Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by and let us know what you think of the new look!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Guest Blog: Stephanie Burkhart

Hungarian Movie Industry & Stars
By: Stephanie Burkhart

In the early 20th Century, several movie industries sprouted up, most notably in America, Berlin, and Hungary. The early movie industry went through many growing pains, but Hungary's movie industry really took some hits.

In 1896, the first movie theatre opened in Hungary and the Hungarians began shooting silent films. One of the first ones was known as 'A Táncz' (The Dance) and featured actors and ballerinas from the Operahaz Theater. The majority of these early films were documentary in nature.

The first film company with artistic goals formed in 1911 and was known as Hunnia Film Studio. Before World War I, the Hungarians had a thriving and growing industry, which continued to focus on short films. Unfortunately after the war, the Hungarian movie industry was devastated.

During the 1920's the movies saw a slow, but steady come back. American, French, and Italian films dominated Hungarian screens. Finally, in 1929, the first Hungarian "talkie" was introduced.

One of the most well known Hungarian actors of our times was Bela Lugosi. Surprisingly, he was born in the town of Lugoj, in modern day Romania, but at the time of his birth in 1882, it was a city in the heart of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Originally, his last name was Blaskó, but when he came to America, he changed it to Lugosi.

Bela began his career in 1901 in Hungarian theatre and acted in his first Hungarian film in 1917. Interestingly, he served as an Infantry lieutenant in the Austrian-Hungarian Army from 1914-1916.

After the war, Bela fled Hungary in 1919 and found his way to America. Did you know he was illegal immigrant? He landed in New Orleans in December 1920. In March 1921 he made his way to Ellis Island and entered the country legally.

In 1922, Lugosi preformed in his first Broadway play. His first American film role was in the 1923 move, The Silent Command.


Lugosi's most famous role was Dracula. He first played the Romanian Vampire on Broadway in 1927. Using his natural, heavily accented voice and appearing in minimal makeup, his performance earned him critical acclaim. Soon, he found himself typecast as a horror villain. Because of his accent, while part of his image, characters he could play were limited.

Lugosi was married over five times, but only had 1 child, Bela G. Lugosi in 1933 when he was 56 years old. Lugosi died in 1956 at the age of 73, from a heart attack but he will always be remembered as one of Hollywood's most iconic characters – Dracula.

In my latest romantic paranormal release, Danube In Candlelight (Book 3, in the Budapest Moon Series) is set in Budapest, Hungary 1922. My hero, Adam Varga, has a sister, Sophia, who is interested in becoming an actress. It was fun doing the research about the Hungarian film industry since the country has produced several memorable actors to include Bela Lugosi.

Adam Varga is Hungarian to the bone and desires nothing more than to help his nation rebuild after the war. Morgan Duma returns to Budapest after her parents sent her to England for her safety. Morgan is determined to help her nation as well, but when she discovers her father is a werewolf, Morgan begins to questions who she is. She becomes more reckless, more daring, and her choices become more bold. When Zoltan Kristos, a known werewolf, asks Morgan to accompany him to the Summer Ball, Morgan has to decide which man will best fit into her life.

Released on 1 NOV 2011 with Desert Breeze Publishing

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 complement 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's injured body out of a blazing fire, Morgan's life takes a turn she doesn't expect. Morgan discovers the reasons for her differences, and questions her very identity. Is Adam strong enough to be the man she needs him to be?


She placed a hand on his chest, hoping to grab his attention.
"Adam, I'm sensing stuff no normal human being would. I've been sensing it all along, but now I know why and it's upsetting. I'm not human. What am I?"

He gazed at her with a hint of concern in his expression. "Let's get out of this room."

She opened the door to the hall and stepped out. Why did he look at her like that? Wasn't he worried that he wasn't human, too?

He closed the door behind him and grabbed her wrist. The gold rings around his irises shrunk to their normal size. She glared at him.

"Look, I don't know why you're so concerned about who you are. I know who you are – you're kind, sweet, a wonderful pianist, and compassionate nurse. And you have a sense of humor that always made me laugh. That's who you are. I would think you'd be more upset over what your father has planned – that's a major decision and your mother has no say in the matter."

Morgan drew in a deep breath as the knot in her shoulder tensed. Adam had a point. How could she be so self-centered, dwelling on her high-strung emotions? Perhaps it was a cover. Perhaps she couldn't face the real issue because it mortified her. She didn't want to think about it now. Morgan turned her head away and reached over her shoulder to massage that tension-filled knot.

"Turn around." Adam's voice brooked no debate. She liked a man who commanded authority. Morgan turned around for him and he massaged both her shoulders. Heat from his hands trailed down her back. Her core warmed. Her body relaxed, reacting instinctively and with a desire she couldn't hide.

"Did I hit a nerve?" he asked.

"A nerve? In my neck?" She took a step backward, nearing him.
"No – about your father. Is your real fear about what will happen to your mother once he turns her?" Adam leaned close to her ear, keeping his voice low.

She closed her eyes briefly, facing her anxiety. "Yes."

"Morgan, our fathers' condition have a host of positive traits – the 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 one would you prefer she'd become? The soldiers that are 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 condition that is manageable? 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, 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's body, curving her hand around the nape of his neck, 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 and wrapped his hands around her waist, tugging 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 body. God, she had never felt so wonderful!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Burkhart was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. She received a B.S. in Political Science from California Baptist University in 1995. She served in U.S. Army from 1986-1997, spending seven years in Germany. Her interests include exploring European history and watching Dancing with the Stars. Stephanie lives in California and works for LAPD's Communications Division as a 911 Dispatcher. She's married with two young sons






Debby said...

I learned a lot today from your post thanks for sharing.
I also enjoyed the excerpt. Another one to add to my list.
Also it sounds like you have had quite a varied career in life.
debby236 at gmail dot com

StephB said...

Thanks for popping in Debby. I had a blast traveling all over Europe. I got to see a lot of neat places.


wanda f said...

Fantastic post I thoroughly enjoyed reading it I learned quite a few thingsand totally loved the excerpt .

Barbara Scott said...

Not only was Bela Lugosi typecast as Dracula, but his iconic portrayal managed to typecast all vampires for us until very recently. Could Lugosi ever have imagined Pitt, Patinson, Skaarsgard, et al as vampires in his day?

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I only knew some of these facts about movies because I did some research on it myself--not the Hugarian one though. Now that part was truly interesting. I would think that had to have been difficult to research.
I wish you the best of success with Danube In Candlelight. It looks amazinf, Steph.

StephB said...

Ladies, thank you for popping in. Barbara, I agree - Lugosi get typecast as Dracula and it something that haunted the character in the movies until recently. I don't think he would have thought actors like Pitt, Pattinson and Skaarsgard would have played vampires successfuly. Interesting food for thought.

Sarah, I really did have to muddle around for the research, but it was fascinating.


Jenny Twist said...

Very interesting post, Steph

Kathryn Merkel said...

I've always thought that industry people rarely understand the genius of some of the best actors, because they interpret the ability to immerse totally in one role as only being able to portray that type of character. Sad really & often it's only those who can form their own production company & therefore wrestle some control of their careers away from the studio heads, that ever have the chance to really show how versitale they truely are.

drainbamaged.gyzmo at

StephB said...

Jenny, I'm glad you found it interesting. I enjoyed the research. I agree Kathyrn, some of the best actors rarely get the control they deserve.