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What a great, trend-setting week! Today I am so happy to visit with author Barbara Robinson! Welcome, Barbara!

What prompted you to write your most recent book?

My most recent published book is SOUTHERN SUPERSTITIONS. Mother’s mixture of raising me on Bible verses and Southern superstitions prompted me to write it, but my most recent novel is WHISPERING CYPRESS, which will release in August. I wanted to write something different and didn’t write about strawberries this time. LAST RESORT and SOUTHERN SUPERSTITIONS both have strawberries. All novels are set in the South. The main reason I wanted to write my most recently published book was to illustrate that faith and trust in God are more important than being addicted to horoscopes. God’s on His throne, and He’s in control. I also wanted to write about the South where I grew up. Spring and strawberry season are my favorite time of the year. In Louisiana, spring is strawberry season and vice versa. I spent many glorious spring days in a packing shed with the sun smiling down, the sweet smell of berries tempting me to eat instead of pack, and my youngest son in a baby swing or walker. I wanted readers to experience the hard work of strawberry farmers and enjoy a novel with the delicious fruit.

2. Tell us please about the hero, the heroine and the conflict J

 Andy and June have more than one conflict. First, Andy has to convince June to consider him more than a friend and a big-brother type. Then, there’s Mrs. Myrtle with her wagging finger always telling June she can do better for herself than a common strawberry inspector. To top it all off, Mrs. Myrtle is stuck on Southern superstitions and worries about black cats when they cross her path. She also has a few other superstitions you may not have heard before. Can Andy win her over and convince her he’ll be the son she never had? Will June be able to give Andy a child? The main conflict comes when Andy does a disappearing act while deer hunting during Christmas season. Yes, Andy and June have many obstacles to overcome, if their love is to bloom and survive.

3. Favorite line from the book?   Favorite sentences: It was faith in God that would bring her husband home. Even a lucky penny or dime declared, “In God we trust.”

4.  Congratulations! You have many books to your credit. What are your current plans?

I plan to try my hand at a YA novel which will release in October. It will be my first in that genre.  It’s a story of old love and new. Hope falls for the boy next door, while Granny rekindles a relationship with a man her family didn’t approve of years ago.

4.  Give us a version of a typical day for you.

 I’m up early each morning, work or not, morning person that I am. A normal day off affords me writing time, and I brew a pot of French vanilla Dunkin Donut coffee and start my writing day, which I call French vanilla coffee and writing time. I savor the coffee as much as my blessed writing time. They go so well together. I’ll work at my computer until the sun rises and then enjoy sitting out on my new back deck hubby recently built. I can’t wait until spring break to do just that. I enjoy writing in a spiral notebook while outdoors, as I enjoy watching my two dogs frolic, squirrels play, listen to birds sing, and enjoy the beauty of flowers blooming and trees turning green. I write page after page while savoring my time outside until the sun climbs high and it gets too hot. Then, I go inside and key my writing into the computer, adding to it, layering, correcting, and editing as I go. After I finish my spiral-bound writing, I keyboard directly at the computer. If it’s too cold outside or too hot, I keyboard directly at the computer, but I still love the feel of the pen in my hand and watching those notebook pages fill. I write the morning away, have some lunch and check Facebook while I eat, then I write again. I usually call it quits by early evening, but I’ll have added a great deal of material to my novel with my uninterrupted writing time. I treasure such days. I don’t feel like I’m working because I love writing.

 

5.  Please give us a glimpse of your current writing space and then a vision of your dream space.

 

My current writing space indoors consists of an L-shaped oak desk with a Dell desktop with a 20 inch monitor. Three windows overlook my backyard. I keep the blinds open so I can enjoy nature even while indoors. My current outside writing space consists of a table with an umbrella on the wooden back deck overlooking the backyard. My dream writing space would include a gorgeous lake with azaleas and other blooming flowers. I have the azaleas, but not the lake. A woman can dream, can’t she? Henry David Thoreau had his cabin in the woods, and I once dreamt of having one, too, with that lake.

 

6.  Other than writing, what are some fun things you love to do?

I love to travel, visit zoos, and theme parks. I live in vacation land near all the theme parks. I’ve ridden all the roller coasters except the newest one. I’ve parasailed and zip lined. I love the water. Oh, and I really adore Tennesseeand a mountain-top cabin, especially in the fall of the year when all the leaves are turning. I used to bowl on a league. And, I can’t forget Key West, a mini HawaiiI wrote about in Last Resort and Southern Superstitions. I love visiting with my family, but I only get to see them during the summer. I love my quiet, peaceful morning time with God when I don’t have to work. Remember, I don’t consider writing work, though it is hard work. I love it too much. I’m an avid reader, so if I’m not working on my own WIP, I’m reading someone else’s good book. I also have a blog at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com where I review books.

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Happy New Year, Friends!

If you’re like me, you have resolutions for 2012. Here’s a quick list of mine:

1) Be more promotionally-active! This includes follow-up, like letting you know “Light of the Heart” is up in the Predators and Editors Poll 🙂

Here’s the link: http://critters.org/predpoll/novelsf.shtml

I’m in the link called “All other Novels”

Click on “Light of the Heart” and then you will get an email in your box which you have to confirm — just by clicking — and then the voting is complete.

There are a couple of steps, but all in all, it’s pretty easy! Thank you for helping out!!!

2) Stay in touch with cyber-friends and colleagues
I can’t tell you how I cringe when I see it’s been 2 or 3 months since I’ve been in contact with my virtual friends and writing colleagues. They have been there for me through everything. I don’t know what I would have done without them! And I want to thank them for that! More than that, I vow to be there, actively, for them in 2012.

3) Branch outside the box and travel beyond the comfort zone. As a writer, especially one who is in the midst of a nine-book series, it’s easy to let all your other writing go…but then, how do you grow? Take a pledge with me now to cultivate your own garden and see what you can do that’s outside of the realm you ever imagined — writing-wise. I’ll bet it’s so cool!
Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

 

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Today I am so very happy and thrilled to welcome author Shawna K. Williams! She’s here to visit and to discuss the release of her new book, “The Good Fight”, from Desert Breeze Publishing. Welcome, Shawna!

 

How did this story come to you?

After the release of No Other, my debut novel, I had several readers ask me if the sequel, In All Things — which was already under contract based on a proposal — was going to be about Roger, Jakob’s rival in No Other. When I told them that it wasn’t, they expressed disappointment. While writing In All Things, however, his character crept in unexpectedly, and in a rather profound way. He was hardly present throughout the book, but his name and the impact he’d had on Jakob in the previous book kept coming up. When In All Things released, once again I had readers asking me if I was going to write a book about Roger. As I looked at certain elements of the story, I realized that the relationship between Jakob and Roger wasn’t quite finished, and that it would also serve as the cohesion in a three book series if I chose to write another book. Furthermore, Roger was a rather interesting character with a unique angle from which to explore. So, here it is. The Good Fight is the third book in what I’ve dubbed, “The Series I Didn’t Intend to Write but My Readers Made Me Do It.”

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There are a few. First, judgmental attitudes come in all sorts. In the story Pennye has been a victim of this, but she’s also just as guilty. When she first meets Roger her reaction is to clump him into a category and her reaction toward him is affected by the judgments she made.

The second is to understand that when we give our lives over to the Lord, we are transformed into something useful and beautiful, imperfections and all. Regret is a powerful emotion and can often dominate and define a person’s life. God takes our experiences though — good and bad — and turns them into wisdom. They become something to use for His glory, and thus He removes our regret by bringing us to the realization that, in Him, we are a new creature, molded from the old. Our past is the clay from which we were made. But we can let go of the shame of that past, embrace Grace and rejoice in the beauty God creates as all things work together for His glory. This is a theme that runs through all of my stories. It’s something that I firmly believe in.

 

 

Cover blurb:
Roger Talbot’s life is defined by his devotion to public service. Having just successfully prosecuted a brutal murder case, Roger turns his attention to discovering the shady dealings of Niles Parker — the town’s former mayor, Roger’s old boss and the father of the woman Roger almost married.

 

Pennye Carrington ran away from Port Delamar with plans never to return. However, learning that her brother had murdered a family member of a famous movie star changed those plans. Pennye comes back with the hope of bringing stability to a family in disarray, but facing the torment of her childhood may be more than she can handle.

 

Roger’s mission to bring down Niles Parker and Pennye’s desire to keep her brothers out of trouble create a middle ground, where two people who couldn’t be further apart, embark on a danger-filled journey of discovery to find themselves and each other.

Can you tell us about your other books?
I have four books that are published and one that’s about to be under contract. Three of my books, including my latest release are a series. As I mentioned, the series doesn’t have a title though because initially it was only going to be two books.

All three of these books center round the small, but growing town of Port Delamar. It’s a fictional town based on Baytown, TX — the area where my husband grew up. The themes of these stories revolve around forgiveness and acceptance. There’s a tapestry woven in how the characters’ lives intertwine, and tragic events lead to good. I’m not so sure there won’t be other books in the future that tie into this town and these characters.

I have another book called Orphaned Hearts. It’s a Christmas story, but enjoyable for any time of year. It also has a similar theme of acceptance (mainly of ourselves). The story is very much about seeing the beauty within. It was inspired by my granddad, who grew up in an orphanage during The Great Depression.

What are you working on now and what’s next for you?

I edit for two publishers, so at the moment I’m playing catch-up on some work, but I’m about to sign a contract for a sequel to my Christmas story Orphaned Hearts, which released last December with Desert Breeze. This new story doesn’t have a title yet, but it’s about Caleb as a grown man, and the baby girl of the family who almost adopted him when he was a boy. Good thing they didn’t.

I’m also working on a story called Memoirs of a Ghost Town. It’s literary fiction, and it blends a contemporary story with one set in the past. I’m unsure right now as to where I’ll pitch it. I need to finish it first.

Parting comments:
Regina, thank you so much for hosting me. I love your books. I’m a little behind on reading your latest series, but everything I see about it looks wonderful, so I’m looking forward to the holidays and having some free time on my hands.

I’m hosting a contest to win a free Kindle and a $25 Amazon gift certificate. If you’re interested, details are here: http://shawnawilliams-oldsmobile.blogspot.com/2011/10/kindle-giveaway-with-new-book-release.html

For more about me:
http://www.shawnakwilliams.com/
http://shawnawilliams-oldsmobile.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/#!/shawnakwilliams
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1059888544&ref=tn_tinyman#!/pages/Shawna-K-Williams/236629884245

About Shawna K. Williams:
Shawna K. Williams is an inspirational novelist who loves telling a story through flawed characters – the only kind she can relate to. She also likes a good dose of nostalgia, which is why many of her stories are set in rural America during the first half of the 20th Century. However, being a fan of other genres, including Science Fiction and Suspense, she has a few surprises planned for future works.

When not writing, Shawna spends time with her husband and three children enjoying life on their ranch. She’s also an avid reader, book reviewer, blogger and jewelry designer.

Note from the host: As many of you know, I work for a high-end national jewelry retailer. So of course I noticed Shawna’s gorgeous necklace when she forwarded her photo for this post. I asked her about it, and the answer? Yes! She made it herself! Shawna, you are a wonderfully multi-talented individual!! Please come back again soon and visit. Best of luck with your new book!

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Today I am so happy to welcome E.A. West, author of The Key to Charlotte as she celebrates the release of her new book. Welcome!

Please tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is The Key to Charlotte, an inspirational romance. The heroine, Charlotte Harris, is a mute autistic who cleans her church twice a week. Zakaria Rush is the new director of children’s ministries at Charlotte’s church. More than anything, Charlotte wants to be able to carry on a conversation in her own voice, and Zakaria longs to help her achieve that dream. But will his efforts lock away his chance for a relationship with Charlotte?

Do you have any other books?

Yes, I have three other ebooks currently available. My two other inspirational romances, Dreams Do Come True and Healing in Haven Falls, can be purchased from Pelican Book Group (http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec) and Amazon.com. Riley’s Mission, my sweet romantic suspense, is available from The Wild Rose Press (http://www.thewildrosepress.com) and Amazon.com.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve been reading since I was three years old, and I have loved making up stories just as long. Writing gave me a way to share the stories I made up. It also allowed me to take my love of books in a new direction. Instead of just having a love of reading books, I discovered a love of writing books as well.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing?

I wish I had known the importance of critique groups. When I first started writing, I thought I knew how to write. My friends and family were very encouraging about my writing, so I started submitting my work. Every submission was rejected and I finally joined a critique group. At that point, I learned just how much I didn’t know about writing. My critique partners provided the constructive criticism and advice I needed to grow as a writer so my work was publishable. Although it was a bit of a shock to go from hearing my loved ones say my writing was great to receiving rejection after rejection, joining a critique group is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Without their guidance, encouragement, and honest words about my writing, I doubt I would have ever gotten anything published.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

You can learn more on my website http://eawest.mcphitty.com and my blog http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com. If you’re on Facebook, please “like” my author page for periodic updates and thoughts from my writing life http://www.facebook.com/pages/EA-West/34280264617. I’m also on Twitter http://twitter.com/eawest and ShoutLife http://www.shoutlife.com/eawest.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you, Regina, for having me on your blog today! I hope you and the readers have enjoyed this interview as much as I have.

And here’s a blurb and an excerpt:

Charlotte Harris can’t speak due to a quirk in her autistic brain, but that doesn’t stop her from communicating with others. Unfortunately, it prevents her from achieving two of her dreams–to praise God through singing and to carry on a simple conversation with her own voice.

Zakaria Rush is the new Director of Children’s Ministries at Charlotte’s church, and he can’t keep his thoughts off the partially mute blonde with a love for guitar music. Her innocence and love of the simple things in life intrigue him and make him long to give her what she wants more than anything: her voice.

Can Zakaria help Charlotte find the key to unlocking her ability to speak, or will his attempt to help her only lock away their chance for love?

 

Charlotte switched off the vacuum and breathed a sigh of relief. The silence in the small church was pure bliss. She pulled the plug from the wall and coiled the cord around the top of the vacuum, then returned it to the janitorial closet in the basement. Turning around, she pulled out her cell phone and checked for reminders.

Take the rag bucket home.

Yes, she needed to wash the rags and kitchen towels. She returned the phone to her pocket and grabbed the bucket handle. As she headed upstairs, she heard the sound of a guitar coming from the sanctuary. Was someone playing a CD? It sounded like live music, but she’d never heard anyone in the church play a guitar.

Drawn by the soothing strains of the strings, she turned right at the top of the stairs.

No one ever came in the church while she was cleaning. The entire congregation knew her schedule—Tuesday and Saturday afternoons—and they always made sure to come at a different time. Charlotte had never been sure if it was because they didn’t want to get in her way or if her parents had talked to them about the importance of routine for her. When she was little, she’d gotten upset by people showing up unannounced, but now that she was twenty‐three, she liked to think she could handle surprises a little better.

She peered through the open doorway and saw a man sitting on the edge of the platform by the plain wooden altar playing a battered acoustic guitar.

Her breath caught in her throat and her heart raced as she studied him. Not only was he a talented musician, he was gorgeous, more gorgeous than anyone she’d ever seen in this small Indiana town. His black hair was a little shaggy but stylish; his straight nose, high cheekbones, and tan complexion made her think of Native Americans and Italians; his lean build clothed in faded blue jeans, an olive green T‐shirt, and worn‐in sneakers made him look laid back. Peace filled his face as he strummed his guitar. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly, making Charlotte wonder if the sound of a guitar brought him as much joy as it did her.

Suddenly, he stopped playing and looked up at her. She tightened her grasp on the bucket handle.

He studied her with the most beautiful, warm brown eyes she’d ever seen. His smile caused her heart to flutter. “Hi there. Are you Charlotte?”

She nodded.

He didn’t seem to mind that she shifted her weight back and forth. Just as well. If she didn’t rock to release it, the nervous energy building under his gaze would make her cry.

“Pastor Ed told me I might run into you if I came this afternoon. I’m Zakaria Rush, the new director of children’s ministries.” He laid his guitar across his knees and chuckled, a deep, rich sound that warmed Charlotte clear through. “It’s a fancy title for a guy who didn’t want to grow up and found a way to turn it into a career.”

About the Author

E.A. West, author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. Her love of writing encompasses not only the romance genre but also a variety fiction and non-fiction styles.

Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small zoo of pets that includes the typical dogs and cats, and the more unusual African water frogs and a ribbon snake. Her interests are as varied as her critters. She has been known to carry on conversations about everything from politics and current events to gardening and theology. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her working on her latest knitting or crochet project.

Thank you so much for visiting today and best of luck with your writing!

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Today I am so happy to welcome author and Medieval enthusiast Joyce DiPastena to the Blog-String Fest. Joyce is an accomplished author and shares another side of herself and her talents with us here today. Welcome, Joyce!

Silly + Cake = FUN

Let’s admit it. Even grownups need to be silly sometimes. And as a medieval history geek, one of my favorite silly things to do is to celebrate Norman Conquest Day each year. On October 14, 1066, the Norman army, led by Duke William of Normandy (later known as William the Conqueror), invaded England and in a great battle now known as The Battle of Hastings, defeated the Saxon rulers of England. On December 25, 1066, William was crowned King of England.

William’s defeat of the Saxons imposed a French speaking monarchy and aristocracy on the Saxon population. Eventually, the two races intermarried, blending cultures and languages into one. It’s popular in modern literature to paint the Saxons as noble and peace loving and the Normans as murderous and bloodthirsty. Needless to say, this is a very simplistic view of the whole subject. And in the end, whatever your opinion of the Normans vs the Saxons, the bottom line is, without the Norman Invasion, those of us with English ancestors, quite simply, would not be who we are today.

Also if the Normans had never invaded England, when we went to a restaurant, instead of ordering “beef” (Norman), we would have to order an entrée of cow (Saxon). Instead of ordering a pork chop (pork/Norman), we would have to order a swine chop (swine/Saxon). Personally, I’d much rather eat a pork chop than a swine chop!

Now for the silly part. One year, just for the silly fun of it, I decided to buy a cake to celebrate Norman Conquest Day and decorate it with some little pewter knights I’d collected through the years. It has now become an annual tradition. Here’s a picture of my Norman Conquest Day cake this year. (I used plastic soldiers instead of pewter ones this year, just to be different.)

Everyone should have one day a year to celebrate something silly. It can be a historical event like mine. Or you can choose a truly silly day by checking out this link (http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/index.htm), where you will find such silly “holidays” as Bubble Bath Day (January 8), Mother Goose Day (May 1), Wiggle Your Toes Day (August 6) and more! Just don’t forget to include a cake.

If you’d like to see my Norman Conquest Day cakes through the years, you can do so on my JDP NEWS blog at this link, http://jdp-news.blogspot.com/search/label/Norman.20Conquest.20Day

<strong>Joyce DiPastena fell in love with the Middle Ages when she first read Thomas B. Costain’s The Conquering Family in high school. A graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree specializing in medieval history, she is the author of two sweet medieval romances: Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award finalist) and Illuminations of the Heart (a 2009 Whitney Award finalist.) Her third medieval romance, Dangerous Favor, will be released in January 2012. (All of her titles are available on Amazon.)

Joyce lives in Arizona with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov. Read more about Joyce and her books on her website at http://www.joyce-dipastena.com, check out her author’s blog, JDP NEWS, at http://jdp-news.blogspot.com, or follow her as she researches her novels at Medieval Research with Joyce, at http://medievalresearch.blogspot.com.

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Today I am just delighted to welcome the amazing individual and fantastic author Tina Pinson to the Summer 2011 Blog-String Fest! Tina is an accomplished author and has a wonderful sense of humor. Her writings and her posts are always so interesting. Thank you so much for visiting and welcome, Tina!

Just Breathe.

I’ve just had one of those extraordinary weeks. You know… the kind everyone dreams of?

Okay maybe not…

My week could have been better. It started off great. After singing with hubby at church, we rested and had a wonderful day together. Then while cleaning my teeth like a good girl, a chunk of my back molar broke off. OOOh Yay.

I decided I could handle the pain since it wasn’t too strong and of we didn’t really have the money to bother with it. Then Monday, I woke up with a touch of a headache, by the end of the day it had blossomed into a full-fledged migraine. It lasted through the night into the next day taking any chance for a decent night’s sleep along with it. And if that wasn’t enough… my tooth began a dull throb.

The migraine subsided, but the tooth ache hung on and I decided to call a dentist.

Can I just stop here and say UGH… Dentists are not big in my vocabulary, even though it seems I’ve spent quite a bit of time there. And because we are new transplants to Arizona, I didn’t even get to go to my usual dentist.

So I looked on the internet, and called around for an opening, then spun the wheel and headed out to meet my new best dental friend. After getting through a series of xrays (I have a horrible gag reflex so I really love those little film cards in my mouth) and a bit of prodding with the dental pick, I was told that I needed a few thousand dollars-worth of work.

Some crowns and a couple of fillings add up to a few thousand. Amazing. I am in the wrong business.

And boy was I excited. I was looking forward to setting in that ol chair, leaning back with mouth open waiting for the stab of a needle so my mouth would go numb, and I would get to listen to the whirr and hiss of all the drill and such.

But alas, I had to wait. First, I had to meet with a specialist so he could ascertain if I needed anything else. And guess what?

He found another two thousand in the form of root canals to tack on to the bill.

We moved to Arizona because of the economy and still trying to get caught up, so you imagine that this news overjoyed me.

I wanted to cry. I thought about running down and buying a few lottery tickets or maybe go hunt for a money tree.

Instead, I decided to do something constructive to take my mind off everything. I sat down to work on my stories.

I found that every cog in my head was clicking on the beat. I was so focused. Everything came together. The flow was precise, the editing went well and my characters were following my lead.

I was pumped.

HAHAHAHAHA…. NOT

Nothing was coming together. My thoughts were all over the place. My characters were rebellious. I’d start looking at one story and move onto another one because I couldn’t focus. I was ready to pound my head with the keyboard

So I did what many of do… (Throw my computer across the room and watch it shatter on the far wall in little pieces)

Okay so… I didn’t do that.

Actually I stopped what I was doing, turned my mind off as best as I could and breathed.

Just Breathed.

In through the nose and out through the mouth. One… two… three… four… Slowly, I took long deep breaths to clear my mind. And with each breath… I prayed.

In writing, like life, we can get over run with thoughts and frustrated because nothing seems to be working in our story lines, it’s then we need to stop and simply breathe.

Breathe and let the Author of our life and imagination infuse us with peace and clarity.

Life is going to happen. Things don’t always go as planned, when it doesn’t go quite the way it should, I hope you’ll give yourself the break you need and Breathe.

Just breathe.
*****

Here’s where you can find Tina and her writings:

For In the Manor of the Ghost
Desert Breeze Publishing

HTML, LIT, PDF, PRC
Barnes and Noble
Nook
Amazon
Kindle Edition
Sony Reader Store
Sony e reader
All Romance Ebooks
Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Mobipocket
Books On Board
Adobe Digital Edition
OmniLit
Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Mobipocket
Apple ibookstore
iPad, or iPhone/iPod Touch with upgrades to have ibookstore app access.
Borders Estore
kobo

Touched By Mercy

Sony Reader Store

Amazon

All Romance Ebooks
My website — http://www.tinapinson.com/
Twitter:@Tina_Pinson
Facebook– http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754617103
Purchase my books at:

Desert Breeze Bookstore.
Touched By Mercy http://tiny.cc/0rgkm
In the Manor of the Ghost http://tiny.cc/we4ul

Amazon:
Touched By Mercy http://tiny.cc/k5tgw
In the Manor of the Ghost http://tiny.cc/doc8w

Barnes & Noble
Touched By Mercy—available soon
In the Manor of the Ghost http://tiny.cc/oh767

Christian Books Distributors
Touched By Mercy – available soon
In the Manor of the Ghost http://tiny.cc/4u5h9

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Today I am so happy and delighted that the wonderful Stephanie Burkhart is visiting the Summer Blog-String Fest! She’s a fantastic author, great friend – and fellow New England-er. Welcome, Steph!

Behind the Scenes of: A Polish Heart
by Stephanie Burkhart

Regina Andrews is one of the sweetest people I know. A fellow Desert Breeze Author, when I learned Regina was from Rhode Island, I felt like I’d met a kindred spirit. I grew up in New Hampshire. My first time to Rhode Island was to Newport in 1985 as part of a school trip. Newport, Rhode Island is beautiful. I visited the mansions of Newport – Rosecliff, the Astors, and the Breakers, and fell in love with the Breakers. What made the biggest impression with me was standing in the middle of the great hall and closing my eyes and envisioning what it like all those years ago.

The Breakers was the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and the home was constructed between 1892-95. The architectural style embodies “The Gilded Age” of America and was the largest, most elegant house in Newport when it was finished.

When it came time to write my inspirational short story, A Polish Heart, I drew upon my knowledge and love of Newport to give my hero, Darrin Riverton a home. Darrin comes from Newport and embodies the American dream.

“A Polish Heart” is a short story included in Victory Tales Press Spring/Easter anthology. The story encompasses inspirational and family themes. Darrin’s a successful architect who travels to Warsaw, Poland on an assignment. Sofia Buraczynski is the beautiful, hard-working and family orientated interpreter who Darrin falls for. Will Sophia’s faith give Darrin his heart back?

What I enjoy about writing for Victory Tales Press are the opportunities to branch out and try other subgenres of romance. “A Polish Heart” has an inspirational message – you are who God made you and you shouldn’t try to be what other people expect you to be. You’ll only be happy when you are yourself. There’s also a family message – a family filled with love offers unconditional support. Darrin’s family has been sidetracked by materialism – and Darrin has lost his way because of it.

REVIEWS: A POLISH HEART
5 Stars, Diane Craver, author of “The Christmas Gift”
Burkhart’s writing caused me to fall in love with Warsaw, even though I’ve never been there. Her descriptions of the setting and culture made me feel like I was experiencing firsthand Poland’s interesting country.

The Set up: Darrin and Sophia are finishing dinner at a local restaurant.

The waiter came and Darrin gave him his credit card.

“I’d invite you shopping with us, but I’m afraid you have a lot of work to do.”

Darrin frowned. He did, but he hated to miss the opportunity to learn about the Easter basket and go shopping for it.

“Why don’t you join us for mass on Palm Sunday?”

“Really? A mass? I haven’t been in months. I’d need a confession.”

“Do you want me to ask Father William if it would be permissible for me to translate for him? He takes confessions on Saturday afternoons.”

“All right.”

“You can work in the morning. I’ll call you in the afternoon. Do you mind taking the metro again?”

“That’s fine.”

“What if he can’t take your confession?” asked Sofia.

“I’ll still go to mass with you, but I’d like to be able to receive the Eucharist.”

Her smile widened, warming his heart.

“I would like that. I’ll do my best to help get you a confession.”

The waiter returned and Darrin signed the bill. They left. Sofia’s car was parked in front of her house. The car ride back to his hotel was silent. She’d given him a lot to think about. How did he want to live his life? Falsely, trying to meet his parents’ expectations? Or did he want to let his heart breathe? He was twenty-nine. Wasn’t he entitled to let himself follow his own course? He had a good job, a nice apartment – he just had to live the way he wanted. And he had to guard his heart, turn away dishonesty and keep his eyes firmly on the path ahead, as the rest of the verse advised.

Sofia pulled up to the front of the hotel and put the car in park. Darrin turned to face her. The fringes of her lashes cast shadows on her cheeks, softening her expression. He reached out and gently took her hand in his. Her touch sent warm tendrils of desire through him. With the other hand, he cupped her cheek. She closed her eyes, and drew in a sharp breath before opening them again.
Lightly, he rubbed his thumb against her jaw.

“May I kiss you?” His voice was low and husky.

“Yes.”

He leaned forward, his lips feather light, touching hers with tantalizing persuasion until she opened up to him. He kept the kiss slow, thoughtful, enjoying the hints of berries and currants that lingered from the malbec. He pulled away gently.

“That was nice,” she whispered.

“Call me tomorrow.”

“I will.”
Darrin opened the door and stepped out. He waved to Sofia and she waved back as she drove away.

Darrin went to his room and revisited his luggage, removing his travel Bible from an inner pocket. He always took it with him, just in case. Opening it up, he went to the book of Proverbs, sat up against the headboard of the bed, and began to read.

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC6_397PerU

Buy Links:

Print Book:
Create Space: https://www.createspace.com/3579108

Ebook:
Lulu: (PDF) http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/a-springeaster-collection-sweet/15166166

Smashwords: (multiple formats) http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/48682

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Easter-Collection-Sweet-ebook/dp/B004TMPOYM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1314939571&sr=8-2

Stephanie Burkhart was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. A member of Generation X, she joined the army in 1986 and spent 7 years overseas in Germany. She’s now a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Her favorite football team is the New England Patriots. A Polish Heart was inspired by her Polish heritage.

Find me on the Web at:

BLOG:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

FACEBOOK:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1357922219

GOODREADS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

Thank you for visiting, Stephanie, and best of luck with your writings!

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