Monday, December 12, 2011

Please welcome Stephanie Burkhart

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.

STEPH: Thanks for having me here today, Sarah. I was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. At 18 I joined the Army wanting a great adventure. And I got it.  I've been to Germany, France, Denmark, Poland, and Hungary just to name a few countries. I was married in 1991 and left the Army in 1997. Now I work for LAPD as a 911 Dispatcher. I'm married with two young sons, ages 9 and 5.

You can find me on the web at:

My recent novels include:

The Budapest Moon Series

Paranormal/werewolf romance

The Hungarian

The Count's Lair

Danube in Candlelight

The Windsor Diaries

Steampunk romance

Victorian Scoundrel

Moldavian Moon Series

Paranormal/werewolf romance

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
A picture of the Danish Royal Castle

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 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?










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.


Sarah J. McNeal said...

I am so happy to have you on my blog today, Steph.
I am reading your book, Danube in Candlelight right now and I love the Hungarian background for it. The setting makes the story even more intriguing.

Renee Vincent said...

I like my heroes to be noble. From nobility comes honor, integrity, and strength.

Well said, Stephanie! I love those kinds of heroes too!

Wishing you all the best in your career and a very Merry Christmas!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Thank you for commenting on Stephanie's blog today, Renee. I'm sure she'll be by later today to catch up on comments.
I appreciate your support.

LK Hunsaker said...

Nice interview with some great questions!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Lorraine, I really appreciate that you came by to leaqve a comment on Stephanie's blog. I know she'll be happy to see it as soon as she gets home.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Thanks so much for having me today. And thanks for your patience? Isn't today the busiest day of the year at the post office? Sure felt like it as I waited forever to get my mailing done. LOL!!

Renee, thanks for popping in - those are the best heros, aren't they?

Loraine, I agree - Sarah asked some great questions.

Sarah, I hope you're enjoying Danube in Candlelight. It's something a little different from me with Morgan, a female, being th wolf, so it was challenging.

I'll be in and out all day. Joe, my 5 year old has a dentist appt., there's homework...

Don't forget my great giveaway, all! Lori's creations are cute for the season.


cheralyn said...

Hi, I enjoyed your interview,it was interesting. My favorite Christmas carol is O Holy Night!

Anne Patrick said...

Great Q&A and excerpt, Steph. I wish you continued success in all your endeavors!

Unknown said...

I'd love for my mind to be forever creative...but I go in spurts. And so, I do admire a prolific, successful author. I'm still amazed...after knowing you this long...that you accomplish so much in the space of any given week. Amazing. Very good interview.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Hi Sarah and Stephanie!!


You're everywhere. How do you keep up? lol

Great interview, ladies!!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Has the Post Office got you by the throat, Steph? LOL They're downsizing the post offices around here so fewer workers handling all that mail. Sheesh!

Christina Freeburn said...

Hi Stephanie, I really enjoyed your interview. Your heroes sound like the type I love to read. My favorite Christmas carol is Do You Hear What I Hear.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Cherylyn, Holy Night is almost magical. I love it too. My favorite is Silent Night--just so peaceful.
Thank you for commenting on Steph's blog.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Anne, thank you so much for visiting here and leaving a comment for Steph.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I agree with you, Celia. I can't keep up with Steph. She's amazing.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Thank you so much for coming by and leaving a comment, Karen. I know Steph really appreciates it.

Mona Risk said...

Lovely interview. Steph, I enjoy so much your international paranormal stories. They make me discover new places or re-visit countries I loved. Like you, I'm never short on ideas. Only on time.

Maggie Toussaint said...

how cool that you aspire to write like Diana Cosby! I'm make sure she knows as she's a personal friend of mine.

Family is important to writers and to characters. I'm glad you place a high value on it.

Best wishes with all your titles!!!


Kathy said...

My favorite carol has to be Carol of the Bells but close behind is Oh Holy Night. Both of those are so pretty. I can't sing for chit but I will give it a shot if nobody can hear me lol. Great to see Steph here.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Thanks for popping in Cheralyn. I love that carol. It's classic Christmas. Do you have a favorite singer?

Anne, it's great to see you. Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol? I'd love hear everyone's reply.

Celia, thank you so much, Sweetie. I can't believe how much I do, either. My friend Inna says I have to slow down and smell the roses. LOL!! Sarah's questions were great.

Karen, oh my gosh. I'm backed up over 500 emails. Yikes. lol.

Sarah, I love the post office. The ladies at my branch are very nice and friendly. It's sad when the gov't can't even fund the post office if you ask me.

Christine, I LOVE that Carol. Again, it's Classic Christmas. Sigh... Just started your book and boy, you've got a "grab em off the 1st chapter." Looking forward to reading more.

Sarah, Christmas isn't Christmas without Silent Night. Have you heard it sung in German? Curious.

Mona, yes, you are a sister of the heart.

Maggie, Oh my gosh, I love Diana's highlander series, the "His" series. I just finished "His Conquest" and LOVED it. "His Captive" is next in my TBR pile along with "His Destiny." Her heroes are awesome.

Kathy - I LOVE LOVE LOVE Carol of the Bells and Oh, Holy Night is Classic Christmas.

Here's the skinny on the Christmas Carols in my house:

Joe my 5 year old: Jingle Bells
Andrew my 9 year old: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Me: Angels we Have Heard on High sung by Amy Grant
Brent: How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Keep 'em coming!

CelticAmazon said...

I think my favorite is 'Silver Bells'. Enjoyed your interview

Jenny Twist said...

Good King Wenceslas. Stirring stuff. Lovely blog, Steph

M. S. Spencer said...

Hi Steph! Interesting interview--I wanted to add to your comments on new writers not always being open to advice. Editing someone else's work can really help make a writer more open to change & criticism.By trying to help another writer find their voice you become more flexible as a writer. What do you think? Meredith (aka M. S. Spencer)

Stephanie Burkhart said...

I love that song! I agree stiring stuff.

I agree wholeheartidly. I'm a Moderator for a site called and I've offered very good comprehensive, non threatening reviews with suggestions for improvement for many new writers, but sadly I get a fair share of "you're full of it," or "you don't know what your're talking about" or just plain excuses on simple suggestions for POV narration, tense usage, (especially when they use "you") etc and it can be draining when you want to be helpful. I do get "thank you for your comments," as well, but when aspiring writers simply aren't open it's a bit draining emotionally.


Chrisbails said...

I would have to say my favorite carol is Rudolph or Silent Night. My daughter loves to sing Rudolph and am teaching her the funny batman version. She thinks its funny.
You both are new authors for me and would love to win and read your books. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

Unknown said...

My favorite Christmas Carol is The Coventry Carol.

drainbamaged.gyzmo at

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Okay, I'm back. LOL!! I put everyone's name in a hat and pulled out.... drum roll please...Christina Freeburn.

I just want to thank everyone for visiting the blog and sharing your favorite Christmas songs with us. I'll be visiting Nicole Zoltack's and Vijaya Schartz's blog later on this week for a chance to win some Christmas swag. Hope to see you guys there.


Sarah J. McNeal said...

Congratulations Christina!
I want to thank Stephanie for blogging with me and for all the those who came to comment and enter her contest. I really appreciate all of you.