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COUNTDOWN TIME!!! So Exciting! “Praise of the Heart” arriving Sunday Jan 1, 2012
http://bit.ly/v34ZJs

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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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Love Turns the Tide is Gail’s first romance, but she’s been writing for as long as she can remember. Her first story appeared in a grammar school newspaper. Much later, she worked as an editor and copywriter. After she married she helped her husband with his business, but continued to write. Between the feature stories she wrote at work and the freelance pieces she placed, she published several hundred articles. After some of them were selected for anthologies and two ended up in museums, friends and family nudged her to “do more.” Then, she undertook a lifelong dream and wrote a novel. In 2004, the year she published her first book, Now Is the Time, the American Christian Writers Association named her a regional writer of the year. In late 2009, she published her first romance, Love Turns the Tide, an e-book. This past November an excerpt from Love Turns the Tide won the Clash of the Titles Challenge in the best nature / weather scene category.
RA: Hi, Gail! Thank you so much for visiting today! Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Sure, but first, thanks for having me on your wonderful blog. Love Turns the Tide is a Christian romance with a bit of suspense. The main character, Cammie O’Shea, suffers a traumatic split-up with her fiancé and leaves family and friends to take a new job. She dreads meeting her boss, Bill Collins, editor of The Sun Dial, a newspaper in Destin , Florida. But a real estate developer, Vic Deleona, turns out to be her main source of angst. While she wants no new relationships he thwarts her efforts to complete an article she’s writing about him, arranges extra meetings and attempts to court her. She resists his advances. But mysterious break-ins occur at Cammie and her friend’s condos. When Cammie and Vic launch their own investigation into the vandalism, Cammie grows close to him. In the midst of the confusion she gets an opportunity to return home to her old job. Will Vic solve the crimes and win Cammie’s heart or will she leave Destin?
RA: What was the inspiration behind this work?
In short, finding true love. While I realize some people date one person, maybe two or even three, then fall in love and walk down the aisle, there are others who are hurt again and again before they find their soul mates. In a romantic way, I wanted to say, “Keep trying. Don’t become bitter and don’t give up on love.”
RA: What role, if any did your personal memories play in creating this story?
At least, some. For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed listening to people’s stories, so they tell them to me. Over the years I’ve had both guy and girl friends talk to me about their tumultuous dating relationships and break-ups. I got my listening ear from my mother. People also told their trials and tribulations to her. Once she tried to console a young woman, who had suffered a heartbreaking split-up. Mother said, “Oh, just forget him. Someone will come along one of these days and sweep you off your feet.” My friend looked up with tears in her eyes and said, “Well, it’s going to take an awfully big broom.” Cammie makes that statement in one of her conversations.
RA: Did the tone and theme of this work relate to any other of your works? How? No, this is my first romance.
RA: There’s a saying, “write what you know”. What do you think of this? How does it apply, or not apply, to your work?
I need to be able to know something well enough to relate to it. I made Cammie a feature writer for a newspaper. I’ve never worked on a newspaper, but I have put out company press releases, magazines and bulletins. One of my bosses was a retired AP reporter who talked about newspaper work all the time. As far as emotions, I empathize with others, so I connect with happiness, sadness, hurt, frustration, etc., fairly easily whether it’s a situation I’ve experienced personally or not. As a writer I project the feeling into my characters’ circumstance, even though I may never have experienced that particular predicament. While I don’t write about me, there’s a part of me in everything I write.
RA: You’ve created many characters! Any new ones in the works?
Yes, a fourteen-year-old swimmer and private school student. Also, I’m working on Angie Jones, a twenty-eight-year-old who tries to reconcile her past so she can love in the present.
RA: How has your life changed since you became a published author?
I knew very little about promotion or computers. I still know very little about promotion and computers. LOL. But, I’m spending quite a bit of time learning.
RA: Many writers have discussed writing flashbacks. What are your thoughts about this technique?
As a reader, I like to read well done flashbacks. As a writer, I like to use them to give background. However, I keep reading that flashbacks currently are frowned on, so I’m trying not to use them too often or make them lengthy.
RA: Do you belong to a writer’s group? Have you in the past?
Yes, I belong to a local Christian writers group, but saying it’s local is a stretch. It’s actually quite a distance from where I live, so I don’t get to the meetings very often. I feel fortunate to be part of several online groups.
RA: What would be the best advice you could give a beginning writer?
Learn all you can about the craft by reading books and magazine articles and going to writers’ conferences. Most importantly, keep writing.
RA: Time to get personal! Could you tell us about yourself?
I swim, and I enjoy getting together with friends and family. My daughter and I have so much fun bargain shopping. We can spend an afternoon trying on clothes and laughing at the ones that are completely wrong for us. We usually end up getting only one item each. But that’s okay. Later we have to find something to go with it. That means another shopping trip, so we have something to look forward to.
RA: What is your favorite family tradition?
Since our daughter’s grown and away from home now, we love getting together on so many occasions, but if I had to pick one I’d say the midnight service at our church on Christmas Eve. We usually have a nice dinner and open our gifts. We’re one of those families who exchange presents on Christmas Eve. Then we travel in the dark, still night to church and sit in the quiet room decorated with poinsettias and wreaths. After we sing Christmas carols and listen to the Christmas story the lights dim. The ushers pass out candles and light them at the ends of the pews. We sing “Silent Night,” and by the time we finish, it’s Christmas.
RA: Favorite song? I also love so many beautiful songs, but if I have to pick one, I’ll say the Halleluiah Chorus. We end the Christmas Eve Service with it every year.
RA: Favorite personal memory? Fortunately, I’m blessed with lots of good memories. I can’t pick just one. I’ll say shopping with my Mother when the two of us went downtown and spent the day together, my wedding and the day we brought our daughter home.
RA: And what’s next for you, writing-wise? Could you tell us what to expect in any other books you’ll be releasing? What will you be focusing on in the future?
’m working on a teen novel and another romance set in Destin. The teen novel deals with problems faced day to day by youngsters as opposed to being in the vein of Harry Potter. The new romance tells the story of Angie Jones, who manages a ladies’ boutique in the Florida panhandle. While she would like to fall in love, she’s haunted by past problems that make it difficult for her to give away her heart. She also has to deal with a testy situation at work and pranks that turn into crimes.
RA: Thank you so much for sharing with us, Gail. Good luck and please come back again soon! It was my pleasure, Regina .
Intro and Excerpt: Cammie, a feature writer for a newspaper, is attracted to Vic, a real estate tycoon she’s writing about. But she doesn’t want to be hurt again. She can’t wait until she’s finished his article and won’t have to keep seeing him. They’ve just completed their last business meeting. He asks to see her. Taken off guard, she suggests they feed the ducks in the lake near her condo. He agrees, but wants a commitment for a date:
Vic had no right to keep insisting that she go out with him. Maybe she didn’t want to offend him because she was afraid of the effect it would have on The Sun Dial, but was it possible that she liked him more than she admitted to herself? If so, that was all the more reason not to go out with him. She couldn’t stand the pain of another relationship. Perhaps a suggestion for a daytime get-together would solve the dilemma. “How about church on Sunday morning?”
There was such a long silence Cammie thought perhaps he wasn’t a Christian. Finally, he asked, “Did you have one in mind?”
“Yes, St. Anne’s, the rock chapel that overlooks the water. Have you ever been there?”
“No, no I haven’t, but I could go. What time do you want me to pick you up?” Vic’s voice sounded strained.
“Well, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”
“Why would you say that?”
“You’re certainly less than enthusiastic.”
“Maybe I am, but I’ll go.”
Cammie heard resentment in Vic’s voice. She wondered why, but she feared if she asked he’d deny the bitterness and start an argument. “If you really don’t want to attend I’d rather you wouldn’t.”
“I’m sure the church is lovely.” Vic’s tone told Cammie he didn’t want to discuss it further.
“All right, it starts at eleven, so we probably need to leave here about ten-thirty.”
“That’s fine,” he said as he pulled up in front of Cammie’s unit. “Do you want to go in and get something to feed the ducks or do we need to get them treats from the Magic Market?”
“No, I’ll be right back.” While Vic waited beside his Lexus, Cammie went indoors, rushed into the kitchen, and grabbed a whole loaf of bread. When she returned she said, “The little ‘quackers’ will eat well tonight.”
Then they strolled toward the lake, making their way onto the weathered gray bridge underneath lanterns that spanned the entire structure beneath the soft light of the moon and stars.
Cammie opened up the food and called out, “Here ducky, ducky, ducky,” into the still, quiet night. She and Vic tore six slices of the ducks’ treats into small bites, throwing them over the rail without talking.
Immediately Cammie heard, “Quack, quack, honk, honk.”
“I believe there are Canadian geese out there,” Vic said.
“Oh yes, you know how those snow birds like to come south. I think they got here, loved Destin as much as I do, and didn’t want to go home.” She couldn’t believe her own words. Had she hidden her true feelings about Destin somewhere in her heart only to have them surface suddenly when she wasn’t expecting it?
Vic took hold of her shoulders with both of his strong hands, gently turned her toward him. “Do you really like it, Cammie?” His eyes looked wistful, his face bathed in the fountain’s pink, blue, and yellow colors.
“Yes, I’m enjoying living here much more than I thought I would.” Cammie pulled free, tore up several more slices of bread, and tossed them over the gray weathered rail. “I had to move to Destin on such short notice. I’d never even visited here and had no time to find out anything about the place before I arrived.” She almost told him she’d had to hurry down here to interview him, but she thought better of that. “Needless to say, I begrudged the change at first, but not now.”
“I hope I’m part of the reason you like it here.”
Cammie stumbled for the right words. “Uh yes, I’m sure you are.”
“What kind of statement is that? Am I, or am I not, part of the reason you like Destin?” Small angry furrows creased Vic’s handsome brow.
Cammie stopped tearing up the bread slice she held in her right hand. “Do you want an honest answer?”
“Please.”
“Sometimes you are, but other times you aren’t.”
“That’s not much better. Would you mind giving me a ‘yes’ or a ‘no?’”
“Yes, I mind. Listen to the quacking. The ducks are hungry.”
“They’re going to explode. You’ve fed them nearly a whole loaf of bread.”
Read more about Gail at her Web site, http://www.gailpallotta.com and visit her blog at http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com. Love Turns the Tide can be purchased at http://www.awe-struck.net. E-certificates are available at Eagles’ Wings Books & Gifts in Destin , Florida , and Sweet Spirit Bookstore in East and West Cobb County , Georgia .

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