June 6, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday - The 43rd Pitch, And The May Pitch Pick!

IT'S WEDNESDAY!!!  Grab a chocolate donut and a cup of coffee and pull up your chair :)

Here on Blueberry Hill, things have settled down a bit.  The dogs and I are stepping out avec leashes so as to keep the local baby animal population safe,

and my brother is up and hobbling avec crutches... and trying to figure out if he can still run the NYC marathon in November :)  (No pictures of him - they might scare you :))

So now that the status quo has been restored, I have time to wonder about important things like whether I should get another bottle of apple shampoo when this one runs out or switch to strawberry for summer, and what's the weirdest fortune you've ever gotten in a fortune cookie?  I asked that on FB yesterday, because we had fortune cookies last Friday and my daughter's friend got "When the opportunity comes, pick the first one from the right" which reminded me of the time (about 25 years ago :)) when my sister got one that said, "Better an egg today then a hen tomorrow"... but no one shared any, so now I think I'm the only one who reads and remembers my fortunes.  Feel free to remedy that situation in the comments :)

But I digress...

Let's get down to business, shall we? :)  It's time for the May Pitch Pick.  As always, we had great pitches and it's going to be a tough choice, especially because there were five Wednesdays in May!

To refresh your memory, here they are:

#1  Darshana
Title: Jay's Big Day
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
Pitch: Jay's super-sniffer dashes his dreams of becoming a Police Bird, but his special talent opens up another heroic opportunity.


#2  Rena
Working Title:  Death Of Sleeping Beauty
Age/Genre:  MG Fantasy
The Pitch:  Alivia Fair stumbles upon a seemingly harmless book that is full of gruesome fairy tales. Now the book is missing and strange things begin to happen. She is cursed by a man with a blue beard and finds herself trapped inside an enchanted castle, in which she comes face-to-face with the legendary, Sleeping Beauty. Too bad Alivia is destined to kill her, but with a little help Alivia might be able to stop the DEATH OF SLEEPING BEAUTY.


#3  Jarm
Working Title:  Waiting For An Idea
Age/Genre:  PB (ages 6-11)
The Pitch:  Jerry is waiting for an idea to come.  He walks his dog, swings in his backyard, and even goes inside for milk and cookies. hoping to coax one into his head.  But, alas, it's not until he opens Aunt Polly's gift that an idea... well... an avalanche of ideas, spill forth!


#4  Elizabeth
Working Title: Magnificent
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch:  When the synchronized swimming Savanna Belles lose their watering hole to drought, the troop of elephant calves decide ballet is the perfect way to make them feel magnificent once again. Facing the challenges of trunk-tickling ants, loss of weightlessness, and the scarcity of tutus, can the girls tame the doubtful roars, hisses and cackles of the their wild friends, proving that they really can be magnificent ballerinas? Follow the tutued journey of these silly mammals as they sashay, leap and plié their way into even the wildest of hearts.


#5 Tina
Working Title:  Dewey Bookworm Takes The Stage
Age/Genre:  Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch:  What if a bookworm doesn't like books?  Tree leaves taste better than book leaves.  Dewey Bookworm wants to join the circus.  Will other book-eating creatures change his mind?

So please vote for your favorite!  The poll will be up from now until Thursday June 7 at 11:59 PM EDT.  Then the winner's pitch will go to editor Erin Molta for critique and comment!

And now that we've got that taken care of, it's time for today's pitch, which comes to us from the lovely Laura who says, "I've finally returned late in life to what I always wanted to do - write and illustrate for children  (unemployment will do that to you). I am a former school principal, and a pastor's wife, but my favorite occupation when not at the computer or drawing board is being a grandma to my four grandchildren. I'm enjoying all the wonderful encouragement from the professionals like Susanna and the 12x12 writing group, it makes it easy to dream that we can be published one day. Thanks for reading my pitch and for all your input."  You can visit her blog HERE.

Working Title:  Uncle Larry
Age/Genre:  PB
The Pitch:  A true story about Uncle Larry, a special child/adult who grew up on a farm, trained and loved animals, liked to play and work, got into mischief, and taught us how to love someone a little different by loving everyone himself.

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 Laura 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 August, so you have time to polish :) for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Laura is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

Reactions:

79 comments:

  1. Hi, glad to hear you're getting sorted and hope your brother's soon racing round. It's been a strange weekend in the UK as we've just emerged from a long Jubilee weekend. It's a relief to be back to normal.

    Laura sounds an interesting lady. I shall pop over and visit her in a bit. I love the idea of this story but I'm concerned that there wouldn't be enough tension to turn it into a satisfying read, although that could be the way that she's written the pitch. I think I'd need to know a bit more before I could make a definite comment. Hope that helps.

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  2. Feels more peaceful on Blueberry Hill today and I think avec leashes sounds a wise choice for this "babies" season of the year!

    I have never eaten a fortune cookie :(

    I confess I had a real favorite from these five pitches :)

    Thanks for sharing your pitch with us, Laura. I have to agree with Rosalind, I don't feel I know enough to decide if I would read this. Uncle Larry sure sounds interesting but I am wondering what it is that kids are going to identify with and what the real "problem" is? Hope this helps.

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  3. I don't actually really like fortune cookies... although since it's called a cookie I will eat it... :) it's just fun to open them up and see what the fortune is :) Thanks for voting and for your helpful comments for Laura!

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  4. Yes, indeed! That must have been some weekend! Do you think they'll really change Big Ben to Big Liz? Thanks for your helpful comments for Laura!

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  5. I like fortune cookis but some of those fortunes I get are pretty hard to understand.
    The book sounds interesting. I would like to know more about Uncle Larry and what he did. Do you mean "special" as challenged?

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  6. It's the hard to understand ones I like the most - they're funny because they don't make sense :) Thanks for your comment for Laura!

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  7. Hi Laura -

    I like the premise of your story, but from your pitch, I'm not sure if Uncle Larry is a child or adult. Is this a story like "Miss Rumphius" where we follow the character through the arc of his life? This story has great potential, but I'd like to see a hook and understand what's at stake for Uncle Larry. Does he have a goal like Miss Rumphius who was challenged to make the world a better place?

    Thanks for sharing, and good luck with your story!

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  8. Laura, I'd say "maybe." Uncle Larry sounds like a typical child/adult. What sets him apart from others? Sounds like a good theme for kids though.

    Susanna, you must be a donut-lover! Do you have a donut shop close by? Ah, I miss fortune cookies. I think the real/authentic Chinese in Asia, at least here in Korea, do not give out fortune cookies. I used to love reading my slips of paper. Unfortunately, I don't remember any of them.

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  9. Thanks for your comments for Laura, Tina. And we do have a Dunkin' Donuts nearby, but I'll let you in on a little secret - I joke about donuts on my blog all the time, but I don't eat them very often. The ones I really like are the cider donuts with a little cinnamon sugar on them - but I don't indulge too often :) They don't have fortune cookies in Korea? I'm surprised!

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  10. Thanks for your helpful comments for Laura, Dede! :)

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  11. thefeatherednestJune 6, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    Voting done but it wasn't easy this month.

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  12. I don't have any funny fortunes, although I have one taped near my desk which says: "In love you will be happy and harmonius." Since I got it on a date with my boyfriend, now husband, I kept it as a good omen and it has worked! :- D

    Laura, can you focus the pitch on one incident when Larry got into trouble, and perhaps tighten the suspense that way? I think it is a promising start!

    And I voted but was a bit torn...

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  13. Thanks, Delores. I agree - it was a tough choice!

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  14. Aw! I love that fortune cookie story! Even better than weird fortunes :) Thanks for your comment for Laura and for voting - I know it was hard!

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  15. Thanks Cathy good idea- it's a bit hard tho 'because there's so much mischief - and might be a bad example...the time Unc Larry was going to fry the goldfish for supper, or have a weenie roast by setting fire to the chicken coop....or cut a hole in the barn roof....

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  16. Thank you Tina, this has been an issue with which I've been struggling. I don't want to make light of Unc Larry's mental impairment (he was oxygen deprived at birth), yet there were humorous situations. And...you just made me realize I did not mention his inability to speak other than in one or two syllables...DUH! Thank you!

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  17. HAHAHAHAHA. "Since it's called a cookie, I will eat it." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yup, that's the only reason I put them in my mouth too. You are too cute, Susanna!

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  18. This one is a maybe for me for the same reasons others have stated. I'd need more info about Larry and the predicament -- more specific details to make it come alive and clarify what I'm in for. :)

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  19. Dede-I so need to rewrite the pitch--it had been a while since I wrote it and I guess when you are so close to the subject you forget to state the obvious. My Uncle Larry was mentally retarded and also could not speak well. I need ideas in how to convey that w/out being offputting.
    Thank you for your comment.

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  20. Yes, Erik. Challenged was probably the word I should use. Thank you!

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  21. Oh, and I'll see Cathy Mealey's fortune cookie and raise her one receipt for an iced cappuccino, prepared for me by my future husband on the day we met...and with the words "I've been looking for you" scribbled on the back...:) I still have it.

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  22. Thanks for your input Rosalind. I agree - I now see I do need to include more-perhaps why he was banned from going to school....until he was in his 40s.

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  23. What?? NWR isn't on your blog list? I'm in a HUGE bitter snit now, missy!!!!!

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  24. I'm glad I have a kindred spirit out there, Renee :)














    Renee LaTulippe (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    HAHAHAHAHA. "Since it's called a cookie, I will eat it." HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yup, that's the only reason I put them in my mouth too. You are too cute, Susanna!

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  25. Aw! What an awesome story! :) I can't compete, but the day my husband and I had our first date, my husband had to go with a friend to prison to get rock-climbing equipment out of another's friend's impounded car (long story - my husband didn't do anything bad!). The outing took longer than they expected and my husband got very anxious about being late for the date. His friend said, "What's the big deal? So you're a few minutes late?" and my husband said, "You don't understand! This is the girl I'm going to marry!" I've always loved that he knew from the beginning :)













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

    Oh, and I'll see Cathy Mealey's fortune cookie and raise her one receipt for an iced cappuccino, prepared for me by my future husband on the day we met...and with the words "I've been looking for you" scribbled on the back...:) I still have it.

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  26. Susanna, I love the ducks-last year we had a 2 pairs of mallards nest nearby - and had 19 baby ducks on our property. Drove my hubby crazy when he mowed. Funny fortune cookie story. One time my daughter swapped with me before we opened them the fortune said,"what you desire is not yours."

    And thanks so much for this opportunity...I've already learned so much!! I can't wait to revise. Question...were the above pitches the originals or have they now been revised with all the suggestions in mind?

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  27. Love your fortune cookie story :) And I'm glad you're finding WYRI helpful :) Those pitches have not been changed - they are the originals. I've started thinking maybe I should change this part of the process and allow people to submit a new and improved version for the pitch pick... I think I'll have a vote on that soon :)

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  28. I'm SORRY! I fixed it! Sometimes I can't keep up with all the details!













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

    What?? NWR isn't on your blog list? I'm in a HUGE bitter snit now, missy!!!!!

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  29. SOB :-( Miss M's Musings neither :( Bit snitty. ;)

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  30. Thanks, Renee, I absolutely agree with you. This has helped me so much to evaluate my pitch.

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  31. I cast my vote, though it was difficult with those great pitches.

    This pitch intrigues me because it sounds like Uncle Larry nudged a lesson of loving through action and not just words. It would help a bit to understand if the special reference was regarding how special he was to those around him or if it his overcoming of a special obstacle in his life.

    Glad things are settling down for you. Sorry, no fortune cookie fun to share. My daughter took the last one we had to camp and I never did find out what it said lol!!!

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  32. I'm sorry Joanna *sniff sniff* - another oversight. I am a bad friend. I will fix it right away.













    Joanna Marple wrote, in response to Renee LaTulippe (unregistered):

    SOB :-( Miss M's Musings neither :( Bit snitty. ;)


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  33. Thank you, Angela, for your comment. I failed to adequately explain (in the pitch) that my Unc. Larry was mentally challenged all his life and nearly non-verbal - yet he accepted everyone for who they were and touched all our lives. I definitely need to rewrite the pitch.

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  34. Love the fortunes you shared :) As for today's pitch, I would say maybe. It's a fantastic idea, but the pitch comes across as a little vague in terms of plot.

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  35. AWWWW! That is a fabulous story! And the prison adds just the right amount of mystery and spice, haha. Love it. :)

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  36. Jess - I agree with you....vague is my middle name. LOL This has been a good learning experience.

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  37. Uh-oh, I stirred up a snit's nest! Those sidebars are a lot of work - time to update mine, too! But thank you, dear Susanna!

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  38. Any cinnamon rolls on that plate? I'd definitely want to read the book and did realize that Uncle Larry was challenged in some way, but I agree that it might help to make that a little clearer in the pitch...love books that help kids embrace those with special needs! The pitch pick is hard...will be back tonight to vote. :) And I've got lots of funny Chinese restaurant stories (like the fly on the jello that the waiter tookback the plate and washed it off and brought us back the same plate of jello...sans fly!)...but no fortune cookie one I can think of now.

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  39. What a busy morning! And talk about tough choices....I love the pitches. As for today's "Would You Read It" pitch, I think there is great appeal for these types of stories. I think the others have covered many of my comments. I understood that he was mentally challenged, but it definitely needs to be more clear. Good luck!

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  40. Rachel SchieffelbeinJune 6, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Based on the pitch, I'd say no just because I don't really know what it's about. Reading the comments, I think it sounds interesting. :) Like the others have said, just make the story more clear. Good luck! :)

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  41. O, Susanna - this may not be kosher - but I realize now how poor my pitch was.....so I tried to redo, based on comments and suggestions. If I'm not allowed - go ahead and delete...
    Working Title: Uncle Larry
    Age/Genre: PB
    The Pitch (revised): A true story about Uncle Larry, who was mentally challenged from birth and nearly non-verbal. He loved school, but was banned from attending, so he worked on the family farm, had a special way with animals, got into some funny mischief, like when he tried to have a hot dog roast over the chicken coop, and all while giving love and teaching us about loving others even when they are different.

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  42. Can you think of (or make up...in the interest of the bigger truth, of course :)) a time when Uncle Larry succeeded in doing something that others could not? A situation that he approached the only way he knew how, but that was non-traditional because of his disability? No need to state how he is different, just show him living his life and the impact his actions had on other people and life itself. Think specific rather than general...:)

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  43. As I hit send, I realized that while I advised you to think specific rather than general, it's sometimes easier said than done. It's one of my challenges, too! Hang in there and keep at it. You have the heart of a wonderful story!

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  44. Thanks, Rachel, for your input and encouragement

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  45. Thank you, Kirsten, for your encouragement.

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  46. Thank you, Vivian...working on making it clearer.

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  47. I do want to know how Larry communicates since he is nearly non-verbal perhaps give an example. I think you can take out "he loved school, but was banned from attending" because it's extra information that an editor/reader can find out when reading the pb. I like the example of "hot dog roast over the chicken coop" and want to know how that turned out and also it made me giggle. I'm a maybe. I like the concept and I want to know more about Larry but the title does not grab me.

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  48. Thanks Rena for your suggestions. I've struggled with the title, wanting to make it friendly but not alienating by too much emphasis on Uncle Larry's disability. Still pondering.

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  49. Hi Laura-

    I'm a maybe on this one because it doesn't feel like there is enough drama in the story to keep my kids' attention. I think your rewrite is going in the right direction, but there needs to be a little more content about what is the conflict in the story for Larry. Is it that he is not allowed to attend school? Or is it just living in a world that is unaccepting of differences? And what must he do he overcome that conflict? (Maybe it's find a place where he is accepted -- the family farm.)

    If this is a true story, I would also look at some picture book biographies and how the pitches for them are written because they may differ slightly from fictional stories where everything can be tied up in a neat little package.

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  50. Carrie, thank you for your observations and biography research suggestions. I have checked out some non-fiction 'disability' books for content too.

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  51. I too like the hot dog roast and the concept overall--I agree with others that it could be clearer. :)

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  52. Thanks for your very helpful comments, Carrie!














    Carrie Finison (unregistered) wrote, in response to Laura Anne Miller (unregistered):

    Hi Laura-

    I'm a maybe on this one because it doesn't feel like there is enough drama in the story to keep my kids' attention. I think your rewrite is going in the right direction, but there needs to be a little more content about what is the conflict in the story for Larry. Is it that he is not allowed to attend school? Or is it just living in a world that is unaccepting of differences? And what must he do he overcome that conflict? (Maybe it's find a place where he is accepted -- the family farm.)
    If this is a true story, I would also look at some picture book biographies and how the pitches for them are written because they may differ slightly from fictional stories where everything can be tied up in a neat little package.

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  53. Thanks, Rena. Very helpful!














    Rena J. Traxel (unregistered) wrote, in response to Laura Anne Miller (unregistered):

    I do want to know how Larry communicates since he is nearly non-verbal perhaps give an example. I think you can take out "he loved school, but was banned from attending" because it's extra information that an editor/reader can find out when reading the pb. I like the example of "hot dog roast over the chicken coop" and want to know how that turned out and also it made me giggle. I'm a maybe. I like the concept and I want to know more about Larry but the title does not grab me.

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  54. No problem - it's supposed to be a learning experience :) If you're willing to take the time to try and make it better, kudos to you :)

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  55. Thanks, Kirsten, and thanks for voting :)

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  56. Of course there are cinnamon rolls - help yourself :) Thanks for your comment for Laura. I'll look forward to your vote. And I'm almost afraid to ask how you know it was the same plate with washed off jello - was it wet? Eww!

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  57. Thanks for voting, Angela, and for you comment to Laura - very helpful. And I hope your daughter enjoyed the cookie :)

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  58. Glad you enjoyed the fortunes :) and thanks for your comment for Laura!

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  59. Stina LindenblattJune 6, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    I'm not even sure what the fortune means :P

    The new version of the pitch is better. I'm not sure if the topic is better for a MG book verses a PB. There's so much more you could do with it as a MG story. As long as the main character is a kid and not Uncle Larry.

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  60. Good point, Stina. And I don't know what either of those fortunes is really supposed to mean :)

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  61. Penny KlostermannJune 6, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    I'm late to the party! I've been traveling today...but not to the land of fortune cookies...more like tortillas & sopapillas :•) Alas, I have no exciting fortune cookie stories!

    I voted for one of those great pitches and read your pitch, Laura. I, also, read through the comments & I agree that the story sounds like it could be just wonderful, but the pitch needs clarification.

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  62. Thanks for checking in after your travels, my friend! i hope you had a wonderful day :)

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  63. Glad your brother is doing better, Susanna, and thanks for saving the baby animals! I would be very much interested in reading Laura's story and the new pitch is much improved, but now I feel it could be more concise, without extraneous info.

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  64. Thank you, Iza. Sorry I did not see this yesterday - I had to break off to cook a pot of soup for church potluck. Thank you for input - and I will work on trimming the fat.

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  65. Thanks, Penny for your input - sorry I didn't see it yesterday.

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  66. Thank you Stina, I've never tried a MG story. I'm so new to this PB seems a little less scary....but then again, I'm always having to cut-cut-cut perhaps MG would serve better. Thanks for the thought.

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  67. Joanna, sorry I somehow missed your comment yesterday. Thank you for the insight - I will work on making a connection between the kids and Unc Larry - and identifying the problem. Thanks.

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  68. Oh, Dede, thank you so-so-so much for this thought. Sorry I did not see it til today (Thurs).

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  69. Thank you Coleen. (Sorry I didn't see this yesterday-I had to leave to take care of church business.) Everyone always grins at the hot dog story. There are so many more too...

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  70. Thanks for your very helpful comments for Laura, Iza, and for your kind thoughts for my brother. The girls are not happy at living the leashed life - you should see their accusing faces when I hook them up to go out - but too bad for them. There will be no baby animal terrorizing on my watch! :)

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  71. I'm still trying to catch up. Sorry I'm late. Voted for a pitch. Yes, I really like the story idea. But, it feels like one long run-on sentence. I would break it up. Had to read the last sentence twice to get what she meant. But, I absolutely love her story idea and would like to be first in line to review it when it's published.

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  72. Thanks, Pat! I'm sure Laura will be very glad to know that :)

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  73. Sorry about your brother's accident, but I'm glad he's on the mend! I agree with everyone that Laura's pitch has a lot of potential, but needs to include more details. Best of luck Laura!

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  74. Thanks Julie! (Still chuckling over the Riders vs. Writers :))

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  75. You should definitely look into asking your polls through Wayin. You have the ability to add photos, videos, and links! Would be happy to help kc@wayin.com. Thx!

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