Monday, 13 December 2010

Stephanie Burkhart: Short Stories - 'A Christmas Collection'

I love writing short stories. I cut my teeth writing short stories. In 2008, My mainstream short story, "Spontaneous Decision" won 8th place in the 77th Annual Writer's Digest Competiation. I've also had several honorable mentions in the contest. When Rebecca over at Victory Tales Press was looking for authors for her Christmas Anthologies, I wanted to jump on the wagon (so to speak.) I offered to write a short story for the Stimulating collection.

I've been writing paranormal as of late, but I wanted to do something a little different so I decided I would write a contemporary. I haven't written contemporary in a while, so I wanted to add to it - I decided to go international, drawing inspiration from Mona Risk's awesome international contemporaries with Cerridwen Press.

That in mind, I picked France to set my story. I always thought France was a romantic local. One of the places I wanted to go but never did was the Beaches of Normandy. With those thoughts in mind, I wrote "Christmas in Bayeux."

I took 3 years of French in high school and I loved the language. In my studies, I fell in love with the nation. My first trip to France was in 1987 and it was for my 19 year birthday. I went with a friend, Marc, who I had done Basic and AIT training with. We rode the train in from Frankfurt. From there, we got a hotel room and with our travel guides, we were off. The travel guides helped me get by with my French. We saw the Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, (before that pyramid in front of it) and I took a picture of the Venus de Milo. I thought my flash was off, but it was on. Yikes! The Louvre police was in hot pursuit, but I was quicker, managing to avoid them. We visited Napoleon's tomb – crafty old dodger set it up so you have to climb up a second floor and "bow" down to look at him. We went saw a mini Statue of Liberty in the Seine near the state buildings.

My research surrounding Bayeux revealed several interesting facts. There is an American National Cemetery nearby where Theodore Roosevelt Jr. is buried. The land is considered American soil. War veterans from World War I and World War II are buried there. Bayeux also has a gothic cathedral similar to the Notre Dame in Paris. There is also a tapestry there in a local museum called the Bayeux Tapestry depicting William the Conqueror's conquest of England.

Inspiration for Noel Rousseau

I'll get there - one day.

Here's a small excerpt:

Noel never let go of his hand. They made their way to the bluff and climbed the stairs that led to the cemetery. Aiden froze when he saw the crosses, row upon row. Such sadness. So many good lives lost.

"There are over 9,000 buried here."
He nodded. Speech left him.

"The French people have high regard for America. You liberated our people from severe oppression. The people in Bayeux and all along the coast will come up to American tourists and shake their hands, thanking them for the service their grandfathers gave so long ago."

Aiden was shocked. Americans were thanked for their service? "You're serious?"

"Yes. Why?"

"It's just that France seems so aloof—"

Noel held up a hand, stopping his train of thought. "DeGualle thought it best to promote an independent spirit for the French people, and in doing so, while he helped the nation get its pride back, he also harmed us in the eyes of others. It is true Parisians can be aloof, but you'll find that the people who live outside of Paris are open and friendly."

"Noel, no one in Iraq ever shook my hand."
"Je suis désolé."

Here's a link to the trailer:

A Christmas Collection, Stimulating is available on Amazon as a print book and ebook. It's also available on Smashwords.


Danielle Thorne said...

Love the excerpt! Great anthology--I highly recommend it.

Savanna Kougar said...

Lovely, poignant excerpt. How I would love to visit France. I think I need a time portal, though.

StephB said...

Dani, thanks for popping in. I'm into the 3rd story in the anthology, but I'm really enjoying it. Well done!

I would love see more of France. It's a beautiful country.


Lindsay Townsend said...

Steh - I have never visited France. Your excerpt has just enticed me!

I wish you and everyone at Victory Tales Press a happy and successful Christmas