Monday, May 30, 2011

From Decoration Day to Memorial Day

Hi all, it's been a crazy month for me and I want to thank everyone for keeping up with me. First, my paranormal romance, "The Wolf's Torment" released on 1 MAY 2011 with Desert Breeze Publishing. I've been doing a blog tour this month to help get the word out and I want to thank everyone who popped in to visit and everyone who hosted me. My next stop on the tour is with Liana Laverentz on 1 JUNE at, so I I hope to catch you there.

Next I want to thank all my guest authors for appearing this month. It's been hard for me to keep up with my blog this month. I've missed my lighthouse adventures and California jaunts. I hope to be more active in June, but June promises to be a very busy month.

Did you catch me on the Voirey Linger Summer Trail? Here's a link to my website and my May entry. (It's a free read)

Memorial Day holds a special place in my heart since I am a veteran. Just recently, Kiki Howell put out a call for a Memorial Day contest and I submitted my book, Destination: Berlin which is a "sweet" military romance. Check out Kiki's Blog for a great contest and treat yourself this Memorial Day. Here's a link:

Here's a little history about Memorial Day:

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was establisted as a day of rememberance for those who died in service to the US Nation during the Civil War. It was first proclaimed on 5 MAY 1868 in Waterloo, NY.

The south refused to recognize it until World War I. In 1915, Moina Michael wrote a poem, "In Flander's Field" which inspried the idea of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day to honor those who died during the Great War.

Lately, there has been a lessening of the holiday. In 1971, Congress passed the Holiday Act moving the holiday from it's tradtional observance, 30 MAY to the last Monday in May to make it a 3 day weekend. It used to known for it's parades, but few parades are held. In 2000, Congress passed a resolution asking for a minute of silence during the day to honor the dead.

I served in the US Army from 1986-1997 and I'm proud of my service. It's not easy to give up a certain amount of your personal freedoms so that others may enjoy the freedoms we do as a nation, so for all who have served and for all who have supported those who have served you have a heartfelt "thank you" from me.

Does anyone want to share their plans for the Memorial Day weekend? Any special summer recipes? Unfortunately, I have to work today, but we're BBQ'ing at work and I will enjoy the fellowship.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Welcome Guest Author - Carol Preflatish

STEPH: I don't know much about "Love, Lies & Deceit." Can you tell us a little about it?

CAROL: "Love, Lies & Deceit" is about a rookie female CIA officer who falls in love with her veteran training officer. He gets arrested for treason and she risks her career and her life to help prove his innocence.

STEPH: How long did it take to write?

CAROL: Because I work full time at a day job, it takes a while for me to write a book. This one took over a year.

STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for it?

CAROL: Yes and no, I did do a lot of research about the different locations that take the book takes place in. As for the information on the CIA, my husband is a former Army Counter-intelligence agent and was a huge help with the technical parts.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

CAROL: Maybe a little of both. I don't have a defined outline that I work from, but do jot down a few things that I refer to periodically.

STEPH: Do you draft up character bios? Cast the characters. Who are the leads?

CAROL: Absolutely, I have a 3-4 page character chart that I fill out on all of the main characters. I am constantly adding to it as I write. With the last manuscript that I just finished, I did print off photos of what I thought the characters looked like.

STEPH: What's the theme of the novel?

CAROL: I suppose you could say it's true love conquers all, but it's also a story about the risk the two characters take to prove the hero's innocent. They build a trust in each other, but it's not an easy road.

STEPH: What do you want readers to get out of your novel?

STEPH: As with any romance novel, it has a happily ever after ending, but I hope that readers will connect with the main characters and embrace their adventure to the end.

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

CAROL: I have a Kindle and I love it. I have an ample supple of books at my fingertips and all of them can fit into my purse.

STEPH: What summer movie do you HAVE to see?

CAROL: I'm really looking forward to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II."

STEPH: What was the last book you read?

CAROL: The last book I read was an ebook called "Wild at Heart" by Kenzie Michaels.

Thank you so much for hosting me here today, Stephanie. I've enjoyed myself. I'd like to invite your readers to connect with me on Twitter at

Treason, punishable by death. That's what CIA officer, Jason Reid is facing. So, he turns to the one person he trusts, Julie McBride, his rookie trainee and also the one person he was not supposed to fall in love with. How can she turn him away? She loves him, too. Together, they travel the United States and France to find who set Jason up and to prove his innocence.

You can view the trailer for my book at:

You can find a buy link on my web site at or visit my Amazon Author Page for a Kindle download,
and lastly on my publisher's page at

Monday, May 23, 2011

Welcome Guest Author - Chelle Cordero

STEPH: I don't know much about _Hyphema_. Can you tell us a little about it?

CHELLE: Hyphema: Bleeding in the eye caused by trauma…

Matt Garratti, a paramedic from New York, moves his wife and son to North Carolina to work at his dream job as a flight medic. Pakistani born Sudah, his wife, receives frosty stares and insensitive comments from their new neighbors...

Matt wonders if he is pursuing his dream or bringing his family into a nightmare from which they may never wake.

STEPH: How long did it take to write?

CHELLE: I think it took about nine months, maybe ten if you count the “just thinking” part.

STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for it?

CHELLE: Yes. I was writing about a culture and religion that I had little knowledge of, and an extension of a profession that was very specific. Since I wanted my characters to be as realistic as possible, I needed this information, which was very important as to who they are, as detailed as possible.

Author Chelle Cordero

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

CHELLE: I am definitely a pantser. I prefer to create my characters and see how they decide to deal with the situations I set before them.

#STEPH: Do you draft up character bios? Cast the characters. Who are the leads?

CHELLE: I always draft my character bios. As a former drama student I learned by the Stanislavski method where motivation is based on past experiences and character personality. My characters have always written their own stories.

STEPH: What's the theme of the novel?

CHELLE: Matt Garratti has moved his family to North Carolina to pursue his dream career. His Pakistani born, Muslim wife is subjected to comments, suspicion and derision. And then “things” are happening that threaten the small family. The local police don’t think too much of it, they accept local sentiment against Mrs. Garratti’s presence, How far is it going to go before they take it seriously?

STEPH: What do you want readers to get out of your novel?

CHELLE: Obviously I want to “entertain” my readers by letting them visit the world in my book for a while. I am also hoping that my readers will care about my characters and think about the situations they face.

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

CHELLE: I read ebooks on my computer (desktop and netbook) mostly in PDF format; I do have the Kindle for PC reader the Sony e-reader on my computers.

STEPH: What summer movie do you HAVE to see?

CHELLE: I’m actually looking forward to Pirates of the Caribbean in 3D with Johnny Depp AND Kung Fu Panda 2.

STEPH: What was the last book you read?

CHELLE: Forest Song: Little Mother by Vila Spierhawk.

B&N Print Pre-Order

Video Trailer
Read a free sample on BookBizzer

Chelle Cordero’s website
Chelle Cordero’ Author Blog


Friday, May 20, 2011

Welcome guest author - Barbara Hodges

I love lighthouses. I’ve viewed many on the western coast and am lucky enough to have a few near my home on the central coast of California.

During the Christmas season of 2010 my husband Jeff, my mom Jean and I visited the Port San Luis lighthouse above Avila Beach.

Until this year you either hiked out to the lighthouse or made arrangements with the lighthouse historians to take a tour. You piled into a van and after a slow ride up the road, which allows for fantastic views, you are there. Now, they’ve added a very cool trolley to take you there. The trolley car suits the mood so much better.

The Port San Luis Lighthouse was built in 1890. Here is an early photo.

One of the coolest things about its history is the train that used to run on the pier.

The December afternoon we visited was a beautiful, sunny day. The docents and their volunteers were dressed in 1880’s fashion and serenaded us with classic Christmas songs.

Here is a photo of how the lighthouse looks today.

This is a photo of my husband Jeff and my mom, Jean. Look at the beautiful view behind them.

If you get a chance to visit this area, take a day and visit the lighthouse. It’s like going back in time. The docents love to tell you about its history. It’s remarkable to walk through the lighthouse keeper’s early home, see the size of the bedrooms, the way the beds were constructed, and marvel at the lack of appliances in the kitchen.

When you visit the lighthouse save some time to explore Avila Beach. At the end of the pier is Olde Port Inn. A wonderful place to eat, and if you’d prefer to cook your own fish, then Olde Port Fisherie is a great spot to buy your fish.

On the way to the end of the pier you’ll be serenaded by seals and gulls. There’s usually a few pelican’s hanging around too.

I hope someday to visit some lighthouses on the east coast and see how they compare. Until then, I’ll just enjoy the ones close by.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Guest Author Series -Welcome Author JoAnn Carter

This morning while I was lying in bed in the early pre-dawn I heard a bird singing out a beautiful melody. Normally, this would make my heart happy, but then I'd just turn over and try to catch a few more moments of rest. But not today. Today was extra special. Why? Because crazy as this may sound, this little birdie was lifting it's sweet praises in the midst of a thunderstorm. Amazing! God used two rather "ordinary" things to create and extraordinary experience for me—God showed me something awesome and real—a perfect picture of peace. Thunderclouds rolled in, lighting flashed across the dark gray sky, and rain teamed down the windowpane yet this bird was secure. In fact, it was more than secure, it was full of joy, willing and wanting to sing.

This sends Goosebumps up my spine as I think about it. It's a paradox and truly a God thing. Especially since this word, paradox, has been near and dear to my heart. In fact, I kid you not; this is the very title of the book that I wanted to share with you today. Yet, perhaps paradox is not a word you're familiar with, so let me explain. Paradox is flowers on snow, joy in the midst of trials, compassion for others as your own heart breaks. It's what many of us just celebrated, Easter-- Jesus laying down his life for me, someone sinful and undeserving. It's victory and life born out of death and suffering.

Through this experience, God reminded me that He delights in using those ordinary things to accomplish His marvelous purposes. And that's super news! If He can use Fishermen, tax collectors, birds, and thunderstorms, I know He can use me—a very average, ordinary person to do extraordinary things for Him. Perhaps you're feeling "ordinary" today. Take heart, it's through that very thing that God can show His creativity, His power, and even His love just like He did for me in the midst of this early mornings storm.


Win a gift box filled with goodies! (A paperback copy of Teacher's Plans, a gift certificate, a mug filled with a package of Green Mountain Coffee, pen and a Tee-shirt.)

How? Help me spread the word about Paradox by sharing the link to this post on your FB, Twitter, blog, etc. then e-mail where you posted it to with "Blog Blitz" in the subject line. A winner will be drawn 5/26/11.

JoAnn Carter writes stories that will encourage your faith through inspirational fiction novels and novellas. She resides in Vermont with her wonderful husband and four children.

JoAnn is available for speaking engagements to book clubs, reader groups, library groups, women's ministries events, school events, and church retreats.

Find her here:
Visit JoAnn's Web site
Connect with JoAnn on Facebook
JoAnn's Blog
I hope you'll be able to pick up a copy of Paradox today @

You can watch the trailer here ~

Friday, May 6, 2011

Welcome Guest Author - Mona Risk

Author Mona Risk

Hi all, I just want to welcome Author Mona Risk to the blog. I've read several of Mona's stories, including her latest, Prescription in Russian. I absolutely LOVED this heartwarming story. It's a true testiment to the healing power of love. Mona's here to share her memories of mother's day and talk about her novel.



Mother’s Day will be different and sad without my mother who left us last September. Still it’s a time to celebrate the special attentions all mothers receive on that day. I always smile with a happy feeling when I open my grandchildren’s cards or arrange in a vase my children’s flowers.

I will never forget my mother’s squeal after she read the last page of my first manuscript and came to me with open-arms saying: Bravo, I’m proud of you.

Two of my books Rx FOR TRUST and RX IN RUSSIAN have a mother among the characters. For this special secondary character I borrowed the expressions and reactions of both my mother and mother-in-law, two strong women who never shied of talking their minds and taking action to help others. They both made a difference in their communities.

With a pinch in my heart, I recall our conversations and the stories they told me. I treasure the compliments they gave me, and wish I paid more attention to the advice, orders or critiques they showered me with when we didn’t agreed. Willy-nilly I am walking in their shoes now when I try to advise my daughter on how to raise her kids, cook my recipes or dress the right way—my way.

Mona's Mom

The mothers in my books are a tribute of love to both my mother and my mother-in-law who unfortunately never had a chance to read these two books.

Rx FOR TRUST was dedicated to Mom and I made sure she was able to read the dedication:
This book is dedicated to my mother who has been a mentor, a friend and a shining example of
courage and perseverance.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, here are the blurb and an excerpt—an exchange between the hero and his meddling mother—from my recent release, Rx IN RUSSIAN, about .

A Blurb from my latest book, Rx IN RUSSIAN
Fyodor Vassilov is a Russian widower, surgeon and officer. Duty demands he provide a mother to his four little boys and marry a woman who loves children and a big family.

Jillian Burton is an American pediatrician on a mission to improve medical conditions in Belarus.
She blames herself and her ex-husband for their son’s death, and has lost her illusions about men and marriage.

When they work together for six months in his hospital, their fascination with one another shocks them both. Can attraction and love overcome guilt, duty, and a clash of cultures?

“Mona Risk writes heroes with heart, heroines with spunk in stories and settings that are simply unforgettable!" -- Roxanne St. Claire, Killer Curves, NY Bestseller.
“Risk's writing is crisp and easy to read, engaging the reader on the first page. What makes "Prescription in Russian" shine is the rich characterization… The story is sophisticated for romance readers and the love scene is tasteful, evoking a rich, sensual chemistry that Jillian and Fyodor share. Prescription in Russian is a lush, international contemporary romance you can't put down.”--Stephanie Burkhart


Fyodor, make up your mind.”
“About what?”

“Which one do you prefer? Sofia or Jillian? They are both pretty, educated, and kind. Which one do you want to marry?”
He exhaled his exasperation. “Mama, I can’t choose a wife the way I decide between a blue shirt and a green one.”

“I understand. But you can’t continue to procrastinate. The children need a mother.”

“I know, but right now, they have a wonderful babushka.” He bent and kissed her forehead. “Give me time, Mama.”

“You have had plenty of time so far. We have visited Sofia and her mother twice. Soon I will have to reciprocate the invitation. The girl adores you. She loves children and wants a big family. She’s been very caring toward the boys.”

Fyodor couldn’t help rolling his eyes. Sofia had made it obvious enough she wanted to marry him, and she’d overwhelmed his sons with attention, compliments, and advice. His independent Andrei had already declared he didn’t like to be cuddled like a baby.

“I’m not sure Sofia is the right one for me or the kids.”

“I see.” She gave him a long look and sighed. “It’s the American doctor you like. She is a foreigner but a good woman. I like her too.”

“Mama, please, don’t—”
“Do something for God’s love.”

Easier said than done. His body throbbed from the passion of their kiss, but how could he ignore Jillian’s subsequent stiffness and withdrawal? After two months at Solidarity Hospital, she was still an enigma. “She will be leaving in four months.” A simple answer that didn’t explain the real problem but should stop this frustrating conversation with his mother.

“So what?” Mama’s narrowed eyes should have warned him. “Tell her you are interested. Tell her you want to get married. You met Elena and married her in two months.”

Nothing would distract his mother from her favorite goal: to see him married. Not even the painful memories.

A grumble escaped him. As if anyone could ever compare his helpless and fragile Elena to the independent, self-sufficient American doctor who traveled the world on her own.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN winner of 2009 Best Romance Novel at Preditors & Editors and winner of 2009 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite.

Rx FOR TRUST, winner of 2010 Best Contemporary Romance at Readers Favorite and 2011 EPICON.

Rx IN RUSSIAN just released by TWRP.
Mona’s books are all available at