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Journey Through Grief

J. T. Bishop Author Interview

A Hamburger Christmas follows two charismatic detectives who are investigating a series of burglaries happening around Christmas time. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

This novella is a prequel to my detective series. Since it’s a Christmas story, I wanted it to have a heart-warming and touching message behind it. I thought it would be perfect to tell the story of one of the detective’s journey through grief. As he experiences his first Christmas without a loved one, his friendship with his partner will help him through it. They have a close relationship and this story allowed me to reveal more about their tight bond.

While Christmas is a special time for most it’s also a hard time for others, and this novella shows how the people you love can be your lifeline.

Some of the characters experience a change of heart during the story. What were some of the emotional and moral guidelines you followed when developing your characters?

Two other characters in the story are struggling teenage brothers who are being manipulated by an unscrupulous gangster who is using them for his own gain. The brothers’ relationship closely mirrors the relationship between the detectives because the teenagers are also struggling with grief. I wanted to explore the bonds between them from both sides of the law.

When the detectives come to terms with their situation with the teenage burglars, they have to decide how far they’re willing to go to capture the boys and at what point does compassion affect their decision when there’s a chance to help them?

When someone breaks the law and threatens your life, do they deserve a second chance?

How did you decide on the title of this novella?

There’s a story from one of the detectives about a lousy Christmas from his past. His father lets him down, and trying to cheer her son up, his mom makes hamburgers, and they call it their Hamburger Christmas. What happens during that Christmas and the gifts they exchange play a role in the unfolding of the novella and it makes for a perfect title.

Can you tell us a little about where the story goes in the next book and when the novel will be available?

This prequal novella leads into the Detectives Daniels and Remalla series. This is a six-book series that starts with Haunted River. I like throwing a little supernatural into my books, so they are all mystery-thrillers with a dash of the unexpected.  The detectives face a ghost or two and a murderer in Haunted River and will confront an evil, charismatic cult leader whose fascination with living forever and the paranormal will kick off a five-book storyline that will threaten Daniels’ and Remalla’s friendship and lives.

There is also a four-book series called The Family or Foe Saga with Detectives Daniels and Remalla. This precedes the detective series and can also be read after A Hamburger Christmas. It focuses on three unique siblings with strange backgrounds whose connections lead them to work with Daniels and Remalla. They’ll discover the truth about a revenge-seeking killer with dangerous abilities who plans to destroy them all.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Even grief offers gifts
Coping with the loss of a loved one, Detective Aaron Remalla faces a difficult Christmas. Despite his partner Detective Gordon Daniels’ attempts to cajole him into spending Christmas together, Remalla makes other plans. But when the holiday turns deadly and Remalla finds himself at the mercy of thieves, he and his adversaries will learn that sometimes the magic of Christmas means relying on those you love, whether they’re alive…or not.

Sometimes, no matter how hard life may seem, the greatest losses can offer the greatest blessings.

If you enjoy an engaging mystery thriller, a close partnership between two bantering detectives, a sprinkle of supernatural suspense and a heartwarming story that might prompt a tear or two, then discover Detectives Daniels and Remalla in this prequel novella and enjoy their Hamburger Christmas.

Other Books in the Detectives Daniels and Remalla Series
Haunted River
Of Breath and Blood
Of Body and Bone
Of Mind and Madness
Of Power and Pain
Of Love and Loss

The Family or Foe Saga with Detectives Daniels and Remalla
First Cut
Second Slice
Third Blow
Fourth Strike
The Family or Foe Saga Boxed Set

Follow J.T. Bishop’s Amazon’s author page to be notified of new releases.

Teddy Bears Need To Talk

Amber Bernardi-Kim Author Interview

Christmas Land follows a young girl who wakes up in a magical land filled with talking animals to go on an adventure to save the kingdom. What was the inspiration for your story?

It was very late one night. It was late November or early December. My daughter was in bed with us and wanted me to tell her story before bed, and it needed to feature her favorite stuffy “Pink Teddy” and our matching necklaces. I started my story, and in that instance, I knew I wanted real-life elements and magical beings. Moments before, we talked about how much we loved Christmas, the feeling you get, how everyone is friendly, and how everything feels possible around Christmas. I knew I wanted our story to take place where things felt possible. My daughter loves cupcakes and was instrumental in adding them throughout the story. For me, it’s all about the peppermint and what the smell can invoke around the holidays. (Davina) Don’t forget teddy bears need to talk!

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Eleonora Cali?

Eleonora is amazing. The first time she read through the story and sent me her outline, she immediately visualized the characters as they had been in our minds. She is based in Italy, and I loved how she was always there to answer questions and didn’t mind when a six-year-old provided suggestions or improvements. She is a very accomplished illustrator.

What were some educational aspects that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

When we read or watch a movie, when a problem arises, the immediate response is to fight, hit, and inflict damage. We wanted the character to solve problems without fighting a war. We wanted an intelligent, caring leader who solved problems but enjoyed life a long way and thought about others. I knew I wanted something where that was different.

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

We are working on Christmas Land 2 and hope it will be available by next September. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Adventure with Davina to Christmas Land, where love and a little magic conquer evil. One morning, Davina awakes, discovering that the stories her mom had told her for years are true. In a land where cupcakes and yumminess abound, Davina must find a way to save the residents of Christmas Land.

Enjoy a visit to Christmas Land any time of year, for it’s not a seasonal place, but one where you can find the Christmas feeling year round.

A Dream Adventure

Sharon Purtill Author Interview

Sled With Me takes readers on a dream adventure to the North Pole where they meet a variety of holiday characters in a fun rhyming picture book. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I wanted to create a fun book about Santa’s workshop and the North Pole that didn’t necessarily have to be just for the Christmas season. I wanted it to be a dream adventure you could take anytime of the year filled with wonder and interesting things to discover. With my illustrator’s help, I believe we accomplished this goal.

The art in this book is cute and colorful. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Tamara Piper?

Terrific, Tarmara and I make a great team. I give her total control, initially, over the illustrations. She prepares the first draft of sketches and if there is something I feel is off base, we discuss and adjust if needed before going onto the colour phase. In most cases, I love how she interputes my words and helps bring them to life. I believe it’s best when the writting is left to me, and the creative process of bring the story to life through pictures is left to her. Sled With Me is the fourth project we’ve worked on together. Two more are already in the works.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun creating?

I think the first scene inside the workshop is the most fun. There is so much to see. Kids should have a blast looking at all the details and trying to spot the different elements within the illustrations.

What can readers expect in the next book in the Wherever Shall We Go Series?

The next book in this series, which is already being illustrated, is a dream adventure to the jungle. There will be so many animals, plants and birds to discover. After the jungle book is released, a dream adventure to the forest will come next. Both of these series books will be released in 2023.

Author Links: Facebook | Amazon

Gold Award Winning Book – Literary Titan
You don’t have to wait for Christmas! 
The North Pole is a fun and exciting place to visit anytime of the year. This special book is part of the Wherever Shall We Go Series and it makes a terrific gift for little girls (boy edition also available). Tonight, you and your child will meet in your dreams and set off on a magical sled towards the North Pole. There, you will meet Santa, and his reindeer, Mrs. Clause, and the friendliest elves.

Sled With Me is a sweet Christmas bedtime story to help children prepare for sleep. It ends with a loving message from the reader to the child which helps to bring their day to a close as it softly lulls them into sleep.

Like the other books in this children’s bedtime story series, Sled With Me is a promise from the reader to the child to meet them in their dreams, so that together, a wonderful adventure can be experienced.

Beautiful illustrations and a delightful rhyming story await. So, go ahead and grab a copy of this children’s Christmas book, because everyone at the North Pole is waiting to greet you.

This is the mother and daughter edition of Sled With Me. It is the perfect bedtime story for moms to share with their little girls, or grandmothers to share with their granddaughters. A mother and son edition can be found separately by searching this title.

Don’t forget to follow this author and be on the lookout for other books in this series. You never know where the next adventure will take you.

Sled With Me by Sharon Purtill is the perfect Christmas story book for kids 2-4 3-5 or even 4-6 years old.

Christmas at the Mission: A Cat’s View of Catholic Customs and Beliefs

Sula the Cat does it again! Sula, parish cat at Old Mission San Juan Bautista, is a cat with a special mission: to comfort people in need. Every morning, she spends time with St. Francis, patron saint of animals, and receives guidance for the day. During Masses, led by the Holy Spirit, she seeks out whomever God wants her to comfort, and they report that she brings comfort, indeed. In her spare time, she writes books. This time, she is writing about Christmas traditions and how she experiences them as a parish cat. Ever wonder where our various Christmas customs come from? Sula tells you about the history and the customs today, both mainstream American Catholic and Mexican American Catholic customs since both are part of her parish in California. Charmingly illustrated with an Eastern flavor by Russian artist, Zhenya Yanovich.

Christmas For The Cowboy

If you are looking for a cozy feel-good novel for the holiday season, Christmas For The Cowboy by C.H. Eryl is for you. This holiday romance has all the special ingredients needed for a Hallmark Christmas movie. First, we have Rowdy, a now famous bronc rider, who left the town of Clover Spring ten years ago. We also have Dee, a strong and independent real estate agent who doesn’t let a man slow her down. But when Rowdy returns to town, Dee suddenly remembers what love felt like all those years ago. From heart-wrenching subplots to adorable romances, Christmas For The Cowboy is a must-read this Christmas season.

Christmas For The Cowboy is a simple feel-good romance that touches on subjects we have all gone through. However, this is an emotionally-charged melodrama that doesn’t try to be anything more than a cozy romance. Ultimately, it wraps it up in a cute little holiday bow. With this, I felt that grief was one of this story’s central themes, and it was handled with grace.

I enjoyed the relationship between Dakota and Rowdy, but I would have enjoyed their banter more if the dialogue had been a bit deeper and more flowing. Rowdy’s love for his profession is evident, and I enjoyed that dimension of his character, as I felt it is a unique one within the romance genre, but I would have loved to have dived a little deeper into that. I can understand why things are kept at a surface level, though; this ensures readers that are not familiar with it can understand what he’s talking about, so don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert to follow along. Dee is also a strong character, and I think she brought a good balance to the story. Setting aside a few clichés, because what romance novel doesn’t have them, I think her character fits the archetype nicely, and long-time fans of the romance genre will feel at home with her character. Finally, rowdy’s parents were lovable side characters; it would be nice to read a story just about them and their young romance. I could see it being like Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook.

I enjoyed Christmas For The Cowboy and would recommend it to readers looking for a light romance novel to get them into the Christmas spirit. It’s the perfect love story for curling up with a cup of hot chocolate and spending an afternoon by the fire.

Pages: 225 | ASIN: B0BDBFK24R

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Needles, the Forgotten Christmas Tree

Needles is a wispy little Christmas tree with high hopes for the holiday. He’s so eager to get to the Christmas tree lot to fulfill his dream of being a beautiful Christmas tree that brings joy to people. Unfortunately for Needles, no one wants a lean tree. Will Needles find the perfect family, one that will cherish him? Find out in Needles, the Forgotten Christmas Tree.

Author Richard Wagner has created a charming Christmas picture book that will inspire children to never give up hope. This is also a highly relatable story as well. I’m sure that many people have gone to the tree lot looking for a big beautiful tree, snickering or ignoring the small meager trees. This beautiful book sheds light on those lonely trees, and will certainly make you want to buy one for yourself.

The illustrations by Sydni Kruger are absolutely gorgeous. Each page is illustrated from edge to edge. Each piece looks like it could have been painted by Bob Ross. I was especially drawn to the scene where Emily finds Needles on the side of the road. The deep purples on this page really set the mood.

Needles, the Forgotten Christmas Tree is an inspiring children’s book that is filled with vibrant illustrators that kids will be looking at long after the story is over. This is the perfect kid’s book for the holiday season, or for any parent or teacher who wants to educate young readers on the importance of perseverance.

Pages: 38 | ASIN: B0BNLWZP2T

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The Lost Smile

Mr. Jingles is a jolly Snowman who dwells in the picturesque village of Pinetree. Mr. Jingles’ big, bright smile brings cheer to everyone, as he greets the animals and villagers of his quaint village home. He and his friends, Mr. Pringles, Mr. Candy, Rusty the Robin, and all the children of the village simply adore the holiday season. Every year, Mr. Jingles is tasked with decorating the Christmas Tree for the annual Carol Service. But this year, things take a turn for the worst, as Mr. Jingles encounters a terrible winter storm, and loses his beautiful smile. Feeling hopeless and alone, Mr. Jingles wanders far from home, the grief in his heart weighing down the once-cheerful Snowman. Can Mr. Jingles hope to regain his lost smile in time, or will Christmas forever be ruined for the village of Pinetree?

It is rare to find a book that draws the reader in, presenting such a magnificently enchanting world that it is easy to forget that you are reading. The Lost Smile by Lizzie Jayne is one of those books. Each page creates a glorious atmosphere of winter splendor, as the story of happy snowman Mr. Jingles unfolds. Each detail of the little village is presented so perfectly it feels almost as if you are right there beside Mr. Jingles. And when tragedy strikes, pages turn even faster as Mr. Jingles’ adventure takes him far from home.

Each lovely illustration is hand-painted, and adds a special touch of magic as each brushstroke exudes the love and warmth that went into creating this captivating children’s book. Each character is full of life, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Coming to a perfect conclusion, this charming tale not only recounts the story of Mr. Jingles, but has a poignant and beautiful message for all who read it.

I highly recommend The Lost Smile for storytelling excellence and gorgeous illustrations. This delightful picture book is suitable for ages seven and up, and all who love a heartfelt holiday tale. This book is superb for independent as well as group reading. This book shares a story of hope in spite of tragedy, and finding the true treasure within. The Lost Smile is certain to become a family favorite this Christmas season.

Hope’s Broken Snow Globe

Hope’s Broken Snow Globe by Kelly Chang Rickert is a heartfelt and honest story about a young girl named Hope, who is learning to cope with her parent’s divorce. It’s a story about love, family, and how difficult it can be for kids when their parents decide they can no longer live together.

Since Hope is young, she doesn’t fully grasp the full reasoning behind her parents’ divorce and believes the actual reason is because she broke her family’s snow globe last Christmas. With this in mind, Hope sets out on a personal quest to repair the broken snow globe, with the expectation that this will also repair her family.

I really enjoyed this book, and especially loved the physical representation of Hope’s parents’ divorce as “broken,” like the snow globe. The story offers a great comparison for children, so they visually understand the message of the book in the most relatable way. The book’s illustrations were warm and comforting, which I found to reflect the overall spirit of the story.

Hope’s Broken Snow Globe is an exceptional holiday story. It’s an emotional but important read for children and a great way to start the conversation about separating families. This book is a wonderful way of facilitating helpful and healing communication about a difficult topic, and I think it will be a great addition to your home library.

Pages 34 | ASIN 173526184X

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