August 28, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #102 - The Savage Queen (YA) PLUS The July Pitch Winner


Can you believe it?  Here we are at the last Wednesday in August!  Where did the summer go?

Before we get to all of today's exciting offerings, I just want to thank everyone who took the time to visit Eric's website and listen to his music, and especially those who followed him on Twitter and downloaded tracks.  We are both so appreciative and hope you enjoyed what you heard.  (And if you didn't get a chance to check it out, please feel free at any time :))

Also, while I was listing new things on Monday, I forgot to mention that my blog and website have been revamped a bit to make them more integrated.  I wish the titles for WYRI, PPBF etc. could be in smaller font, but Blogger won't let you do that, so it is what it is.  Otherwise, I feel pretty good about it.  What do you guys think?

Now then, let's fortify ourselves with Something Chocolate, shall we?  I'm in the mood for some Chocolate Cream Pie this morning... something I know Clar will back me up on because I think she eats that for breakfast every day :)

YUM!


By the way, if anybody out there has Something Chocolate they'd like to share with the group, please feel free to email pictures (and recipes if you have them) as Coleen and Teresa have done recently and I will use them and credit you on Would You Read It!

Alrighty... Let's get to the July Pitch Pick!  All the pitches were terrific, and the vote was exceptionally close - unprecedentedly so as a matter of fact! - but in the end, the winner was....

RACHEL with her pitch for The Curse of the Shattered Sceptre!

Congratulations, Rachel!  Your pitch is on it's way to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts.  And congratulations to all our brave pitchers for great story ideas and wonderful pitch revisions.  Good luck to all of you with your stories!

Today's pitch comes to us from Alicia who says: About me: I am currently a freshman at Wright State University and heading towards a Masters Degree in Middle Childhood Education. Writing is my first and foremost passion, leading me to want to help kids in school achieve their goals through teaching them how to write. I also began writing in middle school, which is exactly why I would like to teach children of that age.

If you'd like to follow her on twitter she's @TacitLady and you can contact her by email at aliciastew95@gmail.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Savage Queen
Age/Genre: YA (Fantasy/Adventure/Coming of Age)
The Pitch: Roma Whitewood is charged with treason for trying to protect the only family he has ever known as they are murdered before his eyes at the hands of the King's Royal Army. The country Roma has always called his own, betrays him as his punishment is to be stripped of his citizenship and sent to work in the treacherous labor camps, where he meets Lyra and she opens his eyes to the truths of the world that he had been overlooking his whole life. All of the stories his mother told him as child, that he never even dared to believe, all begin to come true and Roma must face the ultimate decision: be oppressed or join the Uprising with Lyra. There's more to Lyra than she's telling him, but Roma can only put his trust in the hands of the girl who had been by his side every moment in the camps. She was going to escape, or die trying, and Roma was going with her, no matter the outcome.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so we could seriously use some new pitches!  Send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Alicia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to finishing cleaning my office (which yes, I am attempting once again... we'll see if I succeed this time or give up in despair as usual :)  I may need another slice of pie :))

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!! :)

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August 26, 2013

Somethings New


Happy Monday Everyone!

Summer is always a busy time.

August, apparently, is always busier than July.

And this has been a particularly busy week on Blueberry Hill - a week of Somethings New.

We got a new granddaughter :)

Can you imagine ever being that small, or remember when your kids were?  And what is it about babies that just melts us all into puddles of mush?  I don't think it's possible to be around babies without feeling like you're overflowing with happiness :)


We have a newly wisdom-toothless child - the second full set of wisdom teeth out in one month at our house (and no, we do not have dental insurance - ouch!)  Not so much sunshine and happiness on this front (and no pictures of the chipmunk cheeks!), but at least it's over and done with.

And finally, I have something else new to share with you.  (And forgive me in advance... I realize I'm edging into questionable territory here, but I can't help myself :)  If you can't share with your friends, who can you share with?)  The other new thing is a new album called Don't Look Back.

My husband, Eric, in addition to his many other wonderful qualities (which I will refrain from enumerating lest you accuse me of sounding like a lovesick teenager :)) is a singer/songwriter who writes all his own music and lyrics and has recorded several albums.

As writers, some of us published, some of us pre-published, some of us published once upon a time but going through a long stretch of nothing new, we can all understand the challenges of trying to become known and/or recognized in a competitive industry.  Especially with the advent of the digital age and the infinite bookshelf (and whatever you'd call its equivalent in music - the infinite playlist? :)) the knowns stay known, and the unknowns get harder and harder to find regardless of how much they may have to offer.  So much talent.  So many wonderful books and so much great music.  It can be hard to get noticed.

As writers, we write so that people will have a chance to read our words, so I think we're in a better-than-average position to understand musicians who operate on the same wavelength - they write/sing/play so that people will hear their songs.

All of this to say, if you've got a few spare minutes and would like to visit Eric's website, listen to a song or two, and maybe, if you like anything you hear, download a song or two (they're only .99) it would really make his day to know that some new people were hearing and enjoying his work.  (And it would make my day to see him happy and excited because some new people were liking his music :))  He has not asked me to do this (or even hinted at it) but I thought to myself, maybe some of you in this generous community might be interested, so why not share?  He has just updated his website, added the new tracks, and put up his new music video, so it's the perfect time :)

Probably my favorite track from his new album is called The Question Why.  In addition to being upbeat with the kind of tune that gets stuck in your head, it features our daughters on back up vocals and our son on bass guitar (and not just because they're part of the family - they are all very musical - and I am not at all biased :))

Anyway, he works very hard all the time on many things, doing so much for all of us as a family, that I wanted to do this for him - let you all know in case you might be interested.  He's not super active - he doesn't have time - but you can follow him on Twitter if you care to boost his follower list :)  And it would be the best kind of day for him if a bunch of new people purchased some of his songs.

So that's it.  Thank you for indulging me in this slightly unusual, off-the-track post :)  Please feel free to spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested!

Have a marvelous Monday everyone!  I'm off to drool over that sweet baby :)

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August 21, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #101 - Cartwheel Queen (PB) PLUS The July Pitch Pick!

Next year I would like someone to remind me in June that August is an insane month and I should plan NOTHING!

Since I forgot this year, I'm in over my head.  And that's with only one regular blog post per week!  I am seriously hoping that things are going to settle down and get more organized when school starts.  Otherwise I shall have to check myself into a home! :)

So quick, darlings, everyone help yourself to more of Coleen's goodies - Peanut Butter Rice Krispie treats today (please note the luscious chocolate drizzle which qualifies them as our Something Chocolate!)
Photo copyright Coleen Patrick 2013 used by permission
YUM!  And totally breakfast because they've got the word Rice Krispie right in the title!  You really cannot argue with that :)

And now let's get right down to business!

First, we've got the July Pitch Pick.  Our brave pitchers have taken all your excellent advice to heart and revised their pitches to the best of their abilities.  Here are the choices:

#1 Lisa
That Tommy Thompson (PB ages 5 and up)
Just a girl???? Abigail Richmond was not about to let "that" Tommy Thompson ruin her day. In fact, she has just enough confidence combined with a dash of sass that allows her to prove she can do anything she puts her mind to, just like some other famous women in history. Luckily, she also has the smarts to know what she shouldn't do. 

#2 Rachel
The Curse of The Shattered Sceptre (Chapter Book/MG)
After accidentally unleashing a torrent of curses, Ollie and his Book Club buddies must use their wits and imagination to unravel a series of twisted clues. In a race against time, will the boys mend the shattered sceptre, restoring the balance of nature, or will they be cursed forever? 

#3 Angela
Fable Ranger (MG)
Swept away in a storm of rose petals, twelve-year-old Case lands in a world of make-believe, chosen by the book of Lorealia as the new Fable Ranger. But in a realm where Prince Charming always saves the day, she’s dismissed…just for being a girl. Proving bravery comes in all packages, Case ventures off to reverse the evil Dovetail’s enchantments. He’s unbalanced magic and forced the Red Rose Bounds to shut down. Unless Case completes the tasks to set magic right, she’ll remain trapped in a spiraling happily-never-after or worse, captured by Dovetail himself.

#4 Vivian
The Tomato Turner Gets A Job (PB ages 4 and up)
The annual summer bike relay is only two weeks away,  but no matter how many times Peter counts the money in his piggy bank, it’s still not enough to buy the new bike he needs to join his best friend’s team. Peter must find a way to earn more...fast! Mixing Gardener’s Gold is not the best smelling job – but his piggy bank IS getting heavier - if only he could stop breathing or make the manure smell better.

I know it's a tough choice (as always!) but please choose the pitch you think deserves a read by editor Erin Molta and cast your vote by 11:59 PM EDT Sunday August 25.

Thank you so much for voting!

Now!  Onward! :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Carrie who says, "My passion for picture books and literacy began while studying to be an elementary teacher.  I took a break from teaching this past school year to immerse myself into writing full-time.  I guess you could say I finally figured out what all the brain babble was for!  
You can find me on my blog site Carrie On... at www.carriecharleybrown.com or follow me on Facebook www.fb.com/carrie.brown.56614#, Twitter @carriebrowntx, or You Tube https://www.youtube.com/user/carriecharleybrown"

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Cartwheel Queen
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-6)
The Pitch: After learning how to do a cartwheel, Queen Carina begins her rule over Cartwheelandia. Cheers and cartwheels explode through the crowd, but stop short with Carina’s heart-broken little brother.  In an effort to restore peace to the kingdom, Queen Carina does all she can to help Caden train to be the greatest Cartwheel King that ever lived.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so we could really use some new pitches!  Send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Carrie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to something so wonderful you won't even believe it!!  We are expecting a new grandbaby and he or she is due to be delivered TOMORROW!!!  Next time you see me I'll be a grandmother again... or a grandfather :)  Meanwhile, hoping all will go smoothly with the delivery and that this little one will be as healthy and wonderful as his or her big sister!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)

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August 14, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #100!!! - The Golden Egg (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

Holy Hundredth Would You Read It, Batman!

Can you believe it?

Today marks the 100th week!  The 100th brave person to post their pitch!  The 100th Wednesday of Wonderfulness when we all get to learn so much from each other!

Who would have thought we'd get to 100 back on July 27, 2011 when we had our very first pitch?

So I think we should celebrate.  As always, Something Chocolate shall be involved (with many many thanks to the awesome and wonderful Coleen for making this for us today - and while I'm mentioning Coleen you should go read her blog if you don't already because she is tons of fun :))
This, my friends, is a Brookie - a Brownie Cookie - pretty much the best of both worlds, don'tcha think?
Photo copyright Coleen Patrick 2013 used by permission
Doesn't that look delicious???  Help yourself to a cup of coffee or a nice cold glass of milk to go with it! :)

But wait!  There's more!


Because the 100th day of anything doesn't come around all that often, I think I will give away a prize to one lucky randomly selected commenter from today's post!  Just because I love you and my blog would be nothing without all you wonderful people who come to read and comment and share your love of kidlit.

Hmmm.... what should the prize be, I wonder?

Well, you can never really have enough picture books, can you? :)  If you're a parent or a teacher they come in super handy.  If you're a writer, you can learn so much from how a good one is written.  So how about the prize shall be the winner's choice of Is Your Buffalo Ready For Kindergarten by Audrey Vernick (perfect for this time of year), I Haiku You by Betsy Snyder (perfect for poetry lovers), Journey by Aaron Becker (perfect for art lovers), America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle by David A. Adler (perfect for nonfiction lovers), or, if you already have all 4 of those, something else that we pick together!

Now, just quickly before we get to today's pitch, I have a Straight From The Editor for you.  You will recall that Andrea won the June pitch pick with her pitch for The Backpack Secret (PB).  This was her pitch:

On the first day of kindergarten, Amani notices that Mason won’t take off his backpack. She’s determined to find out why, especially when the other kids start calling him names. After she finally convinces Mason to share his secret, it gives her an idea that will help everyone in the class feel braver at school.

And this response from editor Erin Molta is almost a first (it certainly doesn't happen often!):

I like this and can’t think of anything to make it more appealing. It states the problem succinctly and resolves it satisfactorily while intriguing an editor to want to find out what’s inside that backpack.

Wow!  Good for you, Andrea!  Well done!  (And maybe you'd better send that story our on submission soon :))

Straight From The Editor reminds me that I don't think we've done the July Pitch Pick, so maybe I'll put that up on Friday.

Now then, today's pitch comes to us from Lisa, whom you may remember from last month with her pitch for That Tommy Thompson.  Lisa says, "I'm a former elementary school social worker, mom of two, and have recently made writing my full time job.  Two years ago I wrote my first picture book and just this past fall I  decided it wasn't going to do any good sitting on my computer. I began taking classes, reading craft books, attending conferences and workshops and just writing, everyday, writing.   The original story is long gone but at last count I've got 42 other drafts and ideas jotted down.  Oh yeah, and about four or five ready to go manuscripts. I have worked with kids my entire adult life and I feel strongly that this is the avenue in which I am meant to reach those little hearts and minds at this time in my life.  On a random note, I'm a big fan of chocolate covered gummy bears. ;)"

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Golden Egg
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: The sight of a golden egg creates quite a stir among the feathered community and the fact that it doesn't hatch has the Whisperers working overtime.  But have no fear, the Eggsperts are called in to save the day. But do they?  In the end,  Mother Hen knows she must listen to her heart.   Through a humorous story, lies a nurturing tale about a mothers love, acceptance and healing.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September which is alarmingly close, so please send your pitch in right away for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Lisa is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing how my freshly updated website and blog turn out.  The marvelous Donna Farrell is hard at work trying to update, freshen, and streamline my blog and website with only the barest, minimal, cryptic information from me - such comments as, "Can you make it so it does that thing like, you know?" - very specific, detailed instructions :)  Good luck, Donna :)  But she's a genius so I know it will turn out exactly how I want it!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  And don't forget, one lucky commenter today will win a prize! :)  Thank you all for your devoted readership!  It makes me happy to be part of this warm-hearted, generous community!


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August 9, 2013

A Friday Short And Sweet... Because Why Not?

I know.

I've been so sporadic in my posting.

But hey, it's summer :)

...and I warned you :)
badge created by Loni Edwards


So anyway today, because I saw something really awesome and cute, and because I feel like it. I am posting a Summer Short & Sweet!  (And yes, there's that outdated badge again... pretend it says 2013.  I keep forgetting to ask Loni if she can fix it!)

Ready for some fun?  Wait til you see this cuteness!  I saw it on Julie's blog and immediately asked her if I could use it for today's Short & Sweet.  She is generous and nice and she said yes! :)  So we are having a picture prompt today from the talented and incomparable Julie Rowan-Zoch.  If you haven't visited her blog, you are missing out.  And if you need art done for anything, contact her!  She is awesome!

Illustration copyright Julie Rowan-Zoch 2013 used by permission
The illustration was originally titled "Hybrid" (in case that sparks any ideas for you.)

So here's our 5 minute task for today:

Think about this little guy.  (For simplicity's sake I will refer to him as a boy, but of course he could just as easily be a girl.)

Who is he?
Does he have a name?
How old is he?
Are the grown-ups holding his paws his parents? Grandparents? Older siblings? Someone else?
Why does he have that expression on his face?  Is he unhappy?  Confused?  Worried? Thinking up a plan?...?
Where is he? Or where is he going?
What does he wish for?

Now, you have a choice.

1. You can write a couple sentences of character description.
or
2. You can write the opening sentence of a story featuring this character.
or
3. You can write a pitch for a picture book about this character.

I'll do some examples...  (well, I'll try anyway :))

1.  Felix is 5.  He loves fishing and climbing trees and baseball.  He also loves bugs and dirt and strawberry licorice and his pet lizard, whose name is Not Lunch.  He does not like taking a bath or eating green beans or having to share his train set with his little brother Louis who always takes the track apart.  He worries that he is the shortest boy in his class.  He lives in the blackberry thicket behind Farmer Pumpernickel's pumpkin patch.

2.  Felix was not at all sure about piano lessons with Miss Sharp.

3.  Felix's father wants him to learn karate.  Felix's mother wants him to take music lesson.  Felix doesn't want to disappoint them, but he longs to do something else.  He wants to learn to ride a horse so he can be a cowboy.  Is there any way to make mom and dad happy and still stay true to himself?

Yeah.  Okay.  Not perfect :)  But you get the idea!

Now you go!  Write your Short & Sweet in the comments.  Maybe the exercise will spark a story idea for you.  Or maybe someone else's character description, opening sentence, or pitch will spark an idea.  Who knows?

Have fun!

And have a great weekend, everyone! :)

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August 7, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #99 - Karina The Dancer (PB)


So anyway, whose idea was it to let children drive cars?

I'm just asking.

(Oops, sorry - are my white knuckles showing?)

Because really I think it would be preferable if they had to wait until I was in a nursing home...where I will probably be shortly due to the anxiety said driving causes me daily!

First, you have to sit helpless (the very definition of a sitting duck!) in the passenger seat and teach them how to drive, a process during which it is important to stay alert and keep your eyes peeled for danger even though you'd give $1000 to hide under a blanket on the back seat... or better yet, coach them via satellite from the safety of your living room couch :)

But that is far better than what comes next, when they are licensed to drive, and you have to wave from the porch as the taillights disappear out the driveway and hope and pray that your baby returns safe and sound (having also not caused undue damage to persons and property in the great state of New York or nearby Connecticut.)

And then bam, bam, bam - they're all learning one right after another, so we don't even get a breather between kids.

I tell you.  My crop of gray hairs is multiplying at an alarming rate.  This whole kids driving thing is not good for my peace of mind.

You know what IS good for peace of mind?  CHOCOLATE :)  (Do you like how smoothly I segued into that? :))

Just WAIT until you see the chocolate delight I have for you today!  It has been baked specially for you by Teresa - her fabulous French Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Glaze! (and if you follow that link and scroll down to the July 29 post you can get the recipe :) - sorry, for some reason I couldn't get the post-specific link... maybe because of the deterioration of mental function caused by all the driving anxiety :))
photograph copyright Teresa Robeson 2013 used with permission
Doesn't that look YUMMY?!  And it's especially appropriate because Teresa is friends with today's pitcher, so it's kind of like she baked this cake especially for the occasion :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Darshana.  Darshana's special talents by day are solving engineering problems, creating activities for her kids, and concocting ways to spend time with her husband. By night she reads and writes picture books, so one day she can realize her dream of becoming a published author. Check out her book reviews at Flowering Minds, and keep up to date on the latest in the kidlit world by "Liking" her on FaceBook or "Following" her on Twitter.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Karina The Dancer
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Wanting to be a dancing star like her older sister, free-spirited Karina signs up for Indian classical dance, a structured art form, only to realize her true talents lie in a different dance style.

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

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in September so we're about ready for some new pitches!  Send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Darshana is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to when all my children are excellent, experienced, accomplished drivers and I don't have to worry anymore... (yeah, I heard it.  I know it comes with parenthood that I will always worry about them :))  So that's not realistic.  Okay then.  I am looking forward to Friday when we are going to have a very fun Short & Sweet!  Sharpen your pencils and get ready for something special!  And that's the truth! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  Happy reading and writing!

(And if you should happen to hear a shriek from the direction of the east coast, don't worry - it's probably just me in the passenger seat while #5 takes her place behind the wheel :))


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