Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas is Here! Hallelujah!

Christmas is here! Christmas is here! Once it started, I haven't stopped moving. I can't believe its been a week since I posted, and I don't have time to post again son is home from school, and I have too much going on. We had a wonderful, blessed Christmas, and good things just keep happening. Now I can send my cards out, so that's on the menu for today. I did want to post this on Christmas Day, but time got away from me, so here goes!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent Reflection Continues

Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent's intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church's year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart's memory so that it can discern the star of hope.

It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope. ~Pope Benedict XVI, written when he was still a Cardinal, in Seek That Which is Above, 1986

Taking the day to read and reflect. Advent blessings to you all.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Guest Author, Stephanie Burkhart

Today's guest is Stephanie Burkhart, multi-talented and prolific author of too many genres to count! She also blogs like the wind, and is everywhere. But to catch her at home, stop by her blog, Romance Under the Moonlight, where she writes about whatever strikes her fancy. I myself was fascinated by her informational series of blogs on The Tudor Dynasty.
Last, but not least, Steph reviews books for How she finds time to read and review books, in addition to writing so many--she has six coming out next year--just boggles my mind. She also has an adorable family that keeps her quite busy when she's not at work.
Steph has been here before, as a romance author and children's book author. Today she'd like to tell us a little about her Christmas novella from Victory Tales Press. Welcome back, Steph!
I'd like to thank Liana for having me on the blog and allowing me to visit today. Just a little about me: I was born and raised in Manchester, NH. When I was 18, this New England Patriot fan joined the US Army for a great adventure and spent 7 years overseas in Germany. I met a fair-haired California boy and we were married in Denmark in 1991. Little odd fact: I was stationed in Muenster, Germany in 1987 when Pope John Paul II visited that city.. Now, the adventure over, I work for LAPD as a 911 Operator.

My short story, "Christmas in Bayeux," is included in A Christmas Collection, Stimulating by Victory Tales Press. I'd heard only good things about VTP and they were looking for stories for their Christmas anthologies. I sent Becky an email – can you have me? Becky said 'sure,' and I was on board to write a story.

Now I had to decide what type of story I wanted to write. I hadn't written a contemporary for quite some time. I'm a big fan of Mona Risk's international contemporaries so I said to myself, I'd like to write international contemporaries and with my experiences I felt confident enough to do so.

Manchester, NH is the second largest French speaking city in the US and I took 3 years high school French. I love the language and in my studies, I grew to love the nation. France was the perfect setting for my story. I've been to Paris several times. I also visited Lembach, France in 1988 and that experience has been with me throughout the years. My experiences in Lembach made their way into the story.

Lembach is a small town in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France just over the German/French border. I was dispatched along with a fellow soldier, Private East to pick up a squad of soldiers in Pirmasens, Germany. East and I took a detour and ended up in Lembach.

Needless to say, we were an odd sight, walking around the town in our US Army military uniforms. The locals stared at us – hard. As we walked around the small town square an older man approached us. He spoke no English. I had my "French for Travelers" guide and my pronunciation was decent so I engaged him. He enthusiastically shook our hands. "Américains?" "Oui," I answered. He proceeded to thank East and I not only for our service, but also for the service of our grandfathers who liberated France from Germany.

It was a moving experience that humbled both of us.

It was lunchtime and East and I went to the local café for lunch. With my trusty "French for Travelers," I ordered our food – salad and sandwiches. We were quite the attraction in the café. Patrons stared at us. In fact, several of them approached us while we ate and thanked us. Before we left, the manager came to us. He told us our meal was free.

East and I wouldn't have it. We had francs for the occasion. Between the manager's English and my French, I learned the residents of the town loved Americans. In World War II, we had indeed liberated them from Germany's occupation. We were still heroes to them – 40 years later.

East and I were truly humbled by how the town embraced us. As we made our way back to our military van, we thanked God for this rare opportunity to visit France.

This experience found it's way into my story. Enjoy the excerpt:

She pushed two wooden double doors open and they walked into a wide open-spaced entrance hall. "Is this a museum?"
"Oui. It houses our best known prize – the Bayeux Tapestry."
"What is that?" His voice was laced in curiosity.
"Dix Euros," said the clerk. He was in his mid-thirties and wore a blue uniform.
Aiden put his hand over Noel's hand as she reached for her purse. "I'll get it."
"Vous êtes Américain?"
"Oui," said Aiden.
The clerk held out his hand. Aiden slowly took it, surprised by the gesture. What was he doing?
"Américains we like. World War II, yes? Merci – thank you," the clerk said in halting English.
Aiden was stunned. Noel said this occurred, but he didn't think it would happen to him.
"De Rein. Thank you, sir."
"Non, Monsieur, merci. Keep your money."
"Oh, I insist."
"Oui, thank you, merci."
Noel smiled at the clerk, thread her arm through Aiden's, and they walked into the museum. There were a few people milling about in the halls, but it wasn't as busy as he thought it would be. Maybe everyone was at the Christmas markets.
He paused before they got far. "You said—"
She gave him an easy smile. "You handled that well."
BLURB: Aiden Seward is an Iraq war vet who has gone to the Beaches of Normandy to heal his wounded heart. Noel Rousseau was the girl he knew as an exchange student years ago. Can Noel help heal the ache in Aiden's heart?

Buy Links:

Amazon: (print)

Ebook, Smashwords:

Create Space, Print book:

Victory Tales Press:

Check out the Story Teaser on You Tube:

Goodie Time: Leave me a post and I'll pick out two winners to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. Tell me your favorite Christmas story and I'll pick a winner to receive a print copy of the Anthology. I'll come back on 02 DEC to pick the winners.