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.


Cindy K. Green said...

Great story, Steph and what an inspirational place for your current Christmas title. Wishing you lots of sales of the anthology.

Keena Kincaid said...

Hi, Steph,
I had similar experiences when I visited France for the first time in 1992 just as Europe was beginning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of WW2 events. It was humbling.

I love the premise for your Christmas story. It's on my TBR list.

Mona Risk said...

Steph, I can understand why people stop you and thank you. First you are absolutely adorable in your uniform. Second, you remind us of all the young men and women who generously put their life on the frontline to protect us.

StephB said...

Good morning Ladies. I'm sitting her with my coffee and settling in for a bit.

Cindy, thanks for popping in. I'm crossing my fingers. hehe

How exciting to be in France during that time. I should have planned better because I was in Germany in 1992 - and I would have liked to have been there.

Thank you. *blushes* It's such a small gesture, but one that will resonate with the person receiving for quite a while.


LK Hunsaker said...

Interesting.. I didn't know one of NH's cities was so French! Here, they deliberately pronouce a town name wrong so it sounds less French! This is a very Scots-Irish area.

I also find your France visit interesting. When we went to Paris in 1990, no one had any interest in talking to us. Strange.

StephB said...

As I remember, mind you, it's been a couple of years, but Manchester and the areas around have a very heavy French-Canadian influence.

They misprounce French names here all the time partly because #1 the French aren't too highly liked these days and #2 partly out of ignorance. I live on Cannes Pl and I pronouce it the French way which gets me raised eyebrows all the time.

I went to Paris in 1987, 1991, 1992, and yes, most of the encounters I had there were a bit snobby, but when I wipe out my French for Travelers and starting speaking, I softened a couple of them. LOL!!

My trip to Lembach was amazing because it was so different than being in Paris, and most of my German friends confirmed it - they're all snobs in Paris. The people in the countryside - they are friendly.


Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Liana and Stephanie

What a fascinating post. I love the picture of you in uniform, Stephanie.
Your Christmas novella sounds so interesting and I wish you great success with the anthology.

Kathy said...

Steph I love the story I will have to see if I have enough left at the end of Dec to grab a copy. It sounds so sweet and makes great romance.

Sherry Gloag said...

Thanks for sharing that wonderful Frecn experience, and I loved the way it wove itself into your Christmas story.
Thanks for sharing.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A beautiful story behind the story. Congrats, Steph, on still another publication. You have lived an adventuresome life. Best wishes to you.

StephB said...

Liana, everyone, since I have another day here, I'll return tomorrow to dish out my goodies. :)

Lyn, thanks for popping in. I love the Dress Green and Dress Blues uniforms of the Army. I need to scan a picture of me in Greens, but I need to refigure out my scanner. grrr...

Kathy, It's nice to see you. I think you're a winner from Loraine or Diane's blog. Send me an email.

Sherry, it's great to see you. I've been meaning to hang out with "The Brat" but NaNoWriMo put such a dent in my time. It is in my TBR pile!

Beverly, thanks for popping in. It's so nice to see you on the tour. *smiles*


StephB said...

Hi all, it's Goodie Time!

Congrats to Lyn and Beverly - winners of the autographed postcard. Please send me an email with your snail mail and I'll get those right out to you.

Congrats to Sherry - winner of the print copy of the anthology!

My emails are: or

Thanks everyone for popping in. It sure is nice to see you on tour!