September 10, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #144 - Cleo And Pinkie (PB) PLUS The July Pitch Winner PLUS Straight From The Editor x2!

Hellooo Dearies!!!

I am so glad to be back after my August off of blogging, and so glad to see you all!!!

I know the year officially begins on January 1st, but really, September always feels like the new year to me.  Too many years in school, I guess :)

It's lovely to see so many friends reappearing on their blogs after a summer off.  There is energy and excitement and enthusiasm in the air.  I am, as always, full of ideas I don't have enough time to implement (but that never stops me from thinking I can follow through on them somehow :))

There will probably be some changes afoot around here.  I'm not sure what yet, exactly, but I might want to try something new and different on Mondays at some point... feel free to make suggestions in the comments if there's something in particular you'd like to see.  And I'm going to try (after today :)) to make my posts a little shorter...  Stop laughing!  Seriously!  I can HEAR you!

I find I'm having a hard time keeping all the balls in the air, what with writing, teaching, critiquing, blogging/social media, school visits, marketing, continuing ed, and my position as COO in a home with a husband, 5 kids, 2 dogs, aging parents just down the road and a pony up the road, so my answer to that is A SCHEDULE.  Novel idea, don't you think?  I haven't written it down yet, but I am cogitating on it (er, since January...), and I feel confident that at some point a Master Plan that is helpful and productive will emerge that will allow me to get everything done in half the time.  There is a faction here on Blueberry Hill that objects to me working 24/7 :)  You'll know the Master Plan is in place when I tell you I've read a book longer than 32 pages for fun :)

I'm already looking forward to the upcoming writing contests! and I'll give you a heads up: The Halloweensie Contest will run from October 27-31, and The Holiday Contest will run from December 8-12.  In both cases the judging, voting, and winner announcements will occur in the week following.  So mark your calendars :)

Now, before we go a step further, there is something CRUCIAL we must attend to after these weeks off!  It's time for...

SOMETHING CHOCOLATE!!!
Ultimate Brownie Sundae - YUM!
And something specially NOT chocolate for Julie R-Z because she did something deserving of a special treat and she doesn't like chocolate for breakfast - go figure!  (And if you give me a few minutes I might remember what it was she did - all I have here is a note that it had something to do with a survey... :))
Glazed Apple Crumb Muffins!
Recipe here: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/06/10/glazed-apple-crumb-muffins/

Alrighty!  Now that we have bolstered our blood sugar, let's continue, shall we?

(The problem with vacation is there's always catching up to do afterwards.)

First, did I get a chance to tell you who won the June and July Pitch Picks?

I think I mentioned that Kimberly had won the June pick with her pitch for Sprinkles The Clown.  But we can't have gotten around to the July winner yet because we haven't been here!  The July Pitch Pick was won by Brandie with her pitch for The Trouble With Keeping Vikings!  Congratulations to Kimberly and Brandie as well as to all the other brave and talented writers who submitted pitches.  Your pitches were ALL so good, and it's such a wonderful opportunity for us all to learn from each other!

Second, we have Straight From The Editor for both June and July!

Let's start with June since that appeals to my sense of orderly chronology.  Because I am so orderly :) (Please refer back to the Master Plan under construction :))

You will recall Kimberly's pitch for her picture book, Sprinkles The Clown:

Sprinkles the Clown wants to fit in with her classmates on the first day of Kindergarten, but when her show-and-tell juggling act goes wrong, all the other little clowns laugh at her. However, as a storm rolls in scaring all the students, Sprinkles puts her own fears aside and uses one of her true clowning skills to save the day!
Here are editor Erin Molta's insightful thoughts:

This sounds cute, though for a pitch you need to be a little more specific. Don’t worry about giving it all away. I’m assuming that all the kids are clowns, right? So I’d say something like I’ve done below. Also what is a “true” clowning skill? I would definitely say what Sprinkles did that made all of the other little clowns feel safer or less afraid.

Sprinkles the Clown wants to fit in with her classmates on the first day of Kindergarten, but when her show-and-tell juggling act goes wrong, all the other little clowns laugh at her. However, as a storm rolls in scaring all the students, Sprinkles puts her own fears aside and [does what?] to save the day!

Brandie's pitch for her picture book, The Trouble With Keeping Vikings, was as follows:

A boy opens his front door and comes face-to-face with a startling surprise. A Viking horde has come for a visit, and they REEK of mischief. From snot-snakes to clashing swords, the outrageous antics of these pesky pillagers are never-ending. That is until the boy makes a certain phone call that will leave these manner-less brutes quaking in their Viking-boots.

Erin had this to say:

I love Vikings and they are somewhat "hot" now, so this definitely has potential, but no need to hide so much. Who is the boy calling? An editor might be so curious that they'll ask for the manuscript to find out, but usually they'll ask because the idea intrigues them and they want to see how you go about it. So it's much better to give them as much information to aid in that process as possible.

Thanks as always to Erin for her very helpful thoughts.  We are so lucky that she is such a cheerful contributor to this series!

Now, then.  The moment you've all been waiting for - Would You Read It!

Today's pitch comes to us from Hope who says, "I used to travel around the globe, working as a contract interpreter for the US State Department and a freelance translator until I became a mother. Now as the mother of two children, I continue my love of language by reading with them and writing."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Cleo And Pinkie
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Cleo is always busy doing something, but that often turns into trouble. As Mommy grumbles, Cleo brings in Pinkie, her imaginary, mischievous friend, and blames him for everything. “Pinkie did it!” But soon Mommy can’t tolerate it anymore and declares, “No more Pinkie!” With Pinkie gone, the house is quiet and trouble free until Mommy discovers another mess…this time to her delightful surprise.

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 Hope 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 October so jump right in and send your pitch for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Hope is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting back into a routine and implementing my Master Plan... as soon as I think it up :)  I am also looking forward to starting up Perfect Picture Book Fridays again in only 2 days!  I have a special one on deck for you that includes a giveaway so yay! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  So glad we're all back together again! :)




Reactions:

79 comments:

  1. Welcome back, Susanna! Missed ya much! Great advice on the pitch picks - and from what I saw there, I think I have some advice for the lovely Hope (whose pitch gets a "yes" from me!). It seems Erin (and by extension, every agent in the world LOL) is more likely to request if they KNOW what happens. So I'd suggest that Hope tell us what the last mess is :)

    Looking forward to PPBF too - though I am feeling like a headless chicken at the moment, so may not have a contribution this particular week!

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  2. I'm very happy to see WYRI? Wednesdays back! I was also very glad for Erin's advice on my pitch as it showed me that it needs more work! I obviously need to make it clearer that Sprinkles is the ONLY clown in her class full of regular kids and it's good to know that it's ok to tell the ending. I always thought a pitch should entice the reader to want to know what happens but I guess that's not the case!


    Therefore, while I give Hope a yes, I'd also advise her to take Erin's advice and not be so secretive about the ending.

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  3. Welcome back indeed! I've really missed Wednesdays being special but totally get why you needed some time for you.
    Congrats to both winners, first then as to Hope's pitch, it's a YES for me. My kids also had imaginary friends who were blamed for mischief, so the topic is appealing, love the names, and don't mind the mysterious ending.

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  4. Like Kimberly and Joanne, I want to know what the delightful surprise is and since Erin so kindly gave her advice to spill the beans, maybe the revsion can reflect that. Good luck, Hope!!


    Welcome back, Susanna! Those blog breaks go fast don't they? But like you , I am thrilled to be back. I had the summer from hell and look forward to starting over in the new year. I think a grand Master Schedule is a fine idea. Give it to us i a blog post ok? I would like one of my own. :)

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  5. Yes, I would read it. The first sentence of this pitch grabs my interest right away. This is a character I want to read about, one who is always busy doing something but that something often turns into trouble. The last sentence makes me want to find out what the delightful surprise is.

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  6. Welcome back and I vote for a schedule, but make sure there is some YOU time on there!!! Mine is a yes for Hope's pitch and I don't mind the mysterious end, though I feel kinda sad that Pinkie gets ousted!

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  7. A schedule? A master plan? I'll believe it when I see it! (stuffing mouth full of chocolate) now on to the pitch: I really like the idea of "Pinkie did it" - and I am very curious about the mess at the end of the book. So yes, I would read it.

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  8. You sound so cheery for being back, Susanna! After a month off, I'd be like, "nooooo; you can't make me go baaaaack!" Heh! But, then, I'm a lazy-butt and you're not.



    One idea, if you wanted to keep the 3 posts a week schedule is to have guest posts on Mondays so you don't have to do as much for it. Another thought would be to do a photo post...pictures of your horses or dogs or around the home...where you don't have to write more than just a line or two.



    Personally, I'd take the day off and just do two posts a week, but, again, I'm a lazy-butt. :D


    Great feedback from Erin, as always. Congrats again to Kimberly and also to Brandie!


    I would read Cleo and Pinkie because I think kids love imaginary friends stories. I second what Joanne Sher said about telling us what happens because it seems like editors actually want to know instead of leaving the ending vague and cliff-hanging. Good luck with it, Hope!

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  9. Missed you, Susanna. :) After reading the pitch I'm a maybe. In the last sentence it seems like it's Mom's book/her revelation and that she is the MC instead of Cleo. But I love imaginary friends.

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  10. Hi, Hope! Yes, I would definitely read this. It sounds like a fun twist on having an imaginary friend. I do wonder what that mess could be that Mommy would think was a delightful surprise! In reading Erin Molta's responses to the other pitches, I wonder if you should give a tiny bit more of a hint at what that surprise might be? Just a thought. :)

    And Susanna, I can't wait for Halloweensie and the Holiday contest! Thanks for a head's up on the dates.

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  11. I agree with this assessment. I don't think it would take too much editing to "flip" the emphasis. And the writing could be a little tighter when the emphasis gets flipped, something like "When Mommy declares 'No more Pinkie!' Cleo [does something]." And like all the others are saying in response to Erin's feedback, say what that something is.

    Sounds like Cleo could be a great character!

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  12. Welcome back, Susanna! I haven't made it back to post on my own blog, yet. And I don't have 5 kids! My mother-in-law passed away the night following my father-in-law's memorial in mid-August, so our family is reeling from a different kind of busy. When you develop your master plan, I'd love it if you could share it with us. I'm in need of one! :D

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  13. Welcome back! I don't think you need a Master Plan . . . you need a stable of minions to assist you in your various endeavors.

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  14. First of all, welcome back. Second of all, the brownie sundae - yes please. Third of all, if I had a pony up the road, my "schedule" would be all pony all the time (even though I have never touched a pony or seen one up close). I'm pretty sure I love ponies. Now to the pitch: I enjoy imaginary friends who take the blame, so yes, I would read it like crazy. I like the beginning of the pitch, but it got a little vague at the end. Is there a way to give one or two hints without giving away the solution?

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  15. Glad you are back, Susanna. I do like the pitch, but would like to know more. I don't think it's a good idea to hide what happens, so I would like more. I like imaginary friend stories, so I would read this.

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  16. Thank you so much for your advice and being the first one to comment, Joanne! ^^

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  17. Thank you for your comment, Kimberly!

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  18. Linda, our kids are the same! They still blame Pinkie for everything. ^^ Thank you!

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  19. Thank you for your advice!! ^^ I will work on "spilling the beans" in my revision.

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  20. Carol, thank you for your support and taking the time to read my pitch!!

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  21. Thank you for sharing your sentiment. Pinkie is sure to come back. ^^

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  22. Thank you, Sue, for taking the time to read my pitch! ^^

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  23. Teresa, thank you so much for your helpful thoughts! ^^

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  24. Thank you for your insight! ^^

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  25. Thank you so much for your feedback! Very helpful! ^^

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  26. Thank you so much for your insight and feedback!

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  27. Debbie, thank you so much for your thoughts!!

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  28. Thank you for your helpful comments!! ^^

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  29. Thank you for taking the time to read my pitch! ^^

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  30. Welcome back, Susanna! And congratulations to Kimberly and Brandie!


    As far as today's pitch, I'm a yes because I think imaginary friend stories have great potential. I do think the pitch needs to be flipped since the focus is on Mommy. I imagine the story focuses more on Cleo, so that should be reflected in the pitch. I have a tendency to leave vague hints in my pitches, so I understand the draw to do so. But it seems from Erin Molta's feedback that being more specific might entice an editor/agent to want to know exactly how you pull it off. Good luck, Hope!

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  31. So happy to see WYRI Wednesday back! and If you get your Master Plan in shape please let us know what it is as I'm certain with small tweaking we could all make it work for us also! The chocolate looks scrumptious as always! Congratulations to Kimberly and Brandie for winning the June/July contests - can't wait to read your books some day!! As for today's pitch - great job Hope! I agree with everyone. I would read it as imaginary friends can be so much fun but the emphasis needs to be on Cleo. What are some of the 'accidents' Cleo has created? And to know what the last one is would really give us a sense of whether Cleo grows from her prior behavior.

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  32. So nice to see you, Kim :) And if I ever figure out the Master Plan I will certainly let you know what it is :) Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Hope!

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  33. Thanks, Erin! :) And thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Hope!

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  34. Hi Rosi! So nice to see you :) Thanks so much for your thoughts for Hope!

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  35. Thank you, Genevieve, it's lovely to see you :) Please help yourself to as much brownie sundae as you like! Pony up the road is my daughter's and the only way we can afford to keep her is for me to do barn work... hence the time element... but she is cute :) Thanks so much for your comments for Hope!

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  36. Thanks, Nancy! So nice to see you :) And yes! You are exactly right! I said the same thing to my children today, yet shockingly they did not volunteer to be those minions :)

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  37. Thank you, Jilanne! I'm so sorry to hear about your MIL and FIL :( It was that kind of summer, somehow. It was the same for us... too many losses. I hope you're doing okay. And as for the Master Plan, I'll be happy to share it if I ever figure it out :) I'm afraid it may involve monkeying with the Space-Time Continuum :)

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  38. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Hope, Debbie! And you're welcome for the dates - I can't wait to read your entries :)

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  39. You're kind to say so, Frances, but I feel more like I'm floundering :) Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Hope, and lovely to see you again! :)

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  40. Missed you too, Wendy! :) Thanks so much for your comments for Hope.

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  41. Hahaha! You're so funny! I'm so happy to see you again, Teresa :) And you are NOT a lazy-butt! And I confess, I did feel a bit like that... but I'm so glad to see everyone that dragging myself back to the blogzone is worth it :) Thanks for your suggestions... I will definitely consider them... and thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Hope!

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  42. Hahaha! You are right to believe it when you see it! You know me too well :) Glad you're enjoying the chocolate, and thanks so much for your comments for Hope!

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  43. Hi Joanna! So lovely to see you! Scheduling is not my strong point (I know. You're shocked to hear that. :)) but I aim to try. Thanks for your thoughts for Hope!

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  44. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Hope, Carol!

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  45. Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Hope, Clar! And it's so nice to see you again! I had a summer from hell too - oddly, it seems like quite a few people did - so I hope things will look up for everyone now. And apparently a lot of people are also in need of a Master Plan, so if I think one up I'll definitely share it... but don't hold your breath :)

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  46. Thank you, Linda! So nice to see you again! And thanks for your comments for Hope!

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  47. YEAH! Susanna is BACK! Greta tips from Erin - as always! I would read Hope's story, but suggest the front part of the pitch be dropped, and start off the bat with Pinkie:

    Cleo often finds herself in trouble and blames her imaginary, mischievous friend Pinky for everything. “Pinkie did it!” But soon Mommy can’t tolerate it anymore and declares, “No more Pinkie!” With Pinkie gone, the house is quiet and trouble free until Mommy discovers another mess…this time to her delightful surprise.



    I'd also like to know more about that delightful surprise of a mess!

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  48. I'm so glad if Erin's comments were helpful to you, Kimberly, and you are right (and very kind) to share the advice with Hope!

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  49. Thank you, Joanne! Missed ya much too and very glad to see you :) Thanks for your thoughts for Hope, and no worries about PPBF - I feel like a headless chicken too :)

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  50. Hi Julie! MWAH! So happy to see you :) And thank you so much for your very helpful rewording of the pitch - I know Hope will find it helpful! How'd I do on the non-chocolate treat? Do you like apple muffins?

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  51. Hey Susanna! So glad to see you back. And you even came bearing gifts of chocolate and yummy goodness. You are sooooo thoughtful. :-)


    I enjoyed the advice Erin provided for both pitches. Sometimes, just a little tip or there can make a big difference.


    As for the WYRI pitch, I would. Imaginary friends are a wonderful topic to address with little ones. I would recommed sharing a bit more about the delightful mess. Maybe a short sentice about it, sort of going back to what Erin mentioned in her advice. Also, the pitch can be tightened by removing the little quote of blame since that is detailed nicely.

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  52. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikSeptember 10, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    YAY! The fun-ness has come back! :) WOOOOOO!!!
    Great pitch! It sounds like something I would like to read! :D

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  53. You are so funny! :) Glad to see you too, Erik :) And thanks for your enthusiasm for Ms. Lim - I'm sure she'll be pleased :)

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  54. Hi Angela! So glad to see you! And so glad you're enjoying the chocolate :) Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Hope!

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  55. I was doing so well reading, and then I saw the desserts. Nothing distracts me more than pictures of hot guys and desserts (though not necessarily in the same pic lol).

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  56. Hahaha! :) I'm glad you enjoy the desserts. Alas you will not find any hot guy pics around here - this is a family-friendly blog :) But that reminds me of when my son was little. One day he came home from school and said, "Kristen said I was the hottest boy in second grade!" I said, "Oh, really?" and he said, "Well, it WAS pretty hot out!" (It did happen to be 93 that day, but I'm afraid he missed the point :))

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  57. Erin, thank you so much for your feedback! It's really helpful. ^^

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  58. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I will rework the pitch with the emphasis on Cleo. Thanks!

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  59. Julie, thank you so much for reworking my pitch! It's definitely better! ^^

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  60. Angela, thank you so much for your helpful suggestions!! ^^

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  61. Thank you so much for reading my pitch and your positive feedback! ^^

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  62. Welcome back, Susanna! Can't wait to hear your Monday Master Plan. And if you get overwhelmed, I'd be glad to take that pony off your hands. :)
    The pitch sounds so cute. I'd love a Pinkie myself. But I agree with more Cleo and a more specific ending--so ditto what everyone said.

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  63. Stacy, thank you so much for your comments and encouraging words! ^^

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  64. Woohoo! You're back and I'm happy about it!! Erin's tips were so great as usual and so was the chocolate and the bite of Julie R-Z's muffin I snatched!

    As far as Hope's pitch...I think you've been given some great suggestions for tightening/focus and, to me, that's all it needed. I would read the story even based on the pitch as it stands because it sounds really cute. "Mischievous" always hooks me!
    And, well, because it reminds me of an episode from my childhood where I blamed not an imaginary friend...but my sister, Tris, for a mishap. Of course we all blame siblings for the trouble we make, but in my situation, I pretty much sold myself out. OK...I have to tell the story! I'm standing at the top of the stairs with wet britches and a puddle at my feet. I look at my parents, point at Tris, and say, "Tissy did it!"
    So when I read your pitch, Hope, the memory came flooding (pun intended) back because my family has never let me forget it!

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  65. YES to schedules and time management! And when you find the magic formula, Susanna, that allows you to write/revise/submit/blog/care for family, hearth and home and still have a couple of hours to sleep, I know you will share it with all of us. I keep saying I won't get on the computer until I've done everything else that needs doing - but that won't work either, since there is ALWAYS something that needs doing. :)

    Thanks for the yummy chocolate...and the apple crumb thingy looks amazing! My summer was filled with writing classes - Kristen's Non Fic in June, Renee's Lyrical Language Lab in August and Jodell's Picture Book Pacing coming up in October. Don't know if they are making me a better writer, but I did just get back three stories from Rate Your Story - a '1', a '1', and a '3'. :)

    Great feedback from Erin Molta for the pitches!
    As far as Hope's story - I would DEFINITELY read it! Kids will relate to a child who blames things on an invisible friend. :) You've gotten some great suggestions here for pitch fixing...here's my thought (I don't know the particulars of the story - you could change the details as needed):

    Whether there is a puddle of milk on the floor or a trail of mud prints in the hall, Cleo blames her imaginary friend, Pinkie. “Pinkie did it!” When Mommy declares, “No more Pinkie!”, the house is quiet and trouble free...until Mommy discovers another
    mess…this time to her delightful surprise.

    Hope...I think it would help to have a bit more about this delightful mess - or what Cleo is doing to take ownership of her mischief - unless she has totally changed her stripes and is not creating any more trouble, which I doubt. :)

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  66. So glad WYRI is back! I love reading all the new book ideas! And I'm so excited that I won the pitch for July. I was up against some tough competition! Thanks everyone for voting!!! Hugs and chocolate to you all!!!!!! And many thanks to Erin Molta for the helpful advice!

    As for the pitch, sounds intriguing enough that I would give it a read. Just like Erin said about my pitch, I wouldn't hide what the ending is. Sounds cute! :)

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  67. Hi Brandie! So nice to see you again :) And congrats on winning the pitch pick! Thanks so much for chiming in for Hope and sharing Erin's advice with her :)

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  68. Hi Vivian! So lovely to see you! My! You HAVE been busy! I wish I could say I'd taken all those classes! Congrats on all the great outcomes from RYS! I know it won't be long before we're seeing Vivian Kirkfield titles on the shelves. Thanks so much for your helpful pitch re-wording for Hope. Glad you enjoyed the snacks :)

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  69. Vivian, thank you so much for rewording my pitch! I like how you changed it. ^^ Coincidentally, CLEO AND PINKIE has mud prints in the story! Congratulations on getting such good scores from RYI. ^^

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  70. Brandie, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and helpful suggestions. ^^

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  71. Penny, thank you for sharing your personal story and encouraging comments! ^^ I'm flattered that my story brought back one of your childhood memories. ^^

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  72. Hi Hope! Great to see your pitch here--I love this story. Agree with Vivian's rewrite to give specific examples of Cleo's mischievousness. Also agree that Id like to see more at the end. The estimable Erin Molta often gives the feedback that editors prefer more information than to be left guessing by a pitch. What is the mess at the end? How does Cleo change at the end? Or how does Mommy change? YES I would read this story.

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  73. HI, Michelle! Great to see you here! Thank you for your support and helpful comments!! ^^

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  74. Welcome back, Susanna! Happy to see your shiny and always sweet, blog posts.
    Yes to the pitch. Reminds me of the Family Circle comic--"Not me!" That always made me smile. :)

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  75. Thanks, Coleen! Happy to see you too! :) Thanks so much for chiming in for Hope! :)

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  76. Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Hope, Michelle - and lucky you - sounds like you've read the story! :)

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  77. Thank you, Coleen, for taking the time to read my pitch! ^^

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  78. Susanna, it was so nice to read this, especially since I'm trying to catch up on weeks of blogs having spent them trying to launch my own. Your humor and appealing personality ALways draw me in, making me WANT to read instead of me wanting to just get through it. Well, that and the chocolate (and muffins!), of course ;)
    My brain is too mushy to offer any suggestions, but I'm sure there were great ones in these many comments here :) Loved the critiques on the pitches, too! And yes---ORGANIZATION is the key to life! You've discovered the "secret." :D Happy to see you back :)

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  79. So happy to see you again, Donna :) And you're so kind to say such nice things about my blog - it means the world to me to know reading my blog doesn't feel like a chore! :) And yes, I may have discovered that the secret is organization... but being able to actually BE organized has so far eluded me :)

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