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.

image

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.

origami-791907_1280

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!

origami-151994_1280

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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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 _________________ ?

YOU, Complete the Story

For the next weeks, until the beginning of the first craft, Phillip and Roscoe suggested that I give you an excerpt from one of the four books: The Ragwort Chronicles; The Beginning, Along the Way or Phillip’s Quest; Winterfrost or Above the Stars and YOU complete the story!

Remember, these are actual paragraphs from one of the books, but you can complete the rest — and maybe, draw a picture! So, here it goes!

Excerpt from “The Ragwort Chronicles, The Beginning: The Ragworts of Brokenfell:”
Chapter I: The Master Carpenter of Brokenfell Village

A blue autumn sky grinned upon the gnome village of Brokenfell. Cheerful voices danced amidst the mid-morning breeze. Busy towns-folk hustled and bustled along cobblestone streets and by crowded storefronts. Thomas Toadstool, the town’s blacksmith, clanked away with his iron hammer while wisps of steam hissed up from his bucket. Across the street, under the colorful blue and orange tents of the town’s market, argued two farmer gnomes, ______________ and ________________.(fill in names) Arguing about nothing was a normal activity for these two. They just enjoyed the art of arguing. 

You can make this into your own story or draw a picture, or both! Don’t forget to send your story or pictures to me by filling in the comment space on my page! And, be sure to subscribe, “Boots ‘n’ Britches,” happy writing and drawing!

Autumn in Twistedoak!

Autumn in Twistedoak is, like many other places, a time for harvest and celebration. Besides being the most beautiful time of year, the gnomes celebrate the coming of the new season on the day that they have equal hours of day and night. During that time, the Equinox, they complete the gathering of their food, and do their canning and preserving of that food for the winter.  This is all done in a communal setting. That is, the men of the village, up until age 300, get together and go from farm to farm to help with their neighbors’ harvest, while all the women meet in the square and set up a “kitchen” for doing the preserving. They work, all together, making sure that each and every resident of Twistedoak has enough food to get through the long winter months.

As soon as the sun sets, samples of the food that was prepared, along with other goodies, that are contributed by all, are laid out on several long tables. There is also plenty of mead and beer–gnomes are great brewmasters! A huge bonfire is built and all the gnomes eat, drink and dance and sing until the sun comes up!

Gnomes are workers. Besides being good farmers, they are the first “environmentalists.” Much of their day is spent on their farms, during the growing seasons, but when the season is over, they spend time in the forests, planting seeds and saplings that they care for, and grow to repopulate trees and as food for the animals. There are many gnomes, like Nonna Ragwort and Grandma Polli, who tend to injured animals that are brought to them. A gnome always helps a hurt or wounded animal.

The gnomes are very careful about the materials they use. They do not waste anything. Before the snow arrives, the homes of Twistedoak are supplied with dried berries and nuts, firewood and pinecones. They make sure that they have enough to care for their family.

The women are especially busy in the Fall.  That is their time for weaving and sewing. They use the fur and hair shed and combed from various creatures to create the cloth they need. Autumn is the best time to collect the shed animal hair, as it is much softer before the animals grow in their thick, winter fur.

This year, however, their routine has been disrupted. This year, they must prepare for another challenge, besides Winter. Goblins and trolls are the gnomes archenemies and when they are controlled by a witch… This Fall, in Twistedoak, Mr. Ragwort and Edward’s sister, Oli are preparing the once peaceful village of Twistedoak, for battle.  The “Battle of Twistedoak!”

Read about Phillip, in the land of Winterfrost, and his mission to save his brother, Phallow, and the village of Twistedoak from the onslaught of Razorsnoot and his goblin hoard! Book II, Above the Stars, tells of his adventure and the struggle of the Twistedoak gnomes to overcome the fight of their lives!

Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars will be available on ebook and in print on or before Dec.1, 2014. If you haven’t read Book I: Winterfrost, now is the time to read it!  Winterfrost is available, now, in ebook!  Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars is available for pre-order, through this website.

If you would like to receive a newsletter from Phillip and the gang, please complete the form on the sign-up page.  Thank you.

Wait to read in October, 2014

Wait to read in December, 2014

Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars – Kickstarter Update

ATS KS Phillip Bonus ATS KS Join Me at Fall For The Book

THANK YOU to everyone who has visited the Kickstarter campaign for Above the Stars! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1907899413/above-the-stars

Momentum this last week has been a little slow… So, as a special thank you to everyone who pledges before 9/17, I’ll be emailing jpegs of original Phillip’s Quest art, including a picture of hardy gnome Phillip Tuber that you can use as computer or phone wallpaper, your profile picture on social media, or a little smile you can share with your friends.

I know that not everyone is in a position to buy the book. If you’d like to give Phillip Tuber and his friends a boost, please consider:

Retweeting one of my messages https://twitter.com/Bella772013, or

Sharing one of my posts https://www.facebook.com/bbmiller0707

Also: I am thrilled to be part of a very special closing night event at this year’s Fall For The Book. On the closing night of the festival, Thurs., Sept.18, I will be part of Haute Cuisine at the Hylton, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, George Mason University, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas. The festival will host its 2nd annual celebration of fine food, superior drink, and the various stories behind the scenes of every aspect of the food industry from farm to table—and beyond! Cookbook authors, food writers, chefs and chocolatiers, novelists incorporating food into their fiction, and even the newly minted Prince William County Poets Laureate. Come join us for a fantastic evening of books – and food!

http://fallforthebook.org/ai1ec_event/haute-cuisine-at-the-hylton-2/

The campaign runs until 9/30. Thank you for all of your support!

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

Boots ‘n’ Britches, Phillip is Above the Stars!

Phillip Tuber

Phillip Tuber

Wait to read in October, 2014

Available, November 25th, 2014

Houston, we have a tentative lift-off date of November 25th, 2014 for Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars! Phillip is over the moon! Just in time to buy for Christmas! in December, 2014, he and his friends are planning “launch” parties all over Manassas. So watch the skies! You might even see a blue fire-drake! They hope that they can invite you all to attend. I keep telling Edward, “Party Animal Extraordinaire,” we’re on a tight budget, but he already has Llemura making wiskits like crazy!!! I guess we’ll have to get funding all these events–Llemura ain’t cheap, y’know.

So, on September 2, 2014 a Kickstarter Campaign will begin so that the gang in Phillip’s Quest, can keep partying on! The campaign will defray some of the costs that we have incurred for this publication and allow the Phillip Phollowers to read more about his adventures. It takes a whole village, larger than Twistedoak, of gnomes and humans, to put this book together. The funds raised by Kickstarter will help to pay my teammates, and for us to travel to different events and schools. Dinosaurs and dragons are tough to transport. We already are scheduling going into schools and teacher events, for the 2014-2015 school year. Then, there are always Edward’s parties–he likes to do it right!

The Phillip’s Quest crew is excited to be able to offer some cool rewards at all levels of contributions, starting at just $5.00! There will be discounted, as well as free books and ebooks, the fabulous “Winterfrost” and tree necklaces; original art, Oli Warrior Squirrel and Dreamspinner (who’s Dreamspinner?), an Italian Gnome dinner, cooked by yours truly, and so much more! They will all be listed on the Kickstarter site.

OR during the campaign, you may wish to reserve copies of the whole series; Winterfrost, Above the Stars and Across the Elusive Sea (to be released in 2015) and the remaining four titles.

Ultimately, our goal is to raise $3000.00 on Kickstarter. With Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing and Phillip and his friends have until September 30th to do it. So, please pre-order your copy on Phillip’s Kickstarter Campaign

Please look for the “Above the Stars” Kickstarter Campaign beginning in September, so that Llamont, Llemura and their spotted goats can leave the cold Ice Cave Canyons to the pages of “Phillip’s Quest, Book II.”

Thank you so much from me, Phillip and the team of Phillip’s Quest!

Follow all the updates, information and offers through this newsletter and all The Winterfrost Updates on http://belindamiller.me.

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.

2014-06-05 20.02.16

Happy Birthday, Phillip!

It’s been one year since my little Phillip was put on the page. Like a proud Momma, I am! He would have had a better birthday if it weren’t for Edward–oh, you don’t know about that, yet–but, you will! Book II, Above the Stars will fill you in! In the meantime, please join me in wishing my Phillip a Happy Birthday!

Handsome little fellow, isn’t he?

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

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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