Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Women's Fiction Author Shana Mahaffey on 'Sounds Like Crazy' Virtual Book Tour Dec. 6

Join Shana Mahaffey as she tours the blogosphere December 6, 2010 to January 14, 2011 to promote her new women's fiction novel, Sounds Like Crazy (Penguin Books).

Though she doesn’t remember the trauma that caused it, Holly Miller, the main character of Shana's novel, has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Her personality has fractured into five different identities, together known as The Committee. And as much as they make Holly’s life hell, she can’t live without them. Then one of those identities, the flirtatious, southern Betty Jane, lands Holly a voiceover job. Betty Jane wants nothing more than to be in the spotlight. The rest of The Committee wants Betty Jane to shut up. Holly’s therapist wants to get to the bottom of her broken psyche. And Holly? She’s just along for the ride.

The San Francisco Chronicle says, "Mahaffey documents a realistic setting and progression of psychotherapy...both funny and poignant, Sounds Like Crazy celebrates resilience as an essential element of the human condition."

"Mahaffey has infused the book with keen insights into human nature and the complexities of life that challenge all of us," says San Franscisco Book Review. "Sounds Like Crazy is a novel that should appeal to anyone who has ever wondered about the little voice in the back of their head."

Tish Cohen, author of The Inside Out Girl, says "Tender, fresh, and darkly comic, Sounds Like Crazy is a sweet and poignant debut. In exploring the reality of a lonely woman living with dissociative identity disorder. Shana Mahaffey has created an honest and compelling character that will both touch your heart and have you laughing out loud."

Shana Mahaffey lives in San Francisco in an Edwardian compound that she shares with an informal cooperative of family, friends and five cats. She’s a survivor of Catechism and cat scratch fever, and is a member of the Sanchez Grotto Annex, a writers’ community. Her work has been published in SoMa Literary Review and Sunset Magazine. She welcomes all visitors to her website www.shanamahaffey.com, and is happy to meet with book groups in-person or in cyberspace (phone/webcam/the works).

If you'd like to find out more about Shana during her virtual book tour, visit her official tour page here.



You can purchase Sounds Like Crazy at Amazon.

Children's Book Author Cheryl Malandrinos to Guest on A Book and a Chat

Cheryl C. Malandrinos, author of "Little Shepherd" will be a special guest on the popular Blogtalkradio show, A Book and A Chat with Storyheart.

Join Storyheart at 11 AM Eastern on Saturday, December 4, 2010 for A Book and A Chat sit down with children's author Cheryl C. Malandrinos. You can listen online at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Across-the-Pond and call in your questions to 347- 237-5398.

Malandrinos' picture book, "Little Shepherd" has hit the Amazon bestseller's list in the Large Print Children's Books category four times since its release.

Here is what reviewers are saying about "Little Shepherd":

"It's a great book for families during the holidays looking to bring more depth and understanding to the standard nativity story."

--Christy's World of Books

"Little Shepherd is a great Christmas story for children between the ages of 4-8 that inspires faith and trust in something that cannot be seen, but can be felt in the heart and in the soul. This book would make a great addition to any Christmas collection as well as in any religious setting."

--The Crypto-Capers Review

"Your first reaction may be, oh goodness another story on the birth of Christ. Toss those thoughts away and immerse yourself and your children into the magical arrival of Christ the Lord. Children's author, Cheryl C. Malandrinos has re-explored and created a beautiful re-enactment of Christ the Lord's birth in a unique and awe inspiring rendition which surely will become classical reading in Christian religious school studies and home libraries.

The old time illustrations expertly created by illustrator, Eugene Ruble will leave you feeling that you journeyed through the countryside with Obed and his fellow shepherds."

--Donna McDine, award-winning author of The Golden Pathway

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, online book publicist, blogger and reviewer. She is a founding member of Musing Our Children and Editor in Chief of the group's quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens. "Little Shepherd" is her first book.

Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com

Storyheart (Barry Eva) is the author of the YA romance novel, "Across the Pond" and the host of the popular Blogtalkradio show, A Book and A Chat.

You'll find Storyheart online at http://acrossthepond-storyheart.blogspot.com/.



Contact information:

Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Email: cg20pm00@gmail.com

Website: http://ccmalandrinos.com

Women's Fiction Author Shana Mahaffey on 'Sounds Like Crazy' Virtual Book Tour Dec. 6

Join Shana Mahaffey as she tours the blogosphere December 6, 2010 to January 14, 2011 to promote her new women's fiction novel, Sounds Like Crazy (Penguin Books).

Though she doesn’t remember the trauma that caused it, Holly Miller, the main character of Shana's novel, has Dissociative Identity Disorder. Her personality has fractured into five different identities, together known as The Committee. And as much as they make Holly’s life hell, she can’t live without them. Then one of those identities, the flirtatious, southern Betty Jane, lands Holly a voiceover job. Betty Jane wants nothing more than to be in the spotlight. The rest of The Committee wants Betty Jane to shut up. Holly’s therapist wants to get to the bottom of her broken psyche. And Holly? She’s just along for the ride.

The San Francisco Chronicle says, "Mahaffey documents a realistic setting and progression of psychotherapy...both funny and poignant, Sounds Like Crazy celebrates resilience as an essential element of the human condition."

"Mahaffey has infused the book with keen insights into human nature and the complexities of life that challenge all of us," says San Franscisco Book Review. "Sounds Like Crazy is a novel that should appeal to anyone who has ever wondered about the little voice in the back of their head."

Melodie Brown, author of My Lost and Found Life, calls Sounds Like Crazy "highly original and engrossing."

Shana Mahaffey lives in San Francisco in an Edwardian compound that she shares with an informal cooperative of family, friends and five cats. She’s a survivor of Catechism and cat scratch fever, and is a member of the Sanchez Grotto Annex, a writers’ community. Her work has been published in SoMa Literary Review and Sunset Magazine. She welcomes all visitors to her website www.shanamahaffey.com, and is happy to meet with book groups in-person or in cyberspace (phone/webcam/the works).

If you'd like to find out more about Shana during her virtual book tour, visit her official tour page here.

You can purchase your copy of Sounds Like Crazy at Amazon.

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours for authors looking for maximum online promotion to sell their books. Visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com to find out how we can take your book to the virtual level!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Easy as Pie at Bobby's Diner Virtual Book Tour begins Dec. 6

Join Susan Wingate, as she tours the blogosphere December 6 - January 14 to promote her new women's fiction/mystery novel, Easy as Pie at Bobby’s Diner (Blue Star Books).

Easy as Pie at Bobby's Diner focuses on Georgette Carlisle, who has lost her first husband and is about to lose her next, one Hawthorne Biggs. She’s running the diner with Roberta, her late husband’s daughter. When old friend, Helen, comes back home after a failed attempt at a writing career, she is, once again, attracted to Georgette’s man. After the two women part company Helen goes missing. While digging around, Georgette finds out that Biggs has a dangerous past. With Roberta at her side, the two women, brave separation, torture and near death at the hand of Biggs. And, after taking him down, the women find a new strength and belonging. EASY AS PIE is the number two book in the four-part “Bobby’s Diner” series

Award-winning author, Susan Wingate, gets a monthly column about writing and the publishing industry in her local newspaper, The Journal of the San Juan Islands. She will also be posting weekly discussions about the writing industry for the regional online newspaper, the PNWLocalNews.com site.

You can view Wingate’s discussions by clicking on the “Entertainment” tab and then finding Wingate’s discussions under the “Blogs” section of the Entertainment Page.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona to James & Amie Ajamie (a writer and an artist, respectively), Susan Wingate tried to fly, at age five off the roof of their family house using newspaper, wire hangers and scotch tape. She’s been dreaming of flying ever since. Oh, by the way, she never jumped. Her mother ran out in the nick of time to stop her from take-off.

Wingate realized her dreams when she entered the world of writing. At first, she only wrote songs and poetry but then her writing blossomed when she tried her hand at fiction. In 1997, she devoted her days to writing and in 2004, she began writing full-time. Since then, Susan has written several plays, one screenplay, one short story collection and seven novels with two more scheduled to be written in 2010. In 2008, she started writing a memoir.

A lover of the arts, Susan draws and paints abstracts using oil as her favored medium. She has taken up playing the violin (it’s been a squeakly start) and she loves the theatre. Susan lives in Washington State.

Wingate’s novel, Bobby’s Diner, received three finalist awards in the following book competitions:

■2010 International Book Awards,

■2009 National Book Awards (USA Book News),

■2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

In May 2010, two of Wingate’s novels were released, they are:

■A FALLING OF LAW, and

EASY AS PIE AT BOBBY’S DINER (the no. 2 book in the Bobby’s Diner Series)

“Camouflage,” Wingate’s fourth novel (written as Myah Lin) received a Finalist Award and an Editor’s Choice Award in the 2009 Textnovel Writing Contest.

To date, Wingate has written seven novels, two short story collections, a memoir, hundreds of poems, a few plays for theatre and one screenplay.

Her books can be found online and in bookstores across the country and her articles, short stories and poetry can be found in magazines, journals and reviews.

Locally, Wingate volunteers with the San Juan Island Library. She offers workshops, readings and presentations at writing conferences, bookstores and libraries throughout the country.

You can visit her website at www.susanwingate.com.

If you'd like to find out where Susan will be appearing during her virtual book tour, visit her official tour page here.

Easy as Pie

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours for authors looking for maximum online promotion to sell their books. Visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com to find out how we can take your book to the virtual level!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Interview with Shari Bookstaff, author of "When Life Throws You Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice!"


Shari Bookstaff grew up in Milwaukee, WI, dreaming of becoming a marine biologist. She made it to California and is currently a biology professor, teaching at a community college near San Francisco. While her specialty is marine mammals, she recently expanded her course offerings to include a class on the human brain. Inspired by her own medical trials, Shari continues to merge her personal and professional interests.

Shari lives with her two children (and two dogs) in a small town just south of San Francisco, near the ocean. While her disabilities make life harder, she is determined to continue walking on the beach, attending concerts, and cheering at football games.

You can find more about Shari and When Life Throws You Lemons…Make Cranberry Juice on her website at http://www.wix.com/lemonsandcranberries/lemons

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Shari Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, When Life Throws You Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice!?

A: I had a brain tumor removed in 2006, which was supposed to be “routine, simple, with no lasting effects.” A complication ensued, keeping me in the hospital for many months and leaving me with some life-long challenges. Through it all, my mind was clear, and I remembered everything. People, including close friends, did not know how to act around me or what to say when my world imploded. I wrote a book about my experiences with doctors, nurses, therapists, friends, and family. While my story certainly can come off as tragic, flashes of my wicked sense of humor lighten the tone of the book.

At some point during my nine-month hospital stay, I decided to write a book about my experience.

In the hospital, with nothing but my mind for company, I thought about how I would write a book. The rehabilitation center I was at specialized in brain injuries, and it was suggested to me that I write stories about the twelve patients staying there with me. My speech and physical writing skills were coming along very slowly at the time, so I wasn't up for conducting interviews.

I came home at the end of March 2007. I wasn't walking, driving, or working. Going to outpatient therapy kept me busy during the day. My kids kept me busy at night.

Writing the book started with long emails that I wrote to friends in the middle of the night. I had always been able to express my feelings better through writing than through talking--and express them I did!

By January 2009, I had read the entire Harry Potter series twice and I was ready to go back to work. I started going to an Adaptive Physical Education class at my college, helping in labs, and giving guest lectures. The busier I got, the more I did! I realized my experiences may be valuable enough to share. Those emails I wrote to friends in the middle of the night were a start. I divided my thoughts into "chapters" and got started. Once I had enough, I looked for a publisher. Publish America called me to tell me they accepted my story for publication at the beginning of 2009. Once I had a publisher (and a deadline), I set daily writing goals for myself. I went through my medical records (a two-foot high stack) and legal records for dates and names of medical procedures. I also interviewed friends to get parts of my story that I wasn't "there" for.

I finished the book in June of 2009, and it was published in October 2009.

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

A: Whenever someone is going through a tough time, people grasp for the “right” words. Some tell you to put your faith in God; others tell you to see the glass as half-full.

“Think positive!”

“It could be worse!”

“What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”

“God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.”

And of course: “When life throws you lemons, make lemonade”.

If I squeezed lemons into a glass, I’d have lemon juice. Who wants to drink straight lemon juice? At the very least, I need to add sugar. So, I need to take life’s lemons and add life’s sugar to it.

My favorite drink is cranberry juice mixed with lemonade. When life throws you lemons, make cranberry juice! Take life’s lemons, and add some sugar and cranberries. But where can you find life’s cranberries? While my lemons had always been large, sour, and smacking me in the face, my cranberries had always been small and elusive. I really had to pay attention to find my cranberries, and I had to be willing to recognize them. My cranberries ranged from a rub on my shoulder to a friend installing my dishwasher.

Putting a positive spin on life’s disasters doesn’t always work. This book is not about making lemonade out of lemons, but looking for and finding sugar and sweet cranberries to add to the lemons. Finding, and accepting, life’s cranberries makes the journey much more palatable.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

A: My story is meant to inspire people to look for, and accept, positive things in life in spite of, not because of, negative things. In other words: don’t try to make lemonade out of lemons. Add sweet stuff to your lemons instead!

Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Publish America have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

A: The cover was designed by the publisher. It shows a “lemon” faucet dispensing cranberry juice. While I had a different cover in mind, I am happy with the concept and the design.

Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

A: I would LOVE to have someone do the marketing for me. As a biologist, I know nothing about marketing. Also as a biologist (and teacher), I can’t afford one. So, I do it myself. I made a Facebook page, started writing a weekly blog, and held a book-signing.

I’ll let you know how successful this all is after my appearance on Ellen!

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

A: Most survival stories tend to be about appreciating life and realizing how the tragic event that happened was really a good thing. People say they find out who their real friends are, experience a deeper sense of faith, or in some other way describe how their life has changed for the better. My philosophy is different--I'm not trying to put a positive spin on my tragedy. My basic premise is to look for, and accept, positive things in life in spite of--not because of--negative things.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

A: I flipped to a section where I discuss people’s reactions to my condition. Many friends didn’t know what to say to me, or how to act, so they avoided me. They may have avoided me because seeing me scared people because they could no longer deny their own vulnerability. I was a healthy person. I never did drugs or smoked. I stayed in shape and had a reasonably healthy diet. I was a good person. If this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone.

What’s the solution? You have to read the book to find out!

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: I jokingly said that I could write a book called The Brain Tumor Diet and make a fortune. I’m actually considering a book that is not a “diet” book, per se, but has something for the mind, body, and soul.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Shari. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: I have a blog: http://bookstaff.blogspot.com/, which I try to update weekly. I set it up to continue telling my story.

You can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/When-Life-Throws-You-LemonsMake-Cranberry-Juice/294515330542

An autographed copy of When Life Throws You Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice! can be purchased through the book’s website at http://www.wix.com/lemonsandcranberries/lemons

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Twinning Murders: Interview with murder mystery author Shelly Frome

Shelly Frome is a Professor Emeritus of dramatic arts at the University of Connecticut. A former professional actor and theater director, his writing credits include a number of national and international articles on acting and theater, profiles of artists and notable figures in the arts, books on theater and film and mystery novels.

His books include The Art and Craft of Screenwriting, Tinseltown Riff, Lilac Moon, The Actors Studio, Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Playwriting: A Complete Guide to Creating Theater and his most recent, The Twinning Murders.


Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Shelly. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, The Twinning Murders?

I’ve been writing plays and articles on theater and film for about twenty years, non-fiction books on theater and film for about twenty years and crime novels for about ten years. My latest mystery came about when I became involved with the invasive tactics of a major developer who wanted to come into my home town and clear away a beautiful stretch of meadow and woodland to erect a set of 170 townhouses purely as a speculative venture.


Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

Because the action of the mystery takes the reader from my own village of Litchfield, Connecticut to a sister village in the moors of Devon, a contact just outside of Dartmoor advised me I was writing a “twinning.”

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Because everyone can relate to the preservation of the wild, ties that bind, and the need to right a great wrong even though they’ve never found themselves engaged in any sort of detection.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

I’ve joined Facebook, set up a book signing at a prestigious book store in Washington, CT and arranged for a number of interviews in regional newspapers and periodicals.


Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

There is really no book on the market I can compare it to. Though it lies within the parameters of the traditional “cozy,” the characters are real, there are characters readers can care about (even a golden retriever) and the action transports the reader to different locales.


Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

On page 69, Emily, a tour guide and the central character, is waiting to board her flight to the U.K. when she receives a call on her cell phone informing her that her mentor’s fatal fall was, in all probability, no accident.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes. I’m working on another mystery set in the Deep South, generated by dark past secrets, laced with a strong sense of Southern gothic.

Q: Thank you for your interview, shelly. Do you have any final words?

I appreciate the opportunity to share my creative efforts. Without this interplay, there’s no reason to work through whatever is, in a sense, haunting me at the time, prompting me to hone my craft, and then reach out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Interview with Rolf Hitzer, author of "Hoodoo Sea"

Rolf Hitzer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1959 and raised by his parents, Erna and Julius Hitzer.

Rolf attended Princess Margaret Elementary School, John Pritchard Junior High and Graduated from Kildonan East Regional Secondary School where he had majored in Culinary Arts.

Rolf is married to his wife Irma since 1997. Together they have a wonderful blended family with Rita and Clark Bodoano and Grand children, Alexandria, Patrick and Braeden. Jason and Leah Tutlies, and Grandson Easton. Mandel Hitzer, and the youngest Jessica Hitzer. Clearly the growth of his family is still a work in progress.

Rolf Hitzer has several passions besides writing, they include being at the log cabin on weekends. Spending time on the water with a fishing pole in hand. Wildlife viewing and especially Moose calling during the fall rut. Playing a range of Poker card games and a variety of board games.

Rolf is a Member of the Winnipeg Real Estate Board, The Manitoba Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association. He is currently working on his second novel.

For more information on his book visit: http://www.hoodoosea.com/

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Rolf. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Hoodoo Sea?

A: I have been writing professionally for fifteen years. I had reached a juncture in my life when I had decided to write my first novel, Hoodoo Sea. Having no experience in this area I had decided to just sit down and start writing. There was no pressure as my original intent was to write the book as a keepsake for my children. Not sure what I was going to write about, I was watching the Discovery Channel one night and the documentary that happened to be on held my interest and then during a commercial break it spawned the idea for my first novel.

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

A: I was doing my research on the Bermuda Triangle for the novel. Of course I didn't have a title yet and when I came upon the name Hoodoo Sea as another name for the Bermuda Triangle, I was intrigued. A few days later I penciled Hoodoo Sea on my manuscript and it stuck. I really like the name too and am so proud of myself for stumbling across this slang term for the Bermuda Triangle.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

A: I didn't think the book was worthy of publishing at all. If it wasn't for Irma Hitzer insisting I find an agent to represent myself and the novel, if not for her Hoodoo Sea would not be published today.

Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Bluewater Press LLC have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

A: To my surprise, several months after signing a publishing contract I had heard nothing from my agent or the publishing company. Then the email came out of the blue asking if I had any ideas or visions on how I had wanted the book cover to look. I was very happy about being able to submit what my thoughts were on the book cover as I did have a certain look that I had wanted. I'm pleased to say that the current cover is what I had suggested. The only let down, if any, was that I had expected the yellow eyes to look more fierce then the way it currently looks. Nonetheless, I am thankful that I had input on this aspect of publishing the novel.

Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

A: I have been terrible with my approach to marketing Hoodoo Sea. In fact, really haven't done much or anything at all. I have put Hoodoo Sea's complete destiny with Ms. Tracee Gleichner at Pump Up Your Book. So, if the book doesn't sell I get to blame it on Tracee, lol, no pressure. Anyway, I really don't have the time or inclination to stand on a soap box and promote Hoodoo Sea and whatever will be, will be with the sales of the novel.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

A: I'm not aware of any book that would compare to Hoodoo Sea, as I haven't read any other novel that I have found where the plot is similar. Perhaps where my novel is different is how the crew vanishes in the Bermuda Triangle and what happens from there forward. What makes my novel special is that it was originally written as a keepsake for my children, I was very very lucky that somebody out there was willing top publish the book.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

A: I just opened up on page 129 in my novel. The main character, Scott Reed, is being held captive and has been taken to the final destination where it is identical to the dreams he had been having since they had arrived in the location that they are at. As a prisoner to a band of men that seem less sophisticated than present day, he is not sure what is about to happen to him.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Yes, I have started another novel. Life has been hectic this past while and I hope to spend more time writing after the up and coming holiday season.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Rolf. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: I'm easy to find online, either at http://www.hoodoosea.com, or http://www.rolfhitzer.com. Or, you can simply go to http://www.amazon.com and type in my name or the name of the book. Thank you for requesting an interview, it is much appreciated and has been quite pleasurable.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Interview with Holiday Fiction Author Kristy Haile: 'Santa Claus embodies good values teaching everyone about giving and believing'

Californian Kristy Haile earned an Associate’s degree in Dental Hygiene from Northeastern University in Boston and then worked as a hygienist in Massachusetts and California. She moved from her hometown of Turlock, CA to Los Angeles, where her two children became actors on TV (The Office, Criminal Minds, Desperate Housewives), movies (Chihuahua: The Movie) and in commercials. At age 4, son Ty came to believe he was Santa Claus. Haile kept a journal of the funny and unusual things her son said and did over the next two years, as well as of people’s reactions to his self-identification as the “new real Santa Claus.” That journal was the basis for her latest book, I Am Santa. You can visit the ‘I AM SANTA!’ website at www.iamsantabook.com to connect with Kristy.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Kristy. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, I AM SANTA!?

Since I was a child I have always enjoyed reading and writing-however, nothing had ever inspired me enough to write a book until my son told me he is the new real Santa Claus. I could tell early on that Ty had a very active and creative imagination. My daughter Ellalyn has always adored her little brother Ty. She always insists upon reading him his bedtime stories, in fact she has always read a lot of books to Ty which he enjoys and I feel has truly helped expand his imagination.

Since Ty and my daughter Ellalyn act in Hollywood, being a set mom has given me the perfect opportunity and time to become a writer, turning my journal about Ty into a book.


Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

Because it is truly the mission of the main character Nicholas. He truly wants everyone to know and understand that he is the new real Santa Claus. When people ask him why he has his Santa suit on in April he would simply reply, I AM SANTA!


Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Even though my book is a fictional book, it is based upon my life with my family and my son believing he is the new real Santa Claus. So I wanted to be able to share the story of my son becoming Santa Claus with everyone because of how much it has touched my life. Santa Claus is such an important icon that over the years has brought so much hope to people so I believe we all need to keep his spirit alive. Santa Claus embodies good values teaching everyone about giving and believing. All of which my son has captured in his imagination.


Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

I have done radio interviews, book signings, a newspaper interview, social networking as well as my virtual book tour just to name a few. My publisher found me a fabulous publicist which has made all of the above possible.


Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

I have not seen another book on the market which could even be compared to my book I AM SANTA!, which is one reason my book is so unique.


Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Page 226, Santa and elf Isabella had just arrived in the toy testing room at the North Pole. At first Santa is a bit overwhelmed as to the amount of toys in the room, but before long finds himself running into the middle of the room and spinning around just to take in everything around him.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, my son Ty and I plan on writing a series of I AM SANTA! books. In fact we have already begun writing our next book together. Plus we are planning to do an IAM SANTA! children’s book as well.


Q: Thank you for your interview, Kristy. Do you have any final words?

My wish is for each person reading this to live life to the fullest each and everyday, appreciating every moment they have been given.

Interview with Romance Author Bronwyn Storm, author of ETHAN'S CHASE

There was only one thing Bronwyn wanted to be when she grew up: a superhero. Sadly, this goal was made moot when she realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and her super-weakness for anything bright and shiny meant that a magpie with self-control could easily defeat her in a battle of wills. So, she turned to writing as a way to unleash her inner superhero. She doesn’t get to live on a secret space station orbiting the earth (and thank goodness because she gets motion sick on a merry-go-round), but she still get to wear leotards, a cape and say things like, “STAND ASIDE! THIS IS A JOB FOR WRITING-GIRL!”

Bronwyn’s latest book is Ethan’s Chase.

You can visit her website at www.bronwynstorm.com.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Bronwyn. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your book, Ethan’s Chase?

My journey to writing began over fifty years ago, when my grandmothers and grandfathers got married and gave birth to my—sorry, what? Oh, you don’t want me to go that far back in my journey. Okay…so no adventurous tales of my zygote life? Are you sure? I’ve got a cracking story about chili peppers and almost-formed vertebrae…**nods** okay, gotcha, last five years.

I had just finished my degree in psychology and was contemplating going into counseling (er, being a counselor, not signing up for therapy—for some reason, people always think it’s the latter). Anyway, I thought about signing up for my master’s, but some of the classes had me wondering if they had been designed by a sadist with a sense of humor.

(Instructor: “Bronwyn, we want you to take on a patient, but it’s important that people realize their personal truths, so we want you to reiterate their last statement in a way that makes them see their thoughts in a new way.”
Bronwyn: “Um, so basically, you want me to repeat their last statement in a calmer, quieter voice?”
Instructor: “Yes, but start with ‘I hear you saying,’ and add in ‘how does that make you feel’ in a wise, comforting tone. It really helps.”

Bronwyn: “That’s totally asinine.”
Instructor: “I hear you saying the instructions sound totally asinine…how does that make you feel?”

Then I thought maybe working for the government might be a great way to influence societal change and help make a better world…then I got stuck in a three hour meeting…about…

…wait for it…

…what color binder we should use to hold the meeting’s minutes.

I kid you not.

Three hours.

One hundred and eighty minutes.

And there was no—I repeat—NO resolution on the binder color (that took another three hour meeting).

And it was at that point I heard myself saying, “Self, I hear you saying life is too short to argue over whether it should be canary yellow binders or sunshine yellow binders. How does that make you feel?”

And I discovered it made me feel like finding a shovel and an alibi, but I dug deeper (no pun intended) and realized it made me feel like I wanted to spend my life wearing pajamas (and calling it a uniform), watching copious amounts of television and movies (and calling it research), surfing the internet for the latest fashion trends (and calling it research), talking about sex (and calling it research), and eating disgusting, grotesque amounts of chocolate (and claiming it as a deduction on my taxes).
But I wasn’t sure if the desire alone meant I had what it took to be a writer.

Then I realized the torture of sitting through those government meetings and psychology classes had given me (and really, anyone else who has ever taken university-level classes, or worked for a large corporation) an ability to sit for long, mind-numbing periods of time without accomplishing anything of worth, and I thought, “huh, well…maybe I do have what it takes.”

But I still wasn’t sure.

So I met a friend downtown for lunch. And I was like (and ladies maybe you’ll know what I mean), “Whoa. Spending that extra time in front of the mirror really made a difference. Everyone’s checking me out. Wow. I must look really good today.”

Then I got home, walked through my door, looked in the mirror, and realized the buttons on my shirt had popped, and I had walked through downtown Edmonton in the middle of the lunch-hour crush, flashing everyone in creation.

And it was in that moment of knowing my total mortification and embarrassment of risking an indecency charge wasn’t enough to stop me from going back into downtown that I knew I had what it took to go into the writing industry, face rejection, and keep trying.

Ethan’s Chase was borne of a similar experience. I am a genius at making a total ass out of myself (yeah, like you haven’t realized that). If embarrassing yourself was an Olympic event, I’d take home the gold, silver, and bronze, because that’s how good I’d be. I’ve dropped suitcases on people, tripped on buses and landed in unfortunate positions. I mean, we’re talking a seriously long list. And I thought (well, I hoped) hey, I can’t be the only one who has odd things happen...right?

Um, right?

Guys?

Uh, Guys?

Whoa…okay…so, um anyway, I thought of doing a story based on a horrendous first impression…so, take a girl, make her turn a corner, slam into a boy. Have her think “wow, this guy is yummy.” Then have her try to pick the guy up. And, just to make it fun, have him politely (but completely) reject her. Oh, and to make it so much like the horror stories I share with my girlfriends, let’s have the girl meet the boy all over again…because he’s her new boss. Then, have her try to reclaim her dignity and have it go wrong. Every. Time.

So, let’s see, she takes a chance on love? Check.
Risks total humiliation? Check.
Is totally shot down? Double check.
Then, to further make her life hell, she has to see the guy every single day AND he has the keys to her professional reputation and pay stubs? Check and check.

Excellent. Let’s see her live through that.


Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

Simple enough. His name is Ethan. Her name is Chase. It was late, I was tired, out of chocolate, and the cat had beaten me up and taken my computer seat. Ethan’s Chase seemed like a good way to check a “to do” off my list and reward myself with a midnight run to the candy aisle of the grocery store…

Seriously, though, in the story, while Chase is contemplating all the ways she can reclaim her professionalism (and completely failing at every point), Ethan’s grappling with whether to step away from the hurt of his past relationship (nothing like almost marrying a con artist to really make a guy question if he can trust his heart) and take a chance on love.

He decides to try once more…of course, by the time he’s made that decision, Chase has decided to stay as far away from him as possible. And now, he’s got to give chase if he’s going to find his happy ever after. Ethan’s Chase is both a literal and figurative explanation of the story.


Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

I had gone through ten drafts and about a thousand pages of paper. The Society for Arboreal Preservation (S.A.P) showed up at my house. They’re led by a very old, very mean Elm tree who said (in a rustling kind of voice) if I didn’t publish then all the trees that had been sacrificed in my drafts would have died in vain. Then he gave me a very meaningful look and “suggested” I seek publication. Let me tell you, if you ever wanted motivation to believe your book should be published, have a three hundred year old tree, full of knots, whorls, and chipmunks that like to hurl nuts, show up at your door and threaten to “give you a personal tour of the wood chipper.”

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

The Wild Rose Press is a lovely publisher to work with—not for the least of which is that they’ve never made me seek therapy after hearing some of my story pitches. They have reader loops, author loops, reviewers they send books to, ad co-ops, use social networks, and have a newsletter.

As for what I’ve done, let’s see. I go on reader loops, have a blog and website, use Good Reads, Pump Up My Book…I drove around advertising my website on the side of my car, I’ve been to conferences and hosted workshops…I did try walking around with a place card, but writing “If he’s not careful, he’s going to catch it” leads to a lot of misunderstandings about what I’m advertising…on the bright side, I learned all the locations of the medical clinics in Edmonton. And I did try going up to random people with bookmarks and asking, “Hey, looking for some fun?” But did you know if you say that to an undercover cop, his first thought isn’t that you’re trying to sell your novel?


Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

Oh, it’s incomparable. Snicker.

It’s very chic lit in its sense of humor and suspense/mystery elements. If you like unusual characters and oddball situations, and if you like the writings of authors like Vicki Lewis Thompson, Nancy Bartholomew, Janet Evanovich, and Maya Jax, then this might be the kind of book you like. In terms of what makes it unique, most romances tend to have the declarations of love at the end of the story. Mine’s in the middle, because (I think) most of us know when we care about somebody. The issues tend to arise after the relationship stars and the problems created by our previous relationships rear up. That’s when we really start to find out about ourselves and our partners, and that’s what I wanted to explore in this book.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Page 43: Chase, mortified after another embarrassing encounter with Ethan, retreats to her office, packaged brownie in hand, and ready to drown her shame in chocolate, nuts and frosting...only, she can’t get the plastic open, and she can’t find any scissors.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and she resorts to chewing on the package…and it’s just about that time that Ethan walks into her office, looking for his V.P…nothing like your fantasy man catching you chewing on a brownie package like a chipmunk on cocaine to really make a girl feel sophisticated and professional…


Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes. Right now, Wild Rose has two stories—What Happened in Vegas (Romancing the Stone meets The Nutty Professor) and Love in Miami (Golden Girls meets Driving Miss Daisy).

In the meantime, readers can head to my website (www.bronwynstorm.com) for free stories like The Genie’s Curse (Big meets Doctor Doolittle) and Shoe-In for Love, (Bridget Jones’s Diary meets The Devil Wears Prada).


Q: Thank you for your interview, Bronwyn. Do you have any final words?

Well, I don’t mean to frighten anyone, but I’ve just looked at my cupboards and I’m out of chocolate…

Five Things You Need to Know about 'Finding God: To Believe or Not to Believe'

We have a special guest today! Nicholas Oliva, author of the nonfiction spiritual book, Finding God: To Believe or Not to Believe (Old Line Publishing) , is here to give us five little known facts about his book!

Five Things You Need to Know About Finding God: To Believe or Not to Believe

by Nicholas Oliva

1. This book explores the world of science, religion and atheism and integrates them into the aspects of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Century physics. It ponders life and death experiences and includes the author’s own near death experience. Posing many questions about the realm of our existence, it stresses the importance of promoting humanity without exclusionary elements of human prejudice. These and many other contemporary issues are combined with the latest scientific and philosophic theories in the search for real truth of subjects that have brought down entire empires in bloodlust, and have each of us pondering the eternal “Why?”

2. The origin and history of the New Testament is explored in depth and you will be very surprised by how these writing became a part of Christianity through an act of war. In what we now know as the first two centuries, there was no New Testament. Early reformed Judeans read many forms of contemporary scripture other than what we have in this era. Much has been lost to time and devastating wars. Some writings dating back to what we now know as 100 BCE show the belief of not just one God, but as many as twenty-five Gods. Some expounded evil Gods, while later in the 1st Century AD some spoke of Jesus as a teacher, not a god, some say rabbi, and some just an ordinary man. The text of some say Jesus had nothing to do with man’s ultimate salvation, and others claimed there was no crucifixion and death of him at all. These were the same writings known at that time and read widely. From all these massive works came forth only four essays which became the basis for the eventual precepts of Christianity. Over two-hundred-fifty years later, the New Testament begot the roots of its existence from what was written on scrolls by men who were not there at the time when all this took place. The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul, which form the basis and foundation for the faith of Christianity for the last seventeen hundred years, began as testaments to the way of life in the first and second centuries.

3. I waited a long time to begin writing this book. The incidents contained within occurred in October 2004, while at a hospital in Nevada. There are a few reasons why I chose to wait this long to tell my story. The first and most influential was the reasoning that by taking a stand on what I experienced and believe, I would have many detractors and people who would attack me in order to perpetuate and bolster their own beliefs and/or lack of beliefs and use me as an example. In order to fully explain what I've gone through, I will have to touch upon religion, morality, and ethics. My eschatological theme is actually non-religious and promotes the energy within as Godly, not the looking outward, by seeing with the eyes of the world. I always have been skeptical of near-death experiences or NDE. So it was with much skepticism I examined the empirical evidence of charts confirming the flat-line of my heart while in intensive care. My serious side, the constant pain I endure every day, and the nature of my humor can transcend many times in that triumph over intense pain. The human drama melts into a comedic stance flipping the bird to the Great forces that be and fights to keep the light on, long after the door closes. That is my part of my legacy, for what it is worth and this is the story of it.

4. We are in the second century since the collision of science and religion. One is based in empirical evidence; the other is based on thousands of years of pure faith. The book utilizes pop icons and imagery and humor to break up the usual scholarly and tedious reads that usually surround this subject. The book, eventually entitled “Finding God: To Believe or Not To Believe was focused to speak to part of a contemporary worldwide groundswell for what constitutes the thirst for “truth” of religion/spiritualism. I attempt to build a bridge between atheism and the turn of growth to extreme fundamental Christianity and other religions. I tried to promote a common sense attitude that we do not have all the answers as to an existence of the essential force of our lives. The human race finds itself constantly at war for a cause that has absolutely no empirical data that can prove anything either way. People are looking for a sane intelligent answer to the question “why” and this book helps define the individual and their place in this universe while showing the real abuse of power and myth now and throughout the centuries. The book also includes details of the repeated sexual abuse I received as a child of ten years-old from a Catholic Pastor, the motivation of fear as tool of empowerment, and the contemporary philosophies as well as the latest theoretical physics concerning God, quantum theory, and theories of the creation of the universe.

5. I wrote this book to try and make a difference. Don't you think that if people would wake up and realize that life is so short that they could put aside their differences and follow "the Golden Rule" and just do unto others as they would have done unto themselves? “If” is the key word in this question. “If" is a small word with huge implications. One of the quotes I use in the beginning of my book is from Star Trek II. "How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn't you say?" Most would “not say” as they fear the unknown, no matter how imminent it is going to be and allow that fear to seep through in myriad ways that are not healthy or good for society as a whole. Hence our worldwide situation of swallowing that bitter pill to prevent those fears from taking our psyche over and to begin dealing with each other with compassion and understanding without judgments over which God we chose. It is a tough road to traverse but as society develops the technology that will decide our ultimate future, we need to live in the now and take care of ourselves and those that we love.

Another primary reason for writing this book was to try and create a bridge for people of different spiritual beliefs (or none) to come together and understand that each has their own path. For example, if we take away any possibility for life after flesh, does it make any difference in how one acts in this dimension? If one is an atheist or a Christian should they not act to make the choice for the betterment of society as a whole?

“To believe” is a leap of faith and no one should deny anyone that faith as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else and if one does not have that faith then they can be just as humanist as Mother Theresa. I realize it is a daunting task to ask such polar opposite thinkers to come together but what I am saying is logical. My god doesn't beat your god and if you don't have one doesn't mean that you are a horrible human being. Society needs to enlighten or lighten up on the essence of being human. In geologic time we have been here but seconds and we need not be so arrogant to those of our own species as if we have the answers to all salvation and they are heathens not worthy of being on this earth. Being religious does not mean that you live in a spiritual way. Spirituality is of the human mind and is a way of life not a ritual to practice on Sundays. Love is the greatest gift that we have. Sharing it and being selfless is the hardest part of accepting that gift. I am grateful to be able to be here now...and really that's all I can ask for.

Nicholas Oliva (O-lee-va’) has been a musician, writer, poet, photographer, an audio engineer, an Entertainment and Technical Director for over twenty-five years.

His first book, Only Moments, was published in 2007, which was a novel that followed the lifetime journey of the professional musical career of a husband and wife team to the year 2020.

His latest book is Finding God: To Believe or Not To Believe, now available at Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble and will be available in the Kindle Store soon. To visit the website go to www.tobelieveornot.com. Mr. Oliva’s other Websites are OnlyMoments and for his first book Only Moments by Nick Oliva. You can find him on Facebook as well on either the book page Facebook | Finding God: To Believe or Not To Believe or his home page http://www.facebook.com/noliva.

Oliva lives in the quiet mountains of Nevada.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Dieting Two Weeks at a Time" by Kandy Siahaya, author of "Making Light of Being Heavy"

Kandy Siahaya was raised in a small town in Maine where she graduated from high school in 1984. She worked her way up from her first job as CSW to Manager of Kentucky Fried Chicken and ended up in Brunswick, Maine. When she decided to leave the fried chicken business at age 22, she packed up her little Chevy Chevette and moved to Florida, where she worked as a waitress and had a great time as a single girl in her 20’s. Reality hit when she was 25 years old and she went back to Maine and received her Associate’s Degree at Beal College and promptly moved back to Florida and started a career in medical transcription. In 1995 at age 29, she moved to Miami, Florida, and continued with transcription starting her own business. In 2002, Kandy left Florida and moved back to Maine with her 5-year-old son and continued medical transcription but had an unexpected decline in work which left her with a lot of time on her hands. This is when she decided to write the book, something she had been thinking about for a few years but never had the time because she was always so busy with her business. It was meant to be a quick and funny read, something to brighten the outlook of many that really do not see the light through their own tunnel vision. It was also intended to be insightful for those that could never possibly relate to this specific subject. Kandy has succeeded in doing just that with Making Light of Being Heavy.


For more information on Kandy and her book visit http://www.makinglightofbeingheavy.com

Dieting Two Weeks at a Time....


So according to an article on Lemondrop (Exactly How Long Can A Woman Actually Resist A Klondike Bar) , the average woman can last 19 days on a diet before cheating. The article failed to mention which attempt at a diet this actually was….if it was the first attempt in a while then probably 19 days is just a tad bit exaggerated. Usually for me it will take a coupe of attempts before the diet will really stick at which point I usually try to do a two‑week on and then a few days to a week off and then two-week on sort of routine so you actually see an end in sight which is easier to follow through with then a never-ending diet. The Scarsdale diet has always been a favorite of mine and works without a doubt the best. I detailed this diet in my book, Making Light of Being Heavy.

The article also mentions that the dieter will spend on average $250 on dieting paraphernalia including workout clothes, exercise equipment, magazines, books, gym memberships, etc. prior to the begin of a diet three times a year. Again, not true for this professional dieter. My main focus when I am going to be starting a diet is what I am NOT going to be able to eat for two weeks at which point I will promptly indulge in exactly that. For all of us who are professional dieters, we already have the books, the clothes, the equipment, and so on. Heck, we have had it for years and if these other women are spending $250 each time they start a diet then they are just plain crazy. As a professional dieter, my main goal is to get geared up for the diet letting myself know that I will not be missing a thing because I just ate it and, besides, two weeks is definitely doable. If I do happen to buy a new piece of exercise equipment it will be a new hula hoop for $3.99 at Walmart because my current one has a kink in it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Holiday Family Fiction Author Kristy Haile on 'I am Santa Virtual Book Tour'

Join Kristy Haile, author of the holiday family fiction novel, I Am Santa (Happy Bean Publishing), as she virtually tours the blogosphere November 15 – December 17 ‘10 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

One day little Nicholas wandered away from his mom and his sister while they were out shopping because he has always felt mostly invisible in comparison to his sister Holly. Little Nicholas meets an old man sitting on a bench at the mall. This old man tells Nicholas he is Santa Claus and that he is very sick and dying. Santa Claus also tells Nicholas he will now be the new real Santa Claus and the elves would be in touch with him shortly. Little Nicholas believes this old man a hundred and ten percent that he is to become the new real Santa Claus. Enjoy this journey into a little boy’s imagination as he struggles in a world of doubt, continuously striving to turn non believers into believers. I believe my son is the new real Santa Claus no matter what other people may believe. The question is, do you believe?

This is the delightful premise of Kristy Haile's new holiday fiction novel, I am Santa.

Californian Kristy Haile earned an Associate’s degree in Dental Hygiene from Northeastern University in Boston and then worked as a hygienist in Massachusetts and California. She moved from her hometown of Turlock, CA to Los Angeles, where her two children became actors on TV (The Office, Criminal Minds, Desperate Housewives), movies (Chihuahua: The Movie) and in commercials. At age 4, son Ty came to believe he was Santa Claus. Haile kept a journal of the funny and unusual things her son said and did over the next two years, as well as of people’s reactions to his self-identification as the “new real Santa Claus.” That journal was the basis for her latest book, I Am Santa. You can visit the ‘I AM SANTA!’ website at www.iamsantabook.com to connect with Kristy.

To find out where Kristy will be appearing on her virtual book tour Nov. 15 - Dec. 17, 2010, visit her official tour page at Pump Up Your Book here.

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours for authors looking for maximum online promotion to sell their books. Visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com to find out how we can take your book to the virtual level!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pump Up Your Book announces murder mystery author Shelly Frome's 'The Twinning Murders Virtual Book Tour'

Join Shelly Frome, author of the murder mystery novel, The Twinning Murders (Beckham Publications), as he virtually tours the blogosphere November 15 – December 17 ‘10 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

Shelly Frome is a Professor Emeritus of dramatic arts at the University of Connecticut. A former professional actor and theater director, his writing credits include a number of national and international articles on acting and theater, profiles of artists and notable figures in the arts, books on theater and film and mystery novels.

His books include The Art and Craft of Screenwriting, Tinseltown Riff, Lilac Moon, The Actors Studio, Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Playwriting: A Complete Guide to Creating Theater and his most recent, The Twinning Murders.

The Twinning Murders is a modern day classic mystery centering on the ventures of Emily Ryder, a thirty-something rambler and tour guide.

The story opens just before she embarks on this year’s Twinning ritual exchange. It’s between her historic New England home and its sister village deep in Dartmoor, a wild upland area in the west of the county of Devon, England. Emily becomes personally involved in a suspicious death..

A few days later, at the Twinning itself, her main client meets the same fate. As Emily’s world continues to unravel, and though she has little help, she finds herself compelled to piece together the games being played on both sides of the Atlantic.

To find out where Shelly will be appearing on his virtual book tour, visit his official tour page at Pump Up Your Book here.

Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours for authors looking for maximum online promotion to sell their books. Visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com to find out how we can take your book to the virtual level!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guest Blogger: Robert Seymour, author of WIG BEGONE

We have a special guest today! Robert Seymour is the author of the humorous fiction novel, Wig Begone (Matador/Troubadour) and he's here with us to tell us the background of his new book! Welcome Robert!

The Story Behind Wig Begone by Robert Seymour (aka Charles Courtley)

Many years ago, really only as a hobby, I wrote a children’s book – scribbling away whilst I waited for my cases to be heard in court. At the time, I was a young criminal trial attorney in England.

After that, I took up a writing correspondence course (long before the advent of the i
nternet or e-mail) and wrote a number of short stories; two of which were produced for radio in the 1980s.

More recently still, I actually wrote a memoir of my early experiences in the law but when I realized that so much humor underlay them (often at my own expense), I decided to use the material instead to provide the basis for a light-hearted novel.

So Wig Begone by Charles Courtley was conceived and born.

Writing it though, meant much more than just churning out another piece of fiction. It became a cathartic process too as, in many ways, those years had been very hard indeed. At one stage, I came quite close to a breakdown as the result of the emotional pressure of the work I was doing, and only the support of my long-suffering wife saved the day.

By the same token – and hoping I don’t too sound pompous in saying this – I felt, by writing the book, that I had given permanence to a small passage of a human being’s time on this earth, by describing it in words.

Even if one person only in 50 years time, were to read a copy of my book,long discarded but now rediscovered in somebody’s attic, I would be rewarded enough.


As I had faith in my work and not wanting to delay the process, I decided to self-publish from the start. There’s one distinct disadvantage though – you have to fight the prejudice that the industry holds against those of us who have chosen to go it alone.

This isn’t insuperable however, if you have a reputable self-publisher (my own, Matador/Troubador were excellent), and are prepared to work hard in publicizing the book yourself.

Visit Robert on the web at
http://courtleyprocedures.wordpress.com.

Interview with Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Author of 'Little Shepherd'


Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens. Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.

You can visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com/  or the Little Shepherd blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Cheryl. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Little Shepherd?

Thanks for having me here, today.

I’ve been writing since I was a teenager. In the early days, writing was a way for me to channel my grief when my mother lost her battle with cancer. I had written a few stories before then, but her death propelled me to put my thoughts down on paper.

I never gave up that dream of becoming published. Life got in the way from time to time. It wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom in 2004 that I could concentrate on my writing career. Since that day I've never looked back.

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

My original title was, The Little Shepherd Boy. I struggle with titles, but since the inspiration for the story came from singing the Christmas carol, The Little Drummer Boy, this one was easier. My publisher prefers smaller titles, so the final version became, Little Shepherd.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Because I wrote it!

Oh, you mean that seriously.

I’ve taught Sunday school for twenty years. Reaching young people can be a challenge, especially when you’re dealing with a well-known Biblical event. Adam and Eve getting tossed out of the Garden of Eden, Noah building the Ark, Moses coming down off the mountain with the Ten Commandments, they’ve heard those stories a million times. But these are important portions of scripture, so you need to find a fresh way to teach them.

That’s what Little Shepherd does. It takes the Christmas story and tells it through the eyes of a young shepherd in the hills outside of Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. Obed has been entrusted with his first flock and he is anxious about leaving them unattended to visit the newborn King. Obed has to step out in faith, which is something that Christians are regularly called to do.

The Christmas story reminds us that God always keeps His promises. Little Shepherd helps to drive that point home.



Q: Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing, have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

Guardian Angel Publishing is wonderful to work with. I was asked to send along my idea for the cover art, which was forwarded to artist, Eugene Ruble. Eugene used that suggestion to come up with the cover art and I am abundantly pleased. I was familiar with his artwork before we collaborated on Little Shepherd, so I knew he would do a wonderful job.

Q: How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

You know the answer to this one. I coordinated my own two-and-a-half month virtual book tour, which is running through December 17th. It’s different coordinating your own versus doing it for a client, but it’s a great learning experience. I also created a new website and a new blog just for the book. I also put together a video trailer that is posted on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rA2KStzoCPo.

In October I sat on two panels at a local writers conference and attended the Muse Online Writers Conference. I also have a signing event planned at my church the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

Little Shepherd actually reminds me of a movie with the same title that came out in 2005. It has a boy named, Joel, who is becoming a shepherd and is afraid of all the wolves nearby. The birth of the newborn King reveals to Joel that God has the answer to his fears.

There’s a book titled, The Little Shepherd Girl: A Christmas Story by Juliann Henry. This tells the story of young Sarah, who wishes to be a shepherd, even though only boys are shepherds. She ends up encountering the Baby in the manger.

Obed’s story is geared for kids ages 4 to 8; and while the main character is a boy, the story shares Obed’s fear and anxiety over seeing the mighty angels announcing the Savior’s birth and the thought of leaving his first flock to fend for themselves. Fear and anxiety are common to children, boys and girls. In addition, Little Shepherd, shows Obed stepping out in faith, reassured by the wise words of his father and a visit with the Holy Family. Yes, he’s still anxious to return to his flock, but once he takes a moment to think about it, he realizes the miraculous event he has witnessed.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

On Page 7, Obed’s father suggests they go to Bethlehem to see what has happened. I used the exact quote from the Bible to make it authentic. Obed is amazed that his father would suggest leaving the sheep alone, but he tells his son that the angels must want the shepherds to see the Savior and encourages Obed to go.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, I pitched my next manuscript, a first chapter reader, to a publisher during the Muse Online Writers Conference I attended in October. I was asked to submit A Visit with Santa, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m also halfway into a middle grade historical.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Cheryl. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Little Shepherd can be purchased at:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Guardian Angel Publishing
Indiebound.org

My friends say I am all over the Internet. I’m not sure if they mean it as a compliment. You can find me at the following places:

http://ccmalandrinos.com/
http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/  
http://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/
http://booktoursandmore.blogspot.com/  

and the blog dedicated solely to my book at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/.

You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

GIVEAWAY ALERT!

Cheryl is running two giveaways during her virtual book tour.

GIVEAWAY #1 (for people who comment during the VBT)

An autographed copy of Little Shepherd

Angel figurine printed with the Serenity Prayer

A Little Shepherd sticky note pad

Little Drummer Boy 2010 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament

Gift of Peace 2003 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament


Retail value of Giveaway #1 is $65 (rounded to nearest dollar)


*****


GIVEAWAY #2 (for those who purchase a copy of Little Shepherd between August 21, 2010 and December 17, 2010)

A ”Sparkling Angel” scented jar candle from Yankee Candle

An angel gold and silver lid topper for the candle

An angel tea light holder from Yankee Candle

A Little Shepherd sticky note pad

A Jim Shore Nativity Star hanging ornament

A Jim Shore Holy Family hanging ornament

A $25 Amazon.com gift card

Retail Value of Giveaway #2 is $97 (rounded to the nearest dollar)

Find additional details at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2010/09/27/giveaways-announced-for-little-shepherd-virtual-book-tour-octnovdec-10/ 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest Blogger: Eric Culverson, co-author of LIFE CHOICES: PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER

We have a special guest today! L. Eric Culverson just so happens to be one of the co-authors of Judi Moreo's self-help motivational book, Life Choices: Putting the Pieces Together (Turning Point International). He is here to talk about change. Welcome Eric!

Change, the constant stranger!
By Eric Culverson


Individually and collectively, we are experiencing a period of unprecedented change. We recognize that change, in and of itself, is necessary and usually marks progress. However, so much change in such a short time has an insidious effect. It is at best daunting, and for more than a few, simply overwhelming! That’s the experience throughout our society, and in every sector of our culture. Despite that new reality, it’s always helpful to remind ourselves that in the midst of great change, there is always great opportunity!

My story, and my contribution to this collaborative effort, is one of adaptation and determination. In a period of eighteen months, I watched the value of my home in Las Vegas decrease to roughly fifty percent of the original note. During that same period, my company’s revenues and my payroll decreased sharply as the overall economy underwent a major recession. At the personal level, I went from being engaged, to once again being single, alone, and socially adrift.

In my story, I share four simple, yet powerful steps that helped me to cope with a tidal wave of change that threatened to wash away my foundational sense of well being. And just as important, these four steps helped me to discover opportunities for new business, personal growth and individual fulfillment. There’s an old saying that “there is nothing new under the sun”, and I don’t imagine that what I share is either revolutionary or unprecedented. It is however, the most basic and enduring human truths that we tend to forget during periods of prolonged duress. My contribution to this book is a practical reminder of those basic truths.

It is my sincere hope that my experience resonates with others struggling to cope in the midst of great change. And that readers will follow some --or all four recommendations. In so doing, may they also gain a new perspective that allows them to not just ride the waves of change, but to master the opportunities it presents!

L. Eric Culverson is the rare exception in almost every situation. He’s the classic analytical engineer who just happens to be a stand-up comic. Over the span of a 20 year career as a corporate training consultant, Eric has gained a reputation as an innovative thinker, motivator and public speaker. He was selected as the first North American ATP (Authorized Training Provider) by Xilinx Inc., a global semiconductor manufacturer. As a member of the Las Vegas chapter of NSA, and a two time Toastmaster District 33 speech contest winner, Eric continually demonstrates his commitment to the principal of lifelong learning. As a speaker and author, Eric clearly articulates the virtue of individual planning and execution. He continually encourages clients, friends and associates to recognize the inherent power and capability we all possess. Despite any current circumstance, this is the time --the only time that we have to start shaping our future. In this period of relentless and unprecedented change, Eric ‘s is the voice of calm, perspective and determination. His message is one of personal empowerment as he relates his own story of sacrifice and adaptation. Like a typical engineer, Eric offers a practical approach to both coping with change and mastering the opportunities that change presents. Eric is also the co-author of the new motivational self-help anthology, Life Choices: Putting the Pieces Together (Turning Point International).