Tuesday, February 8, 2011



I'm excited to be here with Nicole today. 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.

Music, Book Trailers, and Setting the Mood

My character, Lady Amelia Andrassy, is a talented pianist in "The Count's Lair," but my knowledge of music, specifically classical music, was poor. For me, it was time to hit the books (or You Tube) for research.

Music creates a mood, so I picked Beethoven as Amelia's favorite composer. Two pieces of his reflect Amelia's mood – The Sonata Pathetique and Moonlight Sonata. The Pathetique speaks to Amelia's state of mind. It's moody and poignant – reflective – and Amelia has a lot to reflect on. The Moonlight Sonata is hauntingly beautiful in a gothic kind of way and reflects the couple's love.

Creating the book trailer was a challenge, but one I was looking forward to. Knowing "Moonlight Sonata" was Anton and Amelia's song, I wanted something similar for the book trailer. I found "Relent" by Kevin MacLeod. It's haunting, beautiful, all-encompassing – perfect for the couple.

Dreamstime and Fotolia were the two sites I went to for stock photography for the book trailer. I found some great pictures of Budapest that help to capture the haunting, gothic, yet sensual feel of the novel.

Enjoy this excerpt:

The butler nodded and escorted Bryant into the kitchen. Amelia followed Anton into the den. Next to the fireplace stood the tree they'd picked out. A low fire was already burning. Amelia sat on the couch while Anton added another log to the blaze.

"So, where are your ornaments?" Amelia asked.

"Not here yet." Anton stood up and rubbed his hands, his cheeks flushing red.

"You don't have any you've saved?"

"No." He drew in a deep breath. "I've never had a Christmas tree before."

"I guess I didn't realize…"

He sat next to her on the couch. "He was never one to celebrate the holidays, nor was András."

"I'm sorry," she whispered.

Anton shrugged. "Christmas has always been just another day to me."

"Your brother never married?"

"No. He shared the same low opinion of women as my father. Oh, he had his fair share, like my father, but he didn't respect them."

"Do you think…" She paused, wanting to phrase her words correctly "Do you think your father or András might have had any more children?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, it's possible, but I'm not aware of any."

Just then the door opened, and the young boy who had driven Anton's auto the other day walked in carrying a big box. An older man carrying another box followed him. He was about Anton's height, with graying hair and alert eyes. Next, a young woman walked in holding a third box. Amelia couldn't take her eyes off her. She was tall and slender, with straight, jet black hair that fell just past her shoulders. Her brown eyes were infused with the warmth of a bonfire. She wore a traditional servants' outfit; they all did. But her makeup was just a tad heavier than it should have been, and it accented her sensual eyes. She wore small hoop earrings. Amelia decided she was the older man's daughter, a beauty in her own right.

"Lord Varga, we found at least two dozen ornaments for you," the woman said. She smiled at Anton, infusing the room with warmth. Amelia shivered.

Anton stood and took the box from her. "Thank you, Esmé. Did you have fun shopping for them?"

She laughed. "I wanted to buy more, but Father said you wouldn't want a cluttered tree."

Amelia wrapped her arms around herself. Anton obviously liked the woman.

He put the box on the coffee table and looked at Amelia. "I'd like to introduce you to the rest of my household," he said. "You know Tomas--"

"Hello, Lady Andrássy," Tomas said politely. He bowed, and she smiled.

"This is Georg, Tomas and Esmé's father. He's my head butler."

"My Lady," Georg said gruffly. He bowed before her. He wasn't as crisp as Tomas, but Amelia could tell the old man had a certain amount of pride, and that he was going to show her respect.

"And this is Esmé," Anton said, smiling at the dark haired woman. "She works in the kitchen."

"Hello, Lady Andrássy." Esmé gave a perfect curtsey. "Lord Varga speaks highly of you."

"Thank you. It's a pleasure to meet you," Amelia said politely, trying to hide the jealousy bubbling through her.

Just then Bryant appeared with Sandor and their tea. He placed the tea service next to the boxes of ornaments, and Georg ushered everyone out of the room.

Amelia stood next to the table, staring at the door.

Anton placed a hand on her elbow. "Is something wrong?"

"I... well, I..."

"You don't approve that I sent my staff out to buy Christmas ornaments?" he asked.

"I -- no. That's not it." Amelia paused, then decided to throw her worries to the wind. "It's just that she's so pretty."

"Who? Esmé?"

Amelia nodded. "Yes."

"I suppose she is…"

"Anton, she smiled at you, and you acted... interested in her."

He looked at her almost befuddled, and then a sudden realization crossed his expression. "Are you jealous?"

Goodie Time: Leave a comment on the Video on You Tube and I'll pick a winner to receive a print copy of a book from one of my favorite romance authors, Jillian Hunter.

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.

You can find me on the web at:



salarsenッ said...

This was wonderful. The book looks amazing, Stephanie. Nice to meet you.

Melissa Gill said...

Congratulations on your new release Stephanie. The Count's Lair sounds really great.

StephB said...

Thank you for popping in. I love the cover. The artist, Jenifer Ranieri, did a wonderful job.

I had such a wonderful time writing Anton and Amelia's story. Thank you for stopping by.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Nothing like a little feminine competition to heat things up!

Nice post!

Julie Musil said...

The trailer was beautiful. I don't have an account on you tube, so I didn't comment. But it was haunting and the photos and summary was well done.

StephB said...

Maggie, thanks for popping in, Sweetie.

Julie, thank you for checking it out. I appreciate the feedback. I'm still kinda new at video making.


Aubrie said...

OMG! I graduated from Central High School as well! ....class of 1996.

Congrats on your new release~

ali said...

Very nice! Music means everything to me, too. Thanks for sharing this excerpt!

StephB said...

It's a pleasure to meet another Central High Alum. :)

thanks for checking out the book trailer. I love the music for the trailer.