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1. Would You Read It Wednesday #196 - Unicorn With A Stache (PB) PLUS Some New Year's News!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I hope you all had wonderful, happy, healthy holidays and are raring to charge full speed into 2016!

I confess that I'm unusually glad to be starting a new year.  I'm ready for some changes and I hope you'll be excited to come along with me!

For starters...

DRUM ROLL...!!!

I'm about to unveil my new and improved website and blog!

Some people (who shall be nameless) (you know who you are Julie Hedlund and Katie Davis) have been urging me for some time to switch to Wordpress.  So I'm taking the plunge!  Seeing as how I'm completely inept when it comes to technology there are bound to be some glitches during the switchover, so I beg your patience with me! :)

I am also (hopefully) on the verge of launching a totally awesome newsletter (she said modestly).  More on that when it's closer to ready - I'm still working on layout and format, and my incredibly talented artist and I are still working on the banner.

I am also hoping to have a new class and/or workshop on offer at some point... though that may take me a little longer since I'm wrestling with how to make it make sense and work smoothly.  It's in the hopper, though, so fingers crossed!

In the meantime, my old class will be now be offered at two levels: the traditional one that's been offered for the past 3 years at a wee price increase and a new Self Study version (for less $) where you can work on your own.

I'm cutting back on critiques a bit for the next little while to give myself more time to work on these other projects, but will continue to offer a shorter, quicker, (cheaper :)), less formal version of my critiques for those interested as well as a limited number of full critiques for returning writers who have gotten critiques from me before.

WOW!  That's a lot of new news, don't you think?  I'm thrilled by all of it... now it just remains for me to get it all finished and up and running! :)

Now then!  Onto the business of Would You Read It Wednesday!

Somehow, due to one thing and another, we haven't had a Pitch Pick since July!  So this coming Monday January 11 there will be a special Pitch Pick post in which you will have the chance to choose your favorite pitches from September, October and November without having to focus on anything else - a new pitch or a Perfect Picture Book or whatnot.  I will provide an extra Something Chocolate to make it worth your while :)  but it just seems easier and less stressful to put the Pitch Picks by themselves then to lump them all in with another post, don't you think?

But, lest you be in voting withdrawal :), I have something else for you to vote on today.

Quite a few people have asked me how I'd feel about running a writing contest in February to break up the winter doldrums.  If there is interest, I'd be happy to run one with a Groundhog Day or Valentines Day theme (providing I can drum up good prizes on short notice.)  I've never run one in February before because I feared it would be too much for you all coming so close on the heels of the Halloweensie and Holiday Contests, but it DOES seem appealing to have something fun in February, and it WOULD be a great opportunity for you to create a new manuscript!  So here's a poll where you can vote to let me know if you'd like a contest and whether you'd prefer a Groundhog Day or Valentines Day theme or if you have a better idea!  And if anyone has brilliant ideas for prizes (given that a Groundhog Day Contest would take place in barely a month!) please mention them in the comments or email me! :)  I'll leave the contest poll open from today until Saturday evening.

February Writing Contest?And now, the moment you've all been waiting for (admit it! :))... today's Something Chocolate!  It is frigidly cold here in the Northeast, so I'm thinking rich and delicious and decadent Belgian Hot Chocolate would really hit the spot!!!  (Which if you've never tried you MUST!)
Recipe HERE at
Busy Creating Memories
http://busycreatingmemories.com/belgian-hot-chocolate-recipe/

Ah!  That's better!!! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Gabi.  Gabi lives in Oregon with her husband, two kiddos, one dog, and one dog-like cat. She loves reading, nature, and caffeine, and she'd love to see you at her blog: https://writingtoconnect.wordpress.com/.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Unicorn With A Stache
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Meet Eustace.  Like his fellow unicorns, he smells like roses. Unlike his fellow unicorns, Eustace grows a mustache. He likes his dapper new look, but his schoolmates tease. 

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Gabi is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting all my projects finished and launching my new site, and to your answers about a February Writing Contest!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)


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2. Would You Read It Wednesday #195 - Peyton The Cat And The Princess Who Loves Everything Pink (PB)

Good Wednesday to you all!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Those of you who frequent this neck of the woods may have noticed that my Thanksgiving was so lovely and absorbing that it finally happened.  After 5 years...  I totally forgot to post the Perfect Picture Book Post on Friday!  Just completely never even thought about it until Saturday when I realized I had somehow missed the fact that Friday was Friday!

(Sorry about that!  Anyone who had a perfect picture book last Friday can add it to this Friday's list... assuming I remember to post that! :))

But that reminded me that it has actually BEEN 5 years - my 5th blogiversary was yesterday, December 1!  Can you even believe it?  How time flies!

In celebration of December, and the holiday season, and my 5th blogiversary, let's have something festive and pretty for our Something Chocolate, shall we?  I'm thinking Snowflake Peppermint Bark!

So pretty!  AND chocolate!!!
Recipe HERE at Baked By Rachel
http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/snowflake-peppermint-bark-memories/
Aren't those snowflakes beautiful?  And delicious-looking??! :)  I will probably have to try out that recipe...!  Probably today.  Probably soon today!  Maybe before lunch :)

I had planned to post the September and October Pitch Picks today... since we seem not to have gotten around to them yet... but I only heard back from 2 of the 7 pitchers about revisions...  So I'm thinking I'll come up with a Plan B.  Maybe a random day dedicated to pitch picking when we can do September, October and November all together in one fell swoop.  And have chocolate even if it isn't a Wednesday :)

Meanwhile, today's pitch comes to us from Diane who says, "I am a freelance writer, in Southern California. I’m published as a magazine author but love the delight of writing for children. Therefore, I am an aspiring children’s book writer and belong to the SCBWI along with CBI. My web page/blog is at dianedramirez.com. (Although I have a page on my site with my PB’s WIP, the blog is more of an inspirational one)."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Peyton The Cat And The Princess Who Loves Everything Pink
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: What’s Peyton, a witty-cat, to do when his new owner, Pauline—a self-procliamed princess, loves pink and thinks he should be a princess with glittery pink bows too? Peyton dislikes girly stuff and fears he’ll live with pink forever. When Peyton develops some cat-devious ideas, to alert his owner he’s unhappy and should be a prince, Pauline is met with some challenges a princess should never have.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in January so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Diane is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Snowflake Peppermint Bark and the upcoming HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!  It's next week, people!  I can't wait to read all the amazing stories that I'm sure you're hard at work on even as we speak (... right? :))  There are some pretty good prizes on offer, so it's worth your writing time!  I, of course, haven't got even an inkling of an idea what to do for my sample... somehow I feel like I've been in this position before... :)  But there are still a few days!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!!


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3. Would You Read It Wednesday #194 - Ernie Fakes A Tooth (PB)

Holy Pumpkin Pie, Batman!

How did we get to the day before Thanksgiving already?

If you're like me, you still have to vacuum, bake pie, clean the bathrooms, bake more pie, make sure there are fresh towels, and bake more pie :)  And those of you not cleaning and baking probably have to travel.

So we're going to keep today's post as short and sweet as possible!

In honor of Thanksgiving tomorrow, I think our Something Chocolate should be festive and turkey-oriented, don't you? :)

Obviously dark chocolate is preferable to milk chocolate,
but we'll take what we can get :)
Gobble, gobble, gobble!!! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Jen who says, "I’m just starting out on my journey into the overwhelming and wonderful world of picture book writing.  When I start to doubt myself, my two young kids cheer me on and get me back in the game.  We live in the beautiful seacoast of New Hampshire.  Next up – work on my social media presence!"  

Here is her pitch: (and she would especially love feedback on a title since she's not wild about this one but has yet to come up with anything she likes better!)

Working Title: Ernie Fakes A Tooth
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: In a rush to get his first lost tooth home and under his pillow, Ernie Blossomfoss trips and watches his tooth go sailing into the playground woodchips.  Convinced the tooth fairy won’t come unless she has a tooth to collect, Ernie hatches a plan to leave the perfect counterfeit.  When the clever fairy doesn’t fall for it, Ernie ups the ante until he finally learns a lesson more valuable than a crisp dollar bill.  

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in January so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Jen is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to having the family together for Thanksgiving tomorrow... even though I have to vacuum :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!





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4. Would You Read It Wednesday #193 - The Nude Goose (PB)

Happy Wednesday, dearies!

Boy has it been a busy week so far!  First off, the guidelines for the 5th Annual Holiday Writing Contest went up on Monday!  If you haven't seen the post yet, you can check it out HERE.  I have already updated the prize list twice with new prizes coming in, so make sure to take a look at the goodies on offer to the winners!!!  And rest assured, there are more to come! :)  (At least I'm hoping... fingers crossed! :))

Also, I just got done with two full days of school visits which are always tons of fun, but always leave me playing catch-up with the rest of my work!  So if you're waiting for an email reply or a critique or a response to a comment you left on my blog, or, I don't know, pretty much anything :)  I'm working on it and will get back to you as soon as I can! :)

And the week promises to get busier still since Thanksgiving is approaching and that means kids returning to the nest - a thought which fills me with joy! :)

What with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I think today's Something Chocolate should be Something Turkey and Something Easy Recipe :)

Recipe HERE at the Krazy Coupon Lady
http://thekrazycouponlady.com/at-home/snacks-under-5-kid-friendly-thanksgiving-oreo-turkeys/

Easy Oreo Pretzel Turkeys seem like they'll cover all the requirements!!

YUM! :)

Even I can probably manage this recipe... and I can practice it for the afore-mentioned returning kids :)

Now then, today's pitch comes to us from Christie who says, "I’ve loved writing since I was small, but when an academic counselor suggested I study something that could get me a “real job”, I mistakenly took her advice - until eight years ago. I’ve since been writing, attending conferences, joined SCBWI and 12X12. I am a wife, mom, and pet person who loves Don Quixote and when someone else does the cooking."

Please find her online at http://www.christieallred.com  And hot-off-the-presses news: Christie is having a “housewarming” party on her new website, where people can come celebrate with her for a chance to win a prize.  So hustle on over and check out her site!!!

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Nude Goose
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)
The Pitch: When Honk flies south, he meets a few oddly dressed geese and tries to fit in. However, he does not realize they are lawn ornaments. After an awkward inquiry, and a few disastrous outfits, Honk discovers he is happier the way he came - naked. 

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in January so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Christie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to practicing with chocolate, oreos and pretzels and having my flock return to the fold! :)

I hope you've all got those writerly thinking caps on and are cooking up your Holiday Contest stories!!! :)  I, of course, will likely not give my sample a moment's thought until 10 PM on December 6th when I shall fly into a panic at having to come up with something RIGHT THEN in order to post it on time.  You'd think knowing this would encourage me to plan ahead...  You'd think...!  What is that saying about teaching old dogs new tricks??? :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)




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5. Would You Read It Wednesday #192 - Cursing Cats (PB)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Today is a very exciting day!

Remember how a few weeks back I was all excited because my house was no longer two-tone but all one color... after a year or more of being unfinished?

Apparently this is a trend because let me tell you about my stove.

Once upon a time, we moved into this house with a new stove.

22 years later (which was last year), on Thanksgiving, the oven decided it didn't feel like working any more.  Our turkey did not cook.  Really.  I am not making this up.

Now, you'd think, given the trauma of Thanksgiving without a turkey, we would have gotten right on that and bought a new stove immediately...  But that is not the way things work on Blueberry Hill.  After all, the oven still functioned well enough to bake brownies and cookies, which is pretty much all I use it for :)

So we coasted along happily using the stove top... and then summer came and we could use the grill outside... and all was well.

But a few weeks ago, we started talking about Thanksgiving.  And using my keen powers of reasoning, I astutely realized that we were going to find ourselves in the same predicament this year as last, since our oven had not magically resurrected itself, which did not bode at all well for the Thanksgiving turkey.

So I bit the bullet and bought a new stove!

It's so pretty!

It has convection roast and convection bake as options (not requirements, for those of us who embrace change slowly) and a simmer burner and a power burner and a griddle/grill for the stovetop.  If all goes according to plan, our Thanksgiving turkey will cook this year!

There's just one little thing.

The gas has yet to be hooked up.

And it turns out the stove/oven doesn't work so well without it :)

But that's supposed to happen today.  TODAY, I tell you!  So let's get ready for some baking!

And speaking of baking makes me think of Something Chocolate (shocking, I know :))  How about some triple chocolate cheesecake with oreo crust?  Sound good to you?  It sounds good to me!

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo Crust from OMG Chocolate Desserts
http://omgchocolatedesserts.com/triple-chocolate-cheesecake-oreo-crust/
and yes the recipe is on that link :)
YUM!  And I believe it covers all the basic food groups... dairy, veggies (chocolate comes from beans, remember?!), whole grains (there has to be some kind of flour/wheat product in oreos!), and chocolate!  Eat up, lambies!  You need your strength! :)

Now that we are all fortified, and our brains are functioning at 200% power, today's pitch comes to us from Sandy who says,  "I started buying picture books for my kids before I even had kids! And even though my seven-year-old granddaughter can read chapter books on her own, she still lets me read picture books to her. I've published one story in the now defunct "Pennywhistle Press," a Gannett Press newspaper insert for kids. I also write non-fiction articles for local publications."

You can find Sandy on FB at Sandy Lowe Ink.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Cursing Cats
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Tired of being misused and overdressed by a little girl, Jack and Dave learn "curse words" from watching TV. They hope that using words like "bifurcated" and "crepuscular" in front of the girl will ensure her grandmother won't let her play with them anymore. They succeed, but in a way they weren't expecting. 

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in January so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Sandy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting my stove hooked up and trying it out!  Plus, my lovely sister-in-law, upon hearing we were getting a new stove, sent me a new cookbook to go with it!  Hopefully it's idiot-proof and will provide recipes for the cooking-challenged that I can actually be successful with!  Wish me luck! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)



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6. Would You Read It Wednesday # - Showdown At The Sippy Cup Saloon (PB)

Howdy folks!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Would You Read It for this important message from our sponsors:

Voting continues in the Halloweensie Contest until 5 PM today!!!  If you haven't had a chance to weigh in yet, please hop over HERE to read the amazing finalist stories and vote for your favorite!!!  We need all the votes we can get!!!

Now then, back to WYRI!

And by "back to WYRI" I of course mean "time for Something Chocolate!!!" :)  And since it's only a couple days after Halloween, what better than leftover chocolate Halloween Candy???

Whoever thought up Halloween was a genius! :)
YUM!!!  Of course, I don't actually HAVE any leftover chocolate Halloween candy... I can't imagine why... :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Jessica Swaim, a parttime poet who spends an inordinate amount of time playing with her dogs.
Take a peek at both her books and her dogs at http://jessicaswaim.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Showdown At The Sippy Cup Saloon
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: In the tiny town of Toddle, in the cradle of the West, Sheriff Wyatt Burp is snoozing in his crib when Wild Bill Hiccup arrives to wake up -- and shake up -- the pint-size population.  "Don't go gettin' yer onesie in a twist," Wild Bill warns Wyatt, but tempers flare until the two go bib to bib in a showdown at the Sippy Cup Saloon. Who will emerge the rootin' tootin' squirt gun shootin' hero of the West? 

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in January so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Jessica is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to finding out who wins the Halloweensie Contest!  Tune in tomorrow!!!  Meanwhile, try to keep calm and think about something else so you won't go nuts waiting.  Really.  Just don't think about it.  Don't keep wondering who the winner might be, and who might be second and third....! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)


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7. Would You Read It Wednesday #182 - Ber-r-rnice (PB)

Howdy, folks, and welcome to another fun-filled edition of Would You Read It Wednesday!

I hope everyone's summers are going swimmingly so far!

I have to apologize. . . sometimes life goes to heck in a hand basket and things you normally keep up with just fine suddenly fall by the wayside, or have to be put off.  Best laid plans and all that. . .  but for a little while I'm just not going to be able to keep pace with normal.

I know I promised a writing contest to follow the illustration contest, but after much agonizing, I just don't think I can do it right now.  I'm so sorry.  I feel terrible about it!  Please feel free to note in the comments if you'd be interested in doing it in September instead, even though the Halloweensie Contest will take place the last week of October and the Holiday Contest will be the second week of December.  I'm hoping I'll be able to do it by then.

I also meant to post the June Pitch Pick today, but forgot to email the pitchers... so that will have to be next week.

But I CAN award the picture book prizes to a random handful of you wonderful people who so graciously commented on two pitches on our double-header WYRI day! :)

The randomly selected people paired with the randomly selected books by random.org are as follows:

Stacy Couch - My Love For You Is The Sun
Cathy Hall - Tyrannosaurus Wrecks
Joanne Sher - What About Moose
Vivian Kirkfield - Tea Party Rules
Mishka Jaeger - Little Miss Muffet
Teresa Robeson - Me Want Pet
Erik Weibel - Jeremy Draws A Monster

Thank you all so very much for pitching in (hehe) to help two people at once, and thanks to everyone else who did so too!

Winners, please email me with your snail mail address, and if anyone wants to trade books or already has what they won and has no one to give it to or what not, let me know!

Now then, how about Something Chocolate and then we'll get down to today's pitch.

Recipe at Lil' Luna http://lilluna.com/frozen-oreo-pudding-cake/
Frozen Oreo Pudding Cake!

YUM!!!

Today's pitch comes to us from Rene.  Rene` Diane Aube's long-dreamed-of writing journey began in 2011 as she and hubby bickered over renovations on a vintage camper. After overcoming some fears and insecurities ~ well, somewhat ~ she plunged into and completed several writing courses and began participating in on-line study groups in the hope that someday she will see one of her picture book manuscripts in print.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Ber-r-rnice
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-5)
The Pitch: Mushy meadows, a ravenous Rain Crow, and galloping mares, too! How will a wee Woolly Bear caterpillar fare in her quest to reach her hibernation destination as snow begins to 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 Rene improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Rene is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am hoping to hear from you whether an alternative time might work for the writing contest - my sincere apologies again!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)


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8. Would You Read It Wednesday - The June Pitch Pick

Happy Wednesday, Everybody!

I hope this morning finds you all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and excited about living in the now :)

So, something unprecedented has happened today.

The pitcher who was up is a no show!

She was scheduled but never sent her pitch and info... and I've been distracted and didn't notice until I went to write the post...

So you guys all get a restful day with nothing but Something Chocolate and the June Pitch Pick!

Woo hoo!

Chocolate first?

That's what I thought :)

And what could be better for a hot day in July than a chocolate ice cream float?

Recipe HERE (along with 19 other ice cream floats!)
http://www.brit.co/ice-cream-floats-2/?utm_campaign=pinbutton_hover

Now that we're all properly fortified with the kind of brain food that will allow us to make hard decisions, let's have a look at our new and improved June pitches.  Once you've read and pondered, please choose the pitch you feel most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta and vote for it below by Sunday July 19 at 5PM EDT.

#1 Lavanya - The Sun, The Moon, And Eve (PB ages 4-8)
In the dawn of the world, a child called Eve sings out her love for her siblings, the Sun and the Moon. But when Eve's songs reveal her favorite, the Sun and the Moon unleash their fury. Eve must dispel the terrible shadow that follows, and restore their harmony.

#2 Michelle - The Sunflower Traveler (Chapter Book ages 6-9)
Rhea’s interest in growing sunflowers for Petal Path’s Magazine Contest turned into a quest to help her family when her dad lost his job. Her final requirement for the contest is to describe something new about her sunflowers. But time traveling through a sunflower, talking with birds, and instructing a new gardener from the past may be more than she’s bargained for. Will Rhea solve her sunflower problem and still make it back in time to enter the contest? 

#3 Darshana - The Boys Of Koh Panyee (PB ages 4-8)
The boys of Koh Panyee, Thailand dream of becoming football champions, but they live on a floating village. Unable to find open space anywhere, the boys find another way to make their dream come true, even in the face of village naysayers.

#4 Johnell  How Much Farther (PB ages 4-8)
Buddy wants Dad to carry him. Dad wants Buddy to try out his big kid legs. Both have creative ways to get what they want. Between sightings of butterflies, robins and troll holes they creep closer to their destination until Buddy can’t. go. another. step. When Dad finally offers to carry him, Buddy realizes his big kid legs might be strong enough after all.

Thank you all so much for reading and voting, and for always participating so generously in WYRI - we couldn't do it without you! :)

June 2015 Pitch PickPlease send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  And please pop by on Friday for a very special Perfect Picture Book (even though we're on vacation! :))



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9. Would You Read It Wednesday #183 - Sourpuss: Stuck In The Muck (PB) PLUS The June Pitch Pick Winner!!!

Golly!  The summer is just flying along, isn't it?

I can't believe it's half-past July already!

I hope you are all enjoying tons of happy family time, vacationing, beaching, camping and marshmallow roasting... whatever blows your hair back :)

Now...

I bet you're all wondering who won the June Pitch Pick, so I won't keep you in suspense.  (And this time I'm serious - I really won't!  We all have pressing things to get back to like lying in hammocks :))

The winner of the June Pitch Pick is MICHELLE with her pitch for The Sunflower Traveler!!!  Congratulations, Michelle!  Your pitch is winging its way through cyberspace to editor Erin Molta and I'm sure you'll hear from her soon!

Congratulations to all our other fabulous pitchers, too!  You all did a fantastic job.  The choice was SO tough!  I hope at the very least everyone feels they got some helpful feedback from all our generous readers!

And now, I feel the need for Something Chocolate!  How about you?  Due to this heat wave, I've got cold things on the brain, so I think we'll go with a Frozen Brownie Sundae... er, Wednesdae?!  Sound good?


from the Brown-Eyed Baker - recipe HERE
 http://www.browneyedbaker.com/frozen-brownie-sundae/

Enjoy!!!

Today's pitch comes to us from Kirsten who says, "I am a children's writer, a mother of three active preschoolers, a lover of all things salty and fattening, and an avid avoider of cleaning. I have been writing seriously for about 4 years. I LOVE the supportive writing community that I have found and I love my supportive hubby who looks past the piling masses of dirty laundry and asks me how my book is going."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Sourpuss: Stuck In The Muck
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Sourpuss is a cat that loves bubble baths, kitty facials, and manicures. When he comes whisker to whisker with a mangy mutt named Sunny, Sourpuss is desperate to remain pristine. Then Sunny gets stuck in the muck and it looks like Sourpuss is her only hope...if he is able to brave the sticky mud.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Kirsten is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to that Sundae... even though it's Wednesdae :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)


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10. Would You Read It Wednesday - The July Pitch Pick!!!

Greetings, everyone!

I hope you have all had a lovely week since last we met :)

Today, since we're tying things up before the August break, we have the July Pitch Pick but no new pitch, so less work for you! :)

Oh, and of course Something Chocolate to get you fueled up (and rewarded!) for your help!

Let's start with that because... why not? :)  How's this for perfect summer chocolate?

Chocolate-Dipped Watermelon!
Okay.  Possibly a little weird :)  But I'll bet delicious! :)  It has chocolate on it.  How can it not be?

Alrighty!  Here we go on the July Pitch Pick!

#1 Lavanya - How I Made My Baby Sister (PB ages 3-7)
The thing about making a baby sister is, you have to be patient. First, you have to be patient until Mom and Dad realize you have the best idea. Then, you have to be patient for the baby to come out. But hardest of all is being patient while the baby grows big enough to play with you.

#2 Rene - Berr-r-rnice (PB ages 3-5)
Wee Woolly Bear caterpillar is STILL eating even though wintry winds are whipping. Journeying to her hibernation destination through mushy mare meadows proves treacherous. Wee Woolly Bear must persevere and ultimately discovers she's not alone in her troubles. A 390 word story of perseverance and friendship for 3 - 5 year olds.

#3 Kirsten - Stuck In The Muck (PB ages 4-8)
Sir Whiskerson loves kitty facials and paw-dicures. When he comes whisker to whisker with a mangy mutt named Sunny, Whiskerson is desperate to remain pristine. But with Sunny stuck in the muck and sinking, Whiskerson must decide whether doing the right thing is worth a gloppy, sloppy fur coat.

Please choose the pitch you think most deserves a read and comments by editor Erin Molta and vote for it in the poll below by Sunday August 2 at 5 PM EST. Thank you all so much!
July 2015 Pitch Pick
I will miss you all during the next few weeks, but this has been a pretty tough summer so far and I'm afraid I'm going to pretty much disappear from the internet.  Good lord willing and the creek don't rise, I'll see you all on September 9 for the next installment of Would You Read It! :)

Have a wonderful, happy, relaxing, fun-filled, rejuvenating rest of the summer everyone!!!

See you in September! :)


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11. Would You Read It Wednesday #184 - Moms (PB) PLUS The July Pitch Winner!

Well howdy, pardners!

Long time no see!  I hope you all had wonderful summers and are coming into September renewed, refreshed, and ready for lots of picture book reading, writing, and pitching, and for contests and fun and high jinx and shenanigans of all kinds!

After a busy summer and a pretty long (for me) blog break, I'm still trying to find my stride again and it will probably take me a couple weeks, but boy am I glad to see you all!!! :)  I have missed this wonderful community and all you lovely folks!

I think this calls for a round of Something Chocolate, don't you?  How about some Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake?


Yum!!!

Now then!  Would You Read It business!  The winner of the July Pitch Pick (I  know! It was so long ago!) was Kirsten with her pitch for Stuck In The Muck!  Congratulations, Kirsten, on a wonderful pitch!  I have sent it to editor Erin Molta for her comments... but it occurs to me that it's been summer, and everyone has been busy, and I have lost track of Erin... so if you haven't heard from her yet I will see if I can discover her whereabouts :)

Congratulations to our other brave and talented July pitchers as well.  As always, I think you're winners just for writing your pitches, putting them out there, and then taking the valuable feedback from our amazing readers and using it to improve your pitches for the pitch pick!  Well done everyone!

Onto today's pitch which comes to us from Lizette who says, "I am from Ontario Canada. I am heading into my 14th year as an Early Childhood Educator and I love it. Working with toddlers keeps me young! I have read many books to the children over the years and I am pretty good at picking stories to read to them as well as engaging them as a storyteller. I am in the process of writing a manuscript and I think this would be a great opportunity to get my idea out there and to get some feedback."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Moms
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 1.5 - 3)
The Pitch: This book is an illustrated story about mothers. It demonstrates that mothers from all over the world love and care for their children no matter what walk of life they come from. It is very reflective of Canada's multicultural community and celebrates diversity. It is a simple story where the only text is the word " Mom" "Mother or "Mommy " in various languages. The illustrations will represent the feelings and interactions that occur daily between a mother and her children.  Pictures can capture emotions and can be understood by all and make for an open ended reading experience .  

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Lizette is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things around here and catching up with you all!

It's been a summer of change on many levels, and I am hoping to institute a few changes around here as well... but I'm not quite ready to announce anything so you'll just have to wait and see...! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)

See you Friday for the return of Perfect Picture Books! :)


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12. Would You Read It Wednesday #185 - Firefighters' Busy Day (PB)

Hello, darlings!  Happy Wednesday!

I don't know about where you all live, but here on Blueberry Hill autumn seems to think it's coming early.  The hummingbirds have almost all departed for warmer climes, the mornings have been very cool, and the leaves are falling much too soon.  I hope winter doesn't get any bright ideas because seriously I feel like last winter only just ended!  I'm not kidding! and I'm not ready for colder weather yet!

Something about September and cooler weather, though, gets me thinking about baking.  And baking gets me thinking about chocolate.  (You're shocked, I know! :))  So I think we need something baked and chocolatey and delicious for our Something Chocolate this morning... but also healthy since we're eating breakfast and breakfast is the most important meal of the day... hmmm... how about this???

From The Baker Upstairs
recipe here: http://www.thebakerupstairs.com/2013/08/chocolate-zucchini-cake.html

See?  I always have your best interests at heart! :)  This snack even has zucchini in the title.  That's how healthy it is!  (And I'm betting this cake would be a good way to sneak a little health food into your youngsters if you have any picky eaters at home!)

Mmm-mmm!  Something Chocolate always gets the day off to a good start!  And now that you're all fortified and ready for anything, today's pitch comes to us from Maria, whose PB pitches for The Trouble With Homework and A Pup Called Freelance you may remember from January and March respectively. Maria is an educator with a municipal fire department. She thinks she’s got the best job in the world! When she isn’t teaching others how to be safe, she can be found writing under a pecan tree, playing with her dogs and cats, or cruising around town “with the top down” searching for inspirational ideas or the next big story.

You can find her online at:
www.pinterest.com/ktownfiregirl
and
https://www.facebook.com/MJBostian?ref=hl

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Firefighters' Busy Day
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 2-6)
The Pitch: Wow! Firefighters are Busy! Did you know that firefighters do more than just put our fires? They have many important jobs to do! Can you name some? “Washing, waxing shining the truck. Cleaning the gear, getting rid of muck.” Join author Maria Bostian as she takes you on a journey through a busy day with some of America's favorite heroes! You can even help the firefighters get their jobs done! Busy little firefighters are safe and smart! Be sure to try some of the exciting Fire Safety Activities to turn everyday learning into firefighter fun!

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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Maria is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to going horseback riding one of these days soon.  I help do the barn chores every weekday morning, but somehow I rarely seem to find time to ride.  I don't really mind - I just like being around horses in any way, shape or form - they are so warm and comforting and peaceful - but autumn is one of the nicest times to ride if you get a chance - good weather and no bugs :)



Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!!




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13. Would You Read It Wednesday #186 - Wait For Cate (PB)

Happy Wednesday, folks!

It's been a busy week on Blueberry Hill.  I know you'll all be gratified to learn that our house is, at last, all one color!  I know this shouldn't seem like an accomplishment - after all, most people's houses are all one color.  But we are not "most people."  Our house has not been all one color for 3 years because one of the gable ends is very high and hard to reach, so the rest of the house got stained dark brown... but that one triangular patch stayed the old lighter, redder cedar color.  It did NOT look good.  Now our house is very happy and feels like it can show its face in public again.  (Not that there's much public to see it up here in the wilderness.  But you know, it's the principal of the thing :) ) And if any bears happen to wander by (which they do pretty frequently) they will certainly say to themselves, "Hmm!  How handsome that house looks now that it's all one color!" :)

It's like when you write a picture book and it begins as one story... and somehow ends as another.  You've got to pick one story and stick with it - make sure you're ending the same story you began - you know, make it all the same dark brown.  (See what I did there? :) )

Speaking of dark brown (smooth segue alert :)) makes me think of chocolate (what doesn't?), so how about Something Chocolate?  Great idea, if I say so myself!  Always is a good time for Something Chocolate :)  Some days you can get by with a tootsie roll or a handful of chocolate chips, but some days you just have to throw moderation to the wind and go whole hog, and it turns out this is one of those days... I am seriously in need of gooey, chocolatey, deliciousness... so let's have some Smores Cupcakes, shall we? - YUM!!!

See recipe at OMGChocolateDesserts
http://omgchocolatedesserts.com/hershey-smores-cupcakes/

Now that we are all covered in chocolate properly nutritionized (or possibly nutrisized? or nutriated?), today's pitch comes to us from Diana who says, "I am a retired 1st and 2nd grade teacher with an M.S. in reading, diagnostics, and remedial reading. I retired from the U.S. Army/Army Reserves (HOOAH!) and also retired as a special effects designer and Pyrotechnician with my husband's company. When my husband doesn't have me hiking through the Himalayas, crewing on a 100 year old square rigger, or volunteering at airshows, I hide out and enjoy my passion for reading and writing children's stories." 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Wait For Cate
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Cate has made a promise to her school friends to be on time for the big kickball game at recess. And they need her! When Cate encounters the new girl stuck in the sand in her wheelchair, Cate needs to make a decision. Should she keep her promise to her kickball team or help a new friend out of a “sticky” situation? 

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Diana is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to writing a story about bears admiring a dark brown house.  I think the main character's name will be... Brownielocks!  And she will enter the dark brown house and find a pan of brownies cooling on the counter... some of which will likely be too hot, too cold, and just right...  But if you're thinking you've heard this story before you totally haven't, because Brownielocks is a bear (obviously) and the house belongs to humans.  Completely different story :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)




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14. Would You Read It Wednesday #187 - Dear Cat (PB)

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

I hope you're all wearing your raincoats and galoshes and holding tight to your umbrellas!

After the driest summer in recent memory, we are experiencing heavy rain.  The crunchy grass and thirsty trees are drinking it up gratefully, and the Weather People (who may or may not be related to the Village People :)) are all in an uproar, delighted to have weather drama to report in the form of flood watches.  I'm not sure when weather became entertainment, but boy do they do their best to keep you riveted!

Of course, when it rains like this, you know what that means...  I'll be in my basement paddling about in the canoe and bailing out :)

There is an upside, though.  All that paddling calls for extra sustenance (I've got to keep up my strength! :)), and what better than Something Chocolate?  Hmm... what should it be today?  I don't think we can go wrong with Oreo Brownie Trifle, do you? :)

Recipe HERE at BakerHomemaker
http://www.bakerhomemaker.com/2012/09/oreo-brownie-trifle.html
Yeah.  Forget the bowl/plate.  I'm just grabbing a spoon and digging in! :)  Enjoy!

Today's pitch comes to us from Zainab.  Zainab Khan is a pre-published author who writes picture books that are quirky or interactive. She also writes picture books that deal with serious issues like disabilities, homelessness, and diversity. In addition, Zainab is in the midst of writing a middle grade mystery about ancient civilizations.

Before venturing on a full time writing journey, Zainab was an elementary school teacher. Having an entrepreneurial heart, she ran her own in home based  preschool. 

Raising two energetic kids  and a cat with her husband keep Zainab occupied at all hours of the day. She is also busy as the SCBWI Alameda/ Contra Costa Meet Up coordinator. 
Zainab loves making new quirky friends.  You can connect with her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/zainab.khan.967) or on twitter 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Dear Cat
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Persistent Bird keeps bugging Cat with his letters to be his friend.  Cat snubs Bird...until it's snack time. Cat is ready for a tasty meal except Bird has his own devious plan in mind for this "clever" 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 Zainab improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Zainab is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to rescuing any salamanders who might have floated into the basement.  Very Sorcerer's Apprentice :)

Ahoy, matey's!  Have a wonderful Wednesday!!! :)


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15. Would You Read It Wednesday #188 - My Next Door Neighbor Is A Dragon Princess (MG)

Gather round, y'all!

It's time for everyone's favorite pitching pastime!

What would Wednesday be without Would You Read It?  Just a plain old middle day of the week.  Boring.  Lackluster.  Dull!  So sad :(

But not for us!  We've got a fabulous new pitch AND Something Chocolate AND each other's company and the camaraderie of the writing community to enjoy!  (Because what would Would You Read It be without chocolate?  And what would WE be without each other?!  Luckily, we'll never have to know! :) )

Today our Something Chocolate shall be Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies, because I feel strongly that one should never have to decide between brownies and chocolate chip cookies!  That would be like Sophie's Choice :)

Recipe at Recipe Girl
http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/05/29/chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-brownies-take-two/
YUM!  So delicious!  And totally healthy of course!  As I'm sure you all know, chocolate is a vegetable (it comes from the cocoa BEAN!), and cookie dough most certainly involves protein, calcium, and whole grains because there are eggs and butter and wheat in there somewhere.  I feel it's my hostessly (yes that can be a word if I want it to!) responsibility to make sure you're all well fortified for your day! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Kirk, whom you will remember from May with his MG pitch for When Your Best Friend Wants To Be Your Girlfriend And Other Horror Stories.  Kirk is the Ringmaster of Kraft Three-Ring Circus which includes his beautiful wife, Patty, four kids aged 6-12 and a silly German Shepherd, Blitz. In all his spare time, not spent managing this circus or working his day job, he writes YA & MG fantasy, picture books and parenting nonfiction. The pitch before you is his first attempt at humorous MG. 

You can find him online at:

Twitter - @KAKraft
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/kirkkraft

Here is his pitch:

Working Title: My Next Door Neighbor Is A Dragon Princess
Age/Genre: MG
The Pitch: I didn’t care much for Maddie Buckner. At two, she bit my ear. At four she pushed me off a slide. At 8, she broke my favorite model airplane that took five months to build. At 10, she kissed me – on the lips! – under the Big Toy in the playground and told me she loved me. At 11, she spit in my face and said she hated me. Then she asked Parker Williams to the sock hop. Parker Williams! Oh, how I despised her. But then she had to go and save my life. That’s when I discovered her secret.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Kirk is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to getting some work done.  I know that sounds insane, but I actually am.  I'm feeling behind which makes me anxious, so I want to put things to rights.  Therefore, one more Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie for strength and courage and then it's nose to the grindstone for me!  Unless something diverting comes along... :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)


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16. Can You See A Sunset Without Looking? Exploring the Visual Imagination

by Addy Farmer

I wonder if you can summon up the image of a glorious sunset inside your head? Can you capture the nuance of colour in the sky, the shape of the sun, the texture of the scene? I'll leave that one with you for now.


This ability is sometimes referred to as 'the mind's eye':
The phrase "mind's eye" refers to the human ability to visualise i.e., to experience visual mental imagery; in other words, one's ability to "see" things with the mind.
I have always had this ability and I have always assumed that everyone else was able to do the same. It turns out after a quick delve into history, that this is not the case. 

A Brief Peer into Visual imagination. 

In an interesting blog summary I found:

"There was a debate, in the late 1800s, about whether "imagination" was simply a turn of phrase or a real phenomenon. That is, can people actually create images in their minds which they see vividly, or do they simply say "I saw it in my mind" as a metaphor for considering what it looked like?

Francis Galton, a nineteenth century psychologist, gave people some very detailed surveys, and found that some people did have mental imagery and others didn't. The ones who did had simply assumed everyone did, and the ones who didn't had simply assumed everyone didn't."
Francis Galton - close your eyes and then try and recall the detail of his lovely sideburns
Recently, a new word has been added to the medical lexicon, Aphantasia, which brings us back to that sunset. The University of Exeter has taken up the work of Galton and come up with a new study.
She ... realised that her ability to conjure a mental picture differed from her peers during management training in her 20s. She said: “We were told to ‘visualise a sunrise’, and I thought ‘what on Earth does that look like’ – I couldn’t picture it at all. I could describe it – I could tell you that the sun comes up over the horizon and the sky changes colour as it gets lighter, but I can’t actually see that image in my mind.”
Dame Gill has a successful career and does not feel hindered by her lack of a “mind’s eye”. But she said: “I became more aware of it when my mum died, as I can’t remember her face. I now realise that others can conjure up a picture of someone they love, and that did make me feel sad, although of course I remember her in other ways. I can describe the way she stood on the stairs for a photo for example, I just can’t see it.”
What does this mean for readers? Beyond being presented with images in a book full of pictures, is a reader hampered by an inability to conjure images in her head? Crucially - does it put someone off reading non-illustrated texts when they are older? In the Exeter summary, a bookshop worker says
Niel works in a bookshop and is an avid reader, but avoids books with vivid landscape descriptions as they bring nothing to mind for him. “I just find myself going through the motion of reading the words without any image coming to mind,” he said. “I usually have to go back and read a passage about a visual description several times – it’s almost meaningless.”
And is there a knock on effect for writers? For example, does a limited or non-existent visual imagination stop a writer, wether knowingly or not, from writing longer more descriptive stories. Might a writer avoid writing, say, a ghost story, where creating atmosphere is crucial? I know that there are children's writers out there who have this condition to some degree - I wonder what they think?  

Okay - which part of my fevered brain did this come from?
How Good is your Visual Imagination?

I love a quiz and the BBC have helpfully posted a way of finding out where you come on the visual imagination register. Give it a go! 


Clearly there are some cases where you may benefit from a bit of brain re-training. In his book, The Mind's Eye, Oliver Sacks talks about a case of, "alexia sine agraphia" which means the inability to read while retaining the ability to write. The patient was a crime writer called Howard - how would he ever write another detective story if he couldn't read his own plot notes? In a novel (sorry) approach, he trains his brain to understand what he sees by tracing the outlines of words with his tongue. Weird but true or as Sacks puts it, "Thus, by an extraordinary, metamodal, sensory-motor alchemy... he was, in effect, reading with his tongue." And so he goes on to write another novel.
Consider this, the strangest of facts: your thoughts, memories and emotions, your perceptions of the world, and your deepest intuitions of selfhood, are the product of three pounds of jellified fats, proteins, sugars and salts – the stuff of the brain and as tough as blancmange. It's absurd, wonderful and terrifying. The Guardian Review of The Mind's Eye by Oliver Sacks
The brain can do remarkable things. I am not advocating licking your words to find a deeper meaning (feel free) but maybe shaking ourselves out of our 'normal' way of thinking may give a different perspective or unlock a way of writing you had not considered before. 

Beware moving vehicles
A Bit of Brain Re-training

You might try these exercises lifted from here

Pick something simple at first, such as a plain mug or even a small piece of blank paper. Until you get good at this, stay away from complex items such as car keys or anything that has lots of colours, designs or textures.

Sit down and get yourself comfortable (not too comfy). Put the object on the table in front of you. Lean over where your face is two or three feet from the object. Now with your eyes open, look at the object. Study it in detail. Notice any glare from the light in the room. Pay attention to its texture. Is it smooth or is it coarse? Study it and get as many details as you can.

Now close your eyes. In your mind's eyes, picture the object as if you were still looking at it. If you have a rough time at first, just make something up. Try to get as many details correct as you can. Now open your eyes again and look again at the object. Study it in great detail for a few moments.

Keep going back and forth like this for five or ten minutes. Play around with the exercise a couple times a day to become good at this skill.

As you improve, start playing around with more advanced visualizations. Imagine what a room would look like from a top corner. Image what a city would look like from a tall building. The whole idea is to be able to visualize anything that exists – to be able to hold a good, clear and detailed picture in the mind's eye. As an aside, the most common mistake people make with this is not making the visualization clear and detailed.


BUT this simply does not work for everyone. One person with a very limited visual imagination who wanted to improve this skill tried this:

1. Explicit imagery practice. He drew simple shapes, like a square or a ball, then stared at the shape, closed his eyes, seen the shape for as long as it stayed visualisable, opened his eyes to refresh, repeat. But he only retained a brief after-image.
2. Staying in visualization situations. When he found himself in the just-before-sleep state, he stayed there for a while and played with imagery. But he reported no increase in his range of visualisation states or ability to visualise.
3. Object drawing. He tried 3D constructions of blocks and tried drawing them from different angles on paper. But there was no actual imagery or mental rotation involved.

Are Artists Natural Visual Imaginers?

Are there any artists who CANNOT conjure up a sunset? Presumably, actual haunted houses, the Moon, a jungle clearing to give just a few examples, are not always within easy reach to copy but the image can be captured in an artist's head like a writer's voice is captured on the page. I do wonder how far illustrators 'see' picture books in their heads? Is it just broad brush to begin with, then the details come with the image on the page?

In an interesting interview Jim Kay explains how he uses models for his work (presumably for consistency as well as a means of creating a beautiful image).


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-34448224
Imagination Plus Experience

Back to that sunset. I find that when I try and visualise it, it is not a crisp photographic vision but more a feeling or approximation of one. For me it is not an identical process. There seems to be a fuzziness in the border between the visible and the conjured. I like to believe that my mind's eye alone is able to colonise the story landscape, mastering and portioning, fixing places and deepening the scene. But is this necessarily so?


What can deepen writing of course is experience. Actually going somewhere and using your senses can enhance your story so that your readers really feel what you feel. So, writing a night scene could be enhanced by actually going outside and feeling the cold and hearing the owls and sniffing the air, well you get the idea. It's not just the visual but the smell, touch, feel of the night. Which is all great if you don't have a scene in space.
Marcus Sedgewick talked about falling in a ditch full of snow whilst researching and transferring the experience of gasping cold into his writing. 
There are of course heaps of writers out there who write without the joy of the mind's eye (and it is a joy to me) and still have the joy of writing. Just as there are writers who do not experience everything in order to write well about it.

Perhaps the more interesting questions which remain are about how the visual imagination or lack of it, might impact on the individual reader and how this might limit her engagement with a text. Or in the case of a writer how this might limit their range of writing.    

Whatever kind of writer we are, we should be sponges. We have to suck up life, shlurp (?) up conversations and read, read, read until we are rubbing our spongy eyes. Whether these stories materialise as something like a film or photographs or a voice in your head or a lickable page, I suppose it doesn't matter. In the end, the stories will come and we will write them.





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17. Would You Read It Wednesday # 189 - Kitten Ciao (PB)

Hey there, friends!

I hope your week is going swimmingly so far!

I'm off in a mad rush this morning to two solid days of school visits, so no time for lollygagging about!  We're going to get right down to it!

First, we need to attend to the most important meal of the day - Something Chocolate!  (It's what's for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack, snack, snack! :))

Our Would You Read It pitcher for today recommended chocolate pancakes spread with Nutella!  So here you go - chocolate pancakes!!!


YUM!  Chocolate Pancakes!!!
Recipe HERE at Bakerella
http://greatideas.people.com/2014/07/25/bakerella-chocolate-pancake-recipe/
...and here's some Nutella to go with... :)

Boy, do those look good!  The cross-section really looks more like actual cake than pancake.  This is a breakfast I could grow to love :)

Now then.  Today's pitch comes to us from Lisa (recommender of chocolate pancakes with Nutella) who says, "I am a Northern California based writer and aspiring picture book author who enjoys thinking and rethinking how I would describe myself in one sentence. Some days I am a chocolate pound cake baking, back yard squirrel watcher who keeps thinking I just felt an earthquake.  Other days I am a coffee frenzied, Scrabble player determined to get the 50 bonus points that come with using all seven tiles in one word.  Lately, I am an-empty nester who just gently pushed the last little birdie out into the world.  It is an exciting time for me, and I am thrilled to submit my pitch for Kitten Ciao to Would You Read It."

You can visit her blog at https://closeddoorandopenwindow.wordpress.com/posts/

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Kitten Ciao - A Culinary Tale In Six Bite-Sized Chapters
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch: Kitten Ciao is fed up with the food at home, so he dashes off to dine in Europe, where the food must be better.  He sees famous sights, makes new friends and learns to say “hello” and “goodbye” in each country’s language. But the rain in Paris turns his crepes to goo, there are raisins in his English Pudding, the sauerkraut at Oktoberfest is, well, sour, and there’s no chocolate dip for his Spanish churros.  When he gets to Italy, the worst possible thing happens and Kitten Ciao figures out that the world will never quite be able to top the food at Mama’s table. A glossary of terms is included.

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in... hmm, let me see... I have to consult my calendar... I think due to the Holiday Contest we might be getting into the new year for openings, but there might be room for one or two in December... so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Finally, in case you missed the not-normally-scheduled post on Monday, it's time to fire up your genius for the 5th Annual Halloweensie Contest!!!  Hop over HERE and check out the guidelines and fabulous prizes!

Lisa is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to 2 days, 9 presentations, 30 classes, and your guess is as good as mine how many little smiling Kindergarten - Grade 2 faces of school visit fun! :)  Wish me luck!!!


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18. Would You Read It Wednesday #190 - Aunt Elvira And The Watermelon Seed (PB)

Howdy, my friends!

I hope you're all having a wonderful week so far!

Has everyone besides me written their entry for the Halloweensie Contest?

I confess, I haven't even started my sample.  I haven't even thought about it!  I don't have the slightest inkling of an idea... which is a little worrisome given that it has to be posted in 5 days!  GULP!

Lest you think I've been totally goofing off, though, let me assure you you're right I have been very busy!  I spent the weekend at the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY, and I must say, if you're ever in the neighborhood, you should come!  It's as crowded as the country fair, but it's all about everything sheep!  And the wool!  It's so gorgeous!  Everyone parades around in beautifully crafted clothing they've made themselves - hats, scarves, mittens, shawls and shrugs, ponchos, socks, crocheted bags, I even saw a few women in elaborate knitted dresses!  Every year I go, I'm inspired to spend the winter knitting :)  Not so inspired that I actually do it, mind you, but I love the idea.  Maybe this winter... :)

Anyway, my dear talented writer and illustrator friends Iza Trapani and Nancy Shaw and I all got to sit together to sign copies of our sheep books, and we got to do a group story time for the kids both Saturday and Sunday which was really fun.

Here we are... like our own little herd :)
me, Iza, and Nancy
So you see, I have a legitimate excuse for not getting my Halloweensie sample written yet.

It is making me anxious, though.  I think Something Chocolate is called for to calm the nerves :)  Hmm... what should we have today?  I'm in the mood for chocolate cupcakes! (am I ever not?! :))  A cupcake is basically a muffin, and therefore qualifies as a breakfast food, so dig in!

Recipe HERE at Sprinkle Some Sugar
http://www.sprinklesomesugar.com/ultimate-chocolate-cupcakes/

YUM!!!!!

Now that our mouths are full of delicious chocolatey goodness, today's pitch comes to us from Patricia.  Patricia is a former lawyer who migrated to the not-for-profit world many years ago.  A pre-published author and long-time 12x12 and PiBoIdMo participant, she primarily writes picture books, as these are the books she best loved reading with her three (almost) grown children. Patricia currently lives with her husband, two orange Tollers and almost 400 high school students at a New England boarding school.  Find her on Facebook at Two Orange Pups, on Twitter @ptntweets, or during Susanna’s super writing contests at Wander, Ponder, Write.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Aunt Elvira And The Watermelon Seed
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch: A visit from Great-Aunt Elvira happened once in a lifetime.  But why did it have to be during Clarissa's lifetime? Prim and proper Marissa was sure to shine, but with her slurps, burps and two left feet, Clarissa couldn’t imagine how she could impress her aged aunt.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in December so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Patricia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to coming up with an idea for Halloweensie so I can write my sample and stop feeling anxious that I haven't! :)  Also to seconds on that cupcake! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)


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19. Would You Read It Wednesday #175 - When You Best Friend Wants To Be Your Girlfriend and Other Horror Stories (MG)

Woo hoo!

It's Would You Read It Wednesday!

I am floundering through this week of mad activity, so watch how fast I get to the point!

First, Something Chocolate!  (Because what would Wednesday be without Something Chocolate?!)  And check this out - I went all health food on you!  The berry-to-chocolate ratio looks like it might be in the berries' favor!


Next, the reason we're all here today: the pitch!

Today's pitch comes to us from Kirk who is the Ringmaster of Kraft Three-Ring Circus which includes his beautiful wife, Patty, four kids aged 6-12 and a silly German Shepherd, Blitz. In all his spare time, not spent managing this circus or working his day job, he writes YA & MG fantasy, picture books and parenting nonfiction. The pitch before you is his first attempt at humorous MG.

You can connect with him on social media here:


Twitter - @KAKraft
Here is his pitch:

Working Title: When Your Best Friend Wants to be Your Girlfriend and Other Horror Stories
Age/Genre: MG
The Pitch: 12-year-old Jared Hoover’s been friends with Cassie Arnold since they were toddlers. They’ve gone to school together, shared family camping trips and even gone to Disneyland. Friends forever, right? Maybe not when Cassie experiences “changes” Jared can’t understand. There’s a good chance she hates him and will never speak to him again and an even greater chance that (gulp) she actually might “like” him in a weird way. Who knew girls were so complicated?

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in October so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Kirk is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to when my schedule settles down, which I always think will be next week... but then next week comes and life is still nuts... so I'm beginning to suspect it may have something to do with my time-management skills... But surely that can't be...!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!




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20. Would You Read It Wednesday #176 - Barnabas The Noisy Ninja (PB)

Avast, me hearties!

We've got a piratically fun pitch up today.  But first, a word from our sponsors...

For anyone who is interested (well, and I guess even if you're not interested... :)), Graduation Weekend was a success.  Everyone from our family who was supposed to graduate did - quite impressively, I might add :)  And some family members were in attendance in all necessary locations.  We took "divide and conquer" to a new level.  After all that planning, agonizing, traveling, etc, I can't believe it's over!

In other news, I'm heartbroken to report I found out yesterday that Punxsutawney Phyllis is going out of print :(  After a ten year run, apparently her time is up :(  I will have to horde as many copies as I can find!

I most definitely feel the need for Something Chocolate after such news, as I'm sure you all do too!   And I have recently heard (much to my delight) that eating chocolate cake for breakfast can help you maintain (or regain) a healthy weight.  I don't know who thought this plan up, but I'm all for it!  I have long suspected this to be the case.  So let's have cake!


I feel slimmer and healthier already, don't you? :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Jason who says, "My inspiration came in part from the many students with Autism I have taught during my 14 years as a special education teacher. I am a member of SCBWI along with a few critique groups out here in Western Massachusetts, where I live with my wife and 5 year old daughter.  When it's not below freezing outside, I love to grill.  (My new favorite is bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, which is as incredible as it sounds.)"   

Here is his pitch:

Working Title: Barnabas The Noisy Ninja
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Barnabas has pirate fever.  He loves to wear buccaneer boots, sing sea shanties, and shout avast at passing strangers.  Unfortunately, he lives in Ninjaville, where silence is golden and pirates are most certainly not welcome.  Exasperated by his piratical nature, his parents enroll him in Ninjagarten, hoping Sensei can tame his ruckus raising ways.  Barnabas, however, has other plans.  After enlisting his fellow ninjalings during recess, Barnabas leads them in a mutiny.  But when the things get out of hand, Barnabas must reign in his ruckus crew.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in October so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Jason is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing how that chocolate cake eating plan works and figuring out how many copies of Phyllis I can grab before they're gone forever!  For which I will no doubt need chocolate sustenance.  It's the Circle of Chocolate.  A lot like the Circle of Life, but yummier :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)



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21. Would You Read It Wednesday #177 - The Sun, The Moon, And Eve (PB) PLUS The May Pitch Pick!

Now that the Illustration Contest has been announced, I'm all excited to see what our talented illustrator friends are going to come up with!  How, oh how!, will we wait 3+ whole weeks?

But they don't call me Clever Sus for nothing!  Nosireebob!  I am a master of distraction technique!

For starters, we can distract ourselves by voting for our favorite pitches in the May Pitch Pick.

Our intrepid pitchers have taken all your good advice to heart and reworked their pitches so that I fear you're going to have quite a job picking a favorite to vote for!

Here they are:

#1 Zainab - A Case Of Cane-Syrupy-Sugar-A-Bitus (PB ages 4-8)

Samantha's dream of becoming THE pirouetting star of the school talent show may be shattered when she contracts a case of cane-syrup-a-bitus (a.k.a. the Sugar Bug). Will Samantha be able to rid herself of this high fructose bug or will she be sent home and miss her moment on stage?

#2 Linda - Poindexter's Particular Procedure For Cold Feet (PB ages )
Poindexter’s Particular Procedure for Cold Feet.  This play on the letter “P” pops the story along as it addresses two-year-old Evan’s problem of cold feet.  Evan is befuddled as his mother puts his socks on, yet no shoes.  Of course he promptly takes the socks off.  Only after consulting Poindexter’s Purple Book of Particular Procedures for Peculiar Problems does the mysterious solution produce toasty warm feet.
#3 Kirk - When Your Best Friend Wants To Be Your Girlfriend and Other Horror Stories (MG)
12-year-old Jared Hoover and Cassie Arnold have been friends since they ate sand together. They’ve attended the same schools, shared family camping trips and even visited Disneyland. Inseparable friends forever, right? Maybe not when Cassie begins experiencing “changes” Jared doesn’t understand. Jared can’t figure out if she hates his guts or (gulp) might actually "like" him in a weird way. Who knew girls were so complicated?

#4 Jason - Barnabas Is NOT A Ninja (PB ages 4-8)
Barnabas is not a ninja.  He wears buccaneer boots, sings sea shanties, and shouts “avast!” at passing strangers. So when his parents enroll him in Ninjagarten, he must contend with a shushing sensei, 19 know it all ninjalings, and an uncontrollable urge to raise a ruckus.  After recruiting the other students to join his pirate crew, Barnabas leads them in a mutiny.  Either he will conquer the classroom, or his first day of Ninjagarten will be his last.
Please vote for the pitch you think most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta in the poll below by Sunday June 7 at 5 PM EDT.  Many thanks!
May 2015 Pitch Pick
Next, we can indulge in Something Chocolate which will surely take our minds off the Illustration Contest at least while our mouths are full...!  Since it's breakfast time, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day, how about some chocolate waffles???!!!


Mmmm!  Great idea!  Not only chocolate!  Not only delicious!  But we've got the basic food groups covered: chocolate, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and fruit (for you breakfast purists out there :)).  Yum-MY!

And now, we can focus on today's pitch which comes to us from Lavanya whom you will remember from last July with her pitch for Sophie vs. The Monster.  She says, "I'm a software engineer by day, and an avid reader of fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and literature by night. I'm also mother to a young girl who has just discovered the magical ability to make meaning out of the printed word. I started putting my own words down on paper last November, and when I went to my regional SCBWI conference in April, I confirmed a suspicion that I had long harbored - writers are the nicest people in the world, and I want to be one of them. :-)"

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Sun, The Moon, And Eve
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: In the dawn of the world, a child called Eve sings out her love for her siblings, the Sun and the Moon. But when Eve's songs reveal her favorite, the Sun and the Moon unleash their fury. Eve must dispel the terrible shadow that follows, and restore their harmony.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in October so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Lavanya is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the Illustration Contest!  Aarrgghh!  There I go undoing all that fabulous distraction, putting the contest right back in your minds!  Oops! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)

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22. Would You Read It Wednesday # 178 - The Sunflower Traveler (PB) PLUS The May Pitch Pick Winner!

Happy National Corn On The Cob Day!

Really!

I'm not making this up!

I think it's a great idea for a holiday.  I love corn on the cob.  It is so delicious and summery!

I'm sure it's a completely genuine holiday and definitely not an elaborate ruse thought up by Oral B or Johnson&Johnson to increase sales of dental floss! :)

But here's what I'm thinking: the Tooth Fairy ought to cash in on this day.  Seriously, the number of teeth under pillows must skyrocket on a day when the world's 6 year olds are all eating corn on the cob :)

What, you may ask, does this have to do with Would You Read It?

Well... as I see it... absolutely nothing :)  But I still think it's important that you know the historic significance of the day!

Now then, if you could all kindly stop comparing corn on the cob recipes and arguing over the exact number of seconds required to perfectly cook corn on the cob, we could get down to the business at hand!

First, I'm thrilled to announce that the winner of the May Pitch Pick was Jason with his pitch for Barnabas Is NOT A Ninja!!!  Congratulations, Jason!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her comments!

And congratulations to our other brave pitchers who took the time to write, polish and perfect their pitches and summoned the nerve to put them out there for commentary.  You are all winners in my book!  Even if you didn't win the pitch pick, you should still all have pitches that are worthy of telling famous editors you happen to meet in elevators.

I think a little pick-me-up is in order before we tackle today's pitch and I have the perfect thing for our  Something Chocolate.  Get ready for it...

YES!  It IS chocolate-dipped corn on the cob!!!
If you google it, ye shall find it!  Chocolate-dipped corn on the cob!  Who (besides me) would have thought of such a thing?  Obviously someone!  I believe I even see chocolate sprinkles on there!  I have no idea how it tastes, but I'm game to try.  And think how healthy we're being, eating vegetables for breakfast!  Our moms will all be so proud :)

And now that we're all fortified with brain food, today's pitch comes to us from Michelle who says, "My idea for The Sunflower Traveler began a long time ago via my love of gardening and growing sunflowers. I’m an artist, writer and art instructor. The majority of my writing and art involves nature, critters, endangered species, and our environment. I enjoy including a bit of fantasy to draw my viewers in. I'm an active member of SCBWI. You can find my art and poetry at my blog: http://www.moreart4all.wordpress.com, art at my website: http://www.michellekogan.com, and in my Etsy shop http://www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com. Thanks for reviewing my pitch!"

Here is her pitch: 

Working Title: The Sunflower Traveler
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-10)
The Pitch: Ten-year-old Rhea’s growing sunflowers for Petal Path’s Magazine Contest. Her Dad lost his job, and the prize money would help her family.  But to win she’s got to find something new to share about her sunflowers.  A goldfinch thinks he can help. Together they mysteriously time-travel through one of her sunflowers. They eventually arrive in Past Times, where a new gardener needs help with his own garden woes. There she also has to conquer squirrel antics and deal with a rambunctious raven. Will she solve her sunflower problem, or get back home in time to enter the contest and help her 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 Michelle improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in October so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Michelle is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to sampling some chocolate-dipped corn on the cob :)  Just for kicks, we should take an informal poll: would YOU be willing to try chocolate-dipped corn on the cob?

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)





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23. Would You Read It Wednesday Double Header! #179 Boys Of Koh Panyee (PB) and How Much Farther (PB)

What with baseball season in full swing (hee hee) I thought we should do something fun and different!

(And when I say I thought we should do something fun and different as if it were intentional, I mean I totally forgot to skip a week of Would Your Read It to leave room for the Illustration Contest next week, so I'm pretending I planned this :))

But let's work with me here.

Is there anything more appropriate than a baseball metaphor on a day devoted to pitches? :)

And can you imagine anything more delightful on a beautiful June day then a sunny bleacher or stadium seat, the prospect of a whole day of fun, hot dogs (which I will refrain from dipping in chocolate after the response to last week's chocolate-dipped corn on the cob... although I bet someone's done it... :)), ice cream cones, and the company of friends at a double header of two picture book pitches?

(See how I snuck that in there?)

In case your answer is yes, I fully intend to bribe you change your mind by offering a prize or two as incentive to everyone who comments on both pitches.  I have some spare copies of friends' picture books lying around (I can't imagine how that happens - it's not as if picture books are my life or anything :)) - Tea Party Rules by Ame Dykeman, My Love For You Is The Sun by Julie Hedlund, Little Miss Muffet by Iza Trapani, What About Moose by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca Gomez, Jeremy Draws A Monster by Peter McArty, Tyranosaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, and Me Want Pet by Tammi Sauer, and who knows, maybe a couple of others because it's just possible that my office floor is not entirely tidy :)

So anyone who is kind enough to comment on both pitches by Sunday June 21 will be entered to win one of those awesome picture books!  And Darshana, Johnell and I all thank you a million, billion times for doing two Would You Read Its in one day (bearing in mind that you get Friday off because PPBF is on summer hiatus, and that there will NOT be a WYRI next Wednesday because the Illustration Contest will be running!!!)

Also, I do solemnly swear not to double up pitches ever again (unless I get myself in another scheduling bind at some point and then clearly I will have to up the bribery factor to a publishing contract or something :))

So let's get in a festive mood with Something Chocolate. . .

The 30 Cup Tower of Doom - a gargantuan tribute to Häagen-Dazs -
and definitely what you get at your average baseball stadium... :)
Just a teeny little single-person cone :)

Now then, are you feeling fortified (or possibly comatose :))?

Here comes the Double Header!

Today's first pitch comes to us from Darshana.  Darshana's special talents by day are solving engineering problems, creating activities for her kids, and concocting ways to spend time with her husband. By night she reads and writes picture books, so one day she can realize her dream of becoming a published author. Check out her book reviews at Flowering Minds, and keep up to date on the latest in the kidlit world by "Liking" her on FaceBook or "Following" her on Twitter.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Boys Of Koh Panyee
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8) - Fiction based on a true story
The Pitch: The boys of Koh Panyee, Thailand dream of becoming football champions, but they live on a floating village with no space to play. Through sheer gumption, the boys withstand the villagers’ jeers to create their own football pitch and become champions.

Today's second pitch comes to us from Johnell.  Johnell is a former PR exec. who now moves around the globe with her family. She blogs with her writing group at: http://dewdropsofink.blogspot.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: How Much Farther
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: In this all-dialogue story a child tries to convince his dad to carry him, but Dad finds creative ways to show the child that he can make it on his own. Between sightings of butterflies, robins and troll holes the child speeds closer to the anticipated destination until he can’t. go. another. step. When Dad offers to carry him, the child realizes his big-kid legs might be strong enough after all. 

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in October so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Darshana and Johnell are looking forward to your thoughts on their pitches!  I am looking forward to seeing the illustrations for the Illustration Contest next week!  I expect to have my socks completely knocked off... if anyone actually enters... which I'm a little worried they might not...  So please feel free to share the Illustration Contest around the blogosphere and twitter etc. because if we don't get any entries that will be so sad :(

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!  An thank you so much for helping Darshana and Johnell on the same day instead of on two different days!  And Happy Father's Day this weekend, since I won't be posting again beforehand!

P.S. I looked on google images and there ARE pictures of chocolate-dipped hot dogs!  But they were too revolting even for me to post! :)




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24. Publish: Setting

Hi folks, I'm starting a series that will last for the summer. It's called Publish and is in conjunction with my TEENSPublish workshop at the Ringer Library in College Station, Texas. This is the fourth week and I'm covering setting. I think some of this will relate to any creative life.


One piece of the publishing puzzle is an authentic setting. The tribe attacked setting this week with fever.  Setting is about perception. It is the creation of the exterior world within a novel or short story. Setting is the sensory experience of a story. The best stories understand the importance of sensory experience. 

The first exercise we tackled this week was the bird's eye view.  Crayons and pencils were passed out; and the students were happy to take flight in their imagination and draw the bird's eye view of the setting in the first scene of their stories. This exercise is important because it forces the creator to go beyond the four walls. Is a nightingale singing outside the room of the house?  Is the wind picking up outside and whistling in the cracks?  Is there a rose arbor outside the window? Are ninjas hiding outside the window? The bird's eye perspective can enrich a scene.

Next we explored how language truly affects our setting.  Word choice is important when creating the mood of a scene.  We described our scenes with hard consonants with long vowels and then with soft consonants and short vowels.  The meanings of the words were similar but the scene changed with careful word choice. The upshot of this exercise? There is a poetic element to setting that must be addressed. 

Last we watched a video on world building.  Some of the tribe must invent partial or whole worlds to write inventive stories. This video is a good place to get started with is here.   To me what is important about world building is limiting what is different from the real world. What we love about other worlds is how they remind of us home.  You may travel to the far reaches but what resonates is when you meet someone from your hometown or you find out the banana pudding is just like home.  It's what brings us together that is important, not what separates us.  Good advice for world building and life, too, I think. 

I hope that you think about setting this week as you create master works. I research the settings of my books. Here is a public board on Pinterest for the setting of my book PLUMB CRAZY.  You might find this informative.  Click on the link in the side bar if you want to know more about the book.

Hope you create master works this week.  Next week we will take a break from the nuts and bolts and sneak in a contemplative blog about the universe, creativeness, and such. See you then.


Here is a art.

And finally a quote for your pocket. 
Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. Abraham Lincoln.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

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25. Would You Read It Wednesday #181 - How I Made My Baby (PB) PLUS Keep Voting For Illustrators!

Howdy Folks!

It's time for Would You Read It Wednesday!

But since Im interrupting the voting for the Illustration Contest, I have to add a link right here to remind anyone who hasn't voted yet to hop over and show those talented illustrators some love :)

http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2015/06/illustration-contest-for-childrens.html

And since you are all so wonderful for voting, we'll skip right to Something Chocolate... Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich!


Perfect for a July summer day! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Lavanya whom you will remember from last July with her pitch for Sophie vs. The Monster and her pitch last month for The Sun, The Moon And Eve.  She says, "I'm a software engineer by day, and an avid reader of fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and literature by night. I'm also mother to a young girl who has just discovered the magical ability to make meaning out of the printed word. I started putting my own words down on paper last November, and when I went to my regional SCBWI conference in April, I confirmed a suspicion that I had long harbored - writers are the nicest people in the world, and I want to be one of them. :-)"

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: How I Made My Baby
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: The thing about making a baby sister is, you have to be patient. First, you have to be patient until Mom and Dad realize you have the best idea. Then, you have to be patient for the baby to come out. But hardest of all is being patient while the baby grows big enough to play with 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 Lavanya improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in November so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Lavanya is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who will win the Illustration Contest!!!  (And one more time if you didn't get to vote yet... :) http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2015/06/illustration-contest-for-childrens.html)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)


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