I joke that when I go to another country where English is NOT the first language that I end up playing Pictionary to get my meaning across. I  find I'm tempted to try the same thing here in the good 'ol USofA. For example: we bought a new (to us) car last weekend and it's registered in my name. Gah! Suddenly it's as if I start talking in tongues. 'Mitchell' I say and then 'MITCHELL'. 'And how are you spelling that?' they ask. On to the address. '4' I say. 'Huh?' 'FOUR!' (blank look) 'F-O-U-R'. (Shake of head.) I hold up 4 fingers and the bulb goes on. At least here in Maine they try to humour me. In South Carolina (where I used to live), they just walked away.

My job is all about communication ... so it's a good thing I am better at drawing and writing than speaking. (Although those of you who know me will no doubt chuckle. No smart comments please!)

The Tomie de Paolo competition this year is all about communication. The piece of text Tomie set is a passage from 'Chicken Licken' about the passing of information and rumour. In the piece all the birds are speaking at once, an interesting puzzle to portray. Well, I did me best and pressed send. Here's a sneak peek of 'Goosey Loosey'. Judging is early Jan 2012 and the winner gets all expenses to the SCBWI conference in New York. That would be nice!

Last week I visited my excellent local bookstore in Waterville, Maine, 'The Children's Bookseller' and caught up with Stephen Costanza who is promoting his latest release 'A Christmas Spider's Miracle'. Beautifully illustrations from this excellent artist. It's always fun to get out and meet fellow creators and have a good chinwag!

Back here in the studio I've been lighting the wood-fire regularly. The weather is chilly in the mornings and it's comforting to hear the snap and crackle of burning logs. Right now I'm finishing up an educational book for Reading A-Z and then it's back on to my own dummies. This isn't a great time to send out to publishers. I'll wait till after the holidays are all wrapped up (excuse pun) and then hit 'em with it.

Have been getting to grips with my ipad2. I haven't a smart phone so it's kind of a new animal to me. It's a little frustrating. Where IS everything? How do you get things, change things, add things? And delete things!! I ended up googling stuff online to find out, and although it would seem to be intuitive, you could be poking around forever trying how to work out how to delete an app. When I did find out, though, I very much appreciated the way all the icons shivered as if in anticipation - 'Who will it be? Will she send ME to the trashcan?'  I finally sat down and fiddled with it for an hour or so last night and fathomed it out. Very happy to get my head around itunes and now have a full library of classics (FREE) to read ... soon I will also figure out how to get my portfolio on there. Sigh.

Well if you will excuse me have to communicate to 'im indoors that it is time to GET OUT OF BED. More from the world of The Wacky Brit soon.


On the bedside table:
Inkheart - Cornelia Funke
On Writing - Stephen King