Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Inspiration - Good looking Man Monday

Sigh...I love these eyes.

That said I have one question for you: Is our good looking man a hero or a villian? What gives you that vibe?

Love to hear your thoughts.

Stephanie's latest book is a spicy contemporary romance: "Feast of Candles."

Blurb: Drake takes the biggest chance of his life on a bottle of wine. Can he break through Lily's battlements that surround her heart?

Here's a link:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - Feast of Candles

I thought I'd share six sentences from one of my latest releases, Feast of Candles. This is a spicy contemporary romance set in Napa Valley, CA. Off we go...


He drew close, pressing the length of his body against hers. Her pulse quickened even as a sense of caution flooded through her. She opened her eyes and placed her hand over his, while placing her other hand over his chest to stop him from drawing closer.
Despite her attraction, she wasn't quite ready to allow a kiss.

He stared into her eyes, keeping his hand on her waist. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing." She hesitated. "Everything. You..." her voice trailed off.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Welcome Guest Author - Jordan Bollinger

STEPH: What's the plot for "Leap of Faith?"

JORDAN: The basic plot for 'Duty with Honor-Leap of Faith' is an old one: Woman meets man; she runs and he pursues; and after a series of misunderstandings and mishaps, they become a couple. Book One introduces the characters, and sets up the premise for the series.

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the main story?

JORDAN: My inspiration for the initial story was anger--well, frustration. I was taking a writing class, and the assignment was to write a story about a twenty-year-old girl, who falls in love. Well, I was on the backside of forty-five and nearing the end of an twenty-five year marriage. Something in me just snapped. Why is love only for the young. Didn't older ladies deserve passion and romance? Didn't I deserve passion and romance. I never did finish that class. Instead, I was off and running on writing the story of what I wanted in my life.

STEPH: How do the heroine and hero meet?

JORDAN: My heroine's brother talks her into meeting him in New York City, and springs his friend on her as a blind date.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story?

JORDAN: Well, hopefully, the cover art not only catches the readers' eye, but tells them that this isn't a love story for sissies. And, that this heroine isn't a shrinking violet, but a take charge kind of girl.

STEPH: 5. What genre is Leap of Faith, and why do you like to write that genre?

JORDAN: 'Leap of Faith', like all the 'Duty with Honor' series, is a Suspense Romance. After all, what's life, even romance, without a little danger and intrigue?

STEPH: How long have you been writing?

JORDAN: I toyed with the idea of writing all my life. Unfortunately, I'm a bit OCDC, which meant I never got very far. I mean, seriously, how many times can you restart page one because of typos. And then came the home computer. I can instantly correct mistakes. So, if you have any complaints about me writing, please address them to Bill Gates.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

JORDAN: I am, what we call, a 'Plotster' -- a hybrid of both. I generally start out with a basic plot idea--I know I'm going to go from Point A to Point F, but I don't always know how I'm getting there; or what Points B, C, D, and E will involve. I also believe that if you have realistic characters, they'll tell you what it is they want to do. I sometimes refer to this as anarchy, but it works for me.

STEPH: Do you prefer to read ebooks or print books?

JORDAN: I'm now about six months into my Kindle Fire, and I'm developing a relationship with it, and I don't mind reading from it. The problem is I do my main reading in the pool--clearly a 'No Kindle Zone'. The good news is that now that I'm older, it seems that the water is too cold or the weather too hot, so I'm spending less time in the pool.

STEPH: Who is your favorite author?

JORDAN: My favorite author…? Hmm, the truth is I do like Dickens and Jane Austen; but I also am a tremendous fan of Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie for mysteries; and E. F. Benson for light and fluffy social satires. And then there's Edgar Allen Poe, and Philippa Gregory, and… Well, you get the idea.

STEPH: What's your favorite children's book?

JORDAN:I'm not sure if this counts as a 'children's book', but I've come to truly admire the Harry Potter series. (And I wasn't an immediate fan, either.) Not only did J. K. Rowling achieve the impossible in getting a generation to not only read, but drag their parents out in the middle of the night to plunk down $30 for the latest book as soon as it was released; but she wastes nothing. Study her plot line - nothing is just there. The simplest thing, seemingly 'thrown away' in Book One, will be a vital plot point further on. I also recently downloaded the complete series of Oz books on the kindle, and I'm hoping they're as good as I remember. But, that remains to be seen.


Weaving between people, he led her to the Oak Room. There, at the far end of the bar, she saw the most handsome man she’d ever seen—and knew, without a doubt, this was the guy.

He was tall and dark, looking like a slick, glossy ad for Giorgio Armani evening wear in some stylish Manhattan magazine. He leaned against the back of one of the leather upholstered barrel bar stools, engrossed in conversation with an attractive blonde. He must have been watching for them though, because he gave the woman a final smile and sauntered towards them.

Beth watched him, mesmerized by his smooth, cat-like movements. He was everything her brother had said, and more. Damn him! Damn them both!

He had a rectangular face, with a narrow, straight nose. His eyebrows were level, except for a little slant at the outside edges. His evening clothes fit him perfectly and his ebony hair had just the hint of a wave. He stopped and stood grinning before her, the picture of ease and grace.

She straightened her shoulders and pursed her lips, ready to disapprove. Then she looked up into the lapis blue lakes of his eyes.

Richard popped forward to make introduction, but she couldn’t stop staring into the depths of those eyes. “Elizabeth, this is my good friend, Andrew Oliver. Andrew, this is my sister, Elizabeth Bennett.

She extended her hand, expecting him to shake it. Instead, he brought her gloved fingers to his lips and in a voice as soft as sable said, “Miss Bennett, how delightful, permit me to be your Mr. Darcy for this evening,” he said, but kept hold of her hand.

“You’re an unusual man, Mr. Oliver, to have read Jane Austen,” she replied in a flat monotone as she extracted her hand from his grip.

“I like to think so, but please call me Andrew—or perhaps even Drew.” He led them to a plush booth, but as they sat down he turned and sprinted back to the bar.

He probably went to get that woman’s phone number. She tossed her wrap on the seat beside her. It slipped off the slick leather and floated to the floor. She swooped down to retrieve it with a scowl, wondering if she could beg off with a feigned headache.

However when she sat upright, she found him standing before her, bearing a florist’s box.

“I’m sorry. I’d left this at the bar.” He opened it as he spoke, “I bought you gardenias. I could say I chose them because I didn’t know what you’d be wearing...”
he grinned wide and continued, “but the truth is I like them—their fragrance.”

She smiled, in spite of herself, as she looked at them and said with an appreciative sigh, “Thank you. I love gardenias.”

“Let me help you.” He lifted the creamy white blossoms from the box. The heady scent permeated their immediate surroundings. He must have taken her silence for consent, for he adroitly placed and pinned them at just the right place on her left shoulder.

“Thank you,” she said in a brittle voice. She hoped it conveyed her opinion he had much too much practice at such niceties. She added, “You do that quite well.”

Determined as she was to be cool and aloof, she was finding it difficult. Between his ‘GQ’ good looks, suave manners and familiarity with Jane Austen, she had to admit—much to her chagrin—he was intriguing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sharing my Book Review for "Deal with the Devil" with Gerald Costlow

Book Review for: Deal with the Devil
Written by: Gerald Costlow
Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery
ISBN: 978-1476033082
Avail: ebook only
5 Stars

"A Sweet Entertaining Story."

Costlow pens an entertaining, sweet romance with this paranormal short. Seth and Jolene are in love. Does the deal their fathers made years ago with the devil threaten their future?

Set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1920's, Chad Morgan and Jeb Smith have a deal with the devil to provide him with moonshine. When Chad finds religion, he stops making the homemade brew. When Mr. Scratch shows up to collect his due, will Jeb and Chad's children have their happiness "snatched" from them?

Costlow's writing is clever and witty. I really enjoyed his writing style and found myself chuckling at how Seth, Jolene, and their fathers danced around the devil. The descriptions never lingered, but let the reader easily picture the setting.

The characters were interesting. Each had their own individual quirks. Seth may be poor, but he's got courage to spare. Jolene knows her mind. What I enjoyed most was the undercurrent of sweet emotion behind all the characters actions.

I read "Deal with the Devil" in one setting. The romance is sweet with Seth and Jolene sharing a kiss or two. I highly recommend this delightful romp through the Appalachia.

Gerald would like to give away 3 copies of his story today. All you have to do is leave a comment along with your email. If Gerald selects you, he'll send you a Smashwords coupon for the book.

Question: Remember the song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia?" Who is the band who plays it? Where were you the first time you heard it?

You find Gerald's book at:




Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inspiration behind Summer Romance


Summer is hot and the best way to cool off is in the pool, at the beach, or by the lake which means swimsuits and swimsuits show off our svelte bodies.

For me, the romance of summer can be found in the locales which only summer can offer. They include the lake, the beach, even a vineyard. A field or a forest is a perfect place for a picnic lunch. How about going for a horseback ride before that picnic?

If you're the adventurous sort, there's always romance to be found in the "adventure." You could share a 2 person kayak, parasailing, snorkeling, or a zip line.

The "heart" of these activities and locales is that you can enjoy them with the one you're falling in love with and making wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Heck, I remember when I was falling for my husband, racquetball was our game.

Writing the Romantic Formula:

The formula is a "core" element to all romance stories: Developing a relationship between a man and woman. Plot elements to keep in mind when you write: An external conflict (a problem the hero/heroine have to work on) brings them together, but it's the internal conflict that they struggle with which makes falling in love that much more rewarding.

QUESTION: If you were going on a romantic summer picnic, what type of food would you pack?

My latest romance is a short 99 cent dime novel, Journey of the Heart.

Blurb: Set in Sonoma, CA in 1946, can James help Rachel save her winery or will he drift out of her life the same way he drifted in?

Review: 5 Stars, AngelE, Amazon Reader:
 The story was compelling and not boring, which is often a stereotype of sweet romances. I would recommend this short sweetie of a story. Good job, author.

"Your case threatened to run away, so I bribed it." Her sweet expression was an arrow through his heart. 

"Really? What did you bribe it with?" He wiped the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief, caused from a combination of the summer heat and lifting the heavy cases. 

"A job."

He hooked his thumb toward his chest. "Are you offering me a job, Miss Santori?"


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Review Tuesday - The Rogue Pirate's Bride

Book Review for: The Rogue Pirate's Bride
Written by: Shana Galen
ISBN: 978-104022-6556-6
Avail: ebook and print
5 Stars

Reviewed by: S. Burkhart

"Breathtaking Romance"

Shana Galen delivers again with "The Rouge Pirate's Bride." This story is the third installment of the "Sons of the Revolution" series and is packed with action, adventure, betrayal, greed, and clever characters. Sebastien Harcourt has found his way in the world as a pirate, but has he met his match with Raeven Russell, an admiral's daughter, who proves she's just as resourceful as any of Sebastien's crew? I've read the previous stories in this series, and I enjoyed them very much. I was looking forward to reading Sebastien's tale and for me, this story did not disappoint.

Set in 1802, Sebastien has escaped the turmoil in France only to become the captain of a pirate ship. He's on the hunt for another pirate, Jourdain, who killed his mentor. Raeven Russell is an admiral's daughter who wants revenge on Sebastien for killing her fiancé in a ship battle. The novel opens with plenty of excitement as Raeven, disguised as a man, challenges Sebastien. He gets the best of her, but not before revealing she's a woman, causing the sparks to fly between the couple. They meet again, several months later and it appears time has not lessened the sparks between them. Can Sebastien and Raeven tame their attraction or will it prove their undoing?

Galen's writing is full of witty dialogue, vivid descriptions, and effortlessly plunges the reader into Sebastien and Raeven's world. The plot moves at just the right pace, leaving the reader breathless.

The most rewarding part of the story is the rich characterization. Sebastien is full complexities, hurt over losing his family and mentor, yet so very giving with Raeven. Raeven is a spitfire, not afraid to look danger in the eye, and is full of tricks, yet her heart is wounded as well.

The story has several love scenes that are tasteful and embody the sensuality that Sebastien and Raeven share. "The Rogue Pirate's Bride" is a page-turner, full of emotion, danger, suspense and heartwarming romance. I highly recommend this book.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review: Conception by Jennifer Hartz

Book Review for: Conception
Future Savior Series, Book 1
Written by: Jennifer Hartz
Desert Breeze Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-936000-58-6
Avail as: ebook
4.5 Stars

Reviewed by: S. Burkhart

"An Adventure of a Lifetime."

Hartz pens a story full of adventure and discovery with "Conception," book 1 of the Future Savior Series. Christina Vaughn is the daughter of one of Meric's Guardians. She possesses extraordinary powers, but is she truly the "savior" the citizens of Meric believe she is?

The novel is set in the fantasy land of Meric, though the heroine, Christina, has grown up on Earth. When she turns 30, she's transported to Meric where most think she is the "savior" who will bring peace to the land and defeat Leticia, the evil Guardian.

Shortly after her arrival, Christina sets upon a journey through Meric with her companions, Charis and Shaw. She meets dwarfs, fights vaipes, and finds a sanctuary with the elves. Christina also embarks on a journey of personal discovery, learning how to interpret her premonitions and use her telekinesis. Christina falls in love with Shaw, her watcher, but dare they have a future together knowing her destiny?

Hartz's writing style is engaging and easy to read. The story's pacing is pitch perfect and while the dialogue could have been tighter at times, capturing a bit more authentic fantasy feel, it did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the story. The descriptions never linger allowing the reader to paint vivid pictures of Meric in their mind.

The characters were interesting. Shaw is heroic and honorable – a true hero. Christina is accepting of her heritage. Her heart is open and she carries herself with true nobility once she begins her journey. The ending will leave the reader breathless.

The story is "sweet" for romance readers with Christina and Shaw exchanging meaningful looks and lingering touches. Overall, "Conception" promises to take the reader on the adventure of a lifetime and leave them anxiously awaiting the next installment. I highly recommend this book.

Publisher's Buy Link:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Just Released this Month: Journey of the Heart

I just wanted to share my 99 cent dime novel Journey of the Heart. Sigh...I love the cover. I love the vineyard setting.

BLURB: ~ A Wine Country Short from award winning author Stephanie Burkhart ~

James returns to his home in California after World War II only to find out he's lost his farm. His way of life gone, James becomes a journeyman, selling Bibles, looking for a sense of purpose.

Rachel Santori's winery is in trouble. She's looking for someone to trust. When Rachel meets James, she can't deny how he penetrates her soul with his long, lonely looks.

Can James find a sense of belonging at Rachel's winery? Can love mend both their weary hearts?

"Your case threatened to run away, so I bribed it." Her sweet expression was an arrow through his heart. 

"Really? What did you bribe it with?" He wiped the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief, caused from a combination of the summer heat and lifting the heavy cases. 

"A job."

He hooked his thumb toward his chest. "Are you offering me a job, Miss Santori?"


5 Stars:
The story was compelling and not boring, which is often a stereotype of sweet romances. I would recommend this short sweetie of a story. Good job, author. - AngelE, Amazon Reader,

5 Stars:
The story is short enough to be enjoyed in one sitting whether you are at the beach or on your easy chair enjoying a glass of wine, making believe it is the Santori Chardonnay. In short, this is another happy, heart-warming tale of love from the experienced pen of Stephanie Burkhart. Joy Cagil, Amazon Reader


Thursday, July 19, 2012

California Thursday - Ft. MacArthur Days

On 7 JUL we had a chance to visit Ft. MacArthur in San Pedro (LA) near the coast as part of the boy's cub scout summer adventures and saw many wonderful exhibits. I can't say this was a 'reinactment' per se, as they had soldiers from the Celts all the way up to the Vietnam war. In 1888 the land was commissioned as a military reservation. It is named in honor of Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, father of Douglas MacArthur, who later commanded American forces in the Pacific during World war II. The Fort opened in 1914 and large gun batteries were installed in 1917 for harbor defense. At present, Fort MacArthur serves as a residential community for personnel of the Air Force Space Division Based at El Segundo. Not open to the public.

My boys in front of a World War I "truck." Andrew is a weblos II and Joe is a tiger cub.

Andrew and my favorite president, FDR.

Joe in a World War II era jeep.

The boys with a Confederate Soldier. They were very displayed with his display and the cannonballs.

Joe and the Renaissance guys. They put on a sword/rapier display for us so Joe danced for them.

Andrew and Joe with a Japanese solider from World War II.

Question: Who was your favorite president? I'd love to hear about it!

References: and

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Welcome Guest Author - Hilde McQueen

STEPH: What's the plot for "Desperate Surrender?"

HILDE: Wendy O'Sullivan’s life drastically changes upon discovering she is not human, and is charged with guarding the Key of Peace. To make matters more complicated, she reunites with the Protector she's dreamed of since the day he rescued her from a demon attack.

Kieran Frasier, hasn’t kissed, much less loved a woman in over three hundred years, his heart firmly encased behind thick walls. The fierce immortal defends innocents from powerful demons, but can he defend himself from diminutive Wendy, who manages to get past all his barricades?

Faced with arranged marriages to others and battling demons that will stop at nothing to capture Wendy, will they be forced to surrender their chance at true love for the greater good?

STEPH: Where did you find the inspiration for the main story?

HILDE: When I wrote the first Protector book, Desperate Betrayal, the hero's brother Kieran stood out. The problem was that he was a silent stubborn male who would not talk, so I figured I would wait until he did to write the book. When readers began to ask for his story, the pressure was on. Thank goodness the story began to flow easily once I got started.

STEPH: How do the hero and heroine meet?

HILDE: Kieran saved Wendy from a demon attack two years prior to the start of the book. The routine is that Protectors erase the victim's memory after they rescue them and move on. Only Wendy remembered everything, unbeknownst to Kieran, the swipe didn't work. She had a mad crush on him after that. Then her best friend married his brother.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story?

HILDE: Jeanie Rusch is an amazing cover artist, isn't she? The scene is the aftermath of a demon attack when they burn down Kieran's home. The locket hanging from his hand is integral to the story, but I won't tell you what it means. You have to read the book to find out!

STEPH: What genre is Desperate Surrender, and why do you like to write that genre?

HILDE: The Protector series is paranormal. But a light paranormal I think. I have loved paranormal since I read "The Master's Of Time" by Brenda Joyce. Paranormal allows a writer to make up her own world.

STEPH: How long have you been writing?

HILDE: Not very long, four years. I am lucky to be published so soon.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

HILDE: A total panster, I am as surprised by the twists and turns of my stories as the reader will be reading it! Love it!

STEPH: Do you prefer to read ebooks or print books?

HILDE: I was just thinking about this the other day. I am not sure. I love paper, but I enjoy the ease of carrying an ereader.

STEPH: Who is your favorite author?

HILDE: One of my favorite things is discovering new authors, so I have to give you two answers. New authors are Diane Alberts and Laura Kaye. Well Known author has to be J R Ward, she rocks!

STEPH: Fun question: What's your favorite children's book?

HILDE: I was obsessed with Dorrie is a little witch. Her socks never match. Sometimes her shoes are on the wrong feet. Sometimes her hat is inside out. She lives with her black cat, Gink, and her mother, the Big Witch, and cook. These books were published in the 1970's so a lot of people have not heard of her.

Excerpt from: Desperate Surrender:

“Wendy?” A soothing, angelic voice flowed over her like a balm. She’d made it to heaven. This is an unexpected surprise. Fighting the fogginess, she cracked her eyes open. She tried to focus on the figure sitting before her, but her vision wasn’t clear, and the room swayed, so she gave up and closed her eyes again.

“Wendy, can you hear me? Come on, open your eyes,” the angel insisted. Of course, she would get the bossy one. Wendy groaned and squeezed her eyes tighter. Sure, she was as ready to look around as any human would be when first arriving in heaven, but it still freaked her out to know she was dead. Finally, curiosity got the best of her and she forced her heavy lids up.

“Heaven,” she croaked, disappointed that her voice sounded pretty much the same, actually worse than it did on Earth, at the moment. “Why is heaven so fuzzy?” She asked the bossy angel.

She frowned when the angel giggled. “Wendy, you’re not in heaven.”

“What?” Wendy gasped and tried to sit up. “Oh, God! I went to hell.”

Strong hands pushed her back, and she blinked, trying to focus. The bossy angel, no make that the bossy hell-person, waited, not saying a word.

Finally, her surroundings began to come into focus. The room was very clean and suspiciously resembled a hospital room. Wendy scowled; swallowing hard as she took in the beeping equipment, clear liquid dripping from an IV bag, and an ugly blue blanket that covered her from the waist down. She sighed and fell back, mumbling, not daring to look at the hell-person directly. “Of course, hell would look just like a hospital. The devil knows how much I hate them.”

Purchase Desperate Surrender from Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Monday, July 16, 2012

Excerpt Monday - The Inspiration behind Twilight Over Moldavia

When I was a young girl, I used to watch "Creature Double Feature" on Saturday's and became convinced that there were beings who went bump in the night like vampires, werewolves, witches, and zombies. Silly me – I thought if I covered my neck with my covers the vampires couldn't get me. Oh, and I never did figure out what happened to all the lint under the bed so I think there was merit to my belief.

All those creatures of the night resonated with that young girls so when I grew up, I wanted to write about them. Being the optimist I am, I gravitated toward romanced writing. When I discovered paranormal writing, I'd knew I'd found my niche.

In 2005, I wanted to write a paranormal romance about a werewolf. Vampires were pretty popular back then and I wanted to explore the wolf. My idea? I wanted to write a fairytale in reverse where the princess had to save the prince. Inspiration had taken root.

I threw a dash of gothic and a pinch of moonlight into the plot and wrote "Twilight Over Moldavia." Prince Stefan had been cursed to become a werewolf on his 18th birthday. Can Caroline's love save him? I wrote the first draft then wrote "The Wolf's Torment," explaining how Stefan came to be cursed. I went through several drafts of each and my self-published "The Wolf's Torment" in 2007 had more horror elements than romantic ones. In 2009, I signed contracts with Desert Breeze for the Moldavian Moon Series. The published version of "Twilight Over Moldavia" is draft #4. It's a story close to my heart because I love how Caroline and Stefan come together to face adversity. I usually don't draw inspiration from music, but for their story, I drew a lot from "Astronomy" by Blue Oyster Cult. Inspiration comes from the willingness to explore.

GIVEAWAY: Read the excerpt. At the end, Caroline asks Stefan a question. Tell me what you think he said and leave your email. I'll pull a winner out of the hat to receive a PDF copy of Twilight Over Moldavia.

Once everyone was seated, the dinner service began. Stefan sat next to Caroline, with their fathers on either side of them. Stefan glanced at his mother. If Queen Aurora's expression betrayed her disappointment, his mother's expression betrayed deep worry. Interesting. He followed his mother's gaze and found it on Lady Getzi's table. Now that piqued his curiosity. Lady Getzi was one of his mother's dearest friends. What would cause such worry? The word secret popped into his mind and sent a small sliver of unease coursing through him.

"Prince Stefan, do you like your meal?"

He turned at the soft sing-song quality in Caroline's voice, surprised to find it so delicate and feminine after their previous encounter.

"Yes. Roasted pork is one of my favorites."

King Mircea placed a hand over Caroline's and patted it affectionately. "Stefan is your equal. You may address him by his name."

Caroline nodded. Stefan glanced at his father and noticed he had an almost haunted expression on his face, as if he'd recently recalled Mircea's words. Was Stefan a fish out of water? The whole banquet centered around his coming and was offered for his betrothment, yet he sensed much intrigue surrounded their parents.

"Yes, Papa," Caroline replied, smiling.

Stefan sipped his wine and leaned over to Caroline, trying to dispel the uncertainty caused by his observations of their parents. "These occasions are so formal, aren't they?"

"Yes, they are."

"I was pleasantly surprised to discover you are the crown princess of Carpathia," he whispered.

"Surprised, or horrified?" she replied in a whisper.


5 Stars, Long & Short Book Reviews
Twilight Over Moldavia is even better than the first book in the series. It is an excellent story filled with just the right balance of romance, magic, and danger.

5 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews
The twisting story line will keep your nose in the book until you have finished. Stephanie's ability to add suspense and mystery to romances gives her stories all the more depth. If you love werewolf stories, romances, or a good book, I recommend Twilight Over Moldavia.

4 Stars, Vijaya Schartz, author
In this novel full of danger and intrigue, sexy scenes, and unspeakable secrets, the werewolves are the villains, and oh how dangerous they are, and unwashed, and uncivilized. The kind of villains you love to hate.

5 Stars, Mona Risk, Author "No More Lies"
Burkhart's writing style grabs the reader from the first page. She keeps you breathless with her suspense as she transports you to exotic areas you will enjoy discovering.

5 Stars, Karen Michelle Nutt, Author of the "Fallen Angel" Series:
"Ms. Burkhart paranormal tale is rich in history, painting a picture as clearly as if the reader is standing beside Stefan and Caroline."

5 Stars, Barbara M. Hodges, Author of "The Blue Flame"
Twilight Over Moldavia whisked me into a part of the world I knew nothing about, and gave me a wonderful love story filled with suspense too. What more could a reader desire?

5 Stars, Reader's Favorites, Brenda Ballard












Saturday, July 14, 2012

My book review for "Everglades" by Petie McCarty

Book Review for: Everglades
Written by: Petie McCarty
Desert Breeze Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61252-172-5
Avail: ebook only
4.5 Stars

Reviewed by: S. Burkhart

McCarty pens an intriguing tale of adventure and love with "Everglades." Kayli Heddon is a photographer on a mission, but will her Seminole guide, Skye Landers, derail her planned out life?

Set in the Florida everglades, Kayli is given an assignment by her uncle, the governor – capture the beauty of the everglades. He has a proposal to help the everglades environment. Upon her arrival, Kayli meets her guide, Skye Landers. Kayli and Skye share an instant attraction, but both try to deny it.

Kayli sets out on her expedition with guides from the water district and Clay, a man she used to date. With so many different personalities, there are a ton of clashes and misunderstandings.

While exploring the everglades, Kayli and Skye grow closer, but danger lurks just around the corner when one of the Skye's cousins is coerced into helping drug dealers. Can Skye keep Kayli safe? Does their romance even stand a chance when both Kayli and Skye can't be honest with each other?

McCarty's writing is sharp and engaging. The plot is interesting and the story educates the reader in a natural, organic way. If anything, there didn't appear to be a solid resolution regarding Clay's actions, but that was minor for me.

The characters are deliciously human. Skye shows true heroism in the face of danger, while Kayli finds an inner strength and courage she didn't realize she possessed. Kayli's and Skye's pride gets in their ways at times, and both need to overcome this if they want a real future together.

The most rewarding part was the ending. With an unexpected twist, a lot of elements came together. The end was full of excitement, adventure and mystery which kept me on the edge of my seat.

The novel is sweet for romance readers with Kayli and Skye sharing several kisses. Overall, "Everglades" is a heartwarming story that will have readers believing in the power of love.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Welcome Guest Author - Suz deMello

STEPH:Where did you find the inspiration for the main story?

SUE: I honestly don’t know. When people ask me where I get my ideas, I usually tell them that I buy them by the dozen at Sears—they sell them in the basement between the barbecues and the exercise bikes.

STEPH: How do the hero and heroine meet?

SUE: Both Kathie and Ross work for a super-secret (fictitious) law enforcement entity called the US Security Agency.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story?

SUE: It’s a dark BDSM-themed cover that reflects the story while not illustrating a particular scene.

STEPH: What genre is RS-BDSM, and why do you like to write that genre?

SUE: RS is romantic suspense, and BDSM is bondage-domination-sadism-masochism. I like to write RS because it’s easier to write a romance with your hero and heroine doing something while falling in love. The BDSM aspect is because it’s kinda fun J

STEPH: How long have you been writing?

SUE: I wasn’t one of those lucky souls who came out of the womb clutching a pencil. Though I edited my high school’s literary magazine and published a few poems in it, and wrote/edited for my law school journal, I didn’t start writing my first romance novel until 1996. So I’ve been writing fiction for about sixteen years.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

SUE: A little of both. Initially I was very much a plotter, then when writers’ block hit, I became a pantser. Now I vaguely know what I’m doing and where the book is going, but I try to let the characters and their conflicts shape the plot instead of me being on the outside dictating it.

STEPH: Do you prefer to read ebooks or print books?

SUE: Both.

STEPH: Who is your favorite author?

SUE: Me!

STEPH: Fun question: What's your favorite children's book?

SUE: Wow. That’s a tough one because I love and read a great deal of YA fiction, especially YA paranormal. I’ll go back further into the past and say that Alice in Wonderland is my fave. It’s certainly the most reread book in my life except for maybe the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also love the Pooh books. I also owned an autographed copy of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which I think is wonderful. And Dr. Seuss is great!

Blurb for: For My Master:
Agent Kathie Belmont has long lusted after her boss, Ross Guerrero, but has never plucked up the courage to even flirt with him. Could he be the strong but tender Master she craves?

Ross wants Kathie in his life—on her knees. But the constraints of their jobs with an ultra-secret US security agency have come between them.

Until the sadistic drug-trafficker El Silencio is tempted into a deal with Ross’s undercover persona—a deal that will go down at a BDSM party. With Kathie disguised as his sex slave, Ross sets out to bring down the criminal gang, and perhaps to tempt Kathie into performing her role for him…forever.

Enjoy this Excerpt:
Station chief Ross Guerrero tapped a pencil on his blotter and scrutinized Kathie Belmont, seated on a straight-backed chair on the other side of his wide, government-issue desk. A soft-faced young woman, she had the healthy good looks of a college student or a California beach cutie, common here in San Diego. Her mink-brown hair with tasteful gold highlights was blunt cut at her chin, masking a strong jaw line. Wide, long-lashed eyes regarded Ross with openness and candor.

With multiple piercings in each ear and a silver toe ring peeping from her sandal, she looked like any girl attending San Diego State, UCSD or even Chula Vista High. In reality, Belmont was twenty-nine years old, had graduated with honors in criminal justice from Pepperdine, then gone on to a short but successful career as a police officer in Los Angeles. She’d joined the US Security Agency, performing well during training and in her first assignments. Now he’d find out if she was ready for more demanding tasks.
Her appearance was as useful as her black belt and her Glock. Living proof of the maxim “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” Agent Belmont, who’d been orphaned as a teen, had capably cared for her two younger siblings, fighting to keep her family together. She was as competent an operative as any he’d encountered during his thirteen years with the agency.

“Here’s the situation.” Ross set his china espresso cup into its saucer with a click. “There’s a group of baddies selling drugs just over the border. Mostly steroids, but some crystal, crack, horse … you name it, they’ve got it. Because they’re in Mexico, the usual law enforcement agencies can’t go in.”

Her hazel eyes gleamed. “But we can.”

“Yes, we can. But there’s a twist.”

She shrugged tanned shoulders, revealed by her sleeveless pink blouse. “Isn’t there always?”

About the Author:
Best-selling, award-winning author Sue Swift, a.k.a Suz deMello, has written over fifteen novels, plus several short stories and non-fiction articles. She writes in numerous genres including romance, mystery, paranormal, historical, contemporary comedy and erotica. She’s a freelance editor who’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Ai Press, Liquid Silver Books and Etopia Press. She also takes on private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in PW, Kirkus and Booklist, attained the finals of the RITA and reached the top ten on a bestseller list.

A former trial attorney, she resides in northern California. Her passion is world travel, and she’s left the US over a dozen times, including stints working overseas for many months. Right now, she's working on her next manuscript and planning her next trip.

Her blog is at Find her reading picks @ReadThis4fun on Twitter, and befriend her on Facebook (

Thursday, July 12, 2012

California Thursday - Catalina Island & the 4th of July

You know one of my favorite ways to spend the 4th of July is on Catalina Island. I enjoy it so much, the family pretty much makes it our major vacation of the year. For me, the pleasure is in the fact that it's simple fun. There's a golf cart parade, the USC Marching band, BBQ, and my boys love the sense of adventure that they experience while on the island. So without further ado, here's some pics from this year's vacation.

This is a view from the balcony of the condo we rented.

This is a view from the top of Hamilton Cove looking down at the Casino. (And no, the Casino is not a place to gamble!) It's hard to see here, but the moon is in the photo.

Yes, I finally went Kayaking! Here's a view from my Kayak.

The boys on the 4th of July. Happy Birthday America!

One of the golf carts in the golf cart parade. :)

Brent BBQ'ing next to the Beach.

On the Menu: Steak, baked potato, corn and grilled onion. And Grapes! Can't forget the grapes.

Question: How did you spend your 4th? What's your favorite 4th of July? How about your favorite summer fruit? Love to your thoughts.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review Tuesday - The Titan's Curse

Book Review for: "The Titan's Curse"
Written by: Rick Riordan
Hyperion Books
ISBN: 978-142310148-2
Avail in: Print and Ebook
4 Stars

Reviewed by: S. Burkhart

"Full of Action and Adventure!"

The Titans Curse is a suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat addition to the "Percy Jackson and Olympians" set. This is the 3rd book in the series. Percy is now fourteen. He's sent on a mission with his friends to recover two half-bloods, but Kronos' army wants them, too. What makes the diAngelos so special and what is "The Titan's Curse?"

The novel opens with a battle over the diAngelos, two half-bloods staying in a military-like school. The goddess, Artemis, intervenes to help. The diAngelos are saved, but Annabeth, Percy's friend, is kidnapped. Artemis goes on the hunt and sends her hunters to Camp Half Blood to keep them safe, putting her lieutenant, Zoe Nightshade, in charge.

While at Camp Half Blood, Zoe rubs everyone the wrong way. The Oracle also makes a surprising appearance with a prophecy. Soon, everyone learns Artemis is in danger and Kronos' minions want a child of the big 3 (Hades, Poseidon, Zeus) for a very evil purpose. Zoe takes Bianca, Grover, Thalia, Zeus' daughter, with her on the quest. Percy follows along, but is soon discovered. Action, adventure, and danger are on the menu. Can Percy and the Olympians find Artemis and Annabeth and prevent the titan's curse from coming to fruition?

Riordan's writing style is crisp, sharp, and easy to read. There's a very comfortable flow to his writing which pulls them along, making them feel like a member of Camp Half Blood.

What I enjoyed about the novel was how it appeals to younger readers. There's likable heroes and Riordan's modern take on the Greek gods make them interesting to a new, younger modern audience.

Watching Percy grow and interact with his friends is heartwarming. I love how the story has a very silent, but resonating message of the power of friendship, loyalty, and honesty.

Percy's a bit more mature as character, but still reckless in ways. He's loyal to the bone – especially to Annabeth. Thalia, Zeus' daughter, was also a delight to meet. When her loyalty is tested, Thalia finds strength in her noble lineage. What I enjoyed about the diAngelos and their mystery was trying to put the clues together to figure out who their Olympian parent was.

The ending does not disappoint. It's loaded with a lot of surprises and some heartwarming moments.

"The Titan's Curse" is a middle school/young adult fiction. I would recommend this story for 4th grade on up.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Percy. Have you read a book? Watched the movie?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July Fun Facts & Trivia!

Happy 4th of July to all! I'm on Catalina Island just off the coast of CA near Los Angeles, celebrating America's birthday. The USC marching band kicks off the fun opening up the golf cart parade. Golf carts drive down the main street in festive decorations. Afterwards, we have a BBQ by the water. Then we scope out a spot on the beach and watch the fireworks over Avalon Bay. I'd love to hear how you celebrate the 4th. Today I've got some 4th of July Trivia, Fun Facts and a Giveaway. Enjoy!
America's big "beef" with Britain? There was taxation without representation. The colonies were not represented in the British parliament.

Betsy Ross sewed the 1st American flag in May or June 1776.

The Liberty Bell sounded from the tower of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on 8 July 1776.

Congress declared the 4th of July a federal holiday – in 1941!

Calvin Coolidge
President Calvin Coolidge was born on the 4th of July.

On the original American Flag, 13 stars are in a circle, representing that all the 13 colonies were to be considered equal.

Benjamin Franklin was the oldest man to sign the Declaration of Independence. He was 70.

America is 236 years old today.

Giveaway: Answer one of the questions below correctly and leave your email address. I'll pick one winner to receive a copy of my vintage romance, "Journey of the Heart." It's the summer of 1946 in Sonoma, California. Will Rachel willing to take a journey of the heart with James to keep her winery?

Question: What do the colors of the American Flag mean?

Question: Who wrote the Star Spangled Banner? It's the same "tune" as what British song?

Question: What 3 presidents died on the 4th of July?

Bonus: What was the 14th State admitted to the Union?

Get the bonus and one of the questions right, win, and receive a copy of The Faberge Secret along with Journey of the Heart.