Win a Free SLUSH PILE Pass from Blue Whale Press!

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Hello world!

You’re in for a treat! I interviewed my most recent publisher, Blue Whale Press and got to chatting with Alayne Christian, content development and acquisitions editor, as well as co-owner. Here’s what her publishing house is up to, what they’ve published, and what projects are in the pipeline.

But here’s the best part: You can WIN A FREE SLUSH PILE pass! That’s right, one lucky winner will avoid the slush pile and get a VIP directly-to-the-front of line invitation to submit to Blue Whale Press. All you have to do is comment on this blog with a ONE line pitch detailing your story. Contest ends December 20, 2019. Good luck!

****Contest ended now****


Lydia: Please tell us about your recent, current and forthcoming books.

Alayne: Oh my goodness, that’s a lot of ground to cover! I’m so excited about our 2019 books, and we have a lot of top-notch books coming in 2020 as well. I hope my answer doesn’t overwhelm readers. But before I move on, I want to thank you, Lydia, for inviting me to be interviewed for your blog.



By Lydia Lukidis (Congratulations, Lydia!) and illustrated by Tara J. Hannon is a multifaceted story. Please see Amazon reviews to read about the various messages that people have found in this very special book. It has so many layers and beautiful messages—all hidden inside a seemingly simple and classic story about a rabbit and a bear.

Rabbit is afraid of many things, but most of all he’s afraid of gigantic, monstery, BEARS! The very nervous Rabbit is soon confronted by his worst fear who appears to be far more interested in making new friends than causing Rabbit any real harm. Despite his apprehension, Rabbit agrees to join his jovial new acquaintance for dinner, but wait a minute . . . is Bear planning to “have” Rabbit for dinner? In this tender story about a very nervous rabbit and a lovable bear, Rabbit discovers that things aren’t always as scary as they seem, and sometimes you may just have more in common with others than you think.

“As Rabbit gets to know one real Bear, he discovers the roots of prejudice and changes his mind about generalizations. . . These excellent revelations encourage kids to face their fears and think about not just the reality of danger, but different personalities and choices involved in interacting with the world with notions that don’t stem from personal experience” —D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


Porcupette and Moppet by Nadine Poper and illustrated by Alicia Young is an educational and funny story about a baby porcupine and a fisher.

Porcupette loves to spend days alone in the quiet forest reading. But when Moppet, a bumbling predator, comes along with his silly antics and non-stop rambling, Porcupette’s sanctuary is turned topsy-turvy. When Moppet finally makes his move, they both get a big surprise that suggests Moppet should read more, and Porcupette should listen more carefully. Alicia Young’s delightful art brings even more life and humor to Nadine Poper’s fun and educational story about a porcupine, a fisher, and their natural relationship in the wild.

Porcupette and Moppet was featured in the November 2019 issue of Kirkus Reviews magazine. Here is the link for the full Kirkus review.

“A fine lesson in differences, predators and prey, and the value of information. . . . Highly recommended both for its leisure value and its pointed insights about different personalities and creatures, Porcupette and Moppet is a lovely picture book that promises lasting attraction and interest to parents and library collections alike.” —D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


Randall and Randall, also by Nadine Poper, is also funny and educational, but it has heart as well. Polina Gortaman’s art is a feast for eyes—young and old.

Randall, the pistol shrimp, is a master at excavation. Randall, the goby fish, is his skittish, yet happy-go-lucky watchman. The problem is that both have quirks that drive each other bananas until one day their relationship is driven to the breaking point. This very funny informational-fiction story about one of the sea’s naturally-existent odd couples illustrates how certain species depend upon their symbiotic relationship for survival. It also shows children how two very different beings can embrace each other’s peculiarities and become best of friends.

With a foreword written by Dr. John E. Randall, senior ichthyologist emeritus, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, Randall and Randall received the prestigious Kirkus Review Blue Star. It has been featured in Kirkus Reveiws magazine twice and was one of their books of the month in November. Here is the link for the full Kirkus review


Who Will? Will You? by Sarah Hoppe, and illustrated by Milanka Reardon, is another picture book that educates.

Lottie makes an unusual discovery while beachcombing one day. She’s found a pup, but it’s not your ordinary pup. Lottie quickly decides that she needs help. “Who will care for this little lost pup?” she asks along the beach. “Will you care for this little lost pup?” But no one wants her pup. Just when she is ready to give up, Lottie finds the perfect person to take care of her very special find. Children are kept guessing throughout this beautifully illustrated story what kind of creature Lottie has found while they learn about nature’s different kinds of pups along the way. This title was also featured in the Kirkus Reviews Magazine.

“A beautifully illustrated tale that’s sure to appeal to animal lovers and budding environmentalists. . . . Reardon’s realistic pastel-and-ink illustrations, populated with humans with a variety of skin tones, do an excellent job of hiding the identity of the pup and showing the adults’ shocked expressions.” —Kirkus Reviews


A HORN IS BORN by Bill Borders, and illustrated by Melizza Chernov

Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of musicians in a backstage room, Shoehorn has nothing to do but slide stocking feet into shoes, and life is dull. But he knows he is destined for something greater—something that will rival the group’s trio of bullies: Trumpet, Trombone, and Flute. Shoehorn takes their bullying in stride and refuses to let those blowhards dent his pride. He waits patiently for his big break until one day, with a twist of fate, Shoehorn saves the day and shines brighter than the best-in-the-band.

MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON, written and illustrated by Laurie Smollett Kutscera

Twelve-year-old Alex was taught illusion by the best. Misadventures of a Magician’s Son tells the story of Alexander Finn’s personal journey dealing with the death of his father, a celebrated magician, and the extraordinary gift he left behind. Uprooted from his childhood home for the seemingly hokey town of Orchard, Maine, Alex refuses to unpack and wants nothing to do with his new surroundings. But when he discovers an unusual deck of animated cards tucked in the back of his father’s old desk, things begin to unravel and Alex’s true adventure begins.

OLD MAN and HIS PENGUIN: How Joao Pereira de Souza Became an Honorary Penguin by Alayne Kay Christian and illustrated by Milanka Reardon

Based on a true story, Joao and Dindim make an odd pair—an old man and a young Magellanic penguin. But Joao loves Dindim, and Dindim loves Joao. They are family. When Joao rescues a lifeless, oil-covered penguin and nurses him back to health, the penguin adopts Joao as an honorary penguin. The steadfast friends do everything together. But there are real penguins somewhere across the sea. So Dindim leaves Joao. Village people tell Joao the penguin will never come back. Joao cannot say if he will or will not until . . . he does, again and again.

A TRAIN A MOOSE AND A MESS by Joan Sloane and illustrated by Mary Beth Benton

ALL ABOARD! A ringmaster is anxious to find his next great act. But when his circus train is forced to make an emergency stop for a moose asleep on the tracks, he must use his whistle to wake it. The moose doesn’t flinch, but the travel-weary animals on board mistake the familiar sound for their cue to leave. A rollicking chain of events follow in their path and an unexpected star is born.

SIENNA, THE COWGIRL FAIRY: COWBOY TROUBLE by Alayne Kay Christian, and illustrated by Blake Marsee

Aunt Rose is getting married, and guess who she’s asked to be her flower girl. Sienna’s sadder than a coyote without a howl. “I’d look mighty silly in a dress. I’d trip over my own feet in them fancy shoes. And I ain’t much good at manners neither.” Ma signs Sienna up for cowgirl charm school where Sienna discovers she’s even worse at being elegant than she thought she’d be. To make matters worse, Billy Bob and his band of bullies see Sienna in her charm school clothes and raise a ruckus. Maybe Sienna can teach those cowboys a thing or two about manners and poise. But can she learn enough at charm school to walk down the aisle without embarrassing herself and Aunt Rose?

UNTIL WATER MAKES MUD by Janie Reinart and illustrated by Morgan Taylor

When war forces two sisters to flee their home in South Sudan with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, Big Sister strives to help Little Sister smile again at the refugee settlement. But as quickly as Little Sister’s smile appears, it disappears: that is until water makes mud. In the end, Big Sister’s artistry and kindness brings hope to their situation. This title is a tribute to the resourcefulness of children who have no toys, but continue to play and is dedicated to the 200,000 refugee children living at the Bidibidi settlement in Uganda.

THE WEED THAT WOKE CHRISTMAS: The Mostly True Story of the Toledo Christmas Weed by Alayne Kay Christian and illustrated by Polina Gortman

The story of a small gesture that turned into a phenomenon that was seen around the world. Partly truth and partly fiction, based on the inspiring true story of how the Toledo Christmas Weed helped spread the giving spirit far beyond its traffic-island home. All Weed wants is to be seen, but people are in too much of a hurry to notice each other, let alone Weed. Weed watches, wishes, and waits until finally someone does see it. But Weed discovers that there is something far bigger and more important than a little weed being noticed.

YOUR NURSERY IS AN EVERYWHERE by Carol Bullman and illustrated by Maureen McAfee

Having a baby opens up the world in so many ways, but it also closes it off in the sweetest of ways. “It seems, inside this little room, the walls are fading clear, and all the beauty in the world, is shining on us here.” In this beautifully written and illustrated book, a mother and baby savor the coziness of “now” in the nursery while the mother has expansive dreams for her baby’s future. The wall fades away, and the magical dreams come alive before readers’ eyes!

Lydia: You’re a published writer yourself, so what made you create your own publishing house?

Alayne: I’m sorry, but this is another long story 😉 Early in my writing career, I had written a picture book titled Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa, and my husband Steve, who is experienced in starting businesses and operating them, decided that he would start a publishing company and publish it himself. After finding an illustrator, he contracted a designer, multiple editors and an intellectual property rights lawyer, and Blue Whale Press was born. Unfortunately or fortunately, his career took a sudden upturn combined with a corporate relocation, and he decided to put Blue Whale Press on hold for a while. My decision to find a new home for Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain just happened to coincide with his retirement from the corporate world, and he invited Sienna to Blue Whale Press. That’s when his old passion and dream reignited. He suggested that we would make a fantastic team in restarting Blue Whale Press. I thought about it, and he was right. Everything that my career path has resulted in has led me straight to Blue Whale Press. Our family enterprise combines Steve’s business savvy with my knowledge of children’s book writing, critiquing, and editing—and my desire to help aspiring writers and illustrators. We opened our doors to submissions and discovered some spectacular stories and talent. Our catalog is growing, and Sienna now has lots of good company.

Lydia: What are the challenges of running a small press?

Alayne: There are many challenges, but there are also many rewards. I believe we have published some outstanding, and what really should be award-winning, books. So, for me, the hardest pill to swallow as a small publisher is not being able to get seen and recognized. We are like the tiniest fish in a very large pond. Places that support larger publishing houses won’t give us the time of day. For example, it seems getting a review from some of the top reviewers isn’t possible, regardless how much a book stands out or how good it is. Small independent publishers seem to be lumped in with self-publishing. Right now, there doesn’t seem to be a good place for publishers like us. I really wish good small publishers could be recognized as “real” publishing houses. Thank goodness, SCBWI has recognized us and Kirkus Reviews and Midwest reviews have both provided honest reviews that recognize many Blue Whale Press books for the exceptional works they are.

Lydia: What do you love the most about your work at Blue Whale Press?

Alayne: I love discovering the gems in the submission process. I really enjoy being creative director. But more than anything, I love making authors’ and illustrators’ dreams come true. To see their story come to life and make their way out into the world can bring tears for me. And then when we get some sort of recognition, such as the Kirkus Reviews Blue Star for Randall and Randall, it’s icing on the cake for authors and illustrators. So, I’m tickled to death when I get to share that kind of news.

Lydia: What is on your current manuscript wish list?

Alayne: Bill Borders, author of our 2020 picture book A Horn is Born, recently came up with a fun way to describe, some of our books. Randall and Randall, Porcupette and Moppet, and Who Will? Will You? all fit his word for it. He calls them “Functional” books. “Fictional, yes, but full of fun facts,” he says. We’ve been calling them informational fiction. I think someone once coined the term faction. Nevertheless, we seem to like these fictional stories that also educate. But they still need to have great arcs along with humor or heart, and unique characters never hurt.

We want unique stories that stand out from all the rest. Believe it or not, this is hard to find. We seem to gravitate toward humor, but we would love some stories that tug at the heartstrings, but again, in a unique standout way. We like stories that make us smile, laugh, or cry. The writing and character voices in all of our stories stand out. And they each have an arc that provides tension and lots of page-turners that make me absolutely have to know what is going to happen next. Now, having said all of that, we do have a few books that have subtle arcs, but they are so lovely and touching a subtle arc is all that these stories require. I also enjoy books that paint pictures with their words.

The best thing I can suggest is to read the Blue Whale Press books, and you will get a feel for what we are attracted to. We’ve learned that people who want to read our books have good luck getting them in their library by asking the librarian for them.

Lydia: What are the DOs and DON’Ts of query letters?

Alayne: I personally don’t concern myself with the query letter that much in our submission process. I don’t read the query letter before the manuscript because I believe it influences my experience of reading the manuscript for the first time. I want the story to speak for itself. If I like what I see in the story, I will read the query to learn more about the person who wrote the story. I will also sometimes refer to the query letter if I’m not “getting” the story or if I am confused about something in the story. This is usually not a good sign because it’s often an indication that the story needs more work. But once in a great while, gaining a little more understanding of what the author’s intention is sheds new light that pays off.

Even though, this is my process, I feel a query letter should still be well written.

I don’t get overly sensitive about things, such as whom the letter is addressed to. I have received letters addressed to agents or editors that have nothing to do with Blue Whale Press. Even that doesn’t bother me. However, there are plenty of agents and editors who might reject the submission for that.

This isn’t really “query letter” related, but I will say that one thing that bothers me more than anything is when it is very clear that the person has not read the submission guidelines or did not read them carefully. When we receive submissions outside of our submission window, it seems to me that the person didn’t bother to read our submissions page. When we get attachments instead of stories pasted in the body of the email, it is clear to me that the person either didn’t read the guidelines at all or did not pay close enough attention. It is super hard for me to ignore submissions with attachments or submissions sent outside of the submission window. But I have started doing so because I believe it is unfair to those who have taken the time to read the guidelines and respect what we have worked so hard to provide to anyone who would like to submit.

Again, this isn’t really about the query “letter” but don’t submit every story you have ever written in one submission.  Our guidelines clearly state “However, there are many reasons for rejections, so feel free to submit other manuscripts during open submission periods only, but no sooner than one month following your previous submission.” Still, I have received as many as forty (yes, you read that right: forty!) stories in one submission. That is worst case, of course. But it is not uncommon to receive more than one story from an author within the same one-month submission window.

So, my number one advice isn’t as much about query letters as it is about READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES CAREFULLY (no matter who you are submitting to) and then follow them carefully.

When it comes to query letters, I wouldn’t do it nearly the same justice by giving my two cents as I would by providing the following KidLit411 link. The “all about query letters” resource list is excellent!

Lydia: What are your favorite kidlit books that have inspired and mentored you as a writer?

Alayne: This is a question that I always find impossible to answer. And I really don’t like answering it when there is a possibility that authors will be reading this interview. It’s like giving a speech at an award show and forgetting to mention your spouse 😉 I admire so many authors for such huge variety of reasons. I mean, when you consider there are over fifteen picture book story structures, and then you throw in fiction vs nonfiction and rhyme vs prose and on and on, the world is our oyster when it comes to mentor texts and inspiration. Of course, I have my favorite authors, and I have some books that I admire more than others. I started to list some of my favorite authors and books, and I found myself going down that rabbit hole of “wait” but then there is this book or this author. I would have to write a whole book to cover them all. And then I would still feel like I left someone out.

I will say that early in my kid lit writing career, Tammi Sauer’s books were responsible for my long sought out understanding of story and character arcs. And I use her books to teach other writers about arc.

I will never miss an opportunity to suggest that any of our Blue Whale Press books would make excellent mentor texts. If they weren’t good examples to study, they would not have made their way through our acquisitions process.

I won’t leave people hanging though, when it comes to finding good mentor texts. For those looking for mentor texts, I recommend following Reading for Research and join their Reading for Research month here is a link to their site

Also Susanna Leonard Hill offers a list of titles by theme on her blog In addition, if you go to her website you can follow Perfect Picture Book Friday entries all year long.

Here is a good article on the Reading for Research site that leads to some nice lists by category.

Bio for Blue Whale Press

Blue Whale Press is an independent publisher of children’s books who focuses on stories involving themes of friendship and/or personal challenge. Most often, stories are selected for publishing due to their inherent educational or moral value. But as a general rule, a good dose of humor or heartstring tugging doesn’t hurt their chances of being published either. While the vast majority of Blue Whale Press’s current and upcoming titles are picture books, there are a couple of chapter books thrown in the mix. As a boutique publisher who doesn’t mind taking risks, Blue Whale Press considers itself to be a launch pad for authors and illustrators hoping to establish themselves. To learn more about Blue Whale Press please visit

113 thoughts on “Win a Free SLUSH PILE Pass from Blue Whale Press!

    Melissa Stiveson said:
    January 6, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    Happy New Year, Lydia! Thank you again for bringing this wonderful opportunity to so many 🙂 Curious, if you don’t mind me asking, has Blue Whale Press already reached out regarding the stories they liked?

    Warm Regards, Melissa

    Liked by 1 person

    agsawan said:
    December 21, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Like many kids, all Cece wants to eat are chicken nuggets. Her grandfather tries to warn her that she should try other things but Cece doesn’t listen and then, one day, it happens Cece turns into a chicken nugget. Now Cece has to learn to navigate the world as a greasy, armless, legless bit of processed meat and hopefully avoid the neighbor’s dog.

    Liked by 1 person

    doreenrobinson said:
    December 20, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    Leaving the safety of her burrow, pangolin scours the savanna in search of her next meal, relying on her unique survival skills to prevail over predators and poachers. (informational fiction or “Functional” PB). Thank you Alayne and Lydia

    Liked by 1 person

    EmmieRWerner said:
    December 20, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to bypass the slush pile with my 40 word board book BETTER TOGETHER. Many things are better together in this young child’s day: sun and moon, ham and eggs, hugs and kisses, and best of all you and me. Blue Whale Press and EmmieRWerner BETTER TOGETHER.

    Liked by 1 person

    yangmommy said:
    December 20, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Wow, these pitches are amazing, everyone! Good luck choosing just one winner 🙂 Here’s one more for your consideration:

    One.broom. One flight. All that’s needed for a magical Halloween night. Yet when spells turn wonky and charms go awry, POTION COMMOTION ensues! A witchling tries everything to save the night, discovering that hope and persistence are more important than potions and fairy dust.

    ~Thanks for the opportunity to read so many great pitches & Happy Hols!

    Liked by 3 people

    mona861 said:
    December 20, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Whispers floated throughout Washington, DC when a teenager, a girl, was awarded the Congressional commission to sculpt a marble statue of President Abraham Lincoln that still stands in the Capitol’s rotunda. NFPB


    mona861 said:
    December 20, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Whispers floated throughout Washington, DC when a teenaged girl named Vinnie was granted the Congressional Commission to sculpt a lifesize marble statue of President Abraham Lincoln that still stands in the Capitols’s Rotunda. NFPB

    Liked by 1 person

    Lisa L Furness said:
    December 20, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks for this opportunity Lydia!
    Lucy needs to scratch out a plan to find the quiet place away from the noisy coop, but first, she’ll have to shake her chicken butt to keep Henry off her tail before he can catch her in CHICKEN PLAN.

    Liked by 1 person

      Lisa L Furness said:
      December 20, 2019 at 7:03 pm

      Don’t know how those periods got into my pitch but here’s how it should read:
      Lucy needs to scratch out a plan to find a quiet place away from the noisy coop but first she’ll have to shake her chicken butt to keep Henry off her tail before he can catch her in CHICKEN PLAN.

      Liked by 1 person

    Judy Sobanski said:
    December 20, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    When escaped parakeet Puccini’s seeks fame but his beautiful voice is constantly drowned out by noises in New York City, he must find the perfect venue…could the stage at the MET be it?

    Liked by 1 person

    Deborah Williams said:
    December 20, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for all you do to bring stories to children! I LOVE YOU ABOVE YOU is a 133-word rhyming story for young children, to help them feel secure and accepted, whatever the situation. It ends with, “I love you in leaves and I love you in snow. I’ll love you forever wherever you go.”

    Liked by 1 person

    Sherri Maret said:
    December 20, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity! When cameras are installed in a home, will the cat’s not-so-usual activities be revealed to the unsuspecting owner? (A Cat’s Tale picture book)

    Liked by 1 person

    Bettie Boswell said:
    December 20, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Chowberski may be a dog with a pedigree but when aliens take him home they may all be in for a big surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

    SpeechVine said:
    December 20, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Everyone makes mistakes even Santa. When Santa delivers the wrong gift to the farmer he sets out to return it to its rightful owner and find his own present. While, each animal he visit has a gift none of them are for him. This funny mystery story shows that sometimes a mistake can lead to something beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Sharon J Wilson said:
    December 20, 2019 at 11:04 am

    It is just after WW2 and some children in Berlin have never tasted candy. Enter The Chocolate Bomber from the USAF. Parachutes made from handkerchiefs float the airmen’s sweets ration into eager hands. I am in touch with Gail Halverson and he has checked my ms for accuracy. Nonfiction.

    Liked by 2 people

    Rachael and Phillippa Corcutt said:
    December 20, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Tim The Toucan-Picture book

    Tim the Toucan has a bright colourful beak, but he doesn’t squawk, chirp or tweet and he starts to feel lonely and left out until he discovers that his large colourful beak allows him to create wonderful drawings.


    Liked by 1 person

    Grey Matters Doc (@ChangeTheLens) said:
    December 19, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Thanks Lydia for the opportunity.

    Around the World with Sue from the Zoo – Sue from the Zoo is taking the 2nd grade class at PS 295 on a trip around the world, meeting animals from each of the seven continents, like the squirrel monkey, nicknamed sakiwinki monkey from Guyana, South America. This informational picture book is a lighthearted way to teach the seven continents of the world, using fun facts about animals native to the regions.

    Liked by 1 person

    Dea Brayden said:
    December 19, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    Martha, a chicken raised by a horse, strives to fit in as a chickeny chicken during a birthday bash at the coop, but when a party-crashing fox threatens the flock, she realizes she needs to buck up because this is no time to chicken out.

    Thank you Lydia and Alayne!

    Liked by 2 people

    Dianna Wilson said:
    December 19, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Hello Lydia and Alayne and thanks for this lovely opportunity! This may sound a bit familiar to you …
    A boy who struggles with reading and a rescue cat who resists being rescued…how can two such different problems possibly have the same solution? (499 words)
    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    Abbi Lee said:
    December 18, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    These honeybees have an unprecedented and possibly impossible mission: to build honeycomb on the 1984 Space Shuttle Challenger in only seven days… all while relearning to fly in outer space.

    Liked by 2 people

    teacherwriteracker said:
    December 18, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks for this opportunity! This was a great post and I have enjoyed reading through the pitches. Here is mine:

    Quick to shell out kind words to others but slow to believe in himself, Boxford, an eastern box turtle, mistakenly befriends kindness rocks and discovers the encouragement he needs to take his tiny legs on a big adventure

    Liked by 2 people

    Laurie Carmody said:
    December 18, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Thank you for the opportunity to pitch this “functional” picture book!

    When the GLOOP GAMES begin, slime molds from around the world blob together to face off in a series of challenges that test single-celled brain and brawn.

    Liked by 2 people

    Lindsey Hobson said:
    December 17, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Ted is a little boy who has a bad habit of making excuses, much to the delight of the dreaded Yabut – can Ted learn to take responsibility for his own actions and banish the Yabut for good?


    Liked by 1 person

    Tara Cerven said:
    December 17, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Thank you for this opportunity!

    Inspired by a true story, a restless man sets out to cycle his way around the world and meets up with a lost kitten, so they join forces and both discover something along the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    Carol Coven Grannick said:
    December 17, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Thank you for the opportunity to post a tagline for CARMINA PIRANHA:

    A little red-bellied piranha knows she’s supposed to hunt, feast, and nap, but the napping part leaves her flip-flap-flopping around—until she bolts away to find the source of the beautiful music flowing from the opera house on the river bank in Manaus, Brazil.

    Liked by 1 person

    Carol Coven Grannick said:
    December 17, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Thank you for the opportunity! Here’s the pitch for CARMINA PIRANHA:
    A little red-bellied piranha knows she’s supposed to hunt, feast, and nap, but the napping part leaves her flip-flap-flopping around—until she bolts away to find the source of the beautiful music flowing from the opera house on the river bank in Manaus, Brazil.

    Liked by 1 person

    Sue Frye said:
    December 16, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Thank you for this opportunity to submit a pitch. Great interview with Blue Whale Press books. Thanks, Lydia & Alayne!!!
    CB BACKYARD BUNNIES 6,000 words

    It’s a special day in the Fur Wood, where Ivy—the youngest of five bunny siblings—is turning five years old (in rabbit years) and to celebrate, her siblings plan a surprise…but it turns out that driving isn’t easy for bunnies, and when they crash the only way they can find their way home is to use their instincts while working together as a family.

    Liked by 1 person

    Nicole Loos Miller said:
    December 16, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you Lydia and Alayne for this awesome above-the-slush opportunity. It was fun and inspiring to read more about Blue Whale Press’ beginnings. I hope small publishers start to get more of a spotlight!

    Maya helps little sister Rose overcome her fear of a marching band by being louder than the drums but when a thunderstorm rains on their parade, the girls decide to take their imaginary battle of the bands to the next level in THE STORM CLOUD BAND.

    Liked by 3 people

    Aimee Haburjak said:
    December 16, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you for this opportunity to submit a pitch. Great interview and insight into Blue Whale Press books.
    THE DUET – a “functional” 330 word informational PB, Big Cat, Little Cat x City Dog, Country Frog

    On an island in the zoo, yellow dances and dips between green on a canvas of blue, two gibbons peek-a-boo, hoot and sing, until, one day, peek isn’t followed by boo and one gibbon must seek a new rhythm – a new duet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Christine L. Henderson said:
    December 15, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    I had issues with WordPress so I am resubmitting as I don’t think it went through. If it did, delete this if it’s a duplicate.
    In my picture book, Annabelle’s Sea Shell Party, (a picture book with factoids), a sea-shelling she searches for a prized shell only to be magically pulled inside for a kelp tea party, but will she have time to swoosh back out before the shell rolls back into the sea forever?

    Liked by 2 people

    Kamilla Milligan said:
    December 15, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Thank you! Here’s my pitch for Team Woods (MG, 35,000 words):
    Anxious and lonely in her new small town home, shy Ria finds refuge in the surrounding old growth forests, but when she discovers that her safe place is at risk, she has to take actions that she never thought she would, and learns that by facing your fears, you can overcome them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Christine L. Henderson said:
    December 15, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    You’ve got quite the list with so many choices. I’d like to toss mine in for consideration. Thank you for the opportunity!

    In my picture book, Annabelle”s Sea Shell Party, (a picture book with factoids), a sea-shelling she searches for a prized shell only to be magically pulled inside for a kelp tea party, but will she have time to swoosh back out before the shell rolls back into the sea forever?

    Liked by 1 person

    Kirsty Rorke said:
    December 15, 2019 at 3:36 am

    Daggers fall from the sky, and caves of rocks swallow you whole in the forbidden land of Down. Spy faces mortal danger when curiosity and hunger lure him deep into its depths, but learns that facing your fears can lead to unexpected friendship, and excellent food.

    Liked by 1 person

      Jenna Aery said:
      December 15, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      As an aspiring new author, just wanted to thank you for this great opportunity to submit for consideration. Happy holidays!

      On a seemingly routine evening walk, a child unexpectedly befriends the moon, and invites her to tag along on the journey to her Dad’s house. Follow Me, Miss Moon is a 470 word story about a girl, the moon, and their playful adventure up, down, around and through town.

      Liked by 1 person

      Kirsty Rorke said:
      December 16, 2019 at 5:05 am

      Apologies, forgot to include:
      441 word pb.

      Liked by 1 person

    Kari Gonzalez said:
    December 14, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Lydia and Alayne, thanks for the wonderful opportunity!

    CUTTLEFISH AND THE COOL POOL – informational fiction.

    Cuttlefish ruled his school until octopus arrived but if they can’t learn to get along, will there enough room in the sea for all to get along swimmingly?

    Liked by 2 people

    Melissa Stiveson said:
    December 14, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Me again…if we are not allowed to post multiple manuscripts, please reach out and I will delete 2 of them 🙂 Thanks so much.

    Wish and Swish, PB, 877 words

    With the help of a magical snow globe, Lizzy, sad and lonely as no one will play with her, discovers her word choices are hurtful and illuminates what can happen with kinder words.

    Liked by 1 person

    Melissa Stiveson said:
    December 14, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks, again 🙂

    Monster Who: Big Foot, CB; 7,492 words

    In a retelling of Bigfoot, Jimmy and his friends set out to capture the creature with one Big Foot before his older brother, Wayne, who will do whatever it takes to thwart them.


    Melissa Stiveson said:
    December 14, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you so much for the great read and this amazing slush pile pass contest!!

    Mandy’s Magical Quest, PB, 840 words

    Mandy, desperate to save her ailing grove of trees, battles the harsh environment and journeys to the far corners of the earth, seeking the help of the four elemental Goddesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    sharongiltrow said:
    December 14, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Here’s my one line pitch. Thanks for asking :-).
    Shopping with Grandma, a story for any child who has ever tried to take a grown-up shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

    Louann Brown said:
    December 14, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Thanks for this Christmas gift to writers! Daddy Jim knows lots of activities to keep his young children entertained without screens from skating in socks to sitting in invisible chairs he makes exercises seem like play.

    Liked by 1 person

    Roseanne Frank said:
    December 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Willa loves to hold little critters & her mom’s rule is Only For a Bit until it’s Willa’s first day of school and they find letting go is harder for some things than others.

    (Thank you!)

    Liked by 1 person

    Robin Currie said:
    December 13, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    What nice Holiday gift with a future!

    The Frog Princess or How to Unkiss a Prince – picture books, 300 words

    When the happy frog gets a princely kiss, life in the castle is not all it was croaked up to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    denise shirazi said:
    December 13, 2019 at 9:31 am

    This is a wonderful opportunity. Thank you, Lydia!
    My one-line pitch for Paul & Penelope’s Piggy Predicament – 587 words.
    Paul and Penelope Prankster’s misguided attempts to make friends at their new school has earned them two spots in Mr. Kindly’s Magical class of manners, where the unthinkable happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    Dori Hoch said:
    December 13, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Big Red Hen does not like the three little hens, Pam, Tam, and Cam, who just joined Farmer Kate’s flock and chases them out of the hen house nightly. One day Pam, is bigger than Big Red, taking the role of the bully. With some creative thinking the other hens find a way to bring peace to Farmer Kate’s chicken yard.

    Liked by 1 person

    Megan Lukas said:
    December 13, 2019 at 8:46 am

    DINO WEEK! 385 wc
    As the week goes on, Lizzy sees the city in a whole new Jurassic way, as cranes turn to apatosauruses, her pigtails turn to horns…. and is that a bald gentleman or a pachycephalasaurus reading the paper on the subway?

    Liked by 1 person

    sequinsue said:
    December 13, 2019 at 5:34 am

    Thank you for the opportunity.

    A tiny housefly tries to alert the fast-asleep animals to a fire on the farm, but when her voice is nowhere near loud enough, she seeks help from her friends – can they wake up the animals before it’s too late?


    Liked by 2 people

    Julia said:
    December 13, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Here’s my pitch for my picture book Birthday Dragon: You’ve left hints and your parents are very smart. So you’re definitely getting a dragon for your birthday. What? A hamster? NO!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Glenda Roberson said:
    December 12, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks for this fabulous opportunity, Lydia!

    Hilarious, read-aloud rhyming picture book with 340 words

    She’s desperate to get Peepaw to play with her and stop shooting corn seed at the squirrels (even though he hits everything but the squirrels), but he ignores her & makes a bigger slingshot.

    Liked by 4 people

    Stefanie Raszler said:
    December 12, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    DR. SUE: FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN PHYSICIAN (Nonfiction picture book: 715 words)—More than thirty years before women could vote and Native Americans were considered citizens in their own country, Susan La Flesche overcame gender and racial inequality to become the first Native American physician and one of the few female doctors of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    Jessica Whipple said:
    December 12, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    LOVE (de la P.) x WHAT DO…IDEA (Yamada)

    ENOUGH-Somewhere between a little and a lot, there is Enough. You have to squint to see it past New and Better, but Enough is always there. Do you know it when you see it? Text is metaphor, proposed imagery is narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

    Jeff Zilch said:
    December 12, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Drew decides to finally tell the truth on Career Day and reveals to his class that he wants to be a Dino Dentist, the rest is jaw-dropping.

    Liked by 1 person

    Carolyn Bennett Fraiser said:
    December 12, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Ava loves to dance, but Grandma is busy. As Ava explores the old gray house, she discovers a closet full of color and the magic of her own imagination. THE COSTUME CLOSET includes back matter on the history of flowers in ballet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Paulette Sharkey said:
    December 12, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity to pitch my picture book, Parker’s Piano Recital (480 words)

    When a ringing cell phone derails Parker during his piano recital, he uses a tip from Mozart, a sparrow’s warble, and a bit of outside-the-box thinking to save his performance.

    Liked by 2 people said:
    December 12, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    What a great opportunity! Thanks, Lydia!

    Nature-loving Clara keeps everything she finds in the forest for herself, but when she discovers a caterpillar lifeless at the bottom of her backpack, she’s taken it too far and must search for a new way to appreciate FOREST TREASURES without destroying them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Kelly Lenihan said:
    December 12, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you Lydia and Alayne for this opportunity.

    THE MAJESTIC BALD EAGLE – Following two years observing and photographing a pair of American Bald Eagles, Kelly Lenihan shares insights and anecdotes into their behavior and family dynamics, sure to excite budding junior birders everywhere, so grab your binoculars and come along for a delightful introduction into the day-to-day life of our national bird.

    Liked by 1 person

    dedradavis03 said:
    December 12, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks for this opportunity!

    A scared and timid Great Dane benefits from a therapeutic riding center just like the children who attend, through the love of one little girl.

    Liked by 3 people

    Linda Staszak said:
    December 12, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    Great opportunity, thanks!
    Reporter Robin is hot on the trail of a mummy running around the neighborhood, but–mummies don’t run, so what is going on?

    Liked by 1 person

      Andrew Fairchild said:
      December 13, 2019 at 9:44 am


      Oliver, deaf to the music his family makes, fears he’ll never fit in. When Oliver discovers a joyous piano player who nurtures his musical curiosity, Oliver wonders if he’ll learn to play the music he hears in his heart.

      Liked by 1 person

    Angie said:
    December 12, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Here’s my pitch for CEILING WORLD (493 words), a picture book for ages 4-8.

    With a too crowded house, the boy had no place to call his own, except perhaps the ceiling; but how was he to get there?

    Thank you, Lydia and Alayne, for this great opportunity! Best wishes to all!

    Liked by 2 people

    ofmariaantonia said:
    December 12, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    DON’T BREAK THE BED (PB, 420 words)
    When Bianca visits Abuela, she can’t resist jumping on the big bed and when—CLUNK!—the bed breaks, she has to fix it before Abuela finds out… or it means being sent home without their morning café manchado.

    Liked by 2 people

    Celeste Bocchicchio-Chaudhri said:
    December 12, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Boy, girl, both, or neither–you don’t have to choose. DEAR CHILD (431 words) is a love letter for children of all genders.

    Liked by 1 person

    Roxanne Troup said:
    December 12, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    What a great opportunity Lydia! Thanks!

    COUNTDOWN TO SPACE, a “faction” PB inspired by NASA’s commitment to put the first woman on the moon.

    Liked by 1 person

    Liz Sites said:
    December 12, 2019 at 4:19 pm


    In Shapeland, every shape must pick a color… when Selena Circle decides to wear a mirror instead, she risks friendships and must grapple with her true colorful identity.

    Liked by 1 person

    Nora Nickum said:
    December 12, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you for the great blog post and the opportunity, Lydia!

    OTTO AND ZOOM: When a little orca meets a flying whale he calls Zoom, his family doesn’t understand why he wants to be friends with someone so different. But as salmon become scarcer, Zoom’s friendship might be just what they need. Informational fiction with back matter. And a real flying whale!

    Liked by 1 person

    Carrie Karnes-Fannin said:
    December 12, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you, Lydia, for this opportunity!

    SEEN: THROUGH THE LENS OF MARGARET BOURKE WHITE. (660 word NF PB) Camera-melting heat, dust storms, torpedoes—nothing kept Maggie from capturing a shot, her daring deeds breaking barriers for women as her photos taught us to see the world in a new light.

    Liked by 1 person

    stacey miller said:
    December 12, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    Punkerella hopes for a Hip, Hop and Happening Ever when Fairy Gig-Mother turns her into a Rock Goddess but her musical dream is smashed to smithereens by the Screeching Stepsisters and she ends up singing the blues.

    Liked by 2 people

    Alayne Kay Christian said:
    December 12, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Holy Moly! I better get to reading some pitches! Thank you Lydia, for the great interview questions and featuring me on your blog. And thanks to everyone for participating in the fun with their pitches!

    Liked by 3 people

    Emma Jenkins said:
    December 12, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Here’s my one line pitch! (Great challenge by the way!)

    When reliable Rooster loses his voice he can’t give Farmer John his early morning wake up call, until an idea from quick thinking Sheep proves that anything is possible if you work together.


    Liked by 1 person

    Susan Johnston Taylor said:
    December 12, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Oboe yearns to make the Woodwind family proud at the spring recital. But a major case of stage fright leads to clammy joints and sticky keypads. After advice from Violin, Trumpet, and Piano falls flat, Oboe must reframe his jitters as excitement in OBOE’S FIRST SOLO (424 words).

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    Liked by 2 people

    Kathy Raggio said:
    December 12, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Oh my goodness! Thanks for this opportunity!


    Desert Tortoise never wins any of the games he and his friends play; one windy day, when his friends get snagged in stickery-prickery tumbleweed trouble, he has a decision to make: help them out and risk losing again or abandon them and go for the sure win.

    Liked by 1 person

    Joetta Currie, aka Josey Etta said:
    December 12, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity, Lydia!

    Tippy Toe and Toady Hoe, PB 570 word count. When Papa Frog moves his family across the pond to escape danger, Tippy Toe discovers he is the only frog, surrounded by TOADS! Toady Hoe and his friends think Tippy Toe’s differences are weird. But when terrible trouble comes their way, Tippy Toe’s “weirdness” saves the day.

    Liked by 2 people

    Debra Daugherty said:
    December 12, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    MG Contemporary, 52,000 words (Thank you for this opportunity.)

    A ten-year-old tomboy, vacationing in the Northwoods, is determined to win the annual musky fishing tournament, hoping her parents will reconcile if she does; but she and her African-American and Chippewa friends lose the oar to the boat and become stuck on a stump, and if she doesn’t return to the contest site by four o’clock, the large musky she caught will be disqualified.

    Liked by 1 person

    brittanypomales said:
    December 12, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Mila’s box of memory jars is missing! She must recapture her memories and make a few new ones for her new house to feel like home in MILA’S MEMORY JARS.

    Liked by 3 people

    Suzanne Young Cordatos said:
    December 12, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    MG novel Thunder Bridge
    Guards protect the castle from a witch-cursed village across Thunder Bridge, until village girl Cessie Wattle wishes upon a star and, unknowingly, summons a star fairy into their midst; it takes the human magic of sisterhood to break the curse and make everyone’s wishes come true—but not in the way they expect. (WISH manual for reader star fairies in training is included).

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      December 12, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Happy to see MG here! Thanks for aprticipating


    Lindsey Hobson said:
    December 12, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Hooty the owl feels blue when he thinks about what he is missing during the day, but a feathered friend helps him learn to love his nocturnal roots.

    Thank you for this opportunity!

    Liked by 1 person

    authoraileenstewart said:
    December 12, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    The Stray Dog – All through the day Billy thinks he sees his dog, Buster, only to find Buster is actually nearby in each instance; so the next morning, Billy rises early the to catch the mystery creature and ends up being the one surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

    apmarlow said:
    December 12, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    A young boy loses his dad who was also his best friend when he is ten when one day there is a terrific storm and he finds an interesting creature hurt on his doorstep.

    Liked by 1 person

    apmarlow said:
    December 12, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Freddy fox loves to play tricks on the animals of the forest until one day the tables are turned….

    Liked by 1 person

    apmarlow said:
    December 12, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    Ashley longs for a unicorn of her own, and daydreams her life away when one day she gets a huge surprise and life turns to one huge adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

    apmarlow said:
    December 12, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    A lonely monster is at the edge of the crowd because he doesnt have any spots, join him in a fun search for spots and a fun surprise at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    Kathy Hjermstad said:
    December 12, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Tara and the Quilt is a PB about an imaginative and precocious girl à la Junie B. Jones who makes mischief and mayhem with her mother’s quilt project.

    Liked by 2 people

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      December 12, 2019 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks for participating! ps I love Junie B. Jones


    Sue Fritz said:
    December 12, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Coop is a rooster who just wants to create his greatest invention ever to get the flock over the chicken yard fence and to the cool pond before everyone gets fried on this especially hot summer day.

    Thanks, Lydia, for this opportunity!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Jessica Clark said:
    December 12, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Thank you so much for offering this fantastic opportunity! I would love to submit my pitch for you to consider.

    When Maverick, a curious and sleepy four year old, tries to divert bedtime by asking Mama where he came from, she and Daddy quickly come together to explain that some families are created special with the help of lots of love, science, and medicine.

    Thank you again and Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    Susie Sawyer said:
    December 12, 2019 at 11:42 am

    After years of being angry about a particular wolf blowing down his house, a MAD LITTLE PIG decides to give the wolf a piece of his mind, but when the truth comes out the pig gets a whole new perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

      Lydia Lukidis responded:
      December 12, 2019 at 11:52 am

      Thanks for participating!

      Liked by 1 person

        Susie Sawyer said:
        December 12, 2019 at 11:57 am

        Thank YOU, Lydia! I realize now that I could have thanked you in my pitch post – I was trying so hard to follow the rules: “Post a ONE line pitch…” 🙂 This is an awesome opportunity!

        Liked by 1 person

          Lydia Lukidis responded:
          December 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm

          Aw so sweet! It’s difficult distilling your whole story down to one catchy sentence, but it’s great to practice pitching!

          Liked by 1 person

    Gregory E Bray said:
    December 12, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Great post. Thank you.

    Here’s my one line pitch for Furrysaurus Rex a picture book at 499 words:

    Amateur paleontologist Edwin can’t believe his eyes when he sees a furry looking dinosaur in his neighborhood and sets off to investigate.

    Liked by 1 person

    Anita Banks said:
    December 12, 2019 at 11:38 am

    What a wonderful interview and opportunity, thanks Lydia.

    ZUZU AND THE ZOO TROOP DETECTIVES are on the case of missing bananas, determination and perseverance will lead them to a sweet discovery all can enjoy. A zoo adventure at 520 words.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Jocelyn Watkinson said:
    December 12, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Thank you Lydia for bringing this opportunity to my attention and to Alayne for the opportunity to pass the slush pile! Here is a pitch for your consideration:

    Meet Daisy; a very lazy English Bulldog. Lazy Daisy (198 words) chronicles the life of a staunch and sturdy English Bulldog from pup to doggy afterlife, while managing the delicate topic of the passing of a loved family pet. Targeting children from age 2-8, Lazy Daisy warms the heart while pulling on the heartstrings of doggy lovers who too often have to say goodbye to fur babies before they are ready to.

    Liked by 1 person

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