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="; 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="; 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="; 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="; 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


Taters and Onions, Italian Style

I said that I would include blogs about Italian cooking.  When I eventually do the Phillip’s Quest Cookbook, many of the recipes will be a conversion of Italian recipes to recipes for gnomes, and other creatures.  Here is one I found on Adrianna’s Cookies page.  I’d like to call it, “Taters and Onions a la Italiano”

2-1/4 lbs of russet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly

2 cups chopped onions

2 cups chicken broth

1 garlic clove, halved

8 Tablespoons packed Pecorino Romano cheese, divided

3 Tablespoons drained capers

Olive oil for brushing, plus 4 Tablespoons, divided

Coarse Kosher salt


Preheat  oven to 350F

Rub 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass pan with cut side of garlic clove.

Brush dish with olive oil.

Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.

Add onions, sprinkle with salt and sautee until soft and beginning to brown. Stir frequently, about 12-15 minutes.

Arrange 1/3 of s;iced potatoes in even layer in prepared pan.

Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.

Scatter 1/2 onions over the potatoes.

Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons Pecorino and 1 Tablespoon capers.

Repeat layering and end with layer of potatoes.

Drizzle remaining olive oil.

Pour chicken broth over.

Press down on potatoes to compact layers.

Cover, gratin with foil and bake for 1hour 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, another 15 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned.

Let gratin remain at room temperature for 10 minutes, before serving.

Salute! Buono appetito!