Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas in Bayeux Tour

Today we welcome Steph Burkhart, an officer and a successful author.

I'd like to thank Mona for having me today on the blog and allowing me to visit with all you lovely ladies today.

Just a little about me: I was born and raised in Manchester, NH. When I was 18, this New England Patriot fan joined the US Army for a great adventure and spent 7 years overseas in Germany. I met a fair-haired California boy and we were married in Denmark in 1991. Now, the adventure over, I work for LAPD as a 911 Operator.
[Steph Burkhart in uniform]

Just recently I had an opportunity to write a short story for a Christmas anthology with Victory Tales Press. Since I'm mainly known for my paranormal writing, I jumped at the chance to expand my wings. I knew this was going to be a contemporary story, but where did I want to take it?

Then I thought of Mona Risk and her international stories with Cerridwen Press and I said, "I want to write international contemporaries like Mona." And after spending years in Europe, I knew I could draw on that experience. The inspiration for "Christmas in Bayeux" took root.
[A street in Bayeux]

I set the story in Bayeux, France and the beaches of Normandy. While I've never been to Bayeux, I have been to rural France and the experience had a profound effect on me. It was 1987, and several locals walked up to me and thanked "America" for helping France in World War II. That experience found it's way into the story. I hope you enjoy the excerpt.

Blurb: Aiden Seward is an Iraq war vet who has gone to the Beaches of Normandy to heal his wounded heart. Noel Rousseau was the girl he knew as an exchange student years ago. Can Noel help heal the ache in Aiden's heart?

She pushed two wooden double doors open and they walked into a wide open-spaced entrance hall. "Is this a museum?"
"Oui. It houses our best known prize – the Bayeux Tapestry."
"What is that?" His voice was laced in curiosity.
"Dix Euros," said the clerk. He was in his mid-thirties and wore a blue uniform.
Aiden put his hand over Noel's hand as she reached for her purse. "I'll get it."
"Vous êtes Américain?"
"Oui," said Aiden.
The clerk held out his hand. Aiden slowly took it, surprised by the gesture. What was he doing?
"Américains we like. World War II, yes? Merci – thank you," the clerk said in halting English.
Aiden was stunned. Noel said this occurred, but he didn't think it would happen to him.
"De rien. Thank you, sir."
"Non, Monsieur, merci. Keep your money."
"Oh, I insist."
"Oui, thank you, merci."
Noel smiled at the clerk, thread her arm through Aiden's, and they walked into the museum. There were a few people milling about in the halls, but it wasn't as busy as he thought it would be. Maybe everyone was at the Christmas markets.
He paused before they got far. "You said—"
She gave him an easy smile. "You handled that well."
[The Cathedral of Bayeux]

Goodie Time: Leave me a post and I'll pick out two winners to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. Tell me your favorite TV Christmas special and I'll pick a winner to receive a PDF ebook copy of the Christmas Anthology. I'll come back on 18 NOV to pick the winners.
[The WWII cemetery in Bayeux]


Mona Risk said...

Thank you Steph for sharing your background and gorgeous pictures with us. I am honored and happy to have enticed you to write that special book.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Mona, let me thank you and the ladies for having me here on Voices From the Heart. It's an honor to visit. I enjoy your writing very much so it was easy to find my inspiration for my story from that.


Sheila Tenold said...

My son served in Iraq. Thank you for your service to our country.

I look forward to reading what sounds like an engaging tale with an international location. My husband and I want to visit Normandy. This will give us an opportunity via your book. And I always enjoy reunion stories!

Deborrah-Debsy-Devorah said...

Hi Steph. Nice to see you over here at FTH. I don't have much luck posting on blogs, hopefully this goes through. I'll see you back over at DB.
Deborrah Girard

Anonymous said...

Hey Steph! I stopped by to check out your blog today and am very impressed. WOW! You are doing a phenomenal job. Keep it up and I'll keep reading your awesome works.

Sherri David

Vivian Zabel said...

Steph, I never know where I'll find you. I enjoy learning more and more about you.

My favorite Christmas special varies since I never know what will be aired, but I enjoy It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street (did I get the street correct?).

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I enjoyed your post here. Love the pictures you shared, too.

I'm thrilled to be one of the authors in A Christmas Collection-Stimulating. "Wanted" is my western tale with wee bit of the paranormal threaded withing the fabric of the story.

My favorite Christmas TV program isn't considered a Christmas special, but the story does take place during the Christmas holiday. It's While You Were Sleeping. It's cute, funny and romantic all rolled into one. :)

Barbara Monajem said...

I have always wanted to see the Bayeux Tapestry. In my spare time I'm tinkering with a story that happens in the time of William the Conqueror, so it's very significant to me.

Thanks for a great blog post!

Unknown said...

STEPH--Congratulations on the release of more good books! I love the photos you posted today--lovely and interesting. Mona--I really like the Voices from the Heart blog. Celia

LK Hunsaker said...

Steph, it's so nice for you to share that moment of an American service member being thanked by a European. That alone endears the story to me. ;-)

I love all the old classic Christmas movies, and a few of the new ones. Mostly, the new just can't beat the old, though.

Autumn Jordon said...

Hi, Steph. First, thank you for your service to our country. I know you're proud and should be. Salute.

I love the permise for you Christmas story. Awesome. I wish you many sales.

My favorite Christmas story. I love the oldies, Holiday Inn, Mircle of 24th Street and It's A Wonderful Life. The list doesn't stop there, White Christmas, Christmas in CT, A Christmas Carol, etc. etc.

LOL. I love the season.

Happy Holidays. AJ

Mary Ricksen said...

What an incredible person you are Steph, but then Mona draws those kind of people.
You have such ab interesting history and I can't wait to read your story. I wish you the best and a wonderful heartfelt Holiday to you!

Jill James said...

Steph, sounds like an amazing story. My favorite Christmas special is How the Grinch stole Christmas (the original cartoon)

Diane Craver said...

Great post and excerpt. You are so amazing, Steph, with all your wonderful books. Hope you have fantastic sales for each one.

And this is a lovely blog!

I like all the Christmas oldies. I always have enjoyed Christmas in Connecticut.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Nice meeting you, Steph. You couldn't get a better mentor than our Mona. Your stories sound interesting. I always love to read about faraway places.

Cindy K. Green said...

Sounds just lovely Steph. I bet reading it is like stepping onto a street in rural France.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Enjoyed it, Steph. One of my favorite Christmas shows is Frosty the Snowman, but I think that was only a TV show so it doesn't count. Hmm. Its a wonderful life is a classic - so that's my movie choice!

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Thank your son for his service. It's much appreciated. Normandy sounds lovely. Let me know when you have the chance to visit.

Debbie and Sherri, thanks for popping in, Sweeties. It's nice to see you here.

Vivian, I like to travel. *grin* My favorites revolve around the grinch and shrek with an 8 and 4 year old in the house!

Mary and Paisley, Mona is very special and an inspiration for me. Jill, I love the grinch, too.

Diane, thank you for popping in.

Karen, I can't wait to read your story. It sounds really interesting. It's great to be in the anthology with you. I LOVED While You Were Sleeping. It's one of my favorite all time movies.

Barbara, let me know if the story comes about. I'd love to read it.

Celia, it's great to see you here. I'm looking forward to reading your story in the Sensual anthology. I ordered it today.

Loraine, it was a touching moment for me. I'm so happy now to see how people back home show appreciation for those in the armed services. It was good in my time, but it's gotten better.

AJ - How nice to meet you. Happy Holidays to you, too.

Cindy, I hope it reads that way. Thanks for popping in! Maggie, I LOVE all those old clay-a-tronics cartoon. My ultimate favorite was "Mr. HeatMizer" LOL!! I don't think that was the name but it had Mr. HeatMizer and Jack Frost I believe.

I'll be back tomorrow morning.

Mary Marvella said...

Steph, thank you for your service and your wonderful books!

Mona finds such interesting guests.

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

Thank you, Steph for sharing a bit of your story with us. I think people have the wrong impression of French people.

As for my favorite Christmas special I never can decide. My daughter and I have a guilty pleasure every Christmas season. We try to DVR as many specials as we can and then we watch them together. Usually we rate them as we go. But mostly we laugh at some of the cliched and chintzy ones. Sometimes there are one or two that stand out, but it's the whole experience that we like. Now don't tell anyone. It's our secret and she would kill me if she knew I'd mentioned it.:) Shhhhhh

Sheryl Browne said...

Nice blog, Steph. I'm in the UK, France is therefore a stone's throw away and, yes, it is indeed a beautiful country, steeped in its own unique culture. I love it. A weekend in Paris enriches the soul! Now, if only I could get George Clooney to hurry up and sort himself out and book it!

Christmas viewing for me has to be be animated stuff. Or cartoons. What could be better than Bambi? Sniffle...sniffle. Or Ice Age 1, 2 & 3, or Madagascar or Bugs Life or Shrek or Nemo or... Shut up Sheryl. Has anyone ever seen The Snowman based on the book by Raymond Briggs? The music just makes be weep. Sooo beautiful.

Sheryl xx

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Nice excerpt, Congratulations on your story, Steph. Lovely photos.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Mary, I'm tickled pink to visit.

Lionsmother, I agree - I think they are misunderstood in today's world.

Sheryl, there are a lot of specials out there. I think animated ones as well.

Beverly, nice to see you pop in.

Goodie Time:

I want to thank EVERYONE who visited. It's much appreciated.

Winners of the Autographed postcards: Paisley and Jill! Please send me an email at or with your snail mail and I'll get those postcards out to you.

Winner of the PDF Copy: Mary Ricksen! Please send me an email at or with your contact info and I'll get that copy right off to you!