March 7, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday - The 30th Pitch... And Some Awards... And A Journey!

Well, boys and girls, I am just chock full of news today!  I hope you've got your chocolate-covered Wheaties close by!

First off, I'd like to thank the lovely Rachel from Writing On The Wall for bestowing upon me not one, but TWO awesome awards which I have never received before:

The Sunshine Award - so pretty :)
AND
The Dream Launcher Award - so inspiring!
Of course there are a few questions that go along with the awards...
1. Favorite Color?  Blue
2. Favorite Animal? A tie between horses and dogs
3. Favorite Number? 9
4. Favorite (non-alcoholic) drink? I pretty much only drink water or seltzer... well, not counting coffee :)  But if we're talking favorite, maybe iced tea (definitely sweetened) or orange peach mango juice!
5. Face Book or Twitter? Face Book!  I haven't even tried Twitter - I find it very intimidating for some reason.
6. My Passion? Writing and my family (not necessarily in that order :))
7. Getting or Giving Presents?  Definitely giving!
8. Favorite Pattern?  Hmm... I don't really do patterns... maybe something very simple and floral?
9. Favorite Day of the Week? I don't know why, but I think maybe Tuesday.  How random is that? :)
10. Favorite Flower? Carnations - I love the smell!

And of course I'm supposed to pass these awards along... and I can NEVER choose who to pass them to because you are all so wonderful... so as usual I will sidestep by saying that if you like these awards and you follow my blog, you may have them because you're all awesome :)  Consider them given :)

Moving right along, item 2 on today's jam-packed agenda is Phyllis's World Tour!

Yes, you heard me right.  There are those who have called her PHYLLIS THE INCREDIBLE INTERNATIONAL ROCK STAR (though I'm not naming any names :))

As we speak, 2 copies of April Fool, Phyllis are winging their way out - one to Florida, the other to California - to begin whirlwind tours of the USA.  Each person who receives the book will read it (sometimes to their kids or classrooms), blog about it, sign it, and pass it on to the next person.  In addition to the two copies making the rounds, lovely supporters in Canada, France, Italy and possibly even New Zealand will also be blogging about our April jester.  One special copy is going to Texas to begin a tour of US schools, and another special copy is going to Georgia to make the rounds of 2 fabulous literacy programs!  How much awesomeness can one month hold???

I will be adding a special tab up top on my blog so you can all follow Phyllis's adventures with ease, and virtually visit all the fantastic places she's going!  There will be blog links and, I'm really hoping, photos!!!  I'd also really like to have a map involved, but that is most probably beyond my technological skill, and my number one tech advisor has abandoned me to go to college...  so we'll just have to see about that :)

And now, when you're already so excited by receiving awards and hearing about Phyllis's World Tour, I present you with today's Would You Read It from the awesome Renee who can spout incredible poetry even whilst laid up sick in bed!

Renee is a full-time editor/writer for All About Learning Press for whom she co-authors early readers and blogs on grammar as her alter ego, the Chipmunk of Doom. A wife and mom to twin toddler boys, she lives in Italy where she runs around the countryside filming silly poetry videos for her blog No Water River. This is her first foray out of her poetic comfort zone and into the psychedelic world of prose PBs. Be gentle with her.

And here's her pitch:

Working Title: Doris And The Scaredy Cats
Age/Genre: Fiction PB ages 4+
The Pitch:  Intrigued by the herd of petrified cats that show up at her door with their little suitcases, Doris is determined to un-petrify her furry new housemates -- despite her family's pleas to send them away before she ends up a scaredy cat, too. Doris will either calm the cats' jitters or make her family's fear come true -- or neither.     

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 Renee 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.  Go ahead and send your pitch for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Renee is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

If you haven't had a chance to vote on the February Pitch Pick, there's still almost a day to go.  Click HERE and vote.

And that's it.  I'm finally done.  And you probably all noticed that I way made up for last week's succinctness :)

P.S.  One last thing I just realized, for any of you who were interested in Monday's Oh Susanna question about leaving room for the illustrator.  Serendipitously, Janice Hardy blogged about this very topic yesterday and you can see her terrific post HERE.

Reactions:

98 comments:

  1. I'm still laughing at your No. 4. That sounds about like my answer to "I don't watch TV." I don't visit No Water River enough. I love her fun poetry and videos. I say yes to the pitch. I can't tell if the cats were expected or not. The suitcase indicates to me they had intentions to be housemates all along. "their little" before suitcases may be unnecessary. Thanks for sharing the pitch Renee. Looks like a fun story.

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  2. I thought the pitch was really interesting, and I will read anything that has to do with cats LOL! Great job, Renee!

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  3. These are presumptuous cats and definitely not expected, so perhaps I should make that clearer. Thanks, Stacy!

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  4. Ha! Now to find a cat-loving editor... Thanks, Kyra!

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  5. I bet there are some out there!














    Renee LaTulippe (unregistered) wrote, in response to Kyra Lennon:

    Ha! Now to find a cat-loving editor... Thanks, Kyra!


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  6. I don't watch TV either... except for Grey's... and Glee with my kids... and Modern Family with my kids... :)

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  7. Thanks for stopping by, reading, and commenting, Kyra!

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  8. Congrats on Phyllis' whirlwind tours, Susanna! Very fun...I look forward to reading about her adventures.

    Renee's pitch...yes, I would probably read it though - this is going to sound silly - I imagined actual stone-like, petrified cats. Wondered if someone left the cats as a practical joke or if the story was a fantasy. Also, the last phrase "or neither" felt tacked on; I think a stronger ending would serve the story better. That said, it's an original story line, and I'm intrigued by the suitcases!

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  9. thefeatherednestMarch 7, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    If it has anything to do with cats I'll read it although at the first sentence I had a horrible vision of mumified cats.

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  10. Thanks, Dede! I have to say, I'm really looking forward to these tours - so exciting - I think it's going to be really fun!

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  11. Funny - someone else had a similar reaction - interesting! And Delores - I'm not sure I ever remembered to tell you the art set arrived, but it did! Thank you so much!

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  12. GO PHYLLIS!!! GO PHYLLIS!!! It's nice that you are letting us follow Phyllis' journey!
    Great pitch Ms. Latulippe! I want to see what happens to Doris and why the cats are petrified and what was in the suitcases... and why do cats need suitcases?!?

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  13. Congrats on the awards Susanna, great answers! Can't wait to read all about Phyllis's World Tour!

    Renee, I would definitely read it. How interesting is a herd of petrified cats with little suitcases wanting to move in? The only thing I noticed that I could suggest is the last line. It starts off,
    “Doris will either” but it ends with saying “or neither.” What if you turn it into a question and end it with “or neither?” Good luck and thanks for sharing!

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  14. Catherine JohnsonMarch 7, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    Congrats you certainly are sunshine, I skipped even more than you lol. As for the pitch I would start When petrified cats turned up at Doris's door, Doris didn't know whether to let them in and help them or keep them out in case they spread their petrifiedness around or something like that. Sounds like a great story!

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  15. I hope it's going to be fun, Erik! We'll see :)

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  16. Thanks, Jennifer! (I didn't think my answers were very interesting so I'm glad you liked them!) I can't wait to see how Phyllis's world tour comes off!

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  17. Rachel SchieffelbeinMarch 7, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    I read this pitch to my seven-year-old daughter and she said she would read it, it sounds funny!
    I liked the line about showing up with suitcases. But I did think the pitch could maybe be tightened up, the end seems a bit jarbled. (Is that a word? Sorry.) But I would read it, it sounds fun. :)

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  18. I totally LOVE the word jarbled! :) And thanks again for the awards!

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  19. I agree about the end, Rachel -- but I just don't like the ending a pitch with a question thing. Plus, neither of those things happen (the cats don't leave, Doris doesn't become like them), but sort of wrote myself into a corner and couldn't get out. I'm open to suggestions. :)

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  20. Thanks for the suggestions, Catherine!

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  21. Yeah, that last line is still wonky, isn't it. I just can't figure it out. I'll play with your suggestion -- and thanks! :)

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  22. For cat toiletries, of course! You don't think they get their shiny fur by accident, do you? :) Then again, certain things remain a mystery in this story... ;)

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  23. Some great advice so far. i would read it simply based on the protagonist's name, Doris, what a great name! It sounds wonderfully silly, and would just agree that it needs a little tightening!

    Happy and safe travels to Phyllis!

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  24. HAHAHAHA! Perhaps I should change it to the less-mummified "terrified" - good call, Delores!

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  25. I'm thinking I like your story better, Dede - HAHA. How bizarre would that be to open your door and see a bunch of stone cats. Funny...and creepy!!

    Darn, now I have to figure out what to put in the suitcases...

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  26. Phyllis thanks you, and we are working on our secret plan to send her to France. I will need your address, though, if you'd care to email it at some convenient point in time :)

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  27. No, Renee, that's what you leave for your illustrator! :)














    Renee LaTulippe (unregistered) wrote, in response to Dede Perkins:

    I'm thinking I like your story better, Dede - HAHA. How bizarre would that be to open your door and see a bunch of stone cats. Funny...and creepy!!
    Darn, now I have to figure out what to put in the suitcases...


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  28. Yay, thanks, Joanna! It used to be Dora, but that conjures up a different Dora. But I'm happier with Doris, anyway, as it seems like a good name for a quirky cat lover. Glad you like it! :)

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  29. Definitely tighten it a bit to make me scream I gotta read it! And read it I would. Just knowing petrified cats are in this story makes me want to read and reread. The story sounds funny, so why not make the pitch a hoot? Great job, Renee. *smiling*

    Congrads on your well-deserved awards, Susanna. Phyllis's World Tour sounds like so much fun!!!!!!! I can't wait to keep up with that! Wishing I was in on that. Hugs to you, pal!

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  30. I'm sorry you missed the call, Robyn - it was very spur of the moment and quick. But maybe there's a way to get you in. Email me!

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  31. Thank you so much, Robyn! I like the idea of "funnifying" the pitch a bit more...will definitely mull that one over. :)

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  32. Cats with little suitcases? Yes! I'm curious (like a cat) :)

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  33. Love this, Renée. Why? First off, the image of scared cats with suitcases at the front door. I was hooked there and then wanted to know how this de-petrifying would happen. I like the pitch and have read in the comments that it needs tightening. This could help but since it isn't an elevator pitch, I don't think it needs that much tweaking.

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  34. Of course I would read it! I sounds adorable and I love Robyn's suggestion of making the pitch itself humorous. What a great idea! :)

    Susanna--We can't wait to welcome Phyllis to Texas! :)

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  35. *high fives Dede* So my vision of cat-shaped garden gnomes planted by the front door was not totally off base! I was blaming my recent visit to the Pompeii exhibit at the Museum of Science. I guess 'petrified' is a powerful word!

    Of course I would read it and love it. Renee is a marvel and how wonderful that her membership in RhyTryPro has manifested in a manuscript with cats and suitcases!

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  36. I'm ready to read the story of Doris and her "herd" of cats...which makes me think cows not cats!(sorry) Litter, maybe?!?!?
    Love the suitcases. Curious to peek inside each one.

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  37. Yeah, wasn't sure about the herd either, Mona. Will rethink that!

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  38. Thanks, Natalie! Hmm...funny pitch wheels turning...

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  39. Heh, thanks for the input, Dana! I'd like to clean up the ending, but not sure where else to tweak. :)

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  40. HA! Cathy, I forgot about RhyTryPro! Indeed, I wanted to write this in rhyme, but it's too complex. Prose it is -- onward! :)

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  41. I think children would love the idea of scaredy cats because they have fears that they can't always verbalize. Cats with suitcases at the front door would engage them from the beginning of the story. Great idea.

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  42. Mmm, I love the smell of carnations, too! I'd certainly read about the scaredy-cats (although at first I was thinking "petrified" as in petrified wood. I obviously didn't get enough sleep last night.)

    May I include some of the information you've posted here about Phyllis's tour on my PPBF of April Fool, Phyllis on Friday?

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  43. It's not you, Beth. Lots of people think they are actually made of stone or wood, haha! Word choice is everything, people!!! :)

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  44. I think the only tweaking needed is at the end. "before she ends up a scaredy cat, too." can come out and "Doris will either calm the cats' jitters or make her family's fear come true -- or neither" needs to be pared down--less options ("or"). Needs to tell less... I'm not great at this! It's a struggle. If this pitch were to go in a cover letter you might not need to leave it a mystery. Am I helping yet? :p
    Dana

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  45. And you know, I hadn't even thought of "fears they can't verbalize." Thanks so much for the insight, Terri!

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  46. Susanna, thank you so much for having my pitch on today, and thanks to everyone for the feedback thus far. I've gained quite a few insights from the comments that will definitely shape not just the pitch but the story itself. A heartfelt MEOW to all of you wonderful people!

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  47. Yes, you're helping! No, you're not. Wait, maybe. I JUST DON'T KNOW!!!!

    But I definitely probably almost see your point!

    (I'm just pulling your paw, you know.)

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  48. Love the image of Scaredy Cats with suitcases, Renee. Yes, I'd read this book. Not sure that the last sentence is needed, though, as both options are already presented in the opening sentence.

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  49. Thanks, Patricia. True about the last line. I shall fix it!

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  50. Hi Renee,

    What an interesting concept. I might change "petrified" to scared, because, honestly, I read the whole thing and thought the cats were literally petrified like a forest. I know I'm silly.

    I might tighten the pitch up in a few paces as follows:

    Intrigued when a herd of scaredy cats shows up at her door, Doris hatches a plan to soothe their fears. Her family pleads with her to send them away before she becomes a scaredy cat, too. Will Doris calm the cats' jitters or make her family's fear come true?

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  51. You're not the only one, Kirsten! Several people thought she was being invaded by cat-shaped garden gnomes, so I'll be changing that. :) Thanks so much for the suggested rewording - very helpful!

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  52. Yes, I would read it. I'm glad that you turned you poem into a picture book! I am curious to find out why the cats are so scared. The word petrified to me makes me think the cats aren't moving because they are so scared, which makes me think that Dora needs to find a way to break them out of their stone like state. I don't think you need the last sentence as it pretty clear already what's at stake. Perhaps you could mention in the first sentence how Dora discovers them. Do they ring the doorbell? Could you perhaps give a hint of what is scarring them or if Dora goes through multiple scenarios of what is scarring them perhaps give one or two examples. Good job!

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  53. Hi Susannah,
    Sorry, this is off topic. But what happened to your Perfect Picture Book Friday page?
    Thanks.
    Barbara

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  54. Yikes! That's not good! I was working on it today, and I hope maybe that's why you couldn't see it? I've saved it and closed out of editing. Please let me know if you can see it now. I hate to think of something happening to it. It takes SO LONG to update, if I have to redo 260+ books I'll never get it done!

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  55. Very insightful suggestions, Kirsten!

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  56. She can't wait to get there... and I think she'll be there soon! I believe your second on the list!!! You should probably introduce her to Texas-style BBQ - isn't that supposed to be something special? She could have BBQ corn on the cob :)

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  57. Thanks so much for stopping by, Gemma!

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  58. Thanks for stopping by Mona - I appreciate that I now have a visual image of suitcases full of kitty litter! :)

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  59. What a full blog! So much awesomeness! I face booked it to my page.

    Congrats for the world tour. Oh! You deserve it.

    As far as the pitch.. I'll have to come back later.

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  60. Of course you may, Beth - but you do know Julie had planned to do April Fool, Phyllis on March 30? I don't want to usurp her. Did you guys talk?

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  61. Penny KlostermannMarch 7, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Oh! I just got to the Internet since earlier today.
    It's there! It's there! The Perfect Picture Book Friday page is there! I panicked for you...and for the rest of us. I went straight to the top...just like an elevator...and luckily I could get off at the PPBF floor.
    That was overly corny...I was just excited that all your hard work was OK.

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  62. Penny KlostermannMarch 7, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Yea! Phyllis On Tour! I'm a groupie. I'm a groupie!

    I totally thought the cats were really petrified because of the ones on your blog...that is what I pictured!!! They're such adorable little scaredy cats. YES!!! I would read. I am a cat lover!!! And I love, love, love the suitcase thing. But here are my thoughts...

    The first sentence is too long and a bit awkward to me. Also, your last sentence is just repeating your problem over again because you have already said she is determined….and they are fearful….
    So come up with a wrap up that leaves us wanting to find out what happens and doesn’t list all the options of what could happen. And I think that if you're writing a pitch for a picture book that you should keep picture book vocabulary and sentence length. (I just made that up because that is what makes sense to me :-)...but if you read the synopses on book jackets...they keep picture book language. With that in mind...maybe you could use "curious" instead of "intrigued"...but since curiosity killed the cat...you may NOT want to! I am sooo laughing at my own joke! But seriously, intrigued may be a little hard for your audience.) I would leave out as many adjectives as possible since that is really up to an illustrator. My first two sentences are below. I don't know what your story line is so I didn't even attempt to write the wrap-up sentence. By the way...a group of cats is called a clowder.

    Doris is intrigued when a clowder of scaredy cats show up at her door with suitcases. Doris is determined to calm her jittery new housemates, but her family fears that she will become a scaredy cat just like them.

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  63. Thank you, Penny! I'm glad it's back. I'm having trouble enough keeping up without having to redo!













    Penny Klostermann wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Oh! I just got to the Internet since earlier today.
    It's there! It's there! The Perfect Picture Book Friday page is there! I panicked for you...and for the rest of us. I went straight to the top...just like an elevator...and luckily I could get off at the PPBF floor. That was overly corny...I was just excited that all your hard work was OK.

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  64. You're more than a groupie - you're a hostess :) I think you're stop #3 for Book #2 :)

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  65. What a unique idea for a book. Like your pitch Renee. I would definitely read it. You could probably tighten it as others have suggested. Love the idea!

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  66. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Rena :)

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  67. Thanks so much for stopping by, Patricia!

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  68. Thank YOU so much for being brave enough to put your pitch out there for all the world to see! :)

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  69. Thanks so much for stopping by, Terri!

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  70. I have such a hard time commenting on pitches because I have no idea how to write one! But, I love the idea - your description of Doris and her guests conjured vivid images in my mind! Good luck with the pitch, Renee!

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  71. Thanks for stopping by, reading, and commenting Eric!

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  72. I also love the visual of the scaredy cats with their suitcases. I'd love to know more about what makes Doris able to calm their fears, or not. IS she special, or the girl next door? Why is her family concerned? Did they have a problem with someone being scared before?
    All of that said, it sound like a cute story, and YES, I would read it! Good luck Renee!

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  73. Stina LindenblattMarch 7, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    I love that idea for the world tour. Very clever!

    If I read PBs, I would totally read the book. I wasn't sure at first if it meant the cats were scared or turned to statues. :D

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  74. Thanks so much for your comments, Tracy! :)

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  75. The tour idea hit Phyllis in a flash of inspiration and she was insistent that I find a way to send her traveling and to meet all these fabulous people :)

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  76. Thanks so much, Tracy! Great questions!

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  77. Yes, I've gotten some great ideas for tightening it up. Glad you like it, Pat!

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  78. Penny, you are a riot! That's the funniest stream-of-conscience comment ever! I'm pretty sure I agree with everything you said, and really appreciate the edited pitch. :)

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  79. Thanks for the suggestions, Rena! Yes, at first I thought I'd turn it into a rhyming PB, but it definitely works better as prose, oddly enough.

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  80. Ha, it's not just you, Stina. They're real cats!

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  81. Penny KlostermannMarch 8, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Oh...I think that was probably past my bedtime when I wrote all that!!! Really a group of cats is a clowder...and don't you love that word?

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  82. Tuesday?! That's awesome! I like randomness :)

    As for the pitch... Yes. Although I'm wondering why scaredy cats would show up at her door if they're so scared??? I do love the image of them with their little suitcases tho! So cute. And love the idea of her turning into a scaredy cat too. :) Fun!

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  83. Yes, Tuesday, because why not? I'm guessing, as a general rule, Friday, Saturdayand Sunday get all the love, so why shouldn't poor little Tuesday have some too? :)

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  84. No, no!! I love your scaredy cats and their suitcases...maybe the stone cats can morph into another story...:)

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  85. Theresa MilsteinMarch 8, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    The petrify part confused me. First I thought they were stuffed and... you know the rest. It doesn't sound like she's scared in the beginning.

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  86. Vivian KirkfieldMarch 8, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Susanny, congrats on two well-deserved awards...it was fun learning more about you. :) That's wonderful about the blog tour!!!!
    Renee, I would definitely read it...love the picture in my mind of the uproar a bunch of cats with suitcases would cause.

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  87. Thanks, Vivian! :) I'm excited about the tour :)

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  88. Yup, that will be changed! Doris isn't scared...the cats are. :)

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  89. Thanks, Leigh. Why they show up at her door is one of life's great mysteries. :)

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  90. I love it. I would get rid of the 'of neither' at the end. But otherwise, it's perfect.

    I once wrote a long fantasy where a cat was the main character and had such fun. Glad to see another 'cat' story. Blessings

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