Pleas welcome Stephanie Burkhart with us, the author of paranormal and extraordinary stories to my blog today. She is offering a give-away today with details at the end of the blog.
You can find me on the web at:
My recent novels include:
The Budapest Moon Series
The Count's Lair
Danube in Candlelight
The Windsor Diaries
Moldavian Moon Series
The Wolf's Torment
Twilight Over Moldavia – releases 1 JAN 2012
Releasing 15 DEC 2011:
The Faberge Secret
A contemporary Christmas Romance
My other Christmas stories include:
Christmas in Bayeux and
Feast of Candles in the 2011 Christmas Collection released by Victory Tales Press
SARAH: How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newspaper?
STEPH: I don't dream so my inspiration for stories don't come through them. I get a germ of an idea and then I research. From the research I get "what if" questions which form a basic plot. Then I flesh out the characters using bios and establishing internal conflict. I call this "preliminary" work and it usually takes 2-3 weeks to really flesh out.
SARAH: Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?
STEPH: It never lags. Sounds scary, doesn't it? There is always an idea in my head.
SARAH: Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?
STEPH: Gosh, I'd have to say, if anything, I want to write books like Diana Crosby – really polished in setting, characterization, and plot.
SARAH: What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?
STEPH: I think writing workshops are great. Unfortunately, my time is very limited with real life commitments. I wish I could attend more workshops than I do.
SARAH: What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?
STEPH: Dina Hickman. She made me believe I could be a writer.
SARAH: Have you ever used songs for inspiration?
STEPH: You bet! "Astronomy" by Blue Oyster Cult is "Stefan's and Caroline's" song. They are my hero and heroine from my upcoming release, "Twilight Over Moldavia."
SARAH: Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?
STEPH: If I do play music, I like to play Kevin MacLeod's music. It's mellow and peaceful and doesn't disturb my train of thought.
SARAH: Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?
STEPH: I'll read anything, but honestly, I'm picky about reading paranormals. I really enjoy Karen Michelle Nutt's paranormals and Barbara Edwards because they write paranormals with the focus on the man and not the creature he is.
I'm more flexible with my contemporary writing and reading, and I'll read a wider variety of those, but prefer those with an international setting.
SARAH: What is your process from idea to first draft?
STEPH: Research. Researching gives me ideas. I do a lot of sketching with pen and paper.
SARAH: Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?
STEPH: I haven't given any assistance per se, but I am a moderator on Writing.com. I find it's hard to give assistance to new writers only because they aren't really receptive to feedback. I'm willing to give feedback, but I think that receptiveness comes with maturity as you grow as a writer. As far as another writer helping me, I don't mind. Sometimes they see angles I don't see.
SARAH: What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
STEPH: Publishing with multiple publishers. It lets me know a variety of publishers are interested in my writing and that means a lot.
SARAH: If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?
STEPH: I think I'd square away my mortgage first, lol!! Yes, I definitely support charities. I think the closest ones to my heart involve hemophilia, a blood disease that can now be managed for those who have it, and any charities or organizations having to do with sensory integration dysfunction. My 5 year old son, Joseph, has sensory issues and it's been a challenge to meet his needs at times. (SID) can present on its own, but it is very commonly associated with Autism because a lot of autistic children have sensory issues. A great book to read is "Raising a Sensory Smart Child." It's helped me a lot identify what my son needs regarding regulating his senses. After that, I'd like to support Autistic awareness and research behind autism.
SARAH: What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?
STEPH: Be receptive about learning the craft. Learn everything you can. Be open to the advice other writers offer.
SARAH: What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?
STEPH: I like my heroes to be noble. From nobility comes honor, integrity, and strength. I like heroines to be clever. I don't like the typical heroine in distress. I'd like her to make her own choices and decisions. I'd like her to project an inner strength, but show vulnerability when she's alone.
My release in the 2011 Christmas Collection from Victory Tales Press is called: "Feast of Candles." Here's a blurb & excerpt. Enjoy!
BLURB: Drake de Brettville is going to take the biggest risk of his life – because of a bottle of wine. When Drake's brother returns to their home in Denmark with a bottle of wine from the Marquand Winery, Drake finds himself compelled to discover who the wine maker is. Intrigued to learn that the owner is a young woman named Lily Marquand, Drake travels to Napa Valley, California, to meet her. When Drake finds Lily, the sparks fly. Lily is that rare woman who stimulates him like no other, but to win her love, Drake has to shatter the battlements that guard her heart and prove to her Christmas wishes do come true.
Drake walked forward, stopping before her. White string lights sparkled on the tree, sending soft shadows over his cheeks. The room was empty. The doormen were escorting guests to their cars.
"What makes me believe it's Christmas is light." His voice was low and purposefully seductive. His nearness made her senses spin.
"Light? I don't understand."
"In Denmark, the sun rises after eight in the morning and sets before four in the afternoon, so light is important in our Christmas traditions. Candlelight drives away the gloom and creates a warmth and coziness for many families during this cold and dark time of year. This last weekend my family gathered to light our first candle on the Advent wreath."
"Family is important to you?" She had to know.
"Very. And you?"
"My mother passed away when I was a little girl, and my father threw his heart and soul into the winery. I have an uncle, but he lives in New York. I grew up not knowing what a close family was like."
His compelling eyes riveted her to the spot as they hinted of sadness. He reached out and cupped her cheek, gently stroking her jaw with his thumb. "I'm sorry. You shouldn't be alone at Christmas."
"I'm used to the loneliness." She closed her eyes briefly, enjoying his touch far too much.
He drew close, pressing the length of his body against hers. Her pulse quickened even as a sense of caution flooded through her. She opened her eyes and placed her hand over his, while placing her other hand over his chest to stop him from drawing closer. Despite her attraction, she wasn't quite ready to allow a kiss.
He stared into her eyes, keeping his hand on her waist. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." She hesitated. "Everything. You…" her voice trailed off. Silence grew between them. God, what had she been thinking? Was it possible to have a future with him?
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Contest: You won't want to miss this!!!!
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite Christmas Carol is. I'll come back on the 14th and announce a winner. The winner receives a decorative cloth Christmas tree, candles and chocolate.