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

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Good Friends, Good Food!

All of my friends know that I’m a foodie! I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love to share.  On Christmas Eve, except for very recently, I always did the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes. Even people who did not eat fish, ate it all! And, it has always been a great joy of mine to watch them  After all, I am my mother’s daughter.  Even though I cannot do the feast, anymore, Christmas Eve is still a great time of celebration at our house.  There is still lots of food, great bread (thank you to my friend, Kay, the honorary “Bread Lady”), and very excellent wine…oh, and desserts.  You have not eaten cake until you’ve eaten my friends’ Tee and Antje cakes.  This year, I even ordered cookies from Sicily!  They were magnificent.  But this blog is not about the wonderful Christmas Eve feasts at the Miller house.  It is about why I am such a lover of food.

Last night, my dear friend, Tee, gifted upon us her grandmother’s buttermilk biscuits and gravy.  GIFTED. Now, I’m Italian, (yes, I know, I’ve said that before,) so gravy, to me is rich, tomato-y sauce for pasta.  To Tee, it’s down home, country creamy, buttery rich gravy that you slather on your pork chops and lick off your fingers.  And, you don’t eat gravy without biscuits…although, I could eat it from a spoon! So, last night, we combined forces and had a wonderful, down home, Southern meal.  Reason number 1 for being a foodie.  We love good food.

But more than that, Tee’s sharing of her grandmother’s biscuits is her sharing a piece of HER life that is so very different from mine, and yet I experienced a real piece of it.  Through food, you get to share someone else’s life experience.  Reason number 2 for being a foodie.

Another friend of mine, Antje, shares Christmas Eve with us.  She is German and we have learned more about her life over a glass (or several) of wine, then we could any other way.  We also learn about her life every Christmas.  She has an italian Christmas Eve and we have an honest to goodness German Christmas! Her tortes are incredibly delicious and have no calories…yeah, right.  They are elaborate and yummy and filled with her heritage and her love.  What could be a better way to learn about someone else’s culture. Reason number 3 for being a foodie.

In this ever shrinking world, we must learn about people.  We must be able to accept and embrace differences.  I am blessed to be able to fill my table with an array of different people, people I love and have learned from…this is the international house of pancakes! If you can share food with others, you share the world.  Reason 3 for being a foodie!