Cheryl with her debut book,Wings of Refuge series:
And the winner is...Cherie J!
Max Elliot Anderson has been to Max. But who is Max?
The winner of Max Elliot Anderson's book is Mimi!
I'll be emailing her for a snail mail address and be sure to tell me if you have someone you would like Max to personalize the signature to.
Thanks, everyone, for leaving comments, too.
Cheryl with her dad and "birth" day cake!
When I asked bubbly Cheryl to be interviewed for this column, she had plenty to tell us about! I enjoyed this interview about as much as I love a Steeple Hill novel--which Cheryl has now also written. Cheryl has great descriptions here, and that leads me to believe that she is going to be writing books for us to read for a long time. (I was so hungry after the favorite places to eat!)
If you would like to win Cheryl's book, A Soldier's Promise, just enter a comment to Cheryl below and let us know what she wanted to be besides a writer. PLEASE enter your email address so I can contact the winner for your snail mail address. You can use this format: yourname [at] your ISP[dot] com.
Now, let's hear Cheryl's story:
Childhood Ambition: My mother says I've always wanted to write and be a race car driver. LOL!
Fondest Memory (then): Right after my mother had a heart attack in her thirties and we weren't sure she would come through surgery okay because there'd been a complication according to doctors which required an emergent double bypass. My dad took my sister and I in the hall and just held us for hours. I'd never seen him cry before. Bereft of words other than saying one time, "we need to pray" all he could do was hug my sister and I.
He emanated strength and vulnerability at the same time. I remember how it felt when she came through surgery and the subsequent joy, bonding and relief in my family. Sounds strange to have that kind of memory be fond, but it let me see a part of my dad that he didn't often show. And it showed me a lot about life and taught me not to take people in it for granted. It was a huge defining moment.
Cheryl with her poem
Proudest Moment (then): When the school chose one of my poems to read out loud at the end of the year. My parents were very proud of me and let everyone know it, especially me. LOL!
Cheryl with Lisa (the "streaker?") and their horses
Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen: Making friends who were girls since I was such a tomboy.
My First Job: McDonald's drive-through worker.
Childhood Indulgence: Seventeen cent popcorn balls from the Piggly Wiggly in Milan, New Mexico.
Favorite Outfit as a Child: A pair of shiny red Mom-made parachute pants. Didn't care much for clothes prior. Although I didn't streak my tricycle around the yard in the buff like someone else in my family. LOL!
Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show: I never liked to watch TV much. When I did, I enjoyed Bonanza. Little Joe was SO cute. My favorite movie was The Outsiders. (Which is also a great book by S.E. Hinton.)
Another author who loved Little Joe!
There must be some sort of psychological profile for so many authors to have liked Little Joe
Favorite Childhood Book: The dictionary. LOL! I honestly did read it for fun. Also loved Aesop's Fables and Dr. Seuss books, especially The Cat in the Hat.
Imagine this blonde cutie shooting her sister with her pellet gun. Can't? Well, "can't" wasn't allowed in her vocabulary!
Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime: Ride my motorcycle, miniatures, read, write, ride my bike, climb trees, shoot various things including my sister in the caboose with my Daisy Pellet gun when mom and dad weren't looking.
Favorite Places to Eat as a Child (What was special about it?) Loved to go to the Monte Carlo cafe in Grants, New Mexico because it was a special time with my family. MC had THE best tacos in the state. Also loved LOT-A-BURGER because it WAS a lot of burger. I remember the thing being as big as a dinner plate. My sister and I would share one and still have some left over. Loved to go the Canton Cafe in Gallup, NM and a greasy hamburger joint at Bluewater Lake in Thoreau, NM with my grandmother because she was as much of a thrill seeker as us kids were. Shhh... don't tell Mom and Dad. LOL!
Any Childhood Pets? Since we lived in a remote location, and the uranium economy had crashed, times were hard in the area. So people would drop their animals off all the time. At one point, we had 12 outside cats, 3 inside cats, a blind and deaf pig, 72 rabbits and about 4 dogs, one of whom was THE family pet--a huge black lab named Midnight who lived for 17 years.
Cheryl with her dad
Childhood Hero: Dad, Evel Knievel and my Uncle Bucky who was wheelchair-bound from Polio.
Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become? My parents always encouraged me to run hard after my dreams. Yet they instilled deep wisdom, perseverance and persistence too. Anything you wanted, you had to sweat for. I never remember my parents telling me I couldn't do something...well, other than shoot my sister with pellet guns that is. LOL!
They always spoke positive, uplifting words over us. Saying we could accomplish anything we put our minds and hands and feet to. They raised us with a strict, strong work ethic and made us strive for nothing less than the best. Whatever we did, we had to give it our all, no matter the outcome. If we played a game and lost, it didn't matter to them as long as we tried as hard as we could and didn't neglect to do our best.
In fact, my father would not allow me to say the words, "I can't." I remember in grade school PE I struggled with how to do squat thrusts and pushups. Our PE teacher was a retired drill sergeant. You'd have thought we were in elementary boot camp. I moped home cryin' one day and stomped through the house mad because I could not do a single pushup and the teacher had ridiculed me in front of the other kids. I thought my dad would call her or, better yet, go beat her up. LOL! But alas, he declined the invitation to my pity party.
Instead of letting me wallow in whining despair and the agony of defeat, my dad ruffled the top of my head in 0.3 seconds of comfort then jabbed a finger at the carpet and ordered me to the floor to give him twenty. LOL! Night after night my dad would get in the floor with me and try to teach me how to do a push up. He worked with me every single evening for weeks (okay it may have been days, but to a kid it FELT like weeks).
This continued until I could finally do pushups like a guy, because heaven knows our drill instructor wouldn't let girls do girlie pushups. LOL! This is one example of how my father relentlessly pushed and prodded me to aim for excellence. He refused to let me succumb to failure or quit when I got discouraged.
We had some near-knockdown drag outs over stuff at times because he wouldn't let me do things halfway or flake on something I started. It was tough at times but I know God gave me the perfect parents for me. Their manner of parenting instilled a titanium tenacity and a pit bull determination in me that I may not have otherwise formed.
My mother was and still is the most encouraging person I know. She was the best listener and always knew the right thing to say to make me feel better. Her words were always a soothing, healing balm and I could talk to her about anything. She always said things to build up my confidence and self-esteem. Always. My parents were, and still are, two of the greatest blessings in my life. You'll understand my acknowledgements page a little better now that you've glimpsed a little of what my childhood was like with them. I was, and am, extraordinarily blessed.
Cheryl's web site:
Cheryl with her debut book,Wings of Refuge series:
Link to purchase her book:
Would you like to win a free book? Sure! Who wouldn't, especially this one! Enter a comment here . See details above.
Max Elliot Anderson has been to Max. But who is Max? To really understand his passion for writing stories for boys, we have to go back to his childhood--back to when he hated to read. Yes, the boy who grew up to write adventures for boys, hated reading when he was a boy. He understands what boys want to do and to read, and that's why he is so good at telling stories for boys today.
Max's Dad, Ken Anderson, author, magazine editor, etc.
Since Max's dad was Ken Anderson who wrote many books, I'm sure he thought his own children would be avid readers, but Max wanted to do, not read, like many boys we probably know! (I even have a Max of my own.)
Max not reading his dad's book
Let's see what Max was like way back in the day:
To be a forest ranger, or to work with animals in some way - never did either.
Max around the age of 6
Fondest Memory : Once or twice a summer, our entire family boarded a ship, the Milwaukee Clipper, for a voyage across Lake Michigan and back. The return trip took place in the dark...very spooky. One night an inebriated woman jumped overboard, but she was rescued. That experience found its way into one of my unpublished manuscripts, DARK WATERS.
Max says: My life has been surrounded with the production of films, television commercials, and video programs. I shot part of a film in Germany, for the first time, at age 16. I've been involved in production ever since with a PBS Gospel Music special, hundreds of national television commercials, and countless other films and video programs...
At the tender age of eight, I was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, while riding my bike. Fortunately for me, this was in one of my Dad's productions. The film was later premiered at the national Youth For Christ convention. After the film was over that night, I was brought onto the platform and introduced. Then several people wanted my autograph. Silly me, I thought I was pretty big stuff.
Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:
In a family of seven children, I was the third and final child to contract Polio when I was just three years-old. This was a terrifying time because many in our town of Muskegon, Michigan, had contracted the disease. For some reason, Muskegon had quite an epidemic. Children in our neighborhood died as a result of being sick. The biggest challenge at that age was to survive it and get released from the hospital. Through the prayers of Billy Graham, and the entire audience at the Los Angeles crusade way back then, we were all three miraculously healed and have no lasting effects from this dreaded disease.
My First Job: I was a bellhop at the Westminister Hotel in Winona Lake, Indiana.
Childhood Indulgence: My Dad was the editor of Youth For Christ Magazine. Every month he had to go into Chicago to work on the magazine. He took each of us, on an airplane from Muskegon to Chicago, and I could hardly wait until it was my turn.
Max on his real life adventures in film
Favorite Childhood Movie: An old animated short film called the Pincushion Man. I remember lots of balloons getting popped.
Favorite Childhood Book: One of the reasons I now write Christian, action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys 8 - 12, is because I grew up hating to read. I'm working to help other boys, now, who might be growing up as I did. The funny thing is, my father published over seventy books in his lifetime.
Favorite Childhood Activity: I grew up before television was common in homes. I know, who could really be that old? But, looking back, it was truly a magical time to be alive because we had to invent our own fun. In the summer, we'd hit the back door and not return home until dark. I find that a lot of the inventive spirit and imagination from those days finds its way into the books I write today.
Childhood Hero:The Lone Ranger
Scariest Moment as a Child:When I saw the very first, black and white, Frankenstein movie.
Favorite Teacher or Mentor (or coach) as a Child:My mentor, during childhood, and continuing on into my plunge into writing would have to be my father, Ken Anderson.
Did you really hate reading as a young boy? I really did. I was the kind of kid who would rather learn by doing, not reading about it in a book.
Anything else you can share with readers about your childhood that developed you into the writer you are today? In a way, I feel sorry for kids today who have their TVs, iPods, computers, video games, and other distractions that keep them from exploring their imagination and individual creativity. This is something I speak about often in schools. The program I give is a real eye-opener for students http://www.maxbooks.9k.com/whats_new.html I'm on a mission to create the kinds of books that kids won't be able to put down. So you can imagine how it feels when I get a response like the following.
Max Elliot Anderson, author, today
Max is truly on a mission to get boys to read. Armed with his degree in psychology, he speaks to literacy groups, at schools and anywhere someone would like to hear how to get kids to read. (Music to a teacher's and parent's ears!)
"My grandsons (ages 14 and 9) are reading Max's books right now and they love them. They both have said the only thing they don't like about Max's stories, they are hard to put down. Thank you Max for bringing books to boys that in there opinion, are worth reading."
Max has seven published books. The six that are in print are NEWSPAPER CAPER, NORTH WOODS POACHERS, MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY, BIG RIG RUSTLERS, SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE & LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF, which are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London. Twenty-eight additional manuscripts, like these, have been completed.
Blog, Books for Boys: http://booksandboys.blogspot.com/
50 pages of reviews http://www.maxbookreviews.blogspot.com
To Purchase any of Max's books below, click here:
Tom Stevens was a super salesman. He and his friends delivered newspapers early every morning. Along their route, the boys often saw some pretty strange things. Then one day they actually became the story. Readers will like the humor, attack dogs, car thieves, and the chop shop Tom and the others uncover. This story reminds us of how important friendship is. It also teaches God isn't just for emergencies. He wants to guide our lives every day.
Terror at Wolf Lake
North Woods Poachers
The Washburn families have been coming to the same cabins, on the same lake, catching the same fish, for about as long as Andy can remember. And he's sick of it. This summer would be different he decided. Only he never imagined how different. The story is filled with excitement, danger, humor, and drama. In the end, Andy learns the concepts of family tradition, that God loves justice while He hates injustice, and it is important to follow the rules. Readers will enjoy the gigantic, jet-powered floatplane, computers, home made radio transmitter, and naturally, no one will ever forget Big Wally. He's a fish of course.
Todd and Amanda live with their parents in a Midwestern city. The family doesn't go to church. The children are invited to visit their uncle, aunt, and cousin Drew, on their Wyoming ranch over spring break. Todd learns, in a unique way, why stealing is wrong. He decides to choose a new path for his life because of his uncle's Christian example. A band of high-tech cattle rustlers are caught, revealing that Todd was also wrong about Travis, a shadowy character.
Read about the round up, rattlesnake, and rustlers.
Legend of White Wolf
They didn't call him a liar; they just couldn't believe his story. Brian Fisher was determined to prove it was true even though it involved the risk to his own safety. His rescue of a wolf pup from a steel trap results in a mysterious relationship with surprising results. The story is set in the lower elevations near Yellowstone.
Max has generously offered to send one of his books to one person who leaves a comment on this blog. I will draw the name of one winner this weekend from those who leave a comment. Leave a comment telling Max about your reluctant reader, and he will send you a book for that reluctant reader to try! PLEASE be sure to leave me a contact email address in this format: Yourname [at]your ISP[dot]com so I can let you know and get your mailing address.
If you are a previous winner waiting for your book to come in the mail, I should have those out this week and to your door. Thanks for your patience.
Do any of you know real cowboys? I do. And like the heroes of the West, he is a hero! When my son's high school opened a class on Western history, using films and books, fiction and nonfiction as their materials, I connected the teacher with Terry Burns. I just knew they could use Terry as a resource. He went above and beyond the call of duty, despite the distance (from Texas to Indiana.)
But Terry is an amazing man who has done many jobs, including getting to be that cowboy, but also writing and publishing books and then becoming a literary agent with Hartline Literary Agency.
He is kind and tough, straight-shooting and a man of God. Terry is the kind of person you would want to have on your side at the OK Corral. And he is generous with insider information into publishing with the members of the American Christian Fiction Writers. This is where I first met him--at an ACFW conference. He came up behind me, held my hands and asked if I was still able to talk. It was tough, as yes, I must be part Italian and use my hands as I talk. So shoot me. (ha)His sense of humor is part of his cowboy charm.
Let's get a look at that cowboy that is a blood brother to the Navajo, and yes, I managed to get a photo of him as a cowboy, but also in an outfit that shows his legs. (Gotta love your mamas.)
Terry Burns, an American Hero
Are you kidding? A cowboy. I've always wanted to be a cowboy ever since the days when I helped Roy and Gene clean up the West while I was at or immediately following the Saturday morning matinees I went to so faithfully. (see photo) I've worked as a day hand, put on rodeos and rode in them,fixed fence and worked cattle, but I've always had to make a living another way. When I started writing it's only natural that I'd want to start there.At heart I've always been a cowboy.
Fondest Memory (then):
When I was quite young there was a Navajo family that lived near us. The father worked for the railroad and they had a boy named Bobby who was near my age. We played together a lot. His father conducted an elaborate ceremony to make us blood brothers that really impressed the life out of me. As part of the ceremony I was given a spirit animal, a mockingbird. Seems all my life there has been a mockingbird singing nearby. His mother invited me to stay for dinner. I ran home to ask, envisioning some sort of exotic Indian fare. It turned out to be tomato soup from a can. Up until that moment I had never liked tomato soup, but it was delicious. I often wonder whatever happened to Bobby.
ED.Note: Bobby are you listening?Proudest Moment (then):
Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:
I was in the band from the third grade through college and even Amarillo Symphony. Some of my biggest challenges were associated with music and with preparing for solo competition. In high school the band director was a former Marine Corps band director and he was big time tough on us but really good. Twice we won national competition. I was first published while I was a teen as well, poetry in a statewide anthology.
My First Job:
I don't suppose you'd count paper route or the group of people I did yard work for each week in earlier years. So my first job was a night janitor for Cabot Carbon Company when I was in high school, a good paying job a lot of men would have liked to have, but my dad worked for Cabot over 40 years and was able to get me hired on there. I'll bet I could still make a floor shine with the best of them. I could sling a mop as good as a sailor, and could drive a 24 inch floor buffer like it was a Ferrari.
Comic books. I had a stack of them that would be knee high on your average grownup. I devoured them. Many years later I would be in Houston at a mall and ran across a group of collectors having a trade show. I saw the prices one of those early comic would bring and ran to a phone to call my mom. She had given that stack away only months before not knowing that in today's market those books were worth thousands of dollars. >>>sigh<<<
Terry, age 3
Favorite Dress up Outfit as a Child?:
Western of course, though for my family it was a little white outfit that mother made (see photo of me in the suit she made). Boys stationed out at
the WWII air base would come by our house walking to town and they loved to stop and talk with me. She made a lot of my clothes. Grandpa had a feed store and we'd go pick out patterns on the feed sacks that we liked which would soon become a shirt. Feed sacks were made of material that did that double role in those days. Man, do I ever remember the smell of that feed store.
Favorite Childhood Movie or TV Show:
As I said, the Saturday matinees. On TV it was Gunsmoke, Paladin, Lone Ranger, Bonanza and What's my Line? Of course earlier than that it was Howdy Doody and Mouseketeers. Mother probably still has the ears somewhere.
Favorite Childhood Book:
Too many to name. I got all I could get in addition to the comic books (and still have many of the books) and when we could afford to buy no more
learned to haunt the library most days on the walk home from school. Particularly fond of a treasury of O'Henry stories and a leatherbound collection of Saturday Evening Post stories.
Favorite Childhood Activity or Pastime:
Playing let's pretend. My brother, cousins and neighbors would join in pretending we were cowboys, policemen, firemen, detectives, you name it. We spent so much time constructing the constraints of our make believe world that we spent little time playing in it. What if we were this, and what if we did that? I'm convinced this is still the way stories are constructed, taking an idea and asking what if until the story emerges.
Did you love the Old West even as a Kid? What kinds of things nurtured this spirit?
Sure. As you can see in early topics the Saturday matinees and westerns on TV shaped much of my life. That, and my faith, of course. I was at church
every time the doors were open. Gave my life to Jesus at fifteen. Would have done so much sooner but it took a good while to work up the nerve to walk that aisle. Of course being born and raised in West Texas made it much easier to love the Old West.
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
Easy. Roy Rogers. Loved him as a kid, and later when I grew up came to respect him tremendously as a man. He and Dale were wonderful Christian
people and parents of a "rainbow family" who took their job as role models very seriously. Every time I get to Branson I love to go through the Roy Rogers Museum. It's like a pilgrimage to my past. It's a shame we don't have celebrities today who take the function of role model that seriously.
Hartline Literary: http://www.hartlineliterary.com
and personal web site where you can also check out his
weekday blog: http://www.terryburns.net
Books by Terry Burns:
24 books in print including work in collections, most recent:
Shepherd's Son from River Oak
Mysterious Ways series from River Oak
Trails of the Dime Novel from Echelon
And here's a sample poem from his book, Cowboys Don't Read Poetry!
From Bonnie's web site:
Bonnie Bruno has been writing professionally for 27 years, specializing in children's books, articles, columns, and stories for both the inspirational and general marketplace. Her work has been published over 450 times in 40+ different magazines and newspapers, and she has written books for Zondervan, Standard Publishing, Cook Communications, Intervarsity Press, and No Starch Press.
She sold her first two stories to a children's magazine while she was a student at The Institute of Children's Literature, and returned many years later to join their faculty as an instructor. A former family computing columnist for Newsday (1997-2000), Bonnie has also written technology-related columns for ParentLife and Living with Teenagers magazines.
Her love for variety led her to work with several greeting card companies, where she produced 150 greeting cards, posters, postcards, calendars, and gift items. Her cards have appeared on the retail racks of Hallmark, Oatmeal Studios, Paramount Cards, and Argus Communications.
These days Bonnie is a nature photographer as well as a writer,though she is mostly pursuing the photography. If you would like to have the Photo Buffet on your web site or blog, look at the logo to the right and click on it to download the widget.