Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Author Spotlight - How Joan Leotta finds inspiration

Writers are often asked--where do you get your ideas. I am always puzzled by that question since ideas come from everywhere. It is simply a matter of looking and listening to the world around us and often , expanding those real observations into a story by asking the question, "What if?"

The initial inspiration for story came from a friend, Julia. She is Italian -American but spells her name the American way. She is younger then my heroine would be today. My friend, Julia was only a child during the war, not a teen.

But my friend did leave home (although later, in the 1950s) to go and work in a larger city where she met and fell in love with a non-Italian. She had to go back to her hometown from the big city where she was working (Washington DC, not Wilmington NC as in the book) and then, after dealing with parental objections, returned to DC to marry John, her sweetheart. The scene that set my imagination working was her description of John meeting her at the train station and sweeping her off the steps of the train onto the platform with a kiss. Yep, the most romantic scene in the book! And it was real! My friends are happily married and gave their permission for me to use their story as part of my book.

For this particular book, the scene in which John twirls Giulia around as she alights from the train was the inspiration for the entire book--and it is a true incident from the life of a friend. Sometimes an article, a photo, an object inspire me. I like to look at something or think about something that was said to me and ask myself "what if????" and that is how I expand the simple thought into a story idea and then an entire story or a novel.

Of course, inspiration is only a small percentage of the process of developing a book. For historical fiction, research is a good fifty-seventy-five percent and the rest is development of the characters and plotting.

Characters play an especially big part in a romance because you want the readers to like the main characters and root for them to get together as they face the various obstacles, I thrown in the path of their love. My daughter is my best sounding board for the plotting. She is an avid reader and loves to help.

Find Joan at:
www.joanleotta.com
Blog: www.joanleotta.wordpress.com
www.joanleotta.blogspot.com

Monday, 30 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Joan Leotta

STEPH: TOday we have a Q and A with Desert Breeze Publishing Author Joan Leotta
Her first book with Desert Breeze came out on July 1.

The title is Giulia Goes to War. You can learn a little more about it on Joan's Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Joan-Leotta-Author-and-Story-Performer/188479350973
It would be a great help to her if you could give it a "like" while you are there.

Here is my interview with Joan:

STEPH: I don't Know much about Giulia Goes to War--what is it about?

JOAN: The novel is set in World War Two and is a romance, a bit of a spy story and the tale of a young girl setting out to find her way, honoring her parents, but also finding her own self and independence.


STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

JOAN: This one is hard to judge. It was a short story that became a book so I had a lot of research done and simply expanded the descriptions of characters, added characters, and gave full play to themes I had to shorten in the brief version.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

JOAN: Probably more than necessary! I am an obsessive researcher. Need to stop myself sometimes. I read a lot about the era I am writing about, research various topics that will be included in the book, and study any documents I can about individuals in that time period.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?



JOAN: My cover artist, Gwen Phifer, of Desert Breeze, did a marvelous job. She found a photo of a young woman who IS Giulia--and set her face into a train window. Everyone who has seen the cover loves it and marvels over how it captures the essence of the book. Giulia is looking forward with fear and anticipation to her work for the war, leaving home for the first time and the future she will face.

STEPH: Describe the heroine.

JOAN: Giulia is the heroine. You can see what she looks like by taking a look at the book cover. She is strong and intelligent, independent and resourceful but still a bit too dependent on tradition and worried about what others think about her.

STEPH: What does the hero like about her?

JOAN: The hero, John, finds her attractive because of her intelligence and love of family. Of course, he does not miss that she is lovely as well!

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

JOAN: Independence and honor. (Two themes) The book explores girls going to work in what was a man's world and also the issue of people marrying outside of their ethnic groups--something which began to happen in America during and after WWII to a much greater degree than before.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

JOAN: From my own life, my family history, stories friends tell me, historical research, the beauty and majesty of place, and objects. Yep, quote a few of my stories are built around my curiosity about an object or tell the story of how a group or person or event is influenced by food. I am also a food and travel writer and general topic journalist.

STEPH: Do you have an e-book reader?

JOAN: Indeed I do--a Nook.

STEPH: What is your favorite summertime fruit?

JOAN: That is a hard one because I love fruit!!!! Summer is a procession of fruits--late spring is strawberries, then blueberries open the summer season followed by peaches, peaches and more peaches. Elderberries and blackberries come in there but it is peaches that dominate the summer for me, along with melons (cantaloupe and honeydew and watermelon) but I guess I have to go with peaches. There is a farm fruit stand nearby and each week she brings a different kind of peaches to the stand. One year I wrote down the names of each kind and rated them for myself.

I do prefer freestone, but any kind is great. Mostly I eat them plain, but I do make pies, cobblers, jumbles and even savory dishes with peaches. My husband and I have a favorite memory of our first trip to Italy together than involves peaches, My favorite Garcia Lorca poem involves peaches and I have written several pieces of poetry about my grandmother's peach tree and my daughter's August birth, in the height of peach season. Hmm, I guess I should not even have bothered to mention the other fruits. Peaches do seem to take the cake ( served along with peach ice cream, of course!)

Find Joan at:
www.joanleotta.com
Blog: www.joanleotta.wordpress.com
www.joanleotta.blogspot.com

Friday, 27 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "It's Complicated"


Thank you so much for supporting Angela during her spotlight week. Leave a comment today, Saturday, and Sunday with your email contact info and I'll pick a winner on Monday to receive a PDF copy of Angela's story, "It's Complicated." Enjoy this excerpt!
Moderator Steph

****

THE SET UP:
Ash has met Emily at his uncle's New Year's Day party and is more than interested. As she leaves he watches from the window to size up the situation between her and Peter, a man who may or may not be a rival.


Ash escaped his uncle's boring friends under the pretense of bringing in more drinks. He grabbed a couple of wine bottles from the cupboard under the stairs and slipped into the empty dining room.

Easing the curtain back, he watched.

The couple walked towards a small red car parked by the gate. The man's arm wasn't slipped proprietarily around the woman and they weren't holding hands. There was no repeat of the earlier display of fake affection. The charming Miss Emily Worthing didn't realize she was dealing with a professional poker player. Body language was his specialty, and Peter Collins' had shouted tense and awkward when he was being kissed. She'd done it for a reason and Ash was pretty certain he was part of the equation.

Being forced to lie low in god-forsaken Cornwall, hundreds of miles from London was pretty grim. A little amusement in the form of the tempting Emily might help alleviate the boredom. The twin sister was more obviously stunning with her tight red dress, ankle-breaking stilettos and glossy blond curls but wouldn't be a challenge. She'd made it obvious he could've had her for the asking tonight. Normally he wouldn't hesitate, but then he caught Emily's eye and a rush of something deeper than desire surged through him. Her surprise as he checked her out made him think she wasn't used to a lot of male attention. Up close, the simple black dress and lack of make-up hinted at a woman uneasy with her beauty, and she was a beauty. Ash ached to touch her creamy smooth skin and lose himself in those deep blue eyes. Her mass of ash blond hair was caught loosely back in a ponytail making him itch to untie it and play with the silky strands.

Ash liked to live outside the box and Emily would make an interesting change from his usual type. He stood and watched some more. Knowing your competition was crucial to success in poker and in life.

Find Angela at:

'Opposites Attract' available now from www.desertbreezepublishing.com
www.angelabritnellromance.com
www.twitter.com/angelabritnell
www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Author Spotlight Join Angela Britnell in St. Minton today.

Cornwall is full of small villages, we only have one official city, so when I wanted a setting for IT'S COMPLICATED it wasn't hard to create St. Minton. Bodmin Moor is one the last unspoiled areas in the south west of England and is dominated by dramatic granite tors which tower over the open moorland. In St. Minton most of the houses are plain moorland cottages, mostly built of locally mined granite.

We'll walk through the main street, really the only one, and see what we find. There's the small village shop on the right which bewilders Ash with its strange mixture of goods on sale -- from curry powder to Marmite. My characters all live close together meaning there are very few secrets, the same as most old-fashioned English villages and perfect for story setting. Emily's house, the one she grew up in is across the road from Dr. Wilson's. Ash's uncle has been the village doctor over forty years and holds his surgery (the expression we use for where he practices medicine) in a small office about a five minute walk from his house. A couple of doors away from Emily is her friend Peter's house. Claire, Emily's twin sister, lives in the Old Rectory a little further along the road, although she spends her working week in Plymouth where she owns a modern apartment. Now we're outside the door of the 'Smugglers Inn'. This has been the village pub for about the last 150 years and hasn't changed much in all that time. If you want somewhere with noisy music and video games this isn't your place but if you're after good local ale and well-cooked food then go on in and stay a while. You can even try Emily's favorite meal, the chicken curry, she's been ordering the same thing since she's been old enough to go inside. Next to the pub is the fifteenth century church, as it is in most villages.

Built of local stone it's watched over and been a part of village life for centuries. Unfortunately these days it's locked most of the time to deter vandals, and used most by people who want a picturesque setting for their weddings and christenings. We're at the end of the street now with only the local garage to pass before we're once more heading out of St. Minton and off to see more of nearby Bodmin Moor. Maybe we'll go and climb up Rough Tor, follow in Emily and Ash's footsteps by going to Altarnun or hope to catch a sight of the shaggy moorland ponies.

I hope you've enjoyed having a look around St. Minton today and will come back again.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Character Interview with Dr. Wilson from "It's Complicated"

Angela: Good morning, Doctor Wilson. I'd love to talk to you about Emily and Ash if you've got time before your next patient.

Dr.W: I'm not about to tell you anything they wouldn't tell you themselves.
Angela: Of course not, I'm just interested in finding out more about them both. Why don't you start with Ash, I believe he's your nephew?

Dr.W: Yes, he's my late sister Laura's youngest boy. His proper name's Charles but I'm about the only one who calls him that these days.

Angela. Why do you smile when you talk about him?

Dr.W: The darn boy always makes me do that, against my better judgment. From a little boy he was always the troublesome one. Too much energy and hopeless at obeying rules, that's Charles.

Angela: Is he an only child?

Dr.W: No, he's got an older brother, John, who's quite different being very responsible and law abiding.

Angela: You're fond of Ash though, aren't you?

Dr.W: I didn't ought to be. His family used to send him to me when he'd been a nuisance and I'd try to get him to behave. He wouldn't come when he got older and I hadn't seen him for a long while until the other day when he turned up on my doorstep. I'm pretty sure he's up to no good again.

Angela: What's the problem?

DrW: He hasn't told me the full story yet but it's something to do with his poker playing. No sort of life for a decent man in my opinion, but I'm just an old country doctor so what do I know?

Angela: What do you think about his...interest in Emily Worthing?

Dr.W: I'm not happy about it. She's a good girl, I've watched her grow up and she hasn't had an easy life recently.

Angela: In what way?

Dr.W: None of your business, young lady. Let's just say that the last thing she needs is to get mixed up with my flighty nephew.

Angela: Maybe she'd be the making of him. The proverbial love of a good woman might sort him out.

Dr.W: Poppycock. It'd take more than that to straighten the boy up.

Angela: So you don't see there being anything lasting between them?

Dr.W: Not in a million years. He'll run off back to his wild lifestyle as soon as it's safe to do so, and if she's not careful young Emily will be left with a broken heart.

Angela: Right, well, I understand. Thanks for sharing your insights with me and I'll be interested to see if you're proved right. I hope for their sake you're wrong.

Find Angela at:

'Opposites Attract' available now from www.desertbreezepublishing.com
www.angelabritnellromance.com
www.twitter.com/angelabritnell
www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Angela Britnell gushes about Cornwall, England

Today I'm indulging us all by talking about my favorite place on earth so make a pot of tea, put up your feet, and enjoy. IT'S COMPLICATED is set mainly in Cornwall where I was born and grew up. For those who don't know Cornwall is in the far south west of England. In other words if you head down from London eventually you'll reach Land's End and could potentially fall off into the sea!

It's one of the Celtic nations with its own flag, language and culture, now in a period of revival. With its 300 plus miles of rugged coastline, unique culture and mild climate it's a tourist's dream plus a writer's one. It's hard not to be inspired and most of my stories have their roots in Cornwall. It is remote from the rest of the country, barely joined on to England at the Tamar River so I often use it as an escape valve for my characters. Maybe they need to get away from something or someone or make a fresh start - it's perfect for any of these plot twists.

Of course I'm far from the first - and certainly not the most famous - to use Cornwall in this way. Rosamunde Pilcher, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Wesley and Winston Graham (check out his great Poldark series, set in the tin mining area of Cornwall) are a few authors who've written about Cornwall. The latest big name to fall under the spell is the one and only J.K. Rowling, who set part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows there. But for me the writer who forever captured the essence of Cornwall is Daphne du Maurier. In her famous book Rebecca she used her Cornish house at Menabilly as the basis for Manderley. Jamaica Inn was set on Bodmin moor, where I've set the fictional village of St.Minton in IT'S COMPLICATED. Her short story The Birds, made into the cult Hitchcock thriller, is another Cornish story. Apart from a lot of writers, Cornwall has stimulated many artists' imagination especially painters, lured by its unique light.

If this doesn't tempt you to beat a path to Cornwall there's always the food! Local seafood caught that day, scones and Cornish cream, saffron buns and locally brewed beer are all worth a taste. But the highlight - and the reason my hips will never be slender - are the Cornish pasties. These hand held pies were especially popular with nineteenth century tin miners as a portable lunch to take with them to work. Every good Cornishwoman, and many men, has their own recipe. Traditionally they're a flaky pie crust filled with beef, potato, onion and turnip (rutabaga to all the Americans reading this). Just writing this is making me hungry so I'll have to go now, make some pasties and eat one straight from the oven, maybe even two . The craving never goes away exactly the same as my craving for Cornwall, the land and its people.


Find Angela at:

'Opposites Attract' available now from www.desertbreezepublishing.com
www.angelabritnellromance.com
www.twitter.com/angelabritnell
www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

Monday, 23 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Angela Britnell

STEPH: I don't know much about "It's Complicated." What's it about?

ANGELA: Charles ‘Black Ash’ Ashton temporarily abandons his jet-setting lifestyle to avoid being blamed for a multi-million pound poker scam and meets quiet, elegant math teacher Emily Worthing but the odds aren’t in their favor. After a disastrous affair cost Emily her heart and prestigious job she prizes honesty above all things. Ash makes his living at the poker table, where a little deviousness and the occasional white lie never hurt. Ash must leave behind his irresponsible past and Emily searches for the strength to forge a new future. Ash puts all his cards on the table one last time and he and Emily prove they’ve an ace in the hand called love.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

ANGELA: Probably about four months off and on in between other projects.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

ANGELA: I did some research on the setting for the Ashton family home which I'd based on Trerice Manor in Cornwall. I'd been there years ago and used the wonderful internet to fill in details. I also knew nothing about poker so did a little on that. It proved to be more for insight into Ash's character as it ended up not featuring as much as I expected in the story.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

ANGELA: The cover features a picture of Trerice Manor in Cornwall, not far from where I grew up. This is the inspiration for the imaginary Folkham Manor, my hero Ash's family home. It's been in the Ashton family for over 400 years and the family are struggling to keep it going. This becomes an important part of the story for the way it brings Ash to a reality of where his life is going, and facing some hard truths about his previous behavior.

STEPH: Emily is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

ANGELA: Emily is very intelligent, kind and loyal to her friends and family but a life-long feeling of inferiority compared to her more obviously beautiful, flamboyant twin has left her with rocky self-esteem. A disastrous affair shook her to the core, losing her a prestigious job and her faith in her judgment where men are concerned.

STEPH: What does Ash find appealing about her?

ANGELA: His initial attraction is based on curiosity and a touch of boredom. He doesn't want to be stuck in Cornwall and is looking for something or someone to liven things up. He meets Emily's twin sister Claire first but she's too much like the glamorous women he encounters in his regular life. Emily is different with her quieter beauty and soft voice. He recognizes her attraction to him but also her determination not to give in to it and Ash loves nothing better than a challenge.


STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

ANGELA: Finding your true self. Both Emily and Ash have lost that somewhere along the way. The past shapes us all for good and bad but it doesn't have to determine the future and that's what they both need to realize in order to move forward.


STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

ANGELA: Inspiration often strikes at odd moments, I know the basic plot for my last book 'Opposites Attract' came during church when I should've been listening to the sermon! It's sometimes come from an article in the newspaper, a place I visit or just from that strange place in a writer's brain no one really understands.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

ANGELA: I've got a Kindle which I love although I'm still a huge fan of paper books. My Kindle is perfect for my frequent trips to England saving my back from carrying too many books in my carry-on bag.

STEPH: Fun question: What is your favorite football team?

ANGELA: I'm not a huge sports fan so I'll have to split loyalties here. As homage to my husband I'll have to say Auburn but for my youngest son it has to be Tennessee. But if we're talking about real football (what you call soccer) I'll have to pick the favorite team of all my sons and that's Arsenal, the English Premier League team they all support.

Find Angela at:

'Opposites Attract' available now from www.desertbreezepublishing.com
www.angelabritnellromance.com
www.twitter.com/angelabritnell
www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

Friday, 20 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "The Seekers"

Thank you so much for supporting Sadie & Sophie Cuffe during their week in the spotlight. Leave a comment today, Saturday, and Sunday along with your email and on Monday I'll pick one lucky poster to win a PDF copy of their novel, The Seekers.

Moderator Steph
Enjoy this excerpt:

*******
Rachel shrieked as she landed in front of the captain.

Lawrence locked his arms around her in a vise grip, immobilizing her flailing upper body. He kneed the horse forward, past the city lights, and galloped up the road toward Belle Fleur.

She must be out of her mind with fear. He should say something to calm her, but his tongue was three sizes too big for his mouth, and his brain ten sizes too small.
He did the only thing he could think of. He hummed his favorite hymn and urged the horse up the hill like a madman. With each lunge of the hooves, Rachel's body relaxed against him a little more.

Sudden inspiration struck him and with it the ability to speak. "I won't hurt you, Miss Hawksley. I'm merely seeing you home to Belle Fleur." He forced the words to come out slowly and mimicked Emilie's drawl.

Her body tensed again. "How do you know who I am?"

He turned the horse up the drive and prayed no one would be watching when they got to the house. "I know your cousin."

"But how?"

He ran out of inspiration and words just as he ran out of lane. Lawrence pulled the horse to a stop slightly back from the house, slid down using the horse as a shield from prying eyes, and ignored the ripping noise that accompanied the move. He held up his hands and Rachel Hawksley turned and dismounted neatly on the opposite side.

Should I say something?

Before he could decide, she ducked under the horse's head and stood before him.
"I bid you goodnight, Miss Hawksley." He sounded as much a Virginia gentleman as Frederick Davis.

Her palm slapped his cheek with enough sting to make him blink, and then she turned and ran to the house.

He vaulted onto the horse, wheeled, and rode down the lane under the deep shadows of the trees.

Find us:
blog: http://cuffesisters.com/off-the-cuffe/

website: www.cuffesisters.com

facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sadie-and-Sophie-Cuffe/184904781607548

pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cuffesisters/

twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SadieandSophieC

Purchase links:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-320/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book/Detail.bok

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B008JMCBDK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342067108&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=THE+SEEKERS%2C+Sadie+%26+Sophie+Cuffe

and anywhere fine e-books are sold.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Sophie Cuffe talks about finding Inspiration.

While touring The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home) in Nashville a few years ago, I inadvertently whacked my head into the Plexiglas room divider. (In my own defense, at the Roosevelt Cottage on Campobello Island, there's no Plexiglas so you can stick your head into the rooms for a better view.) It is, indeed, a mansion, in my humble Yankee rural root opinion.

I'd noticed all these little outbuildings in the fields on the way there, and learned they were slave quarters - totally blew my mind to see the living proof I'd only read about in the classroom. I remember feeling shame that any person could think they had the right to own another human being, yet over 150 slaves worked on the Jackson property alone.

There's a story printed there, and I can't do it justice because I don't remember the specifics that well, about a foreign visitor to the Hermitage questioning Alfred, Andrew Jackson's personal slave. The visitor pointed out how good Alfred had it - a kind master, a roof over his head, food to eat, clothes to wear, etc, so what was all the fuss about slavery anyway. To which Alfred responded, "Would you like to trade places, sir?"

I think that's why I identify with Rachel Hawksley in THE SEEKERS. The concept of slavery is so repulsive to her, she keeps trying to help "the help" and, in doing so, realizes she can cause more harm than good. I like the scene where she asks if she can make some taffy for the children, and the cook says, "You cookin' in this kitchen? No white woman's ever cooked in here, leastways not since I been livin'. Not in my kitchen, no how, and I'm not sure how Missus Dawson would take it."


Find us:
blog: http://cuffesisters.com/off-the-cuffe/

website: www.cuffesisters.com

facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sadie-and-Sophie-Cuffe/184904781607548

pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cuffesisters/

twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SadieandSophieC

Purchase links:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-320/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book/Detail.bok

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B008JMCBDK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342067108&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=THE+SEEKERS%2C+Sadie+%26+Sophie+Cuffe

and anywhere fine e-books are sold.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Character Interview with Rachel Hawksley

S&S: What brings you to Richmond, VA?

RH: I’ve come to find my brother, Ben. He’s a captain in the Union forces and he’s been missing since Gettysburg.

S&S: Isn’t it dangerous for a Yankee woman behind enemy lines?

RH: Yes, but when I didn’t find my brother’s name on the injured or death lists, I couldn’t shake the notion he's a prisoner of war. I’ve already lost one brother to this war and I'm not about to sit around doing nothing while my remaining sibling's in jeopardy.

S&S: So you snuck into the Confederate capital?

RH: Actually I rode in bold as brass in a horse-drawn carriage, but only because my southern cousin agreed to take me into her Richmond home. I guess our family ties are stronger than this war.

S&S: What have you found in Richmond?

RH: The grace of God brought me this far, and I pray He’ll lead me to Ben. But I believe God has a deeper purpose. There’s a slow-witted man here named Sawyer, who needs me to stick up for him. And little Letitia and Jedidiah are sweet as can be, but every time I try to befriend them, I end up getting all of us in trouble. I truly don’t understand how a person’s skin color convinces folks to pretend one individual is inferior to another.

S&S: How will you accomplish this deeper purpose?

RH: I haven’t got it completely thought out yet, but I do aim to teach Sawyer his letters and let those two children know Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and they are free. It’s not going to be a cake walk, but I’ve got a Colt revolver hidden under my skirts and I’m not afraid to use it.



Find us:
blog: http://cuffesisters.com/off-the-cuffe/

website: www.cuffesisters.com

facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sadie-and-Sophie-Cuffe/184904781607548

pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cuffesisters/

twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SadieandSophieC

Purchase links:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-320/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book/Detail.bok

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B008JMCBDK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342067108&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=THE+SEEKERS%2C+Sadie+%26+Sophie+Cuffe

and anywhere fine e-books are sold.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Sadie Cuffe asks: Is love blind?"

I love this story, and it’s not just because I heart the Civil War era. Ironically, before publication, someone said our heroine was “dumber than Lois Lane” -- UGH! That’s the author equivalent of getting stung by a killer bee and going into anaphylaxis writing shock. While in the ER of my brain, I ran down the vitals of the book and gave myself mental CPR (not easy, but so far I’m still alive).

We take any critique seriously, because it makes us better, so I looked at our heroine through a microscope as I thought about Lois Lane. There’s nothing LL doesn’t dare to do. She’s been around for decades and is still a gutsy heroine who’s an American icon. She thinks for herself, she’s a confident woman who dares to speak up, and she’s always helping people. We’re in good company.

Unfortunately, I know the critic wasn’t talking about Lois’ accomplishments. All of us want Lois to get together with Superman, but do we really want her to know he’s Clark Kent? It’s part of the intrigue of the romance. Her heart constantly nudges her to confront Clark, but maybe LL wants Clark as a friend (as in no Daily Planet workplace romances) and Superman as a boyfriend. Since LL isn’t our character, we can’t know. But whoever coined the phrase “love is blind,” wasn’t far off the mark.
Sophie and I bought a used car once and thought it was immaculate. We loved it at first sight. After we got it home we noticed scratches on the window, little burn marks in the seat – but we still loved it. So if our heroine looks with her heart and not her eyes, we like to think she’s entitled, because, like LL, we’ve all been there and done that.

Find us:
blog: http://cuffesisters.com/off-the-cuffe/

website: www.cuffesisters.com

facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sadie-and-Sophie-Cuffe/184904781607548

pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cuffesisters/

twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SadieandSophieC

Purchase links:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-320/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book/Detail.bok

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B008JMCBDK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342067108&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=THE+SEEKERS%2C+Sadie+%26+Sophie+Cuffe

and anywhere fine e-books are sold.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Sophie and Sadie Cuffe

STEPH: I don't know much about "The Seekers." What's it about?

S&S: "The Seekers" is about romance, deception, and betrayal. It's set during the American Civil War where Union Cavalry Captain Lawrence Wainwright has one goal: to make sure his horse survives the war. The Almighty has another goal for Lawrence, and, in order to accomplish it, God brings him face to face with the commander-in-chief. Lawrence finds he can't say no to the President of the United States, even if it means saying no to his heart. But when he becomes Abraham Lincoln's spy, he assumes the identity of a slow-witted boy/man and suddenly he's undercover protector to an aging slave and his two young grandchildren, as well as Rachel, a stubborn Yankee woman on a mission of her own. As Lawrence and Rachel get entangled in the subterfuge of Confederate secrets and double cross, the safe circle surrounding them shrinks with each passing hour. In a deadly game where no one is who they seem, and even brothers turn against one another, Lawrence chafes at his alter ego. He longs to come out swinging and be himself, but if he gives in to his instincts, he'll jeopardize not only his mission, but those he's sworn to protect. Rachel steals his heart, but if she discovers his true identity it just might get them all killed.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

S&S: It took about three months, but the edit was a killer. We had some other projects going off and on during that time, so sometimes "The Seekers" sat on the back burner of our brains for awhile.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

S&S: Sadie's always been in love with the Civil War (who knows why) and since she's wanted to write a Civil War novel forever, we already had some facts and figures. But we did a decent amount of research on everything from how long it takes to travel by horse and carriage from Washington, DC, to Richmond, VA; to whether they sold ice cream in 1863, and all that battle and troop movement stuff -- just keepin' it real. We also read authentic letters and diaries from soldiers and families involved in the conflict. It sucks you in, but it also slows down the writing process. Many times, one of us did research while the other one wrote, so we could make the deadline. Compared to "Gone with the Wind," it's not an epic historical novel, but we like to think we slipped in some cool facts with the fiction and created a story that captures the heart of the era and will capture the readers' hearts, too.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?


S&S: The cover is beautiful but somber. With its contrasting Union and Confederate battle flags arched over a stark stone home with a lone horse, it defines the drama and heartbreak of ordinary lives caught up in a battle for their identity, their family, and their homeland. It aptly reflects the passion, faith, and heart of the hero and heroine in their struggle to hold onto a sense of normalcy and integrity under the demands of loyalty for country. (It also has red and blue, which are our favorite colors).

STEPH: Rachel Hawksley is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

S&S: Rachel has great resiliency and doesn't let fear or inexperience get in the way of attaining her goals and dreams. She also has a sense of humor about herself, and is a woman who isn't afraid to think for herself, even if it means going against the social taboos and prejudices within her family. She's also very trusting, very rural, and likes to believe everyone's as truthful to her as she is to them. These traits make her vulnerable to deception and betrayal, but they also give her the capacity to completely and honestly open her heart.

STEPH: What does the hero find appealing about her?

S&S: Lawrence is attracted to Rachel's compassion for everyone she meets, her ability to meet each new challenge and disaster without completely freaking out, and her intense loyalty for those she loves.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

S&S: Both the hero and heroine are put in circumstances designed to stretch their concepts of trust, honesty, and integrity. Although they take on the role of someone else and wear a false face, they each must decide if that means they'll compromise their integrity and character. In masking their true identities and their feelings, they discover how critical it is to remain true to their faith, their values, and their loves.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

S&S: It sounds trite, but our inspiration comes from living life -- our day-to-day experiences in rural Maine, snatches of conversation at a church supper, an encounter with a stranger on a hiking trail… and always throwing the question – what if? -- into every situation.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

S&S: Yes! Sophie recently won a Kindle (yay!) and is just discovering the art of e-reading. Sadie's a bit behind the curve (as usual), but perhaps Sophie will someday let her touch the new Kindle (we can hope).

STEPH: Fun question: What is your favorite football team?

S&S: The Patriots, who else? They have red and blue on their uniforms (our favorite colors), and our 83-year-old mom is a big football fan.

Find us:
blog: http://cuffesisters.com/off-the-cuffe/

website: www.cuffesisters.com

facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sadie-and-Sophie-Cuffe/184904781607548

pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cuffesisters/

twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SadieandSophieC

Purchase links:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-320/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book/Detail.bok

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wainright-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B008JMCBDK/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342067108&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=THE+SEEKERS%2C+Sadie+%26+Sophie+Cuffe

and anywhere fine e-books are sold.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "The Faberge Secret"

Thank you so much for supporting my week in the spotlight. Leave a comment today, Saturday or Sunday on the excerpt along with your email and I'll select one lucky winner to receive a PDF copy of The Faberge Secret. Enjoy the excerpt!

Moderator Steph

*********
Elise took another step and walked into someone hard and masculine.

She lost her balance, lunged out, and grabbed the man's coat. He caught her, but the momentum of her fall drove them both to the ground. He slammed into the cold pavement, taking the brunt of the fall.

"I'm so sorry..." Elise placed her hand on his rock-hard chest and lifted her head only to discover the most stunning pair of cerulean eyes she'd ever seen. Her heart stopped for just a brief second before accelerating to a wild tattoo. An immediate attraction rocked her.

"Elise!" Lucy knelt beside the couple.

"You'll forgive me, miss, but you seem to have me at a disadvantage." The man's voice was deep, yet resonant with the lilt of a foreign accent.

Elise bit her lower lip, pausing momentarily to drink in his handsome, angular features. His lips were firm and sensual, parting into a broad smile to reveal straight white teeth. He possessed thick, tawny-gold hair, and massive shoulders filled his coat. God, he felt wonderful. She gave in to the moment, savoring the contact with him.

"I'm sorry," she said again, softly.

"Are you hurt?" Lucy grabbed Elise's arm and pried her off the handsome stranger. Her body ached from the sudden departure of his masculine heat and spicy cologne.

Amusement flickered in his eyes as he got to his feet. "I'm fine. Thank you for asking."

Lucy glared at Elise. "Check your pockets."

REVIEWS:
5 STARS, Celia Yeary, Author
You will thoroughly enjoy this fast-paced tale of danger, a mystery, and a satisfying conclusion. Elise and Dimitri make sparks fly!

5 Stars, Reader's Favorites
Fabulously written, the story combines elements of mystery, action, love, and tender family moments all at the right places, making a perfect fit. If you want a good story combining history, crime, and passion, "The Faberge Secret" is the book for you.

Sue Perkins, Author
The Faberge Secret exceeded my expectations. Definitely worth reading more than once. It is such a good book.

5 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews
As the love story thicken, the suspense heightens and it won't let your eyes leave the page. I recommend The Faberge Secret to all of the romance readers. Even if you have never read romance, The Faberge Secret would be a great place to start.

4 Stars, Manic Readers
"A satisifying read."

4 Stars, Night Owl Book Reviews
The Faberge Secret is a fast paced, delightful adventure with plenty of love and adventure sprinkled in for spice.
3.5 Stars, Long & Short Reviews
"All this suspense had me flying through the pages so quickly I was able to read the book in one sitting."

BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf5ujOoDRXs

BLURB:
Elise Goodwin finds herself faced with danger when she learns the Faberge egg she's bought belongs to a Russian mogul, Dimitri Romanov, but is Dimitri playing a game with Elise's heart to get his heirloom back?

Elise Goodwin runs a heritage museum in Brattleboro, Vermont. She travels to Boston to buy some items for her museum at Sotheby's auction. What she acquires is a delicious surprise that would excite any curator – a Faberge egg.

Enter Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov. He goes to the auction with the intent of buying the egg only to discover that Elise is in possession of it. His dilemma? He's attracted to the petite brunette with doe-like eyes and a trusting disposition.

Complicating matters is Dimitri's rival, Gustav Kelch, who wants the precious jeweled object for his own collection. Can Dimitri protect Elise from Kelch?

BUY LINKS:
AMAZON KINDLE:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Faberge-Secret-ebook/dp/B006LTE2ZS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324310728&sr=8-1

B&N NOOK:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-faberge-secret-stephanie-burkhart/1105070465?ean=2940013874596&itm=1&usri=the+faberge+secret

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS:
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thefabergesecret-657577-149.html

PUBLISHER'S LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-236/The-Faberge-Secret-Stephanie/Detail.bok

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:
WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

PINTEREST:
http://pinterest.com/sgburkhart/

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Author's Spotlight - My Top 5 Things to do on my Christmas List

When the day after Thanksgiving comes, I switch into Christmas "mode." I know it's early, but a part of me has to – I have two boys, 10 & 5 who are very enthusiastic about Christmas.

What is it about Christmas that gets us excited? Is it the gifts? Our efforts to make a deeper connection with our God? The baking? The smiles? The music? What gets you in the Christmas spirit? What is the Christmas spirit?

For me, the Christmas spirit is watching my sons enjoy the holiday. It's the excitement on their faces and the anticipation in their smiles that warms my heart. That excitement and those smiles embody what I believe the holiday is all about – the excitement and anticipation of the coming of our Lord's birth.

I thought I'd share my top 5 things I do at Christmas. Some might be silly, but gosh, the boys make sure I "cowboy up" so to speak.

#1 – Listen to Christmas Music

Me, personally, I'm more a traditionalist when it comes to listening to Christmas music, preferring music similar to the music I use in my video for "The Faberge Secret." My kids want the upbeat stuff like "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."

#2 – Put up the Christmas Tree

And with my schedule, I better block out an entire day to pull out the tree and ornaments out of the garage, put it up and sort through the decorations. The boys are right at my side, jumping & clapping and throwing ornaments on the tree faster than I can pull 'em out of the box.

#3 – Bake Christmas Cookies

Andrew, my 10 year old, makes sure I block out a day for that as well. I make sugar cookies from scratch and depending on how pooped I am, I might make the frosting from scratch too. The boys love using the cutouts and Joe makes sure we have plenty of sprinkles for the frosting. We always set aside a batch for Santa along with a couple of carrots for the reindeer.


#4 – Light the Advent Candle and stuff the Advent Calendar

The boys really enjoy checking the Advent calendar every year. We have a wooden one we got from Costco several years ago. I put a Bible verse in there along with a small treat. When we're together for the main dinner meal, Andrew makes sure we light the Advent Candle, too. We use 3 purple candles and 1 rose candle.

#5 – Drink Egg Nog

Sounds silly, I know, but Joe CANNOT go with his egg nog. He gets all excited, smiles, and drinks with enthusiasm.

Question: What's your top 5? Top 3? I'd love to hear what you do for Christmas.

REVIEWS:
5 STARS, Celia Yeary, Author
You will thoroughly enjoy this fast-paced tale of danger, a mystery, and a satisfying conclusion. Elise and Dimitri make sparks fly!

5 Stars, Reader's Favorites
Fabulously written, the story combines elements of mystery, action, love, and tender family moments all at the right places, making a perfect fit. If you want a good story combining history, crime, and passion, "The Faberge Secret" is the book for you.

Sue Perkins, Author
The Faberge Secret exceeded my expectations. Definitely worth reading more than once. It is such a good book.

5 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews
As the love story thicken, the suspense heightens and it won't let your eyes leave the page. I recommend The Faberge Secret to all of the romance readers. Even if you have never read romance, The Faberge Secret would be a great place to start.

4 Stars, Manic Readers
"A satisifying read."

4 Stars, Night Owl Book Reviews
The Faberge Secret is a fast paced, delightful adventure with plenty of love and adventure sprinkled in for spice.
3.5 Stars, Long & Short Reviews
"All this suspense had me flying through the pages so quickly I was able to read the book in one sitting."

BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf5ujOoDRXs

BLURB:
Elise Goodwin finds herself faced with danger when she learns the Faberge egg she's bought belongs to a Russian mogul, Dimitri Romanov, but is Dimitri playing a game with Elise's heart to get his heirloom back?

Elise Goodwin runs a heritage museum in Brattleboro, Vermont. She travels to Boston to buy some items for her museum at Sotheby's auction. What she acquires is a delicious surprise that would excite any curator – a Faberge egg.

Enter Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov. He goes to the auction with the intent of buying the egg only to discover that Elise is in possession of it. His dilemma? He's attracted to the petite brunette with doe-like eyes and a trusting disposition.

Complicating matters is Dimitri's rival, Gustav Kelch, who wants the precious jeweled object for his own collection. Can Dimitri protect Elise from Kelch?

BUY LINKS:
AMAZON KINDLE:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Faberge-Secret-ebook/dp/B006LTE2ZS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324310728&sr=8-1

B&N NOOK:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-faberge-secret-stephanie-burkhart/1105070465?ean=2940013874596&itm=1&usri=the+faberge+secret

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS:
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thefabergesecret-657577-149.html

PUBLISHER'S LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-236/The-Faberge-Secret-Stephanie/Detail.bok

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:
WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

PINTEREST:
http://pinterest.com/sgburkhart/

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Character Interview with Dimitri Romanov from The Faberge Secret

Viggo Mortensen, inspiration for
"Dimitri"
Gael: Thanks for stopping by the MUSEum bar, Dimitri. I hear you're a very busy businessman. What do you do for a living?

Dimitri: I run a shipping company out of St. Petersburg, Russia with several American contracts on the east coast. The work is very profitable, but I like to be hands on so I'm always traveling.

Gael: I hear Kelch Shipping gives you a run for your money.

Dimitri: Yes, my rival is Gustav Kelch. I've known him since we were five. We started basic schooling together and if it wasn't grades, there was always something.

Gael: Who usually won?

Dimitri: Gustav cheated many times, but he was never clever enough to capitalize on the advantage and I won often just by playing fair. This taught me a work ethic that I carried over to my business – to be fair.

Gael: Tell us a little about your family.

Dimitri: My mother is elderly. My sister, Elena, and I pay for her to stay in a home. We both feel bad, but my mother enjoys the business the facility offers. It keeps her sharp. Elena works as a news anchor for the local TV, and Sergi, my cousin, is a detective with the St. Petersburg police.

Gael: I heard the police were corrupt to the hills in Russia.

Dimitri. Nyet. Sergi is honest to the bone. There is just a lot of paperwork that frustrates him.

Gustav Kelch
Gael: Have you and Sergi found the Faberge egg that was stolen from a recent exhibit?

Dimitri: Yes, but it's complicated. An American named Elise Goodwin, bought the egg on the black market. She doesn't believe I'm the real owner. She knows how to test my patience.

Gael: Test your patience? How?

Dimitri: Elise has very strong convictions. She knows she bought the egg on the black market, and she's determined to return it to the rightful owner, but I must prove to her beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is mine. It doesn't help my patience that she's very attractive. I find myself wanting more from her than friendship.

Gael: What's holding you back?

Dimitri: I have something to prove. I must show her that an honorable man and that I can keep her safe – especially from Kelch who I suspect ransacked her room and tied up her friend, Lucy.

Gael: Good luck, Mr. Romanov. I suspect you'll need it.

Rachel McAdams inspiration for:
"Elise"


Trivia: Nicholas II was that last Romanov Czar. What year did he abdicate?

REVIEWS:
5 STARS, Celia Yeary, Author
You will thoroughly enjoy this fast-paced tale of danger, a mystery, and a satisfying conclusion. Elise and Dimitri make sparks fly!

5 Stars, Reader's Favorites
Fabulously written, the story combines elements of mystery, action, love, and tender family moments all at the right places, making a perfect fit. If you want a good story combining history, crime, and passion, "The Faberge Secret" is the book for you.

Sue Perkins, Author
The Faberge Secret exceeded my expectations. Definitely worth reading more than once. It is such a good book.

5 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews
As the love story thicken, the suspense heightens and it won't let your eyes leave the page. I recommend The Faberge Secret to all of the romance readers. Even if you have never read romance, The Faberge Secret would be a great place to start.

4 Stars, Manic Readers
"A satisifying read."

4 Stars, Night Owl Book Reviews
The Faberge Secret is a fast paced, delightful adventure with plenty of love and adventure sprinkled in for spice.

3.5 Stars, Long & Short Reviews
"All this suspense had me flying through the pages so quickly I was able to read the book in one sitting."

BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf5ujOoDRXs

BLURB:
Elise Goodwin finds herself faced with danger when she learns the Faberge egg she's bought belongs to a Russian mogul, Dimitri Romanov, but is Dimitri playing a game with Elise's heart to get his heirloom back?

Elise Goodwin runs a heritage museum in Brattleboro, Vermont. She travels to Boston to buy some items for her museum at Sotheby's auction. What she acquires is a delicious surprise that would excite any curator – a Faberge egg.

Enter Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov. He goes to the auction with the intent of buying the egg only to discover that Elise is in possession of it. His dilemma? He's attracted to the petite brunette with doe-like eyes and a trusting disposition.

Complicating matters is Dimitri's rival, Gustav Kelch, who wants the precious jeweled object for his own collection. Can Dimitri protect Elise from Kelch?

BUY LINKS:
AMAZON KINDLE:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Faberge-Secret-ebook/dp/B006LTE2ZS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324310728&sr=8-1

B&N NOOK:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-faberge-secret-stephanie-burkhart/1105070465?ean=2940013874596&itm=1&usri=the+faberge+secret

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS:
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thefabergesecret-657577-149.html

PUBLISHER'S LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-236/The-Faberge-Secret-Stephanie/Detail.bok

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:
WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Mystique behind Faberge Eggs

The first Faberge egg was made in 1885 for the Empress Maria of Russia, commissioned by her husband, Czar Alexander III by Carl Faberge. Carl Faberge was born in St. Petersburg and learned the art of fine crafted jewelry from his father, Gustav. In 1882, Carl took over his father's business in 1882. This first egg was given during the Easter season and was intended to honor the Czar's 20th anniversary of his engagement to his wife.

The Empress Maria was so impressed that she commissioned an egg for the following year. A tradition was born. In 1887 Faberge was given free reign to come up with his own designs – the only requirement was that each egg should contain a surprise.

In 1894, when the Czar passed away, the new Czar, Nicholas II continued the tradition with his wife. Interestingly, there were no eggs made 1904,1905 during the Russo-Japanese war. Overall, there were 50 Faberge eggs made for the royal Russian family, but only 42 were recovered after the Civil War of 1917.

The last two eggs made for the royal family, for 1917, 1918, were not delivered to them. They were called the Constellation and Karelian Birch

Faberge also made eggs for other customers including the Duchess of Marlborough, The Nobels, the Rothschilds, the Yusupovs, and seven eggs were made for a Russian industrialist named Alexander Kelch.

An interesting note: In 1927, Joseph Stalin had many of the eggs appraised by Agathon Faberge and sold them. A known total of 14 imperial eggs left Russia between 1930-1933. Most of them were sold to Armand Hammer, President of Occidental Petroleum and a personal friend of Lenin. Armand Hammer's father was the founder of the US Communist Party. Several eggs were also sold to Emanuel Snowman, a London antique dealer.

In "The Faberge Secret," Elise Goodwin finds a rare Faberge egg made for the Russian royal family for Christmas. That's were the fiction comes in – in real life, all the eggs made for the Imperial family were for Easter, so I put a Christmas spin on the eggs for the story. I also drew on Alexander Kelch who owned several eggs, setting up a rivalry between his grandson and the hero, Dimitri Romanov.

Question: Have you ever seen a Faberge egg? I'd love to hear about your experience.

Trivia: What was the name of the 1st Imperial egg made in 1885?

REVIEWS:
5 STARS, Celia Yeary, Author
You will thoroughly enjoy this fast-paced tale of danger, a mystery, and a satisfying conclusion. Elise and Dimitri make sparks fly!

5 Stars, Reader's Favorites
Fabulously written, the story combines elements of mystery, action, love, and tender family moments all at the right places, making a perfect fit. If you want a good story combining history, crime, and passion, "The Faberge Secret" is the book for you.

Sue Perkins, Author
The Faberge Secret exceeded my expectations. Definitely worth reading more than once. It is such a good book.

5 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews
As the love story thicken, the suspense heightens and it won't let your eyes leave the page. I recommend The Faberge Secret to all of the romance readers. Even if you have never read romance, The Faberge Secret would be a great place to start.

4 Stars, Manic Readers
"A satisifying read."

4 Stars, Night Owl Book Reviews
The Faberge Secret is a fast paced, delightful adventure with plenty of love and adventure sprinkled in for spice.

3.5 Stars, Long & Short Reviews
"All this suspense had me flying through the pages so quickly I was able to read the book in one sitting."

BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf5ujOoDRXs

BLURB:
Elise Goodwin finds herself faced with danger when she learns the Faberge egg she's bought belongs to a Russian mogul, Dimitri Romanov, but is Dimitri playing a game with Elise's heart to get his heirloom back?

Elise Goodwin runs a heritage museum in Brattleboro, Vermont. She travels to Boston to buy some items for her museum at Sotheby's auction. What she acquires is a delicious surprise that would excite any curator – a Faberge egg.

Enter Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov. He goes to the auction with the intent of buying the egg only to discover that Elise is in possession of it. His dilemma? He's attracted to the petite brunette with doe-like eyes and a trusting disposition.

Complicating matters is Dimitri's rival, Gustav Kelch, who wants the precious jeweled object for his own collection. Can Dimitri protect Elise from Kelch?

BUY LINKS:
AMAZON KINDLE:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Faberge-Secret-ebook/dp/B006LTE2ZS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324310728&sr=8-1

B&N NOOK:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-faberge-secret-stephanie-burkhart/1105070465?ean=2940013874596&itm=1&usri=the+faberge+secret

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS:
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thefabergesecret-657577-149.html

PUBLISHER'S LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-236/The-Faberge-Secret-Stephanie/Detail.bok

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:
WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee


Monday, 9 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Stephanie Burkhart

Question: I don't know much about The Faberge Secret. What's it about?

Steph: Elise Goodwin runs a small heritage museum in Brattleboro, VT. It's a week before Christmas and she travels to Boston with her friend, Lucy to aquire some items for her museum from Sotheby's. While she's in Boston, she finds a rare Faberge egg and buys it. Quickly, she learns that the egg is owned by a Russian businessman, Dimitri Romanov, and his rival, Gustav Kelch, wants the egg – at any cost. Can Dimitri keep Elise safe?

Question: How long did it take you to write?

Steph: About two months. The story really flowed and took on a life of it's own as I wrote it.

Question: What was the inspiration behind the story?

Steph: Well, I wanted to write a Christmas story with a Russian "backbone" and I thought of Faberge eggs. Now, Faberge made Easter eggs for the royal family, not Christmas eggs, so came up with a fictional back story for the Christmas eggs that Dimitri owns. Once I had that, I asked myself, "what-if" someone stole a Faberge egg and the plot grew around that.

Question: How does the cover reflect the story within?

Steph: The cover depicts a green/red/gold Faberge egg, which is the heart of the story. Just how far would someone go to own one?

Question: Elise is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weaknesses?

Steph: Elise's strength is that she's confident in who she is and she's comfortable in her world. She's gotten used to being alone. She's strong in that she's loyal to her friends and family. Her weakness is her sentimentally. Her kind, caring, nature makes her vulnerable for someone to take advantage of her.

Question: What does Dimitri, the hero, see in Elise?

Steph: He's attracted to the fact that she's confident in who she is. She's not materialistic like his previous girlfriends.

Question: Are you a plotter or a panster?

Steph: A panster. I plot the 1st 3 chapters and see where the characters want to go from there.

Question: Do you own an ebook reader? If so, which one?

Steph: I own a Kindle 2 and a Kindle Fire. I like the K2 for the text to speech feature and the Fire to play movies and apps.

Question: What's your favorite summer fruit?

Steph: Oh, that's hard. Blueberries, raspberries, watermelon and grapes!

REVIEWS:
5 STARS, Celia Yeary, Author
You will thoroughly enjoy this fast-paced tale of danger, a mystery, and a satisfying conclusion. Elise and Dimitri make sparks fly!

5 Stars, Reader's Favorites
Fabulously written, the story combines elements of mystery, action, love, and tender family moments all at the right places, making a perfect fit. If you want a good story combining history, crime, and passion, "The Faberge Secret" is the book for you.

Sue Perkins, Author
The Faberge Secret exceeded my expectations. Definitely worth reading more than once. It is such a good book.

5 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews
As the love story thicken, the suspense heightens and it won't let your eyes leave the page. I recommend The Faberge Secret to all of the romance readers. Even if you have never read romance, The Faberge Secret would be a great place to start.

4 Stars, Manic Readers
"A satisifying read."

4 Stars, Night Owl Book Reviews
The Faberge Secret is a fast paced, delightful adventure with plenty of love and adventure sprinkled in for spice.

3.5 Stars, Long & Short Reviews
"All this suspense had me flying through the pages so quickly I was able to read the book in one sitting."

BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf5ujOoDRXs

BLURB:
Elise Goodwin finds herself faced with danger when she learns the Faberge egg she's bought belongs to a Russian mogul, Dimitri Romanov, but is Dimitri playing a game with Elise's heart to get his heirloom back?

Elise Goodwin runs a heritage museum in Brattleboro, Vermont. She travels to Boston to buy some items for her museum at Sotheby's auction. What she acquires is a delicious surprise that would excite any curator – a Faberge egg.

Enter Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov. He goes to the auction with the intent of buying the egg only to discover that Elise is in possession of it. His dilemma? He's attracted to the petite brunette with doe-like eyes and a trusting disposition.

Complicating matters is Dimitri's rival, Gustav Kelch, who wants the precious jeweled object for his own collection. Can Dimitri protect Elise from Kelch?

BUY LINKS:
AMAZON KINDLE:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Faberge-Secret-ebook/dp/B006LTE2ZS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324310728&sr=8-1

B&N NOOK:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-faberge-secret-stephanie-burkhart/1105070465?ean=2940013874596&itm=1&usri=the+faberge+secret

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS:
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thefabergesecret-657577-149.html

PUBLISHER'S LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-236/The-Faberge-Secret-Stephanie/Detail.bok

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:
WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee



Friday, 6 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "A Hometown 4th of July"


Thanks so much for supporting June during her week in the spotlight. Leave a comment today, Saturday and Sunday on the excerpt post and I'll pick one lucky winner to receive a PDF of June's novel, "A Hometown 4th of July." Please remember to leave your email in the post so we can get ahold of you. Enjoy the excerpt!

Smiles
Moderator Steph

********

Max reached in the bottom of the envelope and allowed his hand to investigate. A sturdy piece of paper. His heart raced again. Was it what he'd hoped? His eyes perused the document. "Lynn, it's my birth certificate. Las Cruces General Hospital. Eight pounds seven ounces. Look, my footprints." He turned it over and back again. "But nothing about my mother other than her name." No clues to finding her.

The last item was a yellowed envelope with the words To Max. Max sucked in a breath and opened up the letter hand-written in English on lined notebook paper. He handed it to Lynn not trusting his voice."Could you read it for me?"

"I'll try." She cleared her throat. "To my hijo Maxwell. Please, my son. Someday you forgive me. It best for you I let you stay wit Mr. and Mrs. Tate. Dey good parents to you and give you mucho. I can no do. But me hijo, I always love you. Your Mama."

Lynn dropped the paper in her lap, covered her face with her hands, and sobbed. She shook her head and looked at him. "I'm sorry, Max. This is hard for me, too. When you care about someone…"

Max placed the envelope back on the coffee table and closed the gap between them. He pulled Lynn to him and laced his arms around her. Her tears moistened his neck as she held on to him. He wasn't sure how long they clung to each other.

Finally Lynn turned to lean back on the couch. Max lifted his arm and drew her to his chest. He laid his head on the couch pillow and closed his eyes. The envelope held a snapshot of his origins, his blood relatives. He sighed resting his chin on Lynn's head, and she snuggled closer to him.

No words filled the air, only the sound of the ticking clock on the wall in the kitchen. The sun sank lower in the western sky and shadows began to silhouette the mountains. For once in his life, Max found hope. He was almost there. His identity. Lynn had quieted, and he trusted his voice again. "I've got to find her. There must be some clue here."

Lynn sat up straight and placed her hand on his arm. She wrinkled her forehead. "Is there anything else left in the envelope?"

He peered down into it. "No, that's all."

She massaged her temple. "You didn't find anything with her social security number?"

"No." Had he stumbled on the envelope only to discover he wasn't any closer to locating her?

Lynn gasped and drew her hand to her mouth. "We found the card with her birth month and date. We know she was twenty-three when she gave birth to you, and you're twenty-five now. Max, I think I have enough to go on to find where your mother lives."
*****

Here's the link for the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS0Gx4NBI88&feature=email

Find June at: http://junefoster.blogspot.com

Buy Links:


http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-313/A-Hometown-Fourth-of/Detail.bok

http://www.amazon.com/A-Hometown-Fourth-July-ebook/dp/B008GI61GU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341248351&sr=1-1&keywords=a+hometown+fourth+of+july

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Author Spotlight - The Story behind "A Hometown 4th of July"


I'm so excited about my book, A Hometown Fourth of July, releasing July 1 with Desert Breeze. The story is a romance about a young Hispanic man and the beautiful woman he leads to a relationship with God. In seeking his true identity, he finds it, but not in his birth family, as he'd always believed. Though the story is fictitious, the premise comes from a real-life situation. Here's the story - the real one, that is.

My husband loves to tell a story about his parents when they were childless. His mom and dad were of the Catholic faith, so after they'd been married for eight years with no babies on the way, they decided adoption would be a good route to begin expanding their family. They paid a visit to the Catholic Charities in Birmingham, Alabama. There they found a darling, four year old boy named Marshall and brought him home to be a part of their family.

For reasons known only to God, after two more years, Mrs. Foster found she was pregnant and delivered her first biological son, Mike. After that came my husband Joe, then Pat, then Helen, and finally Steve. Marshall was thrilled with so many brothers and a sister.

The story goes that Mrs. Foster decided that the two older boys, Mike and Joe, needed to learn that their oldest brother was adopted. She called a formal family meeting and made the solemn announcement about how Marshall came to their family. At the end of the meeting, Joe questioned his mother, "Marshall still gets to be our big brother, doesn't he?"

Even though my husband left for the army after he grew up, he and Marshall remained in touch. When we moved to Lacey, Washington where he lived, Marshall mentioned to Joe he'd be interested in finding his birth family but had no idea how to go about it. Since Joe had a good knowledge of the computer, he offered to help. Alabama, which had been a closed adoption state, opened their records up in the early 2000's, and Joe was able to find out some information.

Marshall was sorry to hear his birthmother had passed away ten years before but was encouraged to learn he had a sister. Joe couldn't find a contact number for Marshall's sister, but located a number for Marshall's niece, his sister's daughter. Marshall was too ill-at-ease to make the call so Joe dialed the number while Marshall looked on clasping his hands tightly in front of him.

When a woman's voice said hello, Joe said he was phoning on behalf of his brother, Marshall Foster, and that Marshall was looking for his sister. Joe asked if he have the right number. My husband thought the woman had hung up as heard nothing but silence, then a sob carried over the phone. Finally, the woman said she believed he had the correct number. She was Marshall's niece and said her mother, Marshall's sister, had been looking for him for years, always hoping to meet her brother. Joe asked if the mother lived in the same town, and again, the niece let out a sob. She said her mother had died two months before.

Marshall was devastated, but his niece's promise to come to Washington to visit him with her other sister the following July, cheered him, and they made plans. But in June, just two days after Marshall's birthday, he died of cancer, never getting to meet even his nieces.

This sounds like a sad story, but wait. There's more. During the process of helping Marshall to find his birth family, my husband and I had occasion to tell Marshall about our awesome and powerful God who sent his son Jesus to the earth to die for our sins. We shared how to have faith in the Savior and about our final home - Heaven. Marshall began going to church with us and gave his life to the Lord at Thanksgiving that year before the following summer. He started coming to Bible study in our home. We were warmed when he told us how he'd always felt empty. He pointed to his heart. He said he was no longer empty inside, and he finally knew who his real Father was.

Joe and I were present on that day in the middle of June when Marshall went to be with the Lord. I've never witnessed anyone die before, but I can say, truly, without hesitation, that the experience was beautiful. And I know that someday we'll see this wonderful man again when we join him in Heaven to be with Jesus forever.

*****

Here's the link for the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS0Gx4NBI88&feature=email

Find June at: http://junefoster.blogspot.com

Buy Links:

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-313/A-Hometown-Fourth-of/Detail.bok

http://www.amazon.com/A-Hometown-Fourth-July-ebook/dp/B008GI61GU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341248351&sr=1-1&keywords=a+hometown+fourth+of+july

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Pictures that inspired "A Hometown 4th of July" setting








Max Tate's blond haired parents didn't have to tell him he was adopted. If he finds his birthmother, he'll discover his identity.











When he meets Lynn Marshall at the annual Fourth of July celebration in Ft. Freedom, he believes her skills as a research analyst can help him find his mother.














But when Lynn and Max go in search of his mother on Cascade Island, he finds she died two weeks before. He turns his back on Lynn and his God. Can Max find his true identity and be free to celebrate another Fourth?






The Tate Estate. Max lives over
the garage in back.
















100 year old church where
Max worships.




















The local drugstore where Lynn
discovers an important clue.





















The ferry terminal


















Where Max gave Lynn her Bible.



















View of Puget Sound from the Tate Estate






















*****

Here's the link for the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS0Gx4NBI88&feature=email

Find June at: http://junefoster.blogspot.com

BUY LINKS:


http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-313/A-Hometown-Fourth-of/Detail.bok

http://www.amazon.com/A-Hometown-Fourth-July-ebook/dp/B008GI61GU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341248351&sr=1-1&keywords=a+hometown+fourth+of+july

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Interview with Lynn Marshall from A Hometown Fourth of July


June: Lynn, how do you like living in Ft. Freedom?

Lynn: I love the cool weather here in Washington. But sometimes when I don't see the sun for days on end, I get a bit depressed. At least my job serving as an analyst for the senators keeps me busy.

June: If you're an analyst for the Washington State Senate, you know your way around a computer. How do you put your skills to use off the job?

Lynn: As you know, my boyfriend Max Tate is a mechanic and doesn't have time to spend on the computer. Don't tell him I said so, but truthfully, he doesn't know a thing about googling. He doesn't even know how to google his own name. I have to help him. Well, I want to help him.

June: Help him with what?

Lynn: Max is searching for his birthmother so I've been doing the leg-work for him on some of the genealogy search engines.

June: Isn't that like doing double duty. You work on the computer all day, then at night you search for Max's birthmother.

Lynn: It is, but I'll tell you the truth. For once in my life, someone appreciates me. When I was growing up, my mom had too many kids to pay attention to me. I was right in the middle.

June: So, how are things going with you and Max?

Lynn: Promise not to tell?

June: Sure. And my fingers aren't even crossed.

Lynn: I think I'm falling in love with him.

June: I can see why. He's so handsome. And such a good Christian man.
Lynn: sigh

*****

Here's the link for the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS0Gx4NBI88&feature=email

Find June at: http://junefoster.blogspot.com

Monday, 2 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with June Foster


STEPH: I don't know much about Hometown Fourth of July. What's it about?

JUNE: Max Tate meets Lynn Marshall at the annual Fourth of July celebration in Ft. Freedom, Washington. As an adult, he's always wanted to find his birthmother, a maid at the Tate household, who gave him up for adoption to the wealthy lawyer and his wife when he was four. Since Lynn is a research analyst for the state senate, she could help him with a computer search. Lynn grew up as a middle child of a large family, never quite feeling like she belonged. Now someone needs her. As she helps Max, he shares his faith with her, and she gives her life to God. When she locates a likely person who could be Max's mother, they make a trip on the ferry to Cascade Island only to find Max missed meeting his mother by two weeks. Now she's dead and he'll never find his roots. Max's life looks bleak when he turns his back on the woman he loves and his God. Can Max find his identity, regaining his relationship with Lynn and his Lord setting him free to celebrate another Fourth?


STEPH: How long did it take you to write the book?

JUNE: It generally takes me about four months to write a book. That includes lots of edits. I have a wonderful critique group I work with, and I do a copious amount of self-editing. Then it seems like I always find more to edit.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

JUNE: Not a lot with this book. It is set in the real life town of Steilacoom, Washington. My husband and I have been to the wonderful Fourth of July celebration several times in that city sponsored by the local Chamber of commerce. The opening scene is based on the incredible parade. Since the story is loosely based on the adoption situation of my husband's older brother, I did a small amount of research on his life and how he came to be with the Foster family.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

JUNE: Max and Lynn are looking toward fireworks in the sky with a church in the background. The fireworks represent how the couple met as well as an important story element at the end of the book. The church reflects how God brings salvation and healing in their lives.

STEPH: Lynn is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

JUNE: Lynn is a middle child who never quite finds her place in her large family. She wants to steer clear of the company of her sister and older brothers and their families because they'll probably make her do all the work at the gatherings. She doesn't believe that God would love her enough to want a relationship with her. One of her strengths is her computer skills with which she assists Max in finding his mother. She gives unselfishly to Max not expecting anything back.

STEPH: What does Max find appealing about her?

JUNE: Of course he likes her curvaceous body and long strawberry blond hair. But more than her looks, he admires how she always seems calm and in control - so different than his fiery nature.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

JUNE: A person's identity is not found in his possessions, his family, or his profession. These things do not define a person. Who we are lies in who God says we are - His children.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

JUNE: I know a lot of writers might say this, but I truly believe God places stories in my heart and mind. I reach for the truth I find in the Bible to create my stories.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

JUNE: Yes, of course. Couldn't do without one. I have a Kindle - the cheapest one Amazon sells. (smile)

STEPH: Fun question: What are your plans for summer?

JUNE: Yes, this one dates me, but I'm going to the wedding of my oldest granddaughter in El Paso, Texas. I'm so proud of her. She just graduated from UTEP with a degree in geology.

*****

Here's the link for the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS0Gx4NBI88&feature=email

Find June at: http://junefoster.blogspot.com