October 1, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #147 - Eat At Antonio's (PB) PLUS The September Pitch Pick!

Happy OCTOBER everyone!

Holy smoke!  How did we get to October already?  The days are just flying by! (some might say like a witch on a broomstick!)

And you know what October means, right?  Look for some exciting news on Monday!!! :)

Meanwhile, it's time for the September Pitch Pick!

Here are the wonderful September pitches for you to choose from, revised and improved thanks to your generous feedback!:

#1 Hope - Cleo And Pinkie (PB ages 4-8)
Whether it is marker stains on the carpet or mud trails in the hall, Cleo blames her mischievous, imaginary friend, Pinkie, for everything. “Pinkie did it!” Soon Mommy can’t take it anymore and declares, “No more Pinkie!” But without Pinkie, the house is too quiet until Cleo makes another mess, this time, to everyone’s delight.

#2 Koren/Sue - Taffeta: Diary Of A Supermodel (PB ages 6-13)
A true beauty, Taffeta used to win all the rosettes in pony shows in England. But one day a man bought her, and she had to move away from her mother, to her new home in hot and dusty Spain. When her new owner fell ill, so did Taffeta.
Taffeta could barely stand from lack of food and water. Luckily, she was found by a couple from a local horse rescue center, and soon Taffeta found supermodel status again.
Share in the heartwarming true story of Taffeta’s rescue and rise to fame in this diary-style picture book illustrated with beautiful photographs.
Taffeta: Diary of a supermodel is the second in a series of children’s books in which the horses and other animals saved by Spain’s Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre share their real-life rescue stories. All funds raised from the sale of this book help the center care for its many rescued horses, ponies, and donkeys.
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Center is based in Rojales, along Spain’s famed Costa Blanca coastline in the Valencia province. The center opens to the public every Sunday all year round. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.easyhorsecare.net or email center founders Rod and Sue Weeding on rescue@easyhorsecare.net.
Thank you for your support.
#3 Carol - Cwabby Wabby Woofen-snoof (PB ages 4-7)
Woofen-snoof was a happy snoof. Then one day she forgot to take her nap. She was cwabby. After causing a disaster in her house involving her brothers, Goofen and Zoofen, she decided she would never be cwabby again. And she wasn’t. That is, until the next time she forgot to take her nap. Uh-oh!

It's a tough choice as always, I know!, but please choose the one you feel most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta and vote for it in the poll below by Sunday October 5 at 5 PM EDT.  I will announce the winner on WYRI next week!

Golly!  After all that voting we need a snack!  Autumn is in the air, and that makes me think of cider donuts - the very best donuts on earth!  So I'm cheating on Something Chocolate a little today by offering you these:

YUM!

Along with this:

Also YUM!

Is there anything better than fresh cider donuts and hot chocolate?  I think not! :)

All right!  Ready for today's pitch?

It comes to us from Tonia who says, "I have been writing children's stories since I could make words with a pen. I locked myself in my room and wrote and wrote. I now write for kids in my spare time and sharing and engaging them in stories. I blog at www.storytellertellsall.com. Most of the time, it is about my daughter "Goldi" who has autism but I mix in other writings as well."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Eat At Antonio's
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 8+)
The Pitch: A  strange looking restaurant pops up in a small ho hum farm town offering fine cuisine. A real stir is created as these plain Jane folks can't swallow much more than meat and potatoes and common sense. The Grand Opening announces a real eating adventure. Once inside, Master Chef Antonio will transform the taste buds that will take them to exotic places with just one bite. 

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 Tonia 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!

Tonia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to sharing exciting things on Monday!  I wonder what I'll be telling you?  Aren't you just itching to find out?  You're probably going to have a tough time sleeping or getting anything productive done for the next few days, what with all the waiting and wondering...  Sorry about that :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)


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September 26, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - You Are (Not) Small

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I spent easily half my week writing a picture book which is not working and which at this point I hate a little bit :)  Why is it that an idea which seems so good when it starts out in your head can turn out so badly when you get it on paper?  I still feel like there's a kernel of good story in there somewhere, but darned if I can find it right now :)

Ah, well, at least I have a lovely, fun picture book (not mine :)) to share with you today!

Title: You Are (Not) Small
Written By: Anna Kang
Illustrated By: Christopher Weyant
Two Lions, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-6

Themes/Topics: Differences, Perspective, Humor

Opening: "'You are small.'
'I am not small.  You are big.'
'I am not big.  See?'"

Brief Synopsis: Two creatures (whose fur, noses, and expressions suggest that they are indeed closely related) argue over who is small and who is big.  But it's really all in how you look at it :)


Links To Resources: Kids Activity Guide with printable growth chart; Classroom Guide for K-1st with Common Core Standards; start a discussion on the difficulty and/or desirability of establishing standards; read with Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - how are these books alike? how are they different?

Why I Like This Book:  This book is short and simple, yet it manages to convey an important message with humor.  I dare you not to laugh at the end :)  In 91 words, it manages to get across the idea that we can be big and small at the same time, and in spite of our perceived differences we have much in common.  The art is appealing, and the characters' expressions speak volumes.  For anyone who has ever felt too little (or too big), this is the perfect story.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  Can't wait to see what other wonderful picture books will be on the list this week!

Have a wonderful first weekend of Autumn, everyone! :)


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September 24, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #146 - Cwabby Wabby Woofen-Snoof (PB)

So yesterday morning, when it was 38 degrees and barely light, and I was out doing my duty to dogs and fitness, (I would say "running", but even "jogging" would probably be considered a gross exaggeration of my pace :)), anyway, I was out slogging and I got stung 4 times by white-faced hornets.

I know!

There I was at 6:45 AM, minding my own business, passing their (very unattractive) home with its (evil-looking) entrance and giving it a wide and respectful berth as I have done every day since I discovered it at the end of July, when an angry buzzing issued forth and I barely had time to think "uh-oh!" before zing! zing! zing! zing!

To which I responded, "Ow!"

There was some sprinting involved at that point as I envisioned the whole nest coming after me like the bees did in Winnie-the-Pooh.

Also I was pulling my fleece off over my head whilst sprinting because one of those nasty little critters had gotten up my sleeve.

And also I was hollering to my Brown Dogs to "Look out!" and "Come here!" (whilst sprinting and de-fleecing) because I was afraid of them getting stung by that evil horde.

Too bad there's no video footage :)

But really, I consider 4 to be overkill.  One would have been quite sufficient to get the message across, and even that was unwarranted as I was not threatening them in any way.  And seriously, what business did they have even being awake at that hour and in that temperature?!

I tell you, I was miffed!

And then later in the day I found out that my new book, ALPHABEDTIME!, which was due out in Fall 2015 will not be out until Summer 2016.  And you all know that impatience is my middle name, so that was a teensy bit tough.  Please don't get me wrong!  I am exceedingly grateful to have a book coming out at all!  It's just hard to wait :)

Therefore, I believe I have earned today's Something Chocolate, and I gladly share it with all of you in case you have been miffed or had to bear any little disappointments lately, or even if you haven't and just want Something Chocolate :)


Feel better?

Me too :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Carol who says, "I have been writing for about 30 years and have 7 books to my name. I have sold many articles and stories to publications such as ​Highlights for Children, Girl's Life, the SCBWI Bulletin ​and ​The Writer Magazine."

You can find her on the web at:

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Cwabby Wabby Woofen-Snoof
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch: Woofen-snoof was a happy snoof. Every day she laughed and played with the other snoofs. All of the snoofs loved her cheerful outlook and enjoyed being around her. Everyone called her Happy, Wappy, Woofen-snoof. One day, Woofen had so much fun playing that she forgot to take her nap. Uh-oh!

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 Carol 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!

Carol is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to all the season premieres this week: Big Bang - which I know already aired but I haven't gotten to watch it yet - Modern Family, Gray's Anatomy and Scandal.  Yep.  Now you know all my dirty little secrets :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)


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September 19, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Most Magnificent Thing PLUS The Goodnight Ark Giveaway Winner!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Boy do I have the most magnificent book to share with you today!  It's one of those books that makes you revel in how perfect it is when you get to the end and want to read it again right away in case you missed anything and then again just to enjoy how much fun it is :)  I hope you all like it as much as I do!

Title: The Most Magnificent Thing
Written & Illustrated By: Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press, April 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: creativity, perseverance, perspective, emotion (frustration)

Opening: "This is a regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world.  They do all kinds of things together.  They race.  They eat.  They explore.  They relax.  She makes things.  He unmakes things.  One day, the girl has a wonderful idea.  She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing!"


Brief Synopsis: A little girl sets out to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing with the help of her best friend and assistant, her dog.  Imagine their shock when the thing turns out not to be magnificent!  In fact, it's not even "good. It isn't even kind-of-sort-of okay. It is all wrong."  So she tosses it and starts again.  But it's not easy to turn her vision into reality.  Frustration leads to anger, and anger leads to defeat.  Luckily, her assistant suggests a walk which brings calm and clarity and a new perspective... and a most magnificent thing :)

Links To Resources: supply a variety of craft items and/or found objects and encourage kids to think up and create their own "magnificent things"; Goldie Blox Toys (which encourage girls to put down the dolls and pick up the tools and might give you some invention ideas)

Why I Like This Book:  I love that this story addresses what may be the most common of all childhood emotions: frustration!  The little girl has a great idea.  She can imagine it perfectly.  She knows exactly how it will look.  But she has a hard time translating what she sees in her mind's eye to the physical reality of her most magnificent thing.  Her escalation of emotion is real and believable (and kids will relate to it so well!)  And the message that sometimes a little distance and a little time to calm down can help improve your perspective is a wonderful one.  In the end, she makes something that is just perfect (but I won't tell you what it is :))  The art is cute and full of humor.  The depiction of emotion is spot on.  The story touches on imagination and creativity, making things from found objects, dealing with frustration and disappointment, keeping/finding your perspective, not giving up, the idea that it's okay to make mistakes, and the importance of having a good friend.  All around, a book kids will enjoy and parents will be glad to read multiple times.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Now, before we all trot off so see what everyone else picked this week, I'd like to take a moment to announce the winner of last week's giveaway.  Laura Sassi and her publisher, Zonderkidz, generously contributed a copy of GOODNIGHT, ARK and the lucky winner is . . .

Sandy Perlic!!!

Congratulations, Sandy!  Please email me so we can organize getting you your book!  And thanks to everyone who shared their bedtime routines - we all had so much fun reading about them!

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can't wait to see what's on the list for today :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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September 17, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #145 Special Edition - Taffeta: Diary Of A Supermodel (PB)

Howdy, folks!

Guess what?

We have a very special Would You Read It today!  It's a little less of a pitch and little more of a jacket blurb, and it's for a great cause!

You all may recall back in November... sheesh, that was nearly a year ago, wasn't it?!  Where does the time go?... but anyway, you may recall we had a special Would You Read It for Faith The Heroic Pony.  It was written by Sue Weeding and introduced to us by Koren Helbig, a journalist who discovered Sue's extraordinary mission.  Today, I'm hoping we can once again put our heads together to help Koren and Sue ensure the success of Sue's new book, soon to be released.  I'll let Koren tell you all about it:

Sue and Rod Weeding moved to Spain from Britain aiming to slip into an easy sunshine-and-relaxation retirement. But all that changed in 2008 with Luceiro, a two-year-old stallion they found locked in a filthy and dark stable, his left eye badly injured and rotting, hurling himself repeatedly against the bars of his stall as flies drove him crazy. The Weedings brought him home and unwittingly created a much-needed horse rescue centre.
Now, at their Easy Horse Rescue Center in Spain’s southeastern province of Alicante, the Weedings care for more than 80 horses, ponies and donkeys saved from abuse and neglect. Some of the animal's remarkable stories have been told in this documentary.
Among their charges is little Faith, who became the first pony in Spain to be fitted with a prosthetic leg after her mutilated front leg had to be amputated.
Faith's journey inspired Sue to write a series of children's books telling the stories of the center's horses, aiming to raise awareness about animal abuse while generating additional funds to cover the center's hefty running costs. The first book, Faith: Dairy of a heroic horse, is available on Amazon. Now we'd love a little help putting together a snappy blurb for the second book, Taffeta: Diary of a supermodel. Thanks!
I know Koren and Sue have come to the right place!  There is no one better to help them than you guys.  Here is a little Something Chocolate to get you going.  Don't think of it as bribery... think of it as brain fuel :)

Ooh!  Scrumptious!
(And many thanks to Teresa for calling my attention to this deliciousness! :))

So without further ado, here is the pitch/blurb for Sue's soon-to-be-released new book, Taffeta: Diary Of A Supermodel.

Working Title: Taffeta: Diary Of A Supermodel by Sue Weeding
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-13)
The Pitch/Blurb:

Taffeta was a prized show pony winning rosettes in England when one day she was taken from her mother, loaded onto a strange trailer and driven many hours south to a hot and dusty paddock in Spain. When her new owner there fell ill, Taffeta was left without food and water until she grew so weak she couldn't even stand.
Luckily, this sad true story has a happy ending. Taffeta was saved by a local couple who run a horse rescue center and soon her beauty had propelled her to stardom in Spain. Taffeta became a supermodel and the star of many local fashion shows!
Share in the heartwarming story of Taffeta's rescue and rise to fame in this diary-style picture book packed full of beautiful real-life photographs.
All funds raised from the sale of this book help the Easy Horse Care Rescue Center Foundation in Spain care for its many rescued horses, ponies, and donkeys.
Taffeta: Diary of a supermodel is the second in a series of children’s books in which the horses and other animals saved by the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre share their real-life rescue stories.
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Center is based in Rojales, along Spain’s famed Costa Blanca coastline in the Valencia province. The center opens to the public every Sunday all year round. You’re welcome to come along and meet the horses, ponies, donkeys, and many other rescued animals that reside at the center and hear their incredible stories.
For more information or to make a donation, visit www.easyhorsecare.net or email center founders Rod and Sue Weeding on rescue@easyhorsecare.net.
Thank you for your support.
And so you all can see the subject of this story:

Taffeta shortly after her rescue, getting treats for being brave
Sue Weeding with little Taffeta, shortly after her rescue
Taffeta all dressed up for a fashion show :)
Happy and healthy Taffeta today :)

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 Koren and Sue improve their 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!

Koren and Sue are looking forward to your thoughts on their pitch!  I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this question (which I just thought of because of today's pitch :)):

Would there be any interest among the ranks here in expanding Would You Read It to include jacket blurbs?  I think it would be very helpful to writers who intend to self-publish, and it's very good practice to see if you've really got a handle on your book!  I don't think there would be as much call for it, so blurbs would be less frequent than pitches, but what do you think?  I would only want to try it if you guys thought it would be interesting and fun.  So let me know in the comments! :)


Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone, and definitely seconds or thirds on that cake up there :)


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September 12, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Goodnight, Ark PLUS A Giveaway!!!

Dzoo dzoo-doo dzoo dzoo dzoo dzooooo!!!

(That's me playing my kazoo in celebration.  You didn't know I was a kazoo virtuoso, did you?  Just another of my many talents.  I am also a whiz at removing toothpaste "mints" from the sink :))

Welcome back to another year of Perfect Picture Book Fridays!

I am so looking forward to all the new picture books we're going to share!

Parents, teachers, readers, and writers take note!  There will be something for everyone to enjoy and learn from :)

I am thrilled to be presenting a wonderful book for the 2014-2015 PPBF kick-off, written by none other than your friend and mine, Laura Sassi.  Since this is part of her blog tour, we are fortunate to have her here with us today, sharing her thoughts on the illustrations and how parents and teachers can engage their kids through them.  She and her publisher, Zonderkidz, are also generously offering a giveaway, so one lucky reader will win a copy of this delightful book! (U.S. residents only - street address, no P.O. box - publisher's stipulation.)  Laura's thoughts and the giveaway will appear below the book listing.

Title: Goodnight, Ark
Written By: Laura Sassi
Illustrated By: Jane Chapman
Zonderkidz, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (according to publisher, but I think ages 2-3 would enjoy it too :))

Themes/Topics: animals, bedtime, fear (of thunderstorms), language fun (rhyme, onomatopoeia)

Opening: "Beds are ready.
Food is stored.
Noah hollers,
"All aboard!"
Guests rush forward.
Furry, scaled,
woolly, feathered,
swishy-tailed."

Brief Synopsis: Two by two, the animals board Noah's ark.  They're supposed to settle down and go to sleep... but the heavy rain, thunder and lightning frighten them, so two by two they climb in bed with Noah!  How much can one bed take? And will anybody get any sleep?

Links To Resources: talk about onomatopoetic words - what onomatopoetic words can kids think up?  Words for eating sounds? Engine noises? Musical sounds?; Noah's Ark coloring page #1Noah's Ark coloring page #2; talk about the bible story of Noah's ark - how is it like GOODNIGHT, ARK and how is it different?; talk about fears - is anyone afraid of storms?  What other things are frightening?  What can you do to feel safe and secure when you're frightened?; the animals are described as "furry, scaled, woolly, feathered, swishy-tailed" - what animals can you think of that are furry? scaled? etc.; please see Laura's thoughts below on ways to use the illustrations; here's the link to book trailer (in case it doesn't load properly here :)) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRsc-pKmKwM




Why I Like This Book: This is a delightful story - an entertaining, clever, child-friendly twist on the original Noah's ark.  The text is the perfect length for young attention spans.  The rhyme is filled with fun onomatopoetic words that kids will enjoy joining in with.  The art is bright, colorful and engaging, filled with small details that will keep young listeners busy.  But possibly my favorite thing is the skunks who have a whole story of their own going on in the illustrations.  Start looking for them in the 4th spread and watch what happens :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

The Importance of Illustration - Thoughts From Laura Sassi
(A lesson for writers, and an opportunity for parents, teachers, and kids :))

Author Laura Sassi
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One of the basic rules of picture book writing is that writers need to let the illustrations tell part of the story. I understood this in principle, but it wasn’t until I saw Jane Chapman’s delightful illustrations for GOODNIGHT, ARK that it really hit home. I mean, WOW! Her illustrations truly show that principle in action and are a great reminder for me, that as a writer, I should curb any lingering tendency to over-describe or over-prescribe my texts and let the illustrators do their jobs.  

Here, then, are some great examples of how Jane used illustration to add humor and even extra plot details to GOODNIGHT, ARK. You’ll have to look carefully, for they are subtly sprinkled throughout her rich and colorful spreads:
1.Extra Animals: In addition to the key players, Jane adds extra animal guests.  I found nine extra pairs. Can you?
2. Extra (funny!)provisions: The text makes no mention of specific provisions, leaving lots of room for Jane to add humorous extras like the canned cat food that rolls across the floor on the tippiest page in the story.  It took me several reads to notice them! What other funny provisions do you see?
3. Underwear!: Every child I’ve read my story to has howled at Jane’s humorous inclusion of polka-dotted boxers quietly hanging on the line to dry.  We’ve also chuckled over the toothbrush. Both nice touches, I would never have thought of. What other humorous extras can you find?
4. Extra Plot Layer:  I don’t want to give away the most exciting part, but a certain pair of creatures is instrumental in restoring balance on the ark. In her illustrations, Jane brings out the personality of this pair in a darling way, even hinting through their gestures that they planned the whole stinky thing.  I LOVE that extra layering! 

Thanks, Laura!  To see the other stops on Laura's blog tour (6 completed, 4 upcoming) please click HERE for the links.


And now for the giveaway!  All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment telling us something funny about bedtime: a favorite trick for getting kids to bed? an unusual bedtime routine? something kids won't sleep without? some clever way kids try to get out of bedtime?  Anything fun and bedtime-related.  Bonus point if it includes an animal in some way :)

My example (which does not include animals except as occasional topics of discussion) is that when my son was little, he was never ready for sleep when he got in bed.  Instead, he had what he called his "thinking time" which inevitably (Every. Night!) involved him getting up numerous times and coming to ask me such can't-wait questions as, "How much is infinity?", "Where does wind come from?", "How many teeth does a tyrannosaurus rex have?", and "Why is it called the Milky Way?"  To which I would respond knowledgeably, "Uh......." :)

Please leave your comment by Sunday September 14 at 5 PM EDT.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced next week.  One note: the publisher stipulates that the winner must reside in the U.S. and have a street address, not a PO box, so please let us know if you're commenting just for fun and are not eligible.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  Hurray!  Can't wait!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


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September 10, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #144 - Cleo And Pinkie (PB) PLUS The July Pitch Winner PLUS Straight From The Editor x2!

Hellooo Dearies!!!

I am so glad to be back after my August off of blogging, and so glad to see you all!!!

I know the year officially begins on January 1st, but really, September always feels like the new year to me.  Too many years in school, I guess :)

It's lovely to see so many friends reappearing on their blogs after a summer off.  There is energy and excitement and enthusiasm in the air.  I am, as always, full of ideas I don't have enough time to implement (but that never stops me from thinking I can follow through on them somehow :))

There will probably be some changes afoot around here.  I'm not sure what yet, exactly, but I might want to try something new and different on Mondays at some point... feel free to make suggestions in the comments if there's something in particular you'd like to see.  And I'm going to try (after today :)) to make my posts a little shorter...  Stop laughing!  Seriously!  I can HEAR you!

I find I'm having a hard time keeping all the balls in the air, what with writing, teaching, critiquing, blogging/social media, school visits, marketing, continuing ed, and my position as COO in a home with a husband, 5 kids, 2 dogs, aging parents just down the road and a pony up the road, so my answer to that is A SCHEDULE.  Novel idea, don't you think?  I haven't written it down yet, but I am cogitating on it (er, since January...), and I feel confident that at some point a Master Plan that is helpful and productive will emerge that will allow me to get everything done in half the time.  There is a faction here on Blueberry Hill that objects to me working 24/7 :)  You'll know the Master Plan is in place when I tell you I've read a book longer than 32 pages for fun :)

I'm already looking forward to the upcoming writing contests! and I'll give you a heads up: The Halloweensie Contest will run from October 27-31, and The Holiday Contest will run from December 8-12.  In both cases the judging, voting, and winner announcements will occur in the week following.  So mark your calendars :)

Now, before we go a step further, there is something CRUCIAL we must attend to after these weeks off!  It's time for...

SOMETHING CHOCOLATE!!!
Ultimate Brownie Sundae - YUM!
And something specially NOT chocolate for Julie R-Z because she did something deserving of a special treat and she doesn't like chocolate for breakfast - go figure!  (And if you give me a few minutes I might remember what it was she did - all I have here is a note that it had something to do with a survey... :))
Glazed Apple Crumb Muffins!
Recipe here: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/06/10/glazed-apple-crumb-muffins/

Alrighty!  Now that we have bolstered our blood sugar, let's continue, shall we?

(The problem with vacation is there's always catching up to do afterwards.)

First, did I get a chance to tell you who won the June and July Pitch Picks?

I think I mentioned that Kimberly had won the June pick with her pitch for Sprinkles The Clown.  But we can't have gotten around to the July winner yet because we haven't been here!  The July Pitch Pick was won by Brandie with her pitch for The Trouble With Keeping Vikings!  Congratulations to Kimberly and Brandie as well as to all the other brave and talented writers who submitted pitches.  Your pitches were ALL so good, and it's such a wonderful opportunity for us all to learn from each other!

Second, we have Straight From The Editor for both June and July!

Let's start with June since that appeals to my sense of orderly chronology.  Because I am so orderly :) (Please refer back to the Master Plan under construction :))

You will recall Kimberly's pitch for her picture book, Sprinkles The Clown:

Sprinkles the Clown wants to fit in with her classmates on the first day of Kindergarten, but when her show-and-tell juggling act goes wrong, all the other little clowns laugh at her. However, as a storm rolls in scaring all the students, Sprinkles puts her own fears aside and uses one of her true clowning skills to save the day!
Here are editor Erin Molta's insightful thoughts:

This sounds cute, though for a pitch you need to be a little more specific. Don’t worry about giving it all away. I’m assuming that all the kids are clowns, right? So I’d say something like I’ve done below. Also what is a “true” clowning skill? I would definitely say what Sprinkles did that made all of the other little clowns feel safer or less afraid.

Sprinkles the Clown wants to fit in with her classmates on the first day of Kindergarten, but when her show-and-tell juggling act goes wrong, all the other little clowns laugh at her. However, as a storm rolls in scaring all the students, Sprinkles puts her own fears aside and [does what?] to save the day!

Brandie's pitch for her picture book, The Trouble With Keeping Vikings, was as follows:

A boy opens his front door and comes face-to-face with a startling surprise. A Viking horde has come for a visit, and they REEK of mischief. From snot-snakes to clashing swords, the outrageous antics of these pesky pillagers are never-ending. That is until the boy makes a certain phone call that will leave these manner-less brutes quaking in their Viking-boots.

Erin had this to say:

I love Vikings and they are somewhat "hot" now, so this definitely has potential, but no need to hide so much. Who is the boy calling? An editor might be so curious that they'll ask for the manuscript to find out, but usually they'll ask because the idea intrigues them and they want to see how you go about it. So it's much better to give them as much information to aid in that process as possible.

Thanks as always to Erin for her very helpful thoughts.  We are so lucky that she is such a cheerful contributor to this series!

Now, then.  The moment you've all been waiting for - Would You Read It!

Today's pitch comes to us from Hope who says, "I used to travel around the globe, working as a contract interpreter for the US State Department and a freelance translator until I became a mother. Now as the mother of two children, I continue my love of language by reading with them and writing."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Cleo And Pinkie
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Cleo is always busy doing something, but that often turns into trouble. As Mommy grumbles, Cleo brings in Pinkie, her imaginary, mischievous friend, and blames him for everything. “Pinkie did it!” But soon Mommy can’t tolerate it anymore and declares, “No more Pinkie!” With Pinkie gone, the house is quiet and trouble free until Mommy discovers another mess…this time to her delightful surprise.

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 Hope 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 jump right in and send your pitch for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Hope is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting back into a routine and implementing my Master Plan... as soon as I think it up :)  I am also looking forward to starting up Perfect Picture Book Fridays again in only 2 days!  I have a special one on deck for you that includes a giveaway so yay! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  So glad we're all back together again! :)




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July 30, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday - The July Pitch Pick! PLUS Straight From The Editor And Summer Vacation :)

Do you guys know what today is?

Well, yes, you're right, it is Would You Read It Wednesday.

It also happens to be the day before my granddaughter's 3rd birthday (which coincidentally falls on the same day as Harry Potter's, Neville Longbottom's, and J.K. Rowling's! :))

It also happens to be National Cheesecake Day, which I intend to honor in a moment...

But it is also the last day of posting here until September!

It's true.  In order not to be disowned by my family I am taking August off from blogging.  I promised I would, and so I shall.  But it's going to be hard and I'm going to miss you all terribly!

Let's have Something Chocolate to lift our spirits, shall we?  In honor of the day, I'm thinking Chocolate Cheesecake!

Death-By-Chocolate Cheesecake!
Recipe here: http://hotpolkadot.com/2013/02/10/death-by-chocolate-and-the-birth-of-a-blog/
I think I speak for all of us when I say I may not feel that much better about not seeing you for a month but boy is that good! :)

And now, how about Straight From The Editor for May?  Hearing from Erin Molta, our wonderful and helpful visiting editor, always perks us up, doesn't it?

You will recall that the May Pitch Pick was won by Todd with his pitch for Orville Wright's Final Flight.

Here is his winning pitch:

Orville Wright's Final Flight by Todd Burleson (NF PB ages 7-12)

Orville Wright may be best remembered for his first flight, but it was his final flight 41 years later would completely change the world of aviation.  

And here are Erin's thoughts:

This sounds somewhat intriguing but in the crowded nonfiction picture book market you need to give us a little bit more.. Is there any way you can give us a little hint about what made his last flight so special? 

That could make or break whether an editor will ask you for the whole manuscript.

As always, I find her thoughts insightful!  Thank you, Erin :)

And now, it's time for the July Pitch Pick, which is always so exciting :)  Here are our 4 fabulous pitches:

#1 Michelle - Escalators Don't Bite! -  Picture Book (ages 2-6)

Salim, world traveler, worries about whether he’s packed enough crayons. He worries his backpack will come unzipped. But with his whole family on its way to see Grandma and Grandpa, he’s worried most about his little sister Malika, who never does what she’s supposed to do. On her first trip to the airport, Salim knows that if it’s sticky, Malika will spill it. If there’s an escalator, Malika will get stuck on it. And if there’s a red button, Malika will push it. Desperate to ensure his family gets to the gate on time for their flight, Salim has started work on a Little Travelers’ Guide to Airports. But while he’s busy writing, the irrepressible Malika is busy exploring. When Salim’s sage travel advice comes up against Malika’s infectious sense of adventure, both siblings learn something important from each other about airport travel safety and fun.

(And Michelle adds: Many thanks to all who gave their revision advice. I hope I've gotten closer with this version!)

#2 Lavanya - How Not to Be a Monster Meal - Picture Book (K-3)
Posey has a brand new room. But something lurks within the gloom -- A monster with a riddle dare! And he's hungry as a bear. If Posey can't outwit the cretin, little Posey will be eaten...


#3  Brandie - The Trouble With Keeping Vikings - Picture Book (ages 4-6)
A boy opens his front door and comes face-to-face with a startling surprise. A Viking horde has come for a visit, and they REEK of mischief. From snot-snakes to clashing swords, the outrageous antics of these pesky pillagers are never-ending. That is until the boy makes a certain phone call that will leave these manner-less brutes quaking in their Viking-boots.

#4 Erin - Love, Emmett - Picture Book (ages 4-8)
Emmett loved books so much that he eventually loved them to pieces…literally. After his favorite one falls apart, Emmett saves the last remaining page, only he can’t remember the story quite right. When his teacher asks the class to share their favorite books, Emmett must decide how to tell the story. But his love for the book might just say everything.

Please vote for the one you think is best and deserves a read by editor Erin Molta by Sunday August 3 at 5 PM.


Thank you so much!

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 September 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!

And now, my poppets, I bid you happy August.  I hope you all have tons of fun with your families and your writing and reading, swimming, sailing, sunning, hiking, biking, kayaking, riding, playing volleyball, tennis, baseball, or whatever floats your boat - generally enjoying all summer has to offer!

See you September 10 for the return of Would You Read It, and September 12 for the kick off of Perfect Picture Books Year 3!

xoxoxo :)



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July 23, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #143 - Love, Emmett (PB)

Well, folks, here it is Wednesday again!  What a week it has been, and not a good one.

I like to keep things upbeat around here, so I won't depress you with details.  But I haven't got the heart for high jinx and shenanigans today.  Instead I'll just ask that if you have kids and they're near, give them a hug.  If they're not near, call them and tell them how much you love them.  Take a moment to be grateful if they're alive and well, even if sometimes they try your patience, and if they're old enough to be driving, remind them, even if they roll their eyes, that motor vehicles demand respect and caution at all times - at least twice as much respect and caution as they think.  Then hug them again.  And maybe once more, just because you can.

And now, I will be having at least two helpings of Something Chocolate, and I recommend you do the same.  Celebrate the good!  I picked something delicious and chocolatey but also delightfully cold since it's going to climb well into the 90s today.  Two layers of decadent chocolate cake with a layer of vanilla ice cream sandwiched in between all topped with hot fudge!  Really, what could be better than that? :)  Maybe chocolate ice cream in the middle :)
Milo Ice Cream Cake
http://www.brit.co/ice-cream-cakes/
Now that we have all enjoyed a sustaining snack, let's get right to Would You Read It.

Today's pitch comes to us from Erin who says, "My name is Erin. I have a degree in Biology, a job that has nothing to do with my degree, and an insane urge to write, which has nothing to do with my job! A couple of years ago, I discovered a box of books I had saved from my childhood and realized I wasn't pursuing my passion. I started writing picture books, taking online classes, and trying to learn my craft. And this year I've committed to putting my work out there for critique so I can eventually get to the next step--submission!"

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Love, Emmett
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Emmett loved books so much that he eventually loved them to pieces…literally. Going on daily adventures with a little boy will do that to a book. After his favorite one falls apart, Emmett saves the one remaining page to remember the book by, only he can’t seem to get the story quite right. When Emmett’s teacher asks the class to share their favorite books, Emmett must decide how to tell the book’s story. But his love for the book might just say everything.

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

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September 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!

Erin is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to spending time with my family, including my sister and brother-in-law and my niece and nephews who are arriving this afternoon for a two week stay.  After this week, time with family is exactly what I want most.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)


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