Would You Read It Wednesday #111 – Rashad Saves The World (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor PLUS The October Pitch Pick!

My goodness, we have a busy day today!

What with all the Halloweensie hoopla, there hasn’t been time for much else, so we have a packed agenda.  In the interest of moving things along and not making this post any longer than necessary, I will try to keep my usual charming ramblings to a minimum 🙂

First, if you haven’t yet had a chance to read the Halloweensie Contest finalists and vote for the one you think deserves to win, please go HERE.  The poll is open until 5 PM EST today.

Next, we’ll skip on to Straight From The Editor.  You will recall that Kirsti won the September Pitch Pick with her pitch for Upside Down In Frown Town.

Here is her pitch:

Where Sam lives, smiling is frowned upon. But, no matter what he tries, he can’t wipe the smile off his face. Even a frowning contest doesn’t make a frowner out of Sam. When he can’t change himself, he decides to change the town instead.

and here are editor Erin Molta’s thoughts:

This sounds cute! And I know people tend to “frown” at the use of standard popular phrases, but in this case, I think it would work like a charm. J What if, instead of saying: When he can’t change himself, he decides to change the town instead, you said: When he can’t change himself, he decides to turn those frowns upside down.
I think that really gets the idea across and might make an editor smile . . .
Good luck!

I really like Erin’s idea!  It’s always so interesting to hear her insights!

Now I think we could use a little break.  Something Chocolate, anyone?

It feels like a Chocolate Lava Cake day, don’t you think?

Let’s dig in 🙂

And now, without getting chocolate all over your keyboards, let’s tackle the October Pitch Pick!

Here are the pitches, thoughtfully revised after your very helpful feedback.

#1 Kari
The Great UFO Hunt – ER
Seven year old Mekayla, who’s an aspiring astronaut and lover of all things space, is convinced she sees a UFO crash land in the woods behind her house. Weird stuff begins to happen around town: lights are going on and off in an empty house, a strange girl keeps showing up out of thin air, and Mekayla finds what she believes is part of the space ship. But despite all the evidence, no one believes her!  Can Mekayla and her friends save the town before it’s overrun?

#2 Linda
Proberta Gerber And The Terrible Mess PB (ages 4-8)
Clean one thing at a time.” Proberta’s brother suggests. “Start with your bed.” But Proberta can’t find it in the terrible mess that used to be her bedroom. She blames the Dust Bunnies, but Mom isn’t buying it. Proberta hopes for magic but discovers she should be careful what she wishes for!

#3 Rosi
Iris The Rainbow Girl PB (ages 2-5)
Iris sees a sparkling rainbow.  It’s so beautiful, she decides she wants to be one. Her parents tell her all the reasons she cannot, but Iris is determined and won’t let anyone hang a dark cloud over her idea. Soap bubbles have little rainbows on them, but when she covers herself with them, they burst and wash away. After dreaming about rainbows, Iris comes up with a way to achieve her goal.

#4 Julie
Broccolilocks PB (ages 3-6)
CRUNCH! To satisfy Broccolilocks’ GIANT appetite her parents plant every inch of their community garden plot. But a mysterious stink leads her nose down the rows to find that something has been munching on her favorite: broccoli! Inviting hungry friends to keep pesky aphids in check, and Broccolilocks fed, may be just right!

I know you may be a little burned out on voting 🙂 but this one should be a little easier – only 4 choices instead of 12 🙂  Please cast your vote for the pitch you think deserves a read by editor Erin Molta by 5 PM EST on Sunday November 10.

Many thanks for voting… again 🙂

Finally, we have today’s pitch which comes to us from Steve.  Steve says,  “I spent 20 years as a teacher of small children in London. Reading aloud was my favourite part of teaching. This means that I absolutely know what a PB, Lower MG should sound like. The challenge is to make my own writing sound right!

Steve is currently in New Zealand and wants everyone to know that if he doesn’t respond to your comments right away it’s because of the time difference.  He is greatly appreciative of everyone’s input and looks forward to hearing from you!

Here is his pitch:

Working Title:  Rashad Saves The World
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Rashad is tired of being the youngest and the least important member of his family, so when he learns at school that he can save the world, he leaps straight into action. Which leads him straight into trouble with the rest of his family. And when he accidentally demolishes the garden of his Rottweiler Next Door Neighbour, his career as a Super Hero seems to have come to an abrupt end. Will he still be able to save the world? Or will somebody special have to step in to help?

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 Steve 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.  There are openings in January 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!

Steve is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to announcing the Halloweensie Contest Winners tomorrow, along with some other little surprises!!! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  And see you tomorrow for a very special Halloweensie Winners Post!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #104 – The Garden Disaster (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

I have an announcement to make.

Wonder of wonders, my office is really and truly ALMOST clean!  I’m SO close!  Seriously!  I mean it!

The shelves are full and neatly organized.

All kinds of stuff is packed into labeled drawers (the idea being that I might ever find it again :))

Boxes of stuff are filed!

The desk top is partially visible.

There’s only a small Goodwill pile on the piano (and if you’re wondering why I have a piano in my office it’s partly because I love to play and mostly because it won’t fit anywhere else in the house!)

And there are just a few more odds and ends I have to clean up and decide what to do with.

SO CLOSE!

So y’all have to keep after me to make sure I cross the finish line on this job.  If I do, I’ll share pictures in which you can actually see the floor!!! and we’ll have some sort of fun and fabulous party to celebrate!  There will most likely be chocolate and presents involved, so it’s in all of our best interest if I get this done!

Speaking of chocolate, it’s supposed to be 92 degrees today, so I’m thinking we’d like something frosty and delightful.  Shall we have chocolate milkshake this morning?

I believe we shall! 🙂  And see how I got us one with a strawberry?  Health food 🙂  You’re welcome 🙂

Now, while you are sipping that delicious, chocolatey, ice-cold yumminess, let’s have a look at this month’s Straight From The Editor.

You will recall that Rachel won the July Pitch Pick with her pitch for The Curse of the Shattered Sceptre.  (which reminds me that we haven’t done the August pitch pick… hmmm… better get on that!)

Her winning pitch was as follows:

After accidentally unleashing a torrent of curses, Ollie and his Book Club buddies must use their wits and imagination to unravel a series of twisted clues. In a race against time, will the boys mend the shattered sceptre, restoring the balance of nature, or will they be cursed forever? 

Here is what editor Erin Molta had to say about it:

This looks exciting. A couple of things that might help it, though . . .
 Where did the curse come from? Right now, it seems a torrent of curses could be coming from a person—as in swears. It’s a tad unclear. Also, unravel a series of clues to what? To mend the scepter? If so, I’d clarify it this way and rather than structure it as a question, I’d make it more declarative like: Ollie and his buddies accidentally unleash a torrent of curses  (from what—an antique scepter from the museum—displayed in the library?). Racing against time, the boys must use their wits and imagination to unravel a series of twisted clues in order to mend the shattered scepter and restore the balance of nature—or they will be cursed forever! 
 Good luck!

As always, many thanks to Erin for her very helpful insights.  I always feel we learn something valuable!

Today’s pitch comes to us from Kathy who says, “I live on a little farm in Vermont with my husband and my grandson. Having my grandson around is kind of what led me to wanting to write pb’s. I have plenty of pets, farm animals and wildlife, so I have no shortage of thing to write about 🙂

We do a lot of fishing, exploring and outdoor fun!

Here is my blog address: I don’t have many followers and I’m not really much of a blogger, but I created one because it was suggested that I should have one. Guess I need to go update and brush up on it 🙂

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Garden Disaster
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch: What’s a bee to do?  Basil’s daily chore is to collect pollen and nectar, but he never seems to collect enough. His Mom thinks it’s because he plays too much, but Basil knows it’s because of Mrs. Grady’s rotten cat.  One day while Basil is in the garden collecting his pollen and nectar a new hairy beast shows up!  Basil must think up a great idea to outsmart this new beast so he can finally fill his bucket to the tippy top.

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 Kathy 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 November so polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Kathy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Friday and the return of Perfect Picture Books, which I will be starting out with a bang and a special surprise give-away that you will NOT want to miss!!!  So mark your calendars!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!  Happy reading, writing, teaching, parenting… whatever you’re doing today! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #100!!! – The Golden Egg (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

Holy Hundredth Would You Read It, Batman!

Can you believe it?

Today marks the 100th week!  The 100th brave person to post their pitch!  The 100th Wednesday of Wonderfulness when we all get to learn so much from each other!

Who would have thought we’d get to 100 back on July 27, 2011 when we had our very first pitch?

So I think we should celebrate.  As always, Something Chocolate shall be involved (with many many thanks to the awesome and wonderful Coleen for making this for us today – and while I’m mentioning Coleen you should go read her blog if you don’t already because she is tons of fun :))

This, my friends, is a Brookie – a Brownie Cookie – pretty much the best of both worlds, don’tcha think?
Photo copyright Coleen Patrick 2013 used by permission

Doesn’t that look delicious???  Help yourself to a cup of coffee or a nice cold glass of milk to go with it! 🙂

But wait!  There’s more!

Because the 100th day of anything doesn’t come around all that often, I think I will give away a prize to one lucky randomly selected commenter from today’s post!  Just because I love you and my blog would be nothing without all you wonderful people who come to read and comment and share your love of kidlit.

Hmmm…. what should the prize be, I wonder?

Well, you can never really have enough picture books, can you? 🙂  If you’re a parent or a teacher they come in super handy.  If you’re a writer, you can learn so much from how a good one is written.  So how about the prize shall be the winner’s choice of Is Your Buffalo Ready For Kindergarten by Audrey Vernick (perfect for this time of year), I Haiku You by Betsy Snyder (perfect for poetry lovers), Journey by Aaron Becker (perfect for art lovers), America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle by David A. Adler (perfect for nonfiction lovers), or, if you already have all 4 of those, something else that we pick together!

Now, just quickly before we get to today’s pitch, I have a Straight From The Editor for you.  You will recall that Andrea won the June pitch pick with her pitch for The Backpack Secret (PB).  This was her pitch:

On the first day of kindergarten, Amani notices that Mason won’t take off his backpack. She’s determined to find out why, especially when the other kids start calling him names. After she finally convinces Mason to share his secret, it gives her an idea that will help everyone in the class feel braver at school.

And this response from editor Erin Molta is almost a first (it certainly doesn’t happen often!):

I like this and can’t think of anything to make it more appealing. It states the problem succinctly and resolves it satisfactorily while intriguing an editor to want to find out what’s inside that backpack.

Wow!  Good for you, Andrea!  Well done!  (And maybe you’d better send that story our on submission soon :))

Straight From The Editor reminds me that I don’t think we’ve done the July Pitch Pick, so maybe I’ll put that up on Friday.

Now then, today’s pitch comes to us from Lisa, whom you may remember from last month with her pitch for That Tommy Thompson.  Lisa says, “I’m a former elementary school social worker, mom of two, and have recently made writing my full time job.  Two years ago I wrote my first picture book and just this past fall I  decided it wasn’t going to do any good sitting on my computer. I began taking classes, reading craft books, attending conferences and workshops and just writing, everyday, writing.   The original story is long gone but at last count I’ve got 42 other drafts and ideas jotted down.  Oh yeah, and about four or five ready to go manuscripts. I have worked with kids my entire adult life and I feel strongly that this is the avenue in which I am meant to reach those little hearts and minds at this time in my life.  On a random note, I’m a big fan of chocolate covered gummy bears. ;)”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Golden Egg
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: The sight of a golden egg creates quite a stir among the feathered community and the fact that it doesn’t hatch has the Whisperers working overtime.  But have no fear, the Eggsperts are called in to save the day. But do they?  In the end,  Mother Hen knows she must listen to her heart.   Through a humorous story, lies a nurturing tale about a mothers love, acceptance and healing.

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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September which is alarmingly close, so please send your pitch in right away for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Lisa is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing how my freshly updated website and blog turn out.  The marvelous Donna Farrell is hard at work trying to update, freshen, and streamline my blog and website with only the barest, minimal, cryptic information from me – such comments as, “Can you make it so it does that thing like, you know?” – very specific, detailed instructions 🙂  Good luck, Donna 🙂  But she’s a genius so I know it will turn out exactly how I want it!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  And don’t forget, one lucky commenter today will win a prize! 🙂  Thank you all for your devoted readership!  It makes me happy to be part of this warm-hearted, generous community!

Would You Read It #93 – The Chase (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor and The May Pitch Pick Winner!

We’ve got a busy day, so I hope you ate your Wheaties!

Except, when you think about it, Wheaties aren’t chocolate, so they are really not an appropriate choice for Wednesday.

I know!  How about some chocolate cereal?

Okay, no.

That will simply not do at all.

I’m sorry.  It looks like dog kibble.  And much as I love my dogs I do not wish to share their breakfast.  Not to mention, that doesn’t look anything like real chocolate should look.

I tried to go the truly healthy route with cereal, but I just can’t do it.

Put that away and let’s break out the Snickers 🙂

Ah!  That’s MUCH better.  Now we’re ready to get down to business!

First, Straight From The Editor for our April winner, Pam.

You will recall her pitch:

Flood Dogs (Picture Book ages 5-8)Based on a true story, FLOOD DOGS tells of a girl, her two dogs, and the flood that comes between them. As Cadence fears the fate of her dogs, she must also face the devastation of her town and home.  When she finally reconnects with her beloved pups, Cadence is overjoyed to discover just how much she still has.

And here are editor Erin Molta’s comments:

I am intrigued by the pitch for your story.
I offer just a few minor tweaks and I suggest thinking about a pithier title. Since Katrina and the Hurricane Sandy flooding, there are a lot of stories such as this coming in and something a tad catchier might help pull this one up from the pile. Also the last sentence would probably work better if you were more specific. Instead of how much she has—what about something like how much love, how much XXX she still has . . .
I wish you the best of luck with this!

As always, I find her insight very helpful!

Next, I am happy to announce the winner of the May Pitch Pick.

And the winner is…

SIAN with her pitch for Thirsty For Words (which was originally The Word Thief.)

Congratulations, Sian!!!  Your pitch has already been sent to Erin for her thoughts.  And congratulations to all our other pitchers for great story ideas, wonderful pitches, and thoughtful improvements based on reader feedback.  You all did an excellent job.  Good luck with your stories!

Now, onto today’s Would You Read It.  Phew!  Anyone need another Snickers?

Today’s pitch comes to us from the lovely Elaine, who we met in April with her pitch for  Giant At The Gym.  In case you don’t remember her, Elaine is a Mom of two, wife of one, mom to three furry kids and second grade school teacher.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Chase
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch:  A bored little boy stares at the moon, moaning about being bored while missing the stunning excitement that’s unfolding around him – pirate cows, zombie ice skaters, mummy librarians… If only he’d look down instead of UP. THE CHASE is a humorous picture book that explores the common childhood experience of what appears like the moon is following them, and turns it on its head.

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 Elaine 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 August which isn’t that far away, so we’re about ready for some new pitches!  Send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Elaine is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to being able to take my daughter to the airport at the crack of dawn on Friday without feeling guilty for not paying attention to Perfect Picture Books, since we are now on summer hiatus.  I will also take this opportunity to let you know that I will be mostly away from my computer next week, so don’t be shocked if the blog is a little bare and I’m not around visiting you all.  But don’t worry!  Would You Read It will still be up next Wednesday… assuming I write the post before I leave 🙂

Have a lovely Wednesday, everyone! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #87 – Story Bored (MG) PLUS Straight From The Editor and The April Pitch Pick Winner!

Yeah, so, the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep e-book launch didn’t go off quite as planned.  Best laid plans, right?

But WOW was I impressed with everyone’s jingle entries!  You guys never cease to amaze me with your creativity and willingness to have fun!  I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such talent and generosity of spirit.  You are all the best! 🙂

I will of course update you as soon as the e-book is available.  (Translation: you probably won’t be able to shut me up :))  Meanwhile, let’s have some sheep cake, shall we?  It’s Something Chocolate AND Something Marshmallow!  And they put marshmallows in all kinds of breakfast cereal, so I have to assume that makes this healthy breakfast food 🙂

We have a jam-packed agenda today, so let’s get right to it.

First, before I forget, Tonja Drecker was kind enough to host me on her blog yesterday, so if anyone would like to read about where Can’t Sleep Without Sheep came from, please pop over HERE.  And while you’re there, have a look around.  Tonja runs a nice blog 🙂

Next, I get to announce the winner of the April Pitch Pick!

Drum roll, please…..

The winner is Pam for Flood Dogs!

Congratulations, Pam!  Your pitch is winging it’s way through cyberspace to editor Erin Molta!  And congratulations to all our other brave pitchers who put forth excellent work!  I love this new system we have of revising pitches before the pitch pick.  Everyone makes such improvements – it’s wonderful to see.  And you all have such great ideas for stories!

Next up, we have Straight From The Editor for Erik, our March Pitch Winner.

You will recall Erik’s pitch for The Adventures Of Tomato And Pea, the first in a planned chapter book series:

In a plan gone wrong, the evil villain Wintergreen tangles with super crime-stopper Tomato and his sidekick Pea in a runaway rocket ship that crashes on a strange planet called EAR-TH. Now these perennial enemies must learn to work together to survive the dangers on this strange world and find a way home to planet Oarg.

Here are editor Erin Molta’s comments:

This sounds like it could be an exciting adventure. However, it is a little confusing. You might want to be just a little more straightforward. For instance, whose plan went wrong? Were Tomato and Pea chasing Wintergreen onto the rocket ship and it blasted off accidentally? Or did Wintergreen trap them in the rocket ship and then get stranded himself? It indicates character if you specify what happens and gives an editor an idea besides the super-crimestopper and evil villain labels. And it might help to mention a danger on planet EAR-TH. Is it the air or are they allergic to water? If you do something like this, it might prove intriguing to an editor:
 Super Crime Stopper Tomato and his sidekick Pea chased super-villain Wintergreen onto a rocket ship.  But Wintergreen blasted off, they crash landed on the planet EAR-TH and now these perennial enemies must work together to survive dangers such as toxic sheep (or caterpillars or cows – something to add humor and imply that these are aliens) and find a way home to planet Oarg.

As always, I find Erin’s comments very insightful and helpful, and I have to love that she managed to get sheep into this pitch 🙂

Finally, we have today’s Would You Read It!

Today’s pitch comes to us from James. James Radke is a medical writer who writes about and/or for children with medical conditions at www.raredr.com and www.wordpharm.com/comicmeds.html . And sometime he just likes to dissect the book world in his stories and leave the medical world alone.

Working Title: Story Bored
Age/Genre: MG
The Pitch: The book narrator has a problem. Too many of the books on his bookshelf have changed. Humpty Dumpty is in a recipe for chocolate cake, The old lady who lived in a shoe changed her name to the old lady who lives in nice big  house with a cozy couch and big screen TV, And the hare has no tortoise to race. None of those are the real problem. The narrator’s major concern is that the 8 year old writer who did all those changes is missing. Rumor has it, the boy writer is being held in one of the books. If true, the narrator will need to find another writer to write the first writer out of the book. The narrator sighed, ‘why are books so complicated?’

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 James 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.  There are openings in June so you have time to polish for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

James is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to that e-book coming out!  I’m dying to see it, and hear the voice on the read-to-me feature!  And I’m wondering now whether the reason I wasn’t able to download it onto my husband’s iPad last Friday when they tried to send me a sample had something to do with that technical glitch…  But whatever, let’s hope it’s ready soon! 🙂

Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #82 – Flood Dogs (PB) AND Straight From The Editor

Good Morning Everyone!

By the time you read this I will hopefully be heading west for a couple of college revisits.

(College revisits are not to be confused with college visits.  College visits are the ones you do to decide where you want to apply.  College revisits are the ones you do after you’ve been accepted and you’re trying to decide where you want to go.  It’s very technical.  Much more involved than when I was a lass… back in the last century… well, technically back in the last millennium… when you just applied to college and went.  But I digress… :))

Yep.  It’s me, the boy, Princess Blue Kitty (my faithful car), and Jo-Jilly (my obnoxious less faithful GPS) on the road again!

If all goes according to plan we’re leaving at 4ish AM give or take a few.  If you spent any time here over the summer during the college visits, you know how that Jo-Jilly riles me, so you will forgive me if we skip straight to Monkey Cake 🙂

photo copyright Stacy S. Jensen 2012 used by permission

Mmmm!  Chocolatey goodness!  Thank you, Stacy 🙂

Today we have a Straight From The Editor for Wendy’s winning pitch from February.

You will recall Wendy’s original pitch for Why Fireflies Should Never Drink Soda (PB ages 3-7):

Life is good for the insects at the campground—until something attracts a hungry bullfrog. When Herman, a feisty firefly, takes a sip the hiccuping winged beacon learns why he’s been taught that fireflies should NEVER drink soda.

Here are editor Erin Molta’s comments:

This sounds very cute! And I can see the potential for humor—which is great in a picture book. However, I think you need to clarify what attracted the hungry bullfrog—was it the soda or the hiccupping firefly. Though you want an editor curious about your book it’s more that you want them to read to find out how it happens, not really make them wonder what exactly you mean.
 I think if you don’t want to repeat soda twice you can go with something like I’ve suggested and tell us what attracted the bullfrog—was it a loud repeating noise (the hiccups?) or a strobe light (because he was flashing erratically)? Then it’ll be clear and still funny.
 Life is good for the insects at the campground—until something (what?) attracts a hungry bullfrog. When Herman, a feisty firefly, takes a sip (of sweet bubbly nectar) thehiccuping winged beacon learns why he’s been taught that fireflies should NEVER drink soda.

As always, I find Erin’s thoughts so helpful!  I hope you do too 🙂

Today’s pitch comes to us from Pam B.  Pam says, Professionally I was a 3rd and 6th grade teacher before becoming an instructor in Early Childhood and Adolescent Education at Bloomsburg University.  Currently I’m taking time away from teaching to focus on my family and my writing.  You can follow me on Twitter @PamBrunskill.”

Working Title: Flood Dogs
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Based on a true story, FLOOD DOGS tells of a girl, her dogs, and the flood that comes between them.  Cadence promises her dogs she’ll play fetch after school, then locks them in the mudroom on her way to the bus.  When the local creek floods, Cadence and her family can’t get home, and her dogs are trapped inside.  For three days, Cadence worries. 
Will her dogs survive?
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.  There are openings in June, so you have time to polish your pitch for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Pam is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting wherever it is we’re going without incident and to hopefully having a couple of enlightening revisits that will help the decision process!

Have a great day, everyone, and wish me, the boy, Princess Blue Kitty and Jo-Jilly good luck 🙂

P.S. I’d better warn you in advance that I may not manage to pull a Perfect Picture Book out of the hat this week since I will presumably be somewhere in the midwest, but I will at least post the list for everyone else 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday # 79 – Twitch (MG) PLUS The February Pitch Pick PLUS Straight From The Editor!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Chocolate donuts
Are good for you 🙂

Have some, won’t you? 🙂

Take two if you want because we have a full schedule today and you will need your strength! 🙂

First, here is Straight From The Editor for Wendy’s winning pitch from January.  You will recall her pitch:

Working Title: Civil
Age: MG
Five seventh graders are thrust into a secret time-traveling society and are soon fighting for their lives in the bloody battlefields of Gettysburg. The sensitive jock, popular cheerleader, African transfer student, feared social outcast, and 9-year-old technical genius had better work fast: Their own world is becoming increasingly dystopian and their own school hallways increasingly dangerous.

And here are Erin Molta’s comments:

Sounds intriguing but a little too harsh for middle grade. Are they actually on the battlefield and fighting with bayonet’s and guns or have they just arrived and are trying to escape before they get caught up in the battle? That is an important distinction to make when dealing with a middle grade topic.

Also, you might want to allude to the actual problem they have to solve. It’s a bit confusing trying to figure out what exactly is going on –were they sent to Gettysburg by accident and they have to get back to their own world which is deteriorating fast and their school is becoming dangerous? What links it all together? Their dystopian world and their dangerous school hallways are related to Gettysburg (or the time travelling) how?

Once you can pinpoint that, I think you’ll have a pitch that will draw an editor in.

As always, I find Erin’s insight very educational.  I hope it’s helpful to you too!

Next up, we have the February Pitch Pick.  Below are the 4 pitches from February.  Please read them over and then vote for the one you think is best and deserves a read by Erin!

#1 Julie
Just Call Me The Kid (PB ages 4-7)
Pip the mouse longs to be a cowboy, and does his best to rustle up some skills. His mother gets kinda ornery though, as Pip’s attempts turn the household on its head. But that doesn’t sour his milk, and neither does the neighbor’s cat! 

#2 Sue
How Many Shoes Does A Princess Need? (PB ages 4-8)

Cindy’s dad always called her “princess” but now, living with great-aunt Prue, Cindy feels more like a kitchen slave. When she asks for a new pair of Mary Janes for the County Spelling Bee, great-aunt 
Prue snaps, “How many shoes does a princess need?” Cindy decides to investigate “must have” footwear, from frog boots to glass slippers, and learns just how much is enough.

#3 Wendy
Why Fireflies Should NEVER Drink Soda (PB ages 3-7)

Life is good for the insects at the campground—until something attracts a hungry bullfrog. When Herman, a feisty firefly, takes a sip the hiccuping winged beacon learns why he’s been taught that fireflies should NEVER drink soda.

#4 Yvonne
Oakley’s Keys (PB ages 3-6)

Intruder Alert! Wherever Oakley hides, drooling baby brother Dan finds him. Now, not even Oakley’s fantasies are save – from loop-the-looping around a star to playing tag with tigers – Dan is there. But when creepy creatures crawl out of a pirate treasure chest, it’s up to Oakley to rescue Dan, drool not included.

It’s a tough decision, I know!, but the poll will be open until Friday, March 8 at 11:59 PM for you to cast your vote.

Now, onto our final item of business, today’s Would You Read It pitch! 🙂

Today’s pitch comes to us from Linda, whom you may remember from her pitch for Alpha Bitty in October and The Good For Plenty Bibs in January.  Linda is a former gifted and talented teacher and the author of a number of books including the multi-award winning picture book, The Blue Roses.  Please take a moment to visit her website at www.lindaboyden.com.  Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Twitch
Age/Genre: MG
The Pitch: After Twitch Taylor turns twelve, his world flips over. Uncle Dell’s wife, Jewel, is killed in a freak accident. His father, Eldon, disappears but leaves a note that forces Twitch to live with Uncle, an old-time Cherokee custom where uncles teach nephews the ways of men. Twitch quickly learns there’s more to life than cell phones: an ancient curse is attacking his family, something only he can stop. Can he learn enough, fast enough to become a Cherokee warrior? Can a kid save the world?

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 Linda 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 May so you have a little time to polish your pitches for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Linda is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Spring.  But that’s not news 🙂

Have a great day, everyone!

Would You Read It Wednesday #75 – Just Call Me The Kid (PB) AND Straight From The Editor

So, I was reading an article on MSN the other day that said (and I am seriously not making this up!) that it was good to have dessert for breakfast.

They announced this like it was an important new breakthrough, but I ask you – haven’t I been saying this for years? in my own chocolate-loving way? 🙂

I believe I am smarter than the average bear 🙂  Have Something Chocolate, won’t you?  It’s for your health 🙂

And you are going to need your energy today because we have an action-packed Wednesday!

First, I am honored to say that I have received the Very Inspiring Blogger Award from the lovely and talented Tina DC Hayes!

I am so delighted to think anyone finds my blog inspiring!  Really!  It totally makes my day 🙂

Aside from displaying the award and mentioning and linking back to the blogger who gave it to me, I’m supposed to tell 7 things about myself.  You guys all know me pretty well, though, and I don’t want to bore you, so we’ll just skip that bit for now.  Then we get to the bit where I’m supposed to pass the award on to blogs I find inspiring, and for once that’s easy because it’s ALL OF YOU!  So help yourselves – you deserve it! 🙂

Now then.  Onward!

Next on our action-packed schedule, we have Straight From The Editor for the December Pitch Pick.

You will recall Kim’s pitch:

Oyster And Pearl (PB) ages 4-8

Pearl is a tiny grain of sand that lives in the bottom of the ocean. She feels insignificant in her world and both envious AND enamored of the star that she can see far above her. As she sets her sights on joining the star, she encounters many challenges... until finally, one night, she meets Oyster, who helps her become a star of her own.

And here is Erin’s helpful response:

Cute idea! I would make two small changes. One at the end . . .”who helps her become a star in her own right.” Because she doesn’t literally become a star and “of her own” sounds like she’s got a star. You want to get across that she transforms (like a butterfly) into something special a jewel of the sea – a pearl. And it seems odd that her name is Pearl but that’s what she becomes. I would give her another name or else it gives away the ending right away. Maybe something like Little or Tiny or something to emphasize the insignificance she feels.

I always find her comments so insightful!

Next (no rest for the wicked 🙂 – go back and have another slice of cake if you need further fortification :)) we have today’s pitch which comes to us from our friend Julie, whose previous pitch for Eddie Brick Visits The Aunts you may remember from December.  A scribbler of children’s stories in between chores, Julie Rowan-Zoch has visited three continents, attempted to learn 4 languages, and has a 2-3-3-3-3 phalangeal formula in both of her hands and feet. (Though not yet able to get a good grip with her toes, she has been drawing with her hands since she exchanged a banana for a crayon.)  Please come visit her on her blog and view her beautiful artwork (some of which is featured in my PB writing course :))!

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Just Call Me The Kid
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch: Pip the mouse longs to be a cowboy, and does his best to rustle up some skills. His mother gets kinda ornery though, as Pip’s attempts turn the household on its head. But that doesn’t sour his milk, and neither does the neighbor’s cat!  

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 Julie 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 March, so we could really use some new pitches!  It’s your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Julie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to spring, which Phyllis has assured me is coming early and I plan to hold her to it.  Anytime this afternoon would be fine! 🙂

Have a great day, everyone!

Would You Read It Wednesday #70 – Astrid Climbs Her Family Tree (PB) AND 2 Straight From The Editors

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!!!

Here are my wishes for you:  that your year is filled with health, happiness, creativity, fun, and fulfillment in every aspect of your life!  Here’s to an amazing 2013!!! 🙂

I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful, relaxing, restorative, and full of family togetherness.

Mine were practically perfect in every way.  The only bad part is when everyone has to leave and return to normal life.  My sister and her family go back to Georgia, my kids go back to school, my husband goes back to work, and the dogs and I are left in peace and quiet with free run of the house… well wait a minute… I guess that part doesn’t sound so bad 🙂

The highlights of vacation aside from Christmas itself were spending time with all the family, ice skating, sledding (yes we got snow! :), rousing games of Taboo (totally fun  – if you haven’t played I highly recommend it! :)), and Charades (where we ended up literally rolling on the floor howling with laughter until we couldn’t breathe!), snowy winter walks with the dogs, cozy evenings by the fire… golly gee it was lovely!  There was one small incident involving a horse, a snowbank, and a fast-moving sanitation truck which resulted in my husband insisting I go to the ER for an X-ray (no it was not broken – I was totally right on that score!) and my kids referring to my hand for the rest of the vacation as “the claw” but all’s well that ends well, as Ma used to say in Little House On The Prairie 🙂  Still, if you notice that my typing is even worse than usual that’s why and you can blame it on the claw 🙂

We are not even going to discuss college applications.  Nope.  Zzzppp.  My lips are sealed.  Enough said.  Except I may have actually aged 10 years in the last three days.  But not another word.  Except why???  Why??? do they insist on leaving things of such importance to the absolute last minute???  I think it’s just to watch our hair turn gray.  But seriously, as you can see, I am not discussing it! 🙂

I must admit that, although I missed you all terribly, it was horrifyingly easy to not blog for a week!  I’m going to have to gather up my self-discipline and get back to it.  I can promise you that there will be some serious whip-cracking from the person in charge around here until order is restored!  And no fruit cup 🙂  (Bonus points to anyone who knows which movie “no fruit cup” is from :))

So anyway, due to the holidays and everyone’s busy schedules, we got a little behind on our Straight From The Editors, so today I’ve got Carrie’s from October as well as Larissa’s from November.

Carrie’s pitch was as follows:

Scooter Annie (PB ages 4-8)
Annie loves swooping and gliding on her new scooter. Nothing can stop her…except the hill at the end of her street. Now, if Annie wants to ride in the neighborhood parade, she must find a way to tackle that big hill – without getting hurt in a big way.

Erin’s comments are:

This is cute. I like Annie’s swooping and gliding but the ending is a bit of a downer. An editor would be more inclined to request it or take notice of it if were more positive. Perhaps something like –she must find a way to tackle that big hill  — and prove what a big girl she is or – and glide at the head of the parade . . .
Something that gives a reader the idea that yes, she’s afraid of the hill, but she can/will conquer it :).

Larissa’s pitch was as follows:

Dim Sum Dog – PB – ages 4-8
With business dwindling, Chang and his family fear they will have to close their dim sum stand. But with the help of a special dim sum-loving dog who entertains customers, they may save the stand after all.

Erin’s comments are:

This has potential but I think to better grab an editor’s eye you should make more clear whether the dog is theirs, or is he  a stray, and if he is, does he join their family as well as help their business out? Something that grabs their hearts right from the get-go. Perhaps something like this:
Dim Sum Dog – PB – ages 4-8With business dwindling, Chang and his family fear they will have to close their dim sum stand. But with the help of a special dim sum-loving stray dog who entertains customers, they may save the stand after all and make an addition to their family . . . .

As always, I find her thoughts so helpful and educational!

And now it’s time for our very first Would You Read It of the New Year!!!  Are you ready?  Here we go 🙂

Today’s pitch comes to us from Sidney, whom you may remember from her early reader pitch back in October for Phantom And The Boneyard.  Sidney is a former newspaper reporter and editor.  She now works for a university and writes freelance.  She is a wife and the mother of a toddler, and is enjoying dipping her toe into the great ocean of fiction!

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Astrid Climbs Her Family Tree
Age/Genre: PB (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Astrid is bored silly one Saturday. Then she discovers family photo albums. But she can’t figure out how she is related to all these people. Join Astrid as she learns how to draw a family tree, create a gravestone rubbing, build an Aztec pyramid and chase her boredom away. 

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 Sidney 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 February, so you have time to polish 🙂 for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Sidney is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to regaining full use of the claw 🙂

Have a great day, everyone!  And here’s to a New Year filled with our best writing ever! 🙂

P.S.  Oh, and YIKES!  I almost forgot to mention that I am guest posting on Donna Martin’s blog today to kick off her new Writerly Wisdom series (although whether I have any wisdom to share is debatable :)) so please hop over and visit if you care to – I’m sure she’d appreciate it.  And also, I am a Guest Expert (her words not mine :)) at Patricia Morrison’s virtual conference Take Your Talent To The Bank which will take place next week from January 8th-11th.  (My part is on the 11th, and I will share more info on FB, twitter and here.)

Would You Read It Wednesday #63 – Scooter Annie Braves The Hill (PB), Straight From The Editor #13, AND The Halloweensie Contest!!!

Holy Jack-O-Lanterns Batman!

Why didn’t anyone remind me that I forgot to post the Halloweensie Contest Rules on Monday???!!!  Now we’ve got a gigantic post for today!  So that’s it.  No chitchat!  We’re getting right down to business!

First things first.  It’s Would You Read It Wednesday, so grab your Something Chocolate!  Care to join me for some chocolate cheesecake?

Chocolate Cheesecake… YUM!!!
Photo copyright Stacy Jensen 2012 used by permission

You know, usually I can rationalize the chocolate into some form of acceptable breakfast, but this one eludes me.  Just enjoy 🙂

Now then.  Straight From The Editor for the September Pitch Pick, which you will recall was won by the lovely Elizabeth with her pitch for Buff The Magic Dragon.

Buff The Magic Dragon
Picture Book, ages 4-8
The Pitch: Buff the Magic Dragon is afraid of EVERYTHING. But when his magic trick-gone-wrong lands the baby Princess Ponypants in the tentacles of Captain Meanie Bones Jones, Buff must swallow his fear to save her. 

Here are editor Erin Molta’s comments:

This is cute. I think it would work better if instead of saying “swallow his fear” you say, “overcome his fear”. Because when swallow is used it’s almost always about swallowing one’s pride and I think you’d rather have the connotation being strong. Then I think you might want to be a tad more specific about what fear he is overcoming. I know he’s afraid of everything but if he is to rescue Princess Ponypants(cute name!) from Captain Meanie Bones Jones, he’ll need to face that fear directly. So perhaps Buff must overcome his fear of  . . . eight-legged purple sea monsters or his fear of water in order to do battle with the Captain . . .

I don’t know about you, but I always find Erin’s thoughts very helpful!

Moving right along, we have today’s pitch from Carrie who blogs over at Story Patch and who, if you’ve spent any time around here at all, you will recognize as the pitch doctor 🙂  She has an uncanny ability to take any pitch, keep what’s best, and fix what needs help.  But it’s always a different matter when it comes to your own work, isn’t it?  So today she’s asking for your help.  Let’s see if she needs any 🙂

Working Title: Scooter Annie Braves The Hill
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: When Annie gets a new scooter, she can’t wait to ride. She loves swooping down her driveway and gliding along the sidewalk. But if Annie wants to ride in the neighborhood parade, she must find a way to conquer her fears and tackle the biggest hill in town.

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 Carrie 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 January, so you have time to polish 🙂 for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!
Carrie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to presenting The Halloweensie Contest!!!

Are you ready?

What is that noise in the dark of night?

It’s coming closer…

…and closer…

*dramatic Hollywood scream*  AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

It’s the (2nd Annual!) HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!


courtesy google images

The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words witchbat, and “trick-or-treat.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂

Post your story on your blog on Wednesday October 31 and link up here (and I’m really hoping we don’t get 2 feet of snow that knocks out the power and the internet this year!!!)  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of the Wednesday October 31 official contest blog post that will go up here.

The Judge: my lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to three (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) top choices which will be posted here and voted on for a winner.

The Prize:  Okay.  Seriously?  I think this is a good prize 🙂  The winner will receive 5 (that’s FIVE!) brand new picture books personalized and signed by the authors!  These 5 awesome books are: PUZZLED BY PINK by Sarah Frances Hardy, THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN by Tiffany Strelitz Haber, THE THREE NINJA PIGS by Corey Rosen Schwartz, MARATHON MOUSE by Amy Dixon, and FLAP! by Alison Hertz.  Great to keep for your own collection or to give to little ones in your life as holiday gifts 🙂

Doesn’t that sound like fun?  Last year this was the very first writing contest I ever had on my blog, and I think we got 8 entries.  I’m really really hoping we get lots more this year – it’s fun, it’s not too long (one might even call it short and sweet :)), it has to do with Halloween, which makes you think of candy, which is pretty much synonymous with chocolate… – so really, what could be better? 🙂

So get those thinking caps on – you’ve got a whole week to come up with a 100 word kids’ Halloween story! (and I’ve already given your three of the words 🙂 witchbat, and “trick-or-treat“) – and, since I went and distracted you with the contest, everyone please remember to leave your thoughts on Carrie’s pitch!

Have a lovely Wednesday, my friends 🙂