Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guest Author, Stephanie Burkhart

My shoulder is still bad and I can not type at all without making it worse, so I'm especially grateful to Stephanie Burkhart who agreed to answer a few questions to entertain you while I continue to recover. Steph is a good friend from the former Bookspa Loop, and is a fascinating woman of many talents. Be sure to check out her blog, Romance Under The Moonlight, where you'll always learn something new. Welcome, Steph!

Liana: Who is S.G. Cardin? When and why did you change names?

Steph: *grin* That's my maiden name. I always said if I get published I would use my maiden name and I did. My first novel, 'Destination: Berlin' was self published under my maiden name. My co-workers would ask me all the time why did I use my maiden name. Because it's me, simply. Well, when I went with a small press, I decided to use my name now because of all the ribbing I got from my co-workers.

Liana: You have several books in the works, blog daily, go on blog tours, enter (and do well in!) contests, and research. Plus you work and have a family. What clues do you have for time management?

Steph: The first thing that comes to mind is flexibility. I usually work on my daily blog, marketing, and research in the morning hours before I go to work. At work, during down time between calls or on the radio, I'm able to write. It's during that time I do my actual writing, be it blog posts or stories. Toward the end of my shift, I'll put the writing aside and do some reading. When I have days off, I try to get some writing done, but it's tough because I have housework and chores. What is easy for me is to type so I'll take everything I wrote at work and type it up on my days off. It sounds complex, but it's the way I find balance.

Liana: Can you share a story about your time as an MP?

Steph: The first three years I spent in physical security. An MP in the military has three jobs – physical security, law enforcement, and prisoners of war. My first two years in the military I guarded nuclear weapons in Germany. What struck me, even at that time was here I was, 18 years old, guarding nuclear munitions. It's a lot of responsibility and it will mature someone quickly. What I remember more, is not necessarily my time as an MP, but my time I spent exploring Germany and Europe.

Liana: I notice you're a 911 Dispatcher. I've read in the news where people have called 911 for taxi rides and because they didn't like the food at restaurants. Have you had any calls like that?

Steph: Yes! I get crazy calls like that OFTEN. Some people want the police to give them rides or change their tires. LAPD doesn't do that. I have calls were police phone in and say "Can you come out? My 13 year old won't listen to me."

Liana: Having so much experience with people in crisis, you're well aware of how people's lives can spin out of control. My own life, while not out of control, is definitely not in my hands. Therefore I've discovered I like writing books because I can control what happens in them. How about you?

Steph: My heart goes out to those people who call 911 and have a legitimate crisis that requires the police. And I feel very rewarded when I create that call for service and get the police going. For me, writing is more of a stress release. Answering 911 can be a stressful job, couple that with managing the house and raising children, I need my stress release.

Liana: Many of your characters are of noble lineage. What do you think the fascination is with royalty?

Steph: What fascinates me the most about the nobility is that you were expected to act – noble. Honorable. Just. Fair. It's like being an MP – you were held to a higher standard. Well, not all are cut out to handle being held to a higher standard. It's how a person "wears" their nobility which I find fascinating. There's a part of me that has a deep resonance for the nobility; and I can't really explain it unless you believe in past lives.

Liana: I got hooked on the Six Wives of Henry VIII series when I was a kid. What sparked your fascination with The Tudors?

Steph: I discovered historical fiction in my early 20's with Jean Plaidy. I think the first historical fiction book I read was "Queen in Waiting." (About George II and Caroline of Ansbach) After reading that book, I read everything about the kings and queens of England. Henry VIII is the most gripping of the Tudor Monarchs because of his unquenchable thirst for a male heir, but his father, Henry VII also has a gripping story, as does Elizabeth I.

Liana: Why did you pick Hungary as the setting for your stories?

Steph: I'm very deliberate in picking my settings. Hungary embodies Central Europe. The old myths about vampires and werewolves just might be believed in Hungary. It's mostly rural aside from Budapest and only a handful of other cities in the country.

Liana: What is your favorite memory of your time in Germany?

Steph: Spending time in the AFRC (Armed Force ReCreation) towns – Berchtesgaden and Garmish. I especially loved Berchtesgaden because it's so close to Salzburg, Austria. It's simply beautiful.

Liana: Do you speak German, or any other languages?

Steph: I understand German but couldn't speak it. I understand French and but I keep failing the fluency tests by 1-3 points!

Liana: Let's do a little word association: Tell me what comes to mind when you think of the following three words:

Love: Ultimate Trust, Ultimate Loyalty. In "The Hungarian" these are critical elements that Matthias is looking for in the woman he wants in his life.

Trust: The ability to tell another person anything and have it believed. Matthias places his complete and ultimate trust in Katherine when he tells her his dark secret.

Betrayal: Ripping love and trust apart. This is something that Matthias confuses with jealousy in "The Hungarian."

Blurb: Katherine Archibald is in search of a grand adventure. A young woman in late Victorian England, she wants to open up a book store in London and travel Europe hunting down rare books. Love isn't on her map.

Enter Matthias Duma. The Hungarian count captures Katherine's attention like no other man before him with his unusual gold-malachite eyes, his exotic features, and his command of the night sky.

After a night of intrigue during Katherine's birthday, she discovers the map does include love in the legend, but will the map lead her to Budapest and the dark, brooding Hungarian she's just met?


Matthias went to a nearby nightstand, lit a candle, and placed it on a pewter holder. "There's no lights in the stairway so we have to use a candle."

Katherine began to feel apprehensive. It must have shown in her face because he walked over to her, gently putting his hand on her elbow. "Are you all right?"

She nodded her head. He didn't ask any more questions, but instead turned around and opened the door, motioning with his free hand for Katherine to go into the stairwell first. She slowly made her way to the door, pausing as she stuck her head into the narrow passageway.

Matthias slid his hand over her shoulder, pressing his masculine body next to hers. Sweet tendrils of delight zipped through her, momentarily making her forget her fear. "Tell me what's wrong. The stairs are solid. I've walked them before."

"I don't care for enclosed spaces."

"We don't have to go."

Katherine turned around. Disappointment covered his face. She didn't care for that look one bit. The thought of Matthias disappointed by something she'd done or failed to do made her feel disappointed in herself. Drawing in a deep breath, she turned around, putting one foot over the other slowly, and began to climb.


"Well, come on," she said, not daring to look behind her, afraid she would stop because of her own fears.

Katherine heard him quickly pursue her and then felt him directly behind her. Her breathing grew deeper. Just when she thought the stone wall had started to move in on her, she saw the turret door. Diving for it, she pushed it open, and collapsed on her hands and knees into a spacious room, taking long breaths. A bead of sweat trickled down her brow.

Matthias put the candle down, wrapping his muscular arms around her. Despite the chill of the room, he was warm. She heard his heart beating strong and steady. He kissed her temple.

"You didn't have to go up the stairs," he said.

"I wanted to. I wanted to see the stars with you."

He cupped her cheeks in his hands. Their eyes met. "You braved them for me?"

She couldn't speak. Gently, he wrapped his arms around her. Katherine thought that he could sense she was still a little rattled by the journey up the turret. While her breathing was returning to normal, her body was still tense.

Goodie Time: I'll be giving away two autographed postcards of the cover to two lucky posters. To be eligible to win, just post. I'll pick the winners out of a hat and announce the winners on the blog no later than the next day.

Link to the Book Trailer:

Links for the Books:

Desert Breeze Website:

All Romance Books

Amazon for Kindle

Visit Stephanie at:

Romance Under the Moonlight Blog





Shawna Williams said...

Oh Steph...I bet you do have things to talk about after work each day. A police officer calling to say his 13y/o won't listen. *shaking head*

Maryann Miller said...

Nice seeing you over here, Steph. Enjoyed getting to know a little more about you and the work you do. Being a dispatcher has got to be a meaningful job.

StephB said...

*waves* hi to Shawna and Maryann. At the end of the day, being a dispatcher is a very rewarding job. In the course of eight hours I will have helped several people who needed help. Mind you, we do get the civil calls for service, like the 13 year old who won't behave. Every day is a challenge.


Celia Yeary said...

Steph and Liana--nice job! I think I know all about you, already, since I did an interview for you! Even so, we're all creatures of secrets, and you and even I still have a few more to tell. You do lead an interesting life. Celia

StephB said...

OMGosh! I don't know how I missed this typo - I wrote "the police calling the police about a 13 year old who won't behave" and that should read "Parents calling the police about a 13 year old who won't behave!" Grrrr... Forgive.


Mona Risk said...

Steph, I like learning more about your stay in Hungary and Germany. It sounds so fascinating. As fascinating as your characters.

Liana, what happened to your arm? I was away for a week and missed on news, good and bad.

LK Hunsaker said...

Steph, I think this is your best interview yet. :-)

Liana, great questions. Hope your shoulder heals quickly.

StephB said...

Lorraine, I agree. Liana did a fabulous job with the questions. I really enjoyed hanging out.