The Proof is in the Pudding!

I’m sure sure some of you are familiar with that idiom — or, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” as they say in the U.K.! Generally, the saying is attributed to Miguel de Cervantes translation of Don Quixote, written in 1615, “al freir de los huevos lo vera,” (“you will see it when you try to fry the eggs”)! Only a writer would find that amusing!

Regardless of which idiom you are familiar with, the meaning is the same; the end result is the mark of whether something is a success or failure. And so, the PROOF of Phillip’s Quest, Book III: Across the Elusive Sea is done, it looks amazing. The story is exciting, and action packed. Phillip and Dreamspinner are on their way to Winterfrost with a crew of elven pirates, and I couldn’t be more pleased!

Eating the PUDDING, my friends, is up to you! This third adventure will be released in time for the holidays — prior to Thanksgiving — so I hope you will add it to your favorite child’s reading library. That’s really the only way I know whether I did a good job!

Of course, all three Phillip’s Quest books are available on your favorite on-line book seller, as are the two Ragwort Chronicles! So, there you are — chocolate or vanilla? Enjoy!

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Order Your Pre-Release Copy — Phillip’s Quest, Book III: Across the Elusive Sea!

As of September 1, 2015, a signed copy of Phillip’s Quest, Book III: Across the Elusive Sea will be  ready for you at the pre-release price of $17.50 plus $3.00 s&h. The 156 page continuing adventure of Phillip and his companions is filled with new and exquisite illustrations, recipes and characters! You will meet pirates, Nestors, Neveans and Kala — the beautiful mermaid from the kingdom of Cerulea. You will find out about the magic of Winterfrost Castle and the fate of Phallow, Phillip’s brother.

This book will not be available for sale, anywhere except here, until November, 2015! Once it is released, it will not be discounted.

Below, is an example of one of the maps and pages of this extraordinary adventure of Phillip’s Quest. You may read an excerpt from the book at the Across the Elusive Sea,” page on this site.

If you would like  to order this please leave your email address in the space available on the “Across the Elusive Sea” page. Thank you so very much!

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Roscoe Ragwort’s Favorite Snickerdoodle Cookies

That Roscoe Ragwort loves to eat! In fact, all of the gnomes in the Ragwort Chronicles and Phillip’s Quest series, love to eat! Gnomes, however are known for their “sweet-tooth” — they love anything sweet, and so, this is one of the recipes included in The Ragwort Chronicles, Along the Way: Roscoe’s Journey.

On Amazon

On Amazon

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These cookies are meant to  be chewy, so don’t overbake! Bake 10-12 minutes and they will firm up as they cool! Enjoy!

Look for more recipes in all of the Phillip’s Quest and Ragwort books! The newest Phillip’s Quest book, Book III:Across the Elusive Sea, will be out in November!

I have been remiss …

In posting any more crafts for the month of July, but I hope you have been working on your Story Box! The reason I am so remiss is that I have been working so hard on two projects myself! First, the publication of the newest book in the Phillip’s Quest series, “Across the Elusive Sea.” You have been looking at a cover for quite a while and I promise you that it will be even more fun than the first two books: “Winterfrost,” and “Above the Stars.” If you recall, “WInterfrost” introduces my friend, Phillip Tuber(a farmer gnome from the land of Twistedoak), and sends him on his journey, with his friend, Edward the Squirrel, to the land of ice and snow — Winterfrost! “Above the Stars,” tells of the many adventures Phillip and Edward have trying to get to Azur, the Blue Wizard’s castle and to the Carnelian Sea! Don’t forget about “Stinky” the Dinosaur and Chaspére, the lizard who’s a wizard! Now, they’re on a great pirate sailing ship, the La Fortuna, where they come in contact with sea monsters and sea creatures — including the mermaid, Kala! The excitement continues! My other project has been working with the Little Free Libray initiative. Have you seen one? They are popping up as fast as the ‘shrooms in Twistedoak. Write by the Rails is a large group of writers and authors from Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas City, Virginia, who has been building these libraries to install in certain locations. The first one will be installed at the New School, a school for literature and the arts, on August 8th. So, we have been busy. Check out littlefreelibrary.org and writebytherails.org to see these wonderful programs.

This is our Alice in Wonderland library! Enjoy and will catch you later for some of Roscoe’s favorite cookies!

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This WbtR Little Library will be installed at the United Methodist Church in Nokesville, VA

Winterfrost Crafts Presents: Bats and Butterflies!

An unlikely duo, but nevertheless, both very important for pollination and for my books! First, a little something about bats — an equally important pollinator. Some of us think of bats as evil, blood sucking creatures that turn into vampires! Somebody had a great imagination when they thought of that. In fact, Bram Stoker wrote the very classic, but scary book about a nasty vampire from Transylvania (a real place), named Dracula! And, did you know, the story was based on a history! There really is a castle in Transylvania, a part of old Romania, believed to be Dracula’s Castle.

There are also bats called “vampire bats”. But, the main bat in my books, the Phillip’s Quest series, is not a vampire bat. The main bat-in-charge is named Bael. And is found in “Above the Stars.”

The head chiroptera, named Bael, flew through her window and landed before her. He bowed, in respect to the Red Witch.

“How can I be of service, Your Majesty?” A low deep voice ensued.

The chiroptera was huge, almost as big as Jet, with a blood-red body, tall pointed ears, and huge black wings. His eyes were black, and they reflected no light. He had long, sharp fangs and a forked tongue. His paws and feet had razor-sharp talons.  

Phillips Quest, Book II: Above the Stars

Now, you are probably wondering why I call Bael and his notorious friends, a chiroptera, and not just a plain old bat. Well, here’s why!

  1. Bat
    Animal
  2. Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. Wikipedia
  3. Scientific name: Chiroptera
  4. Rank: Order

Now, you know the scientific name for a bat, and why decided to use it.

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Making a bat is not the easiest thing to do, especially, in origami. Origami is the ancien tart of paper folding. Perhaps you have learned or have seen an origami bird or crane?

Each piece of origami starts out with an absolutely square piece of paperAll you need is a piece of paper from a printer, or copy machine, to start. When you get good at the folds, you can use some light weight colored, or black paper.

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Andy Origami has a great video on You Tube, that shows you how to make a square. Just click on the link. Be sure to make your square perfect. Now, you’re ready to make anything!

For the origami, bat, chiroptera or Bael, here is a great link for you to follow! Watch his hands and notice how carefully he folds!

Here’s an idea! Don’t have black paper? Unfold the bat and color it or make several and use for Halloween decorations!

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Next, the butterfly! Butterfly fairies are also in “Above the Stars.”

Again, they heard the hushed voice. Phillip immediately unsheathed Lionslicer and spun around, only to come face to face with the most exquisite butterfly he had ever seen. Her wings were an iridescent blue, outlined in a beautiful gold. She wore a pale pink gown that shimmered in the sunlight, her beautiful black hair braided with small white flowers.

“Oh! Dear gnome, I didn’t mean to frighten you. I’m Farfalla, the Butterfly Queen!” Farfalla landed on a large river rock. “I am here, at the request of Azur, to guide you to the bridge.”

No sooner did she say that than six other butterflies, equally beautiful, but not as large, joined her. When their wings were open, they were as colorful as the flowers that surrounded them. Some were orange and green, some yellow and black, and some were beautiful shade of pink, but all with a blue dot at the tip of each wing.

Phillips Quest, Book II: Above the Stars

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Beautiful butterflies can be made quite easily. Don’t forget to start with that square paper. Wrapping paper is great to use! Again, you can decorate your own, after you get your square!

Here is an easy set of instructions from YouTube! Easy Origami Butterfly by Maggy Woodley and some ideas of what you can do with them!

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Winterfrost’s First Craft for Kids! A Tisket a Tasket, Please Add it to YOUR Basket — or Box

IMG_0031Who knows what a story “box” is? Well, in case you’ve never heard of one, it’s the “box” most writers use to produce a story. It’s not always a box — many writers keep notebooks that they journal in for years and years. Then one day, they happen on a “blip,” a “blurb,” a “blog,” anything — picture, article, news story, something — that inspires them to write a story — fiction or non-fiction — but something that they are very interested in!

But, how do they start? Well, some of us start as young children; keeping notebooks filled with drawings and scribbles of stories that we now write. But, there’s more to it. Writers are very “visual”. They see things! They can look at a picture, a statue, a photograph, a scene — or something larger, like a piece of history, and want to know more! One thing leads to another, and a story is born! So, today, you are going to find your inner storyteller — your inner author and hopefully, this will take you into this wonderful realm, throughout your life!

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Step 1:   Find your “box.” Your very own box that you can keep all the things that you collect for your story telling. This does not have to be a “box” — it can be a basket, a cereal box, a shoe box, a bowl, plastic container or even a jar! Something that you can decorate with things you love, so that anyone who looks at it, knows it’s yours! Be sure whatever it is, it is large enough to hold:

  • a notebook, IMG_0039IMG_0033
  • pen or pencil,
  • some colored pencils,
  • a small scissor,
  • glue stick,
  • a straight edge
  • your favorite book andIMG_0038
  • maybe your favorite gnome!

    Phillip Tuber

    Phillip Tuber

P. S. “Boots and britches, do not leave this laying around in everyone’s way. Keep it in your room, on your desk or in your closet.”

Step 2: Decorate your “box” with whatever you want. There is not right or wrong way. Ask your mom or dad to help you get some:

  • magazines, for pictures that you can cut out,
  • old photos that you can glue,
  • drawing paper, to create your own art,
  • wrapping paper,
  • scrapbook paper.

Ask them if they’ll get pictures off the web for you! Or, you can:

  • write your name in big letters and decorate the letters — draw a picture around each letter,
  •  use a favorite coloring page– color it and2015-06-17 00.05.53 glue it on the box,
  • yarn and ribbon,
  • paint it with watercolor paints,
  • old plastic buttons,
  • old fake flowers — take them apart and use just the petals — or use them whole,
  • old pieces of costume jewelry that your mom has laying around — maybe for a pirate’s treasure box! Argh!
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After all, this is YOUR BOX, your treasure — the sky’s the limit. Take your time, because as you’re doing this, I’ll bet you think of a lot of great stories.

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P. S. Clean up your STUFF after you have decorated it. Do not leave a mess!

Step 3: Start your collection! You might want to use old envelopes that have been opened, to collect certain things. For instance:

  • an envelope (or ten) for pictures of your family, or cats, or airplanes, or dogs, or dolls, or flowers — you get the picture. Whatever you love — get a picture of it, put it in an envelope and label the envelope! Soon, it will be bulging at the seams, and time for another one. But, if you keep pictures in an envelope — they won’t get smushed and wrinkled.

Write a word or two on the back of each picture you collect, number them, and start your “blurbs.”

For example: picture #1 is my cat Skye. In my notebook, I might write: “Skye was a feral cat and is now very friendly, tame and spoiled. (All true!) She is two years old and very fast!

  • Skye

    PICTURE #1 Skye was rescued in September 2014. She is  very small, very friendly and very fast.

And that’s how you begin! As you collect and write, or draw, you will find a common thread — something you are “passionate” about — very interested.

The more you collect, the more you will want to tell your story. Remember, it’s YOUR STORY. Don’t worry about misspells, punctuation, erasures — just write, and write, and write and write. The rest comes later, that’s called revisions and editing. We’ll get to that  — RIGHT NOW, JUST WRITE! Oh, and read!

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  • Step 4: READ all you can about things you want to write about. Keep a list in your notebook! Title and author. Be a critic!  Like it? Yes or no? Why? Favorite part of the story? Jot it down. The more you read, the easier it becomes to write. You’ll notice parts of the book, how the author uses words. Even if all you do is look at the  “illustrations”– the pictures, look at them closely, they are very cool. And, if you want to be an illustrator, they will give you something to work towards.

Enjoy this craft and keep your Story Box handy. You could be finding all kinds of stuff that you’ll want to add to it!

As always, leave me a reply! Can’t wait to hear from you!

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Describe YOUR Favorite Gnome!

 I must admit that ever since I was a little girl, I have believed that gnomes and fairies were real — and still do! I must admit, that my favorite one is Phillip! No surprise there! He lives in the village of Twistedoak, has a squirrel friend named Edward and wellllllll, a bunch of other friends.

Phillip, as you know, if you’ve read Winterfrost, has gone on a very to save his brother, Phallow, but before he left, he had time to spend in his garden with Edward. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of Winterfrost.

Describe your favorite gnome and his or her garden, and where they live! Twistedoak? Brokenfell? Or a place of their own! As always, don’t forget to leave me a Comment!

If you haven’t read WINTERFROST, you can click on any of the pictures and buy it through Amazon.com.

CHAPTER I: Phillip’s Garden

A blue, summer sky smiled upon Phillip’s garden. Colorful butterflies danced from flower to flower as crickets chirped and bees buzzed along herb-filled windowsills. Rows of neatly tended plants lined the soft soil and stretched their hungry leaves towards the warm, mid-morning sun. Lush plants cradled shiny, red tomatoes and yellow squash grinned from beneath curly vines. Phillip puffed from his carved pipe as he stood between rows of taters and onions.

“A beautiful morning,” smiled Phillip.

Phillip was a little gnome who lived in an old oak tree on the side of a grassy hill. He stood about two feet tall and wore purple pants with an orange patch on the right knee. His favorite red suspenders  fell neatly on top of a bright blue shirt. A pointed, green-rimmed hat sat atop his bald head and a long flowing brown beard hung down to his belt and ended in a curly point. Streams of purple smoke rose from his pipe as he surveyed the progress of his garden. A brown squirrel named Edward hopped along the fence that bordered his yard.

“Good Morning, Edward.”

“Mornin’, Phillip,” replied the squirrel as he picked a juicy tomato from one of the large, green tomato plants. “Your garden has really come along this summer. It looks great!

“Yes indeed it has! Thank you!” exclaimed the gnome. “I’m very pleased with it’s progress. We had a bit of trouble with the squash and cucumbers early on in the season. Some nasty little critters were eating them to pieces, but thankfully Mr. Curlyvine showed me how to get them under control with a special type of vegetable oil. I still see an occasional bug from time to time.”

Edward hopped down from the fence and disappeared under a few of the broad, green leaves of the squash plants.

“Found a few!” he proclaimed when he finally popped back up. As he flicked the bugs over the fence, he noticed that Phillip was deep in thought and staring out into the distant hills.

“Thinking about _________________ ?