Thursday, November 4, 2010

Little Shepherd Blog Tour with author Cheryl Malandrinos

Little Shepherd Synopsis:
Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem when the angels appear to announce the Savior's birth. Can he trust that the miracle of the first Christmas will keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Excerpt from Little Shepherd:
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.

About the Author:
Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. 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 or the Little Shepherd blog at 

Cheryl, what inspired you to start writing?

Cheryl: Thanks for having me here today. I’ve always enjoyed writing in one form or another: book reports, essays, poetry, short stories, etc. When I was younger, I knew I wanted to be a teacher or a writer. I was heading more in the teacher direction when tragedy struck. My mother died of cancer and my world fell apart. I was only 14.

While I had written a few stories before then, my writing became a way for me to channel my grief. The stories I wrote then were, not surprisingly, dark. Eventually the sun began to shine again, and though I didn’t do much with my writing, I still held onto my dream until the time was right. That time came when I left the corporate world to raise my daughters. I’ve never looked back.

Can you tell us a little about your most recently published book, Little Shepherd?

Cheryl: Little Shepherd is a retelling of the Christmas story from the perspective of a young shepherd. Obed is in the fields outside of Bethlehem tending his first flock when the angel appears to announce the Savior’s birth. He wishes to join the others to see the newborn King, but he is afraid to leave his sheep unattended. After some wise words from his father, he decides to go, but he remains anxious about his sheep. A visit with the Holy Family and what he sees once he returns to the fields helps Obed realize it is a night of miracles.

How did you create your characters?

Cheryl: In this book, there are only two main characters: Obed and his father. Much of what happened was dictated by history, so I needed my characters to fit into that event. I blended the curiosity of my own children and a large sense of responsibility that would have been common in a boy of his era, to create Obed. Knowing he was such a responsible boy, led me to create his feelings of anxiety over leaving his sheep unattended.

Obed’s father is the type of dad we wish we all had: understanding, wise and full of encouragement. In Little Shepherd, he is the one who tells the others they should go to Bethlehem to see what the angels told them about. If I were entirely honest, I would say Obed’s father holds the traits of television fathers I admired growing up: Ward Cleaver, Howard Cunningham and Charles Ingalls

Can you tell us a funny story about writing your book?

Cheryl: Would you believe that Little Shepherd wasn’t supposed to be a children’s book? When God first planted the idea in my mind, it was of an adult Obed who left home in search of the apostles. The apostles are in hiding after the Resurrection, and Obed must find them to learn if Jesus is the Savior he met as a boy.  It wasn’t until my pastor asked if the idea was a children’s story that I even considered it.

If you could live in any book, which one would you choose?

Cheryl: Considering how much I read, this is a tough one. I think I would have to go with These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In this book, Laura takes a teaching job miles away from home to help pay for her sister Mary’s tuition at the blind school. Almanzo Wilder, her future husband, comes at the end of each week to bring her back home to her family.

Courting was very different back then. I would have preferred being courted in the old-fashioned way compared to the way things are done now; though I have to admit my husband is a prince among men.

What are some of your favorite books to read?

Cheryl: Another tough question. I’ve read almost 140 books so far this year. Mysteries are a hit with me. It started with watching Scooby-Doo on Saturday mornings and blossomed from there. Marilyn Meredith, who is one of my clients through Pump Up Your Book, writes two series I enjoy: Rocky Bluff P.D. and Deputy Tempe Crabtree. When I’m in the mood for romance I look for Allison Pittman or Amber Stockton. I still enjoy reading my Little House books and the Anne of Green Gables series when I get a chance. I also read a fair amount of non-fiction: true crime, biographies and anything about the Civil War.

If you had to pick a character in a book that is most like you in personality, which would you choose?

Cheryl: Definitely Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. She’s imaginative, feisty, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind—which has caused her a bit of trouble from time to time. Usually when she is trying to avoid trouble, it finds her. And like Anne, I didn’t immediately appreciate the man God destined me to be with. Just don’t tell my husband that. 

Cheryl, what do you do when you’re not writing?

Cheryl: What don’t I do would be a much shorter list. Like most moms, I’m very busy. I work as a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book. My girls swim and dance, one of them is taking guitar lessons, and the other gymnastics. I play chauffeur a lot. I volunteer at my daughters’ schools and at our church. I enjoy gardening when I have the time.

If a class wrote you letters, will you respond?

Cheryl: Yes. It’s important to encourage young people. Reading and writing opens up new worlds for them. One of my daughters is a reluctant reader, but this year she’s starting to enjoy reading for the first time. She also writes poetry and the occasional short story. It’s wonderful to see the change in her attitude toward reading and writing.

How can a school, teacher or PTA member get a hold of you for a school visit?

Cheryl: I am a founding member of Musing Our Children. This group of authors, illustrators, editors and storytellers seeks to encourage a love of reading and writing in young people through school visits and our quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens. I live in Western Massachusetts. I can be reached at cg20pm00(at)Gmail(dot)com.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Cheryl: You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it. Don’t let self-doubt, naysayers, or an overcrowded schedule get in the way of making your dreams a reality. You’ll make the time to write if you want it badly enough. Track your time for a week so you can discover where time is wasted and don’t be afraid to delegate chores to others.  Use positive self-talk instead of putting yourself down. Those who haven’t been called to be writers may not understand your desires, but that doesn’t make them any less valid. Perseverance will go a long way.

Cheryl, thank you so much for visiting our blog here at SFC: Families Matter.

Cheryl Malandrinos is hosting 2 Giveaways. Below are the details for giveaways!

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)
Note: Giveaway #1 is for those readers who comment on Cheryl’s blog stops during the tour. One comment per person, per blog, through the length of the tour.

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 gift card
Retail Value of Giveaway #2 is $97 (rounded to the nearest dollar)
Note: Giveaway #2 is for those who purchase a copy of Little Shepherd between its release date of August 21, 2010 and the end of the virtual book tour on December 17, 2010. Proof of purchase must be submitted to Cheryl via email at cg20pm00(at)Gmail(dot)com. Please substitute the appropriate symbols for the (at) and (dot). Those are zeroes in the address, not Os. If you prefer to mail or fax a copy of your proof of purchase, please contact Cheryl via email for that information.

Here are the rules and guidelines both giveaways:
1) For Giveaway #1, you must leave a comment on the hosting blog with a working email address for the author to contact you if you win.
2) For Giveaway #1, only the first comment with your working email address is used to determine eligibility (one comment, per blog).
3) You are eligible to win Giveaway #2, if you purchase a copy of Little Shepherd between August 21, 2010 and December 17, 2010 and provide the author with proof of purchase via email, mail, or fax prior to December 19, 2010. Little Shepherd is available at the Guardian Angel Publishing
website, Amazon,, and at
4) All giveaway winners will be selected using
5) Prizes will be shipped via USPS with appropriate insurance. The author cannot guarantee receipt before December 25, 2010.
6) Author, blog hosts, and Pump Up Your Book are not responsible for lost or damaged goods.
7)  The same person cannot win both giveaways.

Note: Although it is not a requirement for eligibility, Cheryl asks that you consider following the blogs who host her during her tour and also the Little Shepherd blog.
Good luck to all who enter!

Here is where you can find Cheryl during the first week of November:
Monday, November 1
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Tuesday, November 2
Book reviewed at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, November 3
Book reviewed at Café of Dreams
Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bag
Thursday, November 4
Book spotlighted on The Plot
Guest blogging at SFC Blog Family Matters
Friday, November 5
Guest blogging at The Plot

Cheryl Malandrinos’s Sites:


  1. Thanks for hosting me today. I hope your readers will leave a comment for their chance to win.

    I'll be checking in off and on, so if anyone has questions, I will be happy to answer them.

    Thanks again.


  2. This was a great interview and an awesome opportunity for our readers. Thanks for being part of our blog today.

  3. It's so great to see you here Cheryl. You're book is a great Christmas present or even a great book to read all year long so you can remember the joys we all do during the Holiday Season.

  4. Cheryl, your advice for new writers applies to all of us.

  5. Thanks for your comments ladies. I'm thrilled to be here spending time with you and your readership. You have a wonderful site and I am so glad it's back in time for the holidays.

    Best of luck to you both.


  6. This looks like a good book for my young grandson. I'm interested in how you 'created' this story, giving created to God for the idea. That appeals to me. :) I also appreciate your advice to would-be writers as I am just beginning with a head full of ideas. It's exciting! Thanks.

  7. Love the cover Cheryl, and the story is perfect for a Christmas gift book. Congrats, mate.

    Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques

  8. *giving credit to God* is what I meant to say earlier. Sorry for the typo.
    I will add, though, that I do believe our creative talent comes from God and I'm always delighted to find writers/authors who keep that in mind. All the best to you in your writing career.

  9. Thanks for stopping by everyone. Sorry I didn't make it back here until this morning. It's my daughter's 5th birthday today and Mom is busy planning and baking.

    Jan, I'm glad you found the advice helpful. Margot, thanks for the compliment on the cover. Eugene did a lovely job with it.

    Lynn, thank you for your kind words. I truly believe God has a plan for each of us. Sometimes we wander off in our own ways, but He continues to guide us in the direction He knows is best for us. I've seen this happen in my life many times.

    The Father brought this idea to me through a song that celebrated the birth of His Son. Though I sat down and typed the words, my gift of words comes from the One who created me. In addition, the original idea I felt called to write was a challenge. I couldn't get it to flow, it wasn't until God led me to share my story with my pastor, who in turn asked if this was a children's story, that Little Shepherd became the book that was published. There are no coincidences with God.

    Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to comment here. It means a lot to me.

    Blessings to all,


  10. Wonderful interview, ladies. And, great advice on finding/making the time to write, Cheryl.

  11. Thanks for stopping by, Karen. I'm glad you find the advice helpful.

    All my best,


  12. You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it. your dreams a reality. You’ll make the time to write if you want it badly enough.Use positive self-talk instead of putting yourself down.your books is amazing and i want to read this book



*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.