Our Christmas blogfest ends today with a children's story. This time, there is a religious theme to the book written by multi-published author, Cheryl C. Malandrinos. Thank you all for spending Christmas in July with us this month. The authors and I appreciate your comments and support.
AUTHOR: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
BOOK TITLE: Little Shepherd
PUBLISHER: Guardian Angel Publishing
DO YOU HAVE A GIVEAWAY?: Yes.
WHAT IS IT?: One printed copy (USA only) and one PDF copy (International).
HOW IS THE WINNER TO BE CHOSEN?: Random from comments received. Email address must be provided.
WHO WILL DELIVER THE PRIZE TO WINNER?: Mailed or emailed from Cheryl's home.
Tell me a little about your book.
Little Shepherd is the story of Obed, a shepherd in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. When the angels arrive to announce the Savior’s birth, he wishes to visit the newborn King with the others, but he is anxious about his flock.
What gave you the idea for this particular story?
God planted this idea in my heart when my oldest daughter was only a toddler. Every time I would sing Little Drummer Boy to her, I would get this idea of a young shepherd. Originally I thought I was meant to tell the story of an adult Obed rediscovering the Savior he met as a boy. Over time, the Lord showed me this was truly a children’s story.
Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
While Obed and his father are fictional, the story is about the first Christmas, which is told in the Gospel of Luke 2: 8 – 16.
Why did you choose to write a story with a Christmas theme?
Anyone who knows me can tell you I love Christmas. In New England, it often means snow is on the ground; but even when it’s green I decorate like crazy. Nearly every room in the house is decorated and each room has its own nativity scene.
While it’s fun to decorate and bake, Christmas is a time for us to celebrate the birth of our Savior—the fulfillment of God’s promise. That’s what we share with our children. The first thing we do Christmas morning is sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. The focus needs to be on him, not the gifts.
Do you see special challenges to marketing a book with a seasonal theme? If so, what are they?
The main challenge is that your book has a limited selling period. I’m active online and try to guest blog once a month. I also volunteer in our schools regularly. Each year, however, the majority of books are sold between October and December.
How long before Christmas did you submit to your publisher?
I submitted it to the publisher late in 2008. It was accepted, after a few edits, in February 2009. Because Little Shepherd is a picture book, illustrations needed to be created. The book released in August 2010.
How and why did you choose this publisher?
I had reviewed several books published by Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP) prior to submitting to them. I liked what I saw, and spoke with publisher, Lynda Burch, at two conferences before sending her my manuscript. I also spoke to some of their authors. I felt confident Little Shepherd would find a wonderful home with GAP.
What about your book makes it special?
Reviewers have said time and again that Little Shepherd brings the Christmas story to a child’s level. Obed is anxious about leaving his sheep alone to visit the newborn King. What child hasn’t been unsure of what to do at times? In the end, Obed takes a step out in faith and is rewarded for it. This is an important lesson all kids need to learn.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas will always be about the birth of our Savior. I grew up in a Christian home, and faith plays a large role in my family’s life now. Christmas is a time to celebrate family and the many blessings God gives us.
What is your favorite Christmas memory?
There probably isn’t one favorite memory, but knowing how hard my parents worked to give us a nice Christmas each year comes to mind. My dad supported a family of five on only one paycheck until I was 10. It was important to my parents that my mother be home for the children. We didn’t have a lot. We rarely ate out. Holidays, however, were always large affairs surrounded by extended family members. We opened gifts in the morning, attended Mass, and the family started arriving in the early afternoon. It would be dark before everyone had gone home. Those were special times and the basis for the traditions my family celebrates now.
What was your favorite stocking stuffer?
My girls go out of their way each year to find something to put in my stocking that is just right for me. Scented candles are often put in there. One year it was an angel ornament that lit up and played music. I love that they know me so well they are always able to select just the right thing.
What was your favorite Christmas present?
When my girls were very young (2 and 4), my husband took them and their older brother to have professional photos taken. Everyone kept the secret. I had no idea they had done it, even though I had been bugging my husband about taking the kids in because our son was almost out of high school and would be leaving home in the not so distant future. I was shocked and thrilled when I opened the box and found multiple framed photos of the children.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
You can find me at:
I’m also on Facebook and Twitter at:
Thanks for having me today. I always enjoy a visit to your blog.
Off in the distance, a wolf howled. Obed moved closer to his flock, scanning the hills for any sign of a pack that might race in and steal his sheep. His family depended upon the sheep for food and their wool for clothing. No sheep would be lost under his watch.
He shivered inside his cloak. While the days were getting warmer, the nights still chilled him. He walked over to the large fire blazing inside the pit. He rubbed his hands together and held them up to the fire to warm them.
Above him, the sky twinkled with millions of stars. Obed couldn’t remember a night so clear.
Suddenly, a bright light filled the sky.
Obed trembled. “Father, what is happening?”
His father dropped to the ground, his right hand blocking his eyes from the intense light.
Obed pulled the edges of his cloak closer to his face as he squinted up at the mysterious form hovering overhead. He shivered, but this time it was not because of the cold.