Smorgasbord Friday!

(Today’s post contains 3 very important items: 1) the first Pitch Pick Winner, 2) 5 great writing opportunities, and 3) my First Campaign Challenge entry.  If you’re in a hurry, please feel free to scroll down to the part you’re most interested in 🙂  Also, for those who haven’t had a chance to comment on this week’s Would You Read It, please go here.  Okay, here we go!)

My fingers are actually tingling!

And, NO, it’s not because I’ve had too much coffee.


It’s 5:30 AM.  How much do you think I could have drunk already?

No, my friends!  I am tingling because the BIG DAY is finally here!  The BIG DAY on which I will announce the winner of the first Pitch Pick, the one whose pitch will be sent to editor Erin Molta for comments and insight.  Ah, the thrill!  The excitement!  The suspense…

But first, I want to tell you a story about paint drying.

You see, we need to paint our downstairs hallway…

Tee hee.  I’m just foolin’ with you 🙂  (We do need to paint our downstairs hallway, but I’m not going to tell you a story about it.  Not now anyway.  Not while you’re dying to know who the winner is.  That would just be cruel.)

Okay.  Are you ready?

Really?  Are you sure?

Alrighty, then.  Drum roll please!

The winner of the first Pitch Pick for July/August 2011 is none other than the fabulous


Congratulations, Alisha!!!  Your pitch will wing its way across cyberspace momentarily and land in Erin’s inbox, ready for her priceless expertise!

Before we move on to item 2 of today’s smorgasbord, I just want to say, congratulations and good work to everyone who participated.  You all wrote strong pitches, and your books all sound wonderful!  I’m sorry there could be only one winner.   But please remember – you are of course allowed to send more pitches!  So feel free to try again for a spot in Erin’s Inbox!

Item 2 on today’s agenda is about fun, fun, fun for the writers in our audience.  There are a number of opportunities either currently running or coming soon that I think you might find interesting:

The Lucky Clover Picture Book Writing Contest:
Held by Christie at WRITE WILD, this picture book contest is run four times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter), with categories for Early PBs, Regular PBs, Non-Fiction PBs, and Rhyming PBs.  The prize is a free critique, and entries for the Summer Contest are open until the end of September.

The Rule of Three Blogfest:
Held by J.C. Martin at J.C. MARTIN, FIGHTER WRITER and Damyanti at WRITING ON WRITING: AMLOKIBLOGS as well as a couple others, this is a month long blogfest that takes place in a shared fictional world within which you will create a story.  Sign up by October 3.

The Synopsis/Query Stand Out:
Held by Cynthia at RANDOM THOUGHTS, Stand Out Synopsis/Query is a weekly feature posted on Mondays where authors can get help on their synopses and/or queries.  It is a slightly different take on Would You Read It Wednesday 🙂

The Hooked On Hooks Event:
Held by Kimberly at ZOOKBOOKNOOK, the Hooked On Hooks event is a chance for writers to hone their hooks.  Stop by on September 30 and add your hook to the linky list!

And, last but not least, the new Choose Your Own Adventure:
Fun for writers and readers alike, Kerri Cuevas at CRAFT JUNKIE is hosting her 2nd Choose Your Own Adventure Story.  19 writers (including Yours Truly!) will be participating in this fun, fabulous bloghop.  (I believe the list is now closed, but if you want to join, ask Kerri.  She originally said she would take as many as 30, so there may still be a possibility of spaces.)  It will take place at the end of October.  More details to come 🙂

Item 3 on today’s agenda is my entry for Rachael Harrie’s First Campaign Challenge which, as of the time of this late writing already has 352 entries!  The Challenge is:  200 words beginning with the words, The door swung open and ending with the words, The door swung shut.  Here is my entry:

The door swung open with a hiss and a clunk.

Red and yellow lights flashed a warning.

“Up you go, Liam,” Mom said with a smile.

Liam looked at the steps.  Steep steps.  BIG steps.  Steps he might trip on.  Steps that led into the rumbling yellow belly of a monster.

“No!” he said.

He was not going forward.

Liam wanted to turn around and hold on tight to Mom, but eyes watched him.  Lots of eyes.  Maybe a hundred!

He could not turn back.

Mom squeezed his hand.  “It’s going to be all right, Liam,” she said.  “I promise.”

Liam looked up at her.  He wanted to say something, but his throat was too tight for talking.  He had to blink six times in a row to make sure no tears spilled out.

Mom ruffled his hair and gave him a gentle nudge.  “Go on,” she said.  “You can do it.”

Liam took a deep breath and stepped into the monster.

He looked down the monster’s throat.

Hey!  There was Connor.  And Justin!

“Hi, Liam!” they shouted.

Liam sat next to Connor, waved to Mom and smiled.

This might not be so bad after all.

The door swung shut.

Phew!  Sorry for the long post!  I told you it was a smorgasbord!  Please post your comments for our Pitch Pick winner below, as well as your comments on the Challenge piece.  And please enjoy a few minutes checking out the writing opportunities!

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂

P.S.  For any fellow campaigners, should you happen to like my Challenge piece enough to “like” it on Rach’s site, I’m number 355.  (I’ve discovered I’m having trouble finding people on there so thought this might be helpful!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What an opportunity!

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

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

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

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

But isn’t this so exciting???!!!

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

Pam presents us with this entry:

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

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Pam improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)
Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  (I figured y’all would get tired of me rewriting the same paragraph every week about the rules of the game so I put them up there :))
As an added note, this week’s entry is a little different.  Pam has self-published and is looking for ways to bring attention to her book, hence her interest in improving her pitch.  If you’re interested in learning more about Pam and her book, please visit her website and view her trailer on YouTube (the link for which I cannot get to work in spite of just trying 400 times so please search When This Is Over.mp4 by mabeldog4).
Pam eagerly awaits your comments and suggestions, and Erin is waiting excitedly in the wings for the first pitch winner in a week or two!!!

Meet Kathy Welsh!

Writers, sit up and take note!  This post includes potential writing opportunities – how’s that for making your day 🙂

After being deliberately vague yesterday about the timing of upcoming guest posts, we’re off and running with one today!  (Maybe I should remember that trick…!)

Please welcome Kathy Welsh, a talented writer and the creator of Country Courier Magazine!

Kathy Welsh

Kathy’s story is an inspiring one for aspiring writers.  She was not encouraged to write as a child, nor did she have formal training or education in her chosen field of journalism.  Nevertheless, feeling that her community lacked adequate coverage in local news, she “took the bull by the horns”and began submitting articles to her local weekly paper.  Although she had no writing credentials to speak of, her passion for local news came through and her articles were published.  It was the beginning of a career in freelance journalism.  She moved from the occasional article to weekly articles and eventually to a weekly column.  Today she is editor-in-chief and publisher of her own magazine, Country Courier, a local publication for Union Vale, New York.  She is a role model for making writing dreams come true!

SLH:  Kathy, how did you first become involved in writing?

KW:  This really all began quite by accident!  My very first job was in the publishing world – Western Publishing Inc. in Poughkeepsie, NY – as an expediter in the purchasing department.  After leaving my job when I had my first child, I began writing for Taconic Press, which I did for several years.  My husband’s job relocated which took us to West Virginia.  There I connected with The Valley Press, a local weekly newspaper, and freelanced for them until our next relocation – northwestern New Jersey.  Again I contacted the local weekly newspaper, The Star Gazette, and began covering three counties for three different editors.  This is where I really honed my skills as a reporter and covered everything from school news to feature articles to municipal news.

SLH:  How did you get involved with Country Courier?

KW:  When I created Country Courier Magazine we had made our final move back home here to Union Vale. Publishing the magazine was a natural progression from newspapers to a magazine-style format. I already knew what my readers liked so I used those topics to create this publication. And it has been very well received!

SLH:  What are your goals for Country Courier?

KW:  Our goal is to remain a free, direct-mail and online publication. We have currently updated our website from quarterly to daily news to provide our readers with “More News More Often.”  And, we are also changing our print format from magazine style to more of a tabloid style to provide more news for our readers. This will debut mid April.

SLH:  What, if any, writing opportunities might there be for interested authors?  What types of submissions are you looking for?

KW:  Now that we offer a daily online website, we are looking for writers and photographers to contribute articles, news and photographs.  I am interested in local news about people, places and things from municipal to feature stories.  All submissions will have a byline.  Writers need not have previous publishing experience, but I reserve the right to reject any pieces that do not fit the criteria of the magazine.

Sample photographic cover
from Country Courier

SLH:  How can writers/photographers contact you?

KW:  Please email Kathy[at]CountryCourierMagazine[dot]com.
SLH:  Where can interested readers and/or writers view the magazine and follow your writing and activities?
KW:  The magazine is online at Country Courier Magazine.  You can also follow me on Twitter and FaceBook.
Thank you so much for joining us, Kathy!
I urge everyone to visit Country Courier online.  The new website is beautiful, and a quick perusal will give you a feel for the type of writing Kathy might be interested in publishing!