Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My First Contract, "The Hungarian" by Stephanie Burkhart

In the early 2000's, I self-published a couple of my contemporary romances, along with a time-traveling romance. This experience taught me a lot about publishing models; what's involved in creating a novel from the writing, the editing, cover production, and marketing. Then, during the mid-2000's, I participated in the Writer's Digests Writing Competitions, using the contests to sharpen my skills. Several of my stories received recognition including "Spontaneous Decision," 8th place in mainstream literary fiction 2008 contest. My short story, "The Wolf's Kiss," was first runner up in the Popular Fiction Romance Contest that year. Told in the first person, alternating between Katherine and Matthias, the hero is a moody werewolf, afraid to allow his heart to find love again. The story was set in Budapest, Hungary at the start of the 20th Century. Matthias and the setting were inspired by my love for Victoria Holt gothic romance novels. Encouraged by the reception of "The Wolf's Kiss," I decided to write a novel length romance from Katherine's point of view.

"The Hungarian" was born. Let's just say the first two drafts were long. The third one. I showed Gail at Desert Breeze Publishing. Gail expressed interest, but wanted it rewritten in the 3rd person to show Matthias' point of view. I agreed and a contract was signed. That was August 2009 and "The Hungarian" was published in 2010.

It felt great to be offered a contract, but I knew I had more work to do and that's where my earlier experience paid off with self-publishing. I knew I would need a marketing plan along with developing an Internet friendly presence. Since I'm a new author striking out in a new market. I knew I would need patience, and a strong, steady resolve to build an audience.

For me, Matthias and Katherine's story has a very real element underneath the paranormal aspect – the desire to be loved and give love. It's something we all strive for. Enjoy this excerpt. ☺


The door squeaked open and Katherine peeked over the top of her book. A tall, muscular man walked in wearing a white button-down shirt and holding his blazer. He paused, as if surprised to find her, and then walked toward the window, his stride easy. He moved with wolf-like prowess, his long legs taking cool, calculated steps as his unusual eyes surveyed her. Katherine bit the inside of her lip, returning his measured perusal with one of her own. His silence was unnerving, yet intriguing.

His eyes drew her to him -- malachite green with a gold ring around the iris. Dynamic. Expressive. Even now, as he looked at her, they softened and grew translucent. He stopped in front of the window and casually threw his blazer onto a nearby chair as if he owned the room.

"Hello," he said.
"You're staring."

"I am? I thought you were staring at me."
He chuckled. "Perhaps I was admiring you."

"Who else is here?"

Katherine pursed her lips as her insides warmed from the deep silkiness of his voice. He smiled and walked to her chair, slowly gliding around it, tracing his finger over the leather headrest, skirting her curly hair.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"And who is inquiring?" She tried to sound cool and composed, but she had to fight the nervous temptation to play with her hands.

Justine Cotsonas inspiration
for "Katherine Archibald"

"Romeo, perhaps?"
"Then my name is Juliet."

A teasing smile graced his lips as he walked out from behind her chair and glanced at a bookshelf before turning to look at her again.

"Would you fall for Tristan?"
"Only if my name were Isolde."

He walked over to a wooden table near the window and ran his long finger over a clay mock-up of Excalibur lodged in a stone. "What do you think of Arthur? Do you think it suits me?"
"Only Guinevere would believe your name was Arthur."

He crossed his arms, his eyes sparkling in the sunlight. "Would you believe my name was Matthias?"

"I might, if--"
"If what?"
"If I knew more about you."

Happily Ever After Reviews, 5 Cups
"This is an excellent book and I think fans of both the paranormal and historical romances will really, really enjoy it."

Hope Chest Reviews - 4 Hearts
Overall, The Hungarian was a pretty good read. Stephanie Burkhart is good at telling an interesting story that holds my attention.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers
inspiration for "Matthias Duma"

You Gotta Read Reviews - You Need to Read, Lupa
I was so very happily surprised by this book. The characters are enchanting, the scenes are vividly written, and the story has a fantastic flow. I really enjoyed the warm love and fiery passion that seemed to leap off the page.

Sizzling Hot Book Reviews, 5 Hearts
"I highly recommend The Hungarian, even if you aren't that interested in the paranormal such as werewolves. The romantic tale of The Hungarian is enough to win over anyone."

Reader's Favorites, 5 Stars
"This book is extremely entertaining. The plot is sensual and romantic."

Coffee Time Romance, 3 Cups
"Ms. Burkhart tells this tale in such a voice that we can practically feel the waves of emotions both characters are feeling coming off the pages."














  1. What an interesting post. I'm fascinated by your choice of Budapest as a setting. Did you visit? Or are you from there?

    1. Virgina, I visited Hungary July-Oct 1997 and I had a chance to spend a couple of days in Budapest in Sep 1997. It's such a beautiful city, I fell in love with it. For me, it was a place you might believe the supernatural would come to life. I'd love to go back given the chance.


  2. Wow Stephanie, I never knew you had any type of experience with publishing! I guess I've always pictured DBP authors as!!

    1. Patti, I dabbled in self-publishing models in the early 2000's. I'd like to self-publish a short story or two now since the technology has "come up" and advanced.


    2. HA! Interesting way to put it, P.I.

      While it's true many of our authors are newbies, fresh out of the gate, we also have many veterans. We have had long time 'trad' published authors join us, authors who have been published with other houses, authors just starting out, and author who've never done a thing.

  3. Loved the excerpt. You always bring Budapest to life in your books.

  4. Your interesting settings were some of the things that drew me to the series. You can only read so many Scottish romances, ya know?

  5. Stephanie,

    What a great voice. I really enjoyed that excerpt!

    All the Best,