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

“…one is silver and the other’s gold.”

     Any body out there an ex-Brownie Scout?  I remember, as a little girl being a Brownie Scout and learning the song”

“Make new friends, but keep the old,

One is silver and the other gold!”

     We all have family that we are born into and then there is family, that we choose.  Those are friends, friends for life.  Last night I watched Jay Leno’s last show.  At the end of his show, he explained why he never went to another network when he left the Tonight Show, the first time.  He explained that for the 22 years he had been with NBC, he had worked with, what he felt, were family.  The first year he started with NBC, he lost his mother, the second year, his father and a few years later, his brother.  So, the only family he had left were his colleagues and friends at NBC.

     Sometimes, we forget who our real friends are.  Are they the 100 FRIENDS on FB?  There’s someone I know who refers to everyone he/she meets as a “friend.”  And, I’m like, how are they a friend?  How do you define that?  Do you really have 300 best friends?  Really? It’s almost like it’s said as a status symbol!

     My definition must be way different.  I think social media may have redefined that word but for me, I know who my friends are.  Do they change throughout your life?  Yes, occasionally they do, but there is always a core.  A core, if your blessed, of 5 people, (in my opinion) maybe less.  And, I think, one of the determining factor is time.  People that have been with you, over the years, through thick and thin.  People that you don’t always like, but always love.  People who may criticize you, but never judge you. People who can share their deepest, darkest secrets with you and you can do the same, and trust that they will keep them. People who don’t break the promises that they make to you, without a real reason.  People that don’t betray you. People that you can be away from for months or years, but are still there, whenever you need them.  Hard standards to meet?  Maybe.

     I think that people, like myself, who are only children, seek out these people.  Since they don’t have brothers and sisters, they seek out the “goodness of strangers.”  Sometimes that works and sometimes, not so much.  But, I’d bet that their core friendships are larger.  That they have more loving, trusting friends, than others with a large amount of siblings.  Especially, if, like me, they’ve traveled a lot.

So, that brings me back to the old “Brownie” song. “…one is silver and the other gold.” The “Bestie,” the “BFF,” the person(s) who you can count on, no matter what.  Got, one? Two? Three?  You are blessed.  I am blessed.

The Week That Was!

What a great week!  Besides the freezing cold and snow that surrounded most of the Eastern seaboard, except Florida which, as everyone knows, is really another country, it was an exciting week. (Trust me, it doesn’t take much!)  The wonderful writers/bloggers in Write by the Rails, started their blog tour. The reading has been excellent…some anecdotal, some about their books, all good!  I learned how to get up and running with my blog and web page.  Thank you Katherine Gotthardt!  I’m always excited to meet new people, especially those that are willing to teach.  So, that’s my first bit of excitement.

I live in a condominium and am President of the association.  It’s been seven years of hard labor, but has been worthwhile.  We still struggle, however, with the drug element brought in by some tenants.  Fortunately, I’ve built a pretty good rapport with our local Police Department and have come to know some of the officers, personally.  They really are a great group and I appreciate all they do to help our little community out.  This week, our security cameras picked up a real life COPS episode!  Talk about exciting!!!  You go guys and dog.

Have had friends in and out, all week.  God bless them! They know that when the weather is bad, I’m in. I love that our friends feel so comfortable in our home.  They are all family.  It’s a good thing.

Last but not least, getting an “A” grade from my cardiologist and presenting him with a signed copy of PQ. It wasn’t so long ago that I was in terrible pain and he sat with me when I was so miserable that I didn’t know what to do. He was so happy with getting the book and being able to share it with his girls, 9 and 11, after he read it first!  Phillip, you did good!

And last but not least, the thing that bella Napoli is known for and part of my life’s blood, pizza!  Thick or thin?  Chicago or New York? Sausage or pepperoni? A topic for another blog but, it’s all good!

Told you…it doesn’t take much.