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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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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April Showers Bring May Flowers — and Ragworts!

Busy days ahead for the Ragwort family!

“The Ragworts are taking center stage for the month of May,” says Rawlink Ragwort. “My brother Roscoe’s story about his treacherous journey through the Dark Forest and Bandersnatch Swamp is about to be released in the very exciting book, The Ragwort Chronicles, Along the Way: Roscoe’s Journey.”

Such is the news from Winterfrost Publishing — hot off the press! Roscoe is still recovering from his terrifying journey and encounters with such creatures as the mold-trolls; Llora, the Witch of the Dark Forest, and her wolves. With help from his good friend, Timonius Toad, he managed to escape her clutches and survive!

See the wonderful illustrations of Annie Wilkinson and a new, exciting story about the lovable Roscoe Ragwort. Reserve your copy NOW by completing the form on this website — it won’t be available until May 19, 2015, OR come visit the author at these locations during the month of MAY …

05/02/15 – Arts Alive! at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts, Manassas, VA

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Prospero’s Books, 9129 Center Street, Manassas, VA

05/23/15Local Author Fair, Bull Run Library, 2-4 p.m., 8051 Ashton Ave., Manassas, VA

Orders for this newest version of The Ragwort Chronicles, will be taken at the Hylton Center or on this website.A SPECIAL pre-order price of $13.50 will be honored until 05/10/15.

Hope to see you soon!

Easter is Not Just for Rabbits!

Edward the Squirrel, here! Just want to remind all of you that Easter is not just for rabbits, chicks and ducks! Squirrels like Easter, too! Oli, Piper and I have been busy since the Vernal Equinox, clearing and cleaning out the ol’ nest and getting it ready for the nice weather. Here, in Twistedoak, the buds have already burst and there are beautiful flowers everywhere. We’ve been busy digging up our buried acorns getting them dried out and ready for some of Oli’s famous biscuits, (page of Phillip’s Quest, Book 1: WInterfrost).squirrel

Now, back to the Easter thing. We’re always running around being busy and you should be, too! Especially because there’s Spring Break coming up! Instead of having those kids of yours inside, playing with those video games and driving you nutz, buy them a book! Even an e-book to read! Nutz and acorns!!! Expand their minds!!!

Did you know that our PQ books (short for Phillip’s Quest, in editor lingo)have all kinds of things in it? Goodness me, there are two maps, one from Twistedoak to Winterfrost and one, just a map of Twistedoak! That’s the one I like. Have your kids draw a map, like the ones in the PQ books, of your house, your street, your village! You can even get them started by teaching them which direction is North! Or, tonight, look for the North star!!! Who knows, they might even see Azur, the Blue Wizard!

In the back of Winterfrost, there’s even a family tree! Not my family tree — we’d need at least a whole book! But, there’s the Tuber family tree — funny names those Tuber folks! Sound like a bunch of potatoes, if you ask me. Anywho — the kids could do a family tree of your family, starting with themselves!IMG_0115

Oops, I hear Oli calling –needs more acorns for her biscuits!  She has that recipe in the back of the book, you know! All of our books have recipes!!! Gotta run — will post more activities for the Spring break — please remember to put a few nutz out for us! And, nutz and acorns, Happy Easter!

— Edward the Squirrel. Editor-in-Chief

Winterfrost Publishing

Springtime at Winterfrost…

roscoe cover

May Release! Illustrations by Annie Wilkinson

Publishing, that is! Yep! Phillip and the crew have their very own publishing company — along with the Ragworts, of course. The beautiful Mushroom Castle in Twistedoak, has been converted into the WF headquarters! Everyone is very excited. Of course, Edward had to be named Editor in Chief, although he has a hard time keeping focused! (Rilefor and Holly do all of the editing.) Stinky, aka Dreamspinner, keeps the production rolling!

It’s been a wild ride since Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars was published in December, 2014! So many things have been going on — 2015 is going to be a banner year! First of all, we have new illustrators! Can I just say, they are super? Well, they are!

Our first new illustrator for the Ragwort Chronicles is a talented and experienced artist from British Columbia, Canada. Her name is Annie WIlkinson. She is amazing and creates much of her artwork with a computer program — I tried it, not pretty — leave to the hands of the pros, which she is! Click on her link and check out some of her work, here is a sample!

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May Rerelease! New cover design by Victor Rook

Yup! That’s the new Ragwort book, Along The Way: Roscoe’s Journey! And there is Roscoe Ragwort! The release date will be late May, 2015. Just in time for Summer break.  And, she will be doing additional artwork for the republication of The Ragwort Chronicles, The Beginning: The Ragworts of Brokentfell! Also due in late May, early June!

 How cool is this new cover for The Beginning? It was done by my dear friend and very talented artist, author and film-maker, Victor Rook! Another wizard to add to the list. We are loving our new look and new price! Look for it on Amazon in May — we’ll keep you posted!

Our second spectacular new artist for Phillip’s Quest, book three and beyond, is my amazing cousin, Lorraine Gonda! Book III: Across the Elusive Sea, will be available in November, 2015. It’s already written and I’m itching (no Edward does not have fleas), for the book to be available to you — alas, brilliant artwork takes time! Unlike Annie, Lorraine uses a mixed media. Not only are her sketches amazing, but the coloration rocks the house! A sneak peek!

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Coming in November: Across The Elusive Sea! Art by Lorraine Gonda

This illustration was drawn from a passage in the last pages of Above the Stars, so if you haven’t read it … Needless to say, 2015 has been busy, already!

Before i sign off, the Winterfrost gang has partnered up with AIM-VA who is a part of the Helen Keller Foundation and have offices at George Mason University. AIM is the acronym for Assistive Instructional Materials. They, along with the Virginia Dept. of Education, provide FREE books — texts and literature, for children who cannot normally read. These children could be dyslexic, sight-impaired or physically unable to hold a printed book. All three books, Winterfrost, Above the Stars and The Ragwort Chronicles have been converted for use.

So, keep in touch and ENJOY, the new website, designed by Bethany Carlson of Artists Partner. Leave me a message, write us a review on Amazon or a note at: Winterfrost Publishing, PO Box 258, Manassas, VA 20108!

From all of us at Winterfrost Publishing — “Boots ‘n’ britches, find yourself a twisted oak to sit under and read!”

–Phillip Tuber, Publisher

Phillip Tuber

Phillip Tuber

Live and in Color! Preorder “Above the Stars” on KICKSTARTER, NOW!

ATS KS Live Now

Phillip took a deep breath, and rose to his feet. He wiped his eyes with his sleeve and turned towards his companions.  With a stern, and focused voice, he said,

“LIVE from KICKSTARTER, it’s  “Above the Stars!”

Dear Friends,

Boots and britches! I am excited to announce that Book II of Phillip’s Quest: Above the Stars is available for pre-order on KICKSTARTER, today!

THANK YOU to everyone who has supported Phillip and myself on this journey to publication. Phillip’s Quest is a series of beautifully illustrated Middle Grade books of the tale of an ordinary garden gnome, Phillip Tuber, on an extraordinary quest and is the inspiration of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Lewis’s Narnia.

You can preorder your copy of Above the Stars on the KICKSTARTER site, until September 30–but, if you want to give Phillip, the book, and me a SPECIAL boost, please consider buying your copy today, on launch day, and help build an early momentum. And remember, if I do not reach my goal, I do not get one dime! All you have to do, to get to my KICKSTARTER page is click on the picture or the links embedded at the end of each paragraph!

In addition to the books, there are all kinds of great perks available at the campaign. They range from the original artwork of Dean Kuhta and Louise Goodchild to my own jewelry and an Italian dinner for four! Please check out the campaign for more details.

Again, many thanks for your support. I will be back in touch with campaign updates throughout the month of September! Ciao, grazie.

Love,

Belinda

PS – In case you’ve never visited KICKSTARTER before, or you don’t even know what it is, I’ve attached a little example that shows how to order something there.

KS pledging instructions 1KS pledging instructions 2KS pledging instructions 3

It’s a few easy steps. KICKSTARTER is the largest crowd funding platform in the world, having raised over $1Bn for creative projects like Above the Stars. They process payments through Amazon, the largest retailer in the world. So, preordering Above the Stars on KICKSTARTER is a snap!

And, just in case you missed the link, here it is: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1907899413/above-the-stars

August is almost halfway gone…

“Good grief, Charlie Brown, it’s almost time for school!” Certainly, that phrase was said over and over again, by the wonderful Peanuts’ kids. And here we are again, almost mid August.

I don’t know about you, but my summer has definitely been eventful–in a good way. Every time I look at my blog page, I am more and more aware of how far the internet stretches. I see people from all over the world that have looked at my page. I wish I could meet them all. Regardless, thank you!

I think it takes a year for things to really start to percolate for a writer. As some of you know, my year–Phillip’s one year anniversary was July 7th. Since then, things just started to rock ‘n’ roll. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/061593739X&quot; title=“Phillip’s Quest, Book I: Winterfrost”>Winterfrost” has received new energy and new followers. The Gnome Gnewsletter was published and accepted by most. Personally, I would recommend a newsletter for any author. It allows one to get the word out to those who are not a fan of social media–yes there are some “un-fans.”

It certainly takes a village to market a book. So, I was able to put together a team of unbelievably professional women to help me out. From one of the sweetest and most brilliant ladies I know–Ms. Katherine Gotthardt, who helped me when I was a floundering guppy (floundering flounder?), to the amazing Bethany Joy Carlson, of The Artists’ Partner (my personal cheerleader and marketing guru), to the wonderful Jessica Parker and her team, at BookLogix Publishing Services, I couldn’t be in better hands.

So, Phillip will be ready for his next adventure without the bumps and bruises he suffered before. Can I just tell you how important it is to find the right people!

Our next endeavor happens September 1, 2014. The Kickstarter Campaign begins for Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars. Don’t let anybody kid you, it is definitely laborious. But, with the support of a great team, it can be done. We have put in many pledge rewards. There are different rewards listed for the level of pledge you make. When I say “pledge,” I mean MONEY! As I said, producing and marketing a book takes some outgo of cash to pay the team members and help defray other costs, so anything you can spare to keep Phillip’s Quest, on the shelves is very much appreciated.

September 18, 2014 will be the closing night for Virginia’s <a href="http://fallforthebook.org/2014/08/10/haute-cuisine-at-the-hylton/&quot; title="Fall for the Book”>Fall for the Book festival. The event starts in Fairfax, Virginia on September 11th at George Mason University and ends at the Hylton Center for the Arts in Manassas, Virginia–you can follow all the activities on their app. The event is a Haute Cuisine event and will have food tastings, demonstrations and discussions by a variety of chefs, foodies, cookbook authors and Cluadia Lefeve, a fellow author and friend. Oh! And me! From the recipes of “Winterfrost”, and “Above the Stars”, to the recipes from my Mom’s table. I was and am honored to have been chosen to participate and will be serving; Ivy’s Tater Dumplings, Phillip’s Mater and Hazlenut Sauce and one of the recipes from the new book!

This week, I was able to start scheduling my signings for the Christmas season and was thrilled when the owner of <a href="http://www.thethingsilovemanassas.com&quot; title=“The Things I Love”>The Things I Love, an exquisite shop in Old Towne Manassas, allowed me to do that on December 5, 2014, during the Tree Lighting Festival. This store and the downtown area comes alive and turns into a Winter Wonderland. I am thrilled, to say the least. Then, on Sunday, December 7th, I have another signing at <a href="http://www.flowergallerymanassas.com&quot; title=“The Flower Gallery”>The Flower Gallery. Another magical shop where I will be part of their Holiday Open House. Such a special opportunity and I am grateful.

Not to leave out one of my favorite events for November! I will again be reading to the children at Mayfield Elementary School–as I did last year.

So, this summer has flown by, but what a great summer it has been. Thank you to all my gnomes, fairies and angels! I’ve loved every minute.

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