7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #79: Featuring Jeff Miracola

h1 September 7th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Welcome to our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week—whether book-related or not—that happened to you.

As you know, we feature students of Illustration or brand-spankin’-new illustrators the first Sunday of every month.
Today’s featured illustrator, Jeff Miracola, isn’t exactly new to illustration—he’s been working as a freelance illustrator since 1993 for companies such as Wizards of the Coast, Inc., Hasbro, Inc., Upper Deck Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Inc., ImagineFX Magazine, Advanced Photoshop Magazine, and many more—but he is new to children’s books, so we’re featuring him today. Welcome, Jeff!

These illustrations today are from Jeff’s upcoming thirty-six page picture book, Welcome to Monster Isle, written by Oliver Chin and to be published by Immendium this month. The book is about a family’s vacation gone haywire when a perfect storm tosses their skipper’s tiny boat off course. Seven castaways are stranded on an uncharted desert island. A boy named Finnegan, his sister, his parents and his dog, Howl, venture into the wild and encounter a zootopia of mythical creatures with names like the Yowie and Ogopogo. Super-keen. Or, as Jeff puts it:

…The story is basically like Gilligan’s Island in that a family goes out for a boat ride, gets caught in a storm and is washed up on an island full of monsters… monsters like a Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Abominable Snowman, etc. It was tons of fun to create and my kids say it’s the “best book ever!” And I didn’t have to pay them too much to say that.

Jeff’s freelance career led him to work on the world-famous trading-card game, Magic: the Gathering, and other successful card games, but now he’s focusing on other ventures, including children’s books. Here’s an illustration from a book on which Jeff is working that he hopes to publish:

Many thanks to Jeff for stopping by. Don’t miss his portfolio over at his site! We wish him the best and hope he stays in touch.

So, Eisha, what are your kicks this week?

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* Ooh, I’m digging the art this week. That last one reminds me of a scene from the animated movie version of The Last Unicorn.

The Carl A. Kroch Library. Isn’t it pretty? I get to work there!2* I’ve been sitting on this kick for the past two weeks, but I wanted to wait until it was totally official before I said anything: after over a year of searching, sending out resumes, interviewing… I HAVE A LIBRARY JOB!!! Starting Wednesday, I’m going to be a Collections Assistant in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections of Kroch (pronounced “crock”) Library at Cornell. It is an awesome job, where I get to do a little of everything: public services, reference, archival processing, and event planning. Eventually I may get to put together special displays. And the collections… you guys, they have an E.B. White collection. They have a draft of Charlotte’s Web. I’m serious! It’s like holy ground! How did I get so lucky?

3* Last holiday weekend, as I mentioned, I went to Boston (well, technically, Somerville) to hang out with a couple of my friends from when I lived there. I hadn’t seen any of them in over a year, and it was great to catch up.

4* I’ve been reading a wide array of fabulous poetry this week.

5* Jules and I are starting up a couple of interviews and co-reviews that I’m excited about.

6* For once, I actually got a decent credit card offer with a really good fixed APR, and I’m going to use it to transfer balances from a couple of high-APR cards so I can pay them down faster.

7* I got a long-overdue haircut yesterday, to get ready for MY NEW JOB.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

CONGRATULATIONS to Eisha! That’s the best kick of all…

1). My four-year-old started her Parents’ Day Out, she loves it, and I didn’t weep when I dropped her off.

2). This is the last time I’ll proclaim my love for author Haven Kimmel’s blog, ’cause I’m sure I’m growing tedious, but I’m ADDICTED. All her posts are good, but any post in which she concludes with “your turn”—such as this one about phobias and this one about dreaded desert-island decisions—are terrifically fun to read. I keep going back to read the comments from her smart and endlessly interesting fans—not to mention Haven herself graciously responds to just about everybody—and I’m going to meet up soon, I hope, with two fellow fans from Nashville.

3). I travelled eighty-feet down the water slides pictured here. That’s a forty-foot drop. Even higher would have been better. It was ROCKIN’, y’all.

4). I got a wicked bad sun burn that day. So did my husband. It’s been painful just to walk around all week. But the kick is that the burns are finally going away.

5). I heard “Funky Cold Medina” in the car the other day and turned it up really loud. It was awesome.

On that profound note, I’m off. Yes, with only five kicks, ’cause—BEST KICK OF ALL—it’s my husband’s birthday and I have a cake to bake with the girls and some partying down to do.

What are your kicks this week?

24 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #79: Featuring Jeff Miracola”

  1. Happy Sunday!

    It’s nice to be back after 2 weeks of missing kicks.

    Huge Congratulations, Eisha, on the library job!! It sounds so so awesome and perfect for you — all your ups and downs and waiting for just the right position really paid off in the end. *Swooning on the E.B. White thing*

    Happy Birthday to your husband, Jules. Send me some of that cake! And kudos to you for “surviving” your daughter’s first PDO drop-off. And that water slide is something else!

    My kicks:

    1. Jeff’s artwork — love the first illo, especially. The Monster Isle book looks very exciting!

    2. Had a lovely time at our nephew’s wedding seeing my DH’s family and meeting some new people.

    3. Reading some fabulous blogs and just reveling in the awesomeness of the human mind: Rebecca Ramsey, Deborah Wiles, and yes, Haven Kimmel! I’m totally addicted to Haven’s blog, especially, thanks to you Imps.

    4. We found a big, beautiful land tortoise in our back yard! He had an orange head and feet, and promised not to eat us.

    5. Finally reading Tracie Vaughn Zimmer’s Reaching for Sun and loving every word.

    6. Went to see Suzanne Vega at our favorite music venue, the Birchmere. It had been a long time between music treats, and now we want to attend more shows.

    7. Celebrating our 30th anniversary at a fabulous restaurant. I’m still thinking about the Alsatian plum tart.

    Have a great week everyone — but especially Eisha: good luck on your first week at the new job!!

  2. Eisha! I went and browsed just a teensy part of that collection, and W-O-W. That’s the kind of job they’d have to pay me to leave each day. The E.B. White collection would, of course, be awesome, but I also saw the TV Tie-In Novel Collection. (Showdown at the PTA Corral: The Brady Bunch, any one?) Congratulations, and you’d better be able to blog about your finds!!

    Jules, not to be tacky, but I’m wondering how between the sunburn and that slide how you have any skin left at all. What kind of cake are you and the girls making? I always make carrot cake for my hubby, with massive amounts of cream cheese frosting.

    My kicks are:

    —the sky last night. After the tropical storm blew through, I took a walk, and truly, I was gawking like I’d never seen clouds or light before. The black asphalt roads were even gorgeous, turning purple, and the half wedge of the moon, and the smoky blue clouds at the horizon….Well, it made me feel lucky to be living.

    —finished Season One of Slings and Arrows. There’s this hilariously pompous director who gets in a duel and his fit about his “wounds” afterwards is so funny I was choking.

    —my daughter got her kitten and sent pictures. I think she’s naming it Astrid.

    —Today, I get to lead the book club discussion of This is Just to Say. And Elaine Magliaro, the deepest, kindest well of poetry knowledge, posted a whole slew of links in support of the book.

    —someone left a comment way back on a poem I’d posted for PF. It made me realize that my words are out there, doing their alchemy even when I’m not watching over them any more. It’s humbling.

  3. What GORGEOUS artwork. Man. I love a monster with good pearly white teeth. And Nessie is looking cute as well. How cool.

    My first major kick is hearing from my sister that school doesn’t suck this year. She’s been being bullied progressively for the past three years, and has shown symptoms of PTSD — and she finally told the truth about what was happening, so the adults in her life could intervene. So far, so good. Fingers crossed, candles lit, prayers ascending.

    Also, finally finding a chiropractor who adjusted my entire spine is a big kick — it sounded like a handful of fireworks right in my ear, but BOY did it feel like “Ahh.”

    D. is done this week with his last major philosophy paper — and we’re taking off for a few days to do a few more “Highlands and Islands” tours.

    And after two weeks of deleting half my novel on a daily basis — and doing a lot of flopping around and moaning — it’s finally found its heart again, just when I’d just about lost mine. WHEW.

  4. Quick, will return to linger over the art work.
    Congrats, Eisha, yay! Jule,so glad Parents’ Day Out went well, my duaghters survived (albeit they BOTH were told they have strong willed girls)
    I am in a hurry because we are heading to Seattle to see the Mariners-Yankees game. Scored tickets on Friday.
    Other kicks, rediscovering Wnedell Berry, geese in the air, almost 50 attending the conference and the list is updated at 2 oof 3 blogs, and the first week of school.
    Have a great week.

  5. Fantastic illustrations. Campy fun with great monsters!

    Eisha: Congrats on a great job. That’s fantastic. And, Jules, your girls are growing up. So cute.

    Have a great day, everyone! Happy birthday to the husband.

  6. Congrats on the new job, Eisha!
    Have fun with the hubby’s birthday, Jules!

    Great artwork – will have to look for the book!!

  7. I like Jeff’s use of bright colors. The Loch Ness would be almost cuddly if he were only smiling!

    eisha: CONGRATULATIONS! That sounds like a very cool job. What a neat title. Rock the new ‘do.

    Jules: Ouch the sunburn. Glad that she is well-adjusted (and you too!) Happy birthday to your husband!

    Jama: Hello to the land tortoise. Ask him if he teaches. (We called him Tortoise because he taught us! Ah, Wonderland…) Reaching for Sun is great.

    Sara: Be safe. Hello and meow to Astrid.

    TadMack: Good vibes for your sis. Write on!

    My kicks for the past week, in chronological order:
    1) New month
    2) New school year for students
    3) Rehearsals
    4) Getting published at SparkNotes/SparkLife
    5) Opening night on Friday!
    6) My birthday yesterday
    7) In a few hours, matinee

  8. Eisha, that sounds like a FABULOUS job. I’m not even a librarian but I wish I had that job myself. (As soon as I saw the words “library” and “Cornell” I wondered if they might have an EB White collection. Didn’t he go to Cornell himself?) Congratulations!

    I went to the Kroch’s Rare & Manuscripts collection page. Ended up browsing the digital images collection specifically. I’d never heard of John Flaxman before but his prints (e.g. his Dante and Beatrice) are wonderful. Turns out he worked in the 17th-18th centuries, but you’d never believe it from the work represented at the Kroch site; it almost looks Deco-ish.

    Some kicks:

    1. Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” coming on the radio just as I was thinking about it.

    2. A newspaper’s review of a local theater company’s “The Fantastiks,” reminding me how much I’d liked that original-cast album (which I’d only owned on vinyl) and encouraging me to download it from Amazon.

    3. Beating a thorny database problem at work.

    4. Yes, Haven Kimmel’s blog. She’s been in fine, fine form there — which is saying something — for the last couple weeks. Her post for her daughter’s birthday just blew me away.

  9. Jama, happy anniversary again! Hope you all are still celebrating. And I lurv Suzanne Vega’s music, too. In high school, my brother was in love with her and sent her a letter. And she sent a postcard back. And he was all, swoon.

    Sara, Astrid is a superb name! And I hope you all have too much fun at the book club today. That’s awfully generous of Elaine to do that for you all, but I’m not surprised, ’cause Elaine Magliaro is about as good as it gets.

    Oh and yes, how stupid were we to slather our daughters with sunblock but not ourselves? Very, as in DUH. We did put lotion on, to our credit, but not ’til too late and not enough. That shows you how often we go out and do stuff like that. And, no, I didn’t lose any more skin on that slide (MY GOD, YOU SHOULD SEE MY HUSBAND’S BACK RIGHT NOW, speaking of peeling and burnt skin…but then that’s gross, so sorry), but one of the slides did hurt more than it was fun. But the other one was kickin’ and it was still worth it.

    TadMack, it breaks my heart to read that your sister was bullied. MEAN PEOPLE SUCK, to quote a profound early ’90s bumper sticker. I’m very glad she got some help.

    Also: Have fun with your travels, congrats on getting back on track with your writing, and I’m glad your back will be feeling good as you span the Highlands and Islands.

    Jone, glad your daughters survived the Parents’ Day Out, too. Do you mean that the teachers told them their children were strong-willed? That’s an excellent quality to have. Do you know what I got? I got: Piper is very quiet. Now, honestly, you know it’s true…all parents want to hear from the teacher how brilliant and hysterical their children are. And my bright, articulate four-year-old—when I go to pick her up—is so absorbed in what she’s doing (usually some kind of art) that she barely glances at me and then grunts at me. And then the teacher says she’s very quiet. Cracks me up. She should hear her at home. (But I prefer “quiet” over “braggart,” which is my worst fear. I don’t want braggart children.)

    Anyway, hope you enjoy the game today, Jone.

    Kelly, I hope no kicks doesn’t = a bad week. Hope teaching is going well.

    Hi, Kelly F.!

    Little Willow, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY! And break a leg Friday night (and today, for that matter)! And happy being-published, too!

    JES, I KNOW! Haven’s post about her daughter….what a gift to her daughter, huh?…I once worked on The Fantastiks in college, and I like the music, too.

    Later, skaters…

  10. First, something I should have said in my kicks: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BLAINE!

    jama, welcome back! Happy Anniversary! And I’m so jealous you saw Suzanne Vega – she was the soundtrack to a lot of my favorite high school memories.

    Sara, that sky description is lovely. I do love a good storm, and its after-effects. And you better believe I’ll blog about what I find at work.

    TadMack, I’m so mad about what has been happening to your sister that I could spit nails. Thank goodness she was brave enough to talk to someone about it, and get help. I hope it continues to get better for her.

    Jone, glad your granddaughters and daughters are surviving daycare, and I’m very glad that the conference is shaping up to be so awesome. Have fun at the game!

    Kelly H. and Kelly F., howdy and thanks for the congrats. I hope you’re both having excellent weekends.

    Little Willow, BREAK A LEG, as always. And congrats on getting published! And most of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    Aw, JES, The Fantastiks is one of the few musicals I honestly like. Love, even. Glad you’re enjoying Haven’s blog too. And thanks for pointing out yet more cool stuff I’m going to have access to at work.

  11. Eisha, Happy JOB!!! You caught yerself a good’n, that’s for sure.

    Oh, sigh. I can’t say much except that my first born turns ten today. This is a kick and a lurch all at once. I could barely get through Haven Kimmel’s post on her own daughter’s birthday yesterday. My tall one is this supremely awesome person — has been since she was born, a thoughtful toddler, if you can imagine — and I am at once so celebratory and so buried in poignancy that I can barely stand it. A decade of being a mama and of having her in my life. There may be six other good things today, but they’re hardly worth mentioning…

  12. I am checking in really fast b/c I’m at a training thing in Seattle (all my kicks would boil down to being at this training thing in Seattle anyway), but I did want to say

  13. I am checking in really fast b/c I’m at a training thing in Seattle (all my kicks would boil down to being at this training thing in Seattle anyway), but I did want to say WOOOOOO EISHA ON GETTING THAT JOB!!! I am not one of those librarians who should be entrusted with the daily care of rare materials, but they are SO COOL. I can’t wait to hear about what you get to see and work with.

    And happy birthday Little Willow!

    And Jules, I hope your partying/cake consumption is going well.

  14. Huzzah, huzzah, Eisha! I’m happy for your new job. And Jules, even though you’re gnashing your teeth that Sam Phillips hasn’t yet announced her Nashville gig, you’ll be happy to know that I just now reserved tickets for Bede and me to see her in Seattle at the Triple Door. I wish you were coming with me. Hey, I wish friends in general were coming… it always strikes me as funny that I rarely run into other people I know at concerts and ballets. I know, Seattle is a growing city, but still…

    My kicks:
    1) I just got back from a really good birthday party gig. I knew as soon as the hostess told the kids to sit “criss cross applesauce” that this was a place where the parents Got It, and the children were familiar with storytime protocol. We had a good time, and 40 minutes flew by.

    2) My new GPS unit got me there, complete with recalculations as I missed the turn-off. I always miss the turn-off! This time, there was no sweat. I look at the map before I go, of course, but I can’t exactly read a map when I’m driving. Inge (yes, I named my GPS unit) got me there without the anxiety that usually accompanies driving to a new place. I really should have gotten one of these years ago.

    3) I get to meet Adrienne tomorrow! As Adrienne would say, “WOOT!”

    4) Finally, Elizabeth Mitchell is coming to Seattle, and finally, we get to see her in concert. Jules, just so you now, my daughter is disappointed that she doesn’t get to go to either Sam Phillips’ concert or Robert Plant’s/Allison Krauss’ concert.

    5) I found what looks like a nifty new young-readers biography series called Who Was…?” I bought Who Were the Beatles?m by Geoff Edgars.

    6) After a wet, cold spring, and a summer that was either quite cold or quite hot, the autumn days are pleasantly sunny with a hint of nippiness. The sunflowers are in full bloom, too.

    7) The bathroom renovation is nearing the home stretch. We now get to shower upstairs again, and the showerhead is installed high enough so that my 6’4″ husband doesn’t have to crouch under it. We’ve had to connect three shower-curtain rings per shower curtain hole in order to get the curtain to be long enough.

  15. Eisha, CONGRATULATIONS on getting a library job. That’s excellent. I’m really happy for you. Jules, the waterslide looks way cool. And TadMack, I’m really glad about your sister. It must have been really tough worrying about her from so far away. Happy Birthday Little Willow!! My kicks:

    1. I got 8 book reviews done this weekend (not all posted yet), and this makes me CAUGHT UP on all of the recently read books that I intend to review. (OK, I admit to be obsessive)
    2. The Red Sox have closed to within 1.5 games of the lead in the AL East, and start a home series against the top team tomorrow (I know, this is meaningless to most of you, but it’s a kick for me).
    3. I bought a bunch of books from Amazon this week, despite the big pile of books on my review shelf, because I had some that I just wanted to read. From this package so far, I’m really enjoying Gone by Michael Grant, and finding it hard to put down.
    4. Mheir and I went to Napa and Sonoma last weekend with friends, and tasted a lot of very nice wine. Plus it’s so beautiful there – I don’t know why we don’t go more often.
    5. I got short-listed for Best KidLit Blog at Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Which is of course ridiculous, since there are so many amazing KidLit blogs (not least 7-Imp). But I have to admit that it was nice that people nominated me. And it was great to see various Kidlitosphere friends on the different short lists. Becky Laney is there at least 3 times…
    6. I’ve been watching the attendee list for the KidLit Conference grow. It’s not too late, people…
    7. I made chocolate cream pie this week. Just because.

    Happy Sunday to all!

  16. Thanks, E. I’ll pass that on to Blaine. I forgot to answer Sara’s question about the cake: The girls and I made him a chocolate cake w/chocolate icing, as requested. He taught me how to make the icing myself, which is what he always like to do. Yum.

    Liz, aw man, happy birthday to your daughter. Does it sound insincere when I say I know how you feel? I mean, I don’t, ’cause my oldest is not anywhere near ten. But I know that happy-yet-lurchy feeling as each birthday comes. Your daughter sounds like a beautiful human being, but I’m not surprised, since she came from you.

    Adrienne, thanks for stopping in, I’m so jealous you and Alkelda get to hook up tomorrow, and good luck in Seattle. This is the one you’re teaching, right?

    Alkelda, OHHHHHHHHHHH MOAN GROAN I’M FLAILING MY ARMS ABOUT HERE AND SCREAMING AND BEING DRAMATIC that you get to see Sam live with her FULL band!! I’m happy, don’t get me wrong; she gives some pretty unforgettable shows, but I WANT TO GO WITH YOU. And I don’t know what I have to do, even if it involves travel (though, I’m sorry, I can’t travel to Seattle now), but I HAVE to hear “My Career in Chemistry” live and see Jay Bellerose on drums on that one. If. I. die. trying.

    Really, I’m so very glad you got tickets, and of course I’ll be waiting to hear all about it.

    And Elizabeth Mitchell, too? Awesome.

    I love that you named your GPS unit. I’ve only named a few cars in my life and don’t make it a habit for whatever reason, but naming the thing in your car that tells you where you are seems perfectly logical to me. She holds so much power, the LEAST one can do is give her an endearing name and chat with her.

    And, speaking of The Beatles, Alkelda…as mentioned last week, my daughters are Beatles-in-Training, and the youngest keeps asking for me to put their CDs in. Score.

    Happy almost-bathroom-completely-renovated and happy Fall!

  17. Hi to Jen, too. I just saved your comment from spam, or I might have already seen it.

    Lots of good wine, Jen….mmmm. Excellent. And congrats on being nominated for the Best Kidlit Blog Award! Well-deserved, indeed.

    And that reminds me that I completely forgot to thank in my kicks Cheryl Rainfield for nominating us for the Brilliante Weblog Premio Award. THANKS again, Cheryl! I really meant for that to be a kick. D’oh!

    Enjoy reading your non-review-copy books, Jen, and congrats on getting caught up on reviews. It’s so good to have you visiting — we’ve missed your kicks.

  18. Liz, Happy Birthday to your daughter – wow, this is a popular birthday week, huh?

    adrienne, hope you’re kicking ass and taking names in Seattle. Say hey to Alkelda for me.

    Alkelda, I want a GPS unit so bad. My husband has one in his new phone, and I am so jealous! He already has a sense of direction, he totally doesn’t need GPS as bad as I do. And say hey to adrienne for me.

    Jen, oooh, new books that you bought yourself – what heaven. Congrats on the nomination – count me among your fans who think you deserve it!

  19. Only have time for quick flyby kicks this week – but CONGRATULATIONS EISHA!!!!! Having a job you are excited about is such an awesome and joyuos thing!

    And jules, I am very jealous of your experience on that waterslide – it looks like loads of fun!

    Happy late birthday and happy opening Little Willow!

    My kick this week is getting to stop in and read everyone else’s!
    Have a great week!

  20. Thanks, J&E! It’s great to be back. And I am definitely enjoying my new books.

  21. Jules, I’ve been learning here, which isn’t always as fun as teaching, but the people here have been treating us really well, and the material is fascinating (research on early childhood development). I still have a few months before I have to teach again.

  22. Happy birthday to all the birthday folks this past week, including LIttle Willow and Blaine (whom I feel I know because his name is in the blog url), and happy new job, Eisha! How exciting! Hmm, maybe I can figure out a reason to do research there? (note to self: write about Charlotte’s Web…)

    Kicks last week include our 21st wedding anniversary, surviving the first week of middle school (my son!), finishing my review of Paper Towns (finally), a couple of fun gatherings, one with lots of singing, and Hanna not really making a mess of things here.

  23. Hey, rm! Thanks for flying by.

    Libby, ooh, how cool would it be if you could think of a reason to come to Cornell and use the RMC? In the meantime, Happy Anniversary!

  24. […] and Jules over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast did a really nice feature on my art from “Welcome to Monster Isle.” Head on over there […]

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