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

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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

Happy Birthday, Phillip!

It’s been one year since my little Phillip was put on the page. Like a proud Momma, I am! He would have had a better birthday if it weren’t for Edward–oh, you don’t know about that, yet–but, you will! Book II, Above the Stars will fill you in! In the meantime, please join me in wishing my Phillip a Happy Birthday!

Handsome little fellow, isn’t he?

Meet Llamont!

Is he not the sweetest llama you’ve ever seen? Llamont is from my newest book–to be out on October–“Above the Stars,”  Book II in the Phillip’s Quest series.  He is drawn by the brilliant illustrator/artist, Dean Kuhta and lives, with his wife, Llemura, in the mountains of Ice Cave Canyon. An important character to the series, Llamont may be one of the prints available during our Kickstarter campaign in September! Image   –From:  Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars, by Belinda C. Barker and Illustrated by Dean Kuhta–

He was chomping on a long blade of grass. This odd looking fellow wore no boots on his very furry feet. He was the herder of the spotted goats. The goat herder had a few of the silly goats lagging behind. He seemed completely unaware of the dinosaur beside him or the gnome standing on top. Edward had managed to scramble to the top of Stinky’s head where he perched himself so he could get a better view of the activities.

“Lassies, p-p-please now. Yur a-laggin’ b-b-behind. It’s almos t-t-time fer t-t-tay.” As he spoke, there were little sprays of liquid coming from his mouth. Indeed, he spit as he spoke.

“We’re goin’ as fast as we…” The head goat, Veni-Vedi, fell over in faint. It lasted two or three seconds and then, “can. Hold yer britches!”

This odd fellow plus many more make their appearance in the newest book of the Phillip’s Quest series as Phillip and his two companions, Edward the Squirrel and Stinky the Dinosaur, continue on their quest for Winterfrost Castle. Meet Bael, the Red Witch’s new villain who tries to straighten out Razorsnoot, the farting goblin. Meet Oli, Edward’s sister who is taking care of a special gnome. And meet Chaspere, the lizard who’s a wizard!

Look for the “Above the Stars” Kickstarter Campaign beginning in September, so that Llamont, Llemura and their silly, spotted goats can leave Ice Cave Canyon for the pages of “Phillip’s Quest, Book II.”  Win free prizes–jewelry, art prints, gift cards, free signed copies of “Winterfrost” and “The Ragwort Chronicles,” and MORE.

Sign up for the “Gnome Gnews-Letter” at this website for updates about the campaign, new books and exciting offers!

Reviews–An Author’s Life Blood

Did you know that a review from a reader is like a million dollars to an author? Well, only of they’re good, of course.  But still, a bad review helps an author learn what needs to be fixed. After you have sold a few books, especially through Amazon, it’s always nice to check in with the customer reviews to see what’s been written.  What I’ve found out though, is some people don’t know that the option is available. And, don’t realize how valuable that review is. So, boys and girls, ladies and gents, friends and family, here is “Writing the Review, 101.”

If you’ve ever bought anything on Amazon, then you should already have an account.  If you haven’f, good for you! No, really, Amazon is a great place to shop–especially for BOOKS or ebooks!  So, I will assume that you’re not part of the 10% of people in the US who has never bought anything on Amazon.  But, lets start at the beginning so:

  1. Go to your favorite SEARCH engine and type in, Amazon or Amazon.com or http://www.amazon.com or, if you want to go right to the source, click on the link: http://www.amazon.com/Phillips-Quest-Book-Winterfrost/dp/0615886930/  There! Phillip's Quest
  2. If you DON’T use the above link, that’s fine, once you’re in Amazon, just search for my name: belinda miller or Phillip’s Quest or in the near future, The Ragworts! Voila!
  3. You should be on the book page of Winterfrost.  That’s a good thing.
  4. Now, scroll, scroll, scroll to the bottom of the page where it says “Write a Customer Review.”
  5. Don’t forget the number of STARS! Hopefully, you’ll tap 5, but I realize not everyone loves Phillip.
  6. Add your review!  It can be one word like “Great,” or two words like “Really great,” or three words like “Not so great.”  It’s okay, I’ll still love you! Or a lengthy and profound review, that’s good too!
  7. The final step is to SUBMIT, and let Amazon do its magic.
  8. And then, there’s this:Image

The best review of all.

 

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.

How to Find a Gnome

I look at the writings of my collegues and remark at the careful and, I’m sure, sometimes tedious research that they perform to authenticate their writing. I admire them and sometimes feel guilty because my writing requires nothing but my imagination! Even though I had Dean Kuhta’s wonderful illustrations to follow and knew the kind of characters I needed to create, I knew little about gnomes.  I mean, what did you need to know? Short and stocky? Yup. Bearded? Sure. Conical hats? Mostly. I mean, just look at the annoying Travelocity gnome (my cousin started that company, so I hope I won’t get in trouble). Voila, a gnome! Then, after the third book, I decided maybe I should do some research.

Did you gnow that there is a whole gnome culture out there! First of all, I went nuts on Pinterest. Too much fun.  Beautiful illustrations of gnome and their habitats. Artists have put together mini-gnome habitats. Too cute — so I went wild “pinning” all these pictures to my Phillip’s Quest page.  Talented people. A bit weird, but talented. Yeah, right, look who’s talking! I’m obsessed.

So, of course, I must gnow MORE! Low and behold, I remember some of these illustrations and remember, from somewhere, the book called Gnomes. Immediately, I’m on Amazon and there it is, by Wil Huygen and RienPoortvelt.  Two Dutchmen who put wrote and illustrated the iconic guide to all things gnome-ish. The illustrations are amazing! But, what’s more amazing is that I did okay with Phillip.

Except for some “nude-y” gnomes, (I’m not kidding), it would be a great book to show and read to children. One of my favorite parts is about the “other” night beings.  One particular troll is called a “snotgurgle.” Must be Razorsnoot’s cousin! Gotta love it. Needless to say, I feel so much less guilty about not doing research. Goes to show you, you can find anything on the internet.  Next research project–dragons!

As Phillip would say in his native language, “Slitzweitz!” (“Goodbye!”)

 

Of course, Phillip’s Quest and Gnomes are available on Amazon!