“and so I said to myself, it’s a wonderful day!”

I knew it would be a wonderful day today.  It seems as if they come in pairs! Yesterday, I had a great time with the Creative Writing Club at Featherstone Elementary School in Woodbridge, Virginia.  This club is organized by a young teacher, Jessica Guerrero and is facilitated by her and another lovely teacher, Mrs. Mc Cloud.  The group consists of children in grades 3-5.  Amazing!  The sweetest children and talented!  My word, some of the stories!  Forget the spelling and punctuation, these kids can write! Oh, how sometimes, I so miss the classroom  

We talked about characters…hey, they were looking at one, or two.  I brought my faithful gnome, dragon and lizard with me.  And, my favorite thing, I got to read to them and left them with some books.  I will be participating in their Book Fair, too! I cannot tell you what a joy it is to be around bright, happy children.  I always thank the Guy upstairs for giving this world hope, through them. So that was good day numero uno!

Then, today,I find out that my dear friend, Debs Pouliot, who I have known since we were both young and gorgeous…she still is, has promoted Phillip through her daughter’s school, in Laurel,  MD.  This woman is, without a doubt talented.  She is a mixed media artist and has taught for Michaels, knows all kinds of crafty celebrities and is making bookmarks and jewelry for Phillip!  Can you believe? She is so cool…remember “make new friends, but keep the old?”  Well, thar ya go!  Debs and I have known each other for years and years and reconnected through FB!

And, a publisher that I rejected…yes, I did…has come back to me again, time number 5, I’m not kidding, to offer yet another suggestion to get my book to him.

I’m back working with my favorite illustrator; Above the Stars will be awesome. Another bonus!   

Am I blessed, or what!!!  My angels are working overtime!  

Yes, good days come in pairs but I wouldn’t mind a three-fer. 

 

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!