A Gentleman and a Rogue

Sunday, February 24, 2013

6 Sentence Sunday - 99 cent sweet contemporary romance - A Polish Heart




A POLISH HEART
Sweet Contemporary/Inspirational Romance
99 cent Novella
Blurb: Can Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back? 

*****


"What's wrong?" Sofia asked.
"My parents are pressuring me to return to the States."
"It's your decision to make. Poland is not like America, and your Rhode Island sounds wonderful."
"Sofia—"


************

BOOK TRAILER LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC6_397PerU

Review:
"Sofia and Darrin's story is a heartwarming one. Totally enjoyable read." - Tara Manderino, Amazon Reader

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON:http://amzn.com/B007AS29AO

BARNES & NOBLE:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-polish-heart-stephanie-burkhart/1111503774?ean=2940033247875

SONY EBOOK STORE: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/stephanie-burkhart/a-polish-heart/_/R-400000000000000712746

SMASHWORDS:  
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164429

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Next Big Thing! The Secret Door - paranormal romance




I just want to give a shout out to Jude Urbanski who invited me to The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. You can find Jude at: http://judeurbanski.blogspot.com.  If you have a minute stop on by her blog and find out what her next big thing is.

Now for my "Next Big Thing" 

What is the working title of your book?

The Secret Door

Where did the idea come from for the book?  

            This is book 4 in the Budapest Moon series and it was born out of book 3.  In book 3, Zoltan Kristos is the "bad" guy. He's a werewolf intent on making Morgan Duma his, but she doesn't want him. Zoltan does some questionable things - including turning Morgan into a werewolf herself. I wanted to tell Zoltan's story in book 4 and go about redeaming him. 


What genre does your book fall under?  

          This is a paranormal romance with werewolves and witches.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  
Joseph Finnes inspiration for "Zoltan"
           
            For Zoltan, I'd pick Joseph Finnes. For Sophia, I'd pick Amy Adams as "Amelia Earhart" from Night at the Museum. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  
           
            Can Zoltan save his witch from being hunted by an evil werewolf with Sophia's help. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

            This book is published with a small press and is now avail. as an ebook. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  

            About 3 months. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  
Amy Adams inspiraton for "Sophia" 

         I haven't read too many other books, but I have read Karen Michelle Nutt's paranormals and I loved them.  I love Karen's writing. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?  

           The inspiration was to tell Zoltan's story. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There's a lot of action, adventure, and secrets that spill out as Zoltan works to keep his witch safe. There's never a dull moment. 

Reviews:

"The Secret Door's exciting action, paranormal elements, and romance will not disappoint a reader." - Joy Cagil, Amazon Reader
"I was quite pleased to find an original take on the werewolf mythology and was impressed by the author's choice of location and historical accuracy. The Secret Door is a fun read and is highly recommended." - 5 Stars, Jack Magnus, Reader's Favorite Reviews, 

BUY LINKS:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

6 Sentence Sunday - 99 cent sweet contemporary romance - A Polish Heart



A POLISH HEART
Sweet Contemporary/Inspirational Romance
99 cent Novella
Blurb: Can Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back? 

*****

Dracek crossed his arms and glared at Darrin, jealousy laced in his eyes. "Because of Sofia?"
"Yes."
"You will only break her heart, American. You will go back to your country and leave. I see how she looks at you. It's you she wants."
"Not you?" asked Darrin, tersely. Anxiety coiled around his limbs.
"I have known Sofia since we were children. I just want her to be happy, but I am not convinced of your sincerity."



************

BOOK TRAILER LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC6_397PerU

Review:
"Sofia and Darrin's story is a heartwarming one. Totally enjoyable read." - Tara Manderino, Amazon Reader

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON:http://amzn.com/B007AS29AO

BARNES & NOBLE:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-polish-heart-stephanie-burkhart/1111503774?ean=2940033247875

SONY EBOOK STORE: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/stephanie-burkhart/a-polish-heart/_/R-400000000000000712746

SMASHWORDS:  
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164429

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The History behind St. Valentine's Day



I'm a little late on this, so forgive. Someone asked me about St. Valentine so I thought I'd share.  Valentine's story is mired in myth and legend. No one knows the definitive background of this romantic Saint, but we do know he existed – and inspired long ago.

What we do know isn't much. Archaeologists have uncovered a tomb in the Old Roman catacombs dedicated to the Saint. In 496 A.D., 14 February was declared a day of honor to the Saint by Pope Gelassius.

There are three prevailing myths surrounding Valentine. The first one dates back to when Claudius II was Emperor of Rome, in the 3rd Century A.D. (270 A.D., to be exact) Claudius determined single men made better soldiers and forbid the Roman soldiers to marry. Valentine, a priest, defied Claudius and married the soldiers. When Claudius found out what Valentine was doing, he had him put to death.  

The second myth, which could easily blend into the first, had Valentine in jail. (Probably awaiting his fate that Claudius had decreed)  While in prison, Valentine fell in love with the jailor's daughter. Before he was put to death, he sent her a letter and signed it, "From Your Valentine," thus, staring an expression that you can still find on Valentine cards today.

The third myth, which again, could easily blend into the first and second, making this all one myth, involves the pagan Roman celebration called Lupercalia. The Romans considered February the start of spring and with the onset of spring, they found it a time for purification. Houses were cleaned and swept. Salt and wheat were sprinkled throughout their home as part of their custom of purification. Lupercalia began on the Ides of February (15 February) and dedicated to the Roman god of fertility as well as the Roman founders of Romulus and Remus.

The church had a habit of taking pagan Roman celebrations and fitting them into the calendar to make them more "politically correct." It was Pope Gelassius who outlawed Lupercalia, and it was believe St. Valentine's feast day replaced it in order to "Christianize" the pagan ritual. 

While the official reason has been lost to history, I don't see why all three of these myths can't be melded together to found the basis of the day we celebrate now.

Interestingly, different cultures nowadays have different takes on the 14th of February. In the Western world, cards, flowers, and chocolates are traditional gifts. In Finland, it's known as Friend's Day and it extends to friends as well as loved one.

In Turkey, the day is known as Sweetheart's Day. Interesting since most of Turkey follows Islam. In most Asian countries, notably Japan, the only recognition of St. Valentine's Day is a custom where only the women give men chocolate. There is a reply day for the men to return the favor to the women.

Countries like India, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan try to have the holiday banned. At a minimum, the governments in those countries discourage participation, but there is a thriving black market of roses and wrapping paper.

Information taken from Online Sources including Wikipedia.

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Her story, "A Polish Heart" is a 99 cent novella now on sale.  BLURB: Can Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back?

"This is an excellent read. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. When the hero literally turns his life upside to be with Sofia, just touched my heart. I'll definitely be looking for more stories by this promising author." - vlvm, 5 Stars, Amazon Reader 


Opening Line: This was going to be the most challenging thing he'd ever done in his life. 



Friday, February 15, 2013

Book Review Friday - All I Want for Christmas is Big Blue Eyes




Title:
All I Want for Christmas is Big Blue Eyes
Written by:
Claire Ashgrove

Available in: ebook & print 

5 Stars 

"All I Want for Christmas is Big Blue Eyes" captures the spirit of the holiday. Ever since Amanda Masterston was a teenager, her heart belonged to Josh McDaniels. Unfortunately, Josh was slammed with the ruin of his parents' marriage and his father's death. He ran away from his past and left Amanda to deal with her heartbreak. Can he mend their relationship when he returns to Lexington to work on an architectural project?

Set against the backdrop of Christmas, Josh is reluctant to return, but once he sees Amanda after an absence of several years, he's ready, yet nervous, to forge a new path for himself. Will the same lingering hurts and obstacles keep them apart?

Ashgrove's writing is easy to read and immediately pulls the reader into Josh and Amanda's world. The plot flows well and the descriptions are so vivid, I could smell the cookies baking in Amanda's stove.

The most rewarding part of the story is the journey Josh and Amanda take. Both have been deeply hurt. Ashgrove is a master in bringing out her character's inner conflict and finding the right balance between that conflict and the healing power of love.  It's poignant, charming, with a fantastic supporting cast. It doesn't have to be Christmas to enjoy the story.

The story contains several love scenes that embody the passionate, intense emotions Josh and Amanda share. The allure of Christmas will draw you in, the angst will have you on the edge of your seat, and the ending promises a heartwarming twist. "All I Want for Christmas is Big Blue Eyes" will have you believing in Christmas miracles. A definite page turner.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's Creative Romance Month!



I was exploring themes for February and came across the fact that February was Creative Romance Month. When I tried to look for information on the inspiration for making February Creative Romance Month, I couldn't find much.

So I had to wonder, was February named Creative Romance Month since Valentines Day falls during February or was there another reason? Just what is "creative" romance?

Approach #1
Valentines Day is a day that celebrates love. We associate hearts, flowers, hugs, cards, romantic dinners and other gestures with the day. I suppose all these traditional gestures could get stale after a while. Love, stale? I can't imagine. It's time to get creative!

Ideas:
Share a coffee & chocolate with your sweetie.
Try a new restaurant you haven't tried before.


Approach #2
As a romance writer, it's about the characters and the conflicts they have to overcome to become a couple. The more 'creative' the conflict, the more intriguing the romance.  I'd use Creative Romance Month to inspire the conflict.


Question for you: So what approach speaks to you – one or two? Do you have any creative ideas you'd like to share? How do you keep your romance fresh and creative?

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. She writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and steampunk romance. Sharing a nip of chocolate with her boys and a nice dinner with her husband is her idea of the ultimate Valentine.

A Polish Heart
Sweet Contemporary/Inspirational Romance
99 cent Novella
Blurb: Can Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back? 

*****

"He wants to know what you want to talk about," said Dracek in a heavy accent.
"You speak English?" Surprise laced Darrin's voice.
"I speak enough. I have not taken the exams like Sofia has."
"Well, I'd like to know if he has a position for me here at the company."
"You wish to work in Poland?" There was a cold edge to his voice.
"I do."
Dracek crossed his arms and glared at Darrin, jealousy laced in his eyes. "Because of Sofia?"
"Yes."
"You will only break her heart, American. You will go back to your country and leave. I see how she looks at you. It's you she wants."



BOOK TRAILER LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC6_397PerU

Review:
"Sofia and Darrin's story is a heartwarming one. Totally enjoyable read." - Tara Manderino, Amazon Reader

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON:http://amzn.com/B007AS29AO

BARNES & NOBLE:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-polish-heart-stephanie-burkhart/1111503774?ean=2940033247875

SONY EBOOK STORE: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/stephanie-burkhart/a-polish-heart/_/R-400000000000000712746

SMASHWORDS:  
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164429


Sunday, February 10, 2013

6 Sentence Sunday - 99 cent sweet contemporary Romance - A Polish Heart




A POLISH HEART
Sweet Contemporary/Inspirational Romance
99 cent Novella
Blurb: Can Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back? 

*****


Darrin began washing the peppers.
"What are you doing, Darrin?" asked Basia.
Sofia turned around from talking with her mother.
"I'm washing the peppers," he said.
"Oh, I can do that." Basia walked to the sink.
"It's okay. I can do it."
"Basia, Darrin is a bit of a cook. He watches the Food Network," said Sofia.

************

BOOK TRAILER LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC6_397PerU

Review:
"Sofia and Darrin's story is a heartwarming one. Totally enjoyable read." - Tara Manderino, Amazon Reader

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON:http://amzn.com/B007AS29AO

BARNES & NOBLE:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-polish-heart-stephanie-burkhart/1111503774?ean=2940033247875

SONY EBOOK STORE: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/stephanie-burkhart/a-polish-heart/_/R-400000000000000712746

SMASHWORDS:  
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164429

Sunday, February 3, 2013

6 Sentence Sunday - 99 cent sweet contemporary romance: A Polish Heart




A POLISH HEART
Sweet Contemporary/Inspirational Romance
99 cent Novella
Blurb: Can Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back? 

*****

"What's the real Darrin like?" she asked.
He paused. "I don't know."

"Of course you do. Tell me your favorites."
He arched an eyebrow. "Favorite what?"

"Favorite things. It doesn't matter." Her smile warmed his heart. She cared. His favorite things mattered to her.

"I like the New England Patriots. They're an American football team. I like comic books, traveling, designing buildings, listening to music, and anything technical."



************

BOOK TRAILER LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC6_397PerU

Review:
"Sofia and Darrin's story is a heartwarming one. Totally enjoyable read." - Tara Manderino, Amazon Reader

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON:http://amzn.com/B007AS29AO

BARNES & NOBLE:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-polish-heart-stephanie-burkhart/1111503774?ean=2940033247875

SONY EBOOK STORE: https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/stephanie-burkhart/a-polish-heart/_/R-400000000000000712746

SMASHWORDS:  
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/164429

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Drama - It's Groundhog Day!

Punxsutawney Phil

Groundhog Day is popular in the US. If the groundhog sees his shadow, it's another six weeks of winter. If he doesn't spring comes early. 

Here's what the History Channel has to say: (http://www.groundhog.org/groundhog-day/history/)


If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.
If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The Groundhog tradition has it's roots in "Candlemas Day," from early Christians in Europe: 

According to an old English song:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

According to an old Scotch couplet:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There'll be twa (two) winters in the year.

Another variation of the Scottish rhyme:

If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
The half o' winter to come and mair,
If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
The half of winter's gone at Yule.

When Pennsylvannia's settlers started moving into the state, most of them were German and found a lot of groundhogs. The groundhogs resembled the European hedgehog and they began groundhog day.

The most famous groundhog has to be Punxsutawney Phil.

Other US Groundhogs:

Woody in Howell, MI
Sir Walter Wally, Raleigh, NC
Chattanooga Chuck, Chattanooga, TN
French Creek Freddie, French Creek, WV
Gus, Athens, GA
Buckeye Chuck, Marion, OH

Question for you: Do you believe in Groundhog Day?  Did you see the movie? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


My latestest release is A GENTLEMAN AND A ROGUE, Book 2 in The Windsor Diaries. 

Reviews: "I was hooked in it and did not want it to end. All of you romantic historical fans don’t miss this one – it is a winner." - 5 Stars, Trudi LoPreto for Reader's Favorites


ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS:
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thewindsordiariesbookthreeagentlemanandarogue-996194-141.html

BARNES & NOBLE (NOOK)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-windsor-diaries-book-two-stephanie-burkhart/1113777499?ean=2940015869538

AMAZON (KINDLE:)




Friday, February 1, 2013

A sneak peek at The Secret Door - paranormal romance



"The Secret Door" is Book 4 in the Budapest Moon Series.

Here's some back story:

Zoltan Kristos from book 3 is the hero in this one and he's after Lady Sophia Varga. It's 1927 in Hungary and Sophia is now an actress.   Can Zoltan save his witch, Inna, from an dangerous werewolf with Sophia's help?

Enjoy this excerpt:


"Inna has a concussion." Sophia paused, offering him a sympathetic smile. "She had a deep gash behind her ear when she came to us last night. Rita, Tomas' wife, stitched the wound, but her pupils are still dilated, and she's dizzy. Rita's with her now. As soon as Inna's better, Rita will send her to you."

"I have your word that's the extent of her injuries?"

"Yes." Sophia slid off his pajama bottoms, leaving only his undergarment covering his manhood. Then she took the jar of lotion and scooped out a handful, positioning herself near the end of the bed where his feet rested. As a wolf he needed the lotion, made of rose petals, camphor, and aloe, to heal his skin. Usually Inna applied the healing crème. Zoltan scooted toward the headrest, positioning his back against the board as he finished his drink. The liquid warmed his throat and heated his stomach. The elixir accelerated and augmented his healing factor, giving his muscles and joints a chance to recover from their distended positioning as a wolf. Even now he internally felt the muscles and bone coming together in the break of his arm, and he felt the skin mending in his shoulder. Still, it would take days for the injuries to fully heal, but days would be infinitely more tolerable than weeks.

He glanced at Sophia. Determination furrowed her brow. Zoltan appreciated her initiative and her desire to take Inna's place. Sophia had a giving heart, one Zoltan admired. He leaned over and grabbed the wooden tray off the nightstand, quite a feat for him since he wasn't that good with his left hand. There was a plate of food on it -- eggs, chicken, milk, and potatoes -- items that helped his healing factor as well. Starving, he shoveled the food awkwardly into his mouth.

Sophia rubbed the lotion onto his foot, and Zoltan drew in a sharp, involuntary breath. Adrenaline rushed through his limbs, sparking his feral attraction.

"Are you all right?" she asked. "I'm not using too much pressure, am I?"


"No -- your touch is fine."

She continued her work, her firm hands expertly working the thick lotion into the deep cracks and pits of his feet. Relief was immediate. Zoltan tilted his head back and closed his eyes, savoring Sophia's caress. By the heavens, the woman had no idea what she did to him. His skin blazed with heat where she touched him – a combination of the healing properties belonging to the lotion and her caress.
Opening his eyes, his gaze fell upon the lovely young woman who remained focused on her task, rubbing the lotion onto his other foot now. Zoltan finished his meal and placed the tray back on the nightstand.

Sophia Varga was the one woman who haunted his thoughts. He had met her five years ago at the Harvest Ball, the night of his ennoblement. She lit up like an angel before his eyes, her golden aura matching and blending perfectly with his. Never once had she looked away from him that night. Instead, she gazed into his eyes without fear like she did now, and he appreciated that.