November 7, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday #64 - A Banshee Birthday (PB), And Pitch Pick #14 (October)

Well, my goodness!  This has been a busy week so far, hasn't it?

I apologize for the extra post yesterday, and thank everyone who took the time to read and vote for their favorite Halloweensie Contest entry.  If you haven't had a chance to vote yet, the running is VERY tight and we need all the votes we can get, so please go HERE!

And speaking of voting, we've had so much of it this week!  Voting for the president... voting for the Halloweensie Contest... and now voting for the October Pitch Pick winner.  Truly, I feel a little weak, and I suspect you may too, so I'd like to offer you all a restorative chocolate cake pop :)
Photo copyright Stacy Jensen 2012 used by permission
Very festive, don't you think?  And orange-y and yellow-y for post-Halloween scrumptiousness :)  And as we all know, if it's cake, it's breakfast (milk, eggs, grains, need I say more?)  Hmm... I like that!  I think it should be my new motto:  "If it's cake, it's breakfast!"  (and you have to say it in the voice of a Saturday morning cartoon narrator, you know, like "Not far outside the city, the evil scientist, Simon Barsinister, was up to no good!"!)

Now that we are thusly fortified, here are the revised pitches from October, presented for your voting pleasure.  Enjoy reading the new and improved versions and then please vote for the one you think deserves a read by editor Erin Molta.

#1 Linda
Alpha Bitty (PB ages 4-6)
A special tree stands on Wordy Hill. It doesn’t sprout apples or oranges but letters, from A to Z. All year Wind, Rain and bright Sunshine, have helped the letters grow strong, but how can they pick them? Alpha Bitty comes to the rescue and together the friends share the letters near and far so new stories may blossom.

#2 Sidney
Phantom And The Boneyard (MG)
The Phantom awakens to find himself separated from the other airplanes in his squadron and relocated to a military "boneyard" in the Arizona desert where retired aircraft are used for spare parts. But Phantom isn't ready to retire. With the help of new friends, he starts plotting his escape before he, too, ends up in permanent storage with his "eyes" wrapped shut.

#3 Brenda
Dishing Up (PB ages 3-8)
What could possibly go wrong when Dan Platter, Kay Gravy Boat and Amy Gravy Boat take over the kitchen!

#4 Carrie
Scooter Annie (PB ages 4-8)
Annie loves swooping and gliding on her new scooter. Nothing can stop her…except the hill at the end of her street. Now, if Annie wants to ride in the neighborhood parade, she must find a way to tackle that big hill – without getting hurt in a big way.

Please vote by Friday November 9 at 11:59 EST!

And now for today's pitch from the lovely Heather (who you may remember from that gorgeous dragon painting we all enjoyed so much for the Summer Send-Off Contest - helpfully linked in case you want to go look at that picture again!)  Heather is an artist, writer, wife and mom living in the woods of Maine. When she's not scribbling away at her desk, she's busy exploring, learning and generally raising a ruckus with her family. You can find her at her blog or her website.

Working Title: A Banshee Birthday
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Ailbe wishes she had some friends to invite to her birthday party, but it's tough finding girls willing to attend a nocturnal banshee celebration. For those girls brave enough to say "yes" and stay awake past bedtime, Ailbe has many secrets of the night to share

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

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

Heather is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to a lovely day in which there will be sunshine and temperate temperatures and certainly NOT what the weather man is calling for which I will not repeat here because this is a kid-friendly blog and the weatherman is tossing about a four-letter word that begins with S!

See you Friday for Perfect Picture Books and the winner of Amy's giveaway for Marathon Mouse!

Have a fun-filled, snow-free day! :)


Reactions:

61 comments:

  1. I must say, those cake pops look good. (says that like Sherlock Holmes)

    Ms. Newman, I have a question - what is a "banshee"? I would like to know so I understand what the book is about more. Thank you! :)

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  2. A banshee is a female spirit from Irish mythology whose appearance is believed to be an omen of death, but in my story the people simply believe to hear the song of a banshee brings bad luck. No unfortunate deaths :) Thanks for asking, Erik!

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  3. I would shame your cake for breakfast thought if I didn't have an unattended candy necklace hanging from my mouth. Surprisingly, candy necklace and coffee don't pair well.


    I'm intrigued by the banshee, but also a little scared. I would like something more specific than "secrets of the night" to know what I was getting myself and my children into.

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  4. I've never tried cake pops. Some day...
    Heather, the popular birthday party premise seems quite fresh and original with a banshee party. I'm not sure if I'd read it because I don't like scary stories. I think it would depend mainly on the illustrations. If the illos are cute, then I'd probably read it. But if they were more on the scary side, I'd pass. This premise might be better for a chapter book for girls. Older girls would probably think it's fun. I'm also wondering how to pronounce the MC's name. But great job on having an original idea!

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  5. I feel like I've been cheering all night, when in fact I was only cheeing on the inside, as everyone else in the house fell asleep! So, thanks for the breakfast cake, Susanna!
    Yes, I'd read it, heather, but the first sentence implies the story is about finding friends, and the rest invites us to a bone chilling party. If this were mine, I'd work bits of the beginning into the rest, and let the reader know just a tad more about what awaits the 'brave' ones! Booohhhaaa!

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  6. Thank you, Laurie! When I revise the pitch I'll add in some examples to clarify what I mean.

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  7. Thank you, Tina! It's not meant to be a scary story and I can see from the feedback so far that I'm not accurately representing the tone of my story with my pitch. I'm intrigued by your suggestion to consider making it a chapter book...

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  8. Thank you! It's so nice to have fresh eyes on this pitch and I'll play with adding more information to bring the reader in. :)

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  9. Heather, don't need to repeat what others have said, but I shared some similar thoughts about your pitch. Would like to know a little more.


    Good luck to those October pitches.

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  10. Have voted!


    Heather, I also agree with those below who have mentioned a sense of dichotomy in the pitch. Is the issue the finding of friends or the scary party? I like the uniqueness of the idea, though!

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  11. It seems to be unanimous! (which is a good thing) Thank you, Pat.

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  12. Thank you, Joanna! The issue is finding friends, something I need to make a bit more clear in my pitch. :)

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  13. You may have as many cake pops as your mom allows, Erik :) And you know, I'm not entirely sure I have a good definition of what a banshee is either, so I will look forward to Heather's answer!

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  14. Now, see, you have to have the correct KIND of candy with coffee. I recommend Snickers. But then, I always recommend Snickers :) Thanks for your comments for Heather, Lauri :)

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  15. I have never tried a cake pop either, Tina, but they have the word "cake" in them, so I figure, what's not to like? :) Thanks so much for your comments for Heather!

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  16. Have as many cake pops as you like, Julie. It's important to stay fortified! And thanks for your comments for Heather!

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  17. Thanks for chiming in for Heather, Pat! And it will be interesting to see who wins the October Pitch Pick!!!

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  18. Thanks for voting, Jo, and for your thoughts for Heather!

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  19. Ooh, I love the idea of learning secrets of the night. I've always wondered what it is owls stay awake to see. I immediately smiled when I read your pitch. YES! I'd read it! Your title suggests fun! As does the word celebration. However, when connected to nighttime and a banshee, the word "brave" suggests the opposite . The banshee wouldn't frighten kids as we'd have to explain what one is. But adults could be put off. I hope I'm not being too picky and not repeating what others are saying.

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  20. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts for Heather, Pam!

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  21. I like a party and the idea of finding friends--and the banshee part has me very curious. :) Oh and speaking of curious, I noticed in the comments Susanna that you said you have never tried a cake pop. WHAT?

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  22. Not picky at all, Pamela! Thank you for pointing out the shift in tone from the word "brave", it's an interesting point. Adults could be put off and I'm hoping that my illustrations will alleviate that since they won't be dark and scary.

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  23. Thanks, Coleen :)

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  24. You had me at "nocturnal banshee celebration"! I would read it, mostly because I really am curious how a banshee would celebrate her birthday :)

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  25. Although I'm generally a pie-for-breakfast kind of person, I'd vote for the cake as breakfast food, too, since we're in a voting kind of mood this week.


    Wonderful reworkings of the October pitches - another nail-biter, I think.


    As for this week's pitch, I'd give it a Maybe, Heather. While I love the idea of a girl bucking the trend & seeking to expose her friends to an experience she enjoys, I'm concerned that many potential readers & their youngsters won't know what a "nocturnal banshee celebration" is. Must confess, I had to look up banshee, and I lived in Ireland for a few years & am somewhat familiar with Irish folklore. Perhaps if you change nocturnal to midnight & add spirit or witch after banshee, it may clarify things?

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  26. delores @ thefeatherednestNovember 8, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Cake for breakfast sounds just fine to me...although...I would say it my golf commentators voice...try it...it carries weight lol.
    Would I read it...yes I would. It sounds exciting.

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  27. Sidney Schuhmann LevesqueNovember 8, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    I am totally all for pie for breakfast. I have a sweet tooth!

    Heather, I would read your book. I think I've established myself with a reputation for spookiness. I would read it to find out more about her nocturnal secrets!

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  28. Elizabeth Stevens OmlorNovember 8, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Would I read it?! Heck yes! Oh wait. I have read it. AND I LOVED IT. I think the first part of the pitch is strong. The second part can be tweaked a little. I don't have any thing to offfer you in terms of a solution, but I'll keep thinking about it. I'm sure the Caring Critiquers would love to help you on this as well! Hooray for Heather and my favorite non-frightening banshee. =)

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  29. I wanna cake pop, Stacy! And, Susanna...you are like the Big Bad Wolf-It-Down using all these goodie pictures.


    My what yummy cake balls you have!
    The better to tempt you over to my blog with, my dears!


    Voting for a pitch was especially hard for me this month, but I finally chose!


    Heather, I am a "probably"...which is a little less than a "yes" and a little more than a "maybe". I agree that this may seem a little scary for a PB, but I imagine you have some illustrations in mind that are playful and appropriate. So, I think the pitch needs to come across as more playful. I do love spooky, but I know in a PB it has to be toned down. There are some out there that add humor and playfulness and pull it off with success.

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  30. Shocking isn't it, Coleen? That a person of my dessert tendencies has never tried a cake pop? Actually, I had never even heard of one before. I can only assume I'd like it since it must be made out of cake :) Thanks for your comments for Heather :)

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  31. Thanks for chiming in for Heather, Larissa! :)

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  32. You know, I don't think we should rule anything out as breakfast, Patricia. I am also very fond of pie :) Pudding, mousse, cookies, etc - they should all have their place :) Glad you like the revised pitches, and thanks so much for your helpful comments for Heather!

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  33. I have never heard a golf commentator! I will have to find the golf channel if such a thing exists and hear what it sounds like :) I'm sure it's very effective for saying, "If it's cake, it's breakfast!" though :) Thanks for your comments for Heather, Delores!

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  34. Thanks for your comments for Heather, Sidney. And around here, pie is a completely acceptable breakfast - I mean, with the exception of chocolate creme (which still has milk and therefore calcium - very healthful for bones) all pies have fruit or vegetable in them, so that is really health food :)

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  35. Thank you for your helpful in-the-know comments for Heather, Elizabeth!! :)

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  36. It's true, Penny, I have a method to my madness :) And you may have as many cake pops as you like. I f I run out I'll just tell Stacy to make more :) Thanks for voting, and thanks for your very helpful comments for Heather!

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  37. Thank you, Larissa!

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  38. Thank you so much, Patricia! It's obvious from your (and other) comments that the pitch needs to be much more specific since it's dealing with a fairly unknown character type. I appreciate the feedback!

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  39. Thanks, Delores!

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  40. Thank you, Sidney!

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  41. Elizabeth, you are awesome! It's been a bit of a challenge to present a banshee in a non-frightening way. I'll definitely be hitting up our Critiquers for help!

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  42. Thank you, Penny! It's clear from the comments that I haven't yet managed to capture the playful aspects of the story and I truly appreciate your input. I'll have to keep my character sketches in front of me when I rewrite the pitch. :)

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  43. Susanna, thank you for letting me share my pitch here. I have a page full of notes and a clear direction for a revised pitch!

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  44. You're totally welcome, Heather! I'm so glad if it's been helpful for you. Thank YOU for being brave enough to put your pitch out there! :)

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  45. Oh wow! That was tough. They are all good. But I did vote. Yay, no line ups. :)


    I wouldn't read the banshee book. I'm not sure what the conflict is. Banshee sounds something for more appropriate for an older age group. I could see this idea being great for an early chapter book. :)

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  46. I don't think I could NOT read a picture book about a banshee. I mean, how many times in your life will you get to do that?

    I think the pitch would be stronger if it were turned around a little, and a bit more specific about what she has planned for the party. Right now, you state the problem first, and then talk about what the party would be like. What if instead, your first sentence described the party a bit, and then second sentence stated the problem. Something like:

    Ailbe has her birthday party planned down to the last detail (list some of the special things she has planned). Now she just needs to find a few girls brave enough to come to a banshee birthday...and perhaps brave enough to become her friends.



    That could be better written, but I think changing the order and putting the emotional piece last (she wants to find a friend) makes it stronger.


    Good luck with this story, Heather!

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  47. POSTED FOR TRACY at http://www.tracycampbell.net

    First, Stacy's yummy treats make my mouth water.
    And Heather pitch makes me want to read it because it conjured up sleepovers when I was a kid. Scary and fun and all that good stuff.
    Still peering in from the fringe. LOL :)

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  48. Thanks for your comments for Heather, Tracy, and thanks for voting! :)

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  49. Thank you, Stina!

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  50. Brilliant, Carrie! It is much better flipped around, thank you so much!

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  51. Thank you, Tracy!

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  52. Thanks so much for your comments for Heather and for voting, Stina! :)

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  53. Thanks so much for your (as always!) very helpful comments, Carrie! I think I speak for all of us when I say we aure are glad you come over every Wednesday :)

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  54. Thanks for answering, Heather! When Erik asked it occurred to me that I wasn't sure exactly what constituted a banshee either!




























    Heather Newman wrote, in response to This Kid Reviews Bks:

    A banshee is a female spirit from Irish mythology whose appearance is believed to be an omen of death, but in my story the people simply believe to hear the song of a banshee brings bad luck. No unfortunate deaths :) Thanks for asking, Erik!

    Link to comment
    IP address: 72.224.242.146

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  55. If you get tired of writing picture books, Carrie...you definitely could have a stellar career in editing and pitch writing!!! Your advice is spot-on. :)

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  56. I voted. :) It was difficult because all of the pitches sounded like books I would like to read. :)

    And I would DEFINITELY read Heather's book...love the banshee celebration...I think, from what I've seen in recently published books, that a 'banshee celebration' would be just what the editors are looking for. :) I totally agree with Carrie's pitch 'fix'...and the 'secrets of the night' almost made me think of 'ladies of the night'...about whom I'm sue Heather's book is not (that was a very convoluted sentence fragment, but you get my meaning)!

    And about the cake pops..."life is uncertain, eat dessert first" (little-known but much quoted writer Ernestine Ulmer) is a saying I have long believed. :) So bring them on...cake pops and brownies and lindzer tarts and apple pie and charlotte russe and.....:)

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  57. Vivian, that is my kind of thinking! :) I often feel like it would be fun to go to a nice restaurant and order one dessert for dinner and another for dessert and just skip the other food altogether... but I've never done it... yet :) Thanks for your comments for Heather! And thanks for voting!

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  58. You're welcome. :-)

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  59. Wow, these are model pitches. Aspiring authors who want to write for the young adult or adult markets should come here and see how to write succinct, bell-ringing pitches

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  60. Glad you like them, Mark. The majority of our pitches are for picture books, but we do get some for middle grade and YA.

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  61. Thank you, Vivian! It's funny that you said that about ladies of the night. I asked my husband if that's what it sounded like and he said no, but apparently you and I have similar thought processes!

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