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Review: Golden

A new reviewer (to me!):  Riane of Kinky Book Reviews gave Golden a shot:

A few days ago, I had never heard of an author by the name of Joely Sue Burkhart. A friend recommended a book that had recently come out by her, so I decided to check it out. It took me a couple of days before I got a chance to sit down to read the book. Now, I wish I had started it earlier.


This is a relatively short book. It was a fast but enjoyable read for me. There are some twists and turns that I did not expect. The sex scenes were quite good and fit into the storyline. The characters were interesting. The book was set in China which was different for me.

Thank you, Riane!

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Review: Golden

Susi posted a wonderful review of Golden at Book Lovers Inc:

An enthralling oriental world of intrigues and deception all wrapped around a foreign romance that enthralled me and didn’t let me go till I read the last word. …a unique setting and plot, a romance that will pick your curiosity and just the right amount of sexy times to give it the needed spice. A highly recommended read- take a chance and try something new.

4.5/5 Bookies!  Thank you so much, Susi!

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Review: Golden, a Top Forbidden Favorite

What a wonderful review from Tanya at The Forbidden Bookshelf, who makes Golden a Top Forbidden Favorite!

Seduction, passion, pain/pleasure, and machinations bring Golden to life! The uniqueness of characters and setting bring an air of freshness and unconventionality to the story of one woman who will give her entire being to the one man who can painfully fulfill her sexual desires and aspiration for her future. The Emperor alone can make Jin soar, and Jin alone can free the repressed desires of an Emperor who craves to be the man he is with the one person who can accept for who he is: Jin.


For anyone who has not read a Joely Sue Burkhart book, I highly recommend that you do! She knows how to create sensual and heartfelt moments that truly captivate.

Golden is a Top Forbidden Favorite for me! Thank you Joely, for creating stories that are unforgettable!

Thank you so much, Tanya!

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Golden Winner and Review

I used the pick giveaway plugin to select the winner for the HautTote giveaway:  Stephanie Christine!  Thank you to everyone for entering!  Stephanie, I’ll email details to you (the tote hasn’t shipped to me yet).

There’s also another great review for Golden by Night Owl Romances by Elf. 4.5 stars and a Top Pick!

An evocative and well-written story that vividly conjures up the intricacies of court intrigue and machinations even as it relays the tale of two people tied together in their desire for the sexual stimulation achieved through the delivery and reception of pain.  Looking forward to more works from this author, a wonderfully adept word-artist.

Thank you so much!

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Reviews: Golden

I have two reviews to share today for Golden!

First, from MinnChica at The Book Pushers:

The sexy moments were – in true Burkhart fashion – very sexy and firmly set in the BDSM world. … I was also intrigued by the backstabbing and side plots in the book with the Empress and son. The assassination plots and attempts, Jin’s need to stay one-step ahead of everyone and the secrets were another aspect of the historical time frame I found really interesting. Ms. Burkhart if you read this, please write more stories like this! Loved that, very unique and something I’ve never read before!

And from Rose at Two Lips Reviews:

The pace is fast, the dialogue is sharp, and there are twists and turns in the plot that I didn’t see coming. … I really liked what Ms. Burkhart did with Jin; she’s ambitious, determined. and stealthy, but at no time comes off as being wrong or selfish – she really wants to please the Emperor and give this man, who can have anything he desires, the one thing he doesn’t have, unconditional love and acceptance.

Thank you so much!

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Friday Snippet: Golden

In honor of Golden’s release this week from Carina Press, I thought I’d share a little “behind the scenes” from the writing/editing perspective. 

Even after a book is accepted for publication, there may still be some difficult edits requested by your editor.  In Golden’s case, Alissa suggested that I think about adding something before the first intimate encounter between the Emperor and Jin.  What I had written was a little too abrupt.  There needed to be a little more seduction before the “big event.”

Seems like a simple request…but in reality, it was pretty difficult.  Once I have a story in my head, playing like a movie from beginning to end, it’s extremely difficult to change that timeline.  It’s not as easy as adding a quick scene — I have to know WHY that scene is important.  How does it tie into the main story arc? 

Worse, you know the whole chaos theory effect:  a butterfly flaps its wings in chapter one and a hurricane sweeps through the book and changes the ending entirely.

I didn’t want that to happen — although filtering changes all the way through are necessary in my opinion if the addition is done correctly.  It’s not just a “stick this in here” and go on your merry way sort of change.

What helped me get through this addition was thinking about a DVD extras segment.  What scene could have ended up on the cutting room floor that might have fit into this timeline?  Was there any element that came up later — that I could give some backstory for?  Of course, it had to be more important than backstory.  It had to beat the cutting room floor by becoming MORE meaningful, but that at least got me thinking about things I could add.

Finally, this element seemed to have possibilities:  the Emperor’s golden robe.  It’s mentioned much later in the story and becomes an important symbol of his acceptance.  How much better could I make that symbol if I expanded the background of that golden silk?

This was the outcome.  It also makes the later scenes involving the robe much more significant!  A win all around.

Since I’d last been called to the Emperor’s chambers, I had stitched day and night until my bleeding fingers threatened to ruin the golden silk of his robe. The few times I had left my rooms, I’d worn my hair loose as he’d commanded on the chance that he might take note of my eager obedience. From the strange looks and whispers I’d earned, I might as well have walked down the glittering hallways in no clothes at all.

I don’t care. Let them see me naked, bleeding, as long as it’s for him.

Laboring over his robe until dragons adorned every inch was a small price to pay for his attention. I’d walk across burning coals just to keep that gleam of satisfaction in his eyes.

Kneeling before him, I laid the neatly folded robe between us. “My punishment, Your Majesty.”

He unfolded the silk, spreading the robe out upon his lap with a low sound of approval. “Did you stitch this all yourself? In so few days?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

He traced his fingers along the sinuous creatures I’d created. I’d lost count of the dozens of reels of golden thread I’d added to the robe, doubling its weight. The Empress cluttered her embroidery with gems and beads, but my design relied on only tiny, intricate stitches.

“You may not care for such embroidery, Daughter, but your work is exemplary. This robe is as fine as any I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing.”

Pride warmed my heart, even though I disliked being relegated back to Daughter. “Thank you, Your Majesty.”

He startled me by reaching out to take my hand in his. “Did you sleep at all since last week?”

Flushing, I bowed my head and hoped my hair hid the shadows beneath my eyes. I had slept very little these past days, but not merely because I was determined to finish the stitching before we met again. My mind had been too busy planning how to tempt him deeper into the darkness that threatened to consume me.

His thumb pressed against the pad of my finger still sore from the needle. Through my touseled hair, I watched his face and let a small moan escape.

His eyes narrowed, his nostrils flared, and he pressed harder, his grip tight on my hand.

Pain had a curious effect on me. Most people would have jerked back in an involuntary effort to escape that which hurt them. For me, even a small pain such as this pressure on my raw fingers made me melt. My bones seemed to dissolve. My skin came alive at the promise tightening his mouth into a hard slant and the coldness darkening his eyes.

“Well?” His voice remained soft while his fingers tortured my hand, pressing here and there to find every tender spot. “I didn’t intend for you to lose sleep for this punishment.”

I swallowed down another moan. “What is sleep when you set me to a task, Your Majesty?”

His thumb ground into the heel of my hand where the wooden hoop had worn a groove into my skin.  “I suppose you didn’t eat then, either.”

I bit my lip, fighting to keep my arousal at bay. My thighs trembled beneath me and sweat trickled between my breasts. It’d been so long since I’d been given sensual pain. So very long. My husband had never touched me tenderly or with great passion, let alone this slow exploration of agonized flesh. Did the Emperor know what effect his touch had upon me?

“Here, eat, Daughter.”  He held a small cake to my lips, insisting I take a bite. My mouth was so dry that I choked on the delicate crumbs. I tried to refuse, horrified that he served me with his own hand, but his grip kept me still. His thumb stroked circles against my palm, an intimate touch that made me pant with longing. “You mustn’t neglect your health. What if you carry our heir?”

“The Crown Prince hasn’t touched me in months. That would be impossible, Your Majesty.”

His upper lip curled as though he’d tasted something vile. Reminded of our untenable situation, he released me as quickly as if I burned his skin. “When I became Emperor, I swore to protect my people with everything I possess. How could I do less for my family, which I love above all? I give you my solemn oath, Daughter, that no harm shall come to you from my hand.”

My heart broke at that look of repugnance. Of all people, I’d thought he would most understand what I needed. What he reviled in himself, he would surely despise in me, as well.

Worse, a solemn oath was a serious obstacle to overcome. No man who’d broken his word would see himself as fit to be the Son of Heaven.

“I am already harmed, Your Majesty.” My voice trembled as badly as my hands clasped in my lap. “I’m cursed with a terrible need, and the longer this need goes unanswered, the more I hurt.”

“It’s your husband’s duty to care for you.”

Even before he finished the sentence, I shook my head so hard my hair whipped my cheeks. “He doesn’t even understand that this need can exist, let alone that I bear it. I need to be punished. I need outer pain to take away my inner pain. Only you—”

“Your punishment has been fulfilled,” he broke in before I could finish. “Your workmanship is exquisite. I require nothing else from you.”

I bowed lower, hiding my face with shame. Tears wet my hair and cheeks. How could I face the monotony of palace life without even these weekly visits to brighten my dreary existence? Day after day dressing in my finest silk and painting my face, only to sit in my chambers alone while my husband ignored me and the man I yearned for with every fiber of my being denied my existence?

In a voice I scarcely recognized as my own, I whispered, “Heaven endures, the earth comes to its end, while my unending sorrow goes on and on forever.”

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Review: Golden

Don’t forget the HautTotes giveaway!

Ashia of The Romance Reviews gives Golden 5 stars!

Within 70-odd pages, Joely Sue Burkhart penned a powerful and captivating story of love and pain set in an Emperor’s court…Tension–sexual and otherwise–pervaded almost every page in the book. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Though the Emperor succumbed to Jin’s charms early on in the book, the tension of Jin’s situation at the palace, being the lowliest concubine, ratcheted up with every assassination attempt.

More than a romance, it is the story of a woman’s journey to serve the lord of her heart and to claim a place by his side, no matter the cost.

Thank you so much, Ashia!

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Golden Release Giveaway

Celebrating Golden’s release from Carina Press tomorrow, I’m giving away this gorgeous tote from HautTotes (edited to note:  the size will be the larger full-size tote not the mini)!

To Enter:  comment on this post and tell me your favorite Asian movie.  Red Cliff?  Curse of the Golden Flower?  Legend of the Black Scorpion?  Or simply throw your name in the hat.  Anyone on the planet can enter — I’ll ship internationally.  I do not retain your name or address after the giveaway is over.

Optional:  for more chances to win, review or rate Golden on any online site (Amazon, GoodReads, your blog, etc.) and send me the link.  Each link will gain another entry in the giveaway.

This giveaway will remain open until midnight (CST) Sept. 10th.  If I’m unable to contact the winner after 48 hours, I’ll pick another name.

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Review: Golden

Another review for Golden, this one from The Romanceaholic.  While the overall rating reflects her unease with certain elements of the historical era itself, she still has some wonderful things to say about the story:

Richly detailed, vivid, and incredibly erotic, they absolutely stole my breath. And combined with the various intrigues and political machinations of the various members of the royal court, this story was incredibly gripping and kept me glued to the pages from the first page right through the last. …..  It was beautifully well-written, incredibly interesting, and frankly pretty danged hot.

Thanks for giving the Emperor and Jin a shot!

Golden will be available from Carina Press next week!