Friday, February 18, 2011

Staying Strong With Steph Burkhart!!!

Happy Friday, TLN'ers!!!

What's better than the weekend being mere hours away? How about a visit from the ever lovely Steph Burkhart?!!!

Grab a warm cup of something tasty and get comfy, because we're diving in to the good stuff!

I'd like to thank Sarah for having me here today at the Lovestruck Novice.

Just a little about me: I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, I joined the US Army. I spent 11 years in the military, 7 in Germany. While in the military, I earned a BS in Political Science from California Baptist University in Riverside, CA in 1995. I left the Army in 1997 and settled in California, but my favorite football team is still the New England Patriots. I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I've been married for 19 years. I have two boys, Andrew, 8, and Joseph, 4.

The Challenges of Writing

I've been seriously writing for publication for about ten years now, but my challenges have been many.

I knew at six I wanted to be a writer. I'd watch the Electric Company (this was back in the 1970's. Am I dating myself? Wink) and they would have a segment of the show about Spiderman. When it was over I'd go to the kitchen table and make a comic book based on the Spiderman episode. Even back then, I loved the sense of adventure writing gave me.

And that's what I love about writing – taking the adventure.

When I left the army in 1997, I settled in California and decided to really buckle down and write. I decided I wanted to write romance, because, ultimately, I'm a sucker for a happy ending. That and the fact romance fills one with hope. They're positive novels about the power of love.

Then I learned this very important fact: Don't quit your day job.

It was still important to bring in a steady paycheck while I wrote the great American romance.

Second important fact: Patience. The great American romance does not write itself overnight.

So while I toiled away at my day job I learned the various aspects of my new profession: POV narration, dialogue, characters, and word counts. I joined several online writing communities and took advantage of writing contests.

During this time, I had two children, and after my son's two am feeding, I'd sneak an hour on the computer to write. Finding the balance between work, mommy, wife, and writer hasn't been easy, but I find if I can write while the boys are in school, it satisfies my craving.

Just recently, I've started working with small press publishers which I enjoy. My latest release, "The Count's Lair" is a paranormal romance set in Budapest, Hungary during Christmas 1901. What I like about small press is the ability to work one-on-one with an editor. I also enjoy networking with other authors and learning from them.

Lastly, I always try to find a smile. I try not to sweat the deadlines, and instead focus on the story. Writing is very rewarding to me. It's never a chore and its always fun.

Here's a blurb and small excerpt from "The Count's Lair."

Count Anton Varga is haunted by the curse of the moon. It tugs on his emotions, ravishing his soul. Anton abhors the beast he must learn to tame if he is to find peace. 

Lady Amelia Andrássy is an accomplished pianist, but her life in Budapest had been filled with heartache. When Amelia faints in the Duma's bookstore, it's Anton's strong arms that cradle her fall. His unusual indigo eyes spark with hers, replacing their individual loneliness with the promise of feral passion. 

After a two month separation, Anton is ready to walk into Amelia's life again, but is Amelia ready to fan the spark they shared into a flame?


Amelia went inside. The room was cast in obsidian shadows by a single candle burning on her dressing room table. The air was laced with the scent of mulberries. She grew warm. Her heart beat faster. Her defenses cracked.

"Anton?" she whispered.

He stepped out of the darkness behind her, placing his hands on her upper arms, pressing his chest against her back. His lips brushed against her ear, sending a shockwave through her. "You look wonderful tonight, Amelia."

She dared to close her eyes and enjoy his embrace. "Anton."

"Yes, it's me."

Warm feelings of longing stirred within her, only to be quickly doused by the sting of anger at his sudden departure. She stepped out of their embrace and spun to glare at him. "How dare you."

He backed away, confusion pooling in his unusual eyes. "I thought--"

"You thought what?"

"That you'd want to see me."

"It's been two months since I last saw you, and you didn't even try to seek me out. I had no idea if you were dead, alive, or just too busy with your life to think of me."

"I'm sorry." His expression softened. "I had hoped to avoid the cool look in your eyes just now."

Exasperated, she let out a quick breath. "You're infuriating."

"So I've been told."

She crossed her arms and struggled to keep her crumbling battlements up. He had a lot to explain. The candlelight cast dark, almost satyr-like shadows over his chiseled face. If his explanation made sense, she'd will her heart to believe him. "So, Anton, how do you explain your absence? I thought I'd found a friend."

He paused and drew in a deep breath. His eyes grew translucent. "I am sorry. I had a lot to think about. I thought you would understand. I wanted to give you time to mourn your husband properly."

"I see."

"I also wanted to clear my head."


The Count's Lair is avail as ebook for Kindle, B&N Nook, Sony Ereader, and Kobo. You can also download a copy from the Publisher's Website at:

You can find me on the web at:




Good Time: Leave me a comment and I'll be back tomorrow to give away a PDF copy of The Count's Lair.


I'd like to thank Steph for being here today and for offering up such a wonderful treat! Talk about a great way to start the weekend. :)

Thank you, TLN'ers!! I hope you have a fantastic respite from the work week. The baby is doing great, BUT now my daughter and son have contracted strep throat. Yes, I have no luck! If you've got some to spare, send it my way. ;)


Jillian said...

Great post, Steph! I loved, loved The Electric Company- Great show!!

And the book is awesome- don't put me in the drawing as I have it already.

Doc Nani said...

Really good reading the interviews and blogs.


StephB said...

Jillian, Sigh... I'm dating myself aren't I?

Sharon, It's great ot see you on the Lovestruck Novice. Thanks for following the tour!


Mona Risk said...

Steph, what a beautiful excerpt. Anton and Amalia grab at one's heart.

Keena Kincaid said...

I remember the Electric Company, but I preferred Dark Shadows, which came on at the same time.

Great excerpt, although I'd like to give Anton a bit of a pinch and tell him to stop thinking so much.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Day job, check. Patience, still working on that. Smile, check.

Nice list!

Enjoyed the excerpt and I love your trailer.

Maggie Toussaint

Diana Cosby said...

:) Fun interview, excited for you Steph. My sincere thanks for your service to our country, and thrilled as excited for you as you follow your passion. Congratulations on the release of, "The Count's Lair," and wishing you every success!

Diana Cosby

Diana Cosby said...

*Thanks Sara for the excellent interview with Steph. Hope your baby is doing great! *Hugs*

Kaye Manro said...

Great post! And that's a fantastic cover, Steph! Good luck with this book!

StephB said...

Sarah, thanks so much for having me and for your patient. Congrats to Kaye for winning the PDF copy of The Count's Lair, and thanks to everyone who posted.

Sarah, it's good to hear your baby is doing great.