Now, he’s pretty!

Meet Razorsnoot! You’ve read about his before in Phillip’s Quest, Book 1: Winterfrost.  You know, the goblin with digestive issues–probably from eating small rodents–and henchman for the Red Queen, well, here he is again. In living–sort of–color!Image

 

Such a pretty fellow! And now, the poor guy has competition.  It was bad enough when Jet set his butt on fire in Phillip’s Quest, Book 1:Winterfrost, but now he’s dealing with the Queen’s favorite chiroptera bat, Bael! But, he still has to learn how to deal with Jet!

He rode to the top and approached the witch, head bowed. His

spider slinked up the knoll, ever so quietly. Razorsnoot was

dumbfounded by the Red Witch’s transformation. Where was that

hideous dragon of hers? He peered at the huge, black horse with his

one purple eye. He hated the dragon, but a horse? He decided he

could handle a horse, until he saw its eyes. They were red! The horse

watched Razorsnoot as he approached on the spider.

“Your report, Razorsnoot,” said the witch as she peered down at

the skulking figures.

“Yesssssss, ma’am,” hissed the goblin. “Market destroyed, jusssssst

as you commanded.”

“And the bodies?” she responded.

“We captured a bunch of the little runtssssss and locked them in

the wagonsssss. The resssst are lying dead in the market.”

“Very well!” replied the witch. “Run and fetch me that little

gnome, Phillip, and his wife Ivy and our business shall be complete.”

Razorsnoot picked at a large wart on his nose and looked around.

He had a tendency to pass wind when he was nervous.

“Umm…Phillip and hissss wife Ivy, ma’am? I don’t recall (fart, fart)

their whereaboutssssss (fart).”

“You don’t recall their whereabouts?” responded the Red Witch

with a raised and dreadful tone. “One of your very simple instructions,

goblin, was to capture OR kill two VERY specific gnomes. You were

provided descriptions. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU VILE

CREATURE. GO BACK DOWN THERE AND BRING ME THEIR BODIES!

NOW!”

“(FART, fart, FART, fart) Yes ma’am! (fart),” cried Razorsnnot.

Jet’s eyes glared at the mumbling and frantic goblin. The steed

had become agitated and his nostrils began to smoke.

As Razorsnoot reared his spider around to go back down the hill

to the wagons, he started to fart uncontrollably. The other goblins

103

could even here his farts from the bottom of the hill and they began to

snicker and giggle.

Jet’s nostril’s opened up. He shot a flaming hot blast of fire right

at the goblin’s backside.

“AYYYYEEEEEEEEEEE!” screamed Razorsnoot.

He lept off the spider and rolled down the hill. His rear was on

fire.

“Help me!”–Phillip’s Quest, Book 1: Winterfrost

 

New Contests and Give Aways for Phillip’s Quest and the Ragworts

Image The last post I wrote was how to submit a review on Amazon.com. Like FaceBook and other social media sites, there is a definite algorithm for how they rate their users. None, more evident than Amazon.com.   An author must have 40+ reviews on a book, before Amazon even notices them  And, they rank an author by the number of those reviews.  There are literally millions of authors on Amazon, so you can imagine how difficult it is to move up in rank.  The higher the rank, the better the royalty. Right now, “Winterfrost,“has only 8, count em’ 8 reviews of the almost 500 books sold. Phillip is very sad. Just the other day he said to me, “Boots and britches, Miss Belinda, what are we to do?”  And Edward…well, you can imagine a squirrel going well, nuts! So, I said, “Guys, I’ll think of something.” Here it is!  A CONTEST! 1.  Either email, IM or Private Message me through FB  and send me your email address after you have written a review on Amazon.com of either “Winterfrost” or “The Ragworts.” 2.  After either “WInterfrost” or “The Ragworts” reaches 40 reviews, there will be a random drawing for an: a) FREE First Edition, signed copy of Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars, b) a card for a free ebook of your choice from Authorhouse.com and c) a free Autumn Moon Tree, made by Ethora. Check out the Etsy shop!Image“Nuts and acorns, acorns and nuts, that’s a lot, Miss Belinda!” Edward began running around like a squirrel with peanut butter! “Yes, Edward, it is, but we have to get these folks to write those reviews!” So, folks, please help us get to 40 reviews on Amazon.com and you can win a prize! Only 32 to go!  Thanks. xoxox

So, how d’ya like me now?!

As you can see, my busy bee buzzed away. Good bye busy bee! In its place, “Winterfrost!” Quite frankly, the bee was driving me crazy, buzzing from one thing to another and the Red Witch was about to turn her into a snaggletoothed possum from Vandersnatch Swamp. Maleficent has nothing over on the Red Witch! And the old girl (RW) was getting her ice cubes in a bunch because she wasn’t getting enough press time. So, here it is! A website dedicated to Winterfrost and all the goings on between there and Twistedoak! There are so many:

1. A monthly newsletter will be launched. “Gnome Gnews” direct from Winterfrost Castle is just days away. This will be great for the kids, so let me know if you want it delivered to their inbox.

2. “Winterfrost” will be out in Kindle and ebook format. Look for that early June!

3. The Ragwort Chronicles, The Beginning: The Ragworts of Brokenfell
is live in both ebook and soft cover. It is a shorter book for 3rd graders and up. And, although it is for sale at any bookseller, I have a limited number of signed First Editions for sale, incl. shipping, for $21.95. A bonus gift will be included.
Go to my “Buy…” page and let me know.

4. Above the Stars, the 2nd book in the Phillip’s Quest Series is in illustration right now! Dean Kuhta is doing the wonderful illustrations. Look for a September Kickstarter Campaign.

5. Across the Elusive Sea,Book III, is almost half-way done!

Remember to let me know if you would like a colorful and fun newsletter sent to your child’s inbox!

The Busy Bee has been really busy, after all!

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Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars

Phillip's Quest Book 2Above the Stars, the continuation of Phillip’s Quest for Winterfrost begins as the three companions arrive in the land of Winterfrost, a land of “unbelievable beauty and incredible cold.” A book as beautiful as WInterfrost, this book is filled with new and old characters alike. Meet Phillip’s new friends, Llemura and Llamont; new enemies, Bael and a new wizard and the unicorn, Chaspère and Unilda. Find out what happens to the companions and their beloved Twistedoak as they continue their epic saga. Will they get through this challenging journey together?

Above the Stars is written by Belinda MIller and has the beautiful illustrations of Dean Kuhta. A fantasy of words and pictures.

Above the Stars will be available for sale in book and ebook format, late October, 2014 through Amazon.com.

How to Find a Gnome

I look at the writings of my collegues and remark at the careful and, I’m sure, sometimes tedious research that they perform to authenticate their writing. I admire them and sometimes feel guilty because my writing requires nothing but my imagination! Even though I had Dean Kuhta’s wonderful illustrations to follow and knew the kind of characters I needed to create, I knew little about gnomes.  I mean, what did you need to know? Short and stocky? Yup. Bearded? Sure. Conical hats? Mostly. I mean, just look at the annoying Travelocity gnome (my cousin started that company, so I hope I won’t get in trouble). Voila, a gnome! Then, after the third book, I decided maybe I should do some research.

Did you gnow that there is a whole gnome culture out there! First of all, I went nuts on Pinterest. Too much fun.  Beautiful illustrations of gnome and their habitats. Artists have put together mini-gnome habitats. Too cute — so I went wild “pinning” all these pictures to my Phillip’s Quest page.  Talented people. A bit weird, but talented. Yeah, right, look who’s talking! I’m obsessed.

So, of course, I must gnow MORE! Low and behold, I remember some of these illustrations and remember, from somewhere, the book called Gnomes. Immediately, I’m on Amazon and there it is, by Wil Huygen and RienPoortvelt.  Two Dutchmen who put wrote and illustrated the iconic guide to all things gnome-ish. The illustrations are amazing! But, what’s more amazing is that I did okay with Phillip.

Except for some “nude-y” gnomes, (I’m not kidding), it would be a great book to show and read to children. One of my favorite parts is about the “other” night beings.  One particular troll is called a “snotgurgle.” Must be Razorsnoot’s cousin! Gotta love it. Needless to say, I feel so much less guilty about not doing research. Goes to show you, you can find anything on the internet.  Next research project–dragons!

As Phillip would say in his native language, “Slitzweitz!” (“Goodbye!”)

 

Of course, Phillip’s Quest and Gnomes are available on Amazon!

Writing is Fun

I know that I tweeted (almost wrote twittered) this a few minutes ago but last night I was working on Book III of PQ: Across the Elusive Sea and cracked myself up.  Lordy, is my mind gone! Book three has to do with Phillip at sea. How’s that, Katherine!? Any ways, after Edward is captured (almost spoiler), the other two…you know who they are…meet a crew of pirates who will take them across the Carnelian Sea. So, this book will mainly take part at sea! Ergo, sea creatures!!! Yay!!! But not your sea creatures ordinaire–nooooo. These guys are funky.  My fave, so far is the Toll Keeper of Tokken Island. Pretty weird. A mixture of Hannible Lechter and Charlie the Tuna with fish-lips and a little Jabba the Hut  on the side, with a Medusa doo. Hey, I’m easy to entertain!

Veni, Vedi…and Valentine Wiskits

Phillip is getting ready for continuing his adventure. He has come across many new and fascinating creatures! 
Have you ever heard of “fainting” goats? Well, they are real! But not the kind that Phillip, Edward and Stinky come across. These, belong to LLamont and LLemura and have 2 heads! Oh! And they’re pink and purple polka dotted. Not the nicest little creatures. If they get upset, their milk turns sour and LLemura can’t make her famous Wiskits.
 
So, Veni is the lead goat, and very bossy.  Vedi, unfortunately, is the more reasonable one, but doesn’t get far.  Still, it doesn’t take much to make them faint.  Especially, when a big, “Hey, watch those feet!” dinosaur comes up beside them.
 
The lavender goat’s milk is pretty sweet and LLemura makes the best Wiskits out of it.  I’m sure, LLamont will get them, in the shapes of hearts, tomorrow!
 
Happy Valentine’s Day, from LLemura, LLemont and the Goats of Phillip’s Quest,  Book II, Above the StarsImage
 
 

The Week That Was!

What a great week!  Besides the freezing cold and snow that surrounded most of the Eastern seaboard, except Florida which, as everyone knows, is really another country, it was an exciting week. (Trust me, it doesn’t take much!)  The wonderful writers/bloggers in Write by the Rails, started their blog tour. The reading has been excellent…some anecdotal, some about their books, all good!  I learned how to get up and running with my blog and web page.  Thank you Katherine Gotthardt!  I’m always excited to meet new people, especially those that are willing to teach.  So, that’s my first bit of excitement.

I live in a condominium and am President of the association.  It’s been seven years of hard labor, but has been worthwhile.  We still struggle, however, with the drug element brought in by some tenants.  Fortunately, I’ve built a pretty good rapport with our local Police Department and have come to know some of the officers, personally.  They really are a great group and I appreciate all they do to help our little community out.  This week, our security cameras picked up a real life COPS episode!  Talk about exciting!!!  You go guys and dog.

Have had friends in and out, all week.  God bless them! They know that when the weather is bad, I’m in. I love that our friends feel so comfortable in our home.  They are all family.  It’s a good thing.

Last but not least, getting an “A” grade from my cardiologist and presenting him with a signed copy of PQ. It wasn’t so long ago that I was in terrible pain and he sat with me when I was so miserable that I didn’t know what to do. He was so happy with getting the book and being able to share it with his girls, 9 and 11, after he read it first!  Phillip, you did good!

And last but not least, the thing that bella Napoli is known for and part of my life’s blood, pizza!  Thick or thin?  Chicago or New York? Sausage or pepperoni? A topic for another blog but, it’s all good!

Told you…it doesn’t take much.

Truth or Dare…A Gnome’s Recipe

Is this recipe a fantasy?  Maybe, maybe not.  It sure sounds good, especially on a very cold Virginia day.

Phillip made this sauce in the Vast Enchanted Forest after he and Edward hadn’t eaten for a whole day. They had just left the Farmer’s Market where Phillip said his “good-bye” to a very unhappy Ivy.  What had happened afterwards, Phillip did not know until Azur broke the news.

It was evening when Phillip and Edward entered the Forest and they were exhausted.

There were many Tree Folk in this part of the forest.  Groups of them line the curvy path and appeared to be engaged in important conversations with one another.  Their twiggy hands pointed and gestured.  One of them glanced over and gave Edward a little wink as the travelers walked by.

Phillip’s Quest, Book 1: Winterfrost, “The Staring Statues”

Edward, the squirrel was always hungry and enough was enough.  He knew that Phillip could not go much longer without food so,

He jumped from tree to tree, for a good hour, while Phillip looked over his maps (they were lost, at this point).  One of the Forest Fathers even helped by shaking his branches and allowing Edward to gather all the fallen nuts!  Phillip then made the sauce with some maters he bought from a dwarf at the Farmer’s Market.

Five or six small ripe maters will make enough for one gnome and one hungry squirrel.

Finely chop the maters up into a hollowed out rock or a saucepan that’s been coated with a little oil.  Simmer the maters until some of the water cooks out.  Put a handful of crushed hazelnuts into the mater sauce with some salt and a bit of black spice (if you have it) and cook until thick.

A perfect meal for day old tater buns and if you’re lost in a vast forest.

…Appendix F: Phillip’s Mater Sauce with Hazelnuts

 

The Appendices, B-F are recipes that I adapted.  Some important ingredients have been omitted and revised to coincide with the story. Still, an experienced cook could improvise and make with his or her child. Actual recipes will be reprinted here or in an upcoming cook book!

By the way, the artwork for The Vast Enchanted Forest is brilliant!  Please look at the Twisted Oak Press website: twistedoakpress.com, where you can by beautiful art prints from Phillip’s Quest, as well as other art from my collaborator, Dean Kuhta.