Monday, December 26, 2016

Interview with Cheryl C. Malandrinos & #giveaway

By Susan J. Berger
 Meet Cheryl Malandrinos whose book Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving. Delightful, well-written story of a little girl who figures out how to save the day when the turkey meets an untimely end. I've given the Goodreads link, but if you would like to acquire it for your eReader, the 5.00 PDF is available here.
Cheryl has a lovely blog called the Children and Teen Book Connection. She's giving away a copy of the book at the end of this post.

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a wife and mother of three who is also a licensed real estate agent. Our son is married, but our two girls are still at home. We also have three cats and two hamsters. In my spare time, I like to garden and cook.
I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your first book.
This was so exciting because I had read many books by Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP) prior to submitting Little Shepherd to them. GAP believes “we can change the world by investing in children, one child at a time.” This is a powerful mission that I wholeheartedly support. As soon as Lynda sent me the contract, I started texting, emailing, and calling everyone I knew.                             

Please tell us about Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving.
Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving finds Macy employing quick thinking and ingenuity to help save dinner when the dog swipes the turkey off the table.


What inspired you to write it?
In 2010, I participated in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) for the first time. This annual event challenges writers to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it sounds. This was idea number 24.

I really wanted a book that wasn’t simply about being thankful. There are plenty of kid’s books about Thanksgiving with that message. This review captured the essence of the book well, “The author has written a story about a family, much like yours or mine, perhaps, that works together when life doesn’t turn out the way they want it to. They take a situation and make the best of it… And in working together, they also discover that being with family is more important than what they eat.”

What do you want kids to get out of this book?
Be creative. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t do it differently.

Since we are in the Holiday season, what is your favorite Christmas/Kwanza/Hannukah Tradition?
I am a huge Christmas fanatic. If it weren’t for the cats, the tree would stay up all year long. Spending time together at Christmas has always been important to us. It’s fun to see the traditions carry on from generation to generation.

Are you working on anything else right now?
I’m gearing up to participate in PiBoIdMo this coming January (it used to be in November). My sincere hope is that I can finish the middle grade historical I’ve been working on and get it ready for submission. I also have several picture books that are looking for homes.  

 And finally, where can we find you?
My friends say I am all over the internet. Here are the best places to find me:
Website Address:
Blog Address:
Twitter Address: @ccmalandrinos
Facebook Address:
Goodreads Address:

Thank you for being here, Cheryl.
If you would like to win a copy of Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, please leave your email in a comment so I can get in touch with you. What's the most unusual dish you ate/served for Thanksgiving or Christmas?  Happy Reading and a wonderful last few days of 2016. We'll see you in 2017.




Monday, December 19, 2016

 Twas The Night for Readers


                                                  by Susan J Berger
Merry ChrisKwanzakkuh.
I am visiting friends in Oregon till Tuesday and Bailey, their dog, showed an interest in my book. So I thought I would use him as one of the illustrations for my Christmas poem.

 Twas The Night.


Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

Each creature was reading. Yes, even the mouse.

In a nest made of cotton that used to line pills,

he read Mouseman Saves Christmas and shivered with thrills.

 Miss Padpaws turned pages of  Elf off A Shelf 

And purred as she read it aloud to herself.

Bad Dog, on the hearth, was devouring a book.

He'd chewed up five chapters and turned them to gook.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

reading books, with the covers pulled over their heads.

Mamá was engrossed in her latest romance.

I nodded o'er Dickens and fell into trance.

Not one of us heard jingle bells on the roof.

No prancing and pawing of each tiny hoof.

Santa slid down the chimney and only Bad Dog, 

looked up and woofed softly at the man on the log.


"Good Bad Dog," said Santa, and opened his pack.

He pulled out a bushel of books from his sack.

Picture books, YA, some Midgrades for Simon,

Thrillers, romances and even Neil Gaiman.

Geronimo Stilton, he gave to the mouse.

A copy of Archie, he left for the louse

Miss Padpaws got Pout Pout Fish wearing a cap.

For Bad Dog, a book with a cake book on the flap.

 He filled every stocking with poems and prose.

Then ate all the cookies; brushed crumbs from his clothes.


On Prancer! On Dancer!"  Sleigh bells jingled bright.

"Happy Reading to All and to All a Good Night".

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dispatch #59: Who's to Blame?

by Lupe Fernandez

Bile boils my stomach. My heart beats faster than a hummingbird’s wings. I can’t catch my breath. Saliva tastes like asphalt fear.

Who’s to say what will happen next?

Who’s to say the worst is yet to come?

Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
- Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, The Dark Knight

Who’s to say the best is yet to come?

Who’s to blame?

The entertainment media complex, rotten eggs, sunspots, reality shows, ratings, global warming, left handers, cable, hot vinyl, the Oscars, ants, volatile organic compounds, bottled water, super-delegates, the Spanish Inquisition, quantum physics, social media, Lyndon Johnson, salt-licks, KKK, gerunds, coconut oil, adverbs, depression, repression, suppression, German Shepherds, the glass ceiling, marble tile, agent rejection notices…

You get the idea.
As those slaves have died, so will your rabble... if they falter one instant in loyalty to the new order of affairs. Arrests are in progress. The prisons began to fill. In every city and province, lists of the disloyal have been compiled. Tomorrow, they will learn the cost of their terrible folly... their treason.
- Laurence Olivier as Marcus Licinius Crassus, Spartacus (1960)

Once upon a time, racial segregation was the law of the land.
Once upon a time, women didn’t have the right to vote.
Once upon a time, The Republic of Mexico owned California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Texas.
Once upon a time, twelve men walked on the Moon.
Once upon a time…I don’t have any more stories, no more quips, jabs, jokes, puns or ad-libs.

The one time I thought the world was really, really going to change was in the early nineties. The dreaded Berlin Wall fell, marking the end of the USSR. We’re free, I thought. The Cold War is over. The threat of nuclear annihilation is gone. We’re free. This country, the world can devote itself to greater things.

I was wrong.

I’m naïve.

“It’s morning again in America…”
- Republican Political TV Ad, 1984 Election

Is this the day to cast blame?