Thursday, July 22, 2010

Destination: Berlin Blog Tour - Character Interview w/Jr. Sgt. Dimitri Nagory

Actor Jacob Young, inspiration for
Jr. Sgt. Dimitri Nagory

Stephanie Burkhart (writing as SG Cardin) was born and raised in Manchester, NH. I joined the US Army fresh out of high school in 1986 and became an MP. I spent 7 years total in Germany. My first trip to Berlin was in 1988, a year before the wall fell. I have a BS in Political Science from California Baptist University. Now I work as a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Destination: Berlin was my first book and was inspired by my trip to Berlin in 1988.

Destination: Berlin is a "sweet" romance. Corporal Sharon Cates has only one chance to get to Berlin: Soviet Jr. Sgt Dimitri Nagory.

Today, I thought I'd do something a little offbeat. Let's welcome Jr. Sgt. Dimitri Nagory to the blog for an interview. Welcome, Dimitri!

Dimitri: Thank you for having me.

Steph: So, tell us where you were born, Dimitri.

Dimitri: Moscow, Russia.

Steph: What's Moscow like?

Dimitri: Onion Domes. There are a lot of onion domes. It's cold in the winter – very, very, cold. London is like a tropical climate to me.

Steph: Why did you join the Soviet army?

Dimitri: I knew I would have to. Every 18-year-old is conscripted into the military. Knowing this, I mastered 3 different languages so I would be accepted as a linguist and I wouldn't have to go in the infantry.

Steph: What languages do you speak?

Dimitri: Russian, German, and English.
Steph: Why those languages?

Dimitri: The military always needs German and English. We have to be able to spy on the Germans, British, and Americans.

Steph: Where did you work in the military?

Dimitri: I was a good soldier so they put me in the Soviet embassy in London.

Steph: How did you meet Corporal Sharon Cates?

Dimitri: On the Berlin Duty Train. She was having a late night coffee in the dining car so I thought I'd join her. I'd never met an American female soldier before.

Steph: What happened next?

Dimitri: The duty train derailed right in the middle of Communist East Germany, and the Stasi wanted to hunt her down because she had top secret documents on her. I was terrified! I thought if I turned her into the KGB they would take the credit for it and ship me off to Afghanistan. I didn't want to die in a war zone like my father did. Not only that, there was a delicate balance of power between the USSR and USA. The Stasi threatened that peace, so in our nations' best interests, I decided to help Cpl. Cates get to Berlin.

Steph: Wouldn't that be conspicuous? Traipsing through the woods and cities of East Germany in your uniforms.

Dimitri: We stripped off all our military insignia from our uniforms and stuck to the wood line to stay out of sight. We spent our first night in an abandoned farmhouse. It was chilly. We had to sleep close to each other.

Steph: What happens if you make it to Berlin?

Dimitri: I don't know. I haven't thought past our next town, Genthin.

Steph: Thanks for the interview, Dimitri.

Dimitri: Dos Vedanya.


Quickly, Dimitri dragged the second polizei to the pile of coal, where he took off his own clothes and put on the polizei uniform. A quick check of the second polizei's wallet led to another twenty marks. Dimitri then put both of the polizei's guns in his duffle bag, holstering the Czech gun in his new uniform.

"Why, Dimitri, you look absolutely East German," said Sharon, grinning.

He chuckled for a second, then grew serious. "We can't waste time. Your wrists."

Sharon held out her wrists and Dimitri put her in handcuffs careful not to lock them. He cuffed her hands in front of her so it would be easier for her to carry her briefcase. Then he slung his duffle bag over his shoulder and they stepped out of the alley, walking toward the entrance to the Bahnhof. As they approached, a small crowd departed, dropping their eyes as Sharon and Dimitri walked through the doors.

"Everyone is so non-confrontational," Sharon whispered.

"Act like you're attempting to struggle," counseled Dimitri. "We have to put on a little bit of a show."

Sharon fidgeted as he suggested.

As the departing crowd thinned out, Sharon noticed there were only two people in the ticket booth. Dimitri pushed her toward a set of descending stairs, and as she studied it, she discovered it led to a tunnel and another set of stairs, which provided access to the train platforms. A train waited. A low rumble came from it's engine. A mechanical sign above the train flipped. Abfahrt Brandenburg 1400.

Dimitri leaned over. "We have five minutes to get on that train," he whispered.

Red Square in Moscow in Winter

Here's a link to Destination: Berlin's Book Trailer on You Tube:

Here's a link about the Berlin Duty Train on You Tube:

Destination: Berlin is a Print book only. Here's where you can buy it: Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:


Goodie Time: Post a comment. I'll pick two lucky winners out of a hat to receive an autographed postcard of the cover. Follow me on my blog tour and earn a chance to win an autographed copy of Destination: Berlin. To find out the dates on the blog tour visit my blog, "Romance Under the Moonlight."

Visit me at:

SG Cardin/Stephanie Burkhart Online

Romance Under the Moonlight

Monday, July 19, 2010

JULY 2010 Contest - Running this week 19 JUL

MY CONTEST: If you sign in to follow me, tweet, Friend me on facebook or goodreads, sign up for my FREE author newsletter on my website, subscribe to my You Tube account, you'll be entered into a draw for a GC of your choice for Amazon, B&N or Desert Breeze. My contest will run through Thursday. I'll pick two people out of a hat for the GCs.

(You don't have to sign in for all. Just subscribe to one of the links. If you subscribe to more than one, than your name gets put in the hat the number of times you subscribe.)

Here's my links. Have fun!

Find me on:




Scroll to the bottom to sign up for the FREE newsletter:



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Surprisingly, I didn't take a lot of pictures this year at Catalina. The last picture was taken this year, us in our condo that we rented. Perhaps I was too busy, perhaps I forgot more often that naught. I can't say. I'm a little disappointed in myself for not taking more.

Anyway, I shared a couple of pictures that help give you the "flavor" of Catalina. The USC marching band opened up the golf cart parade and played the Casino on the evening of the 4th. I always enjoy seeing the marching band. (It's made me a USC fan!) But there's something about loud band music that's infectious. The next picture is the boardwalk next to the water.

This year the weather was overcast the entire time. We got the last remaining bit of what's called "June Gloom" in Southern California - that last dose of mild weather before the temperatures become scorching hot. It even misted on the 4th of July.

We took the first boat out of San Pedro on Saturday morning and both the boys did well. I watched old videos on my ITunes on my Mac when Joe got bored with cartoons. We took a taxi up to our condo in Hamilton Cove. The condo was nice. Plenty of room for us and MIL & FIL. And it was nice to have our own space.

Andrew's cousins, Sam & Sandy were there with their kids and the kids had a nice time. Joe played with Cody (who is Joe's age) in the grass at Descanso beach and tuckered himself out. He feel asleep at 430 and didn't wake up until the next morning. (It can be that way with a sensory sensitive kid)

On the 4th, my DH tried to fish but it was too misty old. Andrew caught a big big fish. Andrew & I went to mass then caught up with everyone for the parade. Andrew rode in Uncle Mike's golf cart and threw out candy. I stayed with Joe on the side o the road and watched him watch the parade. He stayed in the cart and wasn't too much of a pistol. That evening we BBQ at the beach, the kids played in the sand and we watched the fireworks over the bay from the side of the road. It was Joe's first fireworks. He clapped his hand and said "OHHHHHH." He watched them for about 5 min and then went back to playing his DS!

Monday we took the kids on the glass bottom boat and saw a lot of cool fish. Joe liked it but it was hard for him to sit still. Tues it was back to the mainland. It was a nice getaway and I was so glad Joe wasn't a handful like he was last year. Can't wait for next year....


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shout out to LK Hunsaker & Mercer Library

A Basket Full of Romance is up for grabs at the Mercer PA newly renovated library!

Actually, 6 baskets with 6 different themes are up for raffle, donated by library patrons. The basket in the picture was one that fellow Classic Romance Revival authork, LK Hunsaker, put together. Loraine is a friend of the libarary and received a call for themed basket donations in the newsletter and decided to go for romance and reading!

She put out the call a few weeks before the basket was due and the Classic Romance Revival authors responded with donated books, ebooks, pens, and postcards!

I remember when I was kid growing up, I would love to visit the library in my hometown, Manchester, NH. (in the 1980's) There were all KINDS of books, audio recordings, and just plain fun stuff! Mind you, I don't go to the library like I used to, but when Loraine said she was putting this together, I wanted to participate. Libraries foster reading and creativity and I support that a lot.

The basket contains:

Print Books by CRR authors:

One Small Victory by Maryann Miller
Samael by Marion DeSisto
Turning To Nature by Marion DeSisto
Protect The Heart by LK Hunsaker
Finishing Touches by LK Hunsaker
Destination Berlin by S. G. Cardin
The Giving Meadow by Stephanie Burkhart
The Duke’s Dilemma by Rachel McNeely
The Best Selling Toy by Elaine Cantrell
A Knight’s Vow by Lindsay Townsend (donated by LK Hunsaker)
A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Deborah McGillivray (donated by LK Hunsaker)

Print Books by non-CRR authors (donated by S. G. Cardin):
Dragon Lair by Sharon K. Penman
Loving A Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney

Ebooks on CD:

Turtle Soup by Danielle Thorne
Frontier Wife by Margaret Tanner
Holly and the Millionaire by Margaret Tanner
Thin Ice by Liana Laverentz (Liana also donated 2 print books for the library to keep!)
Tarbaby Trouble by Phoebe Matthews
The Cupid Diaries “Moments in Time” – short stories by CRR Authors

Promo Items:

Pens and postcards from Stephanie Burkhart (aka S.G. Cardin)
Postcards from Phoebe Matthews
Pencils and postcards from LK Hunsaker
Flyers from Maryann Miller

Also included:

A CD sampler with the first two chapters of Finishing Touches by LK Hunsaker along with the song included in the novel: Love Is Yours And Mine by Duncan Faure, autographed by Duncan

A large red “Rose Garden” candle custom made for the basket by

A few Hershey Kisses for flavor ;-)

So if you’re in the Mercer County area and would love a little romance and reading break, grab raffle tickets at the library! And be sure to check out the authors above who so generously donated to help build the library’s fund! (All romances in the basket are on the classic side. Check CRR for details.)

Thanks Loraine for doing this!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Excerpt - Destination: Berlin


Stuck in a routine job in Cold War Germany guarding nuclear weapons. U.S. Army Corporal Sharon Cates thinks she is going to Berlin to attend an orientation tour. Unknown to her, the briefcase she carries contains top-secret information that the Stasi and KGB are willing to kill for.

Russian Junior Sergeant Dimitri Nagory is an assistant to a high-ranking Soviet officer in his country’s embassy in England. Dimitri isn’t expecting a great adventure as she boards the duty train for a routine trip to headquarters in Berlin, and he certainly isn’t expecting to meet any Americans.

The Stasi derail the train in the middle of East Germany, expecting to take the information from Sharon’s dead body, but when the sudden explosion hurls Sharon and Dimitri from the train and into each other’s arms, can they find their way to Berlin before the Stasi do?


Spies. Espionage. Danger. The Berlin duty train hinted at it all, as it carried the four allies between the West and occupied Berlin. Corporal Sharon Cates was high on the potential thrill, but her military common sense kept her anchored to the fact that hints rarely ever gave way to facts.

She walked through the doors and into the duty train’s dining car, wearing her class “A” uniform. It was relatively empty. A lone concession window was open selling coffee and brötchen. She bought a cup and sat down next to a window. It was dark outside, and she couldn’t see much. Glancing at her watch, she saw that it was two o’clock. Sharon knew she should be asleep, but she was too excited. Soon she’d be in Berlin, and she was thrilled. Going to Berlin would be stepping into living history. She put her briefcase on the table and took out a guidebook to Berlin, thumbing through it as she drank her coffee.

A faint creak pierced the air. When Sharon looked up, she spied a Soviet soldier also buying a cup of coffee. A warm shiver slid down her spine. After all, she knew the Soviets also used the duty train; she just thought she’d never see one. He was tall and filled out his uniform well. From the markings on his uniform, she gathered he was a non-commissioned officer, but that was all. To her surprise, he approached her booth.

“Good morning, Corporal. I am Junior Sergeant Dimitri Nagory of the Soviet Army. May I join you?”

Sharon looked up. He was talking to her—in English! She motioned to him to have a seat.

Dimitri sat down and smiled. “If you don’t mind my asking, what’s your name, Corporal?”
"Sharon,” she answered, as distantly as possible. She never thought she’d meet a Soviet soldier on the Berlin Duty Train. This felt like a page out of a LeCarre spy novel. “Sharon Cates.”

“Is this your first time on the duty train?” he asked.

Sharon stared at him. Nosey Soviet. Cpt. Heathers had cautioned her about them during her security briefing.

“Because it is the first time I have seen you,” Dimitri continued, sipping his coffee.

“Ah, yes,” Sharon finally answered. Should she finally entertain those thoughts of espionage and secret spy scenarios? “It’s my first trip to Berlin,” she added.

“I see. Are you attending the Berlin Orientation Tour?”

“How did you know?”

“Most of the Americans I see on the train travel to Berlin for that purpose,” Dimitri explained, grinning.

“If you don’t mind my asking, why are you on the train?” Despite the desire to keep her composure, her lips curved into an inquisitive smile.

“I work in the Soviet embassy in London. My headquarters are in East Berlin. I travel between London and Berlin every two weeks,” he answered.

“And you can tell me that?” she asked, raising a surprised eyebrow.

“It’s common knowledge,” he added.

“Do you make it a habit to talk to Americans on the train?” Sharon asked.

“No, I don’t. I usually sleep in my train car, but I haven’t had much to eat today so they let me out to do that,” he replied.

“Touché,” she said curtly. “So, Jr. Sgt. Nagory, what do you do in your army?”

The book is “sweet” by romance standards as Sharon and Dimitri, enemies due to their armies, are forced to rely on each other to get to Berlin.

Book Trailer:

You can buy the book at: (search the bookstore for Destination: Berlin)
and at:

A tautly written military adventure.” – Midwest Book Review

There's a little bit of everything mixed into this story. There's history, adventure, suspense, romance and of course so military jargon. The author does a good job though, of simplifying the military lingo, so that it never becomes a burden to understand. The story flows well, and moves along quickly. If you're looking for a good story to keep you occupied for a night or two, I'd highly recommend this one. – Book of the Moment Reviewer

Destination Berlin is a military thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. - Starrstruck

"Destination: Berlin," kept my rapt attention from the first page through to the last though. As I finished the story I realized with a smile that I actually quite enjoyed it." - 4 Stars, Book of the Moment, Reviewer.

"Inspired by the author's own experiences taking a trip to Berlin, serving the Army's Military Police Corps, and studying history, Destination Berlin is a tautly written saga of mistrust, determination, and survival." - 5 Stars, Midwest Book Review.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

History Saturday - Princess Victoria of Kent

173 years ago on 20 June 1837, 18-year-old Princess Victoria of Kent succeeded to the throne. As Queen Victoria, she was one of Britain’s most endearing monarchs; as Princess Victoria of Kent and heir presumptive to the throne, her early life forged the strength and endurance she would display as a monarch.

Victoria’s story starts with the sad death of Charlotte Wales, the only legitimate child of George, Prince of Wales and Prince Regent at the time. In 1817, Charlotte, the heir to the throne was 20 years old. Her death was a tragedy. She died after giving birth to a stillborn son. The next generation, and England’s promising monarch, was gone.

At the time of Charlotte’s death, George III was king, but was a raving lunatic. His son, George, had been the Prince Regent since 1810. George, the Prince Regent was 55 years old when Charlotte died. He was estranged from his wife, and would have no more children.

His brothers, Fredrick, William, and Edward were middle-aged and unmarried, however they were devoted to their mistresses and lovers. It was time for them to seek out legitimate wives.

Fredrick was married, but estranged from his wife. He wasn’t having any legitimate children. (It was rumored he sired numerous bastards) William, Duke of Clarence, had a 20 year relationship with an actress, Dorothy Jordan, and they had 10 children. (illegitimate, of course) However, when Charlotte Wales died, William sought out a proper wife and married Adelaide of Saxe-Menigenen. Sadly, the two daughters William fathered with Adelaide died in infancy.

Victoria’s father, Edward, was chosen to approach Victoria, a German princess of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield. (to be referred to as Victoria of SCS to differentiate her from her daughter, Victoria.) Victoria was older, 31, a widow with two young sons.

Edward, Duke of Kent, Victoria's Father
At the time, Edward had lived with his lover, Madame St. Laurent. She was not British royalty, and had in fact, escaped from the French Revolution. According to the Royal Marriages Act, he was not allowed to marry her. Knowing he now had a duty to take a legitimate wife, Edward set out to Germany to propose to Victoria of SCS.

There’s an interesting little side note which Jean Plaidy, (Victoria Holt writing with a pen name) wrote about in her book, “Victoria Victorious,” that relates how Edward, on his way to visit his future wife in Germany stopped to stay the night at an inn. A gypsy was there, and for a lark, he asked her to tell him his fortune. She said he would father a great Queen. He insisted that it be a king, but the gypsy said no, he would father a queen. Moved by these words, Edward carried out his plans to marry Victoria of SCS with no regrets.

In May 1819, Young Victoria of Kent was born at Kensington Palace.

The Prince Regent didn’t care for Victoria’s mother. It’s hard to say at this point why. (Later, it would be Victoria of SCS employment of John Conroy which would fuel the dislike.) Plaidy implies that the Prince Regent thought Victoria of SCS had bad taste. He was a real dandy and everything he did was in good taste. The initial conflict stemmed from that.

When it came time for baby Victoria to be christened, etiquette demanded the Regent approve her names. Needless to say, George, Edward, and his wife didn’t agree.

Baby Victoria was presented to the Regent. George said, “Name her Alexandrina.” (After Alexander I of Russia, Britain’s ally in the Napoleonic wars) Edward winced. He whispered, “Charlotte” to George.
George shook his head in disapproval.
“Augusta,” suggested Edward.
“Name her Victoria after her mother,” said George. Then he walked off.

So instead of having a dynastic name, young Victoria was given only two names that weren’t in the House of Hanover.

Edward was poor. He’d gotten some money for his household, but not enough. He contemplated going to Germany to live because it was cheaper, but caught a cold which quickly turned into pneumonia. He died just 8 months after his daughter was born.

George III died in 1820 and the Prince Regent became George IV. Fredrick, his brother became the Heir Presumptive.

Victoria of SCS was to quarrel with George IV the rest of his life. After Edward’s death, Victoria of SCS hired John Conroy to help run her house. George IV (and later his brother, William IV) disapproved of him, seeing him for the money grubber he was. It was rumored John Conroy and Victoria of SCS were lovers.

As a child, Victoria learned to speak German first. After she turned 3, she was taught English. Young Victoria was subject to what her mother called the Kensington System. Someone had to be with Victoria at all times – even in the bedroom. They had to hold her hand going upstairs. Young Victoria never slept alone.

Victoria wrote in her diary often. As a young girl, she would visit George IV and call him Uncle King. George IV enjoyed the young girl’s company, but because of his dislike for Victoria of SCS, the visits to Uncle King weren’t as often as Young Victoria would have liked.

Victoria had a descent education, but led a very sheltered life because of her mother’s Kensington System. In 1827, Fredrick died, making William of Clarence the Heir Presumptive. George IV died in 1830, making William king. William was 65 years old when he became king. Young Victoria was now the Heir Presumptive.

Victoria was 11 when Uncle King died. It was during this time she learned her importance to the throne. Her governess, Baroness Lehzen, showed her a book of the House of Hanover and Victoria’s place in it. When young Victoria realized her role in the succession, she was reported to have said, “I will be good.”

In 1830, Parliament passed the Regency Act, naming Victoria of SCS Regent should Victoria come to the throne before her 18th birthday.

William shuddered at the thought of a regency knowing how Victoria SCS and John Conroy were. He was determined to hang onto the crown until Victoria turned 18 and could take the throne without a regency. He did what he could to see Victoria, offering her a salary and her own house without her mother, but his attempts were rebuffed by Victoria of SCS.

Emily Blount, in character as young Victoria from the movie, "Young Victoria."
Now a teenager, Victoria was determined to assert her independence. She could see how bad the restrictive polices of her mother and John Conroy were. Conroy tried time and again to get young Victoria to accept a regency, but she refused.

Stubborn William IV lived to see Victoria’s 18th birthday in May 1837. He died a month later on 20 June 1837.

Victoria was told of the king’s passing in the middle of the night. She expressed her sorrow, but issued her first edict – that night, for the first time in her life Victoria slept in her room alone.

Epilogue: When Victoria met with her privy council for the first time, the proclamation was drafted for “Alexandrina Victoria" to sign (her names, right?) She simply signed it, “Victoria.”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guest Author Series - Welcome Tina Pinson

Tina Pinson is a fellow author with me at Desert Breeze Publishing. She lives in Colorado and her latest release is "In the Manor of the Ghost," an inspriational romance. Welcome, Tina!

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind "In The Manor of Ghost?"

In the Manor of the Ghost has romance, a love story and a ghost. And I'd traveled to Minnesota and wanted to use that as the backdrop for a book. But mainly it was written as a reminder that some of the houses we reside in aren't always made of lumber or stones. They are fashioned from our fears and are as thick around us as a wall might be. And some of the Ghosts we face are those fears, real or perceived they haunt us.

I built some lovely walls about myself, and I think where I was at in life pulled the story out of me. Made me deal with some of my fears of inadequacy. I identified with Kaitlin, because I'd lost a loved one, (my father had passed away not long before) and I wondered if and I fit in, but I think identified more with Devlin in some aspects of the story and his journey to find himself.

STEPH: Can you tell us a little about the plot?

In the Manor of the Ghost takes place in Minnesota, 1972. Devlin is a lawyer, with a unique background. His spirit and trust were torn, leaving him to question if love can ever be his again. Although he seems gruff on the surface, he has a quiet accepting spirit. The Manor Devlin lives in, was once a place of joy and safety. It was used as a safe house during the Indian Raids a decade earlier. After losing his wife and daughter, Clayborne Manor has become a dark, sad place with too many haunting memories. But the walls around Devlin's spirit seem to be almost as thick as the Manor's.

Kaitlin lost her husband and daughter in a fire, and went through years of therapy for her burns. She hopes moving to Minnesota to live with her sister, Constance, will help heal her spirit.

Accepting a contract to marry Devlin, Kaitlin finds herself living in the Clayborne Manor. When she begins to uncover secrets and resurrect ghosts, she questions the sanity of her choice. Does she have the strength to break down the walls that confine those who reside in the Manor? Does she have the faith to lead them to the one who sets the captive free? I find Kaitlin's resilience, gentle and loving spirit endearing.

STEPH: Is this the first novel you wrote?

My first novel, a four-part serial, takes the main characters through loss in the Civil war and on the Oregon trail to Oregon. Someday I hope to get it published. STEPH: That sounds really cool, Tina. You should get it published!

STEPH: Do you cast your characters? If so, who are your leads?

I don't always cast my characters. I write them and sometimes try to find the face that fits. In this case, Devlin would be a young Adrian Paul, during his Highlander years. Kaitlin would be Zoey Deschanel.

STEPH: How long have you been writing? What gave you the itch to write?

I started writing in elementary school, I tell people I started because I was always getting in trouble making up stories to save my hide from getting in trouble, and writing fiction gave me an outlet for my imagination. There is probably some truth to that, but I always loved words, could see stories in my head for years and decided to start writing them down.

STEPH: I see you write inspirational. Have you written any other genres? What other genres appeal to you?

I haven't written much beyond inspirational. I believe strongly that God blessed me with my imagination and I should use it to touch lives with His love, and truth somehow. If I wasn't an inspirational writer I suppose I'd have to write those hot and heavily sensual exotic sex type stories. OKAY, I AM SO KIDDING. I would probably tackle murder mysteries or sci-fi. I am working on a Sci-fi right now, but I have an inspirational thread in it.

STEPH: Do you have any words for an aspiring writer?

You will be tested, you will learn to persevere, you will be disheartened, and want to give up several times a day. But hang in there, study, learn your craft, research, and read, all those things are important, but first and foremost, write from the heart and imagination that God gave you. Use the voice and gift he gave you. He gave it to you for such a time as this and no one else can write quite like you do.

STEPH: What's your writer's space like?

Sometimes it's actually clean, I'm kind of a disorganized/organized person. Certain things like my cupboards I like to put everything in their row. Beans, soups, corn… writing I have stacks and binders for what I'm working on. Of course, right now I don't even have a desk, so I have a black bag with the stacks I'm working on, and use the corner of the couch or my treadmill when writing.

STEPH: What's the last movie you saw?

Went and saw the Last Air Bender.

STEPH: Thanks for being here today, Tina.
You can find Tina's book, available as an EBook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Sony Store, All Romance, Books on Board, and soon on Borders Ebook store, and Kobo.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Book Review Friday - Gaining Ground

Written by: Gail Delaney
Desert Breeze Publishing
ISBN: 1-936000-88-1
Ebook Format
5 Stars

Reviewed by: S. Burkhart

"Gaining Ground" is a pulse-pounding installment of The Phoenix Rebellion filled with excitement, heartbreak, and love. Set in the near future, 2053, the Areth are an alien race who have come to Earth to share their medical technology, but they soon reveal more sinister motives.

The novel opens with LT Jason (Jace) Quinn as a prisoner of the Areth. Phoenix field agent, Jackie Anderson, finds him and frees him. Jason is weak, dehydrated, and malnourished. He also has no memory of his recent life including his time with Phoenix, or his wife, Lilly.

Lilly is a doctor for the Phoenix base in Tennessee. Jace is taken there to recover. Lilly hopes her presence during his covalence will help jar his memory. After pushing herself too hard, she collapses in front of him. It brings a rush of memories forward in Jace and he finally remembers her. Unfortunately, the Areth prison has done its job and left his heart a cold shell of its former self. Can Lilly bring him to remember the passion of their marriage?

Beverly Surrimoto, the second in charge of the base, continues her passionate affair with Victor, the Areth traitor who now lives with Phoenix. The demon in Victor's mind makes him aware of a chilling secret that Victor withholds from Beverly. When the secret is revealed, can Beverly bring herself to forgive him?

Col. Nick Tanner finds the Eumanei home world. The Eumanei are a humanoid race who appear willing to help him, but Nick has second thoughts when he discovers that the Eumanei and the Areth are allies.

Before the end of the novel, new alliances are forged, some old alliances are shattered, and the Rebellion learns that moving forward to regain their world won't be easy.

"Gaining Ground" is smartly written, keeping the reader turning the page. Delaney hooks the reader from page one. The story flows well, and Delany weaves the threads of the plot together effortlessly. Delaney uses a good economy of words to paint her futuristic world without lingering.

Delaney has assembled an all-star cast which shines in this installment. Nick is a battle tested soldier whose determination to complete his task is a trait to be admired. His son, Michael, is a steadfast and loyal member of the Rebellion. Lilly's quiet strength and inner courage inspire Jace to find himself. Beverly's love helps Victor tame the monster within.

The love scenes in the novel are sensual and tasteful for romance readers. "Gaining Ground" has it all – love, betrayal, heartbreak, and hope.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

California Thursday - Catalina Island

The 4th of July is around the corner and that means it's time for the family to go Catalina Island.

I love spending the 4th at Catalina. It's low-key and relaxed, something I enjoy. I first went to Catalina for the 4th with my husband before we had kids in 2000. We had a BBQ buffet at the casino and enjoyed the fireworks from the balcony over the water. It was gorgeous. I remember at the time I said it was the best 4th of July I ever had.

Avalon is the big city on the Island. It's on the southern tip. Two Harbors is a smaller town on the northern part of the island and is geared for campers. Avalon has several hotels, restaurants, a couple of stores, and plenty of beach front. Avalon usually has bus tours that go around the island. They offer parasailing and underwater tours as well. *wink to Dani Thorne who loves the water!*
I've gone on a couple of underwater boat tours which were cool. I'd love to try the parasailing. Just recently they put a zip line in that takes about 2 hours for the adventurous types.

But nothing beats the 4th. The USC marching band opens up the Golf Cart Parade on the 4th of the July. Golf carts are the prefered method of travel on the island and everyone decks out their golf cart for the parade. The live band music is invigorating. A little later on, the band plays at the BBQ buffet in the casino. After the Golf cart parade we usually go back to Hamilton Cove (we usually rent out a condo for the weekend) and BBQ. When the lights get low, we go find a spot on the main drag and watch the fireworks. Last year, Joe, who was 2 1/2 at the time slept right though the fireworks.

We take off for Catalina on Saturday the 3rd and return back on the 6th.
Here are some pics from visits in the past and to everyone - have a Happy 4th.