He Reigns!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Award Winning Author Debra Shively Welch

I live in Central Ohio with my husband Mark of 26 years, and my 21-year-old son Christopher.  We live on a beautiful lake which I often feature in my writing and which has also played a part in my son’s publications as well.

A sushi chef, Chris loves other types of cooking as well and we are working on a cookbook titled Christopher’s Family Table, the emphasis being on the fact that not all family members are blood related, but are in fact, adopted.  Whether adopted through marriage (the married couple adopts each other’s family) or friends that you bring into your life forever, or the formal adoption of a child, these relationships are important to who we are and are often expressed through food.  Think about it.  Have you ever sat down to eat with someone you dislike?

I am also working on a sequel to my son’s book Christopher Bullfrog Catcher.  It is called Christopher Meets Buddy and teaches the proper care of a pet bird.  Subsequent books will address other pets.

In addition, I’m working on the sequel to Cedar Woman, titled Ista Numpa.  The readers of Cedar Woman wanted a book about Cedar Woman’s best friend Nickie, or Ista Numpa, so I am now taking notes, setting up an outline and filling out character sheets and a time line for this book.  It will deal mainly with domestic violence.

I am also working on, and have almost finished, an anthology of short stories and poems called Swinging Bridge.  All of the works are about a type of transition.  Walking across a swinging bridge can be very intimidating, and sometimes you’re afraid that you won’t make it to the other side…but you do.  That is the basic theme of this work.  It will be released this fall.

A percentage of royalties for all of our books goes to Operation Smile.  I do this in gratitude for my most precious gift, my son, adopted and born with cleft lip and palate.

Following are the URLs to my web page, FaceBook and Twitter pages:

 Debra's books and links to where you can find them:

Cedar Woman

Cedar Woman is a powerful book filled with courage, romance and the beliefs, ceremonies and language of the Lakota Sioux.  Travel with her to Columbus, Ohio as she rebuilds her life, and the lives of her family. Join her in the sweat lodge as she follows Zitka Mine to the fifth step of the edge of the world to find her father's soul.

Follow her to powwow where she meets her half side, and works toward her goal of establishing the first Central Ohio Native American restaurant in the nearby suburb of Westerville.

Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher

It would be easy to accept this book as 'another adoption story', that is until you read it. From the first words the reader is caught up in the account, enthralled by not just the tale but the telling of it. Ms. Shiveley Welch's talent reveals the journey to love, her decision to adopt instead of giving birth, her new and wonderful child and most of all her earnest desire and steadfast belief that everything would come to pass.

Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher is not just about the joys of motherhood, but is also a self-help book about breaking the circle of child abuse.  The author considers her childhood as ‘boot camp’ and uses the lessons learned from her own abuse to help her beloved son through many surgeries and therapies to correct cleft lip as the and palate.

Just Chris by Christopher Shiveley Welch

Just Chris, is more than a boy telling of his life. It is a story that surely will bring encouragement to many who face challenges, feel worthless due to some physical handicap, or face rejection in anyway. It is a story of hope, courage and steadfast love. I believe Christopher has an exciting life ahead of him, and he will fly to heights that even he cannot imagine at this time. A great read, from a great young man.

A Very Special Child

A book written from the heart of a mother, one who adopted a child and found her true calling.  A Very Special Child unfolds the story of adoption in a spiritual way, explaining adoption to a child in a simple, lovely way.

Christopher Bullfrog Catcher

Christopher Bullfrog Catcher is a fun way to teach your child how to write. The reader is taught how to follow a simple formula in order to create their own special story. Add to that a guide on how to catch bullfrogs, and a message regarding the care and respect of these fascinating creatures, and you have a book that your child will want to pass on to their own children.

Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams

Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams is a murder mystery co-written by cousins, Debra Shiveley Welch and Linda Lee Greene. Religion and murder combine in this breathless escape. A well written narrative that keeps the pages turning.



1.      Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

I write, therefore I am.  That says it all.  I began writing at age nine and was first published at age 26.  I’ve always loved the music of words and am so thrilled when I manage to write something that makes me think, I can’t believe I wrote that!  An example is the beginning of the first chapter in Cedar Woman:

Slowly, slowly, Grandfather Sun began his ascent.  Gliding, floating, he moved above the horizon as blue and lavender and mauve filled the sky.
            Birdsong married with fragrant air, as Wakan Tanka[1]  stretched His fingers across the sky, pushing back the night, heralding the dawning of a new day.

It is truly thrilling when you see progression in your writing.  I’m addicted.  I admit it.

2.      What was the inspiration for your latest work?

My son and I were adopted by a woman of the Lakota Sioux.  We went through the naming, sweat lodge, pipe and hunkapi ceremonies.  Hunkapi means “making of relatives.”  So I became her Tanksa (older sister) and she is my Cuwayla (younger sister).   Traditionally the Lakota do not consider a person’s siblings as the aunts and uncles of their children.  They are also their parents.  So a child will have multiple parents and his or her cousins are brothers and sisters.  Therefore, Chris calls my sister Ina (mother) and her son Logan calls me the same.

It is a beautiful culture where the honoring of the elders, military, veterans, etc. is central and their love of the environment is phenomenal.

I wrote Cedar Woman to honor my sister, Julie Spotted Eagle Horse Martineau.  She has treated me with more kindness and respect than most of my blood relatives and I love her with all of my heart.
3.      What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books? 

Learning the Lakota language!  I still can’t pronounce a lot of it correctly, but it was good for my, at that time, 50 + year brain to learn something new.

Learning the customs and basic beliefs was also fascinating.

4.      I know you are an award winning author, Debra. Tell me about the awards you’ve won, and the books you won them for.

A Very Special Child won FaithWriter’s Gold Seal of Approval – Outstanding Read;
Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher won FaithWriter’s Gold Seal of Approval – Outstanding Read, Best Non-Fiction of 2010 and Editor’s Choice for 2011.  Cedar Woman has won Best Native American Fiction 2012.

5.      How did you decide to write books for kids? Have you always wanted to write children’s books, or did that come about later on?

I like to write in all genres.  I’m crazy about kids and like to produce books which not only entertain, but teach as well.

6.      You have also written books for adults.  How did that occur?

I like to mix it up.  A children’s book here, a cook book there, with a murder mystery or romance in between.  It keeps my brain hopping.

7.      What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

I am editor in chief for Saga Books and usually begin my day with a few hours of editing other people’s works.  I then try to get an hour or two for short stories, or sometimes I blog.  Finally I get to work on my own projects which can last until the wee hours of the morning.

8.      Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?

I don’t know if you would call them idiosyncrasies, but I like to have a beverage, snack and whatever else I’ll need at the ready so that I don’t have to get up to get something and thereby break my train of thought.  I also like to use character sheets in which I ‘map out’ a character’s hair color, eyes, height, weight, time of birth, likes, dislikes.  It makes them real to me.  I also like to write with a timeline so that I don’t get lost or make a mistake in writing.

I love to research and particularly enjoy interviewing people who I think can help me make a story more believable.

For instance, in Cedar Woman I chose a restaurant that does exist.  I researched its many incarnations covering well over 100 years and the hauntings.  I interviewed, not only people in the library and local historians, but people who now work in that restaurant as to what they’ve seen and heard.

9.      What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you?

Getting it right!  If I say it’s July 18, 2010 at sunrise and name the time, I check to make sure that the sunrise was indeed at the time I gave, that I was correct on what day of the week it happened and the weather for that day.

While co-writing Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams I interviewed the person who gives permission for individuals to be buried at Arlington Cemetery.

I want it to be correct with no slip ups, so I check, and then I check and then I double check.

[1] Wah-kah Than-kah – Mysterious Creator

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Amelia Frump & Her Peanut Butter Loving, Over Active Imagination is Cooking Up A Peanut Butter Storm! by Debbie Roppolo

Author Debbie Roppolo is the mother of two and lives with her husband, John, in San Marcos, TX.

Award for Excellence in Children's Literature:
Amelia Frump & Her Peanut Butter Loving, Overactive Imagination
Cooking Up A Peanut Butter Storm
The peanut butter recipes in this book makes for good fun for the entire family with recipes like, "The Jelly is Runny, The Banana is Slimy" Banana Bread; Libba's "Dab of this, Swoosh of That" Granola; and "No Lima Beans, Please," Vegetable Soup; plus lots of puzzles and information that will keep your child busy in the kitchen and out.

                             Nuts for Sweet Potato Peanut Butter Soup

Sweet potatoes and peanut butter in a soup? Sounds strange, right? The combination of the two results in a sweet, nutty flavor that makes this soup perfect for lunch or dinner any time of the year.

Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 4
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. apple pie spice
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
¼ cup unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c cilantro (leaves only), chopped (optional)


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. 
2. Saute the onion 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cumin, and apple pie spice.
3. Stir in the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot.
4. Continue to cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the water, broth, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 

And don't forget to order Amelia Frump's first book as she battles witches and other things that hide in the dark, under beds and in closets!

Author Bobbie Shafer Has New Release - Miracle At Sycamore Grove

Bobbie Shafer, tell us ten things we don't know about you!

10. I love supernatural/ghost stories
  9. My favorite color is green.
  8. One of my favorite songs is Old Time Rock and Roll
  7. One of my favorite movies is King Arthur with Clive Owens
  6. I am adopted.
  5. One of my favorite authors is J. K. Rowling
  4. I lived in Guam for a while
  3. I was in the United States Air Force & served in Guam
  2. I love chicken and dressing.
  1.  Many of my characters are based upon my parents and grandparents.

Secrets of Eagle Creek: Book One
Love's Golden Dream

Book Two:
                 The Legacy of Eagle Creek                  

Book Three:
Miracle At Sycamore Grove

Welcome Award Winning Author Marilyn Helmer

I was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, grew up in Montreal and moved to Burlington, Ontario where my husband Gary and I raised our family and lived in the same house for thirty-six years. When Gary retired from teaching, we traded city living for a house in the country in an adult lifestyle community. One added benefit of moving to this busy, friendly community is that we are closer to our children. Our son Chris – soon to be married - is a hydro geologist and our daughter Sandra, happily married to Jeremiah, teaches grade five.

I love to travel and have gone on several mother/daughter trips with Sandra to the British Isles, France and the Mediterranean. Not to be left out, sports-minded Chris and Gary share their love of skiing and snowboard on father/son trips to Utah and western Canada. Gary and I have been to Ireland, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and the Caribbean as well as many trips across Canada and to the United States.

When I’m not writing, my interests include photography (every once in a while I manage to get a good shot), reading (more children’s books than adult), gardening (more weeds than flowers), scrapbooking and card making. I walk every day to keep fit – love that 10 000 step program! I’m a member of the local Red Hatters, known as the Scarlett O’Hatters, and belong to a very fun book club.


1.      Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?

As a child I loved to make up stories, sometimes just to get myself out of trouble.  I was an avid reader with a penchant for mystery stories. My favorite books were the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys series and British author Enid Blyton’s Adventure books. A couple of like-minded friends and I started a mystery story club.  We loaned each other favorite books and began making up stories of our own. Our clubhouse was a park bench where we told our stories, complete with “… to be continued” breaks to add to the suspense. Little did I think back then that one day I would actually become a published author.

2.      What was the inspiration for your latest work?

My latest book is a picture book called “That’s What Bears Are For”.  It was inspired by my  children’s love of sleep-buddies, those well-loved and often well-worn stuffed toys children   take to bed with them at night. I wrote a poem called “Old Ted”, which was published in Spider Magazine. It is a tribute to my own childhood teddy bear.  

As children, we love to hug and cuddle our teddy bears but when we grow older, we put them aside. They no longer get the hugs and cuddles of childhood.  Aha – inspiration! How about a story of a bear who misses the hugs and cuddles he had long ago?  I rushed to my computer and began to type.  As the story goes, after years of loneliness, Bear is found at the bottom of an old trunk by a young girl named Jenny.  Bear recognizes a kindred spirit when he sees one and becomes a bear on a mission. He is determined to once again enjoy days of hugs and cuddles, because, after all, that’s what bears are for!

3. What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books? 

That would be the research I did for my middle grade novel, “Dinosaurs on the Beach”. The story is about a young girl named Josie who shares her grandfather’s fascination with fossils and prehistoric creatures.  Josie makes a fabulous find – tiny bones which may be from the world’s smallest dinosaur but she must deal with many stumbling blocks in order to prove the value of her find.

To get the setting just right, I visited the Parrsboro-Joggins area on Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy coast. Scientists and geologists have made major discoveries of fossils in this area, dating back 300 to 350 million years ago. It was amazing to walk in their footsteps, visit  the museum and see some of the amazing finds these dedicated scientists have made.

I also benefited greatly in my research from the geology and paleontology courses my son Chris took in university. We went fossil hunting with our cousins along the Blue Beach area in the Annapolis Valley. At that time, collecting fossils was permitted. Although I didn’t make any ‘fabulous finds”, Chris did and generously loaned them to me to take along on school visits.   

4.      I know you are an award winning children’s author, Marilyn. Tell me about the awards you’ve won, and the books you won them for.

My picture book, "Fog Cat", won four awards and although I greatly appreciated all of them, the one that I remember best is the Mr. Christie award.  It was the tenth year the Christie book awards had been given out so a gala celebration was planned. The recipients and their families were invited as well as a number of school classes and local celebrities. The date of the ceremony was to be June 4. Unfortunately on that date, my daughter would still be in Hawaii finishing up a work program and my husband would be away at a conference. But my son assured me that he would be there. Then, oh glory day, the date of the award ceremony was changed to June 7. My husband was coming back from his conference on June 5, my daughter from Hawaii on June 6 and June 7 that year was our 30th wedding anniversary. My whole family came to the award ceremony. Afterward we had a lovely lunch with my publisher and that evening celebrated our joint wedding anniversaries with my daughter’s in-laws and their jolly extended family. The good times don’t get much better than that!

"Mr. McGratt and the Ornery Cat" was named an Ontario Library Association Best Bets selection. This book was a delight to write. The inspiration for the story came from the experiences my family had with our very ornery cat, Star, who lived to be twenty years old. Although Star was basically an indoor cat, every once in a while she would make a great escape and terrorize the other cats in the neighborhood. I always read this book when I visit schools to talk to primary children.

"Funtime Riddles" received a Canada Toy Testing Council Great Book award.  The six riddle books I wrote for Kids Can Press was one of the most fun projects I have ever done. My contract stipulated that 30% of the riddles should be original. Coming up with original riddles is not easy – they have all been done before!  But I had a terrific editor to work with and we had a lot of laughs putting these books together.

"One Splendid Tree" received the Rotary Club of Hamilton Children's Book Award. For years my dream was to have a Christmas book published and “One Splendid Tree”, set during WWII, made that dream a reality. I have done a number of events at libraries during the Christmas season where children make the decorations described in the book and use them to decorate their own splendid tree. I was delighted when two years ago The Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts turned “One Splendid Tree” into a play. I have also discovered online that several schools and libraries in the U. S. have featured  it in their Christmas programs.

5. How did you decide to write books for kids? Have you always wanted to write children’s books, or did that come about later on? 

I didn’t start seriously writing until I became a stay at home mom when my two children were born. My children, Chris and Sandra, are only fifteen months apart in age and a very active pair they were! Getting them to sit still was nigh unto impossible but when I brought out a book, magic happened. They would sit quietly (well, relatively quietly!) cuddled up on either side of me, listening and begging, “Just one more story, Mom. Please!”  That is when my dream was born. Maybe I could write stories myself, stories that would inspire that kind of joy and pleasure in children.  What satisfaction it would be to write a book that might become a child’s favorite, that might introduce them to the wonders of the written word and instill in them a life-long love of reading.  And so my writing career began. The road to success was paved with many rejection slips but I hung in there. Eventually I was blessed with success and my dream to be a children’s author came true.

As an extra bonus, I have had the opportunity to visit schools and libraries to talk to children about the writing process. My penchant for entering writing contests has brought me recognition in the field of adult short fiction too.

6. Have you written any books for adults (I don’t mean “adult” as in erotic romance, just non-children’s books)?

I haven’t written any books for adults but I do enjoy writing short adult fiction.  I may one day self-publish a collection of my short stories. However, I will need to have more stories before I seriously start to compile a book.   

7. What’s your writing schedule like?  When do you find time to write?

When I first started writing, I wrote haphazardly in my spare time, tucking my poems and stories away in a drawer, thinking “maybe, someday I’ll try to get them published.” Then I took a course in Creative Writing and on the advice of the very encouraging teacher, I joined CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) and signed up for their annual day of workshops. In one workshop a published author talked about her initial hesitancy in submitting her stories to publishers and facing the dread rejection slips. I felt as if she were talking directly to me because that is exactly what I had been doing.

I came home that day, a woman on a mission. Never mind finding the time to write, I would make the time. With steely determination, I set myself a program – I would write in the mornings when my children were in school, five days a week, 8 a.m. to noon. Every month I would send out a minimum of three submissions.

During the first year, I collected a lot of rejection slips but eventually persistence paid off.  I had a poem published in a children’s magazine and won a home computer in an adult short story contest. I stuck to that writing schedule for many years, taking summers and March breaks off. Now I don’t find as much time to write but I still keep at it and for me, mornings are still my most creative time.

8. Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?

In an attempt at being organized, I have way too many files and notebooks sliding around on my desk. One notebook would likely work better – and not be constantly lost in the shuffle.  But that tottering pile of notebooks looks so impressive …!

I always have more than one project on the go in case I come down with an attack of the dread writer’s block – or writer’s blockhead as my daughter calls it.  That way I can switch to another project for a few days and come back to deal with the problem with a fresh mind.  Oh, and I always have a cup of tea handy.  

9. What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you?

That would be getting the initial first draft completed – it’s like pulling teeth! Once I have a beginning, middle and ending though, I feel encouraged to forge ahead.  I don’t mind self-editing and revising until I believe the manuscript is ready send out. When (if!) the manuscript is accepted, there will likely be more revisions to do with an editor. Speaking of editors, I have been so fortunate. I have worked with many and have yet to meet one who I didn’t feel had the best interest of my manuscript at heart.