Friday, September 7, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Polish

Happy Friday! What a great experience GUTGAA has been so far. I haven't made it to nearly as many blogs for the intros as I had hoped, but I plan to keep hopping around as much as I can in the next month. And so... on to the next part of GUTGAA, and if you haven't signed up yet, but want to, just go to the fabulous Deana Barnhart's site and follow the links to participate.

Our next activity is Pitch Polish! My pitch is for a relatively new story that I wrote (mostly) about 6 months ago, but recently came back to clean up and make pretty. I think I was inspired by school starting on this one!

Title: Extra Special X
Genre: Picture Book
Word Count: 635 words
Author: Tracy Bermeo (me)
The pitch:
Forgotten and on the verge of being lost forever in the dark, dusty world under the refrigerator, the letter X calls for help.  Working together and holding on to each other, C-H-A-I and N band together and reach down to help X join the rest of the letters. Through the alphabet’s friendship and encouragement, X learns the value of being surrounded by other letters and creating words, even if she is not the first letter in those words.

This story of how easily one letter can be brushed aside and almost forgotten, but then shown its importance through friends, is the core of my 635 word picture book about how a letter, that often stumps adults, can still find value in the world of words.

For nearly three years, I have written for, an online media site where I publish weekly food stories with recipes, book reviews, new business features, and day trips for families. I am also published in the NY Times Motherlode, NJ Family magazine and Ploughshares literary magazine blog.

I’ve included below the first 150 words of Extra Special X, which I hope you’ll enjoy. I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you in the coming weeks.

Jack stood at the refrigerator, surrounded by his magnetic letters. He arranged, piled, moved, pushed and pulled to make words.
He moved his favorite letters, S,M,A,T,R,D,C, and Z into a pile near his hands. The ones he didn’t use so much like U, Q, K, Y, X, and W were moved to the side.
Molly walked up to Jack and ran her hand through the smaller pile off to the side.
“Let’s go outside,” his sister suggested.
“Last one out goes to bed first!” Jack replied, and ran out the door.
The letters stayed on the refrigerator. Well, most of them.
The letters Molly brushed off to the side slid toward the bottom. Falling, slipping, sliding, farther down the refrigerator they went.
“Can someone help me down here?” called a small voice. “It’s dusty, dirty, and getting dark. I don’t think I can hold on much longer.”

Thanks so much for reading, and any constructive and helpful criticism is welcome!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ready For GUTGAA ???


I'm embarking on the GUTGAA (Gearing Up To Get An Agent) adventure courtesy of Deana Barnhart and while I've been writing, polishing, editing, and doing everything I can to get ready, I have to say I'm excited. I'm looking forward to meeting other authors, presenting my work and learning from a lot of people who know a lot more than I do!

Our task for the first week is to write a bio, and so here is mine:

Where do you write? Mostly my desk, but I've been known to write a few lines on the pad of paper I keep in my car while waiting at a red light.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see? My bookshelves.

Favorite time to write? Friday nights when the week winds down, the kids are occupied and words just flow.

Drink of choice while writing? Iced Tea, water, or Diet Dr. Pepper

When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? Silence, but I have been known to put my ipod on to drown out the background noise of the television.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? Kathy Temean has a Free Fall Friday and First Page Picture prompt on her blog. The August illustration was so beautiful that even though I didn't make it to the final four to be critiqued by an editor, the winning pages, and the illustration, inspired me to keep going. So I did. Now, I have another ms to work on.

What's your most valuable writing tip? Write down your ideas whenever and wherever possible. Great ideas don't always come back.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Letters From Camp: Goodbye Summer...

Hello school!
Oh wait, I think I said that a little too quickly. Let me back up....

Dear Mom and Dad,

Summer's almost over and believe it or not this will be my last Letter From Camp. The kids are ready for school; everyone has tried on their new clothes, filled their backpacks with fresh notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, rulers, a protractor, and all sorts of other items.

The timing works out well because I'm participating in GUTGAA (Gearing Up To Get An Agent) for the next 6 weeks, courtesy of the fabulous Deanna Barnhart. I definitely need that school time to write, edit, revise, write some more and hop around the blogosphere.

My final "summer" writing project is courtesy of David Powers King who tagged me last week in the Be Inspired Meme. Yes, I had to look up the definition of a meme and despite my very fond memories of whipping out the dictionary at dinner to discuss the proper spelling, or definition, of a word I've moved on to the Kindle version of a dictionary which happens to be conveniently located on my phone. Anyway, this meme (n: and idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture) involves using a WIP (Work In Progress) and answering some questions. The piece I'm going to use I haven't even had a chance to tell you about yet, so much of this will be as new to you as it is to me, and that's because I've just started two new WIPs and I'm winging it, as I usually do.

Anyway, so I'm "it" and here goes:

What is the name of your book? FIRE PAINTERS

Where did the idea for your book come from? Child #3 who called the Power Rangers Fire Painters.

In what genre would you classify your book? It will be a children's chapter book. In my mind it started as a picture book, simple and straightforward, but once I started writing it, it was clear that this would be a bit more involved.

If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie version, who would they be? I really have no idea. Haven't gotten there yet.

Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book: When a rainy-day wish made by sisters sitting in front of an enchanted fire turns the world gray, it takes the magic of the Fire Painters to return color to the world.

How long did it take you to write your book? Not done yet, but the first hour was pretty good! I'm hoping the rest flows pretty easily.

What other books within your genre would you compare it to? I have to be honest, I was focused on picture books for so long (based on my first three manuscripts) that I really have no idea.

Which authors inspired you to write this book? I've read some great books with the kids and I love the way Lenore Look and Gennifer Choldenko tell their stories. It made it fun to read with the kids. You know I'm a Stephen King freak, so he's my role model for character development and inspires me to write the best I can.

Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book: Well, I love a rainy day as much as the next person and every once in a while even a string of them would be great, and possibly very productive. But, to have no color in the world? What would it be like? How would people adjust? Would colors become legends and the subject of folklore and bedtime stories? While I don't have all of these answers yet, I can tell you I'm looking forward to creating them.

Until next summer.....