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 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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Butterflies, Bees and Bats! Oh my!

Did you know that June15-22 was National Pollinator’s Week? While this post comes to you a week late, I thought it might be fun to do a few crafts in honor of our favorite pollinators — the butterflies, image image the bees, and imagethe bats!

First, however, a little bit about pollination and why it’s so important to all of us. Here is a diagram about how  “pollination” occurs!. Pollen is made by the male part of the flower,  the anther. It is the powdery substance you find on flowering plants. Pollinators love to drink the sugary-sweet nectar that is made by the flowers at the base of the pistil or female part, as they move from flower to flower. When they go in to suck up the nectar, they brush against the anthers and get the pollen on their bodies. When they land on a flower, the pollen will brush off their body into the pistil. If it’s close to the opening, at the top of the pistil, it will make it’s way down to the egg. When the pollen and egg meet, a seed is formed. The seed makes a new plant! Without the seed, we would not have any fruits, vegetables, trees, grass or flowers. This is extremely important to maintain life on earth.File Jun 22, 1 11 10 PM           Now that you know the importance of these three creatures, I can tell you that each of them, the bat, the butterfly and the bee are in the Phillip’s Quest books! So, here we go — First: Let’s make a bee! This comes from our friends at Crafty Morning  and is made from egg carton containers. A great recycling craft for those cardboard egg containers.

Materials needed:

  • Yellow paint,
  • Black paint or marker,
  • Paper plate,
  • paint brush,
  • 2-egg carton cups,
  • Scissors,
  • Black and silver pipe cleaners ( 2 black and 1 silver),
  • Googly eyes,
  • Hot glue gun or glue dots.

Cut off two attached egg carton cups and neatly trim excess paper and stuff. This may be something that your mom or dad may have to help you with.

Next, pour some yellow paint in a paper dish and paint both of the egg carton cups bright yellow! When the paint is dry, poke two holes on the top of one the cups. These are where the black antennas will go.

Take a glue dot or hot glue gun, and glue the head and body together.

Pour some black paint in a plate or use a black marker to make stripes around the head and body. Let the stripes dry.

While they stripes are drying, fold one of the black pipe cleaners into a “U.” This will be pushed up through the head, for the antennas. You can leave them straight, or make them squiggly.

Cut the other black pipe cleaner in half and twist together to make an “X.” This will be the bees legs — or knees!

Use the silver pipe cleaner and bend it into a figure “8.” These are the “wings.”You may want to squish it together a bit so that the wings are not so fat.

From the underside of the cup, push the antennas through the holes on the top of the head. If they are very long, you can cut them off or twist them into squiggles.

Using a glue gun or dot, glue the legs to the underside of the body and form the legs.

Glue the wings to the top of the bee.

You can make six from each container! and hang them in your room! File Jun 22, 2 59 52 PMFile Jun 22, 1 54 54 PM

Next week, the butterfly and the bat!

Hint!!! Do you know what origami is?

Hope you enjoyed this week’s craft! As always, be sure to leave me a comment! Get your folding fingers ready!

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!

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

Fall for the Book & “Above the Stars”

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My wonderful family and friends at the Fall for the Book event on Sept. 18, 2014. People got to see the cover of the new book, Above the Stars, and eat some of the food that came from Ivy’s kitchen and Violette’s Magic Forest.

Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars will be released on Nov. 25, 2014. You may pre-order now through KickStarter. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1907899413/above-the-stars

Read about Stinky’s story, meet LLamont and LLemura, and a lizard who’s a wizard. New fantastical characters–bats and a unicorn! Join Phillip as he gets closer to Winterfrost Castle. The adventure continues.

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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.