An Exciting Event for those Who Love the Written Word!

Whether you be a bard or a scrivener, a raconteur or a reader, if you live in the Virginia, Maryland or DC area, you will want to be a part of this auspicious event!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In the Company of Laureates, co-hosted by Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, and the Poetry Society of Virginia, brings together more than 20 current and past Poets Laureate from Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia in celebration of American poetry at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts on October 11 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Hylton Center is located at 10960 George Mason Circle on George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus, Manassas, Virginia.

Meet and mingle with award-winning Laureates and other regional poets and enthusiasts. Workshops, panel discussions, open mics, book signings and more. A teen program and activities are also scheduled throughout the afternoon. The event is free and open to the public.

For additional information, visit the In the Company of Laureates event website at: http://www.writebytherails.org/in-the-company-of-laureates/

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I have been remiss …

In posting any more crafts for the month of July, but I hope you have been working on your Story Box! The reason I am so remiss is that I have been working so hard on two projects myself! First, the publication of the newest book in the Phillip’s Quest series, “Across the Elusive Sea.” You have been looking at a cover for quite a while and I promise you that it will be even more fun than the first two books: “Winterfrost,” and “Above the Stars.” If you recall, “WInterfrost” introduces my friend, Phillip Tuber(a farmer gnome from the land of Twistedoak), and sends him on his journey, with his friend, Edward the Squirrel, to the land of ice and snow — Winterfrost! “Above the Stars,” tells of the many adventures Phillip and Edward have trying to get to Azur, the Blue Wizard’s castle and to the Carnelian Sea! Don’t forget about “Stinky” the Dinosaur and Chaspére, the lizard who’s a wizard! Now, they’re on a great pirate sailing ship, the La Fortuna, where they come in contact with sea monsters and sea creatures — including the mermaid, Kala! The excitement continues! My other project has been working with the Little Free Libray initiative. Have you seen one? They are popping up as fast as the ‘shrooms in Twistedoak. Write by the Rails is a large group of writers and authors from Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas City, Virginia, who has been building these libraries to install in certain locations. The first one will be installed at the New School, a school for literature and the arts, on August 8th. So, we have been busy. Check out littlefreelibrary.org and writebytherails.org to see these wonderful programs.

This is our Alice in Wonderland library! Enjoy and will catch you later for some of Roscoe’s favorite cookies!

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This WbtR Little Library will be installed at the United Methodist Church in Nokesville, VA

Winterfrost’s First Craft for Kids! A Tisket a Tasket, Please Add it to YOUR Basket — or Box

IMG_0031Who knows what a story “box” is? Well, in case you’ve never heard of one, it’s the “box” most writers use to produce a story. It’s not always a box — many writers keep notebooks that they journal in for years and years. Then one day, they happen on a “blip,” a “blurb,” a “blog,” anything — picture, article, news story, something — that inspires them to write a story — fiction or non-fiction — but something that they are very interested in!

But, how do they start? Well, some of us start as young children; keeping notebooks filled with drawings and scribbles of stories that we now write. But, there’s more to it. Writers are very “visual”. They see things! They can look at a picture, a statue, a photograph, a scene — or something larger, like a piece of history, and want to know more! One thing leads to another, and a story is born! So, today, you are going to find your inner storyteller — your inner author and hopefully, this will take you into this wonderful realm, throughout your life!

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Step 1:   Find your “box.” Your very own box that you can keep all the things that you collect for your story telling. This does not have to be a “box” — it can be a basket, a cereal box, a shoe box, a bowl, plastic container or even a jar! Something that you can decorate with things you love, so that anyone who looks at it, knows it’s yours! Be sure whatever it is, it is large enough to hold:

  • a notebook, IMG_0039IMG_0033
  • pen or pencil,
  • some colored pencils,
  • a small scissor,
  • glue stick,
  • a straight edge
  • your favorite book andIMG_0038
  • maybe your favorite gnome!

    Phillip Tuber

    Phillip Tuber

P. S. “Boots and britches, do not leave this laying around in everyone’s way. Keep it in your room, on your desk or in your closet.”

Step 2: Decorate your “box” with whatever you want. There is not right or wrong way. Ask your mom or dad to help you get some:

  • magazines, for pictures that you can cut out,
  • old photos that you can glue,
  • drawing paper, to create your own art,
  • wrapping paper,
  • scrapbook paper.

Ask them if they’ll get pictures off the web for you! Or, you can:

  • write your name in big letters and decorate the letters — draw a picture around each letter,
  •  use a favorite coloring page– color it and2015-06-17 00.05.53 glue it on the box,
  • yarn and ribbon,
  • paint it with watercolor paints,
  • old plastic buttons,
  • old fake flowers — take them apart and use just the petals — or use them whole,
  • old pieces of costume jewelry that your mom has laying around — maybe for a pirate’s treasure box! Argh!
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After all, this is YOUR BOX, your treasure — the sky’s the limit. Take your time, because as you’re doing this, I’ll bet you think of a lot of great stories.

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P. S. Clean up your STUFF after you have decorated it. Do not leave a mess!

Step 3: Start your collection! You might want to use old envelopes that have been opened, to collect certain things. For instance:

  • an envelope (or ten) for pictures of your family, or cats, or airplanes, or dogs, or dolls, or flowers — you get the picture. Whatever you love — get a picture of it, put it in an envelope and label the envelope! Soon, it will be bulging at the seams, and time for another one. But, if you keep pictures in an envelope — they won’t get smushed and wrinkled.

Write a word or two on the back of each picture you collect, number them, and start your “blurbs.”

For example: picture #1 is my cat Skye. In my notebook, I might write: “Skye was a feral cat and is now very friendly, tame and spoiled. (All true!) She is two years old and very fast!

  • Skye

    PICTURE #1 Skye was rescued in September 2014. She is  very small, very friendly and very fast.

And that’s how you begin! As you collect and write, or draw, you will find a common thread — something you are “passionate” about — very interested.

The more you collect, the more you will want to tell your story. Remember, it’s YOUR STORY. Don’t worry about misspells, punctuation, erasures — just write, and write, and write and write. The rest comes later, that’s called revisions and editing. We’ll get to that  — RIGHT NOW, JUST WRITE! Oh, and read!

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  • Step 4: READ all you can about things you want to write about. Keep a list in your notebook! Title and author. Be a critic!  Like it? Yes or no? Why? Favorite part of the story? Jot it down. The more you read, the easier it becomes to write. You’ll notice parts of the book, how the author uses words. Even if all you do is look at the  “illustrations”– the pictures, look at them closely, they are very cool. And, if you want to be an illustrator, they will give you something to work towards.

Enjoy this craft and keep your Story Box handy. You could be finding all kinds of stuff that you’ll want to add to it!

As always, leave me a reply! Can’t wait to hear from you!

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April Showers Bring May Flowers — and Ragworts!

Busy days ahead for the Ragwort family!

“The Ragworts are taking center stage for the month of May,” says Rawlink Ragwort. “My brother Roscoe’s story about his treacherous journey through the Dark Forest and Bandersnatch Swamp is about to be released in the very exciting book, The Ragwort Chronicles, Along the Way: Roscoe’s Journey.”

Such is the news from Winterfrost Publishing — hot off the press! Roscoe is still recovering from his terrifying journey and encounters with such creatures as the mold-trolls; Llora, the Witch of the Dark Forest, and her wolves. With help from his good friend, Timonius Toad, he managed to escape her clutches and survive!

See the wonderful illustrations of Annie Wilkinson and a new, exciting story about the lovable Roscoe Ragwort. Reserve your copy NOW by completing the form on this website — it won’t be available until May 19, 2015, OR come visit the author at these locations during the month of MAY …

05/02/15 – Arts Alive! at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts, Manassas, VA

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Prospero’s Books, 9129 Center Street, Manassas, VA

05/23/15Local Author Fair, Bull Run Library, 2-4 p.m., 8051 Ashton Ave., Manassas, VA

Orders for this newest version of The Ragwort Chronicles, will be taken at the Hylton Center or on this website.A SPECIAL pre-order price of $13.50 will be honored until 05/10/15.

Hope to see you soon!

Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars – Kickstarter Update

ATS KS Phillip Bonus ATS KS Join Me at Fall For The Book

THANK YOU to everyone who has visited the Kickstarter campaign for Above the Stars! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1907899413/above-the-stars

Momentum this last week has been a little slow… So, as a special thank you to everyone who pledges before 9/17, I’ll be emailing jpegs of original Phillip’s Quest art, including a picture of hardy gnome Phillip Tuber that you can use as computer or phone wallpaper, your profile picture on social media, or a little smile you can share with your friends.

I know that not everyone is in a position to buy the book. If you’d like to give Phillip Tuber and his friends a boost, please consider:

Retweeting one of my messages https://twitter.com/Bella772013, or

Sharing one of my posts https://www.facebook.com/bbmiller0707

Also: I am thrilled to be part of a very special closing night event at this year’s Fall For The Book. On the closing night of the festival, Thurs., Sept.18, I will be part of Haute Cuisine at the Hylton, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, George Mason University, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas. The festival will host its 2nd annual celebration of fine food, superior drink, and the various stories behind the scenes of every aspect of the food industry from farm to table—and beyond! Cookbook authors, food writers, chefs and chocolatiers, novelists incorporating food into their fiction, and even the newly minted Prince William County Poets Laureate. Come join us for a fantastic evening of books – and food!

http://fallforthebook.org/ai1ec_event/haute-cuisine-at-the-hylton-2/

The campaign runs until 9/30. Thank you for all of your support!

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

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.

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