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

The Care and Feeding of Gnomes

When writing my first children’s book, Phillip’s Quest, Book 1, Winterfrost, I found it was necessary to spend many hours at the main library in the Village of Twistedoak, to research the species genomos or “earth dweller.” One cannot simply look at the commercialized and sometimes obnoxious “garden gnome” as popularized by a certain travel company and think, “Ugh! Why would you write about those creepy creatures!”  Mais, non! To know a gnome, is to love a gnome.  And so, my love of Phillip began.

Gnomes are self-sufficient and resilient, by nature.  Very easily pleased, their normal psyche is that of loving, caring beings, with huge hearts and a general joie de vivre. Although small in stature, smaller than their dwarf counterparts in height, their hands and feet are disproportionately larger.  Requiring very little physical care, the gnome is naturally quite healthy due to its diet, rich in organic fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and  occasional raw dairy and eggs. Even though rarely sad or depressed, a tasty cookie or wiskit, will change the mood of the gnome from sad to glad! Not comfortable with confrontation, the gnome is a master diplomat.  One of the favorite gnome mottos is, “Don’t worry, be happy.” (Yes, it originally came from the gnome community and found on Rune stone in 1579 A.D. by Swiss alchemist, Paracelsus.) Since the gnome is not normally equipped for protecting itself, it has many natural predators; goblins, trolls, orcs, snakes, wolves, giant spiders, bats, ice hornets, etc… and evil witches. Their only means of protection comes from the help of a higher being, i.e. humans, blue witches, wizards.

The gnome’s eating habits differ, slightly, from region to region.  The gnomes of Twistedoak are vegetarians while other gnomes add dairy, fish and poultry to their diet.   The female gnome, given to having a large family, are excellent cooks.  They can turn anything into a feast.   The gnomes of Twistedoak arrived from their Old Country as mushroom farmers, many millennia ago. They “settled at the edge of the Great Granite Mountains and the Vast Enchanted Forest… They grew the most lovely mushrooms.  Some looked like little white pearls.  The farmers called them ‘candy ‘shrooms.’ They were as sweet as sugar and the wee ones would steal them as quickly as they popped out of the ground.  Their mothers and fathers always knew when they’d eaten too much, because they would come running home, crying, with tummy aches.  Some of the mushrooms were golden and big enough to feed a family of four…” However, due to circumstances beyond their control, these resilient gnomes have learned to adapt their diets to the main crops of  “taters and onions.”

Not for a lack of recipes, the female gnomes are very sharing, often having recipe trading parties.  Before the passing of Ivy, she was kind enough to share some wonderful recipes that she loved, as well as recipes from the Great Granma Polli. A recipe from Oli, the squirrel and a favorite of Phillip’s were also shared for our book.  They are:

Ivy’s Tater Buns

Ivy’s Tater Dumplings

Ivy’s Tater and Onion Pancakes

Oli’s Nutty Cakes

Phillip’s Mater Sauce with Hazelnuts

All recipes can be found in Phillip’s Quest, Book 1: Winterfrost.  An upcoming cookbook, adapted for human consumption, is in the works!