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Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | BLOG

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I’m not sure I would say I am a born writer as much as I have always felt called to write. It’s important to me to make sure of my God-given talents. Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed.

What was your inspiration for Amos Faces His Bully?

Like my first book, Little Shepherd, this story places fictional characters in a Biblical setting. My first inspiration was to continue with the format of my first book—make it a series of unrelated, yet similar, stories. There are others planned.

My primary reason for writing Amos Faces His Bully, however, is very personal. I was bullied as a child; teased from the day I entered elementary until the day I graduated high school. Yet, with all the awareness of bullying and the anti-bullying programs that exist in our cities and towns today, bullying still exists. As I’ve worked hard to prevent my own child from being bullied, I wanted her to know God could provide her—and other victims of bullying—with peace and strength.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Faith often plays a role in my books. Whether it be a young shepherd boy who must trust that God will keep his sheep safe while he visits the newborn King, or a bullied child seeking courage to deal with his tormenters, reaching out in faith has many rewards. A Christmas Kindness, while not faith-based, has themes in it that some might consider Christian values. Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and A Christmas Kindness show young people as problem solvers.

How long did it take you to complete this picture book?

The first draft of Amos Faces His Bully took a few days…but that’s the easy part. It’s the editing process that takes a while. You’re not only looking for typographical or grammar errors. You’re looking to trim away the unnecessary words. You’re clarifying your meaning. You’re seeking out repetitive words or phrases. Even after a book is published, it’s not uncommon to wish you had done something differently.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Um…no. Total panster who waits until there is a fair amount of time to sit down uninterrupted to write. Usually that means once a month at writing group, but I’ll take what I can get.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Writing a book about a youngster being bullied when you were bullied and friendless for most of your childhood tends to bring up bad memories. Thankfully, as many of us discover, the years after high school bring with them a level of maturity the bullies—and you—didn’t have in school.

What do you love most about being an author?

It’s amazing to be able to go to Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com or other online retailers and find my books there. Have to admit that is a special feeling.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self-publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

All my books are published by independent publishers. After the manuscripts were accepted, the process—while not exactly short—was fairly painless. I’ve been blessed to work with wonderful people at both publishing houses. That’s why I keep going back with each new book.

Where can we find you on the web?

My friends say I am all over the Internet. Having worked in online book promotion and using social media for my current job means they probably aren’t too far off. I am out there a lot. The best places to find me are:

Website: http://ccmalandrinos.com

Blog: https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cheryl-C-Malandrinos-170542359697682

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccmalandrinos

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ccmalandrinos

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4341623.Cheryl_C_Malandrinos

 

About the Book:

Title: AMOS FACES HIS BULLY
Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 20
Genre: Christian children’s picture book

 

BOOK BLURB:

Amos is targeted by the town bully because he is so small. When word reaches Amos of his friend David’s battle with Goliath, he thinks back to what David told him about putting his faith in God’s protection. Perhaps the same God can help Amos face his bully too.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Guardian Angel | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |Indiebound.org

 

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Dreamer coverIs the Dreamer good or evil? As war looms between Britain and Argentina over the barren Falkland Islands, Major David Elliott is having nightmares. Long ago, in a dark jungle near Cambodia, he failed to do his duty. That duty was to execute a member of his team. David’s weakness eventually led to his team’s capture. Tortured by the Viet Cong, they revealed the dark secrets of the CIA’s Phoenix program. Forced to leave the service in disgrace, his men now live in the ‘darkness’. What do the dreams mean for them? David’s wife, Sonia, sees them as harbingers of evil things to come. A revolutionary in Argentina before the war, she escaped to America and became a citizen.

Now, Captain Alvarez, head of the Argentine Secret Police, wants her back. He devises a plan that lures her into returning to Argentina where she is imprisoned on Los Estados Island. Meanwhile, a mystical creature has summoned David and his former team to gather once more to honor the ‘covenant,’ a pact they made with each other when they believed their lives were coming to an end. Together, with an errant priest, Father Perez, they reluctantly agree to assault Los Estados and free Sonia. As they travel across Mexico, Central and South America, they encounter the CIA, Contras in Nicaragua, the M-19 narco-terrorist group and the United States Navy; while all along being shadowed by the mystical entity. Is the entity God or Satan? Will submitting to the will of the entity allow David and his men to stand in the light of men once again? Is the Dreamer good or evil? You decide.

Dreamer is a tale of redemption, honor, courage, belief in God and betrayal! If you enjoy military fiction, this book is for you.

Purchase information:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dreamer-Phillip-Davidson-ebook/dp/B00EZVKPFU/Phillip Davidson - Author

 

About the Author:

Phillip L. Davidson is an attorney who lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Karen. He is a former infantry Captain who commanded a group of Cambodian and Vietnamese Kit Carson Scouts on a night ambush team in the Mekong Delta. Phil’s life in the military has provided him with a wealth of war stories.  He has used his creative insight to produce a military action adventure of epic proportions. Dreamer is a must read book. He is currently at work on a second novel.

Visit the author online at http://www.phildavidsonbooks.com/.

 

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Amber Leaf, Minnesota, 1942.

In spite of the hardships of war, young Jo Bremley lives in considerable happiness with her husband and 7-year old daughter. Then one night, influenced by his best friend, Jo’s husband announces that he has decided to join the war. Before he gets a chance to, however, he’s the victim of a snowstorm accident. Now a young widow, Jo tries to make ends meet as best as she can by doing laundry for an establishment called O.M. Harrington.

During the year following her husband’s death, Jo runs into several difficulties which put her job in danger. Her husband’s best friend, whom she’s always blamed for her husband’s death, sets up a successful law practice; her daughter has a couple of unfortunate incidents with Big Ole, the owner of O.M. Harrington; and Jo doesn’t think she’ll be able to get her daughter the Christmas gift she deserves. Eventually, through a series of twists, the characters learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness, all in time to celebrate the holiday season.

Though Tracks in the Snow is a slow read, and got me a little frustrated at times, I ultimately enjoyed it. I appreciate the way the author took her time in developing her characters and the question of how she was going to put all the loose ends together at the end kept me reading. At times I found Jo too perfect and goodie-goodie, but in the end she wins me over. I especially like Big Ole and his gradual change from a grumpy old man to a caring person. He has a nice character arc. The story is a snapshot of a family in Minnesota during World War II. The author did a good job portraying this situation.

The ending of Tracks in the Snow is heartwarming, without being preachy. In sum, although the pace of the book is slow, the characterization and the writing are good. If you’re looking for a page-turner, this isn’t the book for you, but if you like to take your time when reading a story and getting to know the characters, and you appreciate realistic fiction, you’ll enjoy Tracks in the Snow.

For more info, visit the author’s website or Amazon.

Originally published in Blogcritics

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A Satan Carol by spiritual horror author Alan Steven Kessler combines elements of the macabre and parody/satire to explore the concepts of free will and evil. Not having read in this horror subcategory before, I was intrigued when I received a copy of this ebook for review.

The story begins in 1848 Ireland during a time of intense famine. A poor, nearly starved boy dies in the countryside, releasing a ‘golden soul,’ a special soul full of kindness and healing power. Had he lived, he would have infected generations with goodness.

The tale then moves 180 years later to Christmas Eve in Massachusetts, where we encounter Katie Katz, a troubled, pregnant 14-year old who’s planning an abortion. Revolving around her are various characters who are interconnected in some way, either by family ties or by Mr. Green—aka the Devil—who has an agenda and will stop at nothing to tempt them and play with their conscience.

Among these characters are Katie’s father, Harvey Katz, a top notch lawyer who defends rapists and killers, does drugs and treats women like objects; her grandfather Orem, who’s cursed with prophesies and visions no one believes; Fritz Mueller, a gruesome doctor who performs abortions and uses the fetuses to extract a serum that could affect people’s growth. There are others, too, such as Katie’s mother and Harvey’s assistant.

Through the generations, Mr. Green has been following these people since birth, trying to shape their destinies to suit his purposes. At the top of his agenda, of course, is the golden soul and the way it could affect his son Pal. Though we have an idea that all the characters are pawns in Mr. Green’s evil games, it isn’t until the middle that we get a clearer picture of what’s really going on.

Mr Green tries to convince and trick his victims with dreams and hallucinations, but in the end, they have free will. As the plot evolves and the characters opt to follow the right path, Mr. Green grows increasingly frustrated. In fact, he becomes exhausted and whiny, prone to temper tantrums. After all, it isn’t easy bending the fabric of time and trying to be everywhere at once.

Who is the ghost of Christmas Eve? Is it Pal, Satan’s son? Is it Katie’s unborn child? Or is it the golden soul itself? Will Satan get his way in the end?

A Satan Carol moves back and forth in time and is told from multiple points of view. It is a well-written story with a heavy message that will especially appeal to Christian readers. Though some of the segments are gruesome and bordering on the bizarre, at times Kessler uses dark, twisted humor to lighten the prose. The story explores the universal theme of good versus evil with a particular focus on the power of free will. Kessler writes with a lot of attention to detail and some of the paragraphs are quite long, especially in the first half of the book. The pacing is faster in the second half, with less exposition and lots more dialogue.

A Satan Carol is an out-of-the-ordinary read that invites self pondering. Recommended for readers of horror and Christian fiction who’d like to try something different.

A Satan Carol
by Alan Steven Kessler
Wild Child Publishing
ISNB: 978-1-61798-013-8
Copyright 2009
290 pages
$5.99
Formats: PDF, HTML, ePub, Mobi, Lit, PRC
Spiritual/Christian Horror
Author’s website: http://www.askessler.com
Listen to the first chapter online: http://www.askessler.com/listen.html

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I am a new author with two published books to my credit. The Last Degree (DIP Publishing) was released last month. The book was inspired by my obsession with conspiracy theory. I am a Christian who believes in doomsday prophecy. I also believe there is a shadowy government that is running the world behind the proverbial curtain. The prime suspects are the Bilderbergs, Freemasons, Illuminati, Bohemian Club, and/or Club of Rome. Conspiracy theorists hold that the elite will reveal themselves once they organize the world under one government. This theory is called New World Order, and my novel links it to biblical prophecy. Crazy, right? I’m not alone. Some are much more serious about this line of thinking, going as far as constructing underground living quarters, preparing for the end.

My second book, Halo of the Damned, will be released on February 7th. Once again religion inspired me. This book isn’t as serious, but research still plays into the plot. I stumbled upon an article about the Yezidi religion many years ago. Part of their religion is about angel worshipping, particularly Malak Tawas, the peacock. This angel is known as Satan in the West. I mixed the obscure religion with my own cynical views of the advertising industry and turned it into a novel.

About the books:

The Last Degree: Secret societies plan for the first phase of New World Order. The novel is dedicated to all Birthers, Truthers, 2012ers, Tribulationists, and/or conspiracy advocates that question the inner circle of the elite.

Halo of the Damned: A fallen angel uses the advertising industry to gather souls for Satan.

Author’s Bio:

Dina Rae is a new author that is here to stay. As a former teacher, she brings an academic element to her work. Her research on the Yezidi religion and love of art inspired her story telling for Halo of the Damned.

Her other novel, The Last Degree, is a fictionalized account of the Freemason’s role in the New World Order. Dina’s grandfather was the Most Worshipful of his lodge. The subject has always held a personal interest.

Dina lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Chicago. She is an avid reader, tennis player, movie buff, and self-proclaimed expert on conspiracy theories.

Link to author’s website or blog: dinarae.co
Twitter: @HalooftheDamned
Link to excerpt: dinarae.co
Link to purchase page: EternalPress.biz for Halo of the Damned and http://www.amazon.com/Last-Degree-Dina-Rae/dp/1937182053/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328143707&sr=8-1, dippub.com, Barnesandnoble.com for The Last Degree

Watch the trailer for Halo of the Damned

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dianneDianne Sagan, author, speaker, ghostwriter, and consultant has been a story teller much of her life. She started writing short stories for her children when they were small. Dianne has spent several years honing her craft as an op-ed columnist in the regional newspaper, Amarillo Globe News, short stories for anthologies and online articles on Suite 101, Writing for Dollars, and others.

Born in the Midwest, she grew up on the plains of West Texas and in her heart of hearts always wanted to write. She says that she loves being married to a writer and an editor because she always has someone to brainstorm with.

Visit her website and blog.

Your new book, Shelter from the Storm, is different from your novella, Rebekah Redeemed. What made you write such a different book?

I think that both these books are parts of who I am and what is important to me. I realize that “we’re here to make a difference” has become a rather trite thing to say, but I believe that what we learn through life experiences should be used to help others. We can help others get through challenges. I use my writing as an outlet as well as speaking with groups or organizations.

Tell us a little about what it was like to write this type of book.

Parts of it were hard to write and emotional, but because it is fictionalized I could remove myself somewhat from the plot. I kept thinking that if I could make it a page turner and focus on Brittany Camp, the protagonist that people could empathize with her.

This is your second book to be published. Is it as exciting this time as it was with your first book release?

It is just as exciting but it is tempered with what I’ve learned about what it takes to launch a book. It is a lot of work. However, I’m sure I’ll be just as excited when the first box of books arrives and when I look on amazon.com and see it there. I wanted to take a picture of myself by the book shelves at the book store the first time I saw my book on the shelf. I do admit that when I got the ISBN number, I felt like dancing just like with the first book.

Who is your favorite character in Shelter from the Storm?

Of course I feel an attachment to Brittany Camp, but I like her attorney. He is a compassionate and understanding person, but he is also focused and wants to help his clients believe in themselves again.

Do you have any other works in progress?

Yes, I’m working on The Fisherman’s Wife. It is the second book in the Christian fiction novella series. I also have a few other books that are still in what I call the incubation stage. I work in my head a lot on story lines and ideas before I start actually writing.

Who are your favorite authors?

I read a lot of different books, both fiction and nonfiction. Some of my favorite authors are Francine Rivers, Terri Blackstock, Jerry Jenkins, James Patterson, David Baldacci, Carol Higgins Clark, Janet Evanovich, Lillian Braun, and Deborah LeBlanc. Some of my favorite nonfiction authors are Beth Moore, Max Lucado, and Jennifer Rothschild.

You are also a ghostwriter. What is it like to write as a ghostwriter compared to writing your own books?

The books I’ve ghosted were nonfiction and included subjects like leadership, overcoming fears, becoming a better person, becoming successful and teaching children about handling their finances. The biggest challenge is to write in someone else’s voice. You are writing someone else’s message and you need to be sure you are saying what they want to say.

Writing my own books and stories is easier because it just flows out and I don’t have to be sure I stay in the correct voice. I can just let the story or content develop from my own imagination or research. However, I enjoy doing both kinds of writing. They both have their own challenges and feeling of satisfaction when you complete a project and it is ready to go to layout for printing and release.

It is pretty cool to see your name on a book that you’ve written and exciting when you have a book signing and people actually want to buy your books and enjoy reading them.

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Rebekah RedemmedOrphaned Rebekah becomes a servant in her uncle’s house in Bethany. Traded from relative to relative, she suffers neglect and abuse. When a Roman soldier assaults her, she flees in fear of her life and hides. Rebekah is discovered and Lazarus becomes her kinsman redeemer. Can Jesus redeem her soul? Can she forgive or break the chains of her past?

Read an excerpt:

Benjamin sized up the little girl. A flicker of recognition in the older man’s eyes quickly turned to ice. Stepping closer he reached down to the child and she pulled away. “Look at me, child,” he commanded with a little less animosity in his voice.
Rebekah lifted her chin and looked into her uncle’s brown, lined face. He pushed the shawl off her stringy brown hair, and for a moment the lines in his face softened and his eyes showed compassion. “You look like your mother,” he mumbled to himself. Then he stood back, cleared his throat and narrowed his eyes once more.
“You want me to take her in, is that it?”
“Yes. We have little and cannot take her as our own.”
“What is in it for my wife and me?”
“She is strong and a good worker. She is good with lambs. She can help with cooking and drawing water. I know she looks small, but she is strong and obedient. She could be a useful addition to your household. A daughter is not like having a son, but they can work.” Caleb tried to sell the idea to the shopkeeper.
“Well,” he sized up the child and scratched his bearded chin. “She could help my wife.” He stood in silence, strolled out into the street, and looked up and down at his friends and neighbors. Then, turning on his heel, he walked back to Caleb and said without emotion, “You asked around the village for me? Others know of the child?”
“We asked people so we could find you.”
With one more glance up and down the street, Benjamin saw the rabbi walking toward them. “The Torah does say that we are to care for orphans and widows. She is my dead sister’s child, no matter what else happened between us. I will take her in, but not as a member of my family.”
“Shalom. May you…”
Benjamin reached for the girl. He interrupted Caleb, “I will not pay you for her. Go back where you came from. I take her because it is my duty under the Law of Moses.”
Caleb turned to go. Benjamin pushed Rebekah toward the back of the shop. She looked over her shoulder at her father’s friend for the last time.
“Come. You must meet your mistress. You have taken up enough time. I have a business to run and customers to serve.” He spoke as if he were an important man.
Rebekah stepped through the door into a small courtyard and into a new life. She prayed silently that it would get no worse.

Read a review on THE BOOK CONNECTION.

Purchase Info:

Title: Rebekah Redeemed
Author: Dianne G. Sagan
Publisher: Buoy Up Press
ISBN: 978-0-937660-52-2
SRP: $11.95 (U.S.)

dianneAbout the author:

Dianne Sagan, author, speaker, ghostwriter, and consultant has been a story teller much of her life. She started writing short stories for her children when they were small. Dianne has spent several years honing her craft as an op-ed columnist in the regional newspaper, Amarillo Globe News, short stories for anthologies and online articles on Suite 101, Writing for Dollars, and others.

Born in the Midwest, she grew up on the plains of West Texas and in her heart of hearts always wanted to write. She says that she loves being married to a writer and an editor because she always has someone to brainstorm with.

Her interests include reading, quilting, gardening, time with her children and grandchildren. She has spent years in volunteer work through Boy and Girl Scouts, her church, and the Sharing Hope Ministry to incarcerated women. She is also involved in writing about women’s issues. She loves speaking to groups about these issues and about writing.

Works in progress include a suspense novel, more Christian fiction novellas, and ghostwriting.

Her most recent published book is Rebekah Redeemed.

Visit her website and blog.

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