October 31, 2011

Halloweensie Delay

Apparently it's Octsnowber.  We have 2 feet of snow and no power or iinternet.  I am currently lurking outside Dunki' Donuts (I know you're surprised!) poaching 3G to write this on myphoone.  Please post your Halloweensie entries and I'll get the contest and link list up as soon as I can.  So sorry for the trouble, but we're told it may be days...Hopefully I'll be able to sort it all out eventually.  Meanwhile, please fotrgive my temporary absence from the blogosphere!
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October 28, 2011

Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza - Halloween! - and Warm Fuzzies!

Important Update to the Halloweensie Contest!
Want to enter but don't have a blog?  No problem!  Just copy and paste your entry into the comment section on Monday!  (We may all be doing that if I don't get the Linky Tool thing figured out :))

To start today's festivities, I ask you all to witness my awesome fun foto!  I realize, of course, that this is technically another pumpkin, but it's so unbelievable I have to show you.  Prepare to be amazed!
lolcats
No pumpkin I ever carved came out looking remotely that artistic.  In fact, the ones I carve are generally no longer recognizable as pumpkins...

But if you're going to get nitpicky and require something Halloween but non-pumpkin, I always go for the cuteness.  How's this?
lolcats
Catherine and Stacy have fun fotos up, too, so please go check out theirs!  Anyone else who would like to join in the fun, please post a 0-12-year-old friendly photo that says HALLOWEEN to you on your blog, then hop back here or Catherine's blog and put your link in the comments so everyone can come visit you.

Now, onto item #2: The Warm Fuzzies Blogfest!


Juliana Brandt is running this awesome fest.  Please visit her over at her brand new beautiful website.  This week's discussion topic is as follows:

This week, be it good or bad, funny or sad, share with us the best response you’ve heard when you’ve told someone you’re a writer. Also, tell us, do you tell other people that you’re a writer?

So here are my thoughts.

For a long time, I didn't tell anyone I was a writer.  I mentioned it once or twice and was met by the question, "Oh!  What books have you written?" at which point I was forced to confess that I'd written all kinds of things but none of them were published.  So I stopped mentioning it.

Then came the wonderful day when I got an actual offer from an actual, reputable publishing house.  At last I could say I was a writer and when people asked the inevitable I could say, "I wrote The House That Mack Built!"  To which most people would say, "O-oh!" in an uncertain voice with that look that said clearly, I've never heard of that so it must not be too good.  (Or they would say, "You mean The House That Jack Built?" as if I might not know the title of my own book...)

A book or two later, when I was starting to feel a little more like a writer, people would say, "What have you written that I would have heard of?"  Well, truthfully, most people aren't all that well-versed in young children's literature.  If it's not on the New York Times Bestseller list, they probably haven't heard of it, and I have never been on the New York Times Bestseller List... yet!  So I would mention my 2 or 3 titles, they would look at me blankly, and there would be an awkward pause in the conversation.

Another frequent response is, "Oh, I'm going to write a book.  I have tons of ideas.  I just haven't gotten around to it yet."  Like it's easy, something to be tossed off in a spare afternoon.

But somewhere along the line I have become comfortable with the fact that I am a writer.  Maybe not famous.  Maybe not the best writer in the world.  But a writer is who I am.  Nowadays when people ask what I do I say I'm a writer, and I say it with assurance.  And I feel a certain sense of pride.  Neither I nor my books are particularly well-known (can you say virtually unheard of :)) but I feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

As to the best moments, I have a couple.  One I wrote about last week - when a woman asked me to sign a copy of Can't Sleep Without Sheep for her newborn daughter, to be the very first book in her child's library.  There is no way to beat that.  Really.

And a few others, when people have told me that one of my books is their child's favorite.  That it is read over and over in their house.  That's why we write.  To share our stories and hopefully make someone's day a little better.  To me, there is no higher compliment than to be told something I wrote is treasured by a child.

So that's my Warm Fuzzy :)

I hope you all have a great weekend, and I hope you're all ready for Halloween - stocked up on candy that of course you are most certainly not going to eat any of yourself... except for a few pieces that are required to fulfill your Something Chocolate quota for Would You Read It... :) and ready to don your costume.  In case anyone is wondering, this year I will be dressing up as a write-at-home mom.  It's a stretch, I know, but sometimes you've got to get out of your comfort zone :)

And I hope everyone is ready for the Halloweensie Contest (click the link if you don't know about it yet) on Monday!  I've already heard from one person that her entry is ready to go.  I'm so excited!  I can't wait to read everyone's creative 100 words!

See you Monday!  Trick or treat!
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October 26, 2011

Would You Read It Wednesday - The 14th Pitch

Greetings, folks!
Apologies for being absent from the blogosphere yesterday and late in posting Would You Read It today!  Yesterday was a C-RAAZY day!

First, I went to the New York State Readers Association Conference in Rye Brook, NY to mingle, sign books, and give a talk to actual professional grown-ups (and any of you who have been around here long know what terror talking to actual professional grown-ups strikes into my pitter-pattery little heart!)  I would be sharing a photo of me with fellow writers Lesa Cline Ransome and Ann Burg, but I don't have one yet!  (I'll add it in when I get it, or post it Friday along with my fun foto :))  The talk, much to my surprise, went well - such lovely people attended! - and I ended up having a really nice time.

When that was done, I high-tailed it home, picked up my daughter, drove her back to college after her long weekend (a 4+ hour drive), turned right around and drove back home.  By my reckoning, close to 550 miles of driving in about 11 hours in one day.  Thank goodness for my 3 month free subscription to satellite radio which allowed me to listen to a comedy station on the long drive home alone!  I felt like a cartoon.  Toward the end, near 11 PM which is WAY past my bedtime, I had to get out and run around the car a few times in the cold night air to wake up :)  If only I had video footage - it would be so entertaining!  I could post it on YouTube and go viral... but I digress!

So anyway, fueled up on coffee and imaginary chocolate donuts, I am here at last to post this week's Would You Read It :)  Just first, I want to mention that the theme for this week's Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza (which I keep thinking I should abbreviate to FFFF but it's too much fun to say fextravaganza!) is HALLOWEEN!  What a surprise :)

I also want to remind everyone about the HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST which will be taking place on Monday, which actually is Halloween - how apropos :)  A bunch of people seemed enthusiastic, so lets hope we get some entries - I already have the signed book prize in my hot little hands and I'm looking forward to the fun!

OKAY.  Time to welcome today's pitcher, Kim, a former journalist and current Communications professor who loves to write creatively.

Working Title:  Henry Hears You
Age/Genre:  YA
The Pitch:  13-year-old boy finds his voice as the new advice columnist for the school newspaper only to discover that some problems don't have easy solutions when he gets a letter from a kid threatening to kill himself if the gay bashing doesn't stop.


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 Kim 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.

Kim is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

Don't forget to join us Friday for Fun Foto (Halloween), and get right to work on your Halloweensie Contest entries!!!  I know they'll be spooktacular :)


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October 23, 2011

Ahoy, Sea Serpent! - Swim On Through The Bright Caribbean Water And Find Out What Is Making That Sound

Actually, the adventure continues here :)  Go back to Kerri's if you haven't started yet :)

Monday October 24 -the day we've all been waiting for - is finally here!  It's time to Choose Your Own Adventure!  Do you remember those books?  They were totally fun.  Kerri over at Craft Junkie has turned the idea into this awesomely fun bloghop.  I hope you'll all have a wonderful time :)

If you've landed here because you chose swim on through the bright Caribbean water etc... then you know what you're doing and can skip on down to continue your adventure!

But if you've landed here without starting the adventure, please go back to Kerri's blog and start from the beginning.  Each part you read will give you options as to how you want to continue.  Whichever option you choose will determine the course of your adventure.  Don't like where you ended up?  Go back one or more steps, or start over.  I think you'll have a great time following ALL the options until you've exhausted every possible adventure :) - please share your comments!  OK - onward with the adventure!

You have chosen to swim on through the bright Caribbean water and find out what is making that sound...!


The sunken ship sings a siren song, daring you to see what kind of treasure it might hold, but your oxygen is running out fast.  Regretfully you decide that, treasure or not, you dare not take the risk.

You swim on through the bright Caribbean water, determined to find the source of the sound, praying that whatever it is means rescue.  Your chest feels heavy with the weight of the water, and your arms, unaccustomed to swimming for so long, tremble with fatigue.  Doggedly you pull for the surface, dragging the unwieldy oxygen tank.

At last your head breaks through the waves.  You shake salt water from your hair and eyes and squint into the sudden brightness of the sun reflecting off the ocean.  The sound comes again, long and low, like a horn.  But it’s not a horn.  Oh, no.  It is most definitely not a horn.  Your straining ears catch words in the low hum.

“Yo ho.  Heave!  Yo ho.  Ho!  Yo ho!  Yo ho!  Yo ho!  HO!

Deep voices.  Many of them, chanting together.  And words like that can mean only one thing…

PIRATES!

You flail in the water, arms churning like paddle wheels.  The oxygen tank slips from your cold fingers and sinks before you can grab it back.  You search desperately in every direction for help.  Any help!  Anywhere!

But you’re alone in the water.  Drowning or pirates, it looks like you’re facing certain death.  Well, you’re not going down without a fight!

The pirate ship is nearly upon you.  You can see its black flag fluttering in tattered ribbons from the mast.  Up in the crow’s nest, the lookout spies you.  “Man overboard!” he bellows.

The yo-ho-ing ceases at once.  A mountain of a man with a one-eyed ginger cat riding his left shoulder approaches the ship’s rail.

“Be ye friend or foe?” he hollers.

You decide that death by pirate is preferable to drowning.  At least with the pirates you might have a chance.

“Friend!” you call back.

The mountain, whom you assume is the captain, tosses a thick coil of rope over the rail.  You grab it, and with the last of your strength, haul yourself toward the deck.  When you near the top, strong hands grab hold of you and pull you up over the rail onto the deck.  You lie there like a grounded fish, water streaming off you, gasping with exhaustion.

You’re grateful to have been rescued until you look up.  A circle of faces bristling with unkempt beards and hostility glares down at you.

“Kill the prisoner!” shout the pirates.

“Hey!” you start to argue.

“Now, now!” roars the captain.  “Ours is a democratic ship.  We’ll take a vote.  Will the prisoner grace the gallows, or will the prisoner walk the plank?”

“Walk the plank!  Walk the plank!” shout the pirates.

“What kind of vote is that?” you splutter.  “And besides, if this is a democracy, don’t I get a vote?”

“There’s none will call us unfair,” says the captain.  “None alive, anyway!”  He chuckles at his own joke and the pirates laugh with him.  It’s a horrifying sound.

“Then I vote we let the prisoner lead us to sunken treasure!” you say.

THAT gets their attention.

“Treasure?” says the captain.  “What’s the heading?”

So you point them back toward the sunken ship you’d been forced to abandon.  It turns out to be such a trove of gold and jewels that they make you First Mate, which is how you start your life as a pirate.

But that’s another adventure!

THE END!


If you'd like to try another ending, click on your option:


Go Back: Turn And Swim Away As Fast As You Can - Without Bursting Your Lungs


Go Back:  Take The Risk And Swim Down To See What Is Inside The Ship


Start Over
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October 21, 2011

Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza - Pumpkins!

I'm in a rush again - another parent/teacher conference day at another school for another child - so for the second Friday in a row I will bless you with brevity :)

As it is Friday, that means it's time for the Fun Foto Fextravaganza.  This week's theme is PUMPKINS/JACK O'LANTERNS.  I know this is cheating, but I was unable to choose only one.  So here are my two:
The new fashion - I think everyone will be wearing them soon :)
(courtesy google images)
and...
Really, what the heck is going on here? :)
(and how creative/artistic is that pumpkin monster?!)
(courtesy google images)
Please check out fellow fextravagansist Catherine's foto, as well as Stacy's and Robyn's (our 2 other die-hard players in this wacky game :) - Robyn's isn't up yet, but I heard a rumor it will be later so keep your fingers crossed!)  If you'd like to join in, choose a photo appropriate for ages 0-12 that says pumpkins/jack o'lanterns to you, post it on your blog, and put your link in the comments below so everyone can come visit you!

Also, if you have any good recipes that involve pumpkin, it's about that time...  My recipes tend to involve things like:
Step 1:  go to store
Step 2: buy pumpkin pie because there is no time to bake during parent/teacher conference season :)

BTW, in case you were wondering, I went to a wonderful school visit yesterday (where Woolliam/Baahhb, my sheep puppet, was such a hit I could barely get out of the classroom!) and I picked up the beautiful signed copy of Haunted Party that is going to be the prize in the Halloweensie Contest.  If you haven't read about it yet, go here and get those gears a-turnin' :)

OK.  What else do I have to share with you today?  Probably a million things, but no time!  So have a donut on me, have a great weekend, and I hope I'll see everyone here Monday for the Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop - SO EXCITING!!!
Ahoy, Sea Serpent!!!
(Yes.  That is my version of brevity :))
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October 19, 2011

Would You Read It Wednesday - The 13th Pitch... And A Contest!

Good Morning Everyone!

I know you are all filled with happiness because today is Wednesday and Would You Read It gives you just the motivation you need to get out of bed on a rainy morning in the middle of the week :)

But before we get to Would You Read It, let me tell you about my latest contest plan.  This is so much fun it will get you going even better than coffee and a donut!  Are you ready?

Remember 2 weeks ago when I asked for Halloween-related words?  Well now you'll find out why:

What is that noise in the dark of night?

It's coming closer...

...and closer...

*dramatic Hollywood scream*  AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

It's the HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!


courtesy google images
The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children, using the words boo!, candied apple, and jack o'lantern (these words were randomly selected from the words you submitted here and on Face Book!)  Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go a little under, but not over!)  Now do you get it?  Halloweensie - because it's not very long and it's for little people :)

Post your story on your blog on Monday October 31 and link up here (where I will hopefully have some kind of link system working by then :))

The Judge: (probably me unless I can talk someone else into doing it) will narrow down the entrants to three top choices which will be posted here and voted on for a winner.

The Prize:  The winner will receive a brand new free signed copy of one of my favorite Halloween picture books, Haunted Party written and illustrated by the amazing Iza Trapani!  (And in case you click over and see that I won a copy of this book, that one is for my granddaughter - it will be another one up for grabs here :))

Doesn't that sound like fun?  So get those creative juices flowing and write up a Halloween storm :)

And now, allow me to introduce the lovely Tracy (known to readers of this blog as A2Z Mommy), a SAHM of three who lives in New Jersey and writes about food and kids for a hyperlocal news site http://MyVeronaNJ.com.  Tracy has been published in NJ Family Magazine, and was a featured blogger for the NY Times Motherlode blog.  She's in our Would You Read It spotlight today with her early reader pitch which was inspired by her son and his imagination.

Working Title:  Pizza's Band
Age/Genre:  Early Reader
The Pitch:  Pizza, JuiceBox and Cake are best friends. Cereal arrives with his brand new guitar they head to the garage for band practice. But when Bratwurst interrupts, will Pizza be brave enough to protect his friends from this bully?



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 Tracy 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.

Tracy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

Don't forget to join us Friday for Fun Foto (Pumpkins/Jack O'Lanterns), and get right to work on your Halloweensie Contest entries!!!  I can't wait to read them!  :)

OH!  And please keep the votes coming for the book's journey book by going here and scrolling down to the poll!  Many thanks!


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October 17, 2011

Straight From The Editor! #2 And Then Some

I hope you're all revved up and rarin' to go this morning, because we're going to have all kinds of fun.  If you're not revved up yet, you will be after this! :)

First:  today my blog is being critiqued by the awesome and wonderful Laura Barnes over at Laura B Writer.  She's running a series of blog critiques to help us all learn how to do things better, and I'm the second to go.  Her blog, in general, is a font of valuable information about marketing and how we, as writers, can make the most of our presence on the web.  Please check out her blog if you haven't - you'll be glad you did!

Second:  my friend, Catherine Johnson over at Catherine Johnson, Writer, was kind enough to send me her copy of The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund because she knew I wanted to read it.  (It's historical romance.)  I thought it would be fun to make it into a Book's Journey.  Catherine made a page that goes in the front and put her name, where she's from, and the date she read the book, and then she sent it to me.  Now I have done the same and would like to send it on.  Eventually, we'll send it back to Jody and she'll have a copy of her book that's gone (hopefully!) all over the world!  So - first come, first served!  Whoever is first to say in the comments that they'd like to read The Preacher's Bride will get it.  The only requirement is that you play along with the game and when you're done, pass it on to someone else :)

In addition, since I thought up this idea, I thought it would be fun to do with one of my own books, so first I'll take a vote as to which book to send (poll open for a week, from now until midnight October 24th) and then I will circulate one of my books for the same fun!  Only I want mine signed directly in the book so I can eventually bring it on school visits and show the kids where it has been!  So, please vote below for which book I should send on a journey :)


Third:  this week's theme for Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza (which I hope you are REALLY impressed that I'm remembering to post today instead of forgetting until Wednesday :)) is PUMPKINS/JACK O'LANTERNS!

Fourth:  I hope you're all getting excited for the Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop next Monday, October 24th!!!

Fifth:  (I told you there was all kinds of stuff going on today!)  I spent the weekend at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.  Really, if you've never been to such a thing, you owe it to yourself to go.  Sheep, llamas, alpacas, gorgeous wool, knitting and crochet meetings and books and patterns and products - WOW.  It's a whole world I knew nothing about and it makes for a lot of fun!

Anyway, there I was, signing copies of Can't Sleep Without Sheep, when a woman came up to me and asked me to sign one for her daughter.  "How old is she?" I asked, pulling a book from the pile and uncapping my pen.  "Well," said the woman, "she was just born a couple days ago.  She was premature, so she's in the NICU, but she's going to be fine."  But here's the kicker.  The woman went on to say, "This will be her very first book."

Can you believe it?  I was so honored!  To think something I wrote was going to be the very first book in this child's library; that one of these days, that mother will sit with her little daughter and read Can't Sleep Without Sheep to her.  How special is that?!  I am tucking this one away for those moments when I'm afraid my career is over and I'll never sell another story (well, that would be right about now!) so I can pull it out and look at it and remember something good.

And finally, the moment you've been waiting for! STRAIGHT FROM THE EDITOR!

To remind you, our September winner was Aimee.  Her pitch was as follows:


TITLE: Listen to Me
GENRE: YA Contemporary with a dash of Magical Realism (target age 13-17, but I hope for crossover appeal)
PITCH: Stacy can talk to herself-in-twelve-years - but will the impossible relationship with Older Me help her navigate the high school rites of bullying and unrequited love, or just fuel her destructive self-loathing?


Here are Erin's comments:


Here are my thoughts about your pitch: It is a little confusing. “Talking to herself-in-twelve-years” doesn’t quite get across the idea that she’s talking to herself in the future. I had to read it a few times to get that. You might want to just say her future self. Also, is the relationship impossible because nobody can talk to themselves in the future or because she doesn’t get along with herself? I don’t think you want to use that word impossible. Perhaps just go with relationship. Keeps it simple and to the point.  Also, “fueling her destructive self-loathing” leads to more questions and could possibly turn an editor off. It might be better to give the resolution so that the editor might be intrigued as to how it happens. See what I’ve done. Do you think it gets the main point of the story across? If not, then you need to rework it so that it does. Perhaps be more specific than bullying or unrequited love.

Stacy can talk to her 26 year-old future self. But will her relationship with Older Stacy help her successfully navigate the high school rites of bullying and unrequited love, or just make things worse?

Lastly, fyi, there is a young adult novel coming out in November by Jay Asher and Printz Honor-winning author Carolyn Mackler -- THE FUTURE OF US, in which two best friends log onto AOL in 1996 and discover a window to their future Facebook selves. Razorbill is publishing it. It sounds very similar to yours and I just wanted you to know it was out there.


I hope you all find Erin's comments as interesting and insightful as I do.  Not only does she bring her experience as a career editor, but she knows what else is out there.

So, are you feeling revved up and rarin' to go for your week now?

What?

You're in donut withdrawal?

OK.  But just one!  These are pumpkin, BTW, in keeping with this week's FFFF theme :)
courtesy google images





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October 14, 2011

Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza

It's parent/teacher conference day, so I'll be shockingly brief.  You won't even recognize me :)

Today's Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza theme is MIGRATION.  Here's mine :)
courtesy google images

If you want to join the fun, post a 0-12 year-old friendly photo that says "migration" to you and then put your link in the comments below so everyone else can enjoy them.  Be sure to check out fellow fextravaganzist Catherine's photo!  Hopefully we'll all end up with lots of story ideas :)

If you haven't had a chance to check out this week's Would You Read It, please go here, and please tune in Monday for Straight From The Editor.

Have a great weekend!!!

(See?  I told you you wouldn't recognize me! :))
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October 12, 2011

Would You Read It Wednesday - The 12th Pitch... Plus!

Has anyone seen the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (you know, the good one with Gene Wilder?)

There's a scene where Charlie's teacher says, "I've just decided to switch our Friday schedule to Monday, which means that the test we take each Friday on what we learned during the week will now take place on Monday before we've learned it.  But since today is Tuesday, it doesn't matter in the slightest.  Pencils ready!"

That's what I feel like this week :)  Columbus Day threw a monkey wrench in my "schedule" (can't really say that with a straight face because, really, I don't have much of a schedule :))  So today we'll have Would You Read It as planned, and then I'll slide Straight From The Editor in with the Fun Foto Fextravaganza on Friday.  Or maybe just save it for next Monday.  Who can say?  The test will be last Tuesday :)

Oh, and BTW, the theme for this week's Fun Foto will be MIGRATION.  So start rooting around for those 0-12 year-old-friendly photos that shout migration to you!

Okay.  So back to our regularly "scheduled" programming...

Oh, but first, remember that surprise I promised?
Do you?
Are you still interested?
Actually, the surprise is likely a lot more fun for me than it is for you, but I have to share it anyway!

You know my story Not Yet, Rose?  It's about a little girl who is waiting for a new sibling and isn't sure how she feels about it.  Well, ROSE has been picked up by Frecklebox.com, a website that creates all kinds of awesome personalized gifts for kids.  The result?  As of right this very minute you can order Not Yet, Rose in either hardcover or paperback, for the girl of your choice, as in Not Yet, Olivia, Not Yet, Alexandra, or Not Yet, Brunhilda!  How fun is that?

Check it out:

Even if you don't want to order one, you can play around with changing the name and see how it looks, which is totally fun :)

But should you ever have a little girl in your life who is about to become (or has just become) a big sister, now you can make a very special gift just for her.  Plus, I know the author, so I know how you can also get your book personally signed :)  The book is exactly the same as the original, with all of Nicole's beautiful artwork.  They just change the name for your special girl.  And there's a place for you to add your own printed dedication, too.

So, apologies if you were expecting a better surprise than that, but it seems very fun to me!

Now.  Onto today's Would You Read It!

Today's pitch comes to us from the amazing Christie, who blogs about picture books and holds picture book contests over at WRITE WILD.  Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Gleek
Age/Genre: MG Contemporary
The Pitch:  A math whiz but not great at reading and writing, eleven-year-old Art Schaeffer unknowingly stumbles upon the school bully's rule-breaking science fair project and must find a way to expose him before the judges make their final decisions.


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.

Christie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!


And don't forget to join us Friday for Fun Foto (Migration) and Straight From The Editor!

(Oh, and should you happen to order a personalized copy of ROSE from Frecklebox, you will earn major brownie points and possibly even be elected King and have a servant whose only job is to bring you fresh donuts whenever you snap your fingers, but of course, you know, it's up to you :))
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October 10, 2011

Happy Columbus Day!

Happy Columbus Day Everyone!

Remember how a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, good ole Chris C. crossed the stormy Atlantic in the Starship Enterprise, boldly going where (supposedly) no man had gone, in search of brave new worlds and a breed of puppy that wouldn't shed too much or get seasick, even though his horoscope had specifically warned him that he wouldn't find it because where did he think the saying "sick as a dog" came from anyway?  By gum!  If it weren't for him we wouldn't be getting the day off!  Thanks for that, Chris!
See, here's the Nina the Pinta, and the Santa Maria as viewed from the rear window of the Starship Enterprise.  They look kind of puny compared to Chris's Starship, but then, I guess the leader of the expedition gets to call first dibs on which ship he drives.  (Courtesy google images)
So while we're all enjoying our day off - and a lovely day it is, too, I might add! - I'm hoping you won't notice that I'm not delivering on Friday's promise.

Allow me to distract you with a donut

while I explain that, as you well know, today's post should be Straight From The Editor, but thanks to Chris C. everyone was doing other things this weekend, and I didn't receive anything from the editor to post.  Not only that, but the exciting surprise I promised didn't come either!  I think they forgot it was Chris's day and no one would be at work.

So I am left flat-footed and feeling very guilty for leading you on in a much more teasing fashion than I intended because now you'll have to wait until Wednesday... or possibly longer.

So you'll know when I know, but I'm not making any more promises about dates!  (It's not good for my credibility!)  Meanwhile, please join me Wednesday for Something Chocolate and Would You Read It with Christie!

And to make up for not coming through with the surprise, I will share this Columbus Day riddle:
Where did Columbus first land in America?
On his feet!

Enjoy your Columbus Day, everyone!  And if you have any Columbus day jokes or riddles (hopefully better than that one!) please share :)
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October 7, 2011

Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza Etc. Etc.

Whoopee!  It's Fun Friday!  And today we have Fun Times Five!!!

Fun Times One:  My Foto for the Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza.  Those of you who have been paying attention will know that this week's theme is HARVEST.  Here is mine:
courtesy goole images
Quite a haul, don't you think?  :)
Anyone who would like to join the fun, please post a 0-12 year-old-friendly photo on your blog, then pop back here and put your link in the comments so we can all visit and enjoy, and possibly be inspired to write a story!  Be sure to check out Fellow Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganzist Catherine's photo too :)

Fun Times Two:  I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you to save the date of October 24th for the More-Fun-Than-You-Can-Stand Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop.  I've read a number of the entries, and it promises to be edge-of-your-seat fun!
Woo-hoo!!!!!
Fun Times Three:  I'm cooking up an idea for Halloween.  Some of you already contributed on my Face Book page yesterday, but for anyone who would like to join in, I need 3 Halloween-related words.  If you have some good ones, please post them in the comments below :)

Fun Times Four:  I'm going to have an exciting announcement Monday but you'll have to wait until Monday.  (I know.  That was just mean, wasn't it?  Hinting and then making you wait?  I didn't think I had it in me.  Who knew?)

And finally, as promised, Fun Times Five!!!: the reason you came over here today in the first place!  It's time for me to tell you who won the September Pitch Pick!

But first, I want to tell you a story my mother-in-law told me about her gall bladder....

Tee-hee.

Actually, my mother-in-law has more gall bladder (and other far worse) stories than you'd ever care to hear, but I'm not really going to make you sit through any of them.

Anybody need a chocolate break?  Should I wait to make the Pitch Pick announcement until you're back with a fistful of Snickers bars?

No?  You're ready now?

Well, all right.

The winner of the September Pitch Pick, whose pitch will be sent to the wonderful and only Erin Molta, editor extraordinaire, for helpful hints and thoughtful critique is....

ddddddddddrrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmm rrrrrrrrrrrrrooooooooooooollllllllllllllllllll!!!!!

AIMEE!!!!!

Congratulations, Aimee!  And congratulations to Kimberly, Saul, and Catherine, too - your pitches were all great.  You guys really gave Aimee a run for her money :)  Thank you all for being brave enough to put your work out there and good luck with your books!

So now, go have fun with the fotos, put some Halloween words in the comments, and hold you breath until Monday :)

Have a great weekend!
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October 5, 2011

Would You Read It Wednesday - The Eleventh Pitch!

You know, one of these days I'm going to stop spelling out what pitch it is and just put numbers... they're easier to spell at the crack of dawn :)  (Probably also easier on the eyes if you happen to be up reading at this hour :))

Because, in case you were wondering, it is the crack of dawn.  Actually, technically, it's before the crack of dawn since sunrise will not occur until 6:55 AM this morning according to the national weather service which may or may not have anything to do with reality.  But in either case, it's dark and it's early and the coffee is still brewing so read on at your own peril :)

To begin with, a sneak peek at how the votes in the Pitch Pick are shaping up.  I don't know how this works out, but there always seem to be two contestants who are neck-in-neck.  Therefore, I implore you to get thee to the polls and cast your vote!  We really cannot have a tie, because that would be imposing on Erin's good will.  So please, take your pick!

Next up, a quick mention of this week's theme for Friday's Fun Foto Fextravaganza:  HARVEST  So sorry I forgot to mention that on Monday (OK, truth time - Catherine and I didn't think it up until Tuesday, so there was no chance it could have been mentioned Monday), but hopefully you'll still have time to dig up a 0-12 year-old-friendly photo that says "HARVEST" to you in capital letters.

And now, the reason you turned on your computer this morning, DUN-DUN, DUN-DUN... It's time for Would You Read It!!!

This week's pitch comes to us from Carla, a writer, mother, teacher, scientist and explorer who has climbed the Great Wall of China and run a marathon (not at the same time...)  Click on her name to check out her awesome blog.

Working Title:  Witches Don't Dance
Age/Genre: Picture Book
The Pitch:  What happens when witches dance?  Little Linda knows it can get messy, but she also thinks it might just be the witches' only chance to save their Halloween Party.


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 Carla 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.

Carla is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

And please don't forget to VOTE on the Pitch Pick - it's very crucial.  I do not want to have to flip a donut to see who wins :)
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October 3, 2011

Who Will It Be? - Pitch Pick #2!

Good Morning, Everyone :)  As I hope you have all figured out by now, Mondays are all kinds of fun around here!  In case you were feeling just a little bit blah at the prospect of a new work week beginning, let me pass you the chocolate donuts (this is technically - technically -  part of the Would You Read It series, so Something Chocolate is called for)
courtesy google images
... and a nice cup of coffee...
courtesy google images
Do you care for milk?
courtesy google images

Sugar?
courtesy google images
Ahhh!  That's better!  Nothing like a little pick-me-up :)

And that's only the beginning, my friends!  Lest it may have gotten lost in the Monday morning brain fog, let me remind you that it's time for Pitch Pick #2 for September!

Gosh!  Are you OK?  I didn't mean to make you fall out of your chair with excitement!  Steady now :)

Okay.  Bite of donut.  Sip of coffee.  And let's review this month's contenders:

1.  Kimberly

Working Title:  Surfacing In Clouds
Age/Genre:  YA
The Pitch:  Rigo and Esteban struggle to survive in a land without electricity, but when they set out to reach a world consumed by technology their friendship is ripped at the seams. This story chronicles the remarkable resilience of human nature in the face of losing what was once taken for granted: silence, privacy, and a connection with nature.

2.  Saul

Title:  A Lesson My Cat Taught Me
Age/Genre:  Early Reader
The Pitch:  Can your child learn to accept others for who they are and not what they are from a one-eyed cat?  Read the book to find out.


3.  Catherine

Working Title:  The Fairy Wood
Age/Genre:  MG
The Pitch:  Annabel gets distracted by flowers and fairies and cannot find her family in the woods, but the mystery of the disappearing flowers distracts her even more.  Annabel has no idea how close her family really are or who to trust.


4.  Aimee

TITLE: Listen to Me
GENRE: YA Contemporary with a dash of Magical Realism (target age 13-17, but I hope for crossover appeal)
PITCH: Stacy can talk to herself-in-twelve-years - but will the impossible relationship with Older Me help her navigate the high school rites of bullying and unrequited love, or just fuel her destructive self-loathing?


So.  Who do you think it should be?  Which of our 4 awesome pitchers deserves to have her/his pitch sent to editor Erin Molta for her invaluable critique?

On your mark... Get set... VOTE!!!!!

In the interest of keeping things moving along, the polls will close at 11:59 PM (EST or EDT here we go with that again!) Thursday October 6, so that the winner can be announced Friday October 7.  Please get your votes in ASAP!
This is so exciting!  I love announcing winners!
And don't forget to come back Wednesday for Carla, our first Would You Read It contender for October!

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