Monday, November 22, 2010

Stephanie Burkhart's "A Christmas Collection"

Christmas in Bayeux Tour

I'd like to thank K. Dawn for having me on the blog and allowing me to visit 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. Little odd fact: I enjoy eating pizza European style – with a knife and a fork. Now, the adventure over, I work for LAPD as a 911 Operator.

My short story, "Christmas in Bayeux," is included in A Christmas Collection, Stimulating by Victory Tales Press. I'd heard only good things about VTP and they were looking for stories for their Christmas anthologies. I sent Becky an email – can you have me? Becky said 'sure,' and I was on board to write a story. A note to visitors: "Christmas in Bayeux," is "sophisticated" in nature and does contain a love scene.
     Now I had to decide what type of story I wanted to write. I hadn't written a contemporary for quite some time. I'm a big fan of Mona Risk's international contemporaries so I said to myself, I'd like to write international contemporaries and with my experiences I felt confident enough to do so.
     Manchester, NH is the second largest French speaking city in the US and I took 3 years high school French. I love the language and in my studies, I grew to love the nation. France was the perfect setting for my story. I've been to Paris several times. I also visited Lembach, France in 1988 and that experience has been with me throughout the years. My experiences in Lembach made their way into the story.
     Lembach is a small town in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France just over the German/French border. I was dispatched along with a fellow soldier, Private East to pick up a squad of soldiers in Pirmasens, Germany. East and I took a detour and ended up in Lembach.
     Needless to say, we were an odd sight, walking around the town in our US Army military uniforms. The locals stared at us – hard. As we walked around the small town square an older man approached us. He spoke no English. I had my "French for Travelers" guide and my pronunciation was decent so I engaged him. He enthusiastically shook our hands. "Américains?" "Oui," I answered. He proceeded to thank East and I not only for our service, but also for the service of our grandfathers who liberated France from Germany.
     It was a moving experience that humbled both of us.
     It was lunchtime and East and I went to the local café for lunch. With my trusty "French for Travelers," I ordered our food – salad and sandwiches. We were quite the attraction in the café. Patrons stared at us. In fact, several of them approached us while we ate and thanked us. Before we left, the manager came to us. He told us our meal was free.
     East and I wouldn't have it. We had francs for the occasion. Between the manager's English and my French, I learned the residents of the town loved Americans. In World War II, we had indeed liberated them from Germany's occupation. We were still heroes to them – 40 years later.
     East and I were truly humbled by how the town embraced us. As we made our way back to our military van, we thanked God for this rare opportunity to visit France.
     This experience found it's way into my story. Enjoy the excerpt:

     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 Rein. 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."
    
     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?

Buy Links:
Amazon: (print) http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Collection-Anthology-Stimulating/dp/1456304410/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289273692&sr=8-1
Ebook, Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29148
Create Space, Print book: https://www.createspace.com/3494425
Victory Tales Press: http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php
Check out the Story Teaser on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-muZ0dhOvSE

13 comments:

  1. Absolutely, The Night Before Christmas!

    Would love to win. Thanks for the opportunity!

    dancealert at aol dot com

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  2. I'm a Christmas story addict so it's pretty hard to narrow it down but my top three are probably:
    1. The story of Christ's birth in Luke's gospel
    2. The Gift of the Magi
    3. The Little Match Girl (I always cry!)

    Thanks for doing the interview and introducing us to your work!

    Brandi
    vi2005@aol.com

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  3. I will have to add your book to my amazon wish list .
    My favorite Christmas story - hmm, I have read so many but I would have to say " All I Have To Give " by Melody Carlson

    email- mrhpets@gmail.com

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  4. Brenda, nice to meet you. Who doesn't enjoy The Night Before Christmas? It's fun!

    Brandi, One of my favorites is Christ's birth from Luke's gospel as well.

    Flossysmom, Thanks for popping in. I haven't heard of that one, but I'll check it out.

    Smiles
    Steph

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  5. Awesome! Please enter me into the contest. Thank you and God Bless!
    whiterosegirl01[at]joink[dot]com

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  6. Thanks for offering these goodies!!!!!!!!!!!

    My favorite Christmas story is found in the Bible, Chapter 2 of Luke! I get goosebumps each time I read this aloud to my kids at Christmas or hear it read aloud.

    I also love "The Christmas Shoes"!

    chakasa58 at gmail dot com

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  7. I would have to say,Night Before Christmas, Little Drummer Boy, and the Christmas Shoes, that one always makes us cry...
    I cant wait to read your story, I just put my order in for it.
    Thanks
    Heidi
    heidijohnjeff@verizon.net

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  8. Veronica, nice to meet you. You're entered. I'll post the winner at the end of week, (I didn't realize the post would run a week on 27 NOV)

    Charlotte, I haven't seen the Christmas Shoes. I'll have to look for it.

    Heidi, there's a lot of favorites to choose from isn't there?

    Smiles
    Steph

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  9. My favourite Christmas story is from Luke's gospel...Your story sounds great!

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  10. Hi Steph,
    I learned something new about you - I didn't realize you hadn't written a contemporary for some time when you wrote "Christmas in Bayeux Tour." It's a great story - very romantic and a wonderful Christmas story.

    I like The Gift of the Magi and another favorite one is one written by Jude Deveraux. I can't remember the title. And, of course, I have another favorite Christmas story which is one I wrote and is titled A CHRISTMAS GIFT. I still get choked up when I read it.

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  11. Karen, you're in! Luke's gospel is very popular, but I suspect it's because the story resonates with everyone.

    Diane, I look forward to reading A Christmas Gift. I'm glad you liked Christmas in Bayuex!

    Smiles
    Steph

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  12. I'm back for Goodie Time! Congrats to Brenda and Flossymom for winning the autographed postcards. Please send me an email to sgcardin1@yahoo.com or botrina_buchanan@yahoo.com with your snail mail and I'll get that right out.

    Congrats to Diane Craver for winning the GC to Amazon.

    And thanks to everyone who visited Bayeux with me.
    Smiles
    Steph

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  13. Please enter me to win!!
    crystalrichards74@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete