Archive for July, 2010

We had a crisis in our church choir recently, one that tested the limits of our forgiving kindness as individuals and as a group. I’m not sure we will move forward together as a choir, ever again.

And it’s all because someone made a mistake.

The mistake was innocent enough, yet resulted in everyone in the choir being privy to a comment that was meant to be private between two members only. Embarrassing, yes! But destructive and irrevocable, no. In my book anyway.

People are livid, and polarized immediately. Half the choir on one side with the flubber and the other half of the choir on the other side of the flubee. Now, there is no unity. No harmony. People are holding onto hurt feelings instead of behaving with judiciousness. Everyone makes mistakes; to perpetuate a hurt is worse than the original gaff. Whatever happened to forgiveness? To compassion? To doing unto others?

And I wonder about the music, since with all this personal tension, there is no longer any common ground.

Or is there? We sing about forgiveness, redemption, being welcome, being called. What good is it if we can’t put it into practice when there are bumps in the road?

We sing with our voices and our hearts. Hopefully, the music will serve to unite us as a choir once again. Let us sing a new song, unto the Lord!


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Author Anne Patrick is my guest today. I’m so happy she’s visiting! Just wait ’till you hear about her writing, I guarantee your jaw will drop! She just released “Fire and Ash” from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Hi Anne, welcome, welcome! Thank you so much for joining us today. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, Regina, that’s a complicated question. I guess you could say I’m the female version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…well maybe not that bad, but I do have an alter ego named Kinzie Monroe. Together we’ve penned over a dozen novels that are either published or under contract. When Anne’s not telling ‘sweet’ suspenseful tales of murder and mayhem, Kinzie fills in with stories of love and inspiration. Having a split personality makes life so much more interesting :-).

How long have you been writing? What’s the most rewarding aspect of it?

I’ve been spinning tales since high school, but I didn’t really get serious about my craft until about three years ago. The most rewarding aspect would be hearing from my readers. There is no greater feeling than to receive a letter or email from someone telling you they loved one of your stories.

You have a new release. For those who haven’t read the book yet, would you tell us a little about it?

Fire and Ash is an inspirational romantic suspense. Here’s the book blurb: Fire Investigator Sadie McGregor is called to her hometown of Emerald Point, Missouri to investigate a suspicious fire which claimed the life of a local college student. By appearance the fire looks accidental. What Sadie and the handsome new sheriff discover will not only affect those close to them, but will rock the entire community and may cost one of them their life.

What was the inspiration behind your book?

The idea came to me while watching the DVD of the movie Backdraft a couple of years ago. I loved Robert DeNiro in the part of the fire investigator and was really intrigued by what all goes into finding the answers to why a fire started. I then had the good fortune of meeting a real life fire investigator named Keith Tarbox who helped me get inside the head of my main character, Sadie McGregor. He also read over the entire manuscript to make sure the fire scenes were believable and that I did my homework.

That’s so interesting! Could you tell us what to expect in any other books you’ll be releasing?

No Greater Love, written by Kinzie, was also released this month. No Greater Love is a unique book that has it all: romance, drama, salvation, and sacrifice. It gives a whole new meaning to what it means to lay down one’s life for a friend. Leah Dalton has been handed a death sentence in the form of a deadly brain tumor. Fearing a painful death, she comes up with a plan to end her life on her terms. Attorney Kirby Shelton reluctantly joins Leah on her journey and faces decisions that can and will chance her life forever. Kirby’s life isn’t the only one that is about to be changed, five of Leah’s closest friends have been included in Leah’s plan to end her life. Will one of them risk their future and freedom for three hundred million dollars?

Do you plot your stories in advance, or just start writing and see where the story goes?

I’m a character driven pantster. Once the idea is planted I concentrate on my characters. They basically use me as their writing vessel to tell their story the way THEY want it told.

Do you belong to a writer’s group? Have you in the past?

Since I live in a small town, I have to rely on the internet as far as writing groups go. I belong to several but I’m most active in The Sweetest Romance Author group and The Romance and More Promotions group. I’ve met several very talented authors who have been beneficial in helping me to learn more about the craft. Having awesome editors is also a huge plus.

What role does the geographical location play in your storylines?

I’ll usually choose a state, do some research of the area in which I want to create my fictional town or city, and go from there. I love dreaming up the perfect setting for my characters to live in…that is when they let me.

For plot development, have your methods changed since you began writing? How?

You ask such great questions! Back in high school, when I first started writing, I used to try and write like authors I admired. That didn’t work out too well. I would hit roadblocks and get discouraged. Then a met a wonderful writing instructor named Marilynn Henderson who told me to write from my heart and to tell the story as if I was speaking to someone sitting across from me. It was the best advice I’ve ever received. Marilynn later told me that advice came from her mentor, the great Phyllis Whitney.

Oh, I love Phyllis Whitney! Wow! That is incredible!! Outside of your writing life, is there something you would like to advocate through your writing?

My faith comes through in all my writing whether I’m writing as Anne or Kinzie. The Lord blessed me with this gift and I want to use it in a way that is pleasing to Him. I know it’s hard to imagine a story about a serial killer as being inspirational but I guess that’s why they call it Edgy Christian Fiction. There is both evil and good in this world and I like combing the two and watching how my characters deal with it.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Hands down, it’s Dee Henderson. If you haven’t read her O’Malley series or Uncommon Heroes series, you’re really missing out. She is a fantastic Christian Fiction author who writes spell binding tales of adventure and intrigue laced with inspirational messages.

Could you tell us a bit about some of your other publications?
Every Skull Tells a Story was my first published novel back in 07. Journey to Redemption was published in 09. Followed by: Dark Alliance, Lethal Dreams, Reservations for Two (by Kinzie), Ties That Bind, Out of the Darkness, Fire and Ash, No Greater Love (by Kinzie), and in November I have one coming out called Sabotage. You can visit my website, http://www.annepatrick.weebly.com for book blurbs, excerpts and buy links.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Anne. I have learned so much from you already with all your experiences…this calls for an encore at your convenience! Good luck with your releases and please come back again soon!

It was a pleasure, Regina! Thanks for having me. I had a blast. And good luck to you with all of your writing endeavors.

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REGINA: So Stephanie, you have also written other books. Could you tell us about them, please?

STEPH: Sure. All That Remains and Are Your Dirty Little Secrets are contemporary romances published through IUniverse. Across the Fickle Winds of History is a time traveling paranormal about Olga Romanov, the eldest daughter of the last Russian Czar.

REGINA: You recently published a children’s book. What’s the name of that and what’s that about?

STEPH: It’s called The Giving Meadow. It’s about a caterpillar who travels through a meadow making friends. Caterpillar meets a frog, ladybug, bee, and snake and they all learn to share. I originally wrote it for my church’s preschool program for Easter and then showed it to Vivian (Gilbert Zabel) at 4RV and she asked for it. I was tickled pink. It’s available on the Internet at Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as the 4RV site.

REGINA: How does writing as another personae, such as S.G. Cardin in “Destination:Berlin” change your writer’s voice?

STEPH: Destination: Berlin is much more action-orientated than The Hungarian, which is darker and moodier.

REGINA: Tell us about “All that Remains” please.

STEPH: “All That Remains” is a contemporary romance. It takes place in Manchester, NH. Wealthy widower, Darrin Barring, is being sued by his deceased wife’s parents for custody of his child. (Almost similar to The Hungarian, in a way!) He hires a feisty lawyer, Kristina Rivera, to help him with the case and they fall in love.

REGINA: As a busy wife, mother and 911 dispatcher, how in the world do you find time to write?

STEPH: I usually write when I’m at work on down time between calls or on the radio. At home, I set aside time, an hour or two in the afternoon. The kids are usually playing their Nintendo DSs or the Wii and it gives me time.

REGINA: What are you planning next?

STEPH: “The Count’s Lair,” Book 2 in the Budapest Moon series will be published with Desert Breeze in Feb 2011. Count Anton Varga has never had a family, but when he meets pianist Lady Amelia Andrassy, he discovers he wants to make her his wife. Will his secret get in his way?

Also, my short story, “Shadows and Light,” a sci-fi/speculative will be included in Desert Breeze’s Borealis Anthology. Both Elijah Kess and Persephone Talon are hiding secrets as they investigate the Uudon Trade on the Borealis. Can they join forces or will their headstrong personalities keep them apart?

REGINA: You seem to really love history. Did you like it in school? Political science is quite relevant, isn’t it?

STEPH: Political Science was interesting to study. It’s very complex though and I think you have to have a passion to stick with it. My love of history developed when I was a senior in high school. I took a Russian History class my senior year and it sparked my curiosity about history’s influence in our lives today.

REGINA: Tell us about the “Fickle Winds of History” please.

STEPH: I originally wrote a story in 1995 called “Human Nature,” that I never published. It was about 5 teenagers with superpowers and the only reason they could survive was the fact they were clones. “Across the Fickle Winds of History,” was part of a story arc within that story. I wrote it in the first person from Olga Romanov’s point of view. She was the eldest daughter of the Czar (Nicholas II) with a “heavy” look at Anastasia. A Russian scientist goes back in time to change the laws of succession to allow Olga to inherit the throne. Paul, Ian, and Stephanie go back in time to stop him. Paul ends up falling in love with Olga. The epilogue is first person Anastasia and explains how she was lost to history.

REGINA: What do you like on TV (if anything)? How do you unwind? What is your very favorite way of “escaping”?

STEPH: I don’t escape. Very rarely do I have that opportunity. Right now I’m watching the new Battlestar Galactica. It’s an awesome series, well done. Compelling. I’m hooked. The Sharon Cylon baby’s fetal blood just saved the president from dying.

REGINA: Silliest moment?

STEPH: I haven’t done anything silly in quite a long time. Trust me. I guess my silliest moment was when my friends Karen and Aly visited me in Berlin back in 1992 and we walked all over Berlin singing Fleetwood Mac songs.

REGINA: What advice would you give to someone just starting to write?

STEPH: Have patience. We are so used to instant gratification in today’s world and writing requires a lot of patience. Nothing happens instantly in the writing community.

REGINA: How do you organize your promotional activities? Do these endeavors add to your enjoyment of your writing career? How?

STEPH: Promotion has come to slow to me. I want to write, and write and write, but in order to enjoy some degree of success you have to promote. I’m still learning the various ways to promote on the Internet because it’s hard to get out there with two boys at the house.

REGINA: You told us your younger boy has Sensory Integration Dysfunction, (SID). How has that effected your writing?

STEPH: Well, I try to be sensitive when writing children into any story. They are smart, bright, lively, and pick up on things quickly. Joe is all that, but he has to “adjust” and learn how to manage his condition. It will come with maturity.

REGINA: Here’s an excerpt from Destination: Berlin

Sharon stirred and opened her eyes. Germany always seemed overcast, but the clouds in the sky hinted at a growing storm. The air felt unusually humid, as it would be back in Maine right before a shower broke out. As she sat up, she glanced skyward. They would need a roof over their heads tonight.

“Good Morning.”

Sharon’s eyes cut to Dimitri. He was walking toward her from the direction of the Havel, waving his hands, air-drying them.

“Good morning to you. Where did you go?”

“To the canal to splash some water on my face,” he replied.

Sharon fidgeted, her ribs throbbing with a mild, yet consistent pain. She reached over her briefcase and withdrew her pain pills, taking two in a dry swallow.

Dimitri knelt down next to his duffle bag and took a brown paper bag, giving it to Sharon. “Eat.”

She took an apple and the last piece of brotchen out of the bag. “We’re empty.”

Dimitri frowned.

“You’re worried,” she said, eating.

“We were lucky yesterday. I have no doubts surveillance will be increased along Bundestrasse One. Perhaps we shouldn’t go this way.”


Here’s a link to Destination: Berlin’s Book Trailer on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cuav1ZTlWOA

Destination: Berlin is a Print book only. Here’s where you can buy it: Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:

IUniverse: http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000008175

Goodie Time: Post a comment. I’ll pick two lucky winners out of a hat to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. Follow me on my blog tour and earn a chance to win an autographed copy of Destination: Berlin. To find out the dates on the blog tour visit my blog, “Romance Under the Moonlight.”

Visit me at:

SG Cardin/Stephanie Burkhart Online

Romance Under the Moonlight

Thanks again, Stephanie. You are just fascinating and so much fun! Please come back really soon for another visit and keep us posted on all you are doing!

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Part One of a Two-Part Interview with Multi-Published Author Stephanie Burkhart

Today and tomorrow of this week, it is my pleasure to welcome Stephanie Burkhart to my blog. A multi-published author, Stephanie speaks today about her novel, "Destination:Berlin".

REGINA: Hi, Stephanie, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
STEPH: I was born and raised in Manchester, NH. I joined the US Army fresh out of high school in 1986 and became an MP. I spent 7 years total in Germany and loved every minute of it. In fact, my first trip to Berlin was in 1988, a year before the wall fell. I went to Berlin to attend the Berlin Orientation Tour, a trip I won for being selected my battalion’s soldier of the quarter. My last time in Berlin was 1996. The changes that occurred between those years were amazing.

Now, I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I’m married with two young sons.

REGINA: How long have you been writing? What’s the most rewarding aspect of it?

STEPH: I actually plotted out the story to Destination: Berlin in the late 1980’s, but I didn’t start seriously writing for publication until the late 1990’s. For me, the most rewarding aspect is bringing characters to life, infusing them with personality, and watching them grow.

REGINA: For those who haven’t read “Destination: Berlin” yet, can you tell us a little about it?

STEPH: I’d call it a “sweet” romance between Sharon and Dimitri. The novel opens with American Corporal Sharon Cates and Soviet Jr. Sergeant Dimitri Nagory meeting on the dining car of the Berlin Duty Train. The two share some lively banter and decide to be friends for the trip. Then a bomb blows the duty train off the tracks in the middle of Communist East Germany. Sharon then has to rely on Dimitri’s help to make it to Berlin.

Sharon is very serious about being a good soldier. She does well on her physical training (PT) tests, she takes military correspondence courses and college classes. She’s earned the right to wear her corporal stripes, but her personal life sucks. She’s just broken up with her boyfriend because he felt she was more interested in the military than him.

Dimitri was conscripted into his army. He has a talent – he’s trilingual in Russian, German, and English and works as a translator. Dimitri had no desire to become a soldier, simply because he wants to stay “under the radar.” His father died during a second tour to Afghanistan and that’s what soured him to military life. He makes the decision to help Sharon because he believes if he turns her in, whoever he turns her into will take the credit and he’ll get shipped off to a war zone.

REGINA: What was the inspiration behind the book?

STEPH: In January 1988, I won the soldier of the quarter for my battalion. In July 1988, I was selected to go to Berlin on the Berlin Orientation Tour. My unit drove me up to Bremerhaven where I was going o catch the train. They left at 4:00 pm (I had to wait until 10:00 pm before the train left) I found a café, curled up with a brotchen and a book, and the plot came to me. I must have used four or five napkins writing it down.

REGINA: That’s so interesting! Could you tell us what to expect in the future?

STEPH: I have a short story called “Shadows and Light” which will come out in the Desert Breeze Borealis Anthology in December 2010. It’s a sci-fi/speculative story. My heroine, Persephone Talon is investing the Uudon trade on the Borealis station and runs into my hero Elijah Kess – literally.

REGINA: Do you plot your stories in advance or just start writing and see where the story goes?

STEPH: I usually a plot a beginning and let it go from there. I use a combination of Plotter/Panster elements.

REGINA: Do you belong to a writer’s group?

STEPH: I belong to Writing.com. It’s a great place to fine-tune your writing.

REGINA: What role does geographical location play in your storylines?

STEPH: I’m very deliberate in picking locations. The most important thing is that it must have romantic elements so I can blend that into the story.

REGINA: For plot development have your methods changed since you began writing? How?

STEPH: I’m more of a plotter now. When I first started I was a panster, but as I learned about writing and structure, I incorporated more plot-like elements into the story.

REGINA: Outside of your writing life, is there something you would like to advocate through your writing?

STEPH: I’ve been blessed in that I’ve had a healthy life, but there are two causes close to my heart. Since learning the tragedic story of the Romanovs when I was a senior in high school, I learned everything I could about hemophilia, a blood disease that usually affects males. With hemophilia, the blood doesn’t have a clotting factor. Nowadays it can by managed, but back then the Tsarvich, Alexis, had to suffer with it because they didn’t know how to treat it. I wrote about it in my contemporary romance, “Are Your Dirty Little Secrets.”

My young son, Joseph, has what’s called Sensory Integration Dysfunction. (SID) His sensory system didn’t get set properly when he was born. He’s hypersensitive with his hearing (loud sounds bother him) and he has a hyposensitive vestibular and proprioception sense. A lot of his early childhood therapists thought he was autistic, which he isn’t. SID can present by itself so this has been an education process for everyone who interacts with him.

REGINA: Who is your favorite author and why?

STEPH: Right now I’m feeling Jean Plaidy (a pen name for Victoria Holt) She wrote historical fiction about the kings and queens of England. In fact, I discovered Jean Plaidy on that trip to Berlin in 1988. As I waited at the café, I read, “Queen in Waiting,” by her. It was my first Jean Plaidy and it remains my favorite. It’s about how George II met his wife, Caroline of Ansbach.

REGINA: Thank you so much for sharing with us, Stephanie. Good luck with Destination: Berlin. We look forward to the second part of your interview with us tomorrow.

STEPH: Here's a link to Destination: Berlin's Book Trailer on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cuav1ZTlWOA


A faint creak pierced the air breaking her thoughts. When Sharon looked up, she spied a Soviet soldier also buying a cup of coffee. A warm shiver slid down her spine. She knew the Soviets also used the duty train; she just though she'd never see one. He was tall and filled out the uniform well. From the markings on his uniform, she gathered he was a non-commissioned officer, but that was all. To her surprise, he approached her booth.

"Good morning, Corporal. I am Junior Sergeant Dimitri Nagory of the Soviet Army. May I join you?"

Sharon looked up. He was talking to her – in English! She motioned for him to have a seat.

Dimitri sat down and smiled. "If you don't mind my asking what is your name, Corporal?"

"Sharon," she answered, as distantly as possible. She never thought she'd meet a Soviet soldier on the Berlin Duty Train. This felt like a page out of a LeCarre spy novel. "Sharon Cates."

"Is this your first time on the duty train?" he asked.

Sharon stared at him. Nosey Soviet. Cpt. Heathers had cautioned her about them during her security briefing.

"Because it is the first time I have seen you," Dimitri continued, sipping his coffee.

"Ah, yes," Sharon finally answered. Should she finally entertain those hints of espionage and secret spy scenarios? "It's my first trip to Berlin."

Destination: Berlin is a Print book only. Here's where you can buy it: Amazon:


Barnes and Noble:


IUniverse: http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000008175

Goodie Time: Post a comment. I'll pick two lucky winners out of a hat to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. Follow me on my blog tour and earn a chance to win an autographed copy of Destination: Berlin. To find out the dates on the blog tour visit my blog, "Romance Under the Moonlight."

Romance Under the Moonlight

THE HUNGARIAN – MAY 2010 Desert Breeze Publishing

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