Meet The Pitch Week XXII Finalists

Meet The Pitch Week XXII Finalists

Kim Bartosch, Ask the Girl

Murdered in 1925, Katy Watkins, an 18-year-old debutant, awakens near a worn-down red cabin. She doesn’t know how she got there. She heads home and discovers two strangely dressed girls in her bedroom window. When her memory does return, a creature hunts her—this creature is her murderer. Confusion sets in and she walks continuously in the woods trying desperately to get home, stuck in a loop for ninety years until she meets Lila and Rose.

Sixteen-year-old, bipolar Lila has disappointed her family over and over. It was hard for Lila to cope after her father’s suicide, which soon forced Lila, her mom, and her 15-year-old sister, Rose, to live with their aunt and uncle. Complaints of boredom fade when they discover a ghost tied to an old murder mystery, and Rose begins to film a documentary at a nearby cabin.

Kim Bartosch has contributed online to various sites, writing advice articles about interior design, children’s literature, weddings, travel, and fashion. Kim is an active member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators and has participated as well as led many functions with the organization.

Kim is a novice ghost hunter! She and her youngest sister love to visit haunted homes, hotels, and cemeteries, and go on ghost walks when traveling. While Kim is still waiting to see her first ghost, her sister believes she saw one.

Kim’s other favorite pastimes are traveling, spending time with her family outdoors on hikes, and teaching children online in China and Europe English as a second language.

Chauncey Fitzsimmons, Living While Female

Was that assault?

Was that assault with a weapon?

Was that sexual assault?

Even now many years later, Chauncey Fitzsimmons is still not sure.

While she was doing one of the most sacred of female acts, she was violated by a doctor she had trusted to help her. Obstetric violence still happens today.

This memoir is a story of rage and resolution—Chauncey’s journey from victim to survivor. She has moved beyond just surviving to ultimately thriving.

She was broken open, literally and figuratively. She has undergone surgery and therapy. She has grown spiritually and she has forgiven. She is also living in recovery (one day at a time) from the use of food to ease her emotional hunger.

This has given rise to a look at her whole female life, seeing the interconnections in the tapestry lived so far.

Chauncey is a retired physiotherapist living in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She loved her work from the moment she graduated until she retired. She is the mother of two wonderful children and a grandmother of five.

Chauncey has traveled to many interesting places in her lifetime, including at the age of 61 climbing Kilimanjaro with her daughter, also a physiotherapist. Chauncey told their guide that the last day of climbing before summiting was a lot like labor. The tenaciousness that got her to the top of the mountain is the same quality that led her from the birth of her baby to the birth of her book, and the birth of herself!

Samantha R. Howlett, Dog Tails (Tales) and Shenanigans

Samantha R. Howlett shares tales of chaos and humor that ensue while working with canine companions and other critters in the world of territorial showdowns, runaways, crazy yet caring owners, slobbery kisses, and loyal friendships. For Samantha and her furry companions, each day becomes a new adventure!

Dealing with timid dogs and off-the-wall pups helped her learn more patience. Being dragged down or nipped taught her how to be on the alert. Importantly, she learned to be able to laugh off most situations that would normally make someone go insane.

Samantha graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a B.S. in Food Service Management. After struggling in the industry, Samantha decided to head back to her first interest, by training and working at a veterinary hospital, and then realized that her talents fell more into the field of pet care, instead of medicine. Four years of working for dog-walking/pet sitting companies made her ready to start her own pet care business, called Home-2-Home Pet Care Services, which includes dog walking, boarding and pet sitting, and domesticated pet visits.

She lives in New Jersey with her grandmother and mother, who managed to stay sane all these years with family members, including Samantha, bringing home all sorts of pets. They too adore the crazy critters that were taken in through the years or only come to stay for a night or two (sometimes weeks).

Samantha loves traveling and photography, and still enjoys cooking on her own time, even for her furry tenants.

Franklin E. Lamca, The Devil Hound: In Search of Family

In this historical novel, Father Thomas is a man of unreconcilable evil. A man devoid of faith but forced into the priesthood by his family, Thomas’s consequent resentment permeates like a sticky mire that entraps and destroys his victims. Thomas is like a Devil Hound who roams the earth in search of lost souls to devour.

Father Thomas rapes and impregnates a teenage girl and bludgeons his superior, leaving him for dead. He blames the gypsy Celje brothers for the attack, and the brothers receive a sentence of hanging, but they escape. They sail for the North American colonies to search for their parents, who were sold years earlier into slavery.

During the voyage, the lives of the Celje brothers become permanently intertwined with new friends who share a common thread of seeking justice and equality.

The Americas, poised at the beginning of the French and Indian War, offers the opportunity—albeit with danger—for each passenger to leave their problems in Europe and to fulfill their dream of establishing a new life.

Intrigued by the diversity of cultures, first during his thirteen-month assignment by the U.S. Air Force in Korea, and then later in life as a volunteer with the International Mission Board in Europe and in South America, Franklin E. Lamca discovered a seed of interest had been planted that has found fertile ground in his pen. Writing, producing, recording, and performing Marionette plays have given him the experience and confidence to accomplish his childhood dream of becoming an author.

Rachel A. Schechter, Rabbi Oleksandr

Intimate. Passionate. Violent. Raw. This contemporary coming-of-age tale, set against the backdrop of the Black Sea, chronicles the adventures of three best friends—from the tenders of childhood through the throes of adolescence to the trials of young adulthood.

Told in a series of terse dialogues, spanning 15 years, Rabbi Oleksandr invites, ignites, and when tragedy strikes, illumines the dark with hope and light. Rabbi Oleksandr ben Eliezer is the revered mystic who, against all odds, renews our faith in G-d and the better part of human nature. The gentle, unassuming soul who kindles and reveals sparks of the divine. How best to live. How to survive. Whatever your faith. Whatever your plight. Even your darkest bleakest night.

Yurii, the gambler. Sasha, the painter. Ansonia, the ballerina. For our trio, friendship is the answer—a friendship born strong on the shores of Odessa, Pearl of The Black Sea—the esprit de corps that buoys, sustains, and rescues them from the agony, the angst, the perils of life.

Former New Jersey English Professor (Ramapo College, William Paterson Univ.) and Scholastic Editor (N.J. Dept. of Ed., Troll Associates), Rachel A. Schechter lives in Champaign-Urbana, home to the Univ. of Illinois, where she is a Chess Instructor, Downstate V.P. of the Illinois Chess Association, a U.S. Chess Delegate, and official translator of FIDE’s Dr. Uvencio Blanco’s instruction manual, The Chess Bluebook. Her interests include travel, golf, hiking, swimming, and classical piano. “Chess Education for the intellect; Jewish Mysticism for the soul.” Rabbi Oleksandr is her first novel.