The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Welcome Stephanie Burkhart!

I want to congratulate Stephanie Burkhart on the release of her newest book, The Count's Lair. This is the second in the Budapest Moon series, and I LOVE the cover.

Stephanie, welcome back!

I'm excited to be here with Shawna today and take a spin on the old Oldsmobile. Thanks for having me.

Just a little about me: I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, I joined the US Army. I spent 11 years in the military, 7 in Germany. While in the military, I earned a BS in Political Science from California Baptist University in Riverside, CA in 1995. I left the Army in 1997 and settled in California, but my favorite football team is still the New England Patriots. I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I've been married for 19 years. I have two boys, Andrew, 8, and Joseph, 4.

SHAWNA: Thanks for being here today, Stephanie. Can you tell us a little about "The Count's Lair?"

STEPH: The Count's Lair is a paranormal romance set in Budapest, Hungary during Christmas in 1901. "The Count's Lair" is listed as "intense" by the publisher, Desert Breeze, and there are several love scenes in the story.

Count Anton Varga has struggled to put his life together after he took his family's title, but he's only encountered hardship after hardship. In the Duma's bookstore, a spark ignites between him and Lady Amelia Andrássy which Anton wants to explore. Unfortunately for him, he has a dark secret. He'll give Amelia 3 clues. Will Amelia accept Anton for the man he is?

SHAWNA: How long did it take you to write?

STEPH: Approximately 3 months. This was my 2009 NaNoWriMo project so I wrote 50K in the first month. I probably wrote 10K in December, if that, because of the holidays. I finished the novel in FEB 2010.

SHAWNA: That's impressive, and inspiring, too! Did you do a lot of research?

STEPH: I did some – for example, what was Christmas like in Hungary. I also researched composers since Amelia was a pianist and impressionist artists since Anton liked impressionist art. It was fun to learn about Beethoven, the Moonlight Sonata, and Manet.

SHAWNA: Are there any contrasts or comparisons in the story? If so, what is the meaning behind them?

STEPH: Anton's residence, Ravenwind is dark, Amelia's Eaglemere is filled with light. Anton is the moon, Amelia is the sun. Amelia's heart is reflected in the music she plays – the Sonata Pathetique, for example.

SHAWNA: Now this book isn't an inspy but it does have a spiritual message. What role does religion play in the novel?

STEPH: Religion, any religion, is a big part of our lives. The majority of Hungarians are Catholic, with some Orthodoxy and Islam percentages. In the novel, Anton's lost touch with his religion. It's Amelia and her steadfastness who reminds him he's a man, not a beast, and God loves him for who he is regardless.

SHAWNA: I really love that message, Steph! How important is the setting? Why did you set the novel in Budapest?

STEPH: Setting helps create a mood, a tone, for the story. In "The Count's Lair," I'm striving to create a gothic setting in which the reader would believe the supernatural might exist.

SHAWNA: Very cool! Have you been to Budapest?

STEPH: Yes! In 1997. Budapest is a beautiful city and its truly a crossroads where east meets west. One of my favorite landmarks was the Fisherman's Bastian. It's a ½ mile long wall on Buda Hill overlooking the Danube and Pest side of the city. The view is amazing! Anton and Amelia meet there in the prequel, "Moonlight Sonata."

SHAWNA: I'm jealous! What's next in the Budapest Moon series?

STEPH: Book 3 is called "Danube in Candlelight." It's set in Budapest, 1922 after World War I. It's the story of Morgan Duma and Adam Varga.

SHAWNA: I love that time period. Can't wait! Do you have an ebook reader?

STEPH: Yes, I have a Kindle. And I love the text to speech aspect of it. I can read books on my way to work and on my way home.

Thanks for having me today, Shawna. Enjoy this excerpt:

Anton stood next to the tree, picking out the perfect spot to begin cutting. After sizing it up, he swung his axe and sank it halfway into the trunk. With one more swing, the tree fell over.
Amelia spun around. "That was quick. I just picked out my tree."
With a laugh, Anton walked over to her and used the axe to carve a small line at the base of the tree. "Well, I've chopped trees all my life."
"You have?"
"My father thought it would build character."
She rubbed her gloved hands together. Anton thought she might be catching a chill.
"Did you like chopping trees?" she asked.
"I found it to be boring, tedious work. I didn't understand why he sent me to do it when we had servants. In hindsight, however, I do think I benefited from it, but not in the way I think he wanted me to."
"I don't understand. Why didn't he have the servants chop the wood?"
Anton took a breath, steadied himself, and looked directly at her. "Perhaps he wanted me to feel more like a servant than a noble man's son."
Her face fell. "If that was his reason, it was cruel."
He did want to be honest with her about his father, but he didn't want to weigh down the fun they were having with such a heavy anchor. Instead, he stepped into her personal space. Her cheeks were raw from the cold. He cupped them and pressed the length of his body against hers. Again, her aura sparkled to life. Her soft curves fit snugly against his muscled physique. "I don't want to talk about him right now. He's depressing. You're cold."
"I am a little cold," she replied.
"Does this warm you up?"
"Yes," she replied. Her eyes trapped his, and he found himself drowning in those simmering pools of azure blue.
He lowered his head and took her lips with his. The glow of their auras blinded him. She closed her eyes. His heart beat wildly in his chest. She pressed against him, sending his senses into a pool of delight. He trailed his lips over her jaw line to her neck. She moaned as he stoked the embers smoldering deep inside them.
She placed her hands on his chest and gently disengaged from him. "That was some kiss."
"I just wanted to keep you warm until we got back to the auto."
"That will do."


The Count's Lair is avail as ebook for Kindle, B&N Nook, Sony Ereader, and Kobo. You can also download a copy from the Publisher's Website at:

You can find me on the web at:




Good Time: Leave me a comment and I'll be back tomorrow to give away a PDF copy of The Count's Lair.

Thanks so much, Steph!
I want to remind readers that while I'm an inspy author, I enjoy books from both the inspirational and general market and therefore interview authors from both. Please remember this if you choose to purchase a book based on my recommendation.


  1. loved the little teaser, got me wanting more


  2. My daughter will be glad to know that the same writing challenge she did (NaNoWriMo) is utilized by published authors! My daughter is disabled and you will be an inspiration to her! Great job on the book and I look forward to reading it!

    Connie Dash

  3. I am glad that I took the time to check out this blog. This series sounds like one that would interest me. I love historical romances and I think that might be due to time spent in Germany when I was married and my then husband was stationed there in the Army.

    Cassi Merten

  4. Pink, thank you for visiting. I made the trailer myself, which I was time consuming but fun. Getting the right pics isn't easy though. LOL!!

    Mrs. Dash, that is so heartwarming to hear. Yes, NaNoWriMo is an amazing month and I hope your daughter keeps on writing!

    Cassi, How wonderful, you were in Germany! I was a soldier in the army and was also stationed in Germany in the late 80's, early 90's. I was stationd in the cities of Muenster, Fulda, and Hanau. Where were you at?


  5. Another great interview about a great story, Steph!

  6. Hi, Steph and Shawna--I have time for one blog this morning--then it's the old nose to the grindstone thing!
    I don't think I've read this excerpt--very good, Steph, and to think it started as a NaNoWriMo entry. Excellent--It's so "you." Celia

  7. Enjoyed the interview ladies. Great excerpt, Steph. My best to both of you.

  8. that was a nice kiss! And I understood the bit about chopping trees too. Character building!


  9. Jillian,
    Thanks for popping in, Sweetie.

    Celia, I'm so glad you popped in, Sweetie. Amazing what you can accomplish with NaNoWriMo.

    Thanks Anne, it was nice to see you pop in!

    Maggie, I agree - chopping trees is very character building. hehe

  10. I have read the excerpts from this book and thinks it's great. And Shawna I liked the interview you did with Stephanie. Good job.


  11. It's been kinda nuts around here lately, but when I saw you were going to be over here visiting Shawna, I knew I needed to make the time to see what you two were up to. :)

    Best wishes for much success.

  12. Steph, I love having the chance the read an excerpt and hear about your novel journey. Plus, I'm from Maine, so I always enjoy hearing about other New England writers.

    Thanks for sharing! I would love to be entered in the giveaway. I've seen you on various blog tours and your books sound awesome!

    P.S. Sorry for the anonymous post. My Google profile isn't coming up.

  13. Sharon,
    It's great to see you pop in. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

    JoAnn, thanks for popping in, Sweetie.

    It's nice to meet you and I have a fond spot in my heart for New England writers as well.

    I wish I could give you all a copy of the book, but I drew Cassi's name out of the hat! If you're still interested in obtaining a copy you can visit my blog for tour dates as I have more giveaways coming up. Today I'll be over at Mona Risk's blog at

    It's always a pleasure to visit Shawna and take a ride in the Oldsmobile. Thanks for having me.


  14. Hi Steph and Shawna,

    I enjoyed your interview. I definitely want to read "The Count's Lair." I loved "The Hungarian" a lot and couldn't stop reading it.

  15. Wow, Stephanie, to write this novel in such short order impresses me. Budapest must be a marvelous city to visit. I have in my head fleeting scenes of Dr. Zhivago with the cold and Snow familiar to that country. I'm excited about the romance and redemption. The time setting is a favorite era of mine. I really want to read this book. I'm a musician and art enthusiast, and that aspect attracts me greatly. Thank you for this giveaway, and the chance to win such an appealing story. I hope I win.

    Sharing His Love,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com


1970 Olds 442


If you're curious about the story behind the name of my blog, click on the car. :)