Cheryl and I met early on in our writing careers, long before we became fellow "Angels" at Guardian Angel Publishing and we forged an immediate friendship online and low and behold we both published our first children's picture book in August 2010. I hope to meet Cheryl in person some day and I'm pleased share with my recent interview of Cheryl.
DMc: Since embarking on my own writing career several years ago I've learned authors were many hats beyond that of writer. How do you balance your career of author, editor, ghostwriter, and publicist?
CM: Now, if someone had told me I was expected to balance things, I would have planned it all out differently. LOL! Being a wife and mom has to come first; though my family might argue they don’t.
Coordinating virtual book tours takes up the majority of my work day, so I have to plan out my writing time in little bits each week. Now that both girls are in school, I am free to work 7 hours a day without interruption, except tossing in a load of laundry or taking a break to eat. It’s made a huge difference in what I can accomplish—though you don’t want to see what my house looks like right now.
In order to manage, I write up a goals list in January that I review each quarter. I write a weekly to-do list, and check off each task as I perform it to keep me moving forward. When I work, I don’t answer the phone and I limit how often I check my email. Keeping distractions at a minimum makes me more productive. I run errands once a week, so I’m not running around too often.
When the girls come home I stop working and try not to go back again until after they are in bed.
DMc: School visits are instrumental in building one's author platform. What can an interested school expect from a visit by you?
CM: Great question. I’m in our schools as often as I can be. Sometimes it’s just to read a book and other times I hold workshops. Earlier this year I visited my daughter’s first grade class and held a workshop about characters. We talked about some of their favorite characters: what they liked about them, if there were things they didn’t like about them, and how they could create their own characters.
In mid-May I’ll be visiting my other daughter’s fourth grade classroom to hold a two-day workshop on story building. What I feel is very important is communicating your ideas with educators and trying to make your workshops tie into their curriculum. Our school district teaches about immigration in fourth grade, so one of exercises is: write a scene where a character has just stepped off the boat at Ellis Island.
DMc: Please share with us your road to publishing Little Shepherd?
CM: I could talk about this for a long time, because I truly believe God planted this idea on my heart a long time ago. When my nine-year-old daughter was only a toddler, I would sing Christmas carols to her as lullabies. Each time I sang The Little Drummer Boy, I got the idea to write a story about a shepherd in the hills outside Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. The idea just wouldn’t go away.
After our second daughter was born, I became a stay-at-home mom and began to pursue my writing career. I started a blog to gain online exposure and soon was reviewing books. An author from Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP) asked me to review her book. I loved it so much that I requested other GAP titles to review. I corresponded with GAP owner Lynda Burch during the Muse Online Writers Conference for two years before submitting Little Shepherd to her for consideration. I tried to mold the story so that it fit into one of GAP’s lines because I wanted them to publish it. After a few revisions, they accepted the book and it was released in August 2010.
DMc: Knowing the ins and outs of book promotion, what can an author expect from your Pump Up Your Book services?
CM: I’m proud to be part of the Pump Up Your Book! team. We coordinate virtual book tours for authors in a variety of genres. Our services are affordable and I believe we have a strong formula for success. We help authors reach readers and our services provide the online exposure so that potential readers can find them using search engines.
We have a group of regular bloggers who tour many of our clients’ books. Then we add blogs that are specific to the book, so each tour is unique. All tours are promoted with press releases, video trailers, and through our website and the use of social media.
DMc: How can our readers learn more about your multi-faceted career?
CM: My friends say I am all over the Internet. I’m not sure they mean it as a compliment, but it’s true. Having worked in online book promotion for nearly four years, blogging, and promoting my writing means I’m at a lot of places.
Readers can find me at:
I’m also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1110037692 and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/ccmalandrinos
Please stay for a bit longer and enjoy my book review of Cheryl's children's picture book, Little Shepherd.
Title: Little Shepherd
Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Illustrator: Eugene Ruble
Soft cover: 16 pages
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. / August 2010
E-book ISBN: 978-161633-086-6
Wise beyond his years, young Obed has become a seasoned shepherd boy. Acutely aware of the hillside surroundings while tending his flock Obed stares at the sky in wonderment. A single bright light fills the sky. At first afraid, Obed felt a calmness wash over him as the beautiful angels descend, proclaiming “A Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
Unsure what their message means, Obed looks to his father for guidance. With reassurances from his father, Obed and the older shepherds journey to Bethlehem to meet the newborn King. Their journey and meeting Christ the Lord is nothing less than miraculous.
Your fist 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.
Visit children’s author, Cheryl C. Malandrinos at:
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.