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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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

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 _________________ ?

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

05/08 – 05/09/15 –IMG_0880

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!

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

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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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