January 8, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #116 - The Witch's Brew (YA)

Happy New Year Everyone!
(Which I'm saying again because I don't think too many people were here on Friday.  After all, even I wasn't really :))

I hope you all had wonderful holidays!

I thoroughly enjoyed mine.  The only hard part was sending all the kids back to school - I hate to see them go :( - and, oh, yeah, getting back to work!

As you know, I took about 2 weeks off.  I didn't think I could do it, but I did.  It turned out to be easier than I thought :)  I spent lots of time with family, which was really wonderful, and I even got to read a couple books!  I admit it.  I'm a die-hard Jack Reacher fan - not the movie (I'm sorry, but Tom Cruise cannot pull off fair-haired, blue-eyed, 6' 5" and 250 lbs!) - but the books.  The whole time off thing was a real treat.  And now I'm finding it a little harder than I expected to get back in the groove :)

Since the Holiday Contest (and my time off) kind of took over December, a few things fell by the wayside.

I'm pretty sure I never announced the winner of the November Pitch Pick, so, without further ado, it was Steve with his pitch for Rashad Saves The World!  Congratulations, Steve!  You had some tough competition!  (And if I DID announce that before and just forgot, let's all pretend I didn't and be excited for Steve!  And let's also all pretend I'm not going prematurely senile :))  Steve, your pitch is in Erin Molta's inbox (yes, it really is - I did actually remember that :)) and I'm sure you'll hear from her shortly.  Congratulations to the other brave pitchers as well because they all gave excellent pitches for stories which sounded terrific!

I also don't think I ever announced the winner of Sharon Stanley's lovely book The Little Dog In The Middle Of The Road and the accompanying stuffed toy!  So without further ado, the winner, as chosen randomly by random.org, is Diane Tulloch! :)  Diane, I will put you in touch with Sharon so you two ladies can work out mailing the goodies :)

Also, I didn't get a chance yet to tell you about Elaine Kearns's fabulous new website for writers - KidLit411!  It's got everything!  You should definitely go check it out!  But after Would You Read It, please, because once you click over there you're going to want to explore and it might take you awhile :)

I'd also like to remind anyone who might be interested that Meg Miller's ReViMo is coming up next week - January 12-18.  It will be a full week to work on picture book revisions in the company of other picture book writers with prizes and everything!

It seems that everyone else is posting inspirational messages about their word for the year, their goals, their aspirations.  I have goals and aspirations too, but as you all know, I am not that organized.  So for now, I'm just going to sum up my goals for 2014 as Get Stuff Done :)

I think there was something else I forgot but, I forget... :)

You know what's helpful when you forget things?

Something Chocolate!

How about cake?

courtesy of OMG Chocolate Desserts - recipe here
It doesn't help you remember, but it makes you not mind that you forgot :)

If any of you all think of something else I've forgotten, please feel free to remind me!

Now then, enough with the catching up.  Let's get on to Would You Read It!

Today's pitch comes to us from Rena.  Rena J. Traxel writes silly picture books for kids and murderous novels for teens. Find her on twitter @renajtraxel or on Facebook

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Witch's Brew
Age/Genre: YA (mystery/legal thriller/fractured fairy tale)
The Pitch: When the body of Gretel is unearthed the residents of Rosia are ready to burn the candy Witch everyone except 16-year-old Amy Faye. Fuelled by her own false arrest, Amy—lawyer in training— is willing to risk her reputation, her family and maybe even bend a law or two to prove her crush’s mother isn’t a murderer. But will the truth set the Witch free or will she be rightfully executed alongside Amy’s reputation. Grisham’s The Accused meets Willingham’s Fables.

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 Rena 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 February so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for a chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Rena is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing everyone on Friday for Perfect Picture Books.  And now that this post is done, don't forget to go check out KidLit411 and ReViMo!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)


Reactions:

56 comments:

  1. Goodness, that cake looks heavenly! (Notice how I go straight for the important stuff first?)

    Congrats to Steve and Diane in their wins!

    Elaine and her new site are both awesome beyond words!!

    I am not making any goals and inspirational messages posts either. I might do a "what I learned in 2013" post later. ;)

    And now for Rena's pitch: I totally would read this because I love fairy tale characters in non-fairy tale stories! This is an excellent mash-up of genres and a well-written pitch! Minor quibbles are: should candy Witch be Candy Witch? There's a question mark needed for the sentence "Will the truth set the...." Way to go, Rena!

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  2. m-m-m! thanks for the cake... and congrats to Steve for his pitch win. Thanks for the reminders about kidlit & revimo.
    now for Rena's pitch: I definitely would read it. Rena had me with the first sentence... and I love the set-up and the whole lawyer-in-training. the only sticky part for me was the "candy witch" reference. Do we need "candy"? I love the Grisham meets Grimm.

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  3. I was looking for some chocolate to start my day off on the sweet foot. Thanks!


    I do enjoy a fractured fairy tale so I would read this one. For the pitch, I would recommend a bit of grammar update for any commas needed so we pause at the proper points.


    Many cheers to the winners as well.


    2014 is starting off nicely. Let's keep it hopping :-)

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  4. So nice to have you back, Susanna! I'm thrilled you finally took a break. Congrats to
    Steve.
    Rena's story sounds fab. The pitch is a tiny bit confusing. If Amy's boyfriend's mum is the witch I think it should be said earlier. The pitch sounds a teensie bit old. I'll have a think on it. You did we'll to get all those details in.

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  5. Congrats to the winners! It is lovely to have had vacations well spent, but lovely to be back to normal (whatever that might be). Rena's opening sentence is strong except for the word candy...I would definitely read this, but agree with the other comments about tightening the pitch.

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  6. Susanna, my dad is a big Jack Reacher fan too and has the same to say about Tom Cruise. :) Rena, I would definitely read this! But I do agree with Catherine that it's a bit confusing. I think it includes too much detail. We just need to know who -- Amy and what -- trying to prove the candy Witch is innocent. I think you can eliminate things like who the witch is in relation to her, lawyer-in-training, etc. We'll find those things out as soon as we start reading your wonderful book.

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  7. Mike Allegra writerJanuary 8, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    So sending the kids back was the HARD part? Interesting how your brain works, Susanna. ;)

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  8. Happy New Year, Susanna! We have a saying round here--Get 'er done--that I find pretty much covers the whole resolution thing. :-)


    I would absolutely read this because I, too, like fractured fairy tales. I think if you just add those commas and take out the "fueled by her own false arrest (which sort of pulls our interest in another direction), your pitch would be swell.


    Also, it sounds a little Middle Grade to me, in this pitch (and the story). If it's firmly YA, I'd suggest getting a little of that YA voice in the pitch. And good luck!

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  9. Congratulations, winners! Thanks for the yummy breakfast, Susanna. :) I would definitely read Rena's story and I think the pitch is exciting. 'Gretel' points directly to the fairy tale, so 'candy' isn't needed. And perhaps...Amy-lawyer in training- 'is willing to risk it all' to prove her crush's...:0)

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  10. I'm totally on board with "GetStuffDone" and that chocolate cake for 2014!! :)

    Happy New Year, Susanna!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  11. Yes. Cake should always come first, T :) And I like to be casual about goals... otherwise they have a way of coming back to bite you as things you didn't get around to :) Thanks so much for your thoughts for Rena!

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  12. You're welcome, Sue! Feel free to help yourself to another slice :) And thanks so much for your comments for Rena!

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  13. Breakfast just isn't breakfast without cake. That's my motto, Angela :) Thanks for your helpful thoughts for Rena, and yes, let's keep hopping! :)

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  14. MAYBE... The concept of "the candy witch" and Gretel need to be more closely linked. "When the body of Gretel the candy witch is unearthed, the residents of Rosia are ready to burn her in their annual witch sacrifice ceremony..." or something to make the opening image more clear. At first I thought Greta was human, since she has a "body" that was unearthed. : ) Also, the question technique for the last line might not be the best choice. I could be wrong, but I have heard that agents get annoyed with a question style pitch.

    The story itself sounds VERY intriguing, but I think the pitch could be tweaked a bit.

    Best wishes!

    Sarah Floyd

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  15. Thank you of remising me, Catherine :) And thanks for your comments for Rena - I'm sure she'll find them helpful!

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  16. Yummy cake! Thanks for the reminder of Elaine's site and ReViMo. Yes, I like Rena's pitch. As others have already pointed out, a couple minor grammar issues should be fixed before sending. Who is the candy Witch? Like Teresa, I thought it should be Candy Witch. And then there should be a comma after Witch and a question mark near the end. I took a stab at the pitch below. Take or leave it as you will.

    The Pitch: When the body of Gretel is unearthed, the residents of Rosia are ready to burn Mrs. Fife, aka Candy Witch. Sixteen-year-old Amy Faye, however, wants to prove her crush's mother isn't a murderer. Fuelled by her own false arrest, Amy—lawyer in training— is willing to risk her reputation, her family and maybe even bend a law or two to prove Mrs. Fife isn’t a murderer. But will the truth set Candy Witch free, or will she be rightfully executed alongside Amy’s reputation? It's Grisham’s The Accused meets Willingham’s Fables.

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  17. Yeah... What IS normal, Linda? :) I don't think I have it down yet :) Thank for your helpful thoughts for Rena!

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  18. Did you know Lee Child (who wrote Jack Reacher) only started writing because he lost his other job? Imagine if he had never picked up a pen! Thank you for your very helpful suggestions for Rena, Kirsten!

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  19. My kids are older than yours Mike :) I don't get to see them as much. And thank you for saying my brain works. I'm frequently unsure about that! :)

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  20. Do you live in Larry the Cable Guy's neighborhood, Cathy? :) Thanks for your helpful insights for Rena, and we'll just both see how much we get done in 2014! :)

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  21. You're welcome, Donna. I think it's important that breakfast nutrition also be delicious :) Thanks for your helpful thoughts for Rena!

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  22. Glad to have you aboard, Laura! I like the way your wrote that. I might have to make a badge out of it and paste it in various helpful locations :)

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  23. Thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions for Rena, Sarah - I'm sure she'll find the helpful!

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  24. There is always plenty of chocolate cake around here, Pam, so help yourself to seconds if you like :) And thanks so much for your very helpful pitch tweak - nice job!

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  25. Oh, it works better than mine these days, I'm sure!

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  26. I don't know... Mine is frozen from a morning in the freezing cold barn. I'm trying to thaw it out :)

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  27. Congrats to Diane and Steve, and to you, Susanna, for enjoying 2 whole weeks off!


    The Witch's Brew sounds juicy - but could 'brew' be slipped into the pitch? Here's a stab at tightening: When Gretel's body is unearthed, residents of Rosia are ready to torch the Candy Witch - everyone but Amy Faye. The 16 yr old lawyer-in-training risks everything to prove her crush’s mother isn’t a murderer. Might the truth set the Witch free, or will she burn alongside Amy’s reputation? Grisham’s The Accused meets Willingham’s Fables.


    Good luck, Rena!

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  28. Congrats to all the winners and to you, Susanna, for actually taking the whole two weeks off. I'm not much of a fan of supernatural stories, but I might read this one. Many others have made good suggestions about cleaning up the pitch. I did find it confusing as well. It's so hard to write a pitch. I wish Rena luck with that, but the suggestions have been great.

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  29. Yay, CAKE! Yay, WINNERS! Yay, VACATION!

    Yes, I would read this. ***I'm watching Once Upon A Time now.*** Maybe up the YA language??? ex:

    When the decaying body of Gretel is unearthed, residents of Rosia form a mob ready to burn the Witch at the stake. That is when Amy Faye steps up, Fueled by her own false arrest, Amy is willing to risk all, her reputation, family, and the law to prove her crush’s mother isn't a murderer. But will the truth set the Witch free or will Amy’s reputation burn as the Witch screams her last breath? Grisham’s The Accused meets Willingham’s Fables.



    Or something along those lines. Good luck RENA!!!

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  30. They don't make chocolate breakfast burritos, do they?

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  31. They certainly SHOULD! Patent the idea! you can become rich! :)

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  32. Yes, I'd read it. Some great tightening has been suggested below and I can't improve on that but I want to find another, stronger word for 'fuelled' that suggests some of the burning indignation that motivates Tracey. 'Fired' by her own false arrest? Inflamed? Ignited? Just seems that you could have a much stronger word there.
    Thank you to all who voted for my pitch - ee, I'm right excited! 8~)

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  33. Thank you for telling us about Kidlit411 and for all the reminders, Susanna. I'm sure you must keep a file somewhere to keep us and yourself on track. That cake! OMG desserts surely has a place in heaven. YUMMO!

    As for Rena's pitch, I would certainly read it. This pitch has major intrigue factor. However, I was a bit confused. The first sentence reads as if Gretel is the Candy Witch or maybe punctuation might fix that. Or a separate sentence saying that the residents know the Candy Witch is responsible... I must say, I am very excited about this story.

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  34. Thanks for your thoughts for Rena, Steve, and congrats on winning the pitch pick! I hope Erin will have some gems for you :)

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  35. I love your enthusiasm, Tracey :) Thanks so much for your suggestions for Rena!

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  36. Thanks so much for chiming in, Rosi! :)

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  37. You're welcome, Pam! Isn't it great that all our fellow writers are so full of goodies for us? Someone's always providing something fun and keeping us all on our toes :) Thanks for your thoughts for Rena!

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  38. Yes I would read it. Don't have any new comments to add. Best of Luck.

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  39. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJanuary 8, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Congrats Mr. Steve and Ms. Tulloch! :D I would read the book when I get older ;) I love the idea of it. Yay! Chocolate! :)

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  40. The chocolate is to help you recover your health so you can go back to school in 2 or 3 months :)

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  41. Maybe I'd read it. I think the first sentence is a little awkward and confusing, though. Pitch needs a general tightening up. Good concept but could sound more exciting. Thanks for info about new website.

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  42. I kind of enjoyed the break and like you am having trouble getting back into the swing of things. Enjoyed reading what I wanted to read.
    Yes, I'd read it. I was a bit confused in the beginning. But, after reading what others have written, you've received some great advice. Good luck!

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  43. Wow...Rena...I would DEFINITELY read this...what a change from picture books.:) :) l love your pitch...you have me wanting to find out MORE...perhaps just a few extra punctuation marks in the first sentence.:)


    Susanna...so happy you had a great, much-deserved time off. Congrats to the winners...Steve and Diane! And now I'm off to enjoy a piece of that decadent chocolate cake. :)

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  44. LOL! I love your goals list! (Get stuff done) Succinct, very focused. Nice work! :D

    Sounds very interesting Rena! I'm wondering why she's the candy witch? I'm intrigued. I'd read it!

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  45. Rena Traxel BoudreauJanuary 9, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. I'll use them to get this pitch shined up for submission.

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  46. Rena, I'm really late to the party. I tried to post from my iPhone and well ... now I'm back. I don't know that you need "lawyer in training" since you have "fueled by her own arrest" hints that there's a great reason for her participation. When I read it Wednesday, the word "rightfully" stuck out to me as like a statement that she is guilty. Could just be the lack of a question mark? Good luck.

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  47. OH Yes, this sounds delicious Rena! A couple sentences are choppy, but with a quick clean up I think the pitch has all the needed elements.


    Also I wish it would stop snowing for a couple days. At least this morning's flurries got my butt-in-chair instead of running around town procrastinating!

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  48. Thanks for your comments for Rena, Lauri! And it snowed here today, but after a week of being zero it's supposed to be 50 and raining tomorrow which means I'll be in the basement sucking up water!

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  49. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Rena, Stacy! :)

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  50. I missed this one too! (GAH!) Thanks for the shout out, Susanna! Sylvia Liu, Yvonne Mes, Sarah Maynard and myself are having fun compiling kid lit info.! Come on over and spend some time with us!! :)

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  51. Hi Pam! I don't know how Susanna does it! She is amazing!

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  52. One word for you my dear: Ah-mazing. :)

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  53. ((HUGS)) :)

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  54. I keep visiting to check out all the goodies you have :)

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