Review: Lady Doctor Wyre

Caroline at Book Lovers Inc gave Lady Doctor Wyre  4.5 bookies!

Lady Doctor Wyre isn’t like anything I’ve read before.

I don’t do justice to Joely’s writting, it’s hard to describe the world she created. This book is a mix of Science-Fiction and Historical Romance. I loved that it feels like a Regency Romance, with the pretty dresses, the corsets, the silk, the rules of British society but with nanotechnology and spaceships. It felt right. It never felt ‘weird’, which is often my main problem with ‘Sci-Fi’. Joely found a way to make it work. Well it also doesn’t hurt that the smex is pretty hot. *fan self* Sig and Gilead are very different on so many levels, but in the end they are both perfect for Charlotte. She’s a strong woman and she’s not afraid of taking matters in her own hands *waggles eyebrows*.

Read the whole review here.  Thank you so much, Caroline!

Friday Snippet: Lady Wyre’s Regret

Continuing the free read prequel to Lady Doctor Wyre (first draft).  Part 1, part 2, part 3 if you need to catch up.

There were a million and one details to planning one’s own assassination and Charlotte daren’t miss a single one, else find herself locked in the Tower of Londonium for the rest of her long and miserable life.  While planting bribes all over Town to keep the Queen’s Ravens busy for months if not years attempting to track down her so-called assassin, she endured countless fittings on what would surely be the gown of the century.  My death will be a remarkable spectacle, so naturally my gown must be as memorable.

With a critical eye, she examined her reflection in the tall mirrors, twirling slowly so she might see the fall of fabric from all angles.  She’d chosen an eye-popping scarlet silk that would be scandalous in its own right.  Combined with the severely tight corset and plunging neckline, she’d catch everyone’s attention from the moment she stepped outside her door. 

The white feather accents were a touch too eccentric and ostentatious for her personal taste, but she intended to make a statement.  If red represented the Razari blood, then white would remind the queen of House Wyre’s dove.  The Queen’s Ravens might…would…tear Wyre apart, but Britannia would only see snowy pure white splattered with blood.

I’m far from innocent.  My technology made all this possible.  She forced herself to keep staring at her reflection, even though the sight made her throat burn with bile.  I have to find a way to make this right.  To stop Majel once and for all.  But how?

Something jabbed into her side hard enough she stiffened. 

“Lady Wyre, I presume?”

She recognized the man’s smooth, cultured voice and her heart beat ramped into deep-space full throttle.  Since she intended to give Britannia a solstice eclipse celebration they’d not soon forget, she’d chosen the flashiest, most well-known assassin she could find.  Lord Sigmund Regret was renowned throughout the galaxy as much for his impeccable manners and taste in clothing as for his murdering ability. 

Even more importantly, he specialized in accepting detailed requirements in his contract for how the death should occur.  Supposedly, he’d once killed a lady with her very own corset at her disgruntled lover’s request.

She stiffened her spine and stared coolly back at his reflection solidifying behind her.  If he tries to kill me with my corset, he’ll be sorely surprised.

“You’re early, sir.”

As if she’d managed to surprise him, a small smile hovered on his lips but the pressure didn’t lessen against her ribcage.  “Indeed, since this is a challenging assignment, I thought I’d best slip inside the Britannian grid early.  I’m still not sure whether we’ll be able to slip out entirely undetected.”

She arched a brow at him.  “That’s your concern, for which I’m paying you most handsomely.”

“You’re paying me to make it look like you’re dead, Your Grace.”  He matched her arrogant, high-bred tone perfectly.  “Sneaking you out of Britannia under Queen Majel’s nose is not my usual sort of job.”

“Well, it’s a very good thing you’re the best assassin for hire, then, yes?”

He chuckled, his bright blue eyes gleaming in the mirror with amusement, but his left hand casually wrapped around her throat.  He didn’t apply pressure to her windpipe, but he made it very clear he could snuff her life out before she could open her mouth to scream. 

Little does he know that screaming for help is not my forte.

“Perhaps I’m thinking the queen might pay me even more if I take care of her problem instead of helping you escape her wrath.  It would certainly make it easier for me to escape Britannia intact.”

“If escape,” she said with a deliberate curl of distaste on her lips, “is your only concern, then perhaps you shouldn’t have been so foolish as to accept my payment, which enabled my sniffer to locate your private bank account.” 

He opened his mouth, no doubt to retort that he had numerous such bank accounts, so she pushed on without giving him the chance. 

“If you’d done your research on me beforehand, then you would know that I have a penchant for being extremely nosy and plotting with deliberate forethought to ensure my desired outcome.  Of course, my sniffer has been busy backtracking to your other personal accounts as well.  I’ve already located six such accounts scattered throughout the galaxy.  If I don’t transmit the all-clear signal to my sniffer within twenty four hours, every single account you possess will suddenly be flagged for Britannian investigation.  No doubt news of Lord Regret’s cowardly failure to uphold his contract as promised will be the talk of the galaxy for years to come.”

His jaws worked, his face darkened, and his eyes glittered with malice.  “Maybe I’d simply enjoy killing you.”

She let a careless—if slightly breathy—laugh escape.  “You’re welcome to try, sir, but I think you’ll find that you chose a most unlikely entrance for your knife.”  He poked hard enough she grunted, but the blade couldn’t penetrate her corset.  “Again, even modest research would have confirmed that I also enjoy experiments and inventions, especially ones that might save my life.  I knew this event would be risky and so reinforced my corset with steel plating to protect my vital organs.”

He stepped close enough behind her that his heat penetrated the thin silk of her gown.  His breath caressed her bared neck and ear.  “Aren’t you afraid of me at all?”

“Yes, I am.”  A frisson of awareness zinged down her spine.  Danger, excitement, she wasn’t sure.  As finely dressed as any Britannian lord, this man could be her contemporary in Society.  If they’d met a few years ago, he might have been the one to convince her to surrender to matrimony.  He certainly intrigued her like no one else she’d ever known.  “But I’m more afraid of Queen Majel.  I shan’t allow her to win.  Fear makes me sharper, smarter, and all the more dangerous, Lord Regret.”

“Sigmund,” he sighed against her ear.  His grip on her throat turned to a caress, a gentle glide of fingers that made her skin tingle.  “You’re one hell of a woman, Your Grace.”

“Please call me Charlotte.”  Holding his gaze in the mirror, she gave him a slow, sensuous smile that made his brilliant eyes flare.  “I regret so many things.  Saving Queen Majel’s life.  The wretched things for which she’s allowing my research to be used.  The millions of deaths on Razar.  I don’t know how I’ll ever sleep again, worrying how many more planets will suffer the same demise.  Once I’m free of Britannia, I’ll never be the Duchess of Wyre again, which I won’t regret in the slightest.” 

“Call me Sig, and I’ll call you Charlie.”  Winking at her in the mirror, he settled his palm lower on the creamy expanse of skin bared by her gown.  “Your invention has a most regrettable design flaw.  This corset fails to protect your heart.”

She laughed and stepped out of his embrace.  “My heart needs no such protection.  Come, then, Sig, and allow me to share the plans I’ve made thus far.  I agree wholeheartedly that escape from Britannia will be the most challenging contract you’ve ever accepted.  You won’t regret taking my case, will you?”

“I’ll have no regrets with you.” 

Review: Lady Doctor Wyre

Holly at Whipped CreamLong & Short Reviews gave Lady Doctor Wyre 4.5 Cherries!

The world of Lady Doctor Wyre is a mix of history, space travel and modern technology, and in spite of the incongruities, it is a marvelous new world. I loved discovering the similarities between our world and the space colonies of Ms. Burkhart. I love the characters in this, from the strong title character, to the two totally opposite leading men, and the wonderful supporting cast that make this adventure possible.

Thank you so much, Holly!

Review: Lady Doctor Wyre

Nicole of Book-Wyrm-Knits has given a lovely review of Lady Doctor Wyre:

Even though I would class Lady Doctor Wyre as a steampunk, it’s not your traditional steampunk. Many of the traditional elements are present, while many others are morphed into something more futuristic. This world mixes silk stockings with space ships, corsets with nanobots. The strict Society rules found in many steampunk novels are in effect, but they are entirely presided over by women, both in the political and social realms. … As with every story she has crafted that I have read, Joely blends fantasy with reality in a completely believable and utterly enjoyable fashion.

Thank you so much, Nicole!

Review: Lady Doctor Wyre

Soleil Noir of Black Sun Reviews has written a lovely review:

I don’t know how the author does it but with each read I find myself more and more captivated-ensnared-by her stories. Joely Sue Burkhart really out did herself with the world building behind Lady Doctor Wyre, because the world breathes like a fully realized character all it’s own on the page. There is a lot to love about this new (tentative) series. It’s a cross-genre of epic scale-reminiscent of Serenity and the Firefly series, and that can be read as nothing more than a compliment. In all of 73 pages readers get a dash of steampunk, a helping of science-fiction, a smidge of the old west, regency, and a smoldering pot of romance.

Thank you so much, Soleil!  There are definitely more stories coming, both with Charlie & company as well as other characters in this universe!

P.S. If you missed it, scroll down for the first installment of a free read prequel to Lady Doctor Wyre.

Friday Snippet: Lady Wyre’s Regret

It’s been entirely too long since I shared a snippet!  Lady Wyre agreed and insisted that she should attend to the matter herself, even though the first draft of her prequel is proceeding at a snail’s pace.  However, those couple of hundred words a day are beginning to add up — I have over 3500 words now and still going strong.

First draft, subject to heavy revisions later.  No one has read this yet, not even my Beloved Sis!  I’m especially pleased to lay down the reference to Deathright, a related book in this world (though regretfully not featuring Charlie and company).

Usually only poorly brewed tea managed to shake her composure, but as Charlotte stared at the carnage, she wanted to weep.  A large screen ten paces high and wide covered the wall, rendering disfigured bodies in gruesome detail.  Alien, yes, but no less disturbing. 

Evidently Queen Majel was not encumbered with any such trivial emotions as she sued for a brutal peace with the Razari.  “We won’t permanently station a peacekeeping force on your planet as long as half of your surviving able-bodied males agree to serve a ten-year period of indenture to Britannia.”

The Matriarch of the Razari hissed at the screen, revealing razor-sharp fangs.  A mix of browns and greens, her skin tone spoke of the mostly swampy condition of her home planet.  “You leave only a remnant of my people alive and then you take half of those?  We’ll starve or be overrun by the neighboring planet.  The Shee have always coveted our crystals.”

As do we.  Charlotte hid a wince of recrimination.  It wouldn’t do at all to show any weakness, regret, or hesitation.  Let alone disgust at what my own mighty nation has wrought.

The Matriarch wore a crude necklace bearing one of the coveted crystals.  Approximately the length and breadth of an index finger, the crystal was powerful enough to fuel a Razari ship’s engines for a month.  If the small twin-engine prop hadn’t crashed so conveniently close to a Britannian outpost, and if the border guards hadn’t done such an admiral job and sent the crystal straight through to Queen Majel’s personal scientist…

Then millions of Razari would still be alive and free.

Charlotte’s throat ached from holding back her rage.  She’d researched that damnable crystal, yes, and had found it fascinating.  Who wouldn’t?  But she’d never intended for this to happen.  Dear God, an entire planet practically wiped out, and for what?  A few chunks of rock?

The Matriarch glared with righteous fury.  “One quarter of our males and only seven years.”

Without replying, Queen Majel stretched out her graceful hand toward the electronic panel.  One large red button drew the alien’s attention, her eyes slitting with alarm.  The poor creature probably thought that button would send the final blast through their planet, and it was all Charlotte could do not to blurt out the truth.  Although the button would merely end the transmission, nothing would stop Queen Majel from ordering the destruction with any of the other brutal weapons at her command.

Or perhaps she’d use more subtlety to conquer the Razari.  If she released Charlotte’s latest creation of hungry dissemblers, within a fortnight there wouldn’t be a trace of metallic technology or structure left on the entire planet.

She pressed a hand to her stomach, fighting not to be ill.  I never intended for this atrocity to happen.  Forgive me.

Gripping the intriguing crystal with one scaly paw, the Matriarch gritted out, “Agreed.  On one condition.”

Queen Majel arched a brow at the alien but gave a slight nod for her to continue with her request.

“Any male who signs a contract of indenture must be allowed to keep his deathright, or crystals, as you call them.  They possess a religious meaning for us, Your Majesty.  Taking away a Razari’s crystal is akin to damning his soul but leaving him alive, which is why so many of us are dead instead of surrendering.”  Obviously a respected and powerful leader in her own right, the Matriarch bowed her head, still gripping her crystal.  “Please, Queen.  We’ll abide by your terms, as long as we’re allowed to keep our deathright.”

“As long as you have no reluctance in allowing us to mine your crystals for less holy use.”

“No objection as long as we may keep ours along with our traditions.”

Queen Majel smiled more kindly.  “Then we have reached an agreement, Matriarch.  Expect the treaty to be transmitted within the hour.  Welcome to Britannia’s fold.”

Welcome to hell.

Reviewers and Bloggers Wanted

I have the final files of Lady Doctor Wyre in hand!  If you’re willing to review a SF erotic romance (menage and some BDSM) that’s loosely “A Jane Austen Space Opera” then please e-mail me at joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com with your desired format.  You don’t have to have an official review site — if you’re willing to rate on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, etc. that is wonderful too.  Release date isn’t until March, but I’d love to get some reviews ahead of schedule!

(Blurb)

A Jane Austen Space Opera

In a galaxy where Jane Austen reigns supreme…

Lady Doctor Wyre (we’re already talking about changing the title, too) has been contracted by Samhain and will be available March 2011!

Quite honestly, I’m not really sure what genre this new series falls into, but I’ve been calling it a Jane Austen Space Opera.  It’s not steampunk, exactly, because it’s based on the Regency not the Victorian Era.  It’s sort of Alternative History — except the countries and colonies of the early 1800s are instead planets, so space travel is involved instead of locomotives or dirigibles.  Instead of brass goggles and gears, the gadgets are based on nanotechnology.

Oh, and if you’re expecting the same old Regency tropes, you’re in for a big surprise, because the LADIES rule this galaxy.  Typical roles will be reversed, so expect Lady Rakes, Female Pirates, and Blushing Male Debutantes, where the gentlemen hope to land a titled lady and not the other way around.  These heroines are not wallflowers or spinsters.  They’re subversive and bold and outspoken.  For instance, Lady Wyre may just decide to keep both men who are interested in her.

Funny behind the story moment:  I printed out Mrs. Giggles’ Regency drinking game as inspiration for ways to warp and twist all those beloved Regency tropes!  So you can imagine, this series is going to be a total blast to write, while still having solid, rich worldbuilding and steamy romance.  Stay tuned for details!