Book Blog Tour

I was tagged by my friend Jennifer Marsh Morris to participate in a blog tour. I've known Jennifer several years now (hell we were even roomies at a conference) and she's ALWAYS busy! She has two books out soon: the first is called The Ice Cream Shop. It's being released by Scholastic next summer (2014) A second book called The Sea Monster is scheduled for the fall. Here are the critters who inspired the stories  ...

... read more about Jenn's books here

 Here are the questions that I am supposed to answer...

1) What is the working title of your next book?
The title is 'One Word Pearl' written by Nicole Groeneweg.

2) Where did the book idea come from for the book?
Nicole is the winner of The National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation Annual National Children’s Book of the Year Award Contest - the winning book is published by Charlesbridge Publishing. It's a very cute story about  a little girl who loves to collect words!

3) What genre does your book fall into?
 It's a picture book.

 4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm ... I think it would be an animated story. I am thinking Emma Watson for Pearl.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Pearl loves to collect words and uses them whenever she can - until one day the words go crazy and chaos ensues!

6) Who is publishing your book?
Mackinac Island Press, an imprint of Charlesbridge.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
In this case the manuscript was already written, so my job was to create a rough layout of the book which took me about 2 weeks.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think Pearl would relate to Madeline, Fancy Nancy, Lady Bug Girl.

9) Who or what inspired you to write and/or illustrate this book?
Pearl reminded me of ME in a way, I was always cutting out words and pictures and making up stories when I was young, so it wasn't hard to relate. The story also allowed me to work in a more abstract way with some of the images and with collage, the language used is a lot of fun and inspiring!

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

Definitely the use of words. This is a great book for teachers to use with young children, to get them thinking about words and how they can be used in with the core curriculum. I hope the reader will enjoy the fun pictures too!

Pearl is available on pre-order

Here is the next link on this blog tour... Russ Cox at Smiling Otis Studio! /hazelmitchell/2013/04/book-blog-tour.html


Midsummer already??

Where the heck is 2012 going? Already midsummer is about on us. Soon in Maine we'll be chopping wood and thinking of snow. OK, maybe not for a couple of months yet ...

I've been deep into finishing up final spreads for my next book with Kane Miller (spring 2013). I can't tell you what it's about yet, so you will just have to wait! As will I. (To tell you that is, I already know what it's about!) Due date is end of June and I'm going to ALA, Anaheim on June 22 for a couple of days, so right now I am madly colouring.

Haven't even had breath for the warm up sketches ... I do miss them, but the schedule is heavy.To keep myself on track I have a daily schedule with the spreads listed ... that way I can keep track and if I get ahead a little, it feels good! Might even get Saturday off.

Had to have a new head shot for book signing at ALA (more on that in another post!) and so I girded up my loins, got the SLR and with 'im indoors to click the shutter and spent an hour in the garden taking hundreds of horrible shots until I eventually got one that was decent. The pansies look nice. I totally hate having publicity photos done! Argh!

I've been pretty quiet lately, no long posts. I got pretty sick in April with shingles. Gah! I hope I never get it again. I thought I had a pulled shoulder, but no, within a few days the dreaded rash appeared. My right arm was out of action for a couple of weeks. It made me realize how enormous it would be if I couldn't use it again! When you are sick you think you'll never feel better, right? Boy, was I a bear. Still had work to do and managed to get to a couple of booked events on meds, but I NEVER want to have shingles AGAIN. To those of you who think it's just an itchy rash ... oh buddy.

Thankful to be feeling much better and to be able to meet this book deadline. 'In between' I also did black and white illo's for a chapter book for little ones, that I can't tell you about just yet .. but hopefully next month. So many things I can't say!

I also can't say anything about a new book project coming my way this month. Makes you wonder why I am writing this blog post at all! Here is one of the great things I have learned more about since beginning my journey in children's publishing - PATIENCE.

Last week I escaped from the studio for the day and made it down to Boston to Fablevision's art show and the meet and greet that is 'Creative Juices'. From my northerly position here in Maine it's about a 2 hour drive to the train station in Portland, then the DownEaster to Boston 2.5hrs - but a lovely ride and scenery! (Reminder to self, stay in Boston another time ... getting home at 4am was too much. My age is showing). Met up with illustrator Katia Wish for dinner (vodka pizza, lemincello, tiramsu, cappuchino) and then a roam around the North End, then to Fablevision studios for an evening of  kahoots and gossip.

In Fablevision Studio

Fablevision are a great company, headed up by the Reynold's brothers Peter and Paul. (Peter is a many times over best selling children's author and illustrator.) Their multimedia and learning company has a fantastic young team of artists, techies, geeks and goodness knows who else. The offices are fabby ... vibrant, colourful, inspirational. The energy exudes from the walls. Lots of fun things to do ... a greenwall camera, draw a monster, drink weird drinks and chat ofcourse. And everywhere beautiful art and creations created by the Fablevision team ... showing their skills outside of their usual work. So I leave you with a few images from my trip ...

 On the train

 Beautiful Balloon Dress!

With Jennifer Marsh Morris

Zesty fun with Paul Reynolds

Rennee Kurilla's beautiful felt work

With Susannah Richards

The view from the studio!

 With Renne Kurilla, John Lechner, Katia Wish, Me, Gaia Cornwall, Dan Moynihan



New England SCBWI Conference 2012 - thanks for the votes!

What a great conference! SCBWI New England really pulled it out of the bag this time.

3 great days at Springfield, MA. Over 500 attended and the faculty line up was amazing! Highlights included Harry Bliss, Dan Yaccarino, Harold Underdown, Kate Messner, Jane Yolen, Cynthia Lord, Brian Lies, Heidi Stemple, Jo Knowles ... on and on ... you can check out just what the line up was at

If you are hoping to write or illustrate for children - you can't do better than attend an SCBWI conference and New England is one of the best. In the three years I have been a member it's given me invaluable information, education, contacts and networking opportunities. And best of all - friends who relate to my goals and frustrations. So I say thank you to the organizers and volunteers!

I travelled with Russ Cox (friend and fellow illustrator) from Maine on Friday and it was straight into the deep end with a great 'meet and greet' with top-hole artists and writers at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst. (My first visit and a beautiful venue.)

Before we knew it Sunday rolled around ... and it was time to say goodbye. Russ and I returned to Maine in triumph ... Russ swept the board with two first prizes and the emerging artist award read his take ont he conference and his success here ... and not to be left out I won second prize in the People's Choice category!! Yippee for 'Boy and World '.


Right now my drawing board is overflowing with projects so I had better get my *** in gear.

I'll leave you with a few photos from the weekend and hope to meet you at a conference soon!

 Back in the studio today.

 With a great group of illustrators.
 Signing Casey Girard's Sketchbook Project

 At the Eric Carle Museum

With Harold Underdown and Jennifer Marsh Morris