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I Found It Just As Interesting

Colleen Brice
Colleen Brice Author Interview

Ships, Sleighs and Christmas Lights tells the story of how a young boy from Patara grew into the man we now think of as Saint Nicholas. What inspired you to write this story?

There are many wonderful things about gift-giving at Christmas time but for Christians who celebrate the holiday, it can be tricky separating the commercial from the spiritual. I have friends who want to embrace the fun of the season with their children, while making them aware of the historical figures associated with Christmas. I wrote the book with them in mind. Having researched Nikolaos’ life, I found it just as interesting as some of the fantasy stories about Santa Claus.

What were some of the challenges you had moving from being an illustrator to an author and illustrator?

I am used to complimenting an author’s words with illustrations so owning both aspects of picture book storytelling was a new experience for me. An outline of the story came first, then I sketched some of the key scenes. I worked with an editor before I started drawing, so the text was finalised and I knew how much space would be needed in the layout for the illustrations.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Nikolaos is recognised as a saint. I wanted to explore ways in which his upbringing shaped his beliefs. Not everyone will relate to him in this way but I’d like to think the book will be of interest to people with different beliefs too. Much of the book is about culture and the ways in which we influence one another (hopefully for the better). Although our clothes and countries of origin may appear to be different, people are always drawn to goodness.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

There were so many legends about Saint Nicholas to draw on and some were only hinted at in Christmas Lights. I am writing a story about three young girls whose father fell on hard times. Nikolaos allegedly provided the family with special gifts but I wanted to tell the story from the girls’ perspective so they have a sense of agency. Most girls work hard but are not given opportunities or rewards. I’d like to think a privileged man like Nikolaos would address such imbalances. I hope to publish it in time for Christmas 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Snow-covered trees, twinkling lights and sleighs – these remind us of Christmas. But what about sunlit hills, an ancient lighthouse or a wooden ship at sea. Discover where Saint Nicholas (or Nikolaos) came from and follow him on his adventures. Did he really wear a red suit and deliver gifts to children? Learn how people living in different times and places added a bit of themselves to his story.

Ships, Sleighs and Christmas Lights

This stunning picture book captures the spirit of Christmas even if told from a perspective most have never heard of. Based off of the biblical story of Saint Nicholaos, the author intertwines how other cultures have added their twist to the story to lead it to the familiar story of a red suit and hat with reindeer.

Young Nikolaos was raised in Patara, a shipping town where he was taught to pray and about the life of Jesus and God. Inspired by the stories of Jesus, Nikolaos traveled to Jerusalem to visit all the places he learned of. He embodied the spirit of Jesus by giving all he could to those less fortunate than himself. When he was returning home his ship ran into a bad storm and he prayed that they would return to land safely. His faith and kindness are examples of where the spirit of the modern Saint Nick comes from. Saint Nikolaos was known for leaving gifts outside children’s windows, or just handing out things that they needed as he could. The tradition of gift-giving was started as a means to show kindness and help each other.

This picture book will entertain young readers and give them a historical perspective without dampening the excitement of the holiday season. This thought-provoking children’s book allows children to see that different cultures believe different versions of the same story. Captivating illustrations accompany the narrative and make for an engaging experience.

Ships, Sleighs and Christmas Lights: The Origins of Saint Nicholas is a delightful picture book that religious educators and families can all enjoy around the holiday season. It focuses on the meaning of Christmas and not the commercialization of the day. The historical fiction in this children’s book is a great conversation starter as well for what life was like in the fourth century.

Pages: 44 | ASIN : B09M3QXBLB

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The Tale of the Christmas Hero

Santa’s reindeer are very busy on Christmas Eve delivering presents to all the children. But when the reindeer decide to take a break and chase a field mouse for fun they bring about a near Christmas disaster. Luckily the field mouse they were chasing knows someone that can help them out of their jam and get Christmas back on track.

This is a charming children’s book that is an absolute joy to read. This book fits right into the cheery holiday theme of the season. The reindeer, and mouse, are so lively and animated throughout the story that their antics are sure to keep any child’s attention.

Right when I figured out this was going to be a story about reindeer getting into mischief, I knew I was going to enjoy this story, and the amusing antics delivered a lot of entertainment. Each scene has a fantastic illustration from illustrator Brenda Timms. Each image has a soft color palette and looks like they were colored with crayon, which makes them easily relatable to children.

This delightful picture book is told in fun rhymes that add color and character to the story being acted out on each page. The rhymes are cute and easy to follow, with a few big words here and there young readers should have an easy time reading this story with an adult.

The Tale of the Christmas Hero is a whimsical Christmas book that will delight kids this holiday season. With lovable and emotive characters taking readers on an amusing chase that ends in a cheesy reward, family’s will surely enjoy this entertaining book.

Pages: 36 | ISBN: 1643613502

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The True Spirit Of Christmas

Patricia Bossano
Patricia Bossano Author Interview

“Entre Duendes y Ratones” is an enchanting Christmas story for young readers. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

“Entre Duendes Y Ratones” came about in South America, back in 1999. One of my sisters needed to put on a Christmas play with her elementary school students, and she asked me to come up with a storyline. At the time, we printed a few booklets mostly to complement the performance, after which the adventures of my elves and mice were sort of forgotten. But now that, Benjamin, Pablo, and company, have been spruced up and refreshed with new artwork, I’m excited to formally introduce them to a wider new audience.

The illustrations in this book are beautiful. What was the art development process like for this picture book?

I was thrilled to connect with CenkiStudios to refresh “Entre Duendes Y Ratones.” They were a pleasure to work with—only a handful of virtual meetings were needed to discuss the scenes in the book I wanted to bring to life, and this very talented and receptive group delivered in no time!

CenkiStudios was founded in November of 2020 by Whimcifer, a digital artist, animator, and voice actor. Under his direction, the team works on an assortment of projects, including books, comics, and graphic novels. Each member of the team specializes in different creative work, such as illustration, graphic design, animation, voice acting, composing music, and 3D modeling. https://www.cenkistudios.com/

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

At the heart of this whimsical story is a desire to highlight the warmth of home and family while restating the true spirit of Christmas.

“Benjamin leaves his workshop at the South Pole to show his coworkers that humanity still believes in Christmas. But his hopes are dashed by the boy, Pablo, who at the age of ten thinks he knows everything. Never had Christmas Eve been in such peril, but thanks to elves and mice, everything turns out fine.”

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My publication project for 2022 is the translation into Spanish of “Faery Sight” book 1 of my Faerie Legacy Series. Look for it during the Spring Equinox!

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Amazon | WaterBearer Press

Benjamín abandona su taller en el Polo Sur para demostrar a sus compañeros que la humanidad todavía cree en la Navidad. Pero sus esperanzas se desploman ante el desdeñoso, Pablo, quien a los diez años piensa que lo sabe todo.
La Nochebuena jamás corrió tanto peligro, pero, Entre Duendes Y Ratones, todo se arreglará a pedir de boca.

Its Beautiful Chaos

C.H. Eryl
C.H. Eryl Author Interview

The Reindeer Ranch follows a woman who unexpectedly finds love during the holiday season but finds that love comes with new challenges. What inspired the setup to this story?

The story developed as I was creating a book of short stories for Christmastime last year, I wanted the feel of the season with all of its beautiful chaos.

Your characters go on a deeply emotional and transformative journey in your novel. Is this intentional or incidental to the story you want to tell?​

I believe that all relationships are transformative. I wanted the characters to learn to trust again, which is often the hardest emotion to learn after a heartbreak. Some people will completely miss the opportunity to find love because the fear of losing it is far too great.

I find that, while writing, you sometimes ask questions and have the characters answer them. Do you find that to be true?

What questions did you ask yourself while writing this story?​ I find that humorous! For me, I think the characters ask me the questions and I’m left with having to answer them in story form.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m already receiving nudges to do a sequel of this book to find out what happens in Darci and Brian’s life next. I believe the book will center around the town of Hope Falls with other characters coming into vision and perhaps giving them their own stories. I’m not sure of the release date, depending on how it matures, certainly by Fall of 2022 but I’m hoping for a book much sooner.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Will Darci get a second-chance at love? When she and her children move back to Hope Falls to be near her parents after her divorce, she’s not looking for love. With very little money, she initially must live with her parents as she works toward being independent again by having her own apartment and car. Working two jobs she finally is able to do just that. Just days before the Christmas Extravaganza, a tire blows on her way home. Could fate be tapping Darci on the shoulder? Life has a way of bringing serendipitous events to people when they least expect it…but sometimes they come with troubles of their own.

Scroonathan: A Diwali Story

Scroonathan: A Diwali Story by [Ram Tirthdas Daryanani]

Scroonathan: A Diwali Story by Ram T Daryanani takes the story of A Christmas Carol and views it through a contemporary Indian lens. We see the typical character of “Scrooge” in an entirely new light. Scroonathan is an excellent businessman, and the story opens with the death of his firm partner, Balaji. Scroonathan is a shrewd and frugal man who values money above all else, even the lives of others around him and the celebration of Diwali.

Many of us are familiar with the story of A Christmas Carol, and it’s so refreshing to see these same themes explored through Indian society. It shows that selfishness and cruelty can be universal, yet they can also be unlearned as we welcome generosity into our lives. As we see Scroonathan turn down kind words from those around him, it’s clear that he has shut himself off from joy. However, the ghosts of his past come to visit and set the record straight, and the story becomes a beautiful exploration of character growth.

I found Scroonathan: A Diwali Story to be a touching retelling of A Christmas Carol. This book allows a classic story to live on in the contemporary world and creates a shared experience between people of all nationalities. It teaches everyone to be thankful for what they have and generous with what they share, to ultimately live more fulfilling lives.

I would have liked to see even more descriptions of Scroonathan’s home and life in India. I think the setting makes this story so unique, and as someone who has never been to India, I was fascinated learning about how Scroonathan reflects the same experiences of the original text in his homeland.

Scroonathan: A Diwali Story by Ram T Daryanani is such a unique take on a story that has lasted throughout decades, and I think everyone could benefit from reading this book and experiencing a different cultural connotation. I loved learning about Diwali while simultaneously feeling the life lessons associated with the classic tale.

Pages: 98 | ASIN: B09C6L6Z47

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Tales from the Smoke House

Traditions make the world go ‘round. From customary meals to reminiscing about days gone by, family and community traditions are everything when it comes to holidays. Christmas in the United States is certainly no exception. One of the most endearing aspects of Christmas is knowing there will always be a good story shared. Franklin P. Smith knows this all too well. He has taken a tradition cherished by families everywhere and tweaked it to make an incredible little fiction read that will touch hearts and bring warm smiles to its readers. There is an art to storytelling and Smith has mastered it.

Tales from the Smokehouse: The Christmas Book, by Franklin P. Smith, contains the tales spun by visitors to the Smoke House. Everyone who drops by promises to reveal a tale that everyone will find captivating. Smith has written his book in a unique style in which one plot exists but consists of several individual stories told by its characters. The first story shared is about an amazing cat with more than its share of lives. Smith chose a fantastic tale to begin his book.

Smith manages to incorporate life lessons in the stories his characters share. The meaning of Christmas is just one of those lessons and the reason this book makes an ideal holiday gift. This short read would be a perfect present for a host or hostess at a neighborhood holiday party. The stories and lessons within are timeless, relatable, and engaging. In all honesty, I can see Smith’s book as a wonderful read aloud. Sharing stories is one of the best ways to build relationships and draw people closer. Each one of the tales told by his characters in the Smoke House conjures a warm feeling and creates the most vivid imagery. It isn’t often you find stories that easily appeal to so many age groups and demographics.

Tales from the Smokehouse: The Christmas Book, by Franklin P. Smith has everything required to become a holiday bookshelf must-have. I highly recommend Smith’s work to anyone looking for a new and engaging read during the holiday season or to anyone wanting to gift a meaningful book to family, friends, or coworkers.

Pages: 56 | ISBN: 1535278056

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