Would You Read It Wednesday #259 – If Only I Could Be A Cat (PB)

Happy Wednesday, Folks!

We’re taking a quick breather from the blog tour today for our regularly-scheduled programming 🙂

Given the whirlwind of all that’s going on in this neck of the woods, though, I’m going to be uncharacteristically to the point!

I don’t think anyone will argue that the best way to begin the morning is with Something Chocolate, so let’s! 🙂

No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Cake

No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Cake is perfect for summer!  No baking and the cake stays refrigerated for a nice, cool, chocolatey treat!

YUM!!!!! 🙂

Now then, (and just look how well I’m focusing on the job at hand and not wandering off on tangents! 🙂 ) onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Colleen who says, “I’m a 7th grade Math teacher (with a law degree and once-CPA), proud mother of three daughters – a Veterinarian, a First Lieutenant in the Air Force (CSO/EWO) and a Broadcast Journalist, and lifetime poet still pining to publish. Now that our three daughters are all graduated from college, it is, at last, time to pursue my dream of having my books in the hands of children.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: If Only I Could Be A Cat

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8)

The Pitch: “If only I could be a cat like our cat Daisy May!” So the narrator of the story thinks; it would be great to eat, sleep and play all day. Or would it? When she considers what she would be missing – like Mom and Dad’s hugs goodnight, she realizes it may not be so great after all. Follow along with the rhyme and the reasoning in If Only I Could Be a 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 Colleen 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 July, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon  for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Colleen is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to continuing the blog tour!  Even though Publication Day was yesterday, rest assured that the fun and games continue! 🙂

For your convenience, here’s a handy list of the blog tour stops to date (with helpful links) 🙂

7/1/17 – Susanna Leonard Hill – Blog Tour Kickoff

7/2/17 – Lauri Fortinos’s Frog On A Blog – Guest Post on Writing A Series PLUS a Giveaway!

7/3/17 – Jena Benton’s Of Tea And Mermaids Blog – Simply 7 Interviews with Susanna & Daniel PLUS a Giveaway!

7/4/17 – Lynn Davidson’s Polilla Writes Blog – LION book review and GAME

7/5/17 – Susanna Leonard Hill – Fun With LION – reveal of LION ACTIVITY KIT and LION BOOK TRAILER

7/6/17 – Lynn Davidson’s Polilla Writes Blog – Interview with Susanna PLUS a Giveaway

7/7/17 – Vivian Kirkfield’s Picture Books Help Kids Soar – LION/ELEPHANT Reviews and Crafts PLUS a Giveaway

7/8/17 – Vivian Kirkfield’s Picture Books Help Kids Soar – Will Write For Cookies With Susanna – Picture Book Writing Inspiration

7/9/17 – Susanna Leonard Hill – Fun With ELEPHANT – reveal of ELEPHANT ACTIVITY KIT

7/10/17 – Julie Abery’s Little Red Story Shed – 3 Posts!
WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES Plus Preschool- Friendly Elephant Ears Recipe!
WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES Plus Preschool Art Activity!
WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH Plus Preschool-Friendly Lion Pancake Recipe!

7/11/17 – PUBLICATION DAY!!! – 2 Posts
Lynn Davidson’s Polilla Writes Blog – ELEPHANT Review Plus Elephant Tightrope GAME
ReFoReMo Post by Keila Dawson – Mentor Text Author Study Susanna Hill

I’d hate for you to miss any of the fabulous participating blogs so remember that if you comment on every post, you will earn yourself a chance toward the Special Prize Raffle at the end of the tour! (The goody bag and signed books described on the kickoff post.)  And if you share this, or any related post, item, photo, etc. on Social Media with the #whenyourbooks, each share will add to your chances to win Special Prize #2 at the end of the tour! (3 $25 Amazon gift cards up for grabs!)

And be sure to tune in tomorrow for Lynn Davidson’s interview with Daniel Wiseman (illustrator of LION and ELEPHANT) Plus a Giveaway!, and on Friday we will be on the World-Famous Kidlit411 with an interview with yours truly in which you can learn something most people don’t know about me! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

(And after all that blog tour talk, don’t forget to let Colleen know what you think of her pitch! 🙂 )

Would You Read It Wednesday #258 – The Snugglebeast And The Spotty Sock (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

Hi Everyone!  Happy Wednesday!

I am having so much fun this week!  Crazy and busy, but totally fun!  My new books are about to launch, and the swag and activity pages and blog tour and book trailers, etc. are all starting to come together and I can’t wait to share everything with you!  I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such talented illustrators!  And so lucky to have the support of so many wonderful, generous kidlit bloggers as well as lovely people who have agreed to read the books and consider reviewing them!  I hope you’re going to enjoy it all as much as I do.  I think there’s a not-so-subtle reason I’m drawn to writing for the picture book age… I may well still be there myself! 🙂

It’s all going to kick off here on July 1, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise!  I’m a little afraid of how close that date is when I think of everything I still have to do!  But for now, let’s focus on Would You Read It! 🙂

First, we have Straight From The Editor for May!  You will recall winner Cortney’s pitch for Olive Hills (PB ages 3-6):

Elle’s mind drifts through an olive grove as she tries to keep memories of her grandma alive. She surprisingly finds herself with a familiar, yet forgetful brontosaurus. The two set out to retrace their footprints in hope to relive fading memories. When they reach the giant tree where Elle’s grandma used to sit and reflect, they discover love ones will always be with you no matter where they are.

Here are Erin’s thoughts:

This sounds like it could be a lovely picture book but I’m getting stuck on the brontosaurus. How is he familiar… and forgetful? Dinosaurs and death are pretty disparate concepts for kids age 3-6 and you need to somehow clarify that link in this pitch.

As always, I find Erin’s comments very illuminating!  I hope they’re helpful to you too – and to Cortney as she continues to perfect this manuscript and pitch!

Now then, burning the candle at both ends as I am, I feel in need of Something Chocolate right this minute!  What should we have today?

You know I’m nothing if not health-conscious… 🙂 so how about a little Death By Chocolate Zucchini Bread?!  (Note the ZUCCHINI in the title…like I said, health food 🙂 )

DEATH BY CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD

Also, I hope you noticed that it is clearly called “bread”, not “cake”, so again with the health benefits and it is perfectly okay to eat it for breakfast! 🙂

YUM!!!!!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Katy who says, “I’m a Design Director who does branding and packaging design the north of the UK and am very much an early stages writer. Because of my creative job I love to have an outlet for my other ideas and like to sketch, illustrate and create story’s and picture books amusing children’s characters that are usually based on animals.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Snugglebeast And The Spotty Sock

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

The Pitch:

Have you ever stopped to ponder,
where all your lost socks go.
Where on Earth could they possibly wander?

You know the ones I mean,
your best socks, the very favourite kind
Where do they end up?
We seek them out, but we never can find?

Discover the world of a tiny, secretive, sneaky little creature, who adventures out at night in the night in a plot to steal your socks.

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 Katy 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 July, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Katy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting everything done so we can all start off on this crazy, wonderful book launch blog tour!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #257 – Little Medusa’s Hair Do-Lemma (PB) PLUS The May Pitch Winner!!!

Hi Everyone!

So glad you could make it 🙂

Actually, I’m glad I could make it!  I’ve been so busy this week I almost forgot it was Wednesday!

I am busy planning the launch of WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH, WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES and THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT.  A fun-filled blog tour is in the making and I hope you’ll all join the high jinx and shenanigans!

But for now, it’s a regular Wednesday so let’s jump right in, shall we?

First of all, the winner of the May Pitch Pick was Cortney with her PB pitch for Olive Hills!  Congratulations, Cortney!  Your pitch is on its way to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts!!!

Congratulations also to our other pitchers who worked hard to write and revise their pitches and bravely put them up for all of us to learn from.  I hope it was a helpful experience.  And I have to say, this particular group had about the closest voting results I’ve ever seen on WYRI, so you must all have done an unusually good job!!!

Since summer is officially here, and cherries are in season and go so well with chocolate, how about some Triple Chocolate Cherry Cake for our Something Chocolate this morning?

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHERRY CAKE

chocolatecherrycake-5

Recipe HERE at Averie Cooks

Delicious AND nutritious!!!  (I mean, it has cherries in it!  That’s fruit! 🙂 )

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Jenny who says, “I graduated from Making Picture Book Magic in 2015 with an advanced degree in Kidlit and honors in Chocolate Appreciation.  I’m an active participant in the 12 x 12 community and a member of SCBWI.  While I regularly write non-fiction for Cricket Media, I’m chasing the dream of becoming a published picture book author.  Every line, every draft, is one step closer to success!”

Find her on Twitter @Yangmommy

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Little Medusa’s Hair Do-Lemma

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

The Pitch: Little Medusa loves everything about snakes–just as long as they’re not slithering and sliding through her hair!  She’s tangled up in knots trying to follow tradition.  Using her imagination and heart, Little Medusa tries her best to please her family, her snake and herself.

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 Jenny 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 July, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Jenny is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to continuing work on the upcoming blog tour because I want it to be really special for you all!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Monday Funday Short & Sweet – June

It’s the third Monday of the month, and you know what that means!

 

Well, no, not donuts… although that is a good guess and given the “sweet” in today’s activity maybe we should have donuts…

So, ok, donuts:

dark chocolate creme donut

But what I was actually referring to, you incorrigible donut hounds 🙂 , is Monday Funday Short & Sweets!

SS Spring Badge Susanna Hill - Final Small

badge created by Loni Edwards

Nothing like a little warm-up writing fun to kick off the day and the week, don’t you think?  Who knows what great story idea we might spark from this!

So.

Today’s Short & Sweet will work best if you don’t peek.  I’m not quite sure how to accomplish that on a blog post, so let’s go on the honor system – no scrolling down yet!

First, pick a number from 1 – 10.  Got it?  Write it down.

Now pick a number from 1 – 10 again and write that down.

Now do it again.

And now one last time.

(BTW, it’s okay if you pick the same number more than once.  If you want to make it really random you can roll a pair of dice and just discard any 11s or 12s you get.  Or take an Ace through 10 out of a deck of cards and randomly choose cards to see what numbers you get.)

Hopefully you now have 4 numbers between 1 and 10 written down.  (For example, I have 5, 9, 3, and 2.)

Now.  Use your first number to select from this list:

Character:

  1. a boy who comes from the Land of Nod
  2. a guinea pig who always carries a lucky penny
  3. a princess who is mischievous
  4. a knight who hates to get wet
  5. a dinosaur who is forgetful
  6. a king who loves licorice
  7. a witch who loves to whistle
  8. a monster who is shy
  9. a robot who is to curious
  10. a cowboy who loves bugs

 

Use your second number to select from this list:

Setting:

  1. outer space
  2. a birthday party
  3. the shore of Lake Chaubunagungamaug
  4. a city sidewalk
  5. the edge of a meadow
  6. zoo
  7. the soda fountain
  8. lighthouse
  9. circus
  10. campsite

 

Use your third number to select from this list:

Time:

  1. nap time
  2. June twilight
  3. just after losing first tooth
  4. during a blizzard
  5. snack time
  6. after losing the big game
  7. first light of morning
  8. the day before Halloween
  9. the first really hot day of summer
  10. moments before the school play

 

Use your last number to select from this list:

Situation/Challenge:

  1. someone’s feelings have been hurt
  2. someone is having a bad day
  3. someone had a fight with a friend
  4. someone is stuck or trapped somewhere
  5. someone is lonely
  6. someone can’t climb to the treehouse
  7. someone wishes s/he were bigger
  8. someone is moving away
  9. someone is being chased by an animal
  10. someone broke his/her big toe

You should now have a randomly selected character, setting, time, and situation/challenge – everything you need to prompt a story!

In the comments below, list the 4 you got and write 50-100 words of whatever story they suggest to you!  Don’t agonize!  Don’t over-think!  We’re all among friends.  Just write!  All we’re doing here is priming the pump.  If all you can squeeze out is 50 rusty words, that’s fine!  You wrote 50 words in the middle of your hectic, busy day!  But maybe, just maybe, 25-50 more will trickle out a little less rusty, and maybe after you’ve written your 50-100 here you’ll find you’ve got a gush of clear water rushing forth and a whole  new story will well up and land on your list of accomplishments for today!

Oh, and if you find it’s too hard to include all 4, it’s okay to just use 1, 2, or 3 of the prompts you picked – the exercise is just to get ideas and words flowing 🙂

Here’s my example in case you don’t quite get it:
The numbers I chose were 5, 9, 3, and 2, so I get

Character #5 – a dinosaur who is forgetful
Setting #9 – circus
Time #3 – just after losing first tooth
and Situation/Challenge #2 – someone is having a bad day

Given these prompts, I might write the following 50-100 words:

So far, Reinhold was not having a good day.

He was last to the breakfast table so all the Frosted Flakes were gone.

His favorite blue-sequined tight-rope walking outfit was in the wash, so he had to go to practice wearing the stupid red and green striped one that made him look like a triceratops-shaped elf.

Worst of all (and the reason he had been late to breakfast) he had lost his first tooth.

This should have been a good thing.  He had been looking forward to this moment for months, ever since Jiminy had lost his first tooth…and then Alvin…and then Sparky.

He had begun to worry that maybe his baby teeth were going to stick in there forever.  Maybe he’d never lose a tooth!

But now he had.

And he hadn’t just lost it.  He had LOST it.

 

Tonight the Tooth Fairy would come to the rainbow-colored circus tent where Reinhold was supposed to be sleeping soundly.

She would look under his pillow for his first baby triceratop tooth.

And she would find . . .

NOTHING!

Because Reinhold could not remember where he had put it!

 

Okay.  So I went a little over with 188 words 🙂  But I hope you’ll get carried away too!

See how easy?

Ready, Set, WRITE!!!

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

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!!! 🙂

 

 

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #256 – Oscar’s Noggin (PB) PLUS The May Pitch Pick!!!

Howdy, Friends!

Big doings in our bustling metropolis (population about 200 plus some bears and bobcats and a lot of deer.)  My sister is coming to visit!!!

So now that I’ve updated you on what will probably be the entire year’s worth of news here in Busy Town 🙂 let’s get down to business, starting with the May Pitch Pick!

Behold the contenders:

#1 Gabrielle – Follow In My Footsteps (PB ages 4-8)

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.”

#2 Joanna – Princess Ickybelle (PB ages 4-8)

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.

#3 Erin – Colors Want To Play (PB ages 3-6)

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!

#4 Suzie – Gracie Gopher IT Specialist (PB ages 4-8)

Gracie Gopher is an Infrastructure Tunnel (IT) Specialist for Ground City. She is helping Ground City set up and build its tunnel infrastructure. When water blocks the drainage tunnel, Gracie goes down to debug the system. The problem is more difficult than anticipated, so Gracie will have to think fast and come up with a solution on the fly!

#5 Cortney – Olive Hills (PB ages 4-8)

Elle’s mind drifts through an olive grove as she tries to keep memories of her grandma alive. She surprisingly finds herself with a familiar, yet forgetful brontosaurus. The two set out to retrace their footprints in hope to relive fading memories. When they reach the giant tree where Elle’s grandma used to sit and reflect, they discover love ones will always be with you no matter where they are.

Please read and evaluate these 5 lovely pitches and vote in the poll below by Sunday June 18 at 5 PM Eastern for the one you think is best and most deserves a read and comments by editor Erin Molta!

As a reward for all that hard work, we shall now have Something Chocolate.  And okay.  I’m just not even going to pretend health food today.  This is cream cheese and sugar and chocolate!  Enjoy! 🙂

Something Chocolate: No Bake Brownie Batter Cheesecake

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Chambrae who says, “My name is Chambrae Griffith. I studied political science in college and am trying my best to use my education to effectively govern the four little dictators currently running my house hold. I have a love for reading and running, all though I don’t recommend doing them at the same time. Treadmills and page turns don’t mix well. I have always wanted to write and since my youngest has started school I figured no time is as good as the present!”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Oscar’s Noggin

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

The Pitch: Oscar has an extraordinary noggin! He can decode any dilemma, unravel any riddle and obliterate the most overwhelming obstacles – except one. Oscar must go to school and school is simply not nogginey enough for a kid with such big ideas. When his teacher tires of Oscar’s disastrous attempts to make school more stimulating and hires a substitute, Oscar’s noggin starts to spin. Has he finally found a way to finagle his freedom?

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 Chambrae 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 July, 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!

Chambrae is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to spending a week with my sister and her family!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Oh, and P.S. – if anyone has a question for the July 3 Oh Susanna, please send it in!!!

 

Would You Read It Wednesday – Topsy Turvy Fun And Games!

Good Morning Everyone!

You will never guess what happened!

The person who was scheduled to pitch today, well, uh… she never showed up!!!

I realized yesterday morning that she’d scheduled a date but never sent her pitch.  I emailed her immediately, but though I waited very patiently for about 16 hours I sadly got no reply.

“Whatever shall I do?” quoth I.  “I have no pitch for tomorrow!”

Not wanting to disappoint you, and being full of hare-brained ideas incredibly resourceful I thought, why not play a Would You Read It game?

So I thought one up on the spot! 🙂

First, I will fortify you with Something Chocolate to gear you up mentally!  It would not be fair to drag you into a game without a little sustenance!  (Besides, it wouldn’t be Wednesday morning without chocolate!)

Let’s see… how about some Extreme Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Scrumdiddlyumptious!!!!  Plenty to go around.  Have 5 🙂

Now that you’re raring to go, here’s the game:

I will share three pitches/jacket copy for upcoming picture book releases, all taken from the Amazon descriptions, and you say in the comments whether or not you would read them based on only the description I supply – no title, no author or illustrator, no publishing house, no cover image, NOTHING!  If you happen to recognize them, try to put your knowledge aside and remain objective, evaluating only on the basis of the supplied information.

Anyone who would like to increase the fun may post the pitch/jacket copy for a picture book of their choosing in the same way in the comments and let us respond to that too!

Okay?  Sound good?

Here we go!

#1 – Yes, Maybe, or No?
“Princess Magnolia and Princess Sneezewort have plans . . . mysterious plans, like a princess playdate! They dress-up slam! They karaoke jam! They playhouse romp and snack-time stomp! But then a shout from outside Princess Sneezewort’s castle interrupts their fun. It’s a monster trying to eat someone’s kitty! This is a job for the Princess in Black. Yet when the Princess in Black gets there, she finds only a masked stranger and no monster in sight . . . or is there?”

#2- Yes, Maybe, or No?
“When Kiniro, a young mermaid, comes upon a gorgeous house made of seashells and coral, she is so curious that she goes inside. She’s thrilled to find a just-right breakfast, pretty little chair, and, best of all, a comfy bed that rocks in the current.

But when the Octopus family returns home, they are not happy to find that someone has been eating their food and breaking their things. Baby has the biggest shock when she finds the mermaid asleep in her bed! Luckily, shock turns to happiness when Kiniro gives her a thoughtful gift before escaping from the twenty-four arms coming her way.”

#3- Yes, Maybe, or No?
“Erin loves to lie on the jetty, looking for the weirdest fish in the sea—the weirder, the better! And she knows the best ones must be further out, where her mum won’t let her go . . .

Out there in the deepest sea lies the Black Rock: a huge, dark and spiky mass that is said to destroy any boats that come near it! Can Erin uncover the truth behind this mysterious legend?”

So now!  You be the judge!  Would You Read #1, #2, or #3?  Yes, maybe, or no?

Post your response in the comments in the form of #1 – yes, #2 – no, #3 -maybe, or whatever, and if you care to say why you can put that too! 🙂  We can take a poll at the end (and by “poll” I mean I can go through the comments and count 🙂 ) and see which book gets the most YES votes 🙂

Extra Credit/Bonus (which means extra cookies for you if you get it 🙂 ) I noticed something after I’d chosen these three books.  Can you guess what I noticed?

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!  These are actual blurbs by actual publishers, so I will be VERY interested to know your response to these “pitches” without the aid of title, cover, etc!

Would You Read It Wednesday #255 – Olive Hills (PB)

Howdy folks!  Can you believe tomorrow is June???!!!

April showers bring May flowers… what do May flowers bring?  (And don’t say “pilgrims”! 🙂 )  I’m serious… are May flowers supposed to bring something June?  Maybe June bugs? (About which my mother has a dreadful story concerning what her aunt used to do to them which I will not share at this hour of the morning!)  🙂  Up on Blueberry Hill I’m afraid the answer is deer flies, but that doesn’t sound very nice!  We also get lovely things like this:

IMG_0137

awww! 🙂

and this:

IMG_1744

Mountain Laurel

I think everyone should say in the comments what they think May flowers bring for June!  Who knows?  There could be a story in that…!

Anyway, let’s see May out in style with Something Chocolate!  How about Mocha Chocolate Chunk Cookies today?

Mmm mmm good!!!  Perfect with a nice hot cup of coffee (or a nice cold cup of iced coffee if you happen to live somewhere where the weather is seasonable – as opposed to here where, with the exception of 2 90 degree days, we’re still keeping an eye out for frost! 🙂 )

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Cortney.  Cortney Benvenuto is a picture book writer and illustrator living with her family in Portland, Oregon. She is an active member of SCBWI and 12×12 and loves reading, writing, and illustrating.

Find her on the web at:

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Olive Hills

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

The Pitch: Elle, a little girl struggling with ways to remember her beloved grandma chances upon Olive, a forgetful brontosaurus in search of something she cannot recall.  Together the two set out to retrace their fading steps in hopes to relive their memories before the oncoming storm washes them away.  As they comfort each other in this poignant, sweet journey of love, loss, and remembrance they discover, sometimes you have to let go to find what you’re looking 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 Cortney improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

 

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in June, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Cortney is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the New Jersey SCBWI conference this weekend!  Anyone else going?

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

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

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

And you guys thought I couldn’t cook!

But I digress…

I had a point…

…oh, yes!

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

🙂

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

So let’s dive in, shall we?

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

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

Here are editor Erin Molta’s comments:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nomnomnomnomnom!

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

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

Find her on the web at:

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Gracie Gopher, IT Specialist

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

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

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

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Suzie improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

 

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in June, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

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

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #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! 🙂