos!  Have a great weekend!

P.S.  Ooh!  How about this one:  Fun Friday Foto Feature!  Hmmm…. where’s my coffee 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday – The Ninth Pitch!

Well, I am just full of fun and games this week!

First, we had our present game on Monday, which got a way bigger response than I expected!  I think I will leave it open until the wee hours of Friday morning and then post the winner on Friday, just in case anyone else wants to join in and hasn’t had a chance yet.  (If that’s you, go here.)  I got so many amazing, original responses – it was like opening presents for me to see what you all said!

Second, my friend Catherine Johnson and I want to try something fun on Fridays.  We will post a theme for the week and then on Friday, you put a photo on your blog that represents that theme and put the url to that post in our comment section (hers or mine or both until we figure out how to do a linky list – turns out they don’t seem to work with Safari, which is what I have so…) and then everyone can visit each other’s photos to see how they interpreted the theme!  I think we might get more than a few writing prompts from this 🙂  Since we both write kidlit, we want to keep the photos in a range appropriate for ages 0-12.  This will also separate us from other similar photo game/lists because, as far as we know, no one does a kid one.  We hope you’ll all think this is fun and join in!  This week’s theme is “CONFUSION”  So search around and find a photo that represents that.  It can be a family photo or one you find elsewhere.  As we continue, the game may evolve to writing captions or using the photos as prompts, but for now, we’re starting simple, and the first week is a bit of a trial run, so please bear with us – but do join in so we can see if it works 🙂

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… *dramatic music* … It’s time for Would You Read It!!!    (And no, we have not yet decided on an official snack – although muffins warm from the oven are sounding pretty good right about now….  Maybe I’ll put up a poll.  Or maybe I’ll just decide all by myself.  But I digress…)

Today’s pitch comes to us from the lovely and talented Catherine from Canada – yes! the very same Catherine I’m doing the photo game with (how serendipitous is that? :))

Here is the pitch:

Working Title:  The Fairy Wood
Age/Genre:  MG
The Pitch:  Annabel gets distracted by flowers and fairies and cannot find her family in the woods, but the mystery of the disappearing flowers distracts her even more.  Annabel has no idea how close her family really are or who to trust.

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 Catherine 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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.
Catherine is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!
And we are both looking forward to your contributions to the photo game on Friday so please come join us 🙂  (With the added incentive of finding out who won the present game!!!)
There will always be plenty of fun around here 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday – The Sixth Pitch!

Grab your Cheetos and settle into the recliner!  It’s time for Would You Read It!

What?

Yes, Cheetos are a healthy breakfast! (they have cheese, which is dairy, duh!  Just make sure you wipe your fingers before you touch your computer or you’ll get that orange dust everywhere…)

And no, first thing in the morning is not too early for the recliner! (after you’re done with Would You Read It you will be perfectly positioned to enjoy all those other morning game shows!  Besides, you can’t really enjoy Cheetos properly on the exercise bike.)

So now, are you ready?

I hope so, because here comes today’s pitch *sounds of cheering and wild excitement*

Today’s pitch comes to us from Laynie, a children’s author from Texas.  She is writing a series about Moochie Mockingbird and this title is to be the second in the series.  (For you fellow campaigners out there, Laynie is also taking part in Rachael Harrie’s Writer’s Platform Building Campaign so head on out and look her up!)

Title:  Hidden Oaks Camp Or Else!
Genre/Age: MG
The Pitch:  Moochie Mockingbird and other animal friends lead endangered animals away from a huge, deadly Texas Hill Country wildfire to the safety of ‘firewise community’ Hidden Oaks, a summer youth camp. 

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 Laynie 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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  (I figured y’all would get tired of me rewriting the same paragraph every week about the rules of the game so I put them up there :))
Laynie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!
And once Laynie’s pitch has had a couple days to be evaluated, I will put up the official poll so you can all vote on whose pitch should be sent to Erin!  Really, the excitement is practically unbearable!  Where are my Cheetos?  🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday – The Fifth Pitch! And A Surprise!!!

It’s Wednesday folks, and you know what that means…  Time for the world’s most awesome game, Would You Read It!

But before I give you today’s pitch, I have some super awesome exciting news!  A new twist to Would You Read It.

So far, I have posted people’s pitches (I just have to stop and admire that accidental alliteration :)) and you all have written in with your opinions and helpful comments.

NOW, in addition, we are going to have a vote once a month where you all get to say which of the pitches for that month you thought was best.  The winner’s pitch will be read by none other than Erin Molta, editor extraordinaire!!!

Erin is an experienced senior editor of picture book, early readers, chapter, middle grade, and YA books, as well as novelty and licensed titles. She has been in children’s publishing for more than twenty years and has a keen understanding of early reader through YA audiences. She has an excellent reputation with established authors, illustrators, and agents.

She is currently evaluating manuscripts for publishers as well as freelance editing for prospective authors before submission to publishing houses.


What an opportunity!

Erin will read each month’s winning pitch and supply valuable feedback to the author on how to improve it.  And who knows?  If she likes it enough, she may ask for a partial or complete ms to read!

And you thought Would You Read It couldn’t get any better 🙂

I must also add that Erin has a special place in my heart… it was she who purchased my very first ms for publication, The House That Mack Built for Little Simon 🙂 … so you know she has good taste 🙂

Because the first 2 Would You Read It entries were in July and there were only 2, the first vote will include them with the August entries, which means there will be 5 or 6 instead of 4 or 5 and the vote will take place after the final August entry.  (Which gives me a week to figure out Poll Daddy or some other voting scheme – advice welcome :))

But isn’t this so exciting???!!!

OKAY!  So onward to today’s pitch, which comes to us from the lovely Pam, a writer, mother, and teacher of maritime history and seamanship at the San Diego Maritime Museum.

Pam presents us with this entry:

Title:  When This Is Over, I Will Go To School And I Will Learn To Read: A Story Of Hope And Friendship For One Young Kenyan Orphan
Genre: PB
The Pitch:  No one knows the story of Kenya better than the children who live it, and it is their truth that is certain to nudge the hearts and minds of parents, teachers and children everywhere.


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 Pam 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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  (I figured y’all would get tired of me rewriting the same paragraph every week about the rules of the game so I put them up there :))
As an added note, this week’s entry is a little different.  Pam has self-published and is looking for ways to bring attention to her book, hence her interest in improving her pitch.  If you’re interested in learning more about Pam and her book, please visit her website and view her trailer on YouTube (the link for which I cannot get to work in spite of just trying 400 times so please search When This Is Over.mp4 by mabeldog4).
Pam eagerly awaits your comments and suggestions, and Erin is waiting excitedly in the wings for the first pitch winner in a week or two!!!

Would You Read It Wednesday – The Fourth Pitch!

Hurray!  It’s Wednesday!  That means it’s time for everybody’s favorite game…  duhn-duhn, duhn-duhn – (dramatic music!) Would You Read It!

Now, I know a lot of you authors out there are up to your eyebrows in WriteOnCon (which is totally awesome, BTW, and if you haven’t checked it out you owe yourself a trip over there to see what’s up!), but surely you will have a moment around midnight, or at least mid-afternoon Thursday while you’re refilling your tea cup, or certainly by Friday when WriteOnCon is over, to help out this week’s Would You Read It contender!  And parents, teachers, and librarians – this is your chance to get your two cents in before the writers 🙂

This week’s entry comes to us from Paul, a New York City area art director who is quite new to the world of writing children’s books and will be grateful for any pointers you can give him.

Here it is:

Title: The Big Red Boat
Genre: Picture Book Series entitled Adventures With Benjamin Blueberry and Wally The Goat.
The Pitch:  Wally the Goat is steering the boat… Look at him go around that duck and through the waves.  He sure is saving the day.

So.  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 Paul 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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  (I figured y’all would get tired of me rewriting the same paragraph every week about the rules of the game so I put them up there :))

Paul is eager to hear your thoughts on his pitch!

Would You Read It Wednesday – The Third Pitch!

Good morning, folks!  Grab your coffee and a donut an apple (and for those of you who, like me are finding it a little harder to read the computer screen these days, your reading glasses) and GET READY!  It’s time for everybody’s favorite game, Would You Read It!

I just have to say, before we get started, that it has warmed the cockles of my heart to see what a wonderful response you’ve all given our participants!  Those who have been brave enough to submit a pitch have been so grateful for your helpful comments!

(And please don’t ask me what a cockle is or what they’re doing in your ventricular space.  A cockle sounds like something that should shackle you to a chicken coop, which seems like a sniglet, but I digress…!)

Okay.  Ready?

Today’s pitch comes to us from Alisha, an elementary school music teacher, flutist, and chicken farmer 🙂  Welcome, Alisha, and thanks so much for playing our game!

Alisha presents us with this entry:

Title: Finding the Reindeer Beat

Genre: Picture Book
Pitch: “When Santa’s sleigh team decided to retire, a new group of reindeer trained with Coach Dasher, almost crashed in front of Santa, and discovered the secret to staying together.”
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 Alisha improve her pitch.  (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 and spread the word to all your writer friends so we can keep playing!!!
Rules For The Game: send your working title if you have one, the age/genre you’re writing for, and The Pitch, (and your pitch can be anonymous if you prefer – just let me know) to susanna@susannahill.com (or use the handy Email Me button on the right-hand side.)  Try out pitches you’re polishing for submission to get a sense of how they’re working, or try out pitches for ideas you’re mulling over to see if they have merit.  Writers and readers are here to help!
Alisha is anxiously awaiting your thoughts on her pitch!

Hooked

I was fighting the urge.

I really was.

I told myself Quite Sternly! that I was not going to overwhelm you with billions of pictures of our exquisite new granddaughter.  And I’m really not.  Except I just have to post these two.  Because I’m totally hooked.  But then I’ll stop.  I promise 🙂

One of her beautiful face – she looks a lot different with her eyes open, doesn’t she?

… and one of her tiny feet, because baby feet are simply irresistible 🙂

Okay.  That’s it.  I’m done 🙂

But speaking of being hooked, I am, coincidentally, reading Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers At Page One and Never Lets Them Go by Les Edgerton.  And it’s got me thinking about first sentences.

So I’d like to challenge everyone to a new twist on a combination of Monday and Wednesday’s posts.  Here’s what to do:  pick up the book you’re currently reading.  Type into the comments the title and author of the book and the very first sentence.  I’m assuming it hooked you because you’re reading the book, but please say whether it did or whether you were just willing to be patient for some reason, and please also say whether the book is delivering on it’s promise so far.  Not only will this be fun for writers to learn from, it will give all of us some recommendations for good reading 🙂

I’ll go first.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
“They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.”
YES – I was hooked, and YES, so far the book has more than delivered on its opening promise – it’s terrific!

I can’t wait to see what you guys are reading and how good (or not) the first sentences are!

Have a great weekend!

Would You Read It Wednesday – The Second Pitch!

Good morning everyone!  It’s time, once again, for everybody’s favorite game show: Would You Read It!
(Really, that would be so much more fun if it was lit up and sparkly, but I am not that talented at technology :))

Today’s pitch comes to us from the lovely Megan in Indiana.  Welcome, Megan, and thanks so much for playing the game!

Megan presents us with this entry:

Title:  The Rhyme Machine
Age/Genre:  PB
Pitch:   “Chaos breaks out in a classroom when an imaginary ‘rhyme machine’ springs to life and starts creating things that rhyme with anything that’s said.”



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 Megan improve her pitch.  (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.)

And now, seriously!, please send your pitches for the coming weeks and spread the word to all your writer friends or this game will die on the vine!  We can only play if we have pitches.  I know a lot of you have big writer followings, so I would be most grateful if you wouldn’t mind spreading the word!

Rules For The Game: send your working title if you have one, the age/genre you’re writing for, and The Pitch, (and your pitch can be anonymous if you prefer – just let me know) to susanna@susannahill.com (or use the handy Email Me button on the right-hand side.)  Try out pitches you’re polishing for submission to get a sense of how they’re working, or try out pitches for ideas you’re mulling over to see if they have merit.  Writers and readers are here to help!

Megan looks forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

You Can Call Me Granny :)

Today is full of fun!

First:

It’s true, it’s true!  I have reached granny status 🙂  Just goes to show, you can be a grandma at 29 🙂  Our first grandchild, Annabelle, arrived yesterday afternoon, 7 lbs. 7 oz., and perfect in every way!  Mother and baby are doing well.  Here she is:

Second:

I have been featured in the August Author Spotlight on What’s Up Sippy Cup (good timing, no?)  Please pop over and enjoy their site, full of all kinds of great information for expectant parents as well as parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers (including such helpful nuggets as DON’T feed them chocolate pudding and cream before their first birthday! – OK, not really, but that could be there…)  To read the author spotlight interview, go here and scroll about halfway down the page.

Third:

It is apparently National Book Week (who knew?) and Face Book has a game that I’m borrowing and altering slightly because it’s fun.  Here are the rules:

Pick up the book you are currently reading.  Go to page 56.  Copy the 5th sentence on that page in your comment below just for fun.  Do not mention the title or author (but if anyone has guesses, by all means guess!)  Here’s mine:

“We listen to Dr. Dre and Tupac, and then we blast “Baby Got Back” and all sing along.”

I have to say, that is by far the shortest, least informative sentence on that page!  The 4 before it are so long that that one is half way down!

So, share your sentence, check out What’s Up Sippy Cup, and feel free to leave comments on cute baby picture!  Have a great Monday!

Would You Read It Wednesday – The First Pitch!

My little heart is going pitter-pat and it is certainly not because I’ve had too much coffee.  (Really, I’m shocked you even thought that!)

No!  I’m excited because last week I thought up a game that over 4 people expressed an interest in, and one of them has even sent an entry!
So we’re off and running with Would You Read It Wednesday!!!  SO exciting!!!
(Okay.  Now I’m putting on my announcer voice because I know how much you like it.)
It’s time to play Would You Read It!  Please welcome our very first contestant, Andrea from Canada.  Let’s give her an extra round of applause, ladies and gentleman, for being brave enough to go first AND tell us her real name!
Andrea presents us with this entry:
Working Title:  Wild (Girl) Genius
Age/Genre:  MG
The Pitch:  After girly Jade persuades her adventure-enthusiast parents to get her into a special camp led by wilderness expert Carson Riley, Jade’s plans to show Carson she’s skilled enough to host a youth segment of his new TV show get messed up by a secret celebrity and someone sabotaging the camp.

So now it’s up to you folks.  Let’s vote.  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 Andrea improve her pitch.  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.
And now that you’ve all seen how fun this is in action, please send your pitches for the coming weeks and spread the word to all your writer friends so everyone can benefit!  All we need are the working title if you have one, the age/genre you’re writing for, and The Pitch, (and your pitch can be anonymous if you prefer.)  Try out pitches you’re polishing for submission to get a sense of how they’re working, or try out pitches for ideas you’re mulling over to see if they have merit.  Writers and readers are here to help!  Please send pitches to susanna@susannahill.com (you can use the EMAIL ME button in the right hand column too if that’s easier :))
Looking forward to your thoughts on Andrea’s pitch, and to your pitches as well!