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

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

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.