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We’ve spent the last few days chatting with authors Barbara Robinson (left) and Nike Chillemi (right). They were nice enough to answer a few more questions!

First, Nike asked Barbara:

Barbara, Although I love Gotham (NYC), I envy you so much because you live in Florida. I know you’ve spent a good deal of time in the Keys. I love Key Largo. Do you have a favorite Key and why?

And here’s Barbara’s answer:

Key West is the only Key I’ve spent much time in, but I’ve heard Key Largo is great. I’d like to visit it one day instead of merely driving through it to get to Key West. Key West is the big tourist attraction, but I’ve heard the other Keys are pretty laid back and not as crowded. If Nike ever retires with a Florida beach house, I’d love to accept her invitation and bring the strawberry shortcake. We’d sit out on the deck and listen to the roar of the surf while we enjoy it.

Then I got up the courage to ask our authors a few questions. Here’s Nike’s answer

1. Where did you come up with the inspiration for your work? Not just this recent book, but for your writings as a whole?

Nike:  I’ve been writing for a long time. As a teen I penned the usual poetry with angst. My poor, dear parents had to suffer through me reading those truly bad poems to them.

2) How has your sense of yourself changed since you became a published author? PLEASE elaborate 🙂  (Lots of writers, especially women, would find this really interesting.)

Nike: I think I have more confidence now then I did before I was published. I doubted that I could be me, the real me and be accepted in Christian publishing. But I have been accepted, warts and all. It’s been a great blessing to me. I love my readers, who have supported me with such loyalty.

3) If you didn’t live where you live now, how would your writing be different? Please explain (if possible)

Nike: I have several places I’d love to live. Saratoga Springs, NY, Quebec City, Canada, and Montauk, NY. I’d bring a crime wave to the area to be sure. Although I don’t live in Montauk, I’ve spent quite a bit of time there and I’m plotting a contemporary story there.

4) About the adage that writers should adhere to the theory of ‘write what you know’: please share how you feel about that.

Nike: I agree whole heartedly with “write what you know.” I only write about settings that I know quite well. Sanctuary Point is a fictitious village on Long Island, NY. However, I know Long Island quite well. I write about the type of people I grew up with, or met along the way. The dialog I write are words I’ve heard before…that resonate with me.

5) If you could change one thing about the world, what would that be and why?

Nike: If I had a magic wand and could change something…I’d cause the church to get into a love mode. I’d want the entire church to start loving…as Christ commanded us to.

6) Most fun memory? Most fab writing moment? Most favorite get-away-from-it-all activity? (Okay, sorry, that was 3!)

 Nike: One of my best memories happened when we visited my grandmother and grandfather. My grandma baked bread. When it came out of the oven it smelled so good. I hurried to the kitchen and I saw my grandfather standing behind my grandmother at the stove. He had his arms around her waist and pulled her to him, holding her close. They turned around, saw me, and smiled. My grandmother gave me a slice of warm bread slathered with butter.

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What beautiful and thoughtful answers. Thank you so much, Nike, you are amazing!

And here are Barbara’s answers:

1)   Where did you come up with the inspiration for your work? Not just this recent book, but for your writings as a whole?

Barb: Life experiences provide fodder for my writing. My mother, father, friends, and family have all provided inspiration, but most of all, my inspiration is God-given.

2) How has your sense of yourself changed since you became a published author? PLEASE elaborate 🙂 (Lots of writers, especially women, would find this really interesting.)

Barb: I’m still the same old me, and I love to write just as much as before I was published. I have grown as a writer since publication though, and I hope improvement shows with each book published. Like with anything else in life, practice helps. Being published doesn’t mean you’ve arrived. You still have to work just as hard to promote, write, and market your work. I have made many new friends through writing and grown closer to God in my studying His Word and writing devotionals and Christian fiction. So, the main thing that has changed with my sense of self with publication is it’s afforded me a closer walk with God and allowed me to serve Him with my writing.

3) If you didn’t live where you live now, how would your writing be different? Please explain (if possible)

Barb: I enjoy writing about places I’ve lived or visited during vacations, so if I lived elsewhere my fiction would be set in different areas. I feel writing about places I know makes the story more realistic.

4) About the adage that writers should adhere to the theory of ‘write what you know ‘ : please share how you feel about that.

 Barb: In a way, I feel it’s true, and that’s what I do, but in another way, writing is also about discovery. It’s a process of self-discovery as well, and involves research when you decide to write about what you don’t know. I do feel people who have lived in a place and know it inside and out can do a better job of writing about those places. In fact, I feel I do a better job of writing about what I know because it comes more naturally, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write about what I don’t know. I can research and learn and have fun researching.

5) If you could change one thing about the world, what would that be and why?

Barb: I’d change the violence and evil that seems to have overtaken the world, but I’m a mere human being without the power to achieve such a task alone. Only God can accomplish such a feat, and He will when He’s ready, in His own perfect timing. It’s heartbreaking to hear of abused children and women, robbery, and murder. If I had such power, I’d change the world to a peaceful, nonviolent place, a paradise like God intended in the first place, so there would be no pain, no heartache, tears, sickness, death, and evil, only love for one another and happiness.

6) Most fun memory? Most fab writing moment? Most favorite get-away-from-it-all activity? (Okay, sorry, that was 3!)

Barb: My most fabulous writing moment was winning first prize for a short story in fiction-writing competition because it made me realize I could keep writing and write books, not just stories. Though, if I thought about this one long enough and wasn’t rushing this question, I’m sure I’d write something different, to be honest.

My most favorite get-away-from-it-all activity is spending time in a Tennessee mountaintop cabin, standing on the deck and looking out at the clouds and treetops, feeling closer to God and being filled with a deep sense of peace and contentment.

Oh Barb, thank you for your wonderfully beautiful answers, you are incredible.

 It has been such fun to visit with both of you. I feel really blessed that I got to know you better. Now friends, what questions do YOU have for Barbara and Nike?

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S&S: Desert Breeze author Regina Andrews turned right on I-95 and landed in our neck of the woods.  Today we’re talking books and baseball.  Welcome, Regina. What prompted you to write Sterling Lakes Book #3, Praise of the Heart?

What a wonderful question.  This book has to do with dealing with the truth in life, whether it is by looking in the mirror, listening to the doctor’s report or finally allowing the love of God to shine in your heart. I wrote this book as part of the Sterling Lakes series. This one takes the series from the levels of the previous two books and turns it completely personal with the themes the characters have to address.

S&S: The hero, Cliff “Clean-up” Markham, plays for the Tampa Bay Stingrays. Do you have a favorite team?

Oh yes. Baltimore Orioles! Long story: RI girl, Red Sox fan forever. Remember going over the AL Standings with my father every night before it was AL East and West: Baltimore, Boston, Detroit…Baltimore, Detroit, Boston…Well, flash-forward to a broken-hearted world of Sox fans in’86 who never recovered (if you don’t know, just trust me!). Always loved the Orioles for their spirit and visited Baltimore lots as I grew up. Well, seems to me they always held pure and true! I love their spirit.

S&S:  Favorite line from the book?   ”Take a stand, find the truth and expose it, don’t run from it. That gives us all hope, Laura. You have done a wonderful thing today.”  (Great question, I am so happy that you asked this! ) [We didn’t pay her to say this!]

S&S: Congratulations! You have six more Sterling Lakes books contracted through July 2014 with Desert Breeze.  Are the books a progressive series featuring the same characters? What a joy the Sterling Lakes Series is! Yes, really for the most part. By that I mean the series is definitely a progressive series thematically, and that’s why this third book of the nine attempted to propel the story arc out a bit further – the series also has recurring characters from Sterling Lakes, as well as featuring a few choice newcomers. Most of all, I am writing these so that a reader can jump into the series any time and become acquainted with Sterling Lakes and the good folks associated with this wonderful town. Hopefully, then, they would be inspired to read another one. (Could I just add the neighboring town, Clark’s Falls, was inspired by Central Falls, RI, home of Academy-Award nominee Viola Davis )

S&S: Give us a Reader’s Digest version of a typical day for you.

Another great question! [Again, no pay, but lots of praise!] Up, to work at my day job as a copy manager at a national jewelry retailer, gym and home, write. Yikes!

S&S:  With six more books in the queue, when do you sleep? Describe your current writing space (dust bunnies and all); then give us your dream space.

My laptop holds a place of honor! It’s in a cozy corner by a sunny window on a spindly table.

My dream space? A octagonal-shaped library/study with sliding hidden doors, book shelves like Henry Higgins, a real desk (mahogany) with drawers and a printer, plus a leather love seat over in the corner overlooking the view out to the ocean and a wet bar with a mind-reading expresso-maker lol. Thanks for that fantasy moment!

S&S: Fantasy is a good thing, right? LOVED Henry Higgins’ library! Other than writing, what’s a fun thing you love to do? Love to sing, love to sun (lol) and love to mini-golf – not that I’m any good!

S&S: Hmmm, we love to sing, we love the sun, and we love to mini-golf (and we’re not that good).  You must be one of our “other” sisters!  Before you go, would you please give us a short excerpt?

With pleasure!  Excerpt from Chapter One:

As he viewed the scene in the St. Luke’s Vacation Bible School picnic area, Cliff ‘Clean-Up’ Markham adjusted the brim of his baseball cap and said a silent prayer of thanksgiving.

You brought me back here to Sterling Lakes, Lord, safe and sound again after another year and for that I give You thanks.

He eyed the group of somber children sitting dutifully on the benches. Not all of them are as fortunate as I am. I’ll never forget the gifts You gave me, and I will always praise You for them. But, come on, we’ve got to liven this place up. They need spirit. Your spirit, Lord. Help me impart the joy of your spirit to them. Amen.

Bounding across the lush, green lawn on the long legs that had been his ticket to a career as a major league baseball outfielder, Cliff cried, “Play ball!”

Every head turned his way, and soon the lawn was a kaleidoscope of color and motion as the youngsters flew across the grass to him.

J.B. Norwood, head of the St. Luke’s Vacation Bible School, exclaimed, “It’s Cliff! It’s Cliff! He’s back! Hi there, Clean-Up!”

“Clean-Up!” A laughing group of children reached him, swarming him before any adults.

“There you are, Russell. Jeremy, whoa, you got tall. Hey, Margaret, how’ve you been? Say, Bucky, what’s up?”

“They call me Billy now,” the boy replied, kicking the ground.

“Right. Good to know.”

Cliff reviewed the sea of faces before him — some familiar to him and some new from last year’s session. In each one he read hope, youth, goodness… and a desperate need for direction and connection.

Then he saw her. Standing by the edge of the grass. Tall, wearing a blue dress. A vision like something from the pages of a magazine.

He smiled, and she walked towards him. Her long, dark hair swayed gracefully with her every rhythmical step. She was in her early twenties, he guessed. She smiled, and Cliff felt the ground shudder under him.

Beaming, she opened her arms and said, “Children, give Mr. Markham some room to breathe, okay? Why don’t we go sit together under the apple tree?”

“Miss Laurie, he’s here to play, not sit around,” came an instant protest

“Russell, you have a good point. Let’s let our star attraction decide.” She tilted her head to one side and with a mischievous half-smile, fixed her gaze on Cliff.

Not many times in his twenty-six years had Cliff Markham been stopped short. Life to him was a big game — fun, baseball, travel, women. Good times seemed to flow his way with his natural charm and ease.

Until now. The challenge radiating from those dark brown eyes stopped him in his tracks, and right away he knew he was in big trouble.

He took a few steps towards her and held out his hand. “We haven’t been properly introduced, Miss Laurie. I’m Cliff Markham. From Sterling Lakes. I play baseball with Tampa Bay Stingrays these days.” He shrugged.

——-

Okay and let me say thank you again so much for inviting me to visit today! What a great time and I wish you both the best in your writings.

S&S:  Hey, thank you! It was wicked fun! Next time we’ll try mini-golf, okay?  We’re so glad you came!

 

For more information on Regina, please check out the following links:

Regina’s Desert Breeze Author’s Page (with links to all her books):

http://bit.ly/Aw27ku

Barnes &Noble: Sterling Lakes Book Three: http://bit.ly/ypLxGI

Amazon: Sterling Lakes Book Three: http://amzn.to/x9LdqX

Blog: regina Andrews.wordpress.com: http://bit.ly/FNY0oj

Website: http://reginaandrews.com/

Treble Hearts Books link to “The Perfect Proposal” http://bit.ly/lAPP21

Awe-Struck Publishing link to “In Good Faith”  http://bit.ly/pLV5w

Twitter: regina_eileen

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/yTXSJy

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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 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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Today we are visiting with Stephanie Burkhart and the characters from her newest release, “Victorian Scoundrel”! Her cast of characters:
Mena Survari – Alice Windsor
Robert Pattinson – Edmund Windsor
Orlando Blood – Grayson Kentfield

REGINA: Hello Alice, Edmund and Grayson and welcome to my blog! Alice and Edmund, if I may, I have a question for you two first. Victorian Scoundrel, Book One, relates your time-travel experience. Is this your first time-travel and how did it happen?

ALICE: It was my first time! I was very disoriented when I landed in that London Park.

EDMUND: But you got your time-traveling legs pretty quickly.

ALICE: You were an old pro, Ed. How many times did you go back. 2? 23? If our grandmother knew—

EDMUND: She doesn’t need to know the exact amount, Cousin.

REGINA: Alice, what is the biggest difference you noticed between women in 2011 and women in 1851?

ALICE: By Victoria, the clothes! How could women were such garments back then? Petticoats. Crinolines. Capes. Dresses down to my ankles! Hideous, I tell you!

REGINA: Edmund, what surprised you the most about what you found you have in common with Prince Albert, your great-grandfather?

EDMUND: He’s a man of vision. I love his forward thinking ideas. Without them and the vision he had with the Great Exhibition, he wouldn’t have inspired a generation of invention.

REGINA: Alice, the Prime Minister found you a bit odd. Did you find that about him, too? How much of that would be attributed to personality and how much to the times?

ALICE: Actually, I found the Sir John bossy, arrogant, and irritating. I would say it was a 50/50 split. Sir John wouldn’t crack a smile even if you paid him.

REGINA: Grayson, you have been very patient, thank you! What is it about Alice that most attracts you, and most infuriates you?

GRAYSON: Thank you My Lady. Alice is a rare gem, an exotic beauty. What I love the most about her is her sharp wit and clever mind, what’s most infuriating is that Alice has a secret and I can’t get it out of her.

REGINA: The Great Exhibit has so many interesting inventions for the future, Grayson. Tell me what inventions excite you the most, what you hope develops in the future that you have not seen and what you hope never gets past the drawing board.

GRAYSON: The inventions which excite me the most are the ones that will help to clean up our soot-infested air. 1851 London is covered in soot from all our coal burning. I actually like the idea of the dirigible. I think that has a lot of potential to move our society forward. What I hoped would never get off the drawing board did – Lord Ridgecroft’s transmogrifier. That contraption makes everyone nervous.

REGINA: Who among you, or your acquaintances, keeps a diary? Grayson, would you be interested in a computer? How do you think technology would change your life?

ALICE: Me, keep a diary, heavens, no! My writing is atrocious.

EDMUND: I don’t have time to keep a diary.

GRAYSON: Well, I do keep a day journal where I write down my thoughts and observations made during the day. I think I could get used to a little technology.

REGINA: Alice, Edmund, you are from 2011. What has been the most difficult adjustment for you to live in 1851?

ALICE: Oh, the clothes. By far the clothes. They itch. And there’s too many of them. And there’s too many layers. What I wouldn’t do for a Stella McCartney dress in 1851!

EDMUND: Sharing a room at the hotel with Alice. She’s high-maintenance. I can’t believe she takes at least 30 minutes at the end of the day in the water closet!

REGINA: You each have a travel scrapbook. What three items would you each put in your scrapbook from 1851 to show your friends and family back in 2011?

ALICE: I think my father would be impressed with a picture of me beside Queen Victoria, Me in front of the Crystal Palace, and a signed copy of Pride and Prejudice I found in Grayson’s Library.

EDMUND: I would want a picture of my grandfather, Prince Albert, a ticket to the Great Exhibition, and a handkerchief from Keira Russell.

GRAYSON: I would like the locket with my mother’s picture, my brother’s map of India, and the first whuzzie Alice sent me.

REGINA: Edmund, are you the Scoundrel? What did you do??

EDMUND: Me, a scoundrel? I’m an honorable man. I never misled Keira Russell as to the affections of my heart.

REGINA: The Victorians are fabulously popular, even in 2011. You’ve been there, seen them, met them. Tell us why (or why not) they deserve this frenzied following.

ALICE: It was a time of a lot of change, that’s what makes them so popular.

EDMUND: They were innovative and clever. They took up modern ideas and reforms winning the hearts of the people.

GRAYSON: Victoria was our last hope for the monarchy. We all wanted her to do well, and she did.

REGINA: Alice, please don’t keep us in the dark. Share a juicy little morsel about Book Two with us, please.

ALICE: Oh dear! I have to wear those uncomfortable Victorian clothes again!

GRAYSON: My dear Lady Regina, it has been a pleasure to speak with you today. Thank you for having us.

Here’s a link to the Book Teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IUYj2d7ZeY

Publisher’s Buy Link: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-183/Stephanie-Burkhart-Victorian-Scoundrel/Detail.bok

BLURB: It’s 2011 and compressed natural gas has taken over from the coal producing steam machines of the Victorian Age. Alice Windsor, Princess of York, follows her mischief-making cousin, Prince Edmund of Wales back to the past and 1851 where Prince Albert is hosting Britain’s Great Exhibition.

Alice soon discovers Edmund has struck up a friendship with their great-grandfather, Prince Albert, and his mischief making entails leaving a dinosaur-sized footprint in history. She also meets Grayson Kentfield, Earl Swinton, and the Prime Minister, Sir John Russell. The Prime Minster finds her odd, to say the least.

It’s only when Alice falls for the handsome Earl Swinton does she realize the dangers of time travel. How can she give her heart to a man from the past while striving to stop Edmund from changing time with his forward thinking ideas?

EXCERPT:
Interestingly, Alice walked up to a mirror hanging over a narrow table near the door and fingered the coin necklace, staring hard at it. Grayson watched her for a second. What meaning did it have to her? Intrigued, he walked up next to her and looked into the mirror.

“So, Earl Swinton, what is the prime minister’s name?” she asked.

“Sir John Russell.”
She nodded.

He clasped his hands behind his back and smiled at her, his reflection captured in the mirror. He wanted to know more about her. “And aren’t you the least bit curious about my name?”

“Of course.”

“It’s Grayson. Grayson Kentfield.”
“How noble.”

“And yours is charming.”
“Really? Alice? It’s so plain.”

“Not at all. It implies mischief.”

She turned to look directly at him. “Mischief? That’s not me. I’m very level-headed.”

“I would also add bold, adventurous, daring–”

She crossed her arms, a small smile hinting at her lips. “Me? I don’t think so.”

“Oh, yes, I do believe those words describe you to a ‘tee.’ Princess Alice shares the same precocious traits.”

Her expression grew even. “I see.”

Not wanting her to pull away, he stepped closer, locking eyes with hers. “Tell me, why did you say you were Alice of York?”

Her cheeks flushed and she diverted her eyes. “I — ah, it was a mistake.”

“Mistake? You appear to be a very confident young woman.”

She nibbled at her lower lip, betraying a slight hesitation. “My last name really is Windsor.”

“Is it?”
“I am telling the truth.”
“I believe you.”

Her eyes explored his, softening. He hoped she could see his admiration and his curiosity for her in his eyes. Yes, he’d had his fill of beautiful women, but Alice, she was a challenge, with her odd dress, unspoken familiarity with the palace and unapologetic independence. He could actually envision her telling him “No” should he try to kiss her. Well, why not? They just met! She appeared clever, genuine, and she wasn’t a good liar. Liar? No, that wasn’t a word he’d use to describe her, but she was hiding something. And it didn’t matter. He liked the warm arousal setting in his body when she was near.

She backed away from him. Had he unsettled her? He hoped not. He wanted to learn more about Alice Windsor.

She took a slow walk around the room, lightly running her fingers over the furniture. “Everything appears so new.”

“Are you familiar with this room?” he asked, allowing her to explore.

She looked away from him. “No.”

Now that he didn’t believe. She strolled around the room casually, as though none of the exquisite furniture, impressive paintings, and the picturesque views from the window made any impressions on her. She didn’t carry herself with the air of a tourist from the lower class. No, she presented herself with a quiet, royal bearing.

“Where do you come from, Alice?” he asked.

“I’m on break from my studies at Cambridge. My father’s residence is at Royal Lodge.”

“Royal Lodge? Aren’t members of the royal household there?”

Alice raised a hand to her mouth and frowned. “Ah, I mean near Royal Lodge.”

“You aren’t what you appear to be, Alice. What are you hiding?”

Alice smiled. “Trust me, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” she replied.

Victorian Scoundrel is available as an Ebook For Sony Ereader, Kindle, Nook, Kobo and various formats for download.

Review from Tia Taylor: Victorian Scoundrel is a clever Steam Punk novel full of Time travel, interesting gadgets, witty dialogue and love scenes that will have the reader reaching for a fan!

Stephanie Burkhart has a fresh, quick, quirky, inventive imagination and she gives the readers of Victorian Scoundrel a delightful mixture of all of the above!

Romance Under the Moonlight

Victorian Scoundrel
Book 1, The Windsor Diaries
Steampunk Romance at it’s finest

Visit me at:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

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Steph: Regina, thanks so much for having me here today. Let me just share a little about me: I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, I joined the US Army. I spent 11 years in the military, 7 in Germany. I left the Army in 1997 and settled in California, but my favorite football team is still the New England Patriots. I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I’ve been married for 19 years. I have two boys, Andrew, 8, and Joseph, 4. Little Odd fact: I visited Berlin in 1988, before the Fall of the Wall.

Regina: Thanks for visiting today, Steph. Tell us a little about “A Polish Heart.”

Steph: “A Polish Heart” is a sweet family/inspirational short story which can be found in the Victory Tales Press Spring/Easter anthology. It’s an international contemporary and set in Warsaw, Poland. When architect Darrin Riverton falls for his beautiful Polish interpreter, Sophia, will her faith give him his heart back?

Regina: How does religion play a role in the story?

Steph: Darrin is out of touch with his faith. His work is challenging, but its his family who drains him emotionally with unreasonable expectations that just tear at his person. Darrin is going through the motions with his life. He wants more, but he doesn’t know what that “more” is until he meets Sophia. She’s really the catalyst for him.

Regina: How important is the religious element in the story?

Steph: Religion, any religion, gives us a strong moral and ethical base. Darrin is missing that and his life is empty because of it. By letting God into his life, does he realize how full life can be.

Regina: How important is family in the story?

Steph: Our families are a reflection of our values and morals. Darrin’s family goes through the motions, living up to others expectation and not God’s. Sophia’s family lives their faith, putting it in motion every day. Darrin sees this and realizes this is what he’s missing in his life.

Regina: What draws you to writing international contemporaries?

Steph: I think my time in the military has a strong influence there. Also, I really love author Mona Risk’s international contemporaries. “French Peril” is one of my stories of hers.

Regina: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Steph: Learn everything about your craft. Be patient. Be willing to learn. There’s a a lot. F&W Publications has a great series of books that talks about plot, self-editing, dialogue, characters that I’ve read and referenced time and again.

Regina: What was the last movie you saw?

Steph: The King’s Speech. I loved it! It demonstrates the courage of a man. Colin Firth was amazing in the role of George VI.

Regina: Can you share a little excerpt from your new story?

Steph: Sure. Enjoy!
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.

GOODIE TIME: Leave a comment and I’ll pick one lucky poster to win an autographed print copy of the anthology tomorrow.

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

Blurb: When Darrin falls for his beautiful Polish interpreter, will Sophia’s faith give him his heart back?
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

The Anthology is also avail on Amazon as a Print & Ebook for Kindle.

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

Thanks so much for visiting today, Stephanie and thanks to our friends at Dreamstime for the beautiful images!

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