Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Guest Author, Stephanie Burkhart

Today's Guest Author needs no introduction, as she is a regular visitor here at Liana's Place, but I'll take a stab at it anyway :). Please welcome my friend, the multi-talented and prolific author Stephanie Burkhart!

Taking the Journey – It's about the characters, Silly.

I'd like to thank Liana for having me here today. She's such an inspiration, personally and professionally in my writing. My latest release is a paranormal romance titled "The Wolf's Torment." Set in Romania in 1865, Crown Prince Mihai Sigmaringen has a secret – he's a witch. Can his love for Theresa give him the courage he needs to save his family from the werewolf that haunts them?

At first I was going to talk about the Black Sea, but then I got to thinking – it's about the characters, Silly, and bringing out the humanity in them despite their supernatural abilities. So I'll share some cool things I learned about the Black Sea and then talk about my most challenging character – Lady Theresa von Kracken.

The Black Sea is amazing and it's a great backdrop for a paranormal story. They've been writing about the Black Sea for ages and since the Black Sea borders many different countries, there are many different myths. "Jason and the Argonauts" is set on the Black Sea. A Ukrainian legend tells of a violent arrow in the sea. It's so violent that when the sea tries to expel it, there are turbulent storms.

The sea itself has all the properties of an ocean. It has salt water and the various fish include anchovy, tuna, and dolphins. The Winter Olympics in 2014 are going to be held in Sochi, Russia, which is on the coast of the Black Sea.

Romania is one of the nations on the Black Sea and it is also the setting of "The Wolf's Torment." This story is the "prequel" to "Twilight Over Moldavia." The premise of "Twilight Over Moldavia" is that poor Prince Stefan has been cursed to become a werewolf. Can Caroline's kiss free him from his fate? After I wrote it, I just knew I had to write the story about Stefan's parents, Mihai and Theresa, and how Stefan came to be cursed. Which leads me to Theresa, Stefan's mother. How could a mother curse her own child to become a werewolf? It's because of this question Theresa's character is the most challenging in "The Wolf's Torment."

As the novel opens, the reader meets a young Lady Theresa von Kracken on her way to Delfin Castle to become engaged to Moldavia's Crown Prince, Mihai Sigmaringen. Theresa's family is a powerful witching family, but her father saw in a dream that Theresa must never be taught the ways of witchcraft (or she'll die) so she has remained blissfully ignorant of her own heritage. Theresa believes supernatural characters like witches exist and she believes them to be good. When Mihai reveals he's a witch to her, she accepts him as he is.

Theresa's love for Mihai is pure, having been cultivated through their dreams. As the novel progresses, Theresa cannot ignore the evidence that she's a witch as well. She comes to believe that because she is, she can meet any challenge. Viktor preys on her vulnerability after she receives an emotionally shattering loss. Can a heroine do the wrong thing for the perceived "right" reasons?


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.

From Reader's Favorites

5 Stars - The Wolf’s Torment has it all, witches, werewolves, a vampire, a princess and a prince. This is paranormal romance at its finest.

Enjoy this Excerpt:

Theresa rushed to Sonia's side as her sister-in-law doubled over, clutching the backrest on the sofa. They were in the library. Sonia usually did her knitting there while Theresa worked on her painting.

Mrs. Nocesti helped Theresa carry Sonia to the couch. She lay on her side, grabbing her distended womb.

"Where does it hurt?" asked Mrs. Nocesti.

"Here," Sonia grunted. She pointed to her side, near the rib cage.

Theresa wrung her hands together, worried. Sonia was in her eighth month and her baby was nice and round. Sonia reminded Theresa of when Victoria had given birth. She hoped that wasn't happening now.

"She's not going to have the baby, is she?" asked Theresa.

"No, the pain is in the wrong place. I'm going to get Dr. Stanza and the willow bark pills."


"I will." Mrs. Nocesti rushed out the door.

Theresa knelt next to Sonia, rubbing her hand over Sonia's hair. "This is so sudden. Did the baby kick?"

"I don't I bleeding?"

Theresa shivered at the thought, but visually checked Sonia's dress. "I don't see any blood staining your dress."

"Thank God. Theresa, it hurts."

"I'm sorry. I wish I could do something."

"Hold my hand."

Theresa offered Sonia her hand. Sonia gripped it so tightly, Theresa's knuckles turned white. Her own pulse accelerated. Spots appeared before her eyes. Theresa's breathing grew rapid. Theresa saw the baby in the womb, kicking the spot of Sonia's discomfort. The baby struck the blood barrier. It was weak, and because of that, was causing Sonia pain.

"Baby, no, don't kick your mother there. You're hurting her. Please, don't kick. Turn around, please, turn around," Theresa said, gasping for air as sweat trickled down her brow. The baby turned. It was a boy.

Sonia let go. Theresa's link with the baby disappeared.

"What did you do?" whispered Sonia.

"I...I don't know."

"Theresa, you made it stop? How did you do that?" Sonia gasped.

"I don't know."

"Are you a witch? I felt your energy -- it pulsed through me."

"I..." Theresa couldn't finish. Her mind reeled in confusion.

Mrs. Nocesti and Dr. Stanza rushed in.

"Sonia!" cried Dr. Stanza.

"The Queen!" exclaimed Mrs. Nocesti.

Theresa knelt, one hand clutching the couch, the other her womb. She wasn't as round as Sonia. Theresa took a deep breath. She couldn't explain what had just happened, but it had rocked her to the core of her being. No human should have the type of experience she just had. She felt the baby. She felt Sonia's pain. She learned Sonia's baby was a boy. Dare she think Sonia was right? Dare Theresa believe herself to be a witch?

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

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, Kindle, Nook, and All Romance ebooks.

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 my website, blog, and Facebook.


LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Steph and Liana,

It's definitely about the characters. ;-) The Black Sea is one I haven't seen. Some day, maybe. How much does it feature in Wolf's Torment (rev.)?

Cara Marsi said...

I enjoyed reading about the Black Sea. Any story set around the Black Sea has got to be paranormal. It just lends itself to that. Your books sound terrific. I love werewolf stories.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Nice post, Steph. I like to use my settings as characters too, particularly in Muddy Waters.

I enjoyed the excerpt. How nice for your character to be able to soothe babies in the womb. I wish I'd had a baby soother for both pregnancies. My first one was a kicker and my second one like to wrap her toes around my ribs and arch her back, grinding her head into my bladder.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Loraine, thanks for popping in. Actually, it's more of a backdrop here in this verison of the story. Delfin Castle is on a cliff overlooking the Black Sea in Constanta. Theresa & Mihai take the yacht to Varna on their honeymoon and Viktor & Sonia travel over it to go Odessa, but I wasn't able to weave in as much as I did in the IUniverse verison.

Cara, I agree, the Black Sea is a perfect setting for a paranormal tale!

Maggie, I loved how Mossy Bog just had a life of it's own in that story!

Ouch on babies! Both my boys liked doing the wave on my tummy. LOL!! Theresa enjoys children, but in the depths of angst, and fueled by Viktor, she makes an awful decision regarding her own.

I gotta have a sequel, you see...

It's great to be here on Liana's blog today!

Mona Risk said...

Steph, with everyone of your posts I learn something new about the Eastern countries. You made me love them so much, I hope to visit them soon. Your characters are so alive including the setting.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Wow, wonderful set up. Some of my family members have been to Romania, and they say it is beautiful and the people friendly but poor. Best luck with your novels!

Sarah Grimm said...

Okay, I'm off to buy this one. :)

Love the excerpt, Steph!

P.L. Parker said...

What an interesting post! The Black Sea to me has always seemed like a haunted place, so great spot for a paranormal, especially a werewolf tale.

Mimi Barbour said...

The Black Sea lends itself to visions of mystery so having this as your setting makes the book more desirable for me. Loved the excerpt!!

Stephanie Burkhart said...

When you visit take lots of pictures. I'd love to see through your eyes.

Caroline, thanks so much for sharing. I imagine it's a very rich, rural nation, but is poor. I'd love to see Bran's Castle!

Sarah, how sweet you are! I hope you enjoy it!

PL, I agree -it's a great setting for a paranormal tale. I learned alot about it doing my research that I did not know . The research was fascinating!

Mimi, glad you enjoyed the excerpt. It was a very tense scene for me to write. I had a knot in my shoulder when I was done!


Janice Seagraves said...

Good luck with the release. It sounds like an excellent read.


Stephanie Burkhart said...

Thank you, Janice.