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Behind the Story: Two Cuts Darker

TwoCutsDarker125I’ve blogged before about where the original idea for A Killer Need came from. Basically, I wanted a “horror romance” with a possible serial killer hero who I could make believable, likeable, and redeem in some way.

It might surprise you, but Vincent came first, even though his book is only just now coming out. The original idea I played with–and ultimately set aside–was a bad guy undercover as an even worse guy on some kind of private cruise ship. The heroine was in bondage there and sent to him for the night.

You can see why I tabled that idea, right?  I couldn’t come up with a way to make THAT likeable/romantic in any way.

When I started writing Charlie’s story, I honestly had no idea that he fit into the killer storyline at all. He lied to me the whole time. Only after about 30K did I finally realize I had found a way into that killer horror/romance story.

Vincent was Trouble from the beginning. Readers liked Charlie, which was great! But I hadn’t planned on him returning that much. Once I got the idea into my head, though, I couldn’t get it out.  Then I lost balance of the story and had way too much Charlie/Ranay on page for it being Vincent/Mads’s book. Luckily I had a great editor!  Alissa was able to help me bring that balance back in.

You see that “Dare to look beneath the mask…” up at the top of the page?  That’s a reminder for me too.  Sometimes I flinch.  I don’t actually look as deeply as I need to.  I don’t want to explore that darkness.

Aside: growing up, we lived out in the boondocks on a 100 acre farm just off tornado alley. I HATED going to our basement – even though it was supposed to be safer than the house. It was a nasty root cellar beneath the house.  We actually had to go OUTSIDE into the STORM to reach it.  (If you’ve seen the beginning of Twister, our root cellar was a little like that, except theirs was waaaay nicer.)  Small snakes, tons of spiders and cobwebs – you name something creepy that lives under an old farm house, and that’s what we had to sit with during a tornado.

Sometimes writing a really dark, emotional story is like standing at the top of those stairs, barefoot in the middle of the night, scared out of your mind.  There’s a tornado coming behind you.  Wind is whipping your hair and you can’t see.  But you really REALLY don’t want to go down into that black scary hole.

Even if it might save your life.

That’s where a good editor can say stuff like “Explore this more.”  “What’s he feeling here?”  “Can we get more emotional responses here?”

A.K.A. go down into that dark basement and poke around.  You might find something really creepy good in the dark.

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Eight Magical Tales: A Here Be Magic Boxed Set

FINAL3D_COVER_HBM_BoxedSetA bunch of us at Here Be Magic got together and wrote brand-new stories centered around magic. Our boxed set is available now and only $.99!

TERROR MANSION by Rebecca York
His psychic dream can save her life–if she’ll only trust him.

NIGHTGAZER by Joely Sue Burkhart:
A princess on the run. A grumpy wizard stripped of his power. Can she heal him in time to save her throne?

GORGOUS NIGHTMARE by Angela Campbell:
Can a reluctant psychic stop a deadly killer before the woman he loves is murdered?

SAVED BY THE TRICKSTER by Shona Husk:
Zander has one month to prove he deserves to be let back into heaven. Lysanna is a Trickster, a demi-god charged with making people believe in Light and hope. Now, Zander will have to choose between his duty to heaven and Lysanna.

TALL, TALL TREES by Linda Mooney:
If fighting the animosity between their two tribes isn’t enough, Oron and Pellera must battle monstrous creatures and the deadly growler to save their lives and their love.

DEVIL OF BOURBON STREET by Cindy Spencer Pape:
For a widowed cop and a street musician, magic, murder, and New Orleans might add up to love—if they survive.

RAVEN’S SONG by Shawna Reppert:
Set between the first and second books of Reppert’s award-winning Ravensblood series, can a reformed dark mage save an opera star from a deadly stalker?

HEALER OF THE NILE By Veronica Scott:
Can a village healer persuade the god of Fate to help her save a soldier trapped between Life and Death?

Buy links (more coming as they go live!):

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Billionaire #3 Update

I made my deadline! Actually had enough room to spare to do several good edits passes, added a new scene to tie up a loose end, and then wrote the synopsis and blurb. I think I read it through 5 times, and there are parts that still get me a little teary.

This is a holiday novel, and so I wanted to include lots of sentimental, special elements. Kelsey had a HARD life, poor thing, and Harvey is so damaged that she despairs of ever pulling him out of the darkness. But she drags him kicking and screaming into the (Christmas) lights. There are a few bombshells and a sweet moment for Donovan and Lilly at the end. All in all, I’m very pleased with this book.

The only thing that’s bugging me is the title. We can’t use The Billionaire Grinch as I pitched it (trademarked) so we’re brainstorming other alternatives. Right now, it’s tentatively titled The Billionaire Who Hated Christmas, but that’s likely to change. If anyone has an awesome Billionaire + Christmas Grinch/Scrooge title to recommend, I’d love to hear it!

Unofficial (working) blurb:

The Recluse: Billionaire Harvey Caine has despised all things Christmas since his parents died in a car accident during the holidays three years ago. He’s become a shut-in, trapped in his family mansion and tormented with guilt. The only person allowed inside is Gordon Maxwell, his parents’ long-time friend and employee who practically raised him, and the only thing keeping him alive is his determination to win back control of Caine Enterprises from his aunt.

Maxwell knows a lot of Caine secrets, including the fact that Harvey’s parents were involved in a BDSM relationship. Desperate to get Harvey some help, Maxwell decides to hire a Mistress for the holidays with the hope of giving Harvey something else to live for than his obsessions and guilt.

The Maid: Since Harvey’s a full-blown Christmas-hater who refuses to allow anyone inside his house, the only way Maxwell can get professional Mistress Kelsey Marley inside is by pretending she’s his niece who needs a job and a roof over her head for the holidays. Kelsey has the perfect French maid costume meant to drive the billionaire mad and immediately disrupts his entire life with a sultry tease.

The Christmas Bargain: Kelsey knows exactly how to push the billionaire’s buttons, but they’re getting too close, too fast and Christmas is just around the corner. If Harvey finds out she’s been bought and paid for, this holiday might go down in his ledger as the absolute worst Christmas ever.

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One Cut Deeper Roundup

OneCutDeeper200With it being release week, there’s a lot of action going on. Instead of constantly bombarding everyone with links, I thought I’d just gather them up in one place.

Reviews are coming in!

  • “One Cut Deeper kept me guessing from start to finish. The kink aspects are not for the faint of heart, but fit the relationship between these two characters – and they are integral to suspense plot as well. This is an erotic thriller that should not be missed. It is a fantastic story with just the right blend of kink and suspense.” Romance Novel News
  • “Do not be afraid of this book. This story is so expertly put together, given to us in a way that holds us captive and engages our imagination. It’s about learning to love and accept ourselves and allowing others to love us. I can’t express to you how much I was pulled into these characters’ world. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.” SM Book Obsessions
  • “If you like Dark erotica/romance and suspense/thrillers with sexy sadist Doms that will leave you with warm fuzzy feelings while scaring you just enough to leave you hot and bothered then this is the book for you. This is Joely Sue Burkhart writing what she writes best.” Stephanie Christine
  • “One Cut Deeper is a deeper, darker journey into BDSM and Joely Sue Burkhart was just the perfect author to write something like this. Again, amazing!” Sultry Steamy Reading

Guests posts, background about the story, and some opportunities to win prizes!

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Now Available: The Billionaire’s Ink Mistress

BillionairesInkMistress-The72smHappy book birthday to Jackson and Diana!

It’s not necessary to read The Billionaire Submissive first, but if you’ve been wondering about that stained glass project, you’ll get a nice update in The Billionaire’s Ink Mistress. Donovan and Lilly make several appearances to help introduce his attorney and best friend, Jackson Montgomery Warring, and his future Mistress, Diana Temple, aka The Priestess.

To celebrate, I’m offering two prize packages, one to be given away here, and the other given to a newsletter subscriber.

Each package includes a $50 e-gift certificate to any online book retailer (I’ll split it at multiple venues if you wish) and both Billionaires in Bondage books, signed print or electronic, winner’s choice.  Open to anyone on the planet.  Yes, if you choose print, I’m willing to send the books internationally.

To enter this giveaway, comment on this post as many times as you wish.  I’ll use Pick Giveaway Winner to generate a winner from comments on April 17th.  If you review either Billionaire book, please do send me the link in comments so I can add you to my collection and get an extra entry at the same time!

To start the discussion, what element of BDSM or kink would you LOVE to read more of that no one’s really doing right now?  Daddy Doms, breath play, knife play, bondage without D/s elements…?  Anything goes!

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Re-Release: The Fire Within

The Fire Within_webOver the years, I’ve had a few people email me to ask about the Keldari Fire novella, The Fire Within.

It was originally published by Drollerie Press, along with the Shanhasson trilogy and Survive My Fire, but that publisher folded years ago.  I was on a roll in 2012 and got most of these lost titles re-released with new covers, but I ran out of steam. Sadly, I had this cover made… I just kept putting off the actual formatting.  Then I decided I ought to make an edit pass, because that was several years ago and my writing style has changed quite a bit.

Finally this month, I sat down and made a quick pass.  I hired out the formatting so I didn’t have that hanging over me.  So it only took a few minutes of setup this morning and I was able to push the “publish” button.

I’ve never had a work exclusively in KDP, so this is a trial for me. I know that this makes it more difficult for non-Amazon fans, so if you can’t bring yourself to pick up a copy via Amazon, just email me and I can hook you up.

So I’m very happy to offer a new fantasy romance (yes, this one is solidly romance and has a HEA) complete with dragons!  There’s no need to read any of the other Blood & Shadow books to enjoy this one, though it does fill in a few holes about the king prior to Shannari’s line taking over the throne.

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Never Let You Down Giveaway

NeverLetYouDown120To celebrate Virginia’s book, I’m offering winner’s choice:

  • Signed print copies of all four Connagher books to date, mailed anywhere on the planet.
  • OR digital copies of all four books, any format, and a $35 gift certificate to any online book retailer.

You have two opportunities to win!  Enter via Rafflecopter below, or join my newsletter for a second prize package (same details) to be drawn from the list of subscribers on Jan 16th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Never Let You Down Cover

Mama, aka Virginia Connagher, coming January 6 from Samhain Publishing!

NeverLetYouDown72lgA breath of a second chance can bring a slow-burning flame roaring back to life.

The Connaghers, Book 4

Virginia, Matriarch of the Texas Connaghers, has been alone twelve years since the great love of her life passed away. Tyrell loved her sadist’s heavy hand and the hard inner core she’s dared not show anyone since.

She lives in the past, clinging to all those memories except one. The one she’s determinedly blocked out of her heart and mind for nearly forty years. The one time she was almost unfaithful to her then-fiancé with her best friend, Jebadiah Garrett.

That was a long time ago. They both married and moved on. She has three adult children settling down with their own families. Besides, it was just a kiss. One kiss.

One unforgettable kiss that brought Jebadiah to his knees at her feet.

Now he’s back in town and determined to finally, once and for all, tell her how much he’s loved her all these years. Or, even better, show her by going to his knees once more. If she’ll only give him the chance.

Product Warnings

Friends to lovers, older characters with a second chance at love, and a hard-as-nails matriarch who finally succumbs to a forty-year-old unrequited love.