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 #253 – Colors Want To Play (PB)

Happy National Pack Rat Day Everyone!

For those of you who weren’t born back in the middle of the last century, a pack rat is what you young whippersnappers these days call a hoarder.  Take this quiz to see if you are one:

Instructions: For each question choose ONE answer – A, B, OR C

1. You have no intention of cleaning your closets, basement, garage, attic, or any other room today or any day!

A.  Are you nuts?  Of COURSE I plan to clean!  What kind of filthmonger do you take me for?

B.  Are we talking cleaning as in applying Lysol to surfaces and removing cobwebs, or as in getting rid of potentially valuable stuff? (which, we are word people here so we have to split hairs and define this as decluttering as opposed to cleaning!) Cleaning is acceptable (as long as it’s not overdone), decluttering is not to be entertained for one second!

C.  What’s cleaning?

2. You spy the clean, empty box that your birthday Moose Munch came in on the coffee table and

A. Throw that useless piece of garbage in the single-stream recycling bin and feel virtuous for your efforts to stop global warming!

B. Pick the box up and look at it from every angle and think that you could potentially use it to wrap the 10 bars of expensive specialty soap you give Great-Aunt Joan for Christmas every year, or as the cockpit for the rocket ship your son will have to make for the Science Fair in two years because his sister had to do one last year so you know it’ll be his turn next, or to collect buttons or possibly old cell phone chargers in, and put it back on the coffee table so you’ll know where to find it when you need it.

C. Seriously?  The Moose Munch is gone?  When did THAT happen?!

3. You’re walking the dog and notice that your three-doors-down neighbor apparently suffered a Spring Cleaning Attack and left a whole pile of stuff at the curb for the Thursday trash pick-up.  You

A. Hurry past because by gum! you feel a Spring Cleaning Attack coming on too and you’re anxious to get home and take advantage of it before it passes!

B. Tie the dog’s leash around your waist so you have both hands free to carry off the only slightly smelly comfy reading chair that is certainly nothing a little Febreze can’t fix!, the almost perfect lamp that only needs a shade, a bulb and a new electrical cord, and the vintage bookshelf that only needs shelves to round out your brand new-to-you cozy reading nook!

C. Try the large hula hoop but it’s too big, try the medium hula hoop but it’s bent into an egg-shape and won’t hula, then try the small hula hoop and discover that it’s Just Right!

Now.  For every answer “A” give yourself 37 points.  For every answer “B” give yourself 3.5 points.  For every answer “C” give yourself 4,567 points.

If your score is more than 4,567 points you have good taste in activities and snacks and are likely footloose and fancy free!

If your score is more than 15 points but less than 4,567 points, you may suffer from obsessive compulsive cleaning disorder and should gradually desensitize yourself to dirt and clutter by sitting in a sandbox full of sand toys and trucks with a toddler for an hour every day!

If your score is less than 15, you have a great imagination and would make a great writer!  You are also a pack rat! Congratulations!  🙂

Now that you’ve enjoyed that little smidgerel of enlightenment (isn’t it always fun to learn something new about yourself?) let’s get on with the items on today’s agenda!

First, I’m thrilled to announce that the winner of the April Pitch Pick is Ana with her PB pitch for No More Cats!  Congratulations, Ana!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts, and you were hopefully hear from her before too long!

Congratulations also to our other brave and talented pitchers who wrote wonderful pitches, and then took the incredibly helpful advice supplied by our cherished readers to heart and wrote great revisions!  It’s no easy thing to put yourself out there for comment and critique, and it can be hard to part with a pitch you’ve worked on and polished when feedback suggests it could benefit from changes.  So pat yourselves on the back and have…

. . . Something Chocolate!

This morning, we are serving Chocolate Lasagna Cupcakes because why not?! 🙂

chocolate-lasagna-cupcakes

Recipe HERE at CakesCottage

I have one word:  YUM!

(Okay, five words… YUM! YUM!! YUM!!! YUM!!!! YUM!!!!! 🙂 )

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Erin who says, “I am a member of both SCBWI and the12x12 Writing Challenge. I have many family and friends entrenched in education, from teaching to administration throughout the Hudson Valley and Northern NJ areas. I have an undergraduate degree in English and am working on a new blog as well.”

Find her on the web at:

Twitter: @erin_forrester

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Colors Want To Play

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-6)

The Pitch: In COLORS WANT TO PLAY, colors (and maybe you) unravel in a fun-filled journey of demanding direction from the hues themselves. One color is missing and needs some coaxing to join the others. Readers learn the ride can be just as much fun as the destination. Don’t forget comfortable shoes!

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 Erin 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!

Erin is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to a day of writing which involves no cleaning or decluttering of any kind – celebrating my inner Pack Rat! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

Monday Funday Short & Sweet

Hey, Everybody!

Do you know what day it is?

If you said the third Monday of the month, Monday Funday, the day Short & Sweets returns to a blog near you (er… this one! 🙂 ) then you win the penny prize!

SS Spring Badge Susanna Hill - Final Small

badge created by Loni Edwards

The object of Short & Sweets is to jump start our writing, whether it’s Monday morning or any other time of the week.  Short & Sweets are fun little exercises we can do together and share to get the writing sparks flying!  We will all inspire each other’s creativity.

I’ll supply a challenge.  You put your response in the comments.  Then scroll through and see how everybody else responded.  Maybe whatever you thought up won’t spark a story idea for you, but maybe someone else’s response will!  (And don’t worry – everything will be vague enough that there’s no way 2 people will ever write the same story off the same prompt.  It just doesn’t work that way :))

So are you ready?

Pull up a chair amongst your friends here, help yourself to a breakfasty snack, and let’s get writing!

coffeetea bagels

Here’s today’s challenge: (we’re going nice and simple to ease you in… 🙂 )

Write the opening sentence of a picture book.

The sentence should introduce the main character and the story problem.

For example:  Ava had a hard time falling asleep.

Easy peasy, right?!

Let’s see how many opening sentences we can generate!  Feel free to share more than one!

I’ll start.

Jasmine Bloom had the worst superhero power ever!

Now you go…!

I can’t wait to see what opening sentences you come up with!

Happy writing everyone!  Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

 

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #252 – Princess Ickybelle (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Pick!

Holy Anticipation, Batman!  I am on pins and needles!

Why? you may well ask.

Well, I’ll tell you!

I have just (yesterday afternoon) been informed that advance copies (one each) of WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH, WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES, and THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT are speeding toward Blueberry Hill as we speak!!!  They could get here today!!!  (OK.  Probably not.)  But maybe tomorrow!!! Or Friday!!!

Luckily I have a school visit today to keep me from setting up camp at the mailbox.  But tomorrow, if you need me, I’ll be out there in my tent just a-waitin’! 🙂

Meanwhile, let’s do the April Pitch Pick, shall we?  Our talented pitchers all revised their original pitches in response to your valuable input.  Read on to see their new and (hopefully!) improved pitches.  Decide which one you think is best and deserves a read and comments from editor Erin Molta and vote for it in the poll below!

#1 – Ana –  Working title: No More Cats
Genre: Picture Book. Ages: 3 to 6
Revised Pitch: 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.

#2 – Joan –  Working Title: The New Girl or Cross-Stitch Crossbones
Genre/Age Range: MG
Revised Pitch:  Twelve-year old Jenna has been dealing with her FBI dad’s disappearance for over a year. When her mother is deployed to Afghanistan, Jenna must go to live with her grandparents in rural NC.

To help Jenna make new friends and handle the separation from her parents, grandma tries to interest Jenna in cross-stitch. At grandma’s cross-stitch group, Jenna makes her first friend of her own age—Colinda, who does cross stitch to spend time with her own grandma. Colinda is a student leader not afraid to make friends a new girl. Colinda introduces Jenna to other students but advises Jenna the best way to make new friends is to participate in activities. Jenna agrees to start a walking program to get in shape for the coming tryouts for the track team. On Jenna’s first walk, however, she discovers a skeleton! Colinda, some of Jenna’s other new friends, and the ladies of the stitchery group all prove helpful in uncrossing the jumbled bones of the mysterious skeleton.

#3 – Gabi – Working Title: A WORTHY CAPTAIN WAS SHE
Genre/Age Range: PB Fiction (ages 3 and up)
Revised Pitch:
Captain Sea Lion stuck firm to her rulebook. Rule number one: a worthy captain never turns back. Danger befalls hearties who do! But when stubborn Pelican squawks “sail back” like a broken distress call, Captain must face her own stubbornness and choose between empathy and fear.

Fans of Crankenstein and The Princess and the Pony will appreciate A WORTHY CAPTAIN WAS SHE—a quirky celebration of friendship and reconsidering rules.

#4 – Emmie –  Working Title:  JESSIE’S DREAM
Genre/Age Range: PB @5-8
Revised Pitch:  Jessie’s dream is to play baseball again with her team. Her reality is sitting out the season because of surgery requiring her to wear a halo cast.  Her friends pitch in to make her dream come true – a baseball field adapted just for Jessie!

Please vote for the one you like best in the poll below by Sunday May 14 at 5 PM Eastern!

 

Whew!  It is always such a tough choice, isn’t it?  I think all that brain-strain calls for a restorative.  And what could be more restorative than Something Chocolate?! 🙂  Grab a fork, pull up a stool, and join us at the table.  Today we’re having Oreo Chunk Cookie Pie!

Oreo Chunk Cookie Pie!

Just because it might not be the most obvious breakfast choice doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dig in.  It’s important to think outside the box.  Because after all, as writers, thinking outside the box is in our job description 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Joanna.  A displaced Canadian and painfully slow runner, Joanna Biggs has been writing since childhood, when she kept her teachers’ in-trays busy with piles of new stories. Her head space is usually taken up with zany, colourful characters who stick around until their stories are put to paper. In between naps on her keyboard, Joanna is currently writing the next picture book in the Princess Ickybelle series. When not napping and writing, Joanna can be found traveling around Europe and Asia with her husband and children. She is currently based in rural England, where she writes and runs a popular book club.

Find her on the web at:

twitter: @joanna_biggs
facebook: www.facebook.com/joanna.biggs2
new website coming soon

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Princess Ickybelle

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

The Pitch: When messy and mucky Princess Ickybelle needs a bath, the fed-up Queen calls for help. Queen Granny arrives with some terrific tricks up her sleeve but Princess Ickybelle leads Granny on a wild goose chase around the castle, determined to foil Granny’s perfect plans. When the Princess finally succumbs to a scrubbing, she discovers that some Princesses aren’t meant to stay spotless for long.

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 Joanna 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!

Joanna is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to SEEING MY NEW BOOKS!!!!!  (I feel like Animal on Sesame Street – all wild hair and eyes and incoherent yelling! 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #251 – Follow In My Footsteps (PB)

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? Could you be mine?

Oh!  Sorry!

Didn’t mean to terrify you first thing in the morning with my singing! 🙂

But Mr. Rogers’s song leapt to mind because I DO have new neighbors!  They just moved in a couple of houses down the road!

Would you like to meet them?

“Looooooook!” (she cooed in her best isn’t-that-just-the-cutest-darned-thing-you-ever-saw voice)

 

IMG_2668  Version 2

Two little 12-week-old sister puppies from a local shelter!  Are they so cute?  Really, everyone should have puppies available for those moments when you need a bit of cheering.  There’s nothing like those soft, cuddly, wriggling little bundles of ecstatic, warm-hearted, tail-wagging, face-licking joy.  They make any day better 🙂  Please feel free to say “Awwww!” and indulge your puppy lust by looking at these cuties as much as you want 🙂

And now, to make up for shocking you awake with my ear-splitting rendition of Mr. Rogers’s Neighborhood, let’s have Something Chocolate, shall we?  I think we’ll go simple, classic, deliciousness this morning with Fudgy Cocoa Brownies! (After all, cocoa is a breakfast item!)

Best Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

Fudgy-Cocoa-Brownies-13

Recipe HERE at CafeDelites

These delicious dark chocolate breakfast morsels go perfectly with your breakfast beverage of choice – coffee, cappuccino, iced coffee, mochaccino, coffee, latte, coffee, milk, or coffee!

(Did I overdo stressing the breakfast appropriateness? 🙂 )

Mmmmmm!  Heavenly!

I think we can agree that all’s right with the world after puppies and fudgy brownie goodness! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Gabrielle who says, “Fledgling writer. Current member of 12 X 12, SCBWI and Maryland Writers Association.
Get a lot of my ideas from day to day life with my delightful 12 year old lacrosse and soccer player (and cello) who is helping me survive middle school!”

Find her on the web at:

“blog in progress”: https://gabrielle1956@wordpress.com
on facebook as Gabrielle Copeland Schoeffield

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Follow In My Footsteps

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

The Pitch: When his dad is injured on a winter hike, Zach must find help. Without a cell phone or map, he worries he won’t find the way home in time until his father’s words echo in his head, “Just follow in my footsteps.”

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 Gabrielle 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!

Gabrielle is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to picking up # 4 from the airport (which is probably where I am while you’re reading this!) I am always happy to have my kiddos home even if it’s only for about 5 minutes! 🙂  And I’m not saying for sure, but it’s always possible the trip will involve a stop at Dunkin’.  These trips tend to.  After all, America runs on Dunkin’ and I am very patriotic when donuts are involved 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #250 – Jessie’s Dream (PB)

Good Morning Everyone!

It’s a Whirlwind Wednesday today!

I’m off to two days of school visits, having just returned from the awesomeness that was NESCBWI.  What an amazing, inspiring weekend, and how fun it was to see so many online friends in real life!

Version 2

me, along with some of the wonderful people I’m lucky enough to call friends! at NESCBWI

Apparently the NESCBWI experience has fired me up 🙂  I was thinking it would be fun to bring back a couple of features I haven’t run in a while on this blog.  I’d love to know how you guys would feel about it, and whether or not one or both features are of interest to you!

First, I was thinking about reviving Oh, Susanna! the picture book equivalent of Dear Abby 🙂 where writers can post questions about techniques, process, and business of writing, teachers can ask questions about finding useful books or making writing fun in the classroom, and parents can ask for recommendations on specific subjects of interest (trucks, dinosaurs, etc.) or for addressing areas of concern (monsters, new siblings etc.) for the picture book reading crew at their house.

Oh, Susanna!

 

I was thinking of running Oh, Susanna! on the first Monday of each month.

Second, I thought I might revive Short & Sweets, fun writing exercises we can do on our own or in the group here to get the ideas and words flowing – great for writers, and great for teachers who might want a fun writing activity to do with their classes.

515a7-ssspringfinal

I was thinking of running Short & Sweets on the third or fourth Monday of each month.

So what do you guys think?  Any interest in either of those things?  Would they be helpful to you?  Or is there something else you’d like to see?

Let me know in the comments!

Gosh!  All the excitement of contemplating new/old blog series has caused me to experience low blood sugar!  I feel the need for Something Chocolate, don’t you?! 🙂  This is a really healthy one, too, because look!  Berries! 🙂

No Bake Three Chocolate Cake

3-chocolate-bundt-cake-2-1

Recipe HERE at CookingLSL

Ah!  That’s better!  I hope you feel refreshed! 🙂

Let’s launch into today’s pitch which comes to us from Emmie who says, “I am a retired first grade teacher. Member of SCBWI. Active in my local critique group and have attended conferences in Indiana. I just recently joined 12 x 12.”

Find her on the web at:
www.EmmieRWerner.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Jessie’s Dream

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-8)

The Pitch: Jessie’s dream is to play baseball with her friends. Her reality is sitting on her porch listening to baseball because she has a halo cast. Until…..that’s what friends are for.

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 Emmie 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!

Emmie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on reviving (or not reviving!) Oh, Susanna! and Short & Sweets, or your other ideas of what you’d like to see offered here!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #249 – A Worthy Captain Was She (PB)

Good morning, dearies!

I hope you are all having a lovely week so far!

I have aged this week.  I’m a whole year older!  Funny how that happens in the space of one day!

I was at a school visit on Monday and the kids asked me how old I was.  I said, “Guess!”  They guessed 99!  I think I look pretty well-preserved for 99.  I don’t even dye my hair! 🙂

So now, I am unexpectedly off on an unplanned whirlwind trip to Boston.  That is how things are when you have 5 kids.  So I’m leaving you unsupervised to play Would You Read It.  I will bribe you into managing yourselves with Something Chocolate 🙂  How does Hot Fudge Sundae Cake sound?

 

Mmmmmmm!!!!!!  It sounds pretty good to me!  Looks pretty good too!

So here is today’s pitch which comes to us from Gabi who says, “I currently live in Oregon with my husband, two kids, one dog, and one dog-like cat. I am a member of SCBWI and the 12 x 12 picture book challenge. You can check out my blog about writing for children at https://writingtoconnect.wordpress.com/.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: A Worthy Captain Was She

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

The Pitch:  Fans of Crankenstein and The Princess and the Pony will appreciate A WORTHY CAPTAIN WAS SHE—a quirky celebration of friendship and reconsidering rules, as needed.

Captain Sea Lion stuck firm to her rulebook. Rule number one: a worthy captain never turns back. Danger befalls hearties who do! But when a stubborn pelican challenges Captain’s number one rule, she must face her own stubbornness and choose empathy over fear.

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 Gabi 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!

Gabi is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing #4 – the reason for the Boston trip – and then to getting home because that is a lot of driving in one day!  Luckily, I have Audible.  Has anyone read Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch?  I’m thinking of trying it for the drive….

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂  And be good to each other in my absence – share the Hot Fudge Sundae Cake nicely 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #248 – The New Girl (MG) PLUS The February And March Pitch Winners!!!

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

Wow!

Has spring sprung or what?

It was (no joke!) 86 degrees on Blueberry Hill yesterday afternoon!  I’m pretty sure that’s a record for April 11 in these parts!  Of course, it’s unlikely to stay that warm (which is okay because I’d worry even more about global warming if summer had already arrived!), but it sure was nice to be outdoors in a tee shirt and shorts!  It’s forecasted to be 20 degrees cooler today.

The question for the day is: do we think the danger of frost up here on the mountain has passed, and dare I plant my spring bulbs???

Whilst we think on that, let’s congratulate the winners of the February and March Pitch Picks that you all so kindly chose last week!

I’m happy to announce that the winner of the February Pitch Pick was Kathryn, with her pitch for Penelope Pickles And The Troll Kingdom (MG)!

And the winner of the March Pitch Pick was Traci, with her pitch for Riley And The Haunted Cupboard (PB)!

Congratulations, Kathryn and Traci!!!  Your pitches are winging through cyberspace to editor Erin Molta for her comments, and I’m sure you will hear from her as soon as she has time!

And congratulations also to all the other pitchers who so bravely shared their work, opened themselves to constructive criticism and used it to make already good pitches even stronger!  You are all winners, really, because when next you need those pitches they will be ready!

And, as always, I want to thank our wonderful readers without whom Would You Read It would not be what it is!  Thank you all for your thoughtful, considered and helpful comments.  So many writers have had the opportunity to improve their pitches thanks to you! ❤

I think we should celebrate with Something Chocolate, don’t you???!!! 🙂   Since Easter is nearly upon us, I vote for delicious homemade chocolate peanut butter eggs!

 

Oh my goodness, those are mouthwateringly delicious!  Plus, I know I don’t need to point out to you, my faithful devotees, that peanut butter is an excellent source of extremely healthful protein which will help you focus your brain and build your muscles – writing and otherwise! 🙂  So by all means, please help yourself to several.  There is always plenty of chocolate around here! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Joan.  Joan Leotta is a writer and story performer who haddock been playing with words since childhood.
She loves to use words to entertain, educate and encourage.

Find her on the web at:
Joan Leotta, Author and Story Performer on Facebook and
www.joanleotta.wordpress.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The New Girl

Age/Genre: MG

The Pitch: Jenna’s Mom has just been deployed to Afghanistan. Dad is an FBI agent who went missing while on assignment. Jenna is sent to live with her Grandparents in Rural North Carolina, far from her friends in DC’s Virginia suburbs. In an effort to loose weight and gain friend, Jenna starts an exercise walking program so she can join the schools track team…on her first walk she finds a dead body. The man turns out to be a local banker long thought to have skipped town.  Jenna’s efforts to solve the mystery, make new friends and handle the separation from her parents are sided by her grandmas stitcher group  and one leader in her new school who is not afraid to make friends with Jenna, the new girl.

Possible Titles…the new girl,or  crossstitch and crossbones

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?  Also, Joan would love title suggestions if you have any!

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 Joan 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!

Joan is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to planting my spring bulbs.   Do not ask me what they’re called.  Something purple that blooms in early summer.  As you can see, I am an extremely knowledgable gardener.  They don’t call me the Black Thumb of Poughquag for nothing! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #247 – No More Cats (PB) PLUS The February And March Pitch Picks!!!

Would you look at that?

It’s time for another round of everybody’s favorite game: Would You Read It!

This makes two weeks in a row where the time has gone by so fast I feel like I missed it altogether!  I want to thank all the lovely people who stepped up to offer help with my book launch last week from the bottom of my heart!  I’m so grateful!  And if I haven’t replied to you yet, please know that you’re on my list and I’m getting there! ❤

We’ve got a lot to do today, so let’s begin by fueling our brain cells with a little Something Chocolate!  This Chocolate Italian Cake looks pretty delicious er, that is, it looks like it would be an excellent source of energy for efficiently facilitating synaptic response and neuron transmission 🙂

Don’t you feel like your ability to analyze pitches is functioning at an unprecedented level now?  (No, that is not a sugar/caffeine rush from the chocolate, that is Brain Power! 🙂 )

So let’s harness that power and go straight to the February and March Pitch Picks!

FEBRUARY:

#1 – Kathryn – PENELOPE PICKLES AND THE TROLL KINGDOM (MG)

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.

#2 – Jill – SOCKS OFF (PB ages 2+)

A child delights in spending the day feeling the world against his bare feet. But when a run-in with a cat causes a chase and a tumble, the child soon finds a way back to barefoot bliss with a lick and a snuggle.

#3 – Robin – TALENT SHOW AT GILA ACADEMY OF FLICKCRAFT AND LIZARDRY (PB ages 4-8)

Chameleon was feeling blue about the Friday Night Talent Show. While the other lizards preened and practiced, Chameleon was a shrinking violet, sure his talent was…nothing. Watch Chameleon’s “nothing” become something. He’s a lizard of a different color!

Please vote in the poll below (by Sunday April 9 at 5PM Eastern) for the pitch you think is best and most deserving of a read and comments from editor Erin Molta!

 

MARCH:

#1 – Traci – RILEY AND THE HAUNTED CUPBOARD (PB ages 4-8)

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.

#2 – Alexandria – FIONA FLYNN FINDS OUT (MG)

Fiona wants to prove her maturity by riding a horse. When that finally happens, the horse rides her right into her familial role as fairy physic—a physician to a magical world of nature guides who are in the fight for their lives against the evil goddess, Epona who seeks to destroy everything the fae protect. Can Fiona grow into her powers soon enough to stop, Epona?

#3 – Lisa – I AM… (PB ages 4-6)

Scared by a spider, Giraffe climbs a tree to hide. When his friend Zebra spots him, he listens as Giraffe talks about his fears. But Giraffe is facing an even bigger problem, and struggles to find the courage to admit it.

#4 – Joy – RODERICK FODERICK (PB ages 3-7)

Broderick Foderick a kangaroo rat. He accidentally pulls the throttle too much and his ship gets launched into space. When he gets snagged on a cumulus cloud, he must find the doohickey to return to earth.

 

Please vote in the poll below (by Sunday April 9 at 5PM Eastern) for the pitch you think is best and most deserving of a read and comments from editor Erin Molta!

 

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Ana who says, “I am a teacher, artist, dancer and chocolate lover. I hope with my picture books make young and old laugh.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: No More Cats

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

The Pitch: When mom agrees to add a cat to the family, it seems like a fine idea. But one by one the cat count rises until things are out of control. She must find new homes for the felines and fast, before they take over her home and her sanity.

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 Ana 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!

Ana is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who wins the pitch picks!  All these fabulous pitches – how will we ever choose???!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #246 – Roderick Foderick (PB)

Wow!

I don’t know where THIS week has gone so far!

Look at us!  Here we are at Would You Read It Wednesday already!

And in the spirit of “would you read it”, I have a question for you, my beloved and devoted blog readers!

As you may know, I have 3 books coming out this summer.

lion_needs_a_bath_cover elephant_has_sniffles_coverthe_road_that_trucks_build_cover

I’d like to organize a little blog tour to introduce the books, share a little about their inspiration, myself, the illustrators, the publication process, do some giveaways – generally have some fun!

If you’d be interested in hosting me and/or the illustrator for a post, and/or receiving an advance copy to review, I would be most grateful if you would email me! (susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com)

I’d also really like to spread the word to people and blog writers who are tied to the school community – teachers, librarians, parents.  I don’t know as many as I’d like to!  If you are a teacher, librarian, preschool, homeschool or mommy blogger, or if you would be willing to introduce me to anyone you know in those categories, I would be in your debt!  It is likely I would send you Something Chocolate 🙂

And speaking of… I think it’s about time we had Something Chocolate!  I recently read an article (thank you for sharing Lori Ann!) entitled “Research Shows That Eating Chocolate Cake For Breakfast Is Good For The Brain And The Waistline“, so I’d like to do my part to ensure you all get properly chocolate-fueled by 9 AM! 🙂  Let’s have some Hershey’s S’More Cupcakes!

 

See?  Don’t you feel slimmer and smarter already? 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Joy who says, “I am a writer/ business person/ ordinary person who has been writing since the age of eight. In the year 2010 I decided to get serious. Since that time I have had three books published.”

Find her on the web at:
Website: joymooreloop-de-loops.webs.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Roderick Foderick

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

The Pitch: Broderick Foderick a kangaroo rat. He accidentally pulls the throttle too much and his ship gets launched into space. When he gets snagged on a cumulus cloud, he must find the doohickey to return to 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 Joy 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!

Joy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to hearing from anyone who might be interested in participating in my hopefully upcoming book blog tour, or who might be able to introduce me to potentially interested teacher/librarian/mommy etc bloggers, and I thank you all in advance!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂