Would You Read It Wednesday #336 – Isaac’s Apple Tree (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor for June and July!!!

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday!  Woo hoo!

And you’ll all be thrilled to know that we get to start today’s proceedings with a triple Straight From The Editor!

You’ll recall that back in June we had a tie between Deborah and Ana.

Deborah’s pitch was for Farmer Jo and the Chicken Coop Calamity (PB) –

Henrietta, Goldie, and Pearl are three chickens with grand ideas. After convincing Farmer Jo to build improvements on their hen house, word spreads and many new chickens come to the farm to roost. But the weight of the situation proves to much to bear and the results are shattering as the hen house splinters apart.

 

Erin said:

This pitch has potential and could be very funny but it’s not telling the story. Are the three chickens with grand ideas the protagonists or is Farmer Jo? Is the conflict that the hen house collapsed  or that too many hens came to roost? If the three hens are the reason for the problem—too many hens in the hen house—how do they resolve it? That’s what you need to get across. Who are the protagonists? What is the conflict and what’s the resolution? Right now you have the first two, but not the solution.

 

Ana’s pitch was for Bella The Best Quits Again (PB) –

Bella, a Latina girl as sassy as Junie B. Jones, quits everything she (barely) tries because she’s not the best at it: her backflips look like giraffes rolling downhill & her dulce de leche frosting: crocodile skin. Bella must learn it’s ok to try again or she won’t be good @ anything. For kids who enjoy  The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes. Back Matter Famous Div. People who struggled. #PB #Humor

 

Erin’s said:

Bella seems like a great girl and the story could be sweet but the comparisons you make—like Junie B Jones and  The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes are taking away from YOUR story. You can say those things outside of the pitch but it would be better to let your story shine through on its own merits. What if you said something like, “Bella, a sassy seven year-old Latina, won’t do backflips because she looks like a giraffe rolling downhill and her dulce de leche frosting tasted like crocodile skin (which are great images BTW), so she refuses to make anymore…”  And then you need a sentence that tells the reader how she comes to accept that practice makes perfect…

 

The July pitch winner was Nancy with her pitch for Cupid’s Tango (PB)

Cupid, the prairie chicken, has his feathers all in a twist over his flock’s step dance contest. If he fails, no hen will pick him to go to the All Species Ball. The problem – he is horrible at step dancing and when he’s nervous, he’s worse. When the contest ends in disaster, Cupid is determined to find a dance he loves and win a hen’s heart to go to the ball.

Erin said:

This looks intriguing. I’d tweak the bit about if he fails no hen will pick him to go to the All Species Dance (which is adorable, BTW) because somebody’s got to lose so only one prairie chicken will go to the All Species Ball from all the contestants? That’s what it sounds like. Even if you phrase it more like “no hen will want to go to the All Species Ball with a chicken with two left feet” it will make a big difference.

So much fantastic pitch feedback straight from our talented and generous neighborhood editor!  I hope you all find Erin’s thoughts as instructive as I do!

I’m sure we will all absorb that helpful information much better with Something Chocolate to stimulate our brains!  How about some Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes With Oreo Crust?

Chocolate Mini Cheesecake With Oreo Crust

Sounds like brain food to me! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Marcia who says, “Aspiring writer, not yet published…I have lived in every New England State but one. I am slowly restoring an 1858 cape and love to explore historic houses. On a mission to visit as many presidential homes as I can, in between responding to the demands of my Siberian princess of a cat. Member NESCBWI and 12×12.”

Find her on the web at:

Twitter: @MZ_Parks

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Isaac’s Apple Tree

Age/Genre: Narrative Nonfiction Picture Book (ages 4-8) – includes Author Note

The Pitch: The tree that facilitated the discovery of gravity (leading to the principles on which all space missions depend) now has “space offspring.” In Isaac’s Apple Tree, the tree under which Isaac Newton sat that fateful day tells its own astounding and far-reaching story.

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 Marcia 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 2 or 3 openings left for this year at the end of November/beginning of December, so you could still get your pitch up before 2020 for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Marcia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing my new book!  Did I say that last week? I think I might have!  But I’m still waiting for the books to arrive (because I live on a blueberry-covered mountain in the apparent Middle Of Nowhere! 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #318 – April’s Shower (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

Good Wednesday to you all!

I want to start today’s post with a little something special – just a tiny sneak peek at my new book baby.  It had it’s birthday yesterday 🎈🎉🎈

This was kind of a different project for me – a work-for-hire where I turned a grown-up book into a picture book.  It was a challenge to make it kid-friendly…and in rhyme!  But it was fun and I think the book came out super cute!

MOM

Because the idea belonged to someone else, my name appears only on the inside title page…but I did in fact write the words 🙂

Mom - art from spread 1

illustration copyright Sydney Hanson 2019

 

Sydney did an absolutely amazing job with the art! So adorable!

 

Mom - art from spread 6

illustration copyright Sydney Hanson 2019

 

Anyway, thank you for indulging me in my little book baby celebration :). I think it would be a great Mother’s Day present for a child, or a new mom, or a not-so-new mom, or a grandmom… 🙂

(It has a companion that will be out in another month in time for Father’s Day… but I won’t force that on you now! 🙂 )

Now then!  Down to actual business!  First, we have Straight From The Editor for January!  You will recall the winner was Dedra with her pitch for Mawbelina Ballerina (PB ages 3-8):

Mawbelina Ballerina is a young weenie dog desperate to go to dance school with her older siblings. Being the youngest of the family frustrates Mawbelina. Not long enough or tall enough to go, she pirouettes and pliés, whines and pouts until she realizes there is time for dance school later. She understands being home with her mom is special. See how she learns a lesson in patience and decides being small can be fun.

Editor Erin Molta says:

This seems like it could be cute but I’d trim it a tad and try to make it more fun, rather than preachy. Perhaps something like below with something more specific—like what does she do with her mother that’s so special, rather than staying home? Do they make dog treats or is her being small a way to help her mother when nobody else can? Something like that SHOWS an editor, rather than tells her.

Mawbelina Ballerina is a young weenie dog desperate to go to dance school with her older siblings. Being the youngest of the family frustrates Mawbelina. Not long enough or tall enough to go, she whines and pouts until she realizes staying home with her mom is special and being small can be fun.

As always, I find Erin’s comments so insightful, and I hope you do too!

Next, I think we can all agree you have earned your Something Chocolate break by listening to me ramble on about my new book!  We’re edging toward Easter, and I thought these looked pretty and delicious, so have at them! 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

 

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Mary.  Mary is a picture book writer who lives in Minnesota, so she’ll be enjoying Spring around mid-July! She can be a goofball, and tends to add one or more layers of humor to her manuscripts. She’s currently in the process of training her dog to be a reading therapy animal. He’s sort of a goofball too, so he may never pass the test. But they’ll have fun trying!

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: April’s Shower

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)

The Pitch: Flaming space rocks, smoochy frilly weddings, and pirates are things April is determined to avoid when her mom suggests taking her first shower. Armed with her wild imagination and precise plans, she takes avoidance to a whole new level. When failures and consequences escalate and she ends up covered in mud, sitting in grimy bath water isn’t an option. But this girl can push the very definition of shower to the limit.

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

Mary is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing all my siblings on Friday when we celebrate my dad’s birthday together, a couple weeks early, but when people are traveling from Georgia you gotta do it when you can do it! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Straight From The Editor x 6 – A Pitch Polishing Extravaganza!

Okay… so it’s possible I didn’t post this Saturday or Sunday…! 🙂

But hey! It’s a great way to start the week, isn’t it?

What could be better than a Monday brimming with expert advice on how to polish pitches from an experienced and distinguished editor such as Erin Molta?

(The answer to that is a Monday brimming with expert advice on how to polish pitches from an experienced and distinguished editor such as Erin Molta accompanied by a delicious chocolate snack 🙂 )

I’m pretty sure I have some brownies… hang on… yep! (There are pretty much always brownies at my house 🙂 )

a645a-pb2bbrownie2

Now then! Expert pitch advice! Let’s dive in!

January/February 2018

The pitch winner was Erik with his pitch for STOYANOVICH IN PARIS (MG Historical Fantasy)

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.

Erin’s comments are as follows:

While this pitch is intriguing it’s also very confusing. In order for an editor to agree to ask for it, you might be better off simplifying. While mysterious is good, an editor especially wants to know what’s the heart of the story. For instance, Nikolai is the last rat of the royal line, but I am assuming he’s not the last rat alive, correct? Make that clear, especially since he apparently rescues a mouse princess…Aren’t rats and mice normally enemies? Are the two rodent populations fighting this silent war that’s destroying Paris? Try to be more clear and I think this has potential.

March 2018

The pitch winner was Jean with her pitch for A LITTLE WITCHY (PB ages 4-8)

After Beatrice decides being a witch is more appealing than being mortal, she begins acting a little witchy. But her failed attempts at casting spells and mixing magic potions land her in lots of toil and trouble! And her bumbling exploits soon attract the ire of witches, who offer to help her improve her witchery skills. Now Beatrice must decide rather to become a witch or be the best mortal she can be, and leave the witching to the real witches.

Erin said:

This is cute! Though I would go through it and watch the repetition, especially of witches, witchery… Even using sorceress or something like that would work better.

I’d also cut the last part of the last sentence and do something more like: Now Beatrice must decide whether to remain mortal and make the best of it or become a witch—good or bad.

April 2018

The pitch winner was Corine with her pitch for Willamina The Wolf Spider (PB ages 6-9)

Willamina the wolf spider wants more than anything to keep her spiderlings safe, but when her tummy starts grumbling, she knows it’s time to hunt. Not an easy task with three hundred spiderlings on her back! To make matters worse, it is full moon, and she is not the only one who is hungry. Willamina has to outsmart an owl, a shrew, and, in the end, a woman with a broom—an incident that forces her to release her spiderlings, but not before telling them they are going on a flying adventure.

Erin had this to say:

This is cute. Sometimes I suggest clarity but in this instance I feel it’s not necessary to tell the ending, unless the story is about the spiderlings’ adventures? If not and it’s about a wolf spider mama trying to keep her babies safe, then I wouldn’t let the reader know that she was forced to send them out into the wild wild world—in a pitch. I’d end it something like: Wilhelmina has to outsmart an owl, and a shrew, among others. Can she keep her spiderlings safe from the hungry predators on the prowl?

May 2018

The pitch winner was Jackie with her pitch for One Smart Cookie: The Story of Ruth Wakefield and the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie (NF PB ages 4-8)

For years the invention of the chocolate chip cookie has been hailed a happy accident. Perhaps it was, or perhaps it was the clever invention of a clever lady. Devour every morsel of this mystery and decide if it was a lucky mistake or the creation of one smart cookie.

Erin said:

Sounds delectable! See my tweaks to get rid of the repetition and hopefully make it more pithy.

For years the invention of the chocolate chip cookie has been hailed a happy accident. Perhaps it was, or perhaps it was the ingenious invention of a clever lady. Devour every morsel of this mystery and decide if it was a lucky mistake or one smart cookie creation.

June 2018

The pitch winner was Patricia with her pitch for Amy’s Birdsong Aires/American Composer Amy Cheney Beach (NF PB ages 4-8)

Amy wasn’t an ordinary child. A musical prodigy, she could accurately sing any song she heard. Amy wanted to sing, play the piano, and write music, but girls in the late 1800’s didn’t grow up to do such manly things. Despite the times, her talents blossomed and she gained recognition.When a professor learned that Amy had perfect pitch, he asked her to help him ‘name the birds’, which ended up being a very important thing.

Erin’s comments were:

I like the idea of this story but in order for the pitch to catch an editor’s attention you need to clarify and simplify a bit. For instance, “naming the birds” until you read the story doesn’t make sense so you need to tell us exactly what the professor wanted  from Amy and what she did. Tell us because that’s what’s interesting. I’d also shorten it a bit by omitting some of the extraneous info. See below.

Amy wasn’t an ordinary child. She could accurately sing any song she heard. Amy wanted to sing, play the piano, and write music, but girls in the late 1800’s didn’t grow up to do such manly things. But when a professor learned that Amy had perfect pitch, he asked her to help him ‘name the birds’, which ended up being a very important thing. (tell us what exactly she helped the professor do.)

July 2018

The pitch winner was Greg with his pitch for The Remindeer (PB ages 4-10)

Wally has a very important job, to make sure everything goes smoothly for Santa on Christmas Eve. After going through his checklist and seeing Santa off, he discovers a present for Laurie has been left behind.

Unlike the other reindeer, Wally can’t fly. He calls a delivery service and finds out they are too busy to deliver the present. He’ll have to find another way to deliver the present and save Christmas for Laurie.

Erin had these comments:

How synchronistic that I’m reading this actually in the Christmas season! And it sounds great. My one suggestion is to tighten it up a bit and leave us with more of a question of how Wally will save the day. See my tweaks below.

Wally makes sure everything goes smoothly for Santa on Christmas Eve. But after seeing Santa off, he discovers a present for Laurie has been left behind.

Unlike the other reindeer, Wally can’t fly. He calls a delivery service but they are too busy. How will Wally get the present to Laurie and save Christmas?

Whew! That was a lot of pitch practice!  Have another brownie!

I hope you all found Erin’s input as helpful as I did! It’s great to get advice Straight From The Editor’s mouth!

One of these days, when Erin and I get our ducks in a row, we will finish the Straight From The Editor’s for 2018.  There are three more – one for September, one for October, and one for November/December.  But we’re still working on the last two pitch picks!  Seriously! Where is my brilliant, organized, volunteer personal assistant when I need her! 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone! Happy writing!

(P.S. and I hope some of that happy writing is on your Valentiny Contest entry! 🙂 )

Would You Read It Wednesday #273 – The Troublesome And Unpleasant Adventures Of Murphy The Reluctant Potato (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor X 3!!!

Boy, do we have an action-packed day today, folks!

I’m not going to waste one single second telling you what the dogs found in the woods or what creative concoction I baked or what the scuttlebutt down at the post office was.  Nosireebob!  We’re going to get right down to it today!

First (your favorite and mine!) we have a thrilling triple episode of Straight From The Editor!

For September:  You will recall Katie’s pitch:
Katie – Pirate For Hire (PB ages 4-8)
Patch loves being a pirate. The beards! The singing! The treasure! There’s only one problem…he gets seasick. When his shipmates begin poking fun at him, Patch looks for a new gig and a new crew who understand him, but where to work? Patch fumbles as a barber, flounders and a singer, and fails as a jeweler before finding a place perfect for a pirate.

And here are Erin’s comments:
This is cute. Though it might garner more interest if you went slightly more active and specific—even the end. Something more along the lines of: Patch loves being a pirate. “Yohoho! The shiny gold coins! The beards! There’s only one problem…he gets seasick. When his shipmates poke fun of him, Patch looks for a new gig. But where to work? What to do? He fumbles as a barber, flounders as a singer, and can’t tell a diamond from a pearl—before finding the perfect place for a pirate –((and I would say what it is)).

For October:  Laura’s pitch:
Laura – Gustavo’s Big Idea (PB ages 4-9)
Aliana’s little brother Gustavo wants to be in charge for the day. Knowing she’s really the boss, Aliana agrees to play along. Now Gustavo needs to come up with a BIG idea to impress his sister! As they head out to explore the woods near their Rocky Mountain home, Gustavo searches for inspiration, finding his idea in the clouds. The power of observation combined with imagination show both siblings new ways to take pride in their discoveries. Easy-to-follow hands on science project for home or school included.

And here are Erin’s thoughts:
I love the concept of this pitch, but I wish you gave an example because I have no idea what the big idea is and how that correlates to being in charge. You need to make that connection for the reader, especially when you mention a science project included. An editor will be confused—is this a picture book about little brother finally being in charge or a book of scientific observation?

Essentially, you just need to provide some more information.

And last but not least, for November: Candace’s pitch:
Candace – Cock-A-Doodle WHAT? (PB ages 2-4)
Clarence Rooster is pacing around the barnyard. He is the smallest rooster at the farm and tomorrow morning will be his first turn at waking up Farmer Judy. What if he’s not loud enough and she sleeps right through his crowing? He decides to hold a practice session behind the barn. Clarence invites his friends to come listen. Each one has a bit of advice for him. Now, he must figure out whose idea is the best.

And Erin’s advice:
This is very cute. Everybody likes an underdog 🙂  However, it would liven it up a tad if you added more specifics. Draws the reader in. So, if you say something like, Cow says stand still to maximize loudness.. Goat says kick your feet when you crow. OR if different Roosters are giving him the advice, then include their different opinions—two maybe—just to add some color.

As always, I find Erin’s thoughts very insightful, interesting, and helpful, and I hope her words help all of you to strengthen your pitches!

Gosh!  All that awesome pitching advice has left me a mite peckish!  How about you?  I think we should refuel with Something Chocolate before we go on to today’s pitch.  As you can see, I’m on a Valentine-themed roll the last couple weeks – very fitting for this time of year 🙂  This looks easy and delicious!

Valentines Day Marbled Graham Cracker Toffee

Graham-Cracker-Toffee

Recipe (including helpful video!) HERE at The Country Cook

I personally am not a fan of sprinkles on anything – they interfere with texture to my way of thinking.  So I’ll probably make my toffee with colored sugar instead.  But you guys feel free to sprinkle to your heart’s content 🙂  (Or use “jimmies” if that’s what you call them in your neck of the woods!)

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Tim who writes under a pseudonym (Francis S. Poesy) and says, “Francis S. Poesy was born on Slipshod Island off the northwest coast of Ireland in 1961. He attended the St. Blathmac Monastary School which was well known for producing many great Slipshod writers, until the island was reclaimed by the sea in 1969.

Francis is also entirely a figment of Tim Canny’s imagination, which many have characterized as “over-active”. Tim currently writes under the pseudonym Francis S. Poesy as he always thought an author should have a much more interesting back story than growing up in the Mid-west and writing technical manuals for a living. Tim is an unpublished writer and is currently working on a presentable version of his second children’s book manuscript. His website is http://www.mulberryandbliss.com.”

Find him on the web at
www.mulberryandbliss.com

Here is his pitch:

Working Title:  The Troublesome And Unpleasant Adventures Of Murphy The Reluctant Potato

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch:  Murphy isn’t like all those other potatoes. He doesn’t dream of becoming delicious French fries; of making beautiful art that gets displayed on the fridge; or of winning ribbons as a science fair project. No, Murphy is very happy kicking back in Farmer McCubbin’s cozy little garden. He has no plans for going on any “potato adventures” thank you very much. But that all changes the day a shovel turns his world upside down and getting back to the garden turns into the biggest potato adventure of all.

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 Tim 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!

Tim is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to Friday, which as you may know is Groundhog Day – a big favorite around here! 🙂  Phyllis is all set to get her furry brown self outside at the crack of dawn to let us know if spring will come early!  Fingers crossed…!!! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #254 – Gracie Gopher, IT Specialist (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor X 4!!!

Fasten your seat belts, boys and girls!  We’ve got quite the agenda today!  I recommend packing a lunch.  I’d be happy to make it for you.  I am an absolute whiz with peanut butter and jelly.  I can make it in myriad ways – all delicious, if I do say so myself.  Creamy peanut butter, or crunchy? White, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, or raisin bread (that’s how my sister’s family likes it – on raisin bread!), or bagel, English muffin, hard roll, or baguette?  Grape, strawberry, apricot, raspberry, or blackberry jam?  Or would you prefer peanut butter and honey?  Or peanut butter and bananas?  And would you like it regular, or grilled panini style?

And you guys thought I couldn’t cook!

But I digress…

I had a point…

…oh, yes!

We have a lot to do today so stop talking about peanut butter and jelly and let’s get down to brass tacks!

🙂

We’ve got an entire education in pitching today: Straight From The Editor for January, February, March, and April!

So let’s dive in, shall we?

You will recall that the January Pitch Pick was won by Costantia with her PB pitch for Understanding George:

George has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and doesn’t behave or react like the other children in his class. When he is unable to play with them, the children are left upset, and struggle to understand what makes George so different. Seeing the world from his perspective helps them to empathize with the challenges that ASD children face daily, and to accept that everyone is unique.

Here are editor Erin Molta’s comments:

Definitely a book that is needed in this day and age! I would suggest, however, to make it less textbook-y or institutional, to pick one example and build off that. If you started out with: George has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and doesn’t behave or react like the other children in his class. But then perhaps go into an empathy example next, so say something like: When teacher gave all the children blank masks and they were to act out an emotion without saying anything, they realized how different and even difficult George might find an interaction that they take for granted. (or some other exercise that can be described briefly). And then wrap it up with a line like: Stepping into George’s shoes helps his classmates understand the challenges that ASD may face and to learn to accept each student and their uniqueness…

The February Pitch Pick was won by Kathryn with her MG pitch for Penelope Pickles And the Troll Kingdom:

Toadstool is a troll who just wants to be left alone. But the Troll Kingdom is relying on him to start a plague in order to ward off pesky humans. His plan goes amiss when he meets Penny, a spunky girl with a contagious imagination. The Troll Kingdom isn’t happy about his new friend, and Toadstool soon finds himself having to choose between saving the Troll Kingdom or saving Penny.

Here are Erin’s comments on Kathryn’s pitch:

The conflict sounds fab. But must Toadstool choose between saving the Trolls or Penny or—since the trolls don’t like Penny (or humans, in general), it sounds like it’s more a matter that he must choose to save himself or Penny. If that is not the case, then what is going after the trolls that Toadstool must save them from? Or is it that he must choose the Trolls over Penny—one or the other? If that’s the case, then I would reword the last line slightly: Toadstool soon finds himself having to choose between becoming an important member of the Troll Kingdom, or saving his friend Penny from certain doom. You just need to clarify the conflict and address it and then this will have a much better shot. I would also use the word awry, rather than amiss, because it seems more appropriate for what you are trying to say,

The March Pitch Pick was won by Traci with her PB pitch for Riley And The Haunted Cupboard:

What started out as a fun game of candy hide and seek between Riley and his dog, Scout, turns hairy when creepy noises coming from the cupboard under the stairs halts the game. Scout seems to be missing which forces Riley to first face his fear of dark places but more importantly face his fear that Scout may be gone forever.

Here are Erin’s comment’s on Traci’s pitch:

Question—is this book about a boy and his dog and the boy overcoming his fears of the dark and unknown noises to “rescue” his best friend? Or is it about a overcoming the sadness about a dog dying? If it’s more about being brave for someone you love (and the sounds are that Scout is trapped in the cupboard,  then I would eliminate the bit about him facing a fear that Scout may be gone forever. Otherwise it seems like two separate stories. If it IS about dealing with a dog’s death by overcoming fears of a cupboard, then I’d rework the beginning because it makes it seem trivial and happening so fast with the candy hide and seek…

Especially in a picture book, you need to stay linear and keep to one conflict and resolution.

And finally, the April Pitch Pick was won by Ana with her PB pitch for No More Cats!:

When Lilly’s dad agrees to adopt a cat, he thinks one will suffice. But now Lilly seems to be on a mission to rescue every stray she encounters; a calico evading traffic, a kitten rummaging through trash, a tabby outrunning a dog. One by one the cat count rises while the number of potted plants and dad’s patience decreases. Together they must find new homes for their furry friends to make life sane again.

Here are Erin’s comments on Ana’s pitch:

This premise is all too real for me, as my daughter is constantly sending me pictures or sad stories about cats—and we already have three in our two bedroom apartment! Anyway. This is sounding good, but I am imagining that it will be humorous because you’ve got that somewhat in your descriptions of how Lilly finds the strays, but you need to end with something more lighthearted–to catch an editor who doesn’t have my particular sympathy J. Maybe something simple, like: As the cat count increases in her house, dad’s patience decreases and they seek to find her furry friends forever homes with relatives or neighbors…

Many, many thanks to Erin, whose comments I always find so interesting and enlightening, as I hope you do too!  And many thanks to all our pitchers for giving us the opportunity to learn from each other and from Erin!

I’m a little exhausted from all that learning, though, so how about a Something Chocolate snack break?  Today (in a complete departure from the aforementioned peanut butter and jelly) I am serving Brown Butter Walnut Brownies!

 

Nomnomnomnomnom!

Ah!  That hit the spot, didn’t it?  I hope you’re feeling refreshed! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Suzie Olsen who is a systems engineer in Phoenix, AZ. Her passion is to encourage students, especially girls and minorities, to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She is a member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators, 12×12 Challenge, as well as the Society of Women Engineers. She lives with her husband and son, reading book after book to her son.

Find her on the web at:

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Gracie Gopher, IT Specialist

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Gracie Gopher is an IT Specialist for Ground City; Chief Infrastructure Tunnel specialist that is. She is helping Ground City set up and build their tunnel infrastructure.  Gracie loves the problem solving that comes with her job. There seems to be a problem of water getting blocked in the drainage tunnel.  Gracie goes down there to troubleshoot and finds a bug.  The bug won’t move, so Gracie has to come up with a solution on the fly.

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 Suzie 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!

Suzie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to experimenting with that Brownie recipe!  I’m going to leave the walnuts out.  I don’t like walnuts… they’re bitter… and it is my personal opinion that nuts of any kind should not be allowed anywhere near brownie batter.  Chocolate chunks? fine.  Peanut butter chips? fine.  Crushed peppermint (at Christmas) or toffee (anytime 🙂 ), fine!  But NO NUTS! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #245 – I Am… (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor Nov/Dec

Spring has sprung, peeps!  It’s official!

Hello Spring!

 

I am ignoring the fact that we have 2 feet of snow on the ground and the low temp tonight is supposed to be 7 (I don’t know who is in charge around here, but I’d like to suggest a change of personnel! 🙂 )  Pshaw! I say to the snow and the cold!  (Because actually I have never said Pshaw! but people in books do it all the time when they want to snort at something so I thought it would be fun to try it out.)  I refuse to pay heed to snow and cold and shall instead revel in thoughts of green grass, luxuriant blossoms, and cute baby animals 🙂

Now that we are all feeling suitably spring-y, I’m thrilled to be able to share Straight From The Editor with you today for the winner of the November/December 2016 Pitch Pick – Nadine with her PB pitch for Armadillo Pillow Fight.  You will recall her pitch:

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.

Here are editor Erin Molta’s thoughts:

This sounds like it could be cute. Though I’d  add a hint of more substance because otherwise the story is about a poor armadillo whose party invitations got messed up—which is humorous but pretty slight because if nobody comes to the party then story is over. Or if only some come, it’s still a matter not much more story. It could be as simple as working up to the party, sway, Willow Armadillo had everything ready for her party—perfect pillows, soft mattresses, twinking fairy lights and the most delicious birthday cake ever! But her friends got the details confused…

Something like that implies more of a story.

 Best of luck…

Thanks so much to Erin!  As always, I find her thoughts enlightening and I hope you do too!

I don’t know about you, but I’m starving!  Something Chocolate would sure hit the spot right about now!  Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars sound good to you?

YUM!  Me too! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Lisa.  Lisa Katzenberger is an active member of SCBWI where she serves as the Social Media Co-Coordinator for the Illinois Region. She wrote short stories and novels for many years before her kids helped her discover the world of children’s literature. When she’s not taking care of her six-year-old twins, writing, or lingering on twitter for too long, she works as a freelance writer to fund the writing classes and conferences she is addicted to taking. Lisa is thrilled to be a part of the fun and supportive KidLit community.

Find her on the web at:

Twitter: @FictionCity
Website: www.lisakatzenberger.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: I Am…

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-6)

The Pitch: Giraffe gets scared by a spider and climbs a tree to hide. When his friend Zebra finds him, he listens to Giraffe and helps him work through his irrational fears, pointing out Giraffe’s strengths. But there’s one last problem Giraffe is facing, and he’s not sure he has the courage to admit it so he can get the help he needs.

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 Lisa 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 May, 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!

Lisa is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to wearing shorts and a tee shirt outside and not being cold.  I know… I’ve got a little bit of a wait yet… but I’m still looking forward to it! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #219 – Dancing Through Space (PB) PLUS The May Pitch Winner PLUS Straight From The Editor for April!!!!

Greetings Fellow KidLit Peeps!

Golly!  We have so much to do today that I’m not even going to regale you with tales of the Chopped Dessert Special conducted in my parents’ kitchen last night, contestant chefs being our kids and niece and nephews, basket ingredients including fresh lemon, Life cereal, dried fruit (apricot and pear), and Incredible Perfectly Free Non Dairy Frozen Bites.  When I say the judges (me, my sister, and my daughter) were brave, I am not kidding 🙂  The dishes prepared for us ranged from a Deconstructed Torte made of a dried fruit pancake with a chocolate and peanut butter brittle topped with candied lemon, to a Juice-Soaked Bread “Cake”, to a Fruit Dessert Soup…which curdled…! garnished with a chocolate-dipped dried pear.  And you’re lucky you didn’t see the kitchen 🙂

But like I said, no regaling!  Down to business!

First, the Winner of May Pitch Pick was Melissa with her pitch for Walking With Memphis: Inspired By A Real Dog.  Congratulations on a fabulous pitch, Melissa!  It has already been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts, and I’m sure you’ll hear from her shortly!

And congratulations to all our other pitchers who did a stupendous job as well!  Even if you didn’t win the pitch pick, you are winners for writing your amazing pitches, being brave enough to share them in public, accepting constructive criticism in the spirit in which it was offered, and revising your pitches to make them even better!  Let’s have Something Chocolate all around to celebrate! 🙂  (And no, I will not make you eat the chocolate peanut butter brittle or the chocolate-dipped dried pear garnish from last night 🙂 )

No.  We’re going off the deep end today 🙂  I saw this and knew it was imperative that I share it with you…

DOUGHNUT CAKE WITH MOCHA WHIPPED CREAM!!!

doughnut-cake-2

Doughnut Cake Recipe HERE at SugarHero.com

doughnut-cake-8

Doughnut Cake Recipe HERE at SugarHero.com

And I didn’t even make this up!  There is someone else out there in the world who thought this was a good idea!  Probably my twin separated at birth 🙂

Next, we have Straight From The Editor for April.  As you’ll recall, the April Pitch Pick was won by Sam with her pitch for The School Supplies Intensive Care Unit (PB ages 4-8):
When a marker is left uncapped, a pencil gets cracked, or a glue stick dries out, there is only one place they can turn; The School Supplies Intensive Care Unit.  After a sudden spike in cases at The SSIC-U, it’s up to Nurse Patchet to track down the culprit and reform the classroom’s worst offender.

Here are Erin Molta’s comments:

This is cute, but I am a little confused as to whether the school supplies are supposed to be “alive” or personified and the culprit is another school supply. Or if kids are bringing their broken school supplies to Nurse Patchet and there’s a rogue student wreaking havoc…

 If you can somehow clarify that, I think you will have better luck with this pitch to an editor. For instance, using “student” instead of “they” in “there is only one place they can turn” will make it more clear that it’s about kids in a classroom. If you’re thinking the school supplies are personified, then you need to somehow add in something about a Pencil seeing the writing on the wall, or the somesuch…

Thanks as always to Erin for her very helpful and insightful comments!  I hope you learn as much from them as I do!

Now, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Lydia.  Lydia Lukidis is a children’s author with thirty three books and eBooks published, as well as numerous short stories and poems. She writes both fiction and non-fiction, for ages 3-12, all designed to entertain and inspire. In addition to her creative work, she also composes educational activities and curriculum based texts for children.

Visit her on the web at:
www.lydialukidis.com
https://lydialukidis.wordpress.com/

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Dancing Through Space

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-7 )

The Pitch: 3-2-1- Blast off! Dr. Mae Jemison launches into space and accomplishes her childhood dream. Despite challenges along the way, she never gave up and went on to become the first African-American woman to orbit the earth.

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 Lydia 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 October, so you’ve got a little time to tweak your pitch to perfection and then get it up for some helpful feedback and a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Lyda is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the fact that I will never have to eat Fruit Dessert Soup again and to harvesting more green beans from my Teensy Porch Garden which, against all odds, is still not dead! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #210 -My Name Is Sonny And I Am Special! (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor!

Happy Wednesday, dearies!

Do you know what day this is?

It is National Tell A Story Day!

Really!

I am not making that up!  It’s like it was invented just for us, isn’t it?  I think we should all celebrate by writing or telling a story today 🙂  I’ll start.  On a sunny day in April, Little Dickens crawled out of his hollow log and… SPROINK!… got a face full of prickles! …   Feel free to continue! 🙂

It also happens to be National Babe Ruth Day.  I’m guessing they mean to honor the baseball player, but here on Blueberry Hill one little letter change makes it Baby Ruth Day which means we are honoring chocolate 🙂  Also peanuts and caramel 🙂  Also nougat.  Which really, does anyone know what nougat is?  I mean, nobody ever said, “I’m going into the kitchen to whip up some nougat…” (although they should because nougat is fun to say!)  And if they did say that, what the heck kind of ingredients would they need?  But I digress…

What could be better than a day devoted to stories and chocolate? 🙂

Ooh!  Wait!  I know the answer!

A day devoted to stories, chocolate, Would You Read It and Straight From The Editor!  And it just so happens, I’ve got the whole kit and caboodle for you today! 🙂

We are SO on the ball this month!  After a slight delay in the February and March Pitch Picks, we got the winners last week, and now we’ve got Straight From The Editor this week!  So without further ado, here are editor Erin Molta’s thoughts on the winning pitches from February and March:

You will recall Stacia’s winning pitch from February:

Mia And The Marathon – Picture Book/Early Reader

Mia loves running and so does Mama. While Mama is getting ready for her longest race ever, Mia discovers new, exciting ways she can get ready too.  Mia can’t wait to cheer on Mama but oh no! On Race Day, Mia and Daddy can’t find Mama in the big crowd of runners! Don’t worry: Mia is prepared and knows exactly what to do.  It’s time for Mia to cheer her favorite, loudest, cheeriest, cheer ever.

Erin said:

Mia and the Marathon sounds inspirational but it seems as if there’s two stories going on: is Mia running or getting ready to cheer her mother on? Perhaps if you started it out with something more like, Mama loves running and Mia loves to cheer Mama on. Then I would mention something specific—Mia liked to jump high and shout or Mia had a megaphone all ready for Mama’s longest race…Something like that to give us the impression that Mia is her mother’s best cheering section. I imagine that at the race, Mia will be sitting on Daddy’s shoulders in order to see Mama, and if that is the case it’s not necessary to hide that from the pitch nor whatever it is she knew exactly what to do. Specific is always better than vague and the more information you can actually pack into a pitch—the better!

Tracy’s winning pitch from March was for TroublE with a Capital” E”! – Picture Book/Early Reader:
Trouble, sometimes it finds you and even follows you home. That’s exactly what happens one extraordinary day when Jack, the perfect pooch, sniffs out the perfect friend. Together the unlikely duo find companionship, love, and yes, trouble! Stirring up trouble isn’t perfect, but it sure is a lot more fun. Sometimes, “T-r-o-u-b-l-E,” can be spelled with a capital E.

Erin said:

Trouble with a Capital E sounds cute! But there’s no need to hide the mystery E character. That is not going to intrigue an editor — they’re just going to be exasperated. 🙂 And it sounds like Jack has found companionship, love, and trouble all in one day. You need to clarify that this friendship has developed in their quest for fun and thus trouble. 🙂

Many thanks to Erin as always for her very helpful insights into the pitches!  I hope you find them as useful as I do!

Phew!  I don’t know about you, but after all that pitch advice and talk of nougat, I’m in the mood for Something Chocolate!  May I offer you some Rich Chocolate Cake With White Chocolate Mousse And Cherry Sauce?

Chocolate-Cherry-Cake-2

Rich Chocolate Cake With White Chocolate Mousse And Cherry Sauce Recipe HERE at Sweet & Savory

Would you like some nougat on the side? 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Tracy, whom you will remember from March with her pitch for Trouble With A Capital E! (which won the March pitch pick as referenced above!!! 🙂 ) Tracy says, “Hey there! I’m Tracy and I am a Language Arts Interventionist, who loves every minute of it! I recently submitted my first article for Highlights Children’s Magazine and I couldn’t be more excited, Yahooie! Animals, children and writing are my passion, and fortunately for me, I have all three in my life. Thanks so much for taking a look at my pitch :~)

Find her on the web at www.chattytcp.wordpress.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: My Name Is Sonny And I Am Special!

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Sonny is affectionately called, Lovee #5. She is the fifth baby girl born into her family. All grown up now, she talks on the phone to her friends, has play dates, and plays sports too. She’s just like all the other Lovees in her family – right? So why does everyone call her Special and not Sonny?

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 Tracy 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 could get your pitch up for some helpful feedback pretty soon, and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Tracy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to using the word “nougat” in at least one sentence per hour today.  (See how subtly I just covered this hour?)  Perhaps I shall sing songs like, “Nougat! Yes please!” I sound just like Maroon 5, don’t I?  Look out Adam Levine 🙂

Have a wonderful nougat-filled Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Monday Morning Special: A Straight From The Editor Extravaganza!

Good Monday to you, favorite peeps!

I am a fan of Mondays.  They are like mornings – new beginnings full of hope and possibility for good things.  Just because yesterday or last week may not have been all you hoped doesn’t mean things can’t turn around today!

This could be the day you get a BRILLIANT idea for a picture book!  The kind that makes you fish desperately in the glove compartment for an ATM receipt with ketchup on it and contort yourself to reach the partially melted crayon from the backseat of the car and start scribbling madly at a traffic light because ideas like this don’t come along every day and you’ve got to grab it while it’s hot!

This could be the day you finally get the opening sentence of your WIP just exactly right!  The content, the mood, the tone, the language – perfect for hooking anyone and everyone who reads it!

It could be the day you compose a query letter so perfect that it gets you a request!

You know that agent you desperately want to sign with?  The one you’re crossing your fingers and toes and eyes and everything else crossable for a positive response from?  This could be the day she calls and asks to represent you!

It could even be the day you get “the call” – the one where your fantabulous agent or esteemed Editor X says, “I have an offer for you!” 🙂

So embrace Monday 🙂

Here is a sunshiny picture to help get you in the mood (because if you live anywhere near me it is currently raining and you might have forgotten what a sunshiny morning looks like 🙂 )

spring morning

Oh, and that green stuff is grass, which could start growing at any moment, although there isn’t any yet in my neck of the woods 🙂

To help you love Monday, here is the long-awaited backlog of Straight From The Editors that we have been hoping to catch up with.  Editor Erin Molta finally had time to send them, and a mere 3 and a half weeks later Yours Truly is finally putting together the post to deliver all this amazing knowledge and expertise to YOU!  What a way to start off your morning and your Monday and your week! 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂

For JuneMichelle – The Sunflower Traveler (Chapter Book ages 6-9) 

Rhea’s interest in growing sunflowers for Petal Path’s Magazine Contest turned into a quest to help her family when her dad lost his job. Her final requirement for the contest is to describe something new about her sunflowers. But time traveling through a sunflower, talking with birds, and instructing a new gardener from the past may be more than she’s bargained for. Will Rhea solve her sunflower problem and still make it back in time to enter the contest?

Erin’s comments:  

Cute premise for a story! As for the pitch, it’s better if you don’t end with a question because of course, especially in children’s books, the conflict will be resolved. So, though you can ask questions, it’s better to make the reader want to know HOW it was resolved rather than asking the obvious question—if.

So, I would rework it something like this: Rhea’s interest in growing sunflowers for Petal Path’s Magazine Contest turned into a quest to help her family when her dad lost his job. Her final requirement for the contest is to describe something new about her sunflowers. But who would believe that she time traveled through her sunflower, talked with birds, and instructed a new gardener from the past?  Rhea needs to come up with a way to describe her sunflower situation in a way to not only help the people in the past but her family as well. 

For JulyKirsten – Stuck In The Muck (PB ages 4-8)

Sir Whiskerson loves kitty facials and paw-dicures. When he comes whisker to whisker with a mangy mutt named Sunny, Whiskerson is desperate to remain pristine. But with Sunny stuck in the muck and sinking, Whiskerson must decide whether doing the right thing is worth a gloppy, sloppy fur coat.

Erin’s comments:

This seems adorable but it would have more impact if we knew if Sunny was a friend or foe. Were Sunny and Whiskerson rivals before he was stuck in the muck? If you can get that in then I think this would be fab.

(August was blogcation – no pitching or pitch picks :))

For September:  Zainab – Dear Cat (PB ages 4-8) 

Persistent Bird keeps bugging Cat with his letters to be his friend.  Cat snubs Bird…until it’s snack time. Cat is ready for a tasty meal except Bird has his own devious plan in mind for this “clever” cat.

Erin’s comments:

This sounds like it could be interesting but I think you need to be more specific. I’m not quite sure what Bird’s letters have to do with a devious plan to trick Cat. It would work better if you framed it more simply: “Bird wants to be Cat’s friend but Cat snubs Bird. When it’s snack time Bird makes Cat notice him by (whatever it is he does)…  and Cat realizes that perhaps birds can be good friends.”

For October: Kirk – My Next Door Neighbor Is A Dragon Princess! (MG)

I didn’t care much for Maddie Buckner. At two, she bit my ear. At four she pushed me off a slide. At 8, she broke my favorite model airplane that took five months to build. At 10, she kissed me – on the lips! – under the Big Toy in the playground and told me she loved me. At 11, she spit in my face and said she hated me. Then she asked Parker Williams to the sock hop. Parker Williams! Oh, how I despised her. But then she had to go and save my life. That’s when I discovered her secret.

Erin’s comments:

I love this. Gets the tension in and the voice and the humor! The only thing I would suggest is making the numbers consistent. In theory, all of them should be written out but if you prefer not to do that, then they should all be numerical. And I just tightened it up a tad.

I didn’t care much for Maddie Buckner. At two, she bit my ear. At four she pushed me off a slide. At eight, she broke my favorite model airplane that took five months to build. At ten, she kissed me – on the lips! – under the Big Toy in the playground and told me she loved me. At eleven, she spit in my face and said she hated me. Then she asked Parker Williams to the sock hop. Parker Williams! Oh, how I despised her. But then she saved my life. That’s when I discovered her secret.

For November: Jessica – Showdown At The Sippy Cup Saloon! (PB ages 4-8)

In the tiny town of Toddle, in the cradle of the West, Sheriff Wyatt Burp is snoozing in his crib when Wild Bill Hiccup arrives to wake up — and shake up — the pint-size population.  “Don’t go gettin’ yer onesie in a twist,” Wild Bill warns Wyatt, but tempers flare until the two go bib to bib in a showdown at the Sippy Cup Saloon. Who will emerge the rootin’ tootin’ squirt gun shootin’ hero of the West?

Erin’s comments:

This sounds like it could be adorable! The only thing I would worry about is making it too precious. AND, it’s best not to end with a question. What if you framed it as more of a statement: Wild Bill Hiccup and Sheriff Wyatt Burp face off to decide who will emerge as the rootin’ tootin’ squirt gun shootin’ hero of the West.

So much fantastic advice as always from Erin!  We are so lucky to have her, and she is so very generous to share her expertise with us!  Thank you, Erin, and thanks to all the writers who step up each month to share their pitches so that all of us can benefit and learn!

I hope you’ll all find Erin’s comments very educational and helpful.

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!

(And in case, in spite of all the advice and uplifting words about Monday you’re still longing for it to be Saturday, I have two helpful words for you:  Mister Softee 🙂 )

Would You Read It Wednesday #159 – The Trouble With Homework (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor x 2

Wait til you hear how forethoughtful I’m being!

Seriously.  You are NOT going to believe it.

It’s Sunday night.  SUNDAY.  And I am putting the finishing touches on this post which isn’t due to go up until Wednesday!

Wednesday is like 2 1/2 entire days from now!

I don’t think this has ever happened before in the history of my blog!

Don’t worry.

You’re in the right place.

I have not been possessed by aliens or anything.  (Of course, I would probably say that if I had been, wouldn’t I? Because they’d make me… But I’m pretty sure I haven’t!)

It’s just that the weatherperson in these parts seems pretty convinced that we’re going to be getting heavy snow – at least a foot – maybe 3 – and that means, in all probability, that I will have no internet.  So my usual operating procedure of finishing my Wednesday post 37 seconds before it’s due to go up may not pan out well.  And I don’t want today’s pitcher to miss her day!

PLUS!  We have not one, but TWO Straight From The Editors to share – always educational AND fun – so I wouldn’t want you to miss that either.  Or the most important part of the post… Something Chocolate 🙂

Black Magic Cake

Yummmmm!  Scrumptious!!

I know how you all count the hours until Wednesday for your chocolate treat, so far be it from me to deprive you! 🙂  I would never want it to be said that I don’t take good care of you!

Alrighty!  Now that we’re fortified, let’s see what the editor has to say!

Straight From The Editor for October:

You will recall Michelle’s winning pitch:

Miss Knaffle and her second graders all just want to have fun at school. But when her students take theiridea of fun too far—conducting a farting symphony during reading time, smuggling coffee beans to the class hamster, and using their desks for a bubblegum sculpture contest—Miss Knaffle decides that only a field trip to the zoo will avert classroom disaster. Once there, the canny teacher enlists irritable zoo animals to her cause. When Fátima tangles with a snake and Mario ends up on the wrong side of a baboon, the students quickly come to appreciate the zoo rules—and their teacher—in a whole new way.

Here are editor Erin Molta’s comments:

This is so cute! My only suggestion is to be more specific about the zoo incidents like Fatima tangles with a snake because she did what? You are specific about the farting symphony (hilarious!) and the coffee beans to the hamster so we need to see the zoo side, too—at least one. I’d omit the bubblegum sculpture contest to fit in more specific zoo incidents.

Straight From The Editor for November:

Here is Heather’s winning pitch:

The harpsichord is dusted, the tea is poured, the vases are arranged on doily laces, and Hubert the pug is settled calmly on the rug. Lottie Dobson is ready for her fancy luncheon party. But when the members of the Grandview Rose Society arrive with even more blooms, poor Hubert’s allergies kick in. What happens next is a riot of mishaps that gets him banned from the room. But when a wily rat sneaks in, steals the cheese, and dangles from the chandelier, it sends the proper party guests on a crazy chase–with a sneezing Hubert in the lead. One big sneeze will save the day! Too bad for Hubert, the sneezing doesn’t end there. 

And here are Erin’s comments:

Cute! The only problem I saw with it was that why wouldn’t Hubert be allergic to the roses that are already there? Would more make that much of a difference? I think Hubert’s allergies should be a new issue—a surprise, so to speak. And then be specific about at least one of the mishaps. Otherwise, it’s very fun and sounds like a delight!

As always, I find Erin’s comments insightful and helpful!  I hope they help you in your mission to create the perfect pitch!

Today’s pitch comes to us from Maria.  Maria is an educator with the best job in the world – she works as a Fire & Life Safety Educator for a municipal fire department! When she isn’t teaching others how to be safe, she can be found writing under a pecan tree, playing with her dogs and cats, or cruising around town with the top down searching for inspirational ideas or the next big story.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Trouble With Homework
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-9)
The Pitch: What’s a kid to do when he’s waited until the lastminute to do his homework? Sometimes, you just have to improvise!

Join Connor along with his zany classmates as they prepare (some more than others) for their first-ever demonstration speeches.  Follow Connor’s speech outline and you, too, can show others what skills and talents you have.

Disclaimer: No snails or house cats were harmed in the making of this book! 

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 Maria 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.  There are openings in June so you’ve got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Maria is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting my internet back so I can catch up on everything I’ve missed!  It should be back this morning, but we shall see… (Of course, I’m just assuming… because it’s SUNDAY! so I don’t know yet what will happen!)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone, and for everyone who lives on the East Coast, I hope you all weathered the storm okay!!!