Badurday- July 2, 2011- Guest Stephanie Burkhart

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Today, we have Stephanie Burkhart as our guest talking about her steam punk release.

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JILLIAN: I’d like to welcome author Stephanie Burkhart to the blog today. Stephanie’s latest release is “Victorian Scoundrel,” a steampunk romance. So, Stephanie, what is a steampunk romance?

STEPH: Here’s my recipe: take a dash of steam, a pinch of the Victorian age, and healthy sprinkle of romance and you’ve got a steampunk romance.

As the term implies, the story is generally set in the early industrial period where steam power is more widely known, such as early Victorian England, but it adds a second element such as a science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy or paranormal twist. Adding to the complexity of the “steam” is that the story usually takes place in an alternate time, or parallel universe. My best example is the movie Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.

JILLIAN: What motivated you to write Victorian Scoundrel?

STEPH: Gail Delaney, Editor-in-Chief, at Desert Breeze put out a call for steampunk romances. I said, “why not?” It’s a genre that many find interesting so I decided to tackle it.

JILLIAN: What was the inspiration behind the plot?

STEPH: I wanted a more “traditional” steampunk so I started combing through the Victorian age and discovered the Great Exhibition. Prince Albert was a driving force for the Exhibition and I knew I wanted to center the plot around those two elements. Then I threw in a dirigible, a transmogrifier, and some whuzzies.

JILLIAN: So why is this series called “The Windsor Diaries?”

STEPH: I found real life inspiration for Alice & Edmund Windsor in Prince Harry and Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrice of York. My character, Edmund Windsor, loves to make mischief and because of that, has a habit of making his own messes. Alice Windsor adores her cousin, Edmund, and it’s usually Alice who gets Edmund out of the messes he makes. Hence, “The Windsor Diaries.”

JILLIAN: How long did it take you to write?

STEPH: About 3 months, including my research and preliminary work.

JILLIAN: What’s your writing space like?

STEPH: It’s in the middle of the dining room. I’ve basically taken over the dinning room table. The mess is organized into piles.

JILLIAN: I know you like to cast your characters. Who plays Alice & Edmund?

STEPH: I picture Mena Survari as Alice and Robert Pattinson as Edmund.

JILLIAN: Why do you cast your characters?

STEPH: It’s part of my preliminary work. It allows me to picture my characters. For me, it gives the character an added dimension in my mind that I use to augment my writing.

JILLIAN: Who’s the Scoundrel? Edmund or Grayson?

STEPH: – wink – I’ll let you decide.

Here’s a link to the Book Teaser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IUYj2d7ZeY

Publisher’s Buy Link: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-183/Stephanie-Burkhart-Victorian-Scoundrel/Detail.bok

BLURB: It’s 2011 and compressed natural gas has taken over from the coal producing steam machines of the Victorian Age. Alice Windsor, Princess of York, follows her mischief-making cousin, Prince Edmund of Wales back to the past and 1851 where Prince Albert is hosting Britain’s Great Exhibition.

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Alice soon discovers Edmund has struck up a friendship with their great-grandfather, Prince Albert, and his mischief making entails leaving a dinosaur-sized footprint in history. She also meets Grayson Kentfield, Earl Swinton, and the Prime Minister, Sir John Russell. The Prime Minster finds her odd, to say the least.

It’s only when Alice falls for the handsome Earl Swinton does she realize the dangers of time travel. How can she give her heart to a man from the past while striving to stop Edmund from changing time with his forward thinking ideas?

EXCERPT:

Tired and thirsty, she finally made it to the courtyard. Edmund was nowhere to be found. She should have expected it, really. No doubt he was in the palace filling their great-grandfather’s head with forward-thinking ideas. She crossed her arms, staring at the steps. Several carriages waited nearby. No one in their right mind would let her into the palace looking like she did — like she had just stepped out of the gutter.

“Excuse me, who are you?”

Alice spun around to find herself face-to-face with two gentlemen who stood near one of the waiting carriages. One gentleman was older, Alice guessed in his fifties, one younger. The older gentleman stared at her like she truly was a guttersnipe, but the younger one — he was tall, with chiseled cheeks and sensitive hazel eyes. His broad chest filled his suit well and he measured her with a cool, appraising look that hinted at… appreciation. An uncomfortable feeling washed over her. Never had a man’s stare made her feel so… warm.

“Well?” asked the older gentleman.

Alice straightened her posture with her usual royal dignity and took off her glasses as she always did when she introduced herself. “I am Her Royal Highness, Princess Alice of York.”

The men looked at each other, at her, then back at themselves. She wasn’t sure if they were befuddled, confused, or wanted to laugh. Finally, the older gentleman spoke. “Princess Alice is seven years old.”

Alice bit the inside of her lip, realizing she had totally forgotten where she was due to the younger gentleman’s attention. She slid her glasses back on. “Simply call me Alice — Alice Windsor.”

“And you may call me Prime Minister.”

Victorian Scoundrel is available as an Ebook For Sony Ereader, Kindle, Nook, Kobo and various formats for download.

Review from Tia Taylor: Victorian Scoundrel is a clever Steam Punk novel full of Time travel, interesting gadgets, witty dialogue and love scenes that will have the reader reaching for a fan!

Stephanie Burkhart has a fresh, quick, quirky, inventive imagination and she gives the readers of Victorian Scoundrel a delightful mixture of all of the above!

Romance Under the Moonlight

Victorian Scoundrel
Book 1, The Windsor Diaries
Steampunk Romance at it’s finest

Visit me at:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

Badurday- May 7, 2011- Special Guest, Stephanie Burkhart

 

Mihai

Black Sea

 

JILLIAN: I’d like to welcome fellow Desert breeze author, Stephanie Burkhart. Her latest release is “The Wolf’s Torment,” a paranormal romance set in Romania during the 1860’s. Stephanie, can you tell us a little more about the story? 

STEPH: Thanks for having me here today, Jillian. Prince Mihai Sigmaringen has a secret – he’s a witch. He inherited his gifts from his mother who unfortunately dies when he’s ten. While Mihai has never really shunned his heritage, he hasn’t embraced it, either. At the beginning of the novel, he’s really overwhelmed. His father has recalled him to Moldavia from London. Mihai must build a railroad, unite the principalities, get married, and have a child. He’s had a disastrous love affair while in England and he’s reluctant to fall in love again. His father has arranged a marriage to a beautiful Austrian noblewoman; Theresa von Kracken. Theresa also has a secret of her own. 

JILLIAN: How does the wolf fit in? 

STEPH: Mihai’s best friend is Viktor Bacau, son of an Ukrainian noble. Viktor accompanies Mihai back to Moldavia, where he meets and falls in love with Mihai’s sister, Sonia. Mihai and Viktor are best friends, but Viktor is bitten and transforms into a werewolf. When Viktor changes, his more feral nature challenges the relationships around him including his friendship with Mihai. 

JILLIAN: How did you come up with the title?

STEPH: Viktor starts out a good man and his transformation into a wolf torments not only him, but those around him.

JILLIAN: What’s the inspiration for “The Wolf’s Torment?” 

STEPH: I actually wrote the sequel, “Twilight Over Moldavia” first. Poor Prince Stefan was cursed to become a werewolf and only the ‘kiss’ from a princess could save him. It was a fairytale in reverse. Once I wrote it, I asked, “How could Stefan’s parents curse him to be a werewolf?” From there, “The Wolf’s Torment was born.”

 JILLIAN: How long did it take to write?

STEPH: Years. My first draft was completed in 2005. In 2007, I self-published with IUniverse. In that edition, I used a broader pen, heavier on the horror elements. I wanted the story to have more of an Anne Rice “Witching Hour” feel to it, which I think it did. In 2010, I discussed bringing the story to Desert Breeze. I knew it would need a rewrite to tamp down the horror elements and bring out more romantic elements. In that regard, one of the biggest changes is with the character of Alexandra, who is only mentioned in the current version of the book as the woman who breaks Mihai’s heart.  Sonia also goes through change. In the 2007 edition, she was a maid in the castle. Now she’s Mihai’s sister. 

JILLIAN: How is Mihai and Theresa’s love story important to the plot? 

STEPH: Mihai has hardened his heart to love after Alexandra has rejected him. He’s not looking to fall in love again. At first, getting engaged to Theresa is his duty, but as he gets to know Theresa, she cracks the battlements around his heart. Her loves gives him the strength and courage he needs to deal with Viktor’s growing feral nature. 

JILLIAN: What’s the appeal of writing a paranormal story?

STEPH: Making the characters human in light of their supernatural/paranormal characteristics. Mihai may be a witch, but how does he temper that ability and reconcile it to his humanity? 

JILLIAN: Do you have an ebook reader? 

STEPH: Yes, I have a kindle and I love it! My favorite aspect is the text to speech so now I can listen to my books traveling to work in the car.

JILLIAN: What authors have influenced you?

STEPH: A bunch. From Victoria Holt I take my love of spooky manors and gothic heroes. From VC Andrews, I take my love of dark, crushing secrets. From JK Rowling, I take my love of the paranormal world. Jillian Hunter is another favorite author of mine. 

JILLIAN: Do you write other genres?

STEPH: I’ve experimented with a bunch. I’ve several horror short stories under my pen name, SG Cardin. In romance, I like to write my paranormals, contemporaries, sci-fi, steampunk, and fantasies. I also enjoy writing poetry. I like working with villanelles, quarterns, and kyrielles. And who doesn’t enjoy a good haiku? 

JILLIAN: Are you a good cook? 

STEPH: I do enjoy cooking, but it’s hard trying to find the balance with all the hats I juggle. My son, Andrew, raves about my New England Clam Chowder. 

JILLIAN: You work full time as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. What’s that like? 

STEPH: Interesting, trust me. I’ve heard it all from party calls to shootings in progress. The work is rewarding because you’re helping people. 

JILLIAN: What TV shows are you hooked on?

STEPH: DWTS, Survivor, Pawn Stars and now Game of Thrones. 

JILLIAN: Thanks for popping in, Steph. Can you leave us with an excerpt? 

STEPH: Sure. Will do. 

BLURB: Prince Mihai has a secret – he’s a witch. Can his love for Theresa fortify his courage to confront the wolf that threatens his family? 

REVIEW FOR THE WOLF’S TORMENT     

From The Pen & Muse:

A complete werewolf story through and through, Burkhart does it again with an amazing cast of characters, entertaining dialogue and plot. Lovers of historical paranormal romance will enjoy this read, the first in the Moldavian Moon series. 

Link: http://thepenmuse.net/archives/2720

ENJOY THIS EXCERPT

Theresa walked through the doors of Mihai’s room and paused. She had never been to his room before. Thank God they didn’t have to go through that barbaric ritual of bedding down with a hundred witnesses. She couldn’t bear it. 

She had separate apartments next to his, and a secret door connected the rooms. 

Mihai shut the door behind them. Candles burned throughout the chamber and a fire blazed in a fireplace across from the bed. The bed was wide, with a thick down cover. A window faced the Black Sea. The curtains hung to the side. Theresa saw a full moon glittering on the sea. 

Mihai placed his hands on her shoulders. “How do you feel?”

“Overwhelmed.” 

He went to the nightstand and grabbed a wrapped box, handing it to her. “For you. It’s my wedding gift.”

A smile tipped the corner of her lips and she anxiously ripped the wrapping off the box. 

A fine rose-colored silk nightgown rested inside. “It’s beautiful, Mihai. The material is so soft, so fine. I adore it.”

“Will you wear it tonight?”

Her cheeks heated. “Yes.”

“Good. I can’t wait to see you in it.” She coughed. Why was she embarrassed? Theresa glanced around the room looking for a square package that should have been delivered earlier today. “Is something wrong?” he asked. Slowly, Theresa investigated the room. Nothing. Opening the closet, she discovered the package.

“Here’s your wedding gift.” Mihai grinned, picked up the package and brought it to the bed. Theresa couldn’t help but smile as he unwrapped it. Her husband reminded her of Victoria’s son at Christmas opening his gifts, capturing that same youthful exuberance.

“de Vilegar! How did you…?”

 “Papa helped me acquire the painting.”

“It will go above the mantle in my study.”

“I hoped you would put it there.” Mihai rested the painting on a table next to the door. He closed the distance between them and cupped her cheek.

She closed her eyes at his gentle touch, placing her hand over his. This was perfect.

“When you first entered the church today, my heart skipped a beat. You are so beautiful in that dress.”

She opened her eyes. “Thank you.”

“I want you. You did so much for me. Your learned my language. You converted to my religion. You gave me a painting from one of my favorite artists. I love you.”

Her lips curved into a wide smile.

He pressed her close to his body, his mouth covering hers with hungry desire. He wanted her, and she gave into the rising sensuality between them. The thought of being intimate again with him warmed her to her bones.

She desired him as badly as he wanted her.

He slipped behind her. His nimble fingers made quick work of the buttons and stays that held her dress up. With a quick, firm shove, he pushed the dress to the floor. Then loosened her corset and slid it over her head. The only thing between them was her chemise. 

Visit the Book Trailer on You Tube and give it a ‘like’ at:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzHE2spBeeU 

The Wolf’s Torment is available as an ebook only on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Sony Ereader. Formats include: PDF, html, and epub which can be found on the Publisher’s Website at:  http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-163/Stephanie-Burkhart-Moldavian-Moon/Detail.bok

About the Author: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She also served as an MP in the US Army. Multi-published, she has a children’s book, “The Giving Meadow” with 4RV Publishing. She’s an avid reader , loves coffee in the morning, and her favorite movie “werewolf” is David Thewlis, Lupin from Harry Potter. 

You can find me at:

Website:

http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

Blog:

http://sgcardin.blogspot.com

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephanie-Burkhart-Author/149938795021166

Badurday Interruptus

Since Runere wrote about Writus Interruptus, I decided to name this post Badurday Interruptus.  Today we have a special guest, my friend and also a writer for Desert Breeze Publishing, Stephanie Burkhart, will be talking about her new release, a Christmas story set near the beaches of Normandy. Steph’s story is called Christmas in Bayeaux and is  published in an anthology by Victory Tales Press. This would be a great story to read as the holiday season is upon us.  I interviewed Steph and hope you enjoy her answers as well as the excerpt she provided.  If you miss me today, you can visit me here: http://www.cynthiaeden.com/blog/  as I talk about my book  release on Tuesday.  But, first, you have to read about Noel and Aiden, Stephanie’s hero and heroine.

STEPH: Jillian, thank you so much for having me today.  Just a little about me: I was born and raised in Manchester, NH. When I was 18, this New England Patriot fan joined the US Army for a great adventure and spent 7 years overseas in Germany. I met a fair-haired California boy and we were married in Denmark in 1991. Now, the adventure over, I work for LAPD as a 911 Operator.

 JILLIAN: Why did you chose Bayeux as the setting for your story? 

STEPH:  We chose each other! –grin. I told Rebecca I wanted to do a Christmas story for her and I knew I was going to write it as a contemporary. That said, I hadn’t written a contemporary in about eight years. So I thought about it and Mona Risk came to mind. I absolutely LOVE Mona’s contemporaries. “To Love a Hero” was set in Belarus and “French Peril” was set in France.  I knew I wanted to go international with my contemporary.  I picked France because I always wanted to go to the Beaches of Normandy and Bayeux is the nearest city to the beaches.  In 1987, I visited a rural town in France on the German/French border and I brought a lot of that experience to the story. 

JILLIAN: Have you been to Bayeux?

STEPH: No, but I really want to go! I want to see the Beaches of Normandy. 

JILLIAN:  Do you speak French? 

STEPH:  I am almost “fluent!” –lol. I took 3 years high school French. My pronunciation is pretty good, and I understand a lot, but when I took my French tests in the military and for college credit, I was always about 2 points under what was required for passing. Very frustrating. 

JILLIAN: What gave you the idea for the Christmas story?

 STEPH: I wanted to branch out and write a Christmas story. Diane Craver, who I am a big fan of, mentioned writing a story for VTP (Victory Tales Press) and I said, “Hey, I wanna’ do that to.” 

JILLIAN: I notice you dedicated this story to your sister? Do you have other siblings?

STEPH: I love my sister very much, but she lives in NH and I don’t see her often. I miss her terribly.  I have a half-brother and a half-sister from my father’s second marriage, but again, distance keeps us apart. 

JILLIAN: Did your family ever host an exchange student?

STEPH: No. My aunt had a friend, Diane, who would host exchange students and I always thought that was cool. When Diane visited me in 1990, we went to Antwerp, Belgium to visit one of her previous exchange students.

 JILLIAN: How did you chose your characters’ names? 

STEPH: For my male hero, I wanted something contemporary and Aiden is contemporary to me.  I also need my names to “mesh” together and sound good.  For my female heroine, “Noel” was perfect because it captures the ambience of Christmas and France. 

JILLIAN: When you were stationed in Germany, did you take advantage of the short distance between places and travel a lot?

STEPH: Yes! I’ve been to Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia (Before it separated into the Czech Republic and Slovakia) Berlin, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. I never made it to England, though and I really want to go there. 

JILLIAN: Anything you want to share about France or your love for travel? 

STEPH: France is a beautiful country with rich history. The Notre Dame is a amazing, The Louvre, Versailles, the countryside… I can’t say enough about it. 

JILLIAN: Where can we buy the book? 

STEPH: Here are the links: 

Amazon: (print) http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Collection-Anthology-Stimulating/dp/1456304410/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289273692&sr=8-1 

Ebook, Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29148 

Create Space, Print book: https://www.createspace.com/3494425 

Victory Tales Press: http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com/online-store.php

Here’s an excerpt: 

Noel was surprised to hear Aiden Seward’s voice over the phone. She had been an exchange student with his family years ago, and even back then, she had a crush on him, but she was young and he, while the same age, found her no more attractive than his sister, or so she thought. Now he was a man, tall and well built. His dark ebony hair fell in neat waves and curved against the nape of his neck. His sweet hazel eyes harbored such sadness, it almost broke her heart. She wanted to hold him, touch him, drive away those demons that haunted him, but she knew now was not the time. He had to be the one to reach out to her. He had not been so daring years ago. What could she expect from him now?

Noel also knew that men did not care to write letters, so when she left, she extracted a promise from him to exchange postcards. Surprisingly, he honored it. In fact, his last postcard hung on a corkboard in her kitchen next to the refrigerator.

They got into his rented car and Aiden drove off. “Which way?”

“Straight. St. Theresé isn’t far. I took the bus in.”

Thankfully, it had stopped snowing. Aiden and his family lived in Boston, Massachusetts. She was born in Bayeux. She was French to her bones, but when she stayed with Aiden’s family, she might have considered living in the States if he had expressed interest.

“Turn here,” she said. “Do you see the manor on the cliff?”

“Yes.”

“That’s Mont St. Theresé.”

His lips parted just a little and his eyes filled with awe. “It’s beautiful.”

“Thank you. You can see Omaha Beach in the distance.”

“Do you have people staying there now?”

“I have one couple visiting from Austria. “

“Christmas is only two weeks away. I hope my visit isn’t inconvenient,” he said.

“Not at all. How long are you staying?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t gotten a return ticket yet.”

Check out the Story Teaser on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-muZ0dhOvSE 

Goodie Time: Leave me a post and I’ll pick out two winners to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. Tell me your favorite Christmas story and I’ll pick a winner to receive a print copy of the Christmas Anthology. I’ll come back on 21 NOV to pick the winners.

JILLIAN: Thanks for being here, Stephanie. It was enjoyable. 

 

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