November 12, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #152 - Hubert's Dreadful Allergies (PB)

Good morning, merry sunshines :)

I don't know about you guys, but I love this writing life.

I feel so lucky that it's what I get to do.

I get up at 5:20, when the world is dark and peaceful.

I get to take my dogs for a run on this quiet, pretty road as soon as it's light enough to see.

Sometimes I see these guys (though of course they're older now :))

Hopefully, I don't meet this guy
but as you know from Friday's post, I do run into him occasionally :)

I get to drive my daughter to school - a little time we get to chat each morning - and then go feed the horses, turn them out, and do the barn (and what could be better than hanging around with horses?) :)

Then I come home, ignore my office :) and work at my sunny kitchen table (of which I apparently do not have a picture :))

I set my own schedule, which allows me to be there for my family all the time.

And I am lucky enough to work at something that, though challenging and prone to making me tear my hair out from time to time :) doesn't really feel like work.  I invent characters, and imagine settings and play with language.  As I tell kids on school visits, I get to make up stories all day long - as jobs go, pretty awesome.

So when I have days like yesterday - days when the rejections come in an avalanche - literally! (some mischievous aligning of the stars that makes every editor respond negatively on the same day!) - days when I question whether I really have any right to be doing this at all, whether I have any ability for this career that I've chosen, whether somehow I have wandered onto a path that isn't mine to travel - I try to remember all the things I love about this writing life so I don't lose my perspective entirely.

It's so easy to feel discouraged.

But if you can find the courage to dust yourself off, go for a morning run, and sit yourself right back down at that kitchen table, it's also easier than you'd think to try again.

So for anyone else who had that kind of day yesterday - or any day :) - here's to optimism and inspiration and trying again.  Who knows?  This could be the day we get our best idea yet :)

And of course, around here, we raise our glasses with Something Chocolate :)

Recipe for this gorgeous creation HERE
Dig in :)  (Remember, a healthy breakfast is essential to a productive day - and what could be healthier than cocoa beans (vegetables!) and milk (protein and calcium!)?)

How do you cope with the hard days?  Because let's face it - in this business, we all have them!  That's one of the things that makes them bearable - knowing that we're in good company :)

Now then!  Onward to a good day and Would You Read It!

Today's pitch comes to us from Heather.  Several years ago, Heather Kinser was a Silicon Valley proofreader/editor. Now she’s the mother of two amazing girls, a charter school volunteer, a breast cancer survivor, a long-term writer’s group member—and a wanna-be children’s book author. She keeps her head in the clouds and sand in her shoes. She lives with her husband and children in beautiful Redwood City, California (“Climate Best by Government Test”).

If you'd like, you can go show her some love on her brand new bloghttp://troubadourmoon.weebly.com/

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Hubert's Dreadful Allergies
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Aunt Lottie’s fancy luncheon party is in full swing when her highly allergic dog, Hubert, walks in and sniffs the flowers. What happens next is a riot of mishaps that eventually sends the proper party guests on a crazy chase, with Hubert leading the way.

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

Heather is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to a new idea.  I don't know what it will be.  I don't know when it will come.  But I'm going to get busy so the idea doesn't think I'm just waiting around for it.  When it ventures near, I'll be careful not to look at it or acknowledge it in any way.  (Ideas are shy and easily scared.)  After a while, it will get a little annoyed that I'm not paying it any mind, and it will come right over and nudge me to get my attention.  And then I'll have it right where I want it :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)

Reactions:

88 comments:

  1. Huberts Dreadful Allergies - Maybe. I like the pitch. However, I am not sure I would give it all away with mentioning allergies in the title or first line. I also would not mention Hubert's the dog. Aunt Lottie’s fancy luncheon party is in full swing when Hubert, walks in and sniffs the flowers. A riot of mishaps that sends the proper party guests on a crazy chase erupts, with Hubert leading the way. This would have me 100% hooked.

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  2. Hubert - love the name, and yes I'd read it! I suggest adding one nugget of detail in the "what happens next" section e.g. "what happens next (including [crazy detail]), …" to give the reader a flavor of what is unique about the story. I get a kick out of the twist of the dog having allergies vs. causing them. Good luck!

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  3. That's why I like writing, too. I'm there for the family. Sorry to hear of your bad day. I can't imagine you getting lots of rejections. I hope you can start something new today :) And Heather, yes, I'd read your book. I like the premise that a dog has allergies rather than the kid. The pitch seems tight!

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  4. When we wake up each morning determined to enjoy what we do, we win. No matter what happens, we win.

    My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right? ~ Charles Schulz



    Cheers!

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  5. I'm still on the struggle side of building a writing life as a career. But I still get plenty of rejections for the projects I submit to agents or editors. As you mention, I chomp on some chocolate and keep it moving forward. As for today's WYRI, yes, I would love to read it. It sounds like a doggone good time :-)

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  6. Momma said there'd be days like that, Susanna. :-) I do what you do--count my blessings, and then I pick myself up and start the next project. (Okay, I *might* mutter a few unladylike words and throw Cathy-on-a-Stick across the office. But THEN I count my blessings, blah, blah, blah...) :-)


    Oh! The pitch--yes, I like the twist, that the dog has allergies. But I think I might add the first mishap so that an editor/agent would have some idea where the story's going with the added bonus of including something of the voice of the PB.

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  7. Susanna, I am sending a big fat hug. Don't let the turkeys get you down! Especially since it's November. Their days are numbered. You're sweet, you're generous, friendly - all that stuff is nice, BUT you're a #$%& good writer!


    The visuals are developing easily in my mind, Heather! And they are hysterical! And I agree, just add a pinch of activity - maybe a favorite line?

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  8. Heather - just visited your site, and would like to recommend making the story pitches private - a link to share with prospective agents/editors, NOT with the public.

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  9. I would definitely read this and an illustrator will have a ball with this...I think maybe I'd give a little more detail to pique someone's interest even more.


    Susanna, those hard days seem to happen lots with writers, but we are a resilient bunch--we have to be :)

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  10. Dig in? I dove in and had trouble reading the rest of the post because I had chocolate whipped cream and cookie crumbs on my eyelashes!

    So sorry about the avalanche of rejections. It doesn't get easier even with a bunch of books under your belt, does it? Virtual hugs and I'll even virtually share my Equal Exchange Sea Salt & Caramel chocolate bar with you.

    I think Heather's story sounds marvelous! I would definitely read it. I agree with what Kirsti said, both about how the illustrator will have so much fun with this and the fact that the pitch needs a bit more detail to tantalize the editor/agent reading the pitch. Great job, though, Heather!

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  11. I might read it. It sound alike fun, and I love the characters' names, but I want to know more about the "riot of mishaps." Can you name a few and be specific?

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  12. Turkey of a day for sure. May December bring better news. I would read the story based on the premise, but the pitch needs more details. Is the MC Aunt Lottie or Hubert? If it's Hubert then Aunt Lottie can be left out or mentioned later.

    I.E.
    Hubert's doggy senses want to sniff all exciting new things at the dinner party, but his allergies ruin the fun--for everyone. Hubert sneezes all the petals off Aunt Lottie's flowers, creating a slippery surface for all her guests--or whatever the chain reaction is :).


    Good luck. My poor husband can empathize with Hubert.

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  13. Thank you Susanna - this post is like a little writer's meditation on thankfulness.


    On the pitch, if Hubert's the MC lead with him not the adult.

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  14. Susanna I so relate to your post. Here's to the butt in chair and working through it. Your talent will shine through. As for the pitch - I agree with everyone - Heather has a great story here with so much potential for fun and great illustrations. Introduce Hubert first without the explanations. *Hubert's one sniff and thunderous sneeze causes a chain reaction of . . .

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  15. Allergic dog! Genius! The title had me dreading another story of the No Peanut table in the lunchroom. My advice is - change the title. Besides that, I'm a sucker for a dog story filled with mayhem, so yes. I would definitely read it.

    As for your rejection-filled day, Susanna, I will need the names and addresses of all the people who dared to say no to you. I will teach Cupcake to growl, and send her over to grumble at all of them.

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  16. Fabulous premise for this story - the only suggestions I have have already been said - but I will repeat them anyway :) Add more detail about the mishaps, lead with Hubert, and PERHAPS, if you can, make it clear in the title that Hubert is a dog. I assumed it was a little boy.

    And Susanna - sending you MANY hugs and much chocolate. Days like that are absolutely NO fun!

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  17. Now that your one bad day is out of the way, I hope you have a deluge of good ones, Susanna.
    Robert the Rose Horse was one of my kids favorites, and this reminds me of that. I wonder what happened on this day that made Hubert come into contact with things he is highly allergic to? Wasn't Aunt Lottie watching? Who brought the offending item(s)? Good luck!

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  18. Absolutely, I would read it. I love the idea! So much potential for fun and humor. :)

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  19. Susanna, I enjoyed your post so much today. I loved hearing about your daily routine. What a beautiful place you must live, although I'd rather not meet a bear while out on a walk either! When I walk around the nearby golf course, the scariest creature I face is a squirrel. :-) I'm sorry about your discouraging day. But your persevering spirit and encouraging words are an inspiration to us all! And thanks for the chocolate! :-)

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  20. Susanna, How could anyone reject you? To quote a handwritten rejection note I once received: "Onward!"


    Although the story might have great potential, I'm not sure I would read it based on the pitch. If Hubert is Aunt Lottie's dog, it seems like she would know about and prevent this from happening. Maybe if Hubert has been locked out for just this reason and is intent on breaking in? Then he gets in and causes mayhem?


    I also wonder who the main character is. Is it Aunt Lottie? Hubert? What are the stakes? Is Aunt Lottie trying to impress someone in the party? Is Hubert trying to get everyone to loosen up and enjoy themselves? Maybe it's all there in the story right now, but for me it's not coming through in the pitch.

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  21. If anyone can kick the rejection blues, we all agree it would be you, Susanna. But as we see from your in-spite-of-it-all, fantastic choco-offering today, you are not about to let the @#$&%$ get you down! Yay, Susanna!
    Hubert definitely has the potential to become a favorite like Robert the Rose Horse, which my young son loved so well that we HAD to decorate his birthday cake with pink roses. Only he and I understood "why"!
    But I agree that Heather's pitch needs to focus more on Hubert, who perhaps never demonstrated any issues with "allergies" before, but has an outrageously crazy reaction to - hmmmmm - maybe the perfume that one of the old auntie-type ladies is wearing? And the scent might be on her coat which is on the chair...and then the there's the issue of how to get rid of the permeating odor!

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  22. P.S. What about Hubert Huff's and Puffs or Hubert('s) Huffs (and Puff's). Maybe a little to reminiscent of Mr. Big and Bad, but it also gives it a bit of twist that could be effective...

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  23. Hello! I'm back from getting tires put on my car. I've been peeking in on the conversation via cell phone while shopping at Target. (Luckily the tire shop was near a store, so I could shop while I waited.)

    This is terrifically helpful! Thanks to everyone for your comments. Maybe it's a good sign that there are questions about the story. I hope that's an indicator that it captured your imagination. But I see I will have to sprinkle in more details as a guarantee that the story includes a whole lot more. I've never had a pitch critique before. This is such good guidance! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    If you're interested, The luncheon is a meeting of the Grandview Rose Society--so Hubert is surrounded by flowers. Hubert gets in trouble for sneezing. But then a rat sneaks into the party and causes more mayhem--and an ensuing chase. Hubert is redeemed when one of his tremendous sneezes sends the rat flying. Whew! I will have to sneak all that into the pitch somehow.


    Susanna, even if you didn't have a manuscript accepted today, you have helped a fellow writer to reflect and connect. I hope you feel that the generous outreach you provide through your site is well worthwhile!

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  24. What a good suggestion. I might do better to remove the word "allergies" from the title, since there are so many different kinds of allergies--with food-based allergies being foremost on many peoples' minds nowadays. Leaving it undefined seems to raise questions.

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  25. Thank you, Julie. I didn't think I had enough public exposure to worry about that. But I'll take the intellectual property factor into consideration and rethink the site.

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  26. Hey, Heather! First, before I say ANYthing else---yay for you and overcoming cancer :D :D :D

    I love the premise of this book, and as an illustrator, even without any real details, it instantly sparked possible action-packed illustration spread ideas. That's a REALLY good thing! :)

    And as for you, Susannadanna, I have a difficult time grasping you still receiving rejections! In your case it's obviously not about the quality of the work :) But I guess if the fit's not right, it's not right. *sigh* No doubt, that chocolate dream totally perked you up! :D

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  27. An allergy ridden dog named Hubert causing mayhem at the party, who wouldn't love it! I did think Hubert was a child at first, happy to find out he's a dog. I'm not sure about the word dreadful in the title (it's discouraging). Hubert seems like an upbeat sort of fellow. What gets him going in the first place?
    Susanna sorry you had a terrible, horrible, no good very bad yesterday!! No doubt after that decadent dessert you are feeling much better!

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  28. Thank you! It's great to hear an illustrator's point of view. I have a crazy chase scene in the story, which I love and would love to see illustrated one day--the fancy Rose Society luncheon guests chasing a rat and waving whatever they could get their hands on...a loaf of bread, an umbrella, a broom, a flute, a book (a sneezing Hubert in the lead, of course).

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  29. I would be curious about the book. I agree that including one of the madcap actions would allow the author's voice to come through and spark greater interest. Additionally, I agree that if Hubert is the MC, then the pitch should start, something like - "Hubert's grand entrance to Aunt Lottie's fancy luncheon party causes/devolves into ....(insert a mishap)....."
    Leaving the fact that he's dog for the reader to discover in reading the book is not a bad idea either. Good Luck with it. :-)

    Susanna - I think this will be breakfast AND lunch! Thanks

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  30. Still loving the comments! Please keep chiming in. I am listening! But really, I keep checking in to look at that luscious dessert in the post. I'm a sucker for chocolate mousse. Susanna, your dappled horse is gorgeous, by the way. No horse for me in my tiny California home, but I do have a sweet bunny rabbit.

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  31. *hugs* for the rejections. Good ideas are so rarer and can only be helped along by watching funny movies ;) What a great menagerie of animals to look forward to every morning :0) And i agree how wonderful it is to go to school masses for Remembrance day and watch a movie with your bff in the afternoon (oops maybe shouldn't say that. First time I've ever done that ;) ) Great movie btw!
    As for the pitch I would be very specific about how the dog affects the luncheon party. Is it going to be really funny. Hint at that. Sounds funny.

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  32. I'm sorry for the rejections, Susanna...but I thank you so much for sharing about them...many of us labor under the misconception that once a writer is a published author with an agent, it is clear sailing...it is helpful to know that it isn't and that we all deal with the same frustrations. :)
    I would definitely read your story, Heather. It sounds funny and clever...and your pitch is SPOT-ON! I don't know what I would say that could make it any better, unless there is a bit about 'what happens next' that you could give a hint of. Great job...good luck with your story. :)

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  33. I think it's your description of "riots of mishaps" that has me thinking there's action even before the chase.

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  34. Ah, rejections. The very things that keep me from my desk many days. I need to develop a thicker skin and learn to embrace the rejections. As for the pitch, yes, I absolutely would read this. I can picture the illustrations in my head and love the idea of this. I would like to know more, but this certainly captured my interest. Good luck to Heather!

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  35. Hi, Heather. Yes, I would definitely read this. You got my attention with your first sentence. First of all, the name Hubert is cute! Second of all, the fact that he walks into a luncheon and is the one who is allergic is hilarious! I love the hint of ensuing mayhem in your second sentence but perhaps a little more detail would rev it up a notch. So instead of "what happens next" perhaps tell us the very next thing that happens (does he sneeze in the punch bowl?) which starts the riot of mishaps. Good luck, Heather!

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  36. Sorry about the rejections, Susanna! I hope your week gets better :-)
    ((((Hugs))))


    I would read! Sounds very cute!

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  37. Susanna - it's the combination of solar flares and impending polar vortex.... that's enough to make anyone toss out a fine story. The only remedy is hot chocolate. As for the dog with allergies - it sounds funny. I think we need a wild rumpus during this cold winter, so yes - I would read it.

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  38. Boo on the rejections, Susanna. But this is a lovely post.

    Heather, I would read it too -- echoing earlier commenters, I think you'd want the pitch to be from Hubert's point of view, and more details about the mayhem. Oh, the irony of a dog with allergies, when all they do is sniff things. :) (This makes me a little bit think of "Walter the Farting Dog," and that is a compliment.)

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  39. To echo some of the other comments- ugh on the rejections. They are certainly no fun. You seem to have your head in the the right place- focusing on the positives- which I think is sometimes the hardest part. Best wishes as you continue your journey to find that perfect person for your story!

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  40. I like the idea of a book that includes allergies that is pure fun and not all about educating. I also assumed Hubert was going to be a boy. Finding out he was a dog grabbed my attention.

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  41. I would read this based on the pitch, but I wish the title of the MS was different.

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  42. Oh, Susanna- bad day! But you know this happens to everyone. It's part of the writing life. Keep writing your wonderful stories. HUGS!
    Heather's story sounds great and the pitch is really good. I would maybe mention one of the funny antics and change the title to something funnier and catchier.

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  43. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikNovember 14, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Sorry I'm late. I've been busy. *sheepish grin*
    I hope your day turned out better!
    I would read the book. I also agree with Ms. Trapani about the title, though. :)

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  44. Yes I'd read, because I love antics and mishaps in stories. Plus I like the names Lottie and Hubert. :)
    And Susanna, I love this post. I just want to say ditto. And an extra ditto to walks and chocolate.

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  45. Nothin' like drowning yourself in chocolate to improve your mood. Works for me nearly every time. Hope your spirits are lifted, by now, Susanna. :D Love the sound of an allergic dog! Thank you for all you do for the KidLit world. <3

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  46. Thank you for your moral support, Cathy! And for your thoughts for Heather :)

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  47. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Heather, Coleen! And I'm glad you like the post. Come visit sometime and we can do walks and chocolate together :)

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  48. Thank you, Erik, for your thoughts for Ms. Kinser and for your good wishes :)

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  49. I know, Iza, I do, but thank you for your moral support and hugs :) And thanks for your thoughts for Heather - I know she'll find them helpful!

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  50. A few people have mentioned that, so I'm sure it will be helpful to Heather to know. Thanks, Barbara!

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  51. Thanks so much for sharing your reactions, Marla - I know Heather will find it helpful!

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  52. Thank you, Katie - I so appreciate that. I try to keep my head in the right place, but it doesn't always want to stay there... sometimes it takes work! :)

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  53. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Heather, Stacy. And thanks especially for telling me The True Story got turned down 68 times. I feel so much better. I LOVE that story! And Jon :) So I will take heart :)

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  54. Thank you for your supportive boos, and glad you enjoyed the post, Marlaina :) And thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Heather!

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  55. Ah! That's what it was! Thank you for explaining, Sue - I'm really glad it's not that my stories are terrible :) I'll get right to that hot chocolate :) And thanks so much for your thoughts for Heather!

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  56. Thanks so much for your thoughtful suggestions for Heather, Debbie! :)

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  57. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Heather, Rosi. And as for rejections, yes, they're awful. But in order to get them, at least we're writing and submitting, right? And that's better than thinking about writing and never doing it. If we don't write and submit we can never get an acceptance, so it's worth the pain... even though it hurts a lot!

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  58. Honestly, Vivian, that's really why I wrote this post. It doesn't matter where you are in your writing career, or how successful you are. Even the greats like Jane Yolen get rejections. That doesn't make it as much easier as it should :) but it does help! :) Thanks so much of your thoughts for Heather!

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  59. Thanks so much of your thoughts for Heather and for the hugs and funny movie suggestions, Catherine. I have a few favorites :)

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  60. I'm so glad the comments are helpful, Heather - everyone here is so lovely, aren't they? The pony is my daughter's and she doesn't live at home - we have no room. She lives at a friend's in exchange for barn work :) She's a sassy little critter - I absolutely love her :) And how nice that you have a sweet bunny rabbit! I'm not sure that would work very well in my house... :)

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  61. Thanks so much for your very helpful comments for Heather, Maria. And I'm glad I was able to supply two meals :)

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  62. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Heather, Jean! And for your sympathy - and you're right... the dessert helped a lot :)

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  63. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Heather, Donna. And for your kindness about my work :) I hope you're right. But chocolate definitely helps :)

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  64. How handy that you could get your tires chafed and shop at Target! So efficient :) Glad the comments are helping, and thanks for your kind words. I am ALWAYS glad to help fellow writers! :)

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  65. Thank you, Charlotte :) And thanks for your helpful thoughts for Heather!

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  66. Surprisingly, no one finds it that hard to reject me :) But I've got onward tattooed on my forehead :) Thanks, Jilanne :) And thanks so much for your comments for Heather!

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  67. Thank you for all your kind words, Cheryl, I so appreciate them. I try to focus on the good, and wait for the sting to wear off... and hope that no more rejections come in this week at least :) Watch out for those squirrels - you never know :)

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  68. I like the way you think, Wendy :) I will keep my fingers crossed for some good news :) And thanks so much for your comments for Heather!

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  69. Thank you, Joanne - for your comments for Heather and especially for the hugs and chocolate :)

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  70. Thanks for your thoughts for Heather, Genevieve, and thanks for your very kind moral support. I don't think anyone could teach sweet Cupcake to grumble, but I do appreciate the sentiment! :)

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  71. Thanks so much for your comments for Heather, Kim, and for your solidarity in the writing department! Days like this I'm not sure I have any talent, but I have a lot of perseverance :)

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  72. You're welcome, Lauri - I'm glad if you liked it :) And thanks for your suggestion for Heather!

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  73. Thanks so much for your helpful pitch rewording and suggestions for Heather, Johnell, and for your good wishes for better news! Here's hoping :)

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  74. Thanks so much for chiming in for Heather, Kathy!

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  75. Thanks so much for your comments for Heather, Teresa, and especially for being willing to share your Sea Salt & Caramel chocolate bar - that is above and beyond :)

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  76. Thanks for your thoughts for Heather, Kirsti! And yes, you sure are right about being resilient :)

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  77. Thanks for your very kind words, Julie - they mean a lot to me! (Even though I'm afraid you're just being nice!) I truly appreciate it. And thanks so much for your comments for Heather!

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  78. Hahaha! Thanks for the laugh, Cathy! I should have mentioned how important it is to keep your sense of humor! :) And thanks so much for your thoughts for Heather!

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  79. That's the way to do it, Angela! Just keep on trying. That's the ONLY way to succeed! Thanks so much for your thoughts for Heather!

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  80. You're so right, Nancy! And what a great quote :) Thanks!

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  81. Thanks, Tina :) And thanks for your comments for Heather! :)

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  82. Thanks so much for your suggestions for Heather, Nancy - very helpful :)

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  83. Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions for Heather, Diane. I know she'll find them helpful!

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  84. I have an allergic dog and I think this would be a fun story to read! I love the name of Hubert for a dog :) Yes, it is so easy to be discouraged. Chocolate helps, and yes, keeping busy is also a good thing. If I am at least doing something every day towards my goal I feel so much better. Have a great day :)

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  85. So nice to see you here, Loni!!! :)Thanks for your comments for Heather. And yes - chocolate and keeping on plugging... we'll get there! :)

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  86. Don't worry, Susanna. I'm not really that nice. Ha! No, really!

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