Pitch It to Me

Introducing . . .

Yes, technically, it’s time for the next Pitch It to Me Challenge. But this is 2020, and if there is anything we’ve learned this year, it is to expect the unexpected. So this time around I have some big news to share with you and decided to skip the last challenge of the year. I hope you will be as excited as I am when you find out why!

But first, let’s name the winner of our last challenge, where Natalie Cohn put her pitch for the story GRAND DUCHESS TANGLED GALORE up against guest star Lisa Rogers and me. It turns out Natalie scored a home run and ran away with the competition. What a lovely way to end the year and prepare that query for submission! Congratulations Natalie! And thank you both for participating in The Pitch It To Me Challenge.

And now for the exciting news . . .

For over a year now, I’ve been working towards a long-time goal of opening a children’s book publishing company. Moving across states (twice!), remote learning with a kindergartner and second grader, and this pesky thing called a global pandemic have thwarted my attempts to finalize those plans. Until now. Beginning in January 2021, GNOME ROAD PUBLISHING will be open for business and accepting submissions.

Head on over to www.gnomeroadpublishing.com to get a sneak peek at what’s to come (and to view the beautiful artwork by phenomenal illustrator, Wendy Leach). If you are a picture book or early chapter book writer, make sure to look at the Little Gnome imprint and submissions “wish list”. And, of course, check out all of the Gnome Road and Gnome Wild! information, too.

Coming Soon!

I want to thank my WONDERful critique partners for agreeing to let me make the first official announcement about Gnome Road Publishing here on this blog. And as a special pitching challenge for you, dear readers, I am giving the first “above-the-slush-pile” submission opportunity to whomever writes my favorite pitch in the comments. Just leave your name, genre of the book you are pitching (PB, CB, MG, or YA), and a brief but enticing pitch of your story after this post. You have until Saturday, December 26th to leave a comment, at which time I will make my choice (probably with a little help from the fabulous ladies here on the Wonder of Words Blog). Good luck!

Until next time . . .

77 thoughts on “Introducing . . .”

  1. Thank you for the opportunity, and congratulations!

    Squirrels bury enough nuts for a feast in the fall, but then forget about them. Seasons change, and so do the nuts. Based on a Spanish proverb, “They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds,” this is a lyrical STEM story about seasons and a tree’s life cycle, told through the nut’s eyes.

    Thanks, Dedra Davis

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Congratulations Sandra! I checked out your website. Wendy’s illustrations are amazing. I can’t wait to see the books you publish.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for stopping by the blog and checking out the GRP website! I think the world of Wendy and enjoy hearing all the great feedback about her work. Your encouragement is appreciated!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Congratulations!!

    Cari Jehlik
    Genre: PB; Intended to be a series; Features characters with disabilities, but the disability is the subplot

    Susanna has cerebral palsy. Coco has serious allergies. When Coco moves in two houses down from Susanna, the girls decide to be friends, but have a hard time figuring out what they can do to play together. By being curious and asking questions about each other’s disabilities, the seed of their friendship blossoms just like the flowers in Susanna’s front yard.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Congratulations, Sandra! Wend’s artwork and the website looks amazing! Thank you for the opportunity to pitch a story idea!

    Judy Sobanski – PB pitch
    When Bear gives Raccoon his PB&J, Raccoon adds some bananas, a few dots of blueberries and the perfect swirl of honey! “Give me back my sandwich, Raccoon!” “You’re a taker-backer, Bear!” And the fight begins. Meanwhile a squirrel…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think Wendy’s artwork is amazing, too!
      Thanks for stopping by and joining in the fun, Judy. It looks like Bear might be in for a surprise. 🙂


  5. This is great news! I hope you are successful! I love the name of your company, Gnome Road Publishing. I actually have a PB with gnomes in it but it’s not quite there yet.

    Here is my pitch.

    A sparkly new dress makes Arlet dazzle. But she refuses to take it off! Not even when smudges, tears and patches make it look like a stitch up doll. She needs to come to terms with letting something she loves go or lose a friend from her monstrosity of a dress. Back matter includes creative ways to repurpose used clothing!

    I got this idea from my daughter when she was younger. She loved certain clothes more than others so much that she would wear them until there were holes in them.

    Thank you for this opportunity!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Natalie! And thank you for participating in the last challenge, as well as this new one. We appreciate your support of the blog!

      My daughter happens to be an expert “repurposer” (I may have just made up that word?). No empty cardboard box is safe in my house. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for the opportunity! I’m pitching a silly picture book.

    “Pizzasaurus is attacking Block City! It’s up to the mayor to figure out how to defeat this doughy dinosaur bent on destruction. Just when it looks like Pizzasaurus may be unbeatable, the mayor comes up with a very satisfying plan. Burp!”
    – Teresa Traver

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Congratulations again on your new venture, Sandra! Here’s my pitch for a PB: Little Morning Glory wants to stay in her snug flower bed and dream, but Mama wants her up and blooming when the bees come to collect pollen. Little Glory tries her best to wake up on time, until one day she meets a kindred spirit and finds that being a late bloomer has its advantages.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Congratulations Gnome Road Publishing!

    Great branding and best wishes on the launch of this publishing company. I love your website, imprint names, and looks like a fabulous team. I’m delighted to pitch my 961-word count narrative nonfiction picture book.

    CONFETTI, THE FLYING MINI HORSE is the amazing real-life story of a miniature horse, Confetti, who flew on a plane!
    Service guide Confetti helps owner Cheryl’s dreams such as flying come true.
    COMP: Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

    Thank you for this opportunity.
    Best regards,
    Sheila S

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Sheila, for such lovely feedback on the website! What an interesting story you pitched. Confetti is an adorable name for a service guide horse!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Congratulations on your new publishing company! Your wish list is so interesting and I can’t wait to see the stories you will offer young readers. Here is my PB pitch for TROLL’S TREE…T: Littlest Billy Goat spies something disturbing under the bridge…Troll is back! The three goats’ dilemma: attack to defend their bridge or allow the holiday spirit to produce a peaceful solution and a change of heart. Additional back matter includes information on tree-cycling evergreens to goat farms (the inspiration for this tale) and a recipe for Bûche de Noël.
    Thank you for this opportunity! –Jill Lambert

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Jill. I have an eclectic wish list, but definitely some themes that keep recurring. One of those things being trees! I don’t think I know anything about tree-cycling evergreens to goat farms – interesting!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Congratulations! I’m so happy to see a new independent children’s publisher. Exciting!

    Sarah Hovorka- Chapter Book Pitch

    Jace Bivins is about to be one of the first kids on the moon. But that’s not extraordinary enough for him. Determined to be the very first kid to step foot on the moon, his dream of greatness is shattered when he sees his best friend Penny’s toe slide out in front of him. Falling into a space-sluggy mood, Jace almost misses out on all the exciting things about living in the first moon colony – a gravity trampoline, an alien friend, and a bus named Turtle.

    Any kid who’s ever dreamt of greatness but always seems to fall short will relate to Jace’s quest to discover what is unique about himself and laugh at Jace’s hilarious imaginings along the way. MOON KIDS: FIRST TOE ON THE MOON is an illustrated 6,000-word chapter book for ages 6-9 and is the first book of the Moon Kids quartet. Readers of the Stink series by Megan McDonald and the Big Nate Novels by Lincoln Pierce will appreciate the humorous, character-driven stories of the Moon Kids series that also feature interesting science fiction elements not usually realistically depicted in books for this age range.

    Thank you for the opportunity!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. “CELIA AND HER FAIRY BAKEMOTHER,” a 648 word picture book for ages 5-9, is a retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale with an entertaining twist. Celia does not know that she has celiac disease. With the help of her Fairy Bakemother Celia addresses the challenges facing children who are gluten intolerant. She learns how to bake gluten free and enters the palace baking contest. Celia becomes her own advocate and acquires the life skills that will help her live with her disease.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your pitch with us, Ilka! I think a lot of people can relate to facing the challenge of cooking within new dietary needs in mind. It sounds like Celia is a spunky girl!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations! What an exciting venture. I look forward to reading many Gnome Road books!

    I’m Amy Leskowski, and my pitch is for a PB concept book of 310 words.

    Have all these cars stopped for traffic-flavored jelly? TRAFFIC JAM is a multi-award-winning PB manuscript, written in anapestic tetrameter with an AABB rhyme scheme. It has a narrative component and wordplay. It stands alone but could combine with four other completed manuscripts for a Play on Words poetry collection.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Amy! We are glad to have you join in our pitch challenge. I’ve been in a lot of traffic jams, but never for traffic-flavored jelly. I can only imagine how that problem gets resolved!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Celia gets a stomach ache throws up and gets a rash when she works in her stepsisters’ kosher bakery until in a cloud of tapioca flour her Fairy Bakebubbie appears.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Hi Sandra,

    This is so very exciting! I’m impressed with what you have accomplished as I know first hand how hard virtual learning is with small kids. I have posted my pitch below:

    My name is Merrill Woodriff and my manuscript, THE BIRTHDAY FAIRY, is a 600 word picture book. I am currently polishing up the sequel.

    Hi there! Guess who? Golden wings? Denim overalls? Party in the back, business in the front! I’m the Birthday Fairy! I grant birthday wishes! I’m not a typical fairy. I go to school and wear sneakers. I’m not a typical kid. I have magical fairy wings that I strategically conceal. Granting wishes is easy peasy, except for the time Lily made a wish. A wish so tricky, I failed my first attempt and had to rely on a tooth fairy to help. Spoiler alert: She failed too

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Merrill! So nice of you to stop by and join in this unique pitch challenge. Having grown up in the 80’s and early 90’s, I got such a laugh out of the line, “Party in the back, business in the front!” Sounds like a fun fairy!


  15. Hi Sandra,

    I am in awe of your new venture! Congratulations. I wish you much success with this company!!

    Nutbug, a glum porcupine, meets Flash, an optimistic peacock. Together they find ballooning successes, uplifting adventures, and land new beginnings through friendship and play.
    This FROG AND TOAD meets NARWHAL AND JELLY early chapter book is complete at 860 words and is suitable for children ages 4-8 looking for stories with inspiration and fun wordplay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, and for stopping by the blog to join in the fun. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story with an optimistic peacock. What a unique main character choice!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Sandra,

    Your website looks fun and amazing! Thanks for this opportunity.

    GOAT AND TURKEY is a character-driven Early Reader (K-1) series filled with humor.

    Turkey throws Goat a QUIET surprise party. He knows loud noises scare Goat. When Goat gets scared … CLUNK! Goat faints. But Turkey soon finds out that surprises, such as quiet guests popping up, also scare Goat.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your continued support, Kim! I love Turkey’s intended thoughtfulness towards his friend. I suppose it might be hard not to scare a fainting goat!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I am partial towards the cuteness of gnomes! And, your website is beautiful. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Priya Kumar
    Picture Book, STEM

    Tiddlytoes, the cockroach, is on a mission to become a loved pet. Not happening!

    High-pitched screams and Tiddlytoes scurrying in disgust, a regular scene at the park.

    He regrets being a cockroach, until he learns how important he is for the environment, science and humans!

    P.S – Dr Alper from South Carolina State University, the brain behind ‘Biobots’ has agreed to do the foreword (once I send him the completed manuscript) 🙂 I am in the process of doing the final touches.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How lovely to have you stop by our blog and join the pitching contest, Priya! This sounds like a great read for kids who love learning about the interconnectedness of our world and scurrying insects on the ground!


  18. Congratulations on the new adventure that awaits you! That is so exciting. Thank you for the opportunity to send a pitch your way, it is so appreciated. 🙂 So without further ado, here’s the wind-up, and here’s my pitch!

    Since he was young, a scientist dreamt about space. After much experimentation, the day finally came. Using strong steel and stout wire, an amazing creation was made. This is the rocket that Goddard built. This is a STEM PB with an author’s note including back-matter.

    Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Hi Sandra,
    So excited about your new enterprise! Congratulations! The website is so bright and whimsical. Here is my PB pitch.

    When Smokey Joe goes missing, everyone gets involved! It just goes to show that it takes a village (or a neighborhood) to find a cat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I happen to be a cat lover with a Siamese who sometimes curls up in a spot and won’t come out. It nearly takes a village to find him, too! Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving your pitch for this fun spin on the Pitch it to Me Challenge!


  20. Congratulations, Sandra! Your website is stunning. I can’t wait to see the books you’ll launch into the world. Thank you for this opportunity and allowing us the chance to share in your new venture.

    Here is my pitch: Bear wants to climb a beechtree to eat nuts and build a nest like his mother’s, but the beechnuts aren’t ready and neither is Bear. With his friend Rabbit, Bear prepares for the arrival of nuts through the seasons but is surprised instead by the ultimate reward. BEAR’S FIRST NEST is an informational STEM picture book with supporting backmatter. It has been vetted by a wildlife biologist and is based on the author’s personal experience and research.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shaunda! Welcome to the Wonder of Words blog. It sounds like Bear has a few things to teach us while he learns all about building a nest, including how to be patient. Thanks for sharing your pitch!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Congratulations and thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

    By Carole Marie Shelton, PB fiction, 580 words

    Returning to his father’s pirate ship, a boy discovers that his best friend has gone missing! They backtrack, following the captain’s log to search every animal island, from Alabama’s Alligator Island to the Philippine’s Zebu Island. But finding his friend will require some thinking and watching for clues.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. So excited for you and your team, Sandra. And thanks for the opportunity for an early pitch.

    OLD TO JOY is a #OWN Voices PB

    May Lily adores shiny new things. So she sulks when she must visit her Maw Maw who lives in an old house, on an old street, with old trees and old folks and all kinds of old things. What will it take for her to see the beauty and joy in old things – especially her Maw Maw?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so nice for you to join us, Anita! I’m a fan of your beautiful art from the CBA illustration course. What a cute play on words for your title!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Congratulations to you and happy holidays!

    Tricia Vold

    PB Pitch

    Paul is a simple, yet fascinating type of flatworm known as a planarian. Adored by Biologists, these little guys are often studied for their regenerative properties. This story is told through the eyes of Paul as he is captured from a pond and experimented on in a biology class lab. It’s a unique and exciting tale about a popular organism in the scientific society but often unheard of in every day life. Paul lives a reclusive lifestyle in a gloomy pond and doesn’t care to socialize with others. Upon being captured from the pond, Paul is fearful and for the first time ever he wishes he was not alone. Paul undergoes a common lab conducted in biology in which his tail is snipped off. Although painless, Paul is quite frightened and continues his journey in the school aquarium where his tail grows back and he realizes the value of having friendships – some with no heads and some with no ends!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Tricia! What a unique journey your character goes on in this story. Thanks for pitching it here and being part of this fun challenge on our blog!


  24. Congratulations, Sandra! Wishing you all the best on this exciting journey and I can’t wait to see all the wonderful books from Gnome Road Publishing!

    I’m joining in the party with a pitch 🙂.

    Rosie J. Pova, Concept PB with series potential: As Nikko goes through a day of sillies he learns that not all sillies are created equal. Some are okay for the park, but not the library; safe sillies are important on the street, and please practice your nice sillies when approaching your stinky little brother. But whether your sillies are sweet, wild, quiet or loud, when you’re considered of others, you can have the best day of fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Rosie! I’m so excited you have joined in this challenge and stopped by the blog. I think I may have a couple of Nikko’s in my house! 🙂


  25. Sandra, congratulations on your new endeavor! I will be following Gnome Road Publishing as it gets off the ground.
    And thank you for this pitch opportunity! When Little Blankie falls apart, Luke feels he will too. Then Big Blankey arrives! Right from the start Luke sees this going to take some getting used to. He’s big. And so interactive! And then when he goes missing, Luke realizes he was just the Blankey he needed, and searches desperately, hoping it isn’t too late. . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Katie! And thank you for supporting the blog by pitching your story! I think all of us parents can understand what a big challenge this will be for Luke (and all kids who feel just like him). Blankies are a big deal!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Congratulations on this new endeavor! I have a few manuscripts that fit your wishlist so I’ll be submitting in January.

    Here is my pitch for a STEM info-fic PB:
    Beneath the trees, a hunt is underway, but not the type you’d expect… a hunt for mushrooms. Follow a young girl and her father as they race against the sun to bring home mushrooms for dinner, and experience her foraging enthusiasm, devastation, and determination.

    Thank you for this opportunity!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for adding your pitch into the challenge, Abbi! My son (age 8) says he wants to have a truffle farm one day, and train dogs to forage for them. It might be a long wait, but those truffles are worth it!


  27. Congratulations on this new adventure, Sandra! And thank you for the opportunity to pitch my 250-word picture book:

    T-Rex can do a lot of things. He can ROAR. He can STOMP. He can CHOMP. But there is one thing he can’t do. In T-REX HAS AN ITCH, all the animals skedaddle in the opposite direction, leaving T-REX to ROAR, STOMP and CHOMP his way to finding someone to scratch his itch!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This made me laugh out load, Jennifer! Poor T-REX and his horrible itch! Thanks so much for adding your pitch to our challenge!


  28. What a great adventure ahead, best of luck!
    Thanks for this opportunity to pitch our rhyming picture book (iambic heptameter, 540 words).

    No costume is spooky in a snowsuit; nothing pops under a poncho. In THE GREAT COSTUME COVER UP, an imaginative girl gets carried away making the perfect, weather-proof, Halloween costume in the nick of time. Her mom won’t mind…


  29. Dea, this is great! What a fun addition to the challenge. I happen to understand this whole costume cover up since I grew up in Northern Colorado in the 80’s when most Halloween’s involved a blizzard and a snowsuit over our costumes!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. How to Haunt A Bathroom (PB)

    One thing stands between Eugene and graduating Haunt School…”Bathroom?!” In HOW TO HAUNT A BATHROOM, a ghoul in training fails at scaring stiff, straight, and silly until a spooky BOO HOO echoes through the house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for getting your pitch in, Brittany, just in time for the end of the challenge. We appreciate you stopping by the blog and joining us! I think Eugene brings a some spooky fun, too!

      Liked by 1 person

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