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Rated: GC · Book · Personal · #1051691
It's about adventure! Life, Scouting, Family, writing what else is there?


Banner for my blog, "Gemini Rising"

*Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1*

Just a little about me. I've been married for 27 years and currently live in Southern California, but I grew up in New Hampshire.

I've got 2 kids, a 17 yrs old and a 12 yr old. Both are boys. Nuff said.

I work as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I enjoy my job a lot.

I love to write, but since I've been so involved with the Boy Scouts program since 2015 (now Scouts BSA since girls were invited to come on board) I haven't written much. I hope to get back to more writing soon, as I'm scaling back my BSA commitment.

I like to get out in nature, take walks around Castaic Lake, drink coffee and watch football.

Here's a little bi about my zodiac.

GEMINI: Gemini, the sign of the Twins, is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. The sign is linked with Mercury, the planet of childhood and youth, and its subjects tend to have the graces and faults of the young. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are. Like children they are lively, and happy, if circumstances are right for them, or egocentric, imaginative and restless.

Their good qualities are attractive and come easily to them. They are affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering - provided none of the activities resulting from expressing these traits interferes too greatly with their own lives and comforts.

Geminians can be successful in many walks of life though their general characteristics tend to make them unreliable. They are often skilled manipulators of language, in speech and writing, and may be: debaters, diplomats (though in politics they are more interested in theory than practice), orators, preachers (brilliant rather than profound), teachers, authors, poets, journalists, or lawyers.

*Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1* *Flower1*

This is me. I am a Gemini. Pure, Raw, passionate.

The NEW focus of this blog is to share my adventures, scouting adventures, book reviews, thoughts, opinions, and writing adventures from actual writing, writing/editing tips, marketing, research. I'll get there.

Another Signature

Find me at:






Previous GRATITIOUS Warning, that I decided to keep in case I post about something that might offend.

*Exclaim* WARNING *Exclaim*

I intend to be open, honest, and forthright. No topic is off limits from religion to you name it, I'm going there. If you think you might be offended...back up now - this blog isn't for you. For those who "dare" *Wink* check out the "Gemini Rising..."

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January 8, 2015 at 1:44pm
January 8, 2015 at 1:44pm
No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important. – Mary Kay Ash

Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. – John Lennon

My days seem to fly by, especially when I go to work. I work from 6 am to 2:15 ish pm. I get up at 4 and get home bet. 3-3;15ish. I actually enjoy my work, but I get a lot of comments when I tell people I’m a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I typically get “That must be stressful.” Not really, not for me, but for the person who makes that comment, I’ve come to realize it’s stressful for them.

Some people ask about the calls I take. I usually blow them off. I used to tell them about a call I took that day or recently, and they flinch, as if horrified, and I’ve come to realize they aren’t prepared to hear about 911 calls. If they insist, I usually tell them about the time I answered 911 and the 1st thing I heard was a toilet flushing. Butt dials happen all the time. Total waste of the 911 system, but over 70% of the calls we take are not an emergency.

My work is not physically demanding, though carpal tunnel and tennis elbow injuries can occur, along with neck/shoulder pain or back problems. I had tennis elbow about 10 years ago, but thankfully, I’ve been injury free, though I did get palter fasciitis last year for walking too much! If anything, taking 911 calls is emotionally draining, and it saps a bit of your “drive” or “energy.” When I get home I face my house, my boys’ schedules, and I’m pooped. I’m cleaning, cooking, supervising homework, or chauffeuring the boys to their appointments. This is a major reason why writing and reading has suffered. I might have 1-2 hours “me” time stops before I have to go to bed again. I find I’m trying to find time – minutes here or there throughout the day to manage my emails.

Well, now that the holidays are over, I find myself catching up on neglected me. I have a lot to read in my TBR pile and I hope to get back to my NaNoWriMo project soon to finish it. I’ll give it another 2 weeks to normalize. My DH helped to take down Christmas, but RE (religious ed) and scouting picks up again. Joe’s homework is back. Back to the grind. Hopefully a little more organization will help me keep it straight.

Resolution/Goal #4 : Manage and organize my time more efficiently.
January 6, 2015 at 12:57pm
January 6, 2015 at 12:57pm
Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead. – Les Brown

All week I’ve been looking forward to going snow tubing with my son. He’s 8 and this was a trip I arranged for his cub scout den as his den leader. Mind you, there isn’t much snow in So. Cal, but in the Los Angeles forest, high in the mountains just off the 138 (it’s a state highway) there’s a town called Wrightwood and a winter resort called Mt. High. You can ski, snowboard, and go snow tubing. I planned to go there. We were going to meet at the snow tubing park at 2. I left at 12. At 1, I turned onto state highway 2 from the 138 and the 5 mile road to Wrightwood was a parking lot! I got to Wrightwood at 2 and Mt. High at 3:30. The cones were up. The lot was full. I had to turn around go home.

Needless to say I was disappointed.

So was Joe. I tried to give him hope as we inched forward, but there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

I didn’t cuss or start hitting the steering wheel or cry. I just turned around with a heavy heart full of disappointment. Joe was bummed, so I told him we would try again next month.

I suppose I could have called the facility to complain, but what good would that have done? The traffic was unreasonable and they had no control over the traffic.
I figure disappointment is like a nasty little cold, sometimes you get it so you can say you’ve had it and recovered from it.

Resolution/aka Goal #3: Plan as much as I can, not only in my writing, my cub scout adventures, but in my food prep, too. Planning helps keep the edge off disappointment.
January 2, 2015 at 10:56pm
January 2, 2015 at 10:56pm
I’m calling 2015 “Steph’s Big Selfie.”

A pic of me taken 2 years ago.

Sounds a little selfish, doesn’t it? I don’t mean it to be. This year though, I need to make “me” a priority. I want to lose weight. I’ve been stuck at 170ish since having Joe and that was 8 years ago. I’ve put the boys ahead of my needs for a while now, so this year I’m shifting gears a little and putting an importance on my weight loss, fitness, and better eating habits. I’m already doing Weight Watchers, but now I’m transitioning to a Paleo centered diet. Last night I creamed Califlower with butter and garlic. My portions were a bit off and it turned out very garlicky, so I’m going to try again with less garlic this time. I liked it though. It came out creamy with a consisency of mashed potatoes.

Anyone have any good Paleo recipes or tips to share?

Resolution/Goal #2: Think about what I eat. is it Paleo friendly? Even though I don’t have a gluten allergy, I resolve to cut down on my gluten intake.
January 1, 2015 at 10:33pm
January 1, 2015 at 10:33pm
I’m pooped! Last year had me bouncing from event to event. October I wrote “Mr. Christmas Elf” for the Victory Tales Press Christmas Collection. November, I participated in NaNoWriMo. My novel was "A Princess is always Right" and I went over 50K. There's still more to do, but I've got a good start.

Merit Badge in Nano Winner
[Click For More Info]

Congratulations, 50,000 times over! *^*Bigsmile*^* Well done in taking the challenge and meeting the deadline. Here's hoping your creative masterpiece yields even more rewards in the future! *^*Bigsmile*^* -  [Link To Item #army]

December was all about Christmas - cards, trees, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, rib roast dinner, and even a weekend trip to Yosemite. Visit my blog, "Romance Under the Moonlight" for pictures: http://sgcardin.blogspot.com/2014/12/winter-in-yosemite-dec-2014-yosemite-nps.ht...

Throw in teaching 1st grade religious ed for my church and being a cub scout den leader, and you know why I’m pooped. I’m hoping January can be my “just breathe” month. Oh, I have stuff to do, but I’m hoping I can finally relax a little without deadlines.

Resolution/aka Goal #1 - Slow Down! Catch my breath. Assess and prioritize my commitments. Take time to use a calendar and get some better organization going on.

July 5, 2014 at 11:51pm
July 5, 2014 at 11:51pm
I've never seen the Statue of Liberty up close. I'd love to, and I will one day, but right now my chances are slim.

Truth be told, I don't know if I need to see her up close. She's on coins, postcards, and stamps. She's been in several iconic movies. For me, the most chilling representation of what she stands for is in the "Planet of the Apes" – Lady Liberty half buried in sand is a poignant statement. Freedom and Liberty as we knew it has died an ugly death (in the movie.) Thank goodness, that is only a movie and the real Lady Liberty still stands tall and proud in New York Harbor.

What does the Statue of Liberty mean to me? It embodies the high ideals that the founding fathers strived for: freedom, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, equality, and justice. Some of these lofty ideals we still struggle with 244 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. For me, I look to the Statue of Liberty and I believe that American spirit will never die.

I hope you had a great 4th of July. I hope it was filled with fun, BBQ, and fireworks – and a toast to liberty.

Enjoy these fun facts about the statue:

--The Statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France.

--Lady Liberty was dedicated on 28 Oct 1886 by President Grover Cleveland.

--Frederic Bartholdi designed the statue. Gustav Eiffel built it.

--The US faced great economic challenges raising money to build the pedestal. (The French did the rest) Joseph Pulitzer spearheaded a fundraising drive. Soon, 102,000.00 dollars were raised from 120,000 donors. 80% of the total had been 1.00 or less.

--Emma Lazarus initially declined to write a poem for the statue. When she observed the living conditions of refugees in New York from Eastern Europe, she expressed her empathy by writing "The Colossus." The poem's most iconic lines: "Give me your tired/your poor/your huddled masses/yearning to breathe free."

--No one in the US died during the construction.

--On 28 Oct 1886, New York had a parade. The stock exchange threw ticker tape from the windows. It was the 1st ticker tape parade.

--On D-Day, 6 Jun 1944, the lights on Lady Liberty flashed "dot, dot, dot, dash," morse code for "V" for victory.

Question: What does Lady Liberty mean to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

May 26, 2014 at 7:58am
May 26, 2014 at 7:58am
Sacrifice. It's not an easy word to live up to. It means to give up something important to oneself for the greater good. And, at the heart of human nature, no one wants to give up that which they enjoy or consider important.

For those here, now, today, I want to thank you; especially if you know a person or have a loved one who has served in the Armed Forces and that person has given their life for their country. Their sacrifice has ensured the freedoms you enjoy. Do them proud and live your life to the fullest with honesty and integrity.

It takes a certain "mindset" to be in the military. Not only does one need physical strength and stamina, but mental toughness is required as well. It's not an easy job. If you have an opportunity, visit a memorial and lay some flowers or a flag on your loved one's resting place. You'd be surprised by the comfort given to your soul by such a simple gesture.

And comfort was what those loved ones after the civil war were searching for. The citizens of Waterloo, NY in 1866 are given credit for beginning the tradition that led to Memorial Day. Wanting to honor their dead from the Civil War, they decorated the graves of the fallen with flowers, flags, and offered a moment of silence. Soon, decorating graves naturally grew into honoring those who died in all conflicts that the U.S. had been involved in.

Originally known as "Decoration Day," the name was changed to Memorial Day in 1966 buy President Lyndon Johnson. Also, Memorial Day was moved from 30 May to the 4th Monday in May to create a 3 day weekend. As an informal tradition, Memorial Day kicks off the summer season.

I served in the US Army from 1986-1997 and spent 7 years stationed in Germany along with a 3 month deployment to Hungary. Being in the military isn't an easy life, but it can be very rewarding. I learned things about me, and the world around me, I hadn't even realized before. Concepts such as discipline, responsibility, honor, and sacrifice are embedded in my bones. It led to be a 911 dispatcher for LAPD, a job I've done for 14 years now.

For those currently in the Armed Force and those veterans who have served – thank you. I appreciate your sacrifice.

Several US Presidents come to mind when I think of Memorial Day. They include: Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, William McKinley, and James A. Garfield. They had served in the military (For Lincoln, I count his service as commander in chief) and they died in office, sacrificing their lives for their country.

Question for you: Do you know someone who has died serving their country? Or a veteran now? Share their name and what branch of service they were in.

Bonus: (I'm dating myself, I know) Season 1 of Wonder Woman featuring Lynda Carter took place during World War II. What brand of service was Wonder Woman's alter ego, Diana Prince in? What was her rank?

Have a great Memorial Day. Enjoy the day, but take a few minutes out to remember those who passed on, even the Presidents. Their sacrifice ensured your freedoms
March 23, 2014 at 9:33am
March 23, 2014 at 9:33am
Book Review for: High Five
Written by: Janet Evanovich
St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 978-0-312-97134-2
Avail as an ebook and in print

4.5 Stars

Evanovich pens another delightful romp with Stephanie Plum through Trenton, New Jersey with "High Five." Uncle Fred has gone missing and it's slow at the bond agency so Stephanie decides to help out and look for her uncle. Unfortunately, all she gets is trouble.

Stephanie meets with Aunt Mabel and learns Fred was in a dispute with the garbage company. She discovers Fred was cheap, a cheater, and had photos of a dead person. She reports them to the police. Soon she's being followed by a bookie named "Bunchy" who wants to find Fred, too. When she finally brings in a bail jumper named "Briggs," she's forced to take him into her house when his is wrecked.

Lula comes back to help Stephanie's investigations and Grandma Mazur tucks her gun into her handbag for an assist as well. Ranger offers Stephanie work to get by and both discover an attraction. Can Stephanie find out what happened to Uncle Fred before more people die at the garbage company?

Evanovich's writing is crisp, witty, and easy to read. The narrative will make you smile and then have you anxious about what's going to happen next.

The supporting cast consists of endearing characters that will have you cheering for them. Stephanie is a very likeable heroine, admirable to a fault, still struggling to find her way, but it's reassuring to know she's on the right path.

"High Five" is another excellent story and a "must read" in the Stephanie Plum series. It's full of smiles, laughs, and nonstop action. I highly recommend this book.

Question for you: What is your favorite Janet Evanovich book?
March 10, 2014 at 7:47am
March 10, 2014 at 7:47am
99 cent contemporary sweet romance: A Polish Heart avail on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.
Blurb: Will Sofia's faith give Darrin his heart back? BUY LINK: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007AS29AO

"This is an excellent read." Reader Lady, Amazon Review. Check out the trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC6_397PerU&feature=share&list=UUb4WsqAqO5Lt2smuAitJ0xQ&index=8

A tall, handsome man with broad shoulders wearing a long-sleeved polo shirt walked toward her holding a bouquet of poppies and orchids.

Her teeth nipped at her lower lip as she ran her eyes over this beautifully proportioned man, her body warming at the sight of him. He looked tough and lean and his handsome face kindled with a sort of classical beauty she hadn't seen on a man before. His leonine stride radiated self-confidence. His hair was sandy blond in a short, neat cut and his cobalt blue eyes pierced her professional armor.

He stopped in front of her and held out his flowers. "Dzien dobry."

A wide grin crossed her lips and she dropped the sign she was holding. "Hello, Mr. Riverton."

A look of relief passed over his face. "You know, I practiced that phrase all morning on the plane."

"I admire the effort. Are the flowers for me?"

"Yes." His smile was full of pride.

Sofia took the flowers and held them up to her nose. "Freshly picked. Thank you."

"You're welcome."

He paused and it grew awkwardly silent between them. Sofia realized for the first time in meeting a client, she had forgotten her professionalism.

"Forgive my manners. My name is Sofia Buraczynski and I'll be your interpreter while you are here." She put the sign in her left hand and held out her right hand for a handshake.
March 9, 2014 at 9:55am
March 9, 2014 at 9:55am
Yes, I have kids in the house, can you tell? And both of them watch SpongeBob. So, what's appealing about a little yellow sponge?

SpongeBob has a best friend, Patrick, who is a starfish. Patrick isn't the brightest bulb in the pack, but he's loyal to the bone. And who doesn't want to find a friend like that?

SpongeBob also has a pet snail, Gary. Gary's a feisty little thing, but SpongeBob feeds him everyday and always makes sure Gary has a pet setter when he goes out of town. SpongeBob's a responsible little guy. Who would have thought?

Everyone has a little adversity in life and poor SpongeBob has to deal with Squidward and Plankton. While Plankton is always scheming to steal the crabby patty formula, SpongeBob foils his half-baked ideas all the time. SpongeBob shows us that its fun to be the good guy and win every time.

Squidward is just plain annoying. He's the noisy neighbor who thinks he's better than SpongeBob, but when he tries to prove it, SpongeBob always finds a way to remind Squidward we're all created equal.

Then there's Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob's cheap boss who is always trying to save a penny. Who doesn't have a boss who's always looking out for the bottom line? SpongeBob proves good employees don't always finish last, but their hard work is often taken for granted and under appreciated.

SpongeBob tackles every problem with a smile and a belief he can solve it. For him, the glass is half full. (Squidward would tell you it's half empty.) SpongeBob's message resonates with the young and old – you can be anything you want to be and you can do anything you can dream up.

And you'll never hear SpongeBob cuss in our language.

Question for you: What was your favorite cartoon growing up? Why?

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She loves chocolate, enjoys coffee, and likes going out to the movies. She's also an assistant den leader for her son's cub scout den.
September 11, 2013 at 5:18pm
September 11, 2013 at 5:18pm
I'm giving away a print copy of Danube in Candlelight, Book 3 in the Budapest Moon Series. Danube in Candlelight was a FINALIST in the 2012 Reader's Favorite Contest in Romance: Sci-Fi/Fantasy. The Giveaway ends 23 SEP 2013.


Morgan Duma has always known she's different. Her eyes have unusual gold rings around her irises, a trait she's inherited from her father. She's faster and stronger than most. Her endurance and stamina allow her to complete tasks in a quick and efficient fashion. Since she was a little girl, she knew there was only one man for her -- Adam Varga. Morgan learned to dance in Adam's arms. They grew up playing the piano together. Adam's calm, soothing presence was the perfect compliment to her restless soul. Not only that, he shared her differences down to his feral eyes.

Enter Zoltan Kristos, Hungary's Minister of Reconstruction. He shares those same golden eyes that Morgan possesses. After Zoltan carries her mother out of a blazing fire, Morgan's life takes a turn she doesn't expect. She discovers the reasons for her differences, and questions her very identity. Is Adam strong enough to be the man she needs him to be?


"Did I hit a nerve?" he asked.
"A nerve? In my neck?" She took a step backward to be closer to him.
"No. About your father. Is your real fear about what will happen to your mother once he turns her?" Adam kept his voice low and leaned close to her ear.
She closed her eyes briefly and faced her anxiety. "Yes."
"Morgan, our fathers' condition has a host of positive traits -- heightened senses, for example, but the best trait is the healing factor."
"I understand, Adam. That healing factor will help my mother recover from her awful injuries, but it comes with a tradeoff -- she's going to become a werewolf."
"Is it better she become addicted to morphine? That addiction is a beast in itself. Which would you prefer she'd become? The soldiers hooked on morphine have vacant eyes, and their hands tremble for their next fix. Do you want that for your mother? Fighting something she can't win against, or do you want her dealing with a manageable condition? Both our fathers are good men. They've managed it."
Morgan pursed her lips. Adam's tone was laced in objectivity and confidence, offering her a plausible reason for her father's actions. Morgan didn't want a shell of skin and bones that resembled her mother -- she wanted her mother well, both emotionally and physically. Why had she been so selfish not to see that?
"It doesn't bother you that you have these traits?"
"I'm comfortable with who I am."
Morgan spun around, pressing the length of her body against Adam, curving her hand around the nape of his neck, and bringing his lips to hers. Their mouths met in a searing kiss full of desire. Want. Warmth. Pleasure replaced Morgan's emotional pain, and she deepened the kiss between them by sweeping her tongue into his mouth. Adam groaned, wrapped his hands around her waist, and tugged her closer. Morgan continued the kiss, nipping his lower lip with her teeth. A blast of heat from his body washed over her like an ocean wave, sending pleasure spiraling through her. God, she had never felt so wonderful.


5 Stars, Reader's Favorite
"This story is the closest I have ever come to reading a book that feels like a movie!"

5 Lips, Two Lips Reviews:
"I found the setting for Danube in Candlelight intriguing. The 1920 period lends a wonderfully dynamic tempo. The discerning reader will not want to miss reading Danube in Candlelight. I highly recommend it."

4 Stars, You Need to Read from You Gotta Read Reviews:
"Once again Stephanie Burkhart has pulled readers into a world filled with beauty, full moons, passion, wolves, and strife. Danube in Candlelight is a fantastic book filled with endearing characters."

4 Stars, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews:
"Once again, Stephanie Burkhart has touched my imagination and with her writing brings 1922 Hungary to life. This is a must read if you enjoy the paranormal werewolf stories or even if you merely enjoy a good romance."

3.5 Stars, The Hope Chest Reviews:
"Danube in Candlelight was a pleasant, easy read. Ms. Burkhart has created an interesting world."

Pen and Muse Reviews:
"Burkhart will have you living and breathing through her characters."

Here is a link to the GoodReads Giveaway. If you have a moment, stop on by and sign up:


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