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Review Drive for Mine to Break

In case you didn’t notice, print editions of The Connaghers are going live!  Dear Sir, I’m Yours and Hurt Me So Good are already up and available, and the rest will be coming this week.

Mine to Break (released last July) only has 7 reviews, so I’m trying something a little different. I’m calling it a “review drive.” I set up a Google doc for you to drop links of your reviews.  On April 5th, I’ll random draw 5 names to win the winner’s choice of any signed print book from my backlist. This includes the Connagher books coming this week, the Shanhasson trilogy, or Their Vampire Queen.

If this is a success, I’ll consider doing it for other books in my backlist as well.

To make it easy for you to participate even if you’re not on my ARC list, Mine to Break is FREE this week!  Download your free copy – and your review will count as a verified purchase.

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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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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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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.

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Giveaway: Her Grace’s Stable Print Release

giveaway

Her Grace’s Stable is now available in print on Amazon and following soon other places (official release date is June 3rd).  To celebrate, I’m giving away a signed copy, along with a custom make-up-size bag filled with RT swag.  I’ll mail these goodies anywhere on the planet.  Enter via Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Mama Connagher: The End

I’ve written EVERY DAY this month… even if it was only 100-200 words.  And tonight, finally, I finished the last extra scene I wanted to add and then tied it into the ending scene of the book.

Mama C’s complete at 58,578 words.

All I have left to do now is place the last few extra scenes I wrote into the correct order, and then do another read through to make sure I’m happy with everything.  Hopefully I’ll have time tomorrow over my lunch…and praying I won’t have to work late again.  I had to babysit a job this weekend so maybe I can escape a little early tomorrow so I can finish the read through.

YAY!!!!  I’m so happy!!!

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Mama Connagher Day 12

I’ve written every day this month so far, though the last few days have been smaller, around 500 each day.  However, work is super super hectic right now (plus it was Middle’s birthday this weekend so not a lot of writing time).  I’ve got a major Evil Day Job deadline I’m dealing with.  The kind of impossible deadline that’s making me cranky and wish super hard for a winning lottery ticket if you know what I mean.  So no writing over lunch this week and probably longer hours.

However, I finished one of the story-within-the-story scenes and have a good start on the next.  Then I just have one resolution/fun scene that shouldn’t be as hard to write.  I had to figure out the plot for this story, even though it’s not a “complete” story, at least enough that makes sense, so the word count has been a little meager, even though the progress overall was good.

I’ve done one read through of the first draft and it’s pretty darned solid.  I have just a few things I want to layer a bit and then I need to define the chapters and drop in the flashbacks and story-within-the-story scenes.  The timing/placement is tricky but hopefully I can wrap that up this week even though I’ll be putting in longer hours than usual for the Evil Day Job.

So… beta readers!  If you’re interested in taking a look in the next week or so, drop me a note (joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com).  I’ll do a second pass this week, give it a few days while I write the synopsis, and then I’ll do a final pass with your feedback.  I’d like to have Virginia off to visit with my editor by next Monday if at all possible.

The end is in sight!

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Mama Connagher Day 8

The bad news:  I was going to post this last night, but I wasn’t feeling the best and I was too busy today.

Today (yesterday) was a take care of the wrists day.  My hands kept hurting throughout the morning, so I put on my wrists splints and worked in them all day.  They helped tremendously, though it did make me slower than usual.  I also feel a weird thing going on with my stomach tonight.

I didn’t want any coffee tonight.  I know, right?  I might be dying! [I’m still off my coffee, sob!]

The good news:  I finished the main draft!  I just have 2 more story-within-the-story scenes to figure out.  Then I’ll need to drag a few scenes around in Scrivener, compile, and see what kind of mess I made.

1947 words.  Mama’s overall word count is sitting at  52,088.  By the time I add a little more on the other thread, that should be around 55K, about what I was thinking.

Snippet:  this is a shorter excerpt – I’ve got to keep *some* secrets, laugh!  It’s a flashback scene with Jeb and Virginia and such a heartbreaker – though you don’t get it all here.  Poor Jeb!

“I still remember the first time I saw you.”  He didn’t sit down, but kept hold of her arm, standing in the shadow of the wall.  “I was in the first grade and you’d just started kindergarten.  We were outside at recess the first day of school and Bobby Wagner tried to cut in front of you in the line for the tallest slide.  I was surprised you got in that line.  Most of the little kids were too scared of it because it was twice as tall as the others, but that’s the first thing you headed for.  When you pushed him back, he knocked you down.  I ran toward you but before I could help, you stood up and smacked him in the mouth.  You said, ‘You got my dress dirty.  I hate this ugly thing but it’s Mama’s favorite.  If this stain doesn’t come out, I’m going to smack you again.’  And even though Bobby was three years older than you and could have beat the crap out of me, he hightailed it out of there lickity split.”

“Mrs. Baker came over to ask what had happened.  Why Bobby’s mouth was bloody.  And you said you’d hit him because he pushed me.  Why’d you lie for me?”

“You burst into tears.  I thought it was because you were afraid of getting in trouble, so I took the blame.  Later you told me it was because you were afraid Miss Belle would think you got the dress dirty on purpose because you hated it so much.”

Virginia laughed.  “Yeah, I hated to wear dresses.  She finally gave up and let me wear whatever I wanted after that.”

“We’ve been best friends ever since.”

Her smile slipped.  She still had her arm tucked in his and it felt so natural to drop her head against his shoulder and just look up at the sky.  The city lights muted most of the stars, but she could barely make out Orion’s Belt.  “Yeah.”

“You used to tell me everything.  If you were in trouble, you came to me.  If you needed help with homework, we did it together.  When Miss Belle upset you, you called me.  If you needed a ride, an ear to listen, anything.  Yet you’re suddenly engaged and I had no idea until my sister told me in passing.”

She turned and pressed her face against his arm.  “I didn’t know how to tell you.”

“You didn’t even tell me you were dating anyone.”

He said it softly, his voice echoing with regret and pain, not recrimination, but she still winced.  “We didn’t date, exactly.  One minute I was smacking him and the next we’re engaged.”

“Yeah,” he blew out a deep breath.  “Knowing you, I can see how that would happen.”  His voice became wistful and younger, like a kid asking for a bedtime story.  “I can see you love him.  I just didn’t expect it to happen.  Not like that. I thought…”  He sighed again and leaned back against the wall.  The movement drew her with him, shifting so she almost faced him.  “What about me, Ginny?”

She pulled back to look into his face.  Illuminated by the streetlight, he gave her a stricken look as if she’d just kicked a dog for no good reason.  “What about you?”

He raked his hand through his hair, tumbling it down over his forehead and roughing it up as if he’d been out on a bender all night.  “Yeah.  What about me.  I guess that says it all.”