Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I am excited to have Cheryl Malandrinos, dear friend and super author, visit my blog today to talk about her debut book, Little Shepherd, and to tell us a bit about herself. 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 http://ccmalandrinos.com/  or at the following blogs:

The Book Connection

Book Tours and More

The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

Cheryl has more to say:

My Story is Boring. Read about These Other Writers Instead. by Cheryl Malandrinos

(My note. I don't think Cheryl's story is boring, but I'll hush now. You go, Cheryl.)

I pulled up Beverly’s blog to get ideas for my guest post. There was that title staring me in the face, “The Story of a Writer”. So, I started thinking about Bev’s title and figured I should share my story of becoming a writer. Well, that’s about as interesting as dirt. It’s so boring I can tell it to you in one fractured paragraph.

Dreamed of being a writer. Studied hard and read much. Wrote some. Tragedy struck. Stories became dark and depressing, so writing stopped. Years passed. Had a baby. Wrote some more. Life got busy, so writing stopped. Got married, had two more babies. Left Corporate America to write. Haven’t looked back.

See, I told you. Boring. Actually, now I think dirt is more interesting.

I’ll share some stories of other writers instead.

A little girl grew up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Her pa had itchy feet and he didn’t like how crowded the Big Woods had become, so the family—which consisted of Pa, Ma, and three little girls—rode by covered wagon into Indian country and started over. There were many more trips by covered wagon until one day Pa settled in Dakota Territory. The girl, now a young woman, met a dashing farmer, got married, and had a baby.

When her baby had grown into a toddler, the young woman said goodbye to her Ma and Pa, and made another trip by covered wagon to the Ozarks, where she and her husband built a house and watched their daughter grow.

Their daughter became a famous writer and kept pestering her mother to write down the stories of her childhood. When she finally did write down those stories and submit them to a publisher, despite America being hit by the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the editor knew she held in her hands, "the book that no depression could stop."

The book was, Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It became an overnight success. Eight more books were published in the Little House series; the final one, after her death.

This next writer, known as Maud, by her friends and family, is most famous for writing about a red-headed orphan girl who gets adopted by an elderly brother and sister living on Prince Edward Island.

Born in 1874, her mother died when she was only a toddler and her father sent her to live with her maternal grandparents. She created imaginary worlds and friends to cope with the loneliness.

Her first published work came at the age of 16. She furthered her education after grade school and earned a teaching certificate. Anne of Green Gables, the first book featuring Anne, spelled with an “e”, Shirley, was published in 1908.

Lucy Maud Montgomery published 20 novels and hundreds of short stories and poems in her lifetime, many of them set on Prince Edward Island. She also published an autobiography titled, The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career, and a book of poetry.

Another famous writer was born in Pennsylvania but spent most of her years growing up in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts. She was educated by her father, and thanks to her mother, became a supporter of women’s rights, temperance, and abolition.

She had three sisters: Anna, Elizabeth, and May. While she started her career writing poetry and short stories for magazines, she soon published two novels for adults. It would, however, be the books about four sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War that brought her the most recognition.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is based upon Louisa and her sister’s years growing up at Orchard House in Concord. She wrote it when a Boston publisher requested a book for young girls. Little Women was such a success that the publisher requested a second volume, which became known as, Little Men. Jo’s Boys completed the trilogy.

Alcott published over 30 books and short story collections before her death in 1888.

Interestingly enough, all three of these writers used their own life experiences to influence their fiction. Their stories have been brought to life on film and their books continue to gain new fans.

While Little Shepherd, my first children’s book, was influenced more by my faith than my life experiences, I hope I have followed my mentors in writing what I know.

Enough for your lesson in children’s literature today, folks. Get out and write!

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

And now here's Cheryl's picture book Little Shepherd.

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?


Cheryl Malandrinos

Illus. Eugene Ruble

What if your father has just trusted you with watching over your first flock, and you’re only five years old? What if one night while you’re guarding the sheep to keep them safe from wolves a bright light suddenly glows in the sky, and an angel appears with a message? “Do not be afraid,” the angel said. “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” More angels then appear, praising God.

In her debut picture book, Little Shepherd, author Cheryl Malandrinos tells the story of Christ’s birth through the eyes of a shepherd boy named Obed who witnesses the miracle of Christ’s birth. Obed’s father and the other shepherds are curious and want to go to Bethlehem to see the baby. But Obed worries about the sheep. Who will protect them while he’s gone? His father assures Obed the flock will be taken care of. Since Obed trusts his father, they soon are on their way. Eugene Ruble’s illustrations are just right for this gentle tale. The use of earth tones to convey the atmosphere and rough terrain place the reader in the story. As I read, I could almost feel the excitement and joy of the shepherds on their journey to see the newborn, making me wish I were there with them.

Little Shepherd is a fresh addition to the many tales that have been written about the birth of Jesus. I think children will love hearing the story of Christ’s birth through the eyes of a child. Little Shepherd could be read in Sunday school classes and day care centers, and children might also enjoy acting out the story. I recommend that Moms and Dads, Grandparents and friends, cuddle with your little ones, and through Ms. Malandrinos’ book relive the miracle that occurred one starry night over two thousand years ago. This book would make a great stocking stuffer, too. So pick up a copy for each of the children in your life. You’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Cheryl.


  1. Thanks for having me here today, Bev. I'm so glad you liked Obed's story. Your review touched my heart.

    You are wonderful friend and talented writer. I wish you continued success.

    A reminder to your readers that anyone who comments at this blog stop will be entered into a drawing to win a Christmas gift basket with a retail value of $65. Details for this and the other giveaway I am running can be found at the Little Shepherd blog.

    Wishing you and your readers a blessed Christmas.


    P.S. I still say my story is boring. :)

  2. LOL. Your opinion of your story doesn't count, Cheryl.

    Thanks for the reminder about the great prize. Let me tell you, folks, you'll really want to win this one.

    Glad you liked the review, Cheryl. It is a beautiful story which made the review easy to write.

    Best of luck to you. Gonna twitter it now.

  3. Wow, the story of how Little House on the Prairie came to be is quite something! Encouraging to know that books got published during the Great Depression. Cheryl, best of luck with Little Shepherd.

  4. It is encouraging, isn't it, Catherine? If books were published in those days, they certainly can be today, even with the economy the way it is.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Great stories about writers, including Cheryl's. I left my teaching position to have my daughter and become a writer, so I can relate to her story.

    Congrats on your picture book, Cheryl. Best of luck with it.

  6. Hi, Cheryl and Beverly.

    Now, Cheryl, your story is just as interesting as the samples you gave. You're a writer and could "flesh" it out as you did theirs.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, Kelly. Thanks for sharing your story. Best of luck in your writing career.

  8. You're absolutely right, Vivian. Cheryl is a great writer. I look forward to more books from her.

  9. Dirt is overrated! Glad you've never looked back.

  10. Wow! Go shopping for a bit and come back to a slew of comments. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    Thank you for the kind words and encouragement everyone. You're the best.

    Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.


  11. Oh, I loved learning about how all those others books came about as well as yours, Cheryl!

    Very cool!

  12. I agree, Diane. Forget dirt. We have Cheryl. :)

  13. Darby, Cheryl told me some stuff I didn't know about the authors. Very interesting.

  14. great interview and cute picture book ;)...y are writers always so hard on themselves?

  15. Cheryl, your story of becoming a writer is NOT boring. Thanks for sharing it.

  16. I think they are, Beth, and I don't know why. Having the book published shows success. :)

  17. I agree, Susanne. Cheryl's story is inspiring to me.

  18. Very informative and interesting article Cheryl. I've read it's best to write about what you know and have experienced. I guess that's true!

    And, your book looks wonderful.

  19. What a beauty of a book cover and I've no doubt the story inside is just as beautiful.

    Excellent guest!

  20. It is a beautiful story that children should enjoy reading over and over again.