February 11, 2015

Would You Read It Wednesday #161 - Son Of Boogie (PB)

In case you are wondering (now that it's February 11) I have NOT forgotten about picking winners for Phyllis's Birthday Bonanza!

I've just been highly distracted from work by people in this house having snow days - which is absolutely lovely! - but allows me to watch back-to-back episodes of Say Yes To The Dress and/or the entire Star Wars saga out of the corner of my eye when I'm supposed to be focusing on whose Ode To Phyllis is the best.

Phyllis thinks everyone should win because she loved them all.

I also loved them all, but I said that if everyone won then no one would FEEL like they won.

Phyllis said that was horsehockey and didn't even make sense and was I going to eat the last strawberry pancake or could she have it?

So you can see it was a very productive conversation.

The easy route would be to make YOU guys pick.  But I'm always making you vote for things, and I still don't have an "I Voted" sticker to tempt you with, so I don't know if that would be asking too much.  Do you guys want to vote?  Or do you want Phyllis me to pick?  Let me know in the comments along with your thoughts for today's pitcher and then, weather depending :), we'll try to get around to one or the other before Spring actually arrives :)

Oh!  And before we get to today's pitch, we have a winner for the December/January Pitch Pick from last week!

Drum roll please..... rata-tat-tata-tat-rata-tat-tata-tat-etc....

The winner is MICHELE! with her pitch for Hoot & Holly!!!

Congratulations, Michele!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her comments, and I'm sure you'll hear from her soon.

And congratulations to all our other fine and brave pitchers!  You all did an excellent job - it was a tough choice! - and I hope you all feel good about bravely putting yourselves out there to test your pitches and that you found the feedback from our wonderful and generous readers helpful and constructive!

Now, then, onto today's Would You Read It!

I love that today's pitcher volunteered her own Something Chocolate... and boy does it look good!  Can I offer you a cup of coffee or a glass of milk to go with that?

Kusina Master Recipe's Peanut Butter Fudge Cake
Recipe HERE (feel free not to watch the shocking presentation
on how to remove dark spots from your hands :))

I also REALLY love that today's pitcher is using Would You Read It in a way I hoped people would (at least some of the time) but which seldom happens.  She's using her pitch, and your feedback, to help her figure out her story! (as you'll read below.)

So without further ado, today's pitch comes to us from Kathy.  Kathy Halsey has been writing picture books and nonfiction stories for two years. In a prior life she taught English and served as a K-12 school librarian. Since she has an agent, Jodell Sadler at Sadler Children's Literary, the purpose of her pitch is to guide her plot and focus her manuscript.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Son Of Boogie
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Conquering the boards–skateboards, surf boards snowboards­–that’s Lil Boogie’s dream. He and his Pops head off the Half Pipe Park to skate, but his flips flop. Lil Boogie heads for the beach, but the waves bury him. And on the snowboard, an ice storm stops him cold. Back at the ski lodge, he finds his board–the CHESS BOARD. Lil Boogie rules and rocks this board like a king. SON OF BOOGIE is a 453 word picture book for PreK-2nd grade that champions perseverance and the father-son bond.

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 Kathy 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 July 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!

Kathy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to writing a new story. I don't know when it will happen - I haven't had an idea I feel really excited about in a while - but it could be today!  Why not?! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)


Reactions:

88 comments:

  1. First, you are really hilarious, Susanna! I wish we'd had time to spend the day together instead of just a lunch.

    I'm okay with you an Phyllis choosing - or getting your kids or the lovable Scout to pull an entry out of a bag. :)

    I will have to make those peanut butter thingies! Mmmmm

    And last, but not least, yes! I would read Kathy's story. It is very cute and forms a good narrative. My only question is for the third obstacle -does "the ice storm stops him cold" mean the weather prevents him from going outside to try the snowboard? Because if so, it needs to be changed so that it shows him not having the skills to do it like with the first two board attempts rather than being prevented to do it by an outside force. Other than that, it is terrific and a fun idea. Way to go, Kathy!

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  2. Yes! But, I would be very careful with the title. Look up Boogie in the urban dictionary. There are lots of descriptions that are beyond dance and snot which are very inappropriate including a racial slur. I would not use it in a title and consider a different name, sorry. :( I think that your pitch is good but maybe could be condensed so you don't give away the whole enchilada. I love the twist!

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  3. Susanna, I totally trust you and Phyllis to pick the winner, out of a hat or any way you'd like. As to Kathy's pitch, I love its blending of sports and picture books, great idea. It's cool that he ends up succeeding with chess, but wonder if that game might be too hard for the age group? Perhaps a checker board? I also would change the title. The Urban Dictionary has steered me away from many blunders; I find it an excellent resource. Best of luck with this, Kathy!

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  4. TY, I have heard this about the name, before. I changed the name to "Junior" but have heard that is too generic. Also, title changed to KINGOF THE BOARDS.

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  5. Linda, I debated about chess vs. checkers - checkers seemed to simple. Any other ideas for board games?

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  6. Excellent pitch--I would read Kathy's story. It has a fresh spin. I can't think of another PB with boards as the source of a kid's dream. The ending has a nice twist when the boy surprises himself with a mental talent rather than a physical one. I did wonder if a kid could master chess as quickly as it sounds in the pitch.

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  7. Yes, Pat, re:chess. What else could he be playing?

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  8. Yep, Kathy, I'd read this one! And I think checkers would be an excellent choice--(Especially considering that when you get to the other side, you say, "King me." So KING OF THE BOARDS would make a great title!) Maybe it's the message that needs tweaking in this PB...all of the boards that the boy is trying to dominate might be beyond a small child's skill set, but checkers? That's something he CAN dominate! Maybe your MC will be king of those other boards someday, but for now, he can feel good about checkers. ;-)

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  9. Kristen McGill FultonFebruary 11, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Yes I would read it. My son was and still is obsessed with boards from skate to surf. My only suggestion is work on the alliteration. Loved "flips flop" would like to see more. Example, waves washed, etc. I love the twist on the last board, chess. Cute concept that is actually relatable to an analytical mind :-)

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  10. I didn't think there was a prize for Phyllis's party so I'm sure you can pick out of a hat, select whatever and we're all happy winners. :)
    I'd read, because it was Kathy, regardless of the pitch, lol. After reading I wondered if the pitch could be shortened and reflect the father-son bond that is referenced at the end? I loved the language in the pitch but I couldn't tell if there was any tension or conflict. Does it matter what board he excels at? Something like Lil Boogie wants to be like his father, conquering skateboards, surf boards and snowboards. But when Lil Boogie finds his true talent on the chess board . . .

    Good luck with it, Kathy!

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  11. I would definitely read this. I love “champions perseverance and the father-son bond.” I love the little inside joke chess and king. I hadn’t thought of it on my own, but I agree with Cathy C. Hall about checkers vs chess. It is a really good pitch, so all of my comments are about tweaking or polishing. For me, the first line is awkward to read. I’m wondering if it might be worth playing around with the order of the words to simplify. For example: Lil Boogie dreams of conquering the boards – skateboards, surfboards, snowboards (the example might require different punctuation). I believe surfboard and chessboard should be one word instead of two. Is there another verb for “heads” in the second line, so you don’t use heads two sentences in a row? I feel like it might work to condense things a little by deleting “he finds his board – the CHESS BOARD.” And combining things as follows: Back at the ski lodge, Lil Boogie rules and rocks a chessboard like a king. That may be a matter of preference, as I’m guessing you really wanted it to standout that he conquered a different kind of board in the end. It sounds like it is a great action packed and inspiring story with a little father-son love thrown in. Who wouldn’t want to read it.

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  12. Really good way of combining some of the ideas and making the chess stand out! TY, Alayne.

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  13. Aw, Wendy. Just cuz it's me, huh? Yes, I will have to figure out if it matters which board he conquers.

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  14. Yes, Cathy, a small child might not be able to conquer those boards. I need to figure out what type of board he can conquer. Good assessment, Cathy on a Stick.

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  15. Sounds like a fun story, Kathy. I would read it. WC is great too. I'm reading these comments about the MC being too young to play chess. I was 5-years-old when my brother started teaching me to play. By the of 6, I had become a pretty good chess player. I wonder though. Does he MASTER it so quickly? Maybe a change of words is in order? It does take longer to learn the game. Great job, tight pitch. Write on!

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  16. Krsitne good to know that kids still love all kinds of boards. Glad you pick up on the alliteration - "waves washed" is great language.

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  17. I love the concept of finding the right "board" for the MC. I would definitely read it. I've read others' comments regarding the age and being able to play chess. It is possible since my son has been playing chess since he was about 5 and he grasped the concept at an early age. He was naturally good at it. I still don't get the game and can't play it. I love the father/son bonding concept also.

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  18. Yup...the snow is good for something...I guess...like having to stay in the house and getting plenty of time to write. Which is what I should have done yesterday, instead of trying to go out to do errands and putting my car in a snowbank. :( But all is well...and I will enjoy a piece of Kathy's Peanut Butter Fudge Cake which is everything that is perfect about a sweet treat (and since it's my B-day, I'll have TWO pieces!
    Kathy...I ADORE your story! Very unique...great twist...I would definitely read it. :) Here's a thought to tighten up the pitch a bit - I'm not sure the pitch should have the intended audience info - maybe others will chime in.

    Lil Boogie dreams of matching his father's expertise on the boards–skateboards, surf boards, snowboards - but he flip flops at Half Pipe Park and wipes out at the beach. When an ice storm stops him on the slopes, Lil Boogie discovers a different board he rocks out at - a chessboard.

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  19. Since my kids LOVED chess, I can really see this as a storyline. I love the "flips flop" and was hoping for more word play - like when he snowboards, his bumps bombed? or his rails failed? The cool thing about chess is that it takes learning a skill (just like the other boards) before you master it. Unlike the other boards, it takes two people to play, and can be every bit as competitive as a ski race.

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  20. Alas, peanut butter fudge cake would mean the death of me (literally -- blasted peanut allergy!). :( But all's well, I'll just settle for a nice gooey fudge brownie.
    Yes, Kathy, I would definitely read it! Great premise for a story. Wonderful suggestions for tightening up the pitch, Vivian. I also like the suggestion to make the snowboard obstacle doom him, not the weather -- maybe monstrous moguls can be the problem? As far as checkers vs chess, I think checkers might work -- even though it is a simpler game, it takes some strategic skill to win and is probably yet a challenge for your young audience. And I LOVE the tie of KING OF THE BOARDS, with a final "King me!" illustration.

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  21. Checkers--for sure. I think kids in the age group could relate. And maybe you could leave a teaser at the end when his eyes fall on a pair playing chess--and there's a new board to conquer!

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  22. What a cute, unique idea. Yes, I would read it! Nicely done.

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  23. Monstrous moguls - what fun, Patty! Yes, great ideas.

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  24. Yes, I really think this is a unique story! I agree with the tightening of the pitch and like what others have suggest about starting with "Lil Boogie dreams..." Clean and has a punch to it.

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  25. Hi Kathy, I love the fun sports you've chose in your story. I really love your pitch, I only wonder about the word play. It's a bit of a mouthful if you were reading it quickly. I just struggle to read flips flop lol. Best wishes!

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  26. I think you and Phyllis should pick the winner. After all, it was her birthday.


    I'm thinking that chocolate cake goodie looks like one giant peanut butter cup. I would go into a coma trying to eat it all at once—that is if I could eat wheat. Sob.


    I love Kathy's pitch, and agree with the other early birds about tightening and alliteration. Waves - wipe out are a great pairing for surfing, for example. This will be great for kids who feel left out when they don't excel at a physical sport. Also wondering what the father's reactions look like. The father-son bonding part seems to show up only in the last sentence. Just saw Viviane's tightened pitch that highlights the bonding in the first few words. Perfect!

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  27. Yes, I would read your book because 1) Boys (and girls) could really relate to the "board" theme and that would allow for some great, funny, action-oriented illustrations.
    2) I love the twist at the end that the "board" game he conquers is chess! Yay for celebrating intellectual prowess in children and encouraging them to learn chess which is so good for brain development.
    3) It sounds like it has heart - the father-son bond and for the perseverance of the human spirit - which we can all relate to!
    Good luck with this. It really sounds like a winner!

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  28. Yes, I would definitely read this. I love this idea and the twist at the end when he finds the board he rocks at. I think Vivian does a great job in her comment with tightening up your pitch.

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  29. Ellen Warach LeventhalFebruary 11, 2015 at 3:36 PM

    I love this pitch, Kathy! The idea is really clever. Sorry I could not get to this sooner. Pesky work gets in my way. I looked at some of the other comments, so I don't want to repeat too much, but I have to say that I think so many kids will be able to relate to this. It is important for kids to know that there are different ways to shine. And the boards thing...brilliant! I agree with the idea of changing the name, and making sure it is not the weather that prevents him from being a snowboarder. I have one other comment. To me unless it's made clear, Pops sounds like a grandfather, as opposed to his dad. That may just be me, though. Great job...I would definitely read it!

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  30. Yes, I would read it. I love the that the "board" at the end is a chess board! I'm thinking that kids who are not very athletic will especially appreciate this twist!

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  31. I would read it. Awesome plot and I agree with everyone else that it will inspire many who might not be tres athletic. Vivian's tightening is amazing and I love the title - King of the Boards. Wonderful idea.

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  32. I'll read aloud and have my computer read it to me, too. Good point.

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  33. I like this pitch and would definitely read the story. It'd be a great book for Father's Day :) I would change one line to "Lil Boogie heads for the beach where the waves bury him" so you don't use 'but' 2 sentences in a row.

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  34. Oh yes, I'd read SON OF BOOGIE. I love the twist at the end. What fun
    and what a surprise. I did think that Pops was grandpa and that might
    be a different twist too. Grandpa could be the consoling, encouraging
    one and Dad could be the one that wants the kid to shake it off and try
    harder--quiters never win type. I think an illustrator would have so
    much fun with this picturebook. As a thought, a checker board might
    work as well and be more fitting for the under 2nd grade.

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  35. I definitely would read this. You hooked me with “perseverance and the father-son bond.” I agree with others about changing the child’s name. Consider opening with an explanation of why the boy wants to conquer the boards (to be like Dad, make Dad proud?). If you don’t mention the board he succeeds with, the editor will have to read the manuscript to find out.



    I have mixed thoughts about chess. My boys were beating the adults in the family when they were five years old, and we weren’t “letting” them. (Admittedly, that says something about the skills of the adults in the family, but still, kids' minds are amazing.) On the other hand, many kids in that age group haven’t tried chess so might relate more closely to another game.

    I'm enjoying reading Phyllis's birthday tributes.

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  36. I have a skater ms myself - of course I'd read it! I would cut the pitch down and concentrate on the mc as much as possible - here is my suggestion for dear Kathy - but I like what Vivian has done a lot, esp. the title:


    Conquering the boards like Pops is Lil Boogie’s dream. But his flips flop at the skate park. Waves bury him at the beach. When an ice storm blasts his snowboard, he finds a new groove of his own –the chess board! SON OF BOOGIE is a 453 word picture book for PreK-2nd grade that champions perseverance and the father-son bond.

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  37. Hi Susanna (and Phyllis), first off, I would vote that you both should pick the winners, that is if you can do so politely and without too much bickering! Perhaps make more strawberry pancakes and discuss over breakfast ;)


    As for the pitch, yes I would definitely read this story. I liked the twist of going from wanting to be a sports kid to a loving a sport of strategy. I did wonder if you should restate... Back at the ski lodge, he finds "a new" board (instead of 'his' board). It was a little hiccup for me as it seemed to lessen the tension, like he already had this board in mind. (I took your story to mean he unexpectedly finds a new board to love playing with.) I also understood Pops initially to mean grandpa, so as with some others who commented, you may want to reword the name here. I think this sounds like a fun story with great illustration potential.


    Good Luck!

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  38. Phyllis LOVES your suggestion of more pancakes, Karen :) Your vote is noted and appreciated :) Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Kathy, too! :)

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  39. Thanks so much for your very helpful comments for Kathy, Julie, and for your pitch re-wording suggestion!

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  40. Thank you for your helpful comments and suggestions for Kathy, Sydney, and I'm so glad you're enjoying Phyllis's odes (not odor! :))

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  41. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Kathy, Joy! I know she'll appreciate them :)

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  42. Thanks so much for your comments for Kathy, Ariel, and for catching the "buts" :)

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  43. Thank you for your helpful input for Kathy, Maria!

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  44. Thanks so much for chiming in for Kathy, Kristi! :)

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  45. Thanks so much for sharing your reaction to the pitch, Pat! I know Kathy will appreciate it!

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  46. Thank you for your thoughtful and helpful comments for Kathy, Danielle! :)

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  47. Alrighty. Your vote is duly noted. Perhaps we will try. Although I've already told you exactly how helpful Phyllis is going to be with this job!


    Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Kathy, and so sorry you can't eat wheat! Luckily regular plain chocolate doesn't have any wheat in it! :)

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  48. Thanks so much for chiming in for Kathy with your helpful thoughts, Catherine!

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  49. Wow! High praise for Kathy that you like the pitch so much Heather! She will be thrilled I'm sure! :)

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  50. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts for Kathy, Pat! :)

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  51. Ack! Sorry about the peanut allergy, Patricia - I certainly didn't mean to put you in harm's way! Here is a plain brownie for you!


    And thank you for all your helpful thoughts on Kathy's pitch!

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  52. Thanks so much for your suggestions for Kathy, Sue! Very helpful! :)

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  53. Happy Birthday, dear Vivian! By all means - have the whole cake - I can make more very easily :) I'm sorry about your car adventure yesterday - I read about it on FB or somewhere - I'm glad everything turned out all right. And who knows - maybe the ms you stayed in to write will be the first one that sells :) Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Kathy and your nice rewording of the pitch!

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  54. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and reactions with Kathy, Pia! Very helpful :)

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  55. Thank you for your insightful comments for Kathy, Robyn! Not a chess player myself... so wouldn't have caught that!

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  56. Thank you for your very thoughtful and helpful suggestions for Kathy, Alayne! And I'm remember just now that I owe you an email...!

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  57. Well, you're very kind, Wendy! Phyllis and I will put our furry little heads together and see what hatches. Thanks so much for your helpful comments and suggestions for Kathy!

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  58. Nice suggestion, Kristen! Thanks so much for stopping by to help Kathy with her pitch!

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  59. Thanks so much for your clever suggestions for Kathy, Cathy! :) Not that it's my story, but I like your title idea and the "king me" concept :)

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  60. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Kathy, Pat! I have to agree - I can't think of another PB with all these boards!

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  61. You'd put your trust in Phyllis, Linda? That is so sweet... and misguided :) We shall see... :) Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Kathy!

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  62. Thanks so much for your two cents, Diane! I did not know that about Boogie, so helpful of you to mention!

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  63. I'm so glad I amuse someone besides myself, Teresa :) And I wish we could have had a whole day too - it would have been fun! But we'll get that when I come to the retreat you're having at your house :) Phyllis and the dogs and I will come up with some kind of plan... probably the blind leading the blind :) Thanks so much for your helpful and insightful comments for Kathy!

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  64. Thanks so much for sharing your reactions with Kathy, Ellen. I know she'll find them helpful and encouraging :)

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  65. Not sure if anyone else feels this way, but I would love to have a chance to vote on the Ode. There were some really great entries. And that chocolate and peanut butter treat, Yummmy! As for Kathy's story, I certainly would read it. I have read it and I am in love with Lil Boogie. I love the explanation at the end of your pitch, too. Well done. I don't have much to add to the advice you've already received, Kathy. Your pitch makes me wanna read all about Lil Boogie. Let me know when an offer for the book comes in, will ya?

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  66. Kathy, I love your premise. My son would love this story, as he likes skateboards and chess. I like the language in the 1st sentence that says his flips flop. Can you have something that cool for the next 2 sentences that describe the waves and the ice storm?

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  67. Well done, Kathy! I think the idea of this book is touching, and I am sure personal to many..as a Mum of two sons who idolized their Dad and everything he did, I would read it!
    So Susanna....why did you cross out Phyliss' name for voting....have you two fallen out AGAIN..? 😉

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  68. 1. I think Phyllis should get to decide on her favorite, unless she has wisely decided to go back to sleep. In which case, Susanna, I am sure she won't mind if you do the honors.

    2. Congratulations, Michele! I hope I get to pull this off the bookstore shelf soon!

    3. Darn it. Want that cake to go with my coffee this morning. And my lunch and dinner later.

    4. Would read this book, Kathy. Love books that show dads in a positive light.

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  69. Dads are unsung heroes. My hubs pretty much raised my stepkids.

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  70. Yes, more word play, Tina, ty.

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  71. Wow, Joy, Pops and Dad - had not thought of that.

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  72. Good catch, Ariel. TY.

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  73. Maria, I appreciate your thoughts.

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  74. I say Phyllis should make the BIG decision, Susanna for all of the Birthday Bonanza entries. After all, it is HER party!


    Hip, hip, hooray for Michele, the winner of her pitch for Hoot & Holly!


    Peanut Butter Fudge Cake! Yum! I look forward to baking some.


    I would read your book, Kathy. The opening line piques my curiosity and I want to know more about Little Boogie's dream. Perhaps the second should include the word TO . . . head off TO Half Pike Park, where is flips become flops.

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  75. Wendy Rider EngelmannFebruary 13, 2015 at 3:05 AM

    Wow, Kathy - what a response e you have received on your pitch. I too would love to read the book. I really liked Julis Rown-Zoch's suggested rewrite of your well done pitch. Chess versus checkers seems to be an issue for some. What will you decide? The father -son relationship could send a strong message to boys AND fathers. Well done.

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  76. Wendy, I am shocked an happy by the response. I am going to see if there's a way to maybe get both games in. O maybe that's an editor/agent question.

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  77. Hey, Suzy. Yes, I left that out, thanks.

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  78. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikFebruary 13, 2015 at 6:27 PM

    This sounds like a great book! I say YES! And I don't mind voting! Whichever you want! :D

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  79. Thanks, Erik! You are delightful easy-going :)

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  80. Thanks for chiming in for Kathy, Wendy! :)

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  81. Phyllis agrees with you, Suzy :) Thanks for your comments for Kathy!

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  82. Thanks for your comments for Kathy, Bekah! Help yourself to as much cake as you like, and I'll see if Phyllis is awake enough to help out :)

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  83. Thanks for your comments for Kathy, Julie! And I don't know if I'd say "fallen out"... but someone (who shall remain nameless) ate all the strawberries and didn't leave any for anyone else... just sayin'! :)

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  84. Thanks so much for chiming in for Kathy, Tina, and for your helpful suggestions!

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  85. Ah, such division over the voting issue! What to do? I shall mull on it! Glad you enjoyed today's treat, Pam, and thanks so much for your helpful comments for Kathy!

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  86. Hahaha. You critiqued that story. ;-) Thanks, critter (donut) buddy.

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