Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book review of 'Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory and the Ice Cream Castle'

Saturdays hold a special lure for Phillipa, for they are the day on which her mum always makes her a special ice cream treat called a Knickerbocker Glory. What girl wouldn't like giant glasses loaded with ice cream, sprinkles, and fruit?

Phillipa loves Knickerbocker Glories so much that she's sure she could eat them every day, but one Saturday when she closes her eyes to savor the creamy goodness on her tongue, she gets a surprise that she hasn't bargained for. Sheopens her eyes to find herself in a strange, sticky tunnel which leads to a magical land complete with castles and a queen who wants Phillipa's help in tasting ice cream.

Phillipa agrees to do the queen's bidding, but as flavor after flavor pours out of the ice cream making machine, will Phillipa finally discover that, as much as she loves ice cream, there is such a thing as too much?

Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory and the Ice Cream Castle is a self-published book by new UK author Sarahjane Funnell. A nicely bound paperback containing colorful illustrations by Amie Bilsby, Sarahjane's book will appeal to the younger girl who loves ice cream, castles, and a little fantasy for good measure. Visit Sarahjane's website for more information about her book or to download Phillipa Knickerbocker Glory coloring pages, recipes, and desktop images.

A copy of this book was provided by the author for this review. There was no compensation received for this review, and the opinions expressed, whether positive or negative, are my own. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Did you ever get the feeling that something was missing?

Last week we packed up and headed to Grandma's farm for a well-deserved spring break week in the country. After we arrived, I took a deep breath of that good country air. There would be few phone calls and absolutely no internet. I had all my art stuff in multiple bags and rolling carts. It was going to be great. That is, it was going to be great until I realized I had left something important far, far behind at home.

My suitcase.

After a good laugh at myself, I headed out to Walmart and pick up a few things I absolutely had to have to make it through the week. With those purchases and a couple of t-shirt donations from my brother and my mom, I was in good shape. After all, I reasoned, it's not like I needed a lot of special clothes to burn brush, play with barn cats, and hike in the fields.

But for that split second when I realized I had left something fairly important behind, I could have kicked myself. I really do hate it when I mess up.

Which brings me back to writing. Have you ever finished a story, chapter, or book and gotten the uncomfortable feeling that something just isn't quite right? What do you tend to leave behind in your writing? Is it your characters? your dialogue? or (heaven forbid) your plot?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lost in Byzantium

I have become so fascinated with this lost empire that was a trade, governmental, cultural, scientific and knowledge hub of Europe and the Middle East during the middle ages. The architecture, the influence of Greek language and study, and its art still remain.

Byzantine history should also serve as a warning since our own country's history in some way imitates it. The U.S. was deliberately created to be a Christian nation. Constantinople, the Byzantine capitol, was established as the new center of power for the Christian Roman Empire in 324 AD. Located advantageously between Asia and Europe with land and sea access, it was specifically chosen and designed for that purpose.

The Empire fell to the Ottomans in 1353 and Constantinople and most of the Asian portion of its empire has been a Muslim entity ever since. For over one thousand years, Byzantium was a powerful Christian force, but for almost 800 years it has been a seat of power for Islam. What happened? That is a fascinating story indeed, and that is where we should set ourselves to learn from history. As a writer, my job is to tell the lessons of history in a fresh and interesting way that can be understood in our own time. One can only get lost in research for so long...