Would You Read It Wednesday #320 – Lane Makes Mama Smile (PB)

Hey there, Peeps!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve been working like the proverbial beaver this week and have nothing to show for it except that it’s already Wednesday and I’m still on Monday’s to-do list!

Uh… and that might be last Monday’s now I come to think of it! 😊

It’s possible my to-do lists are too long!

Because, to be fair, I have done Many Things!…it’s just that the list seems to grow at the same rate it shrinks, so it never gets any shorter!

Luckily, I know the answer:

Something Chocolate!

My brother gave me this card for my birthday a few days ago (which just proves we’re related 😊 ):

fullsizeoutput_16f3

So you can feel totally virtuous as you dig into today’s Dirty Chocolate Chip Cookies – perfect for springtime! – and 100% healthful!

Dirty Chocolate Chip Cookies

dirtyccc-1-8-570x802

Recipe (including helpful video) HERE at Cookies & Cups

Mmmmm!!!!!  Salad-y! 😊😊😊

(you really cannot go wrong with chocolate chip cookies with crushed Oreo in the dough, rolled in Oreo crumbs to bake!)

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah, who you know pretty well by now from many previous pitches 🙂  Sarah says, “I am an Optometrist, mother, and lover of the outdoors. I live in NH with my husband and two children. I love to paint in my free time, when I’m not writing.”

Find her on the web at www.sarahheturadny.com

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Lane Makes Mama Smile

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)

The Pitch: LANE MAKES MAMA SMILE is about a boy who wants to make his eighth birthday special.  His mama’s depression seems to be getting in the way.  Lane finds a clever way to succeed, and he realizes that his mother is still capable of much love.

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 Sarah improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

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

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to FINISHING MY TO-DO LIST!!!

Ah! Ever the optimist!  One can hope, right? 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #319 – Klean Kitty Super Suds (PB)

So, darlings, here we are at Wednesday and it feels like a whole week and half has already been packed into the first couple days of this week!

Just one thing after another!  Not bad (well, the flat tire and the leaky toilet I could have done without…!) – but busy!

I’ve got an unexpected deadline for… well… NOW! so no chitchat today!  We’re getting right down to brass tacks!

And by “brass tacks” of course I mean Something Chocolate 🙂  How do you feel about Texas Sheet Cake Cookies? Melt in your mouth chocolate-y goodness that goes perfectly with your morning (or mid-morning, or noon time, or early, mid, or late afternoon, or evening or bedtime or midnight snack) cup of coffee, tea or milk!!! 🙂

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

texassheetcakecookies

Recipe (including helpful video) HERE at Cookies And Cups

Delish!  Have 2 or 6 more! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Maria.  Maria Bostian began work with children as a Montessori teacher, but through a chance meeting found her dream job as a safety advocate with a local fire department. She’s been in the fire service for over 14 years and when she’s not in schools teaching fire and injury prevention, she hones her writing skills through participation in Julie Hedlund’s 12X12 Challenge, SCBWI Carolinas critique group sessions, and by networking with other passionate authors. She can be found shopping for an antique or inspirational find, traveling with her firefighter hubby, or with her keyboard sunning in her backyard You might even catch her bathing one of her four “purrfect” pals.

Find her on the web at
Facebook – @MJBostian
Twitter – @MariaMariaB71
Pinterest – K-Town Fire Girl
Blog – www.mariabostian.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Klean Kitty Super Suds

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

The Pitch:

Has your precious Leo ever gotten into a stinkysituation? Did Beau Diddley ever fall victim to a pole cat hazing? Was darling Nell caught playing with something that smelled worse than three cow pastures at high Noon?

Well, no worries, friends, ‘cause I’m Andi T. Vipperman and I’m here to help. With my Klean Kitty Super Sudsand easy-to-follow directions, you’ll be bathing your delightful feline like a pro. And once again, your loyal companion’s coat will be restored to silky softness and will smell just as sweet as Granny’s kitchen.

That’s right, ladies and gents; my Klean Kitty Super Sudsmakes bath time for your purrfect pal “easy as pie” and just as delicious.

Here, let me show you!

 

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on 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 a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Maria is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to meeting that deadline so I can stop feeling panicky! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

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

Good Wednesday to you all!

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

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

MOM

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

Mom - art from spread 1

illustration copyright Sydney Hanson 2019

 

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

 

Mom - art from spread 6

illustration copyright Sydney Hanson 2019

 

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

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

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

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

Editor Erin Molta says:

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

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

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

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

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

 

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

 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: April’s Shower

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #317 – Will Bear Come Through? (PB)

Good Morning, Everyone!

I hope you’re all feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed today!

I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but on Friday March 29 – in just 2 days! – the first all-female spacewalk ever is set to take place!

How cool is that?

(And how is it possible that there hasn’t been one before?!)

I confess, I’ve been paying a little more attention than usual to news from space because I have a book coming out June 4 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and another space-oriented book in the works for next year, and I am fascinated by how amazing all space/NASA-related endeavors are.

Of course, now that she’s heard about an all-female spacewalk, my friend and yours, Punxsutawney Phyllis, wants to try an all-female groundhog spacewalk.  I’m not sure she’s going to be able to pull that off, but she says she at least wants a book in which she gets launched somewhere in a rocket!

That’s Phyllis 🙂

I guess I’ll have to put my thinking cap on!

The perfect thing for thinking is Something Chocolate, and the perfect choice for today, given Phyllis’s nutty plan, is clearly  Chocolate Peanut Butter Crazy Cake!!! 🙂

If you happen not to be a peanut butter fan, it would be as easy as pie (er, I guess easy as cake? 🙂 ) to make the frosting with almond or cashew butter instead of peanut butter.  Either of those would go well with chocolate cake.  What doesn’t?! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Joyce.  After decades as an educator and principal, Joyce Uglow has a passion for literacy that lives in stories about acceptance, friendship, and family. A graduate of Children’s Book Academy, she spends time honing her craft via SCBWI, the 12×12 Challenge, the Complete Picture Book Submission System, reading books for children. Find her at the keyboard, in her vineyard or flower gardens, or @jpuglow on Twitter.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Will Bear Come Through?

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

The Pitch: It’s time to enter this year’s Amazing Baking Contest. But, last year Bear devoured their entry. Can the Bakersville animals pull together and bring the trophy back – without Bear? Will Bear Come Through? is a 447-word alphabet picture book complete with recipes for children 4-8 to bake with their family.

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 Joyce improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

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

Joyce is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to this weekend when the local weatherfolk and Phyllis are predicting temperatures near 60 degrees!!! 🙂  If that doesn’t make you smile… have some more cake! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #316 – Trapped In Trash (PB)

Yippee!

spring banner

Spring has officially sprung, and that calls for Something Chocolate immediately!  What better to way to celebrate than with Whoopie Pies?!

Whoopie Pies

There may not be any grass to walk barefoot in quite yet (at least not in my neck of the woods! 🙂 ) but a little Whoopie Pie indulgence on the back porch in the sunshine works just fine!

Have two! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah, whom you will remember from several previous pitches (but not the same Sarah as last week!) Sarah says, “I am an Optometrist, mother, and lover of the outdoors. I live in NH with my husband and two children. I love to paint in my free time, when I’m not writing.”

Find her on the web at www.sarahheturadny.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Trapped In Trash

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

The Pitch: Matt, Bratt, and Scit-Scat are three rat friends who leave the rat pack and find their own feast.  They become trapped in a trash receptacle.  Nudging not a budge, that can just won’t take a shake.  The whole pack is summoned, and the friends re-think their initial plan.

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 Sarah 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 is one opening left in May, and more in June, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing a PDF of my long-awaited ALPHABEDTIME!  It’s been promised, and hasn’t arrived yet, but it could at any minute!  You never know! Keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #315 – Charley Finds Her Family (PB)

Mornin’ Folks!

I am counting the minutes until Spring! (10,080!  Or if that sounds like too big a number we can count by hours – 168! or by days – 7! or by weeks – 1!!!)

I realize of course that up here on Blueberry Hill the Spring Equinox does not blossoms and bunnies and green grass make.

But Spring is a state of mind – a state we have official permission to be in in one week!

And I am READY!

So ready  that I’ve got the picnic packed with Something Chocolate!  How do you feel about Italian Chocolate Cake?

I confess, I feel quite good about it 🙂

Italian Chocolate Cake

Doesn’t that look scrumptious?  It’s part of a complete breakfast along with toast, juice, eggs, milk, fruit, and breakfast cereal! 🙂

Now that we are suitably fortified, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah who says, “After spending most of the past decade living in various parts of Europe with my husband, I’ve recently returned to the US. I currently run a freelance business providing editing and book design services to independent authors while continuing to work toward my own publishing dreams, which began with the paid publication of a short story online. I am an active member of SCBWI.”

Find her on the web at:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/SEHolroyd/
Website: https://sarah-holroyd.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Charley Finds Her Family

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

The Pitch: Charley Sock-kitty finds a sock with stripes like hers, and then another one. Her wise friend Patrick the Pony tells Charley socks always come in pairs—they’re twins. Charley wonders if she has a twin like the sock does. Her friends—Bubbles the Yarn-Kitty, Teddy the Bear, & Patrick—help her try to find her family. But Charley discovers she’s had one all along.

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 Sarah improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

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

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to 🌼🌸🌹 SPRING!!! 🌷🌺🌼(although it is marginally possible I may have already mentioned that! 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #314 – Mommy, Where’s Daddy? (PB) PLUS The January Pitch Winner!!!

Hiya folks!

If you’re feeling especially artistic today, it’s probably because it’s Michelangelo’s 544th birthday.  I know this because he and I go way back.  “Best buds” is not a stretch.  As you may or may not know, we are both known for our terrible fashion sense 🙂 And he was a poet who wrote over 300 poems, and a sculptor of great renown, and I am not a poet and my sculpting ability is taxed by making snowmen 🙂  Kindred spirits, obviously.

🙂

Anyway… while we are not talking about ballet… (and in a stunning example of a non sequitur) I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the January Pitch Pick is Dedra with her PB pitch for Mawbellina Ballerina!  Congratulations, Dedra!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts!

Congratulations to all our other brave pitchers as well!  You all wrote fabulous pitches and improved them beautifully based on the feedback you received.  It is always a tough pick!  I hope everyone feels that they have solidly improved pitches to send out into the world as a result of their courage in asking for input.

You may not all have gotten to have Erin read your pitches but you have DEFINITELY earned Something Chocolate!!! 🙂 How about some Fudge which is total health food because it’s Paleo-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free!  (I think we can just add to that “calorie free” and “guilt free”! 🙂 )

5 Minute Coconut Oil Fudge

I mean, health food doesn’t get much more delicious-looking than that, does it?! 🙂

And it’s so good for you there’s no reason not to indulge in seconds and thirds! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Shell who says, “My name is Shell LeDrew, I live in beautiful Newfoundland, Canada and I am a grateful Mom to my reader Sam 10 and my tornado Buddha Charlie 7.  After a career wearing many hats including that of flight attendant, I married a pilot and wrote a story about it!
Here is a pitch for my silly and sweet 443 word Picture Book (ages 3-7) entitled “Mommy, Where’s Daddy?!””

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Mommy, Where’s Daddy?

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

The Pitch: After Dylan’s day dream of flying fabulous airplanes with his pilot Daddy is interrupted by his Moms insistence of bedtime, he comes up with countless tricks to delay going to bed until he realizes his sleep dream is the way back to being the wingman of his dreams!

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 Shell improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

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

Shell is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to improving my  sculpting skills in the medium of cookie dough! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #313 – School-Berry Muffins (PB) PLUS The January Pitch Pick!

Howdy folks!

After what seems like a long hiatus due to the Valentiny Contest, we’re back to our regularly scheduled Would You Read It Wednesday!

Apparently we’re in a voting mode this week, because if it’s not noon yet there is still time for you to read Valentiny Writing Contest Finalists and vote for your favorite (and also please spread the word to everyone you know who might want to read and vote because we need all the votes we can get!) AND today we have the January Pitch Pick, so you can vote for your favorite of those!

So let’s start with the Pitch Pick.  Here are the January pitches, revised by their authors on the basis of all your wonderful and helpful feedback! Please read through them and choose the one you feel is best and most deserving of a read and comments from editor Erin Molta! Please vote for your favorite in the poll below by Sunday March 3 at 5 PM Eastern.

#1 – Aileen – Professor Hound and the Elusive Thieves (CB)

John B. Hound, Professor at the Collarsville Academy and secret agent working for Breeds Over National Emergencies or B.O.N.E. for short, is on a mission to sniff out thieves and recover stolen goods. His job_ to determine why recent burglaries only occur in the homes of wealthy Hound Academy students, if any of the Hound Academy staff are involved, and who sent the perfumed note containing a clue. Will Professor Hound decipher the note and other clues in time or will the sneaky culprits outsmart him and get away with the valuables?

#2 – Dedra – Mawbellina Ballerina (PB ages 3-8)

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

#3 – Jennifer – BYOB, Bring Your Own Bear (PB ages 4-8)

Jillian knew that Rex wasn’t a bear, it wasn’t something that had ever mattered before. But, on the day of the Teddy Bear Picnic, it suddenly mattered… a lot. Realizing she might be the only one without a bear, Jillian decides do whatever it takes for she and Rex to fit in, even if it means keeping a secret from her friends.

#4 – Fanny – Hazel Lee’s Place In The Sky (NF PB ages 6-9)

Hazel Lee is not the stereotypical Chinese-American young woman. She is loud, stubborn, and athletic. Against the expectations of her Chinese community, she earns a pilot’s license, when women in the 1930s are thought to be too emotional to be a pilot. Her high-spirited personality gains friendship and acceptance among fellow WASPs (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) who had never met a Chinese before. Hazel proves she can fly fighter planes as well as any man.

 

 

Always such a hard choice, isn’t it? Clearly we need Something Chocolate after that! Since it’s breakfast, I’m incorporating fruit for your health! 🙂

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake

Chocolate-Covered-Strawberry-Cheesecake4

Recipe (including helpful video) HERE at Life, Love, & Sugar

YUM! Delicious AND nutritious! (from a certain point of view 🙂 ) Please feel free to help yourselves to seconds.  There’s plenty for all! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah, whom you will recognize from several previous pitches.  Sarah says, “I am an Optometrist, mother, and lover of the outdoors. I live in NH with my husband and two children. I love to paint in my free time, when I’m not writing.”

Find her on the web at www.sarahheturadny.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: School-Berry Muffins

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

The Pitch: Alien Blob hi-jacks my school bus one morning.  He tells us that he wants us to help him gather the ingredients to make school-berry muffins, and we’re supposed to be the school-berries!  Blob is not exactly familiar with the ways and the words of Earth, so I try to fool him.  He is smart enough to see right through my attempts, though.  I must plan something really clever.

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 Sarah improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

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

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who wins the Valentiny Contest!  We will find out tomorrow!!!  I can’t wait!!! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

The 4th Annual Valentiny Contest FINALISTS!!!

So, I’m noticing a trend here.

This is at least the second year in a row when my best laid plans for getting the Valentiny judging done have found themselves up the creek without a paddle and no help in sight!

What is it about February?!

Once again, Judge #1 ended up with a whole lot of extra family stuff – some expected, some not…plus unexpected work…

…and Judge #2 had a ton of actual job-related work that had to be attended to.

(Judge #3 was awesome in every way and is probably the only reason the judging ever got finished! 🙂 )

But at this rate, we may have to start running the Valentiny Contest in July! 🙂

Add to that that apparently “guilt” was a tough topic! and we were seriously up against it!!!

Nearly all the entries fell into one of 5 categories:

– MC unintentionally makes a V-Day related mess

– MC accidentally ends up eating all the chocolates intended as a gift

– number of Valentines for class comes up short by one/one “mean” child is skipped on purpose

– MC didn’t make/purchase Valentines (either because V-Day is stupid or MC didn’t get around to it)

– a guilty dog is involved 🙂

I’m not sure we’ve ever had a contest where the entries could be so uniformly categorized.  This is not to say, of course, that ALL the entries fell into those categories – they did not! – or that there weren’t some very well written entries – there were! – or that the stories weren’t original – but it was interesting that the topic of guilt seemed to be harder than some others to come up with wide variety for.

Anyway, after much agonizing, torment, and second-guessing, we have come up with a list of finalists that we felt did the all-around best job of meeting all the judging criteria.  No doubt there will be some you’re surprised not to see – there were some very well written ones that did not make the cut, mostly because the guilt wasn’t strong enough. But we did the best we could!

So, at long last, and with sincere apologies for keeping you waiting 5 extra days, let’s have a look at….

The 4th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

valentiny writing contest 2019!

~ FINALISTS!!!~

Before we get to the actual list of finalists, I have a couple things to say.  (I know you’re shocked as I’m normally so spare with my words :))

First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time and care to write an entry for this contest.  You all did a fabulous job and provided great enjoyment for so many!

Second, I’d also like to thank EVERYONE – writer, reader, or both – who took the time to go around and read as many entries as you could and leave supportive comments.  This means so much to the writers who worked hard on their stories.  It helps them see what they did well, as well as giving them the joy of knowing that their stories were read and enjoyed.  I hope you all got as much delight  and entertainment out of the reading as I did!  Plus, we got to meet quite a few new people which was a wonderful added bonus! 🙂

Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how difficult it was too choose!  There were so many amazing entries.  Really.  I could find at least something terrific about every single one.  The sheer volume of entries meant that many good ones had to be cut.  So if yours didn’t make the final cut please don’t feel bad.  There was a huge amount of competition – about 170 entries of which only 12 made the finals.  Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point – we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story.  And the fact that you didn’t make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn’t write a great story.  Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner!  You showed up.  You did your best work.  You practiced your craft.  You wrote to specifications and a deadline.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 214 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Now.  Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using guilt and success in making us feel the guilt! (Not enough just to use the word guilt!)
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story and as such must feel like it is connected to Valentine’s Day/has something to do with it being Valentine’s!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

We really tried to choose stories that did the best job of fulfilling ALL the judging criteria.  There were some truly wonderful stories that didn’t have much to do with Valentines Day even if Valentine’s Day was mentioned in passing – they just didn’t seem connected to Valentines – or that didn’t seem to really showcase guilt although they may have used the word “guilt”, or that didn’t seem particularly kid-oriented even though they were very creative and well-written, or that really had us…until the last line or two when things sadly fell apart.  We tried our best to select finalists that checked all the boxes.

So without further ado, I present to you the finalists in the 2019 Fourth Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!  Please read through them carefully, take your time, think it over, and vote for your favorite in the poll below by Wednesday February 27 at 12 PM (noon) Eastern time.  I apologize for the fact that since I’m late posting the finalists, there will be a Tuesday Debut post on Tuesday and a WYRI post on Wednesday, so this post with the finalists and the poll will drop down the blog list – but it will still be there and the poll will be open for voting until midday Wednesday!

To help with objectivity, finalists are listed by title only, not by author.

And I’d like to be very clear about the voting process.  You are MOST welcome to share a link to this post on FB, twitter, or wherever you like to hang out, and encourage people to come read ALL the finalists and vote for the one they think is best.  Please do that.  The more people who read and enjoy these stories the better, and the more objective votes we get the better.  HOWEVER (and I want to be very clear on this) please do not tell people you are a finalist.  Please do not ask people to vote for a specific number or title, or for the story about the tap-dancing troll who felt guilty for waking up the baby billy goat or whatever.  Trolling for votes or trying to influence the outcome is counter to the spirit of this competition which is supposed to be based on merit.  We operate on the honor system.  I thank you in advance for respecting this. Your win will mean more if it’s honestly earned.

Here are the 2019 Valentiny Contest Finalists!!! Some poetry, some prose, some for younger readers, some for older (but still kid) readers, all fabulous 🙂

#1 – The Valentine’s Day Mess & Cure

Dear Mom and Dad,

When you wake up,
you’ll see your tea and coffee cup.
(Don’t worry, ‘cause the broom worked well for cleaning up the plate that fell.) 

I made you toast with jam and butter, wiped the crumbs but left some clutter.
(Couldn’t get some sticky spots off counters, tables, chairs, and pots.)

A napkin holds a chocolate heart that you can simply break apart.
(Yes, there were two, but I concede, how much dark chocolate does one need?) 

This card is trimmed in frilly lace to put a smile upon your face.
(Oh, by the way, the sewing kit? It now needs straightening up a bit.) 

I hope your Valentine’s Day fun is nicer ‘cause of what I’ve done
(and sort of wondering if you might, push back my time for bed tonight?)

XOXOXOXOXOXO 

P.S. Uh-oh…I’m feeling bad. I wanted you to be so glad
but went about it like a jerk and caused you both a lot of work.
I wasn’t such a thoughtful kid. I should have cared—not like I did.
When you wake up, let’s make a plan, and I’ll correct what goofs I can.

With Love and Kisses,

You Know Who (I love you both a bunch, I DO!)

 

#2 – The Queen Of Hearts

Meg didn’t care about candy hearts or lacy cards. Tomorrow was the Valentine’s play!

All she wanted was to be the Queen of Hearts.

All she wanted was to wear the golden crown with the red sequins.

All she wanted was to win the role from Leah and Carly.

“I can’t decide,” said Mrs. Clark. “You would all make exquisite queens.” Then she wrote each girl’s name on a strip of paper and placed them in a basket.  “I’ll pick one of you tomorrow.”

The bell rang. Meg lingered.

No one will know.
I want it more than they do.
 Just this once.

Meg wrote her name on two more paper strips. Carefully, she replaced the names of her friends with her own in Mrs. Clark’s basket. She could almost feel the crown on her head as she skipped home.

At dinner, Meg couldn’t eat.

She tried rehearsing, but couldn’t remember her lines.

She went to bed early, but couldn’t sleep.

Her heart hurt.

When Meg arrived at school the next day, she was surprised to see a lacy, red-sequined Valentine on her desk.

Good luck to all of us today!
Love,
Leah and Carly

 Meg’s eyes filled with tears.

“Mrs. Clark,” she said, “I have something to tell you.”

 

#3 – Mother Knows Best

“Here, let me do the dishes Mom.”

“But you can’t reach the sink.”

“Then let me take the garbage out. I’m strong enough…I think.”

“Dad took the trash out yesterday. Son, what is up with you?”

“Um, nothing. Can’t I want to help?”

“Not when you never do.”

“I hope you liked the Valentine I worked so hard to make.

I cut a billion tiny hearts; I thought my hands would break!”

“I think I told you twenty times how much I loved your card.

Max, if you really want to help, then play out in the yard.”

“A great idea! While I’m out I’ll do some helpful deeds –

like rake the leaves or mow the grass or even pull some weeds.”

“It’s winter – there’s no grass to cut and no leaves anywhere!

Now Maxwell Walter Anderson, you sit down in that chair

and do not move a muscle ‘till you’re ready to confess.”

“Mom,

…if I’ve done something awful will you love my any less?”

“Of course I won’t! Now come on dear, just tell me what you’ve done.”

“You know your Truffles Daddy bought?

I only left you one.”

 

#4 – Single… Double… TRIPLE GUILTY!

Valentine’s Day tomorrow! Tony could hardly wait. Ms. Flinker was throwing an old-fashioned Valentine’s party with balloons and cupcakes, and a Valentine’s Box for each of them, so all the kids in the class could put in cards.

Tony dumped out his box of SuperZoomer Valentines. Uh-oh. 20 cards per box. 21 kids in his class.

He giggled. He wouldn’t give nasty Lisa one. She said he was too little for Kindergarten. She called him Tiny, even when he yelled MY NAME IS TONY!

On Valentine’s Day, a SuperZoomer Valentine superzoomed into nearly all the Valentine Boxes lined up along the front table. Nobody noticed that Tony didn’t put one in Lisa’s box. His stomach did, though. GUILTY, it told him.

They ate their cupcakes. They drank red juice. Then it was time for the Valentines. The first one out of his box was from – LISA! Oh no. His stomach said DOUBLE GUILTY. The Valentine said, “Tony – I’m sorry. Can we be friends?”

TRIPLE GUILTY said his stomach. He ran to the back of the room. Red construction paper. Markers. SuperZoomer fast, he made a Valentine.

“Lisa, my card for you wouldn’t fit in the box.”

She looked. “To my new friend. Happy VALENTINY Day!”

 

#5 – The Missing Pupcake

Brayden loved both of his dogs just the same.
They weren’t alike–one was wild, one was tame.
Mona made mischief, she didn’t know, “NO!”
Lisa obeyed because Brayden said so.

Brayden created some Valentine treats,
a doggy dessert made with eggs, oats, and beets.
The piping hot pupcakes were spread out to cool
all over the counter, but underneath—DROOL!

“Let’s grab a pupcake while Brayden is gone,”
Mona said. “I’m too short! Let me climb on.”
Lisa looked back toward the door with remorse.
Mona whined, “Help me out! You be my horse!”

Lisa stood steady while she climbed aboard.
Mona stretched upward, then seized her reward,
nearly inhaled the first pupcake she saw,
leaped down from Lisa’s back, “Got it! Hurrah!”

Lisa slunk out of the kitchen to hide.
She acted guilty, but Mona felt pride.
Brayden came in, heard their skittering feet,
glanced at the counter, saw one missing treat.

“Mona and Lisa!” he cried in dismay.
“I baked those pupcakes for Valentine’s Day.
Which of you took it? It’s time to confess!”
Lisa looked hangdog, her eyes blinked distress.

Brayden inspected them, solving the puzzle.
Mona had cake crumbs all over her muzzle.
“Mona, you’re busted! Now you go to bed!”
Then Brayden gave Lisa two pupcakes instead.

 

#6 – Cupid’s Last Card

Hands off, it’s mine.

I know what you’re thinking. He’s Cupid. He’s supposed to give out Valentine’s cards. It’s his job.

Well, maybe you’re right, but has anyone ever thought about me? Don’t I deserve some attention too?

It’s not easy flying around delivering all those chocolates and stuffed pandas, you know.

So I’m keeping the card.

Yes, I know it’s supposed to be yours. You’re my last delivery. But let’s just forget about that, okay? I’ll make it up next year. You’ll get a REALLY BIG stuffed panda.

Don’t look at me like that.

I’m sure you’re a nice kid. Eat all your veggies? Brush your teeth every night? That’s great.

But the card’s mine.

What’s that? No one else has given you a card? Well…

Phew. Kinda warm in here.

I’m sure you’re mistaken. Check your mailbox again.

Still nothing? Well…

How about we split it? I’ll take half and you’ll…

Oh, don’t cry.

I can’t stand seeing nice kids cry. If you start then I’m…

WHO’S CUTTING THOSE ONIONS?

How about borrowing it…? No?

Sniffing it…? No?

How about… uh…

OH, I CAN’T STAND IT! Here, take it! Just take it! I hope you’re happy now! And furthermore–

Huh? What’s that?

Oh. Thanks. Thanks, kid.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too.

 

#7 – Chadwick The Zombie Cooks Up A Valentine

Chadwick the zombie was often alone,
feeling quite lonesome and blue.
While all of his peers nibbled brains, eyes, and ears,
Chadwick baked bread and cooked stew.

“Nobody gets me,” young Chadwick complained.
“But next week is Valentine’s Day!
Instead of fresh hearts I’ll bring raspberry tarts,
That should bring new friends my way!”

Valentine’s came and his classmates gave out
boxes of brains and warm bile.
Chadwick left sweets at the kids’ assigned seats
then waited to see them all smile. 

“Ew!” “What is this?” “Who’d bring sweets to a party?”
Chadwick felt tears in his eyes.
His classmates went still when they saw those tears spill,
ashamed as they heard his soft cries.

Norbert, a boy in the back of the class
squeamishly reached for his treat.
He screwed up his face, then he took a small taste…
and smiled! “This is good! Let’s all eat!”

Zombies were gobbling those tarts in a flash.
“Chadwick, good job!” “Crust has flake!”
Chadwick then heard these delectable words:
“Hey, could you teach us to bake?”

Chadwick the zombie was often with pals,
smiling for hours on end.
Blending and stirring, kneading and whirring,
mixing up fun with his friends.

 

#8 – A Box Full Of Love

Max gave the heart shaped box a big shake.
Empty.
How could all of the candy be gone? He meant to eat only one piece but it had tasted so good…
“Hola, Max,” said Papi. “What is that in your hand?”
“Nothing,” sighed Max. “It was going to be a Valentine’s Day gift for Mama but, I ate all the candy so now it’s just an empty box.”
Papi opened the box. “This box is not empty,’ he said.
“Yes, it is,” said Max.
“No,” said Papi. “You thought of Mama and wanted to make her happy and that is what love is, thinking about others and wanting to make them happy. So you see, this box is full of love. Now how about we go to the kitchen and make Mama some special Valentine’s Day cookies? You get the flour and I’ll get the eggs and sugar.”
On the kitchen counter Max noticed another heart shaped box.
“What is that?” he asked
“That?’ said Papi, furiously mixing the eggs and sugar together. “Ahhh…That is another box of love for Mama.”
Max smiled. “You ate all the candy too, didn’t you Papi?”
“Si,” said Papi. “Now, hand me the flour so we can finish these cookies before Mama gets home. Rapido!”

#9 – Buffa-lonely Love Day

At the zoo, it’s party time:
zebras clamor, monkeys climb.
Elephants hang decorations—
time for Love Day celebrations.

Sending cards, they’re all gung-ho…
all except for Buffalo.

Looking for her valentine…
Doesn’t find one!
“So what?! FINE!”

Scrunched-up nose and pouted lips,
tucks her hooves into her hips.

“Such a wild, rambunctious crowd,
much too lively, much too loud.
Had enough of this commotion.
Too much lovey-dove emotion.”

Quick, she trots around the zoo,
making others cranky too.

Creeps up to the three baboons…
POP! There go their three balloons.

Finds two penguins on the ice…
steals their heart-shaped pebbles (twice).

One bear’s heart cake—Where’d it go?
Who would smash it?
“Buffalo!”

Party ruined: roars and growls.
Buffalo just sits and scowls.

Buffa-lonely, all alone.
“Still no cards, still on my own.
Wrecked their party, made them mad.
What a rotten day I’ve had.”

Maybe if she sent a letter…
she might feel a little better.

“Sorry that I wrecked your bash,
and tossed your goodies in the trash…
See, I found it pretty hard
when all but me received a card.”

Party mix-up, at the zoo…
“You got no card? We never knew!”
“Buffalo, look here and see:
your valentine fell in this tree!”

Buffalo is so excited!
Party re-do… All invited!

 

#10 –  Guess Who?

Who made their bed and fed the cat?
Almost.

Who cleaned up when the milk went splat?
Well, close.

Who carried out the trash with care?
Oops, whoa!

Who fixed the baby’s messy hair?
Oh no.

Who put a drawing at your place?
Rub, scrub.

Who found a flower for your favorite vase?
Mop slop.

Who saved a foil wrapped chocolate kiss?
Yum, yum.

And set it where you couldn’t miss?
“Dear Mum”

I guess you figured out it’s me.

I’m guilty, as no doubt, you see.

I tried to think of something good

but it didn’t turn out quite as it should. 

My valentine surprise is done.

With hugs and kisses from your son.

 

#11 – Heart Socks For The Win

Alex clutched her rainbow wallet. Inside the dollar store, she headed for the clothing aisle.

Her eyes widened. Perfect! Just what she wanted for the Valentine’s party. She gazed at the socks with rainbow-colored hearts. Her own heart raced.

A smaller girl stopped beside her. Through thick glasses, she peered at the heart socks. “Ooh! I’m gonna ask Grandma to buy them with my birthday dollar.” Alex heard the girl’s loose shoes slapping away.

“I saw them first!” Alex grabbed the socks, pressing them to her body. Head down, she marched to the check-out. The clerk gave her change from her $10. Alex barely mumbled “Thank you.”

On Valentine’s Day, she shoved the socks in her backpack. “I’ll put them on later,” she thought.

At school, the gym was open. A little girl with glasses cartwheeled in circles. Alex’s guilty heart did a somersault. She knew what she must do.

Walking quickly to the shoes lining the wall, she knelt and set a heart sock in each of two old sneakers.

Without the socks, the party was just okay. But Alex’s heart soared when she ran to the bus. On a playground swing, a pair of little legs covered in hearts the color of the rainbow flew high.

 

#12 – Love Bug At The Zoo

I’m know I’m just small, but I must confess,
I am the love bug who caused this huge mess.
I shouldn’t have gone out on Valentine’s Day,
I infected the zoo, I got carried away.
I’m sorry my nibbles caused such a commotion
My bites are much stronger than any love potion.
Now Monkey is gaga and Parrot is squawking
“I love you, I love you…” she doesn’t quit talking.
Poor Panda is spellbound, and Seal is lovesick,
and Frog is enamored with bright red lipstick.
The meercats are staring, with googley-eyes,
at Penguin, who suddenly really loves fries.
Giraffe has gone ape, and Ape is obsessed,
he keeps blowing kisses and pounding his chest.
Lion’s in love, and Emu is entranced
by Flamingo’s new fondness for ballroom style dance.
Bear is bewitched, and so is Baboon.
Zebra saw Peacock and started to swoon.
Peacock keeps prancing to get Snakes attention
But Snake has been charmed, and there’s more I won’t mention.
The bites will wear off, they’ll be fine before morning,
But watch out for love bugs, we strike without warning!

Wow!  Those were impressive, weren’t they?  Good luck picking! 🙂

Please vote for your favorite in the poll below by Wednesday February 27 at 12 PM (noon) Eastern time.

Tune in Thursday February 28 to see THE WINNERS!!!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote!  These contests simply wouldn’t be what they are without all of you!

I can’t wait to see who the winners will be!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to lie on the couch, wrap a hot towel around my head, and get a nap 🙂 after all that reading and agonizing and negotiating.

Okay.

Not really.

I will actually be taking my dad’s car to get a recalled part replaced and frantically trying to catch up on things I shoved to the back burner whilst reading Valentiny stories in the dealership waiting room where they will hopefully have a Keurig!

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!!! . . . now that it’s basically Monday 🙂

Oh, Guilty Heart! – The 4th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Hang onto your chocolate everyone!  It’s time for . . .

The 4th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

valentiny writing contest 2019!

~ for children’s writers~

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels guilty!  Your someone can feel guilty themselves or make someone else feel guilty.  They may feel guilty for good reason, or just because they think they should!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone guilty (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)  If you are so inclined, you are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and tomorrow Thursday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below.  There will be no Would You Read It or PPBF for the duration of the contest so this post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy. If you would like to enter but don’t have a blog you are welcome to paste your entry in the comment section below (please be sure to include your byline so that if your posting handle is writesbynightlight1 or something I’ll be able to tell who you are!)  If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post your entry for you. But please don’t send attachments!  Just copy and paste your story including byline into the email.  Also, please only post your entry once – either in the comment section of my blog or on the link list or by emailing me and asking me to post it.  Multiple postings of the same entry get confusing. 🙂
P.S.  Although I try to stay glued to my computer 24/7 I am sometimes forced to leave my desk.  If you haven’t commented on my blog before, your comment won’t show up until I approve it.  It may take a little while if I’m away from my desk.  Likewise, if you send me an entry to post, I promise I will do it as soon as I can!

The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-10 top choices depending on number and quality of entries (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with the narrowing, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Wednesday February 20th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Friday February 22nd or Saturday February 23rd depending on judging and voting time needed.  The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using guilt and success in making us feel the guilt!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

The Prizes:  Oh, the awesomeness!  Such great prizes to motivate you!  With thanks to all who donated!

“Skip The Slushpile” AND get a Query Letter Critique from Charlotte Wenger, associate editor at Page Street Kids, the picture book division of Page Street Publishing. She earned her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from Simmons University (then College) and is a board member of the Mazza Museum’s National Advisory Board of Visitors. She enjoys working with debut picture book authors and illustrators and is excited about the 19 Page Street Kids picture books pubbing in 2019.

 
Find Charlotte on Twitter at @WilbursBF_Char, and learn more about Page Street Kids via www.pagestreetpublishing.com, Twitter: @PageStreetKids, and Instagram: pagestreetkids.

Charlotte will read the winner’s picture book manuscript of choice, then send an email letting you know she’s read your story and including one thing you did well and one thing you might work on to improve the manuscript.  In addition, she will give you a query letter critique.  Like all editors, she has a hectic schedule, so she will aim to fulfill the prize within 2 months of receiving the manuscript.

Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the incredibly talented, multi-published author/illustrator Iza Trapani!

Iza 2014  Old MacDonald

Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the Queen of KidLit411 herself, Elaine Kiely Kearns, author of Noah Noasaurus, forthcoming April 1, 2019 from Albert Whitman!

elaine  noah

– Top Ten Reasons for Rejectiona 52 minute webinar from Alayne Kay Christian, author of Butterfly Kisses (picture book) and the Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy series (chapter books), and Content and Developmental Editor of Blue Whale Press.

Alayne butterfly kisses

Webinar Description: If you want tips on some corrective action that you might take to improve your chances of submission success, and/or if you would like to deepen your understanding of plot and arc, this webinar is for you.

(And if you’re interested in seeing what else Alayne has to offer, like her Writing For Children Webinars and Courses page on FB and keep an eye out for upcoming offerings!)

 

15-30 Minute Your Questions Answered Phone Call – with Ryan Sias, author/illustrator of Balloon Toons: Zoe And Robot, Let’s Pretend, Sniff Sniff!, and the Woof And Quack beginning reader series (Green Light Readers), and the Super Doodle Series. He has worked in animation, film, and television, including Sesame Street 🙂

Do you have questions about writing, revising, submitting, whether or not to try for an agent, what happens after the sale, or anything else publishing industry related?  If so, this is your chance to ask away and get answers from a professional!

85044-ryan_headshot  SniffSniffcover-300x300  woof and quack snowy doodle

 

Query Letter Critique by Heather Ayris Burnell, creator of the Sub It Club and author of Bedtime Monster, Kick! Jump! Chop! The Adventures Of The Ninjabread Man, and the Sparkly New Friends early chapter book series from Scholastic!

heather burnell  Kick Jump Chop

2-Pack of Personalized Signed Picture Books from amazing author Melissa StollerScarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, Gorilla!

Picture2  Picture1 gorilla

The Writer’s Tool Box: Creative Games And Exercises for Inspiring The “Write” Side Of Your BrainAND a $10 Amazon Gift Card

writer's toolbox

Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2019 – by Robert Lee Brewer AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card (2 available)

Children's Writer's Guide 2019

I can’t thank these authors enough for their incredible generosity!  Please visit their sites, buy and recommend their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, write them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you’ve read and liked their books, and show your appreciation to them in any way you can!

Now.

The time has come for my sample.

It could have really benefited from the 65 words I had to cut out of it to make the 214 word limit! I’m warning you now – have some chocolate handy to help ease the pain of reading it 🙂

Valentine Fair and Square (214 words)

Flora and Miles liked all the same things.

Climbing trees.

Fishing.

Baseball.

And peanut butter ice cream with marshmallow sauce.

Unfortunately, Miles didn’t know Flora existed.

But Flora had a plan.

For days she toiled, making the Best Valentine Ever.

Valentines morning, she put her valentine on Miles’s desk.

Miles would notice her now!

But then Isabella put hers on top!

It was HUGE.

It was FANCY.

It came with a whole box of candy.

DISASTER!

There was only one thing to do.

When Isabella wasn’t looking, Flora grabbed the huge, fancy, pink valentine and hid it behind the bookshelf.

During Attendance, Flora’s middle felt pinchy.

She hadn’t stolen it, she told herself.  She’d only moved it!

But during the Pledge, her heart felt twingy.

She so wanted Miles to like her. He had to like her valentine most!

But by Morning Announcements Flora’s thoughts were poking her in the brain.  Sharply.

Isabella probably worked as hard on her valentine as Flora had.

Flora flooded with guilt.

She didn’t want to hurt Isabella.

She didn’t want Miles to like her when she’d been deceitful.

So she put Isabella’s valentine back.

“Hey!” said Miles, holding up a valentine.  “This is the Best Valentine Ever!”

It wasn’t fancy pink.

It was a climbing-tree-fishing-peanut-butter-cup-and-mini-marshmallow-covered baseball-glove heart.

Flora’s.

Alrighty then!

I feel GUILTY for writing such drivel 🙂  But surely you are all feeling a surge of confidence, emboldened to share your stories, now that I have posted this travesty for all the world to see!  Never let it be said that I’m not willing to make a fool of myself for you, my friends!  🙂

I can’t wait to read all of yours!  I’m SO looking forward to them!  I hope there will be LOTS – the more the merrier!  And you still have until midnight tomorrow to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc.  The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!

So!

Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the list below so we can all come read your awesome stories!  (Post-specific means not your main blog url, but the actual url of the post that has your story in it – otherwise if you post again before the contest ends, your link will take readers… and judges!… to the wrong place!)  Please allow a few minutes and possibly refresh your browser before deciding that your link hasn’t posted and adding it a second time or emailing it to me.

Eager Readers – click on the links in the list to visit the blogs and read the stories.  And be sure to read the 92 fabulous entries posted in the comment section below!!!

Happy Valentines Week, Everyone! ❤

Scroll through the comments to find these wonderful stories!

  1. Valentine’s Day Confession – Juli
  2. Prince Froggie Went A’ Courtin’ – Sherry
  3. Valentine’s Remorsel – Joel
  4. Sophie Builds A Bridge – Corine
  5. Charity’s Chocolate Bath – Johanna
  6. Candy Hearts – Glenda
  7. Cupid’s Valentine Scrabble – Jill
  8. Momo On Valentine’s Day – Shariffa
  9. A Valentine’s Party At School – Anneberly
  10. Secret Mission Valentine – Ramona
  11. It Wasn’t Me! – Susan
  12. The Little Piggies Celebrate Valentines Day – Sarah
  13. Messy Valentines – Sarah
  14. Wilfred’s Valentine’s Day – Cheryl
  15. A Box Full Of Love – Anne
  16. No Sweethearts – Marcia
  17. The Missing Pupcake – Jill
  18. Cupid And Bob – Jessica
  19. The Important Pink Washcloth – Marcia
  20. Valentine’s Day Smiles – Katie
  21. A Penny For His Thoughts – Charlene
  22. The Girl With The Dragon Choo-Choo – Anne
  23. Where Does Love Go? – Aixa
  24. The Sucker – Megan
  25. I Was Wrong – Nina
  26. Alex & Apple Solve The Case – Nicole
  27. Tamu, The Thieving Cat (Paka Mwizi)! – Ketan
  28. Late Night Snack – Mary
  29. A Way With Words – Susan
  30. A Spiny Valentiny – Rachel
  31. Love Bug At The Zoo – Chambrae
  32. Stan’s First Valentine’s Day – Jessica
  33. Tom’s Dad – ???
  34. The Lovebird’s Valentiny Ball – Barbara
  35. Love LOVES Love – Rebecca
  36. Sasquatch: In Search Of A Valentine – Mary
  37. The Case Of The Missing Valentine’s Candy – Sherry
  38. My Muddy Valentine – Jennifer
  39. Sometimes To Always – Jan
  40. The Heart-Shaped Balloon – Amy
  41. Tater Tot Tilly’s Valentine Treat – Kim
  42. No Ordinary Thursday – Emma
  43. Alma’s GREEN Valentine – Amy
  44. Ahava’s School Valentine Surprise – Amy
  45. An ImPURRfect Valentine Surprise – Deborah
  46. Last Valentine’s – Tonya
  47. Vivi’s Heart – Pai
  48. A Valentine For Papa – Keely
  49. A Valentine Party To Remember – Judy
  50. A Valentine For Prince Donald – Jim
  51. Tiny Crush – Amy
  52. The Valentine’s Day Mess & Cure – Joyce
  53. Hillary’s Heart – Deborah
  54. The Perfect Valentine – Susie
  55. Change Of Heart – Jeannine
  56. The Presents – Kirsten
  57. Teacher Valentine – Rosemary
  58. Happy Valentine’s Day To Everyone – Michele
  59. Conversation Smarts – Lauren
  60. Twenty Chocolate Kisses – Patricia
  61. A Little Heart – Lynn
  62. Guess Who? – Marty
  63. Big Sister For The Day – Alison
  64. Puneet’s Valentine Birthday – Johannah
  65. Ella And Emma And The Valentine Verdict – Cindy
  66. A Valentine For Valentina – Lara
  67. The (Not So) Great Revenge – Darcee
  68. The Glass Heart – Gabriella
  69. All Wrapped Up – Mia
  70. A Valentine’s Day Breakfast “Trip” – Susan
  71. Raisins Or Frosting – Ashely
  72. Buffa-lonely Love Day – Jennifer
  73. Bookworm’s Valentine – Dee
  74. The Saga Of Cupid – Linda
  75. Celebrate Every Day With A Poem – Kathy
  76. Puppies Can’t Eat Chocolate – Jan
  77. Something Special – Deb
  78. Spoon In Hand – DL
  79. The Unkeepable Promise – Juliana
  80. Guilty As Charged – Michelle
  81. Valentines For All – Marjorie
  82. Mom’s Valentine – Scott
  83. How It All Began – Linda
  84. The Coconut Covered Chocolates – Carmen
  85. Valentine Dilemma – Ranessa
  86. Who Will Be Mine? – Susie
  87. Blue Whale’s Big Heart – Susan
  88. Chadwick The Zombie Cooks Up A Valentine – Katrina
  89. Noses Are Red – JC
  90. The Tattle Tale – Karen
  91. An Extra Special Valentine – Margaret
  92. Operation Chocolate Hearts – Lucretia