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Review: The Rose of Shanhasson

Susi of The Geeky Book Worm wrote an incredible, detailed review for Rose that really touched my heart.  What makes this review so special is the way she used my own language (e.g. na’lanna) right back at me! 

Gregar is a special one- he has so much darkness, shadow inside that it sometimes broke my heart. He’s a passionate man with a really wicked grin and oh so many other good characteristics but he really can be scary from time to time. I can’t even say for sure why I loved him so much. Perhaps cuz I wanted to hug him and make it all better? I’m really not sure but Gregar is so my new book boy friend.

The Rose of Shanhasson grabbed my heart from the first sentence to the last word and I wanted to scream for the next book when I closed this one. Okay, it’s probably not for the faint of heart with all the blood and shadows in it but I felt honored with every drop. The emotional build up was heart wrenching from time to time and the sexual tension will boil your blood. The fantasy is fascinating and wonderfully developed, the storyline thrilling through the whole book. All in all a must read for all the fantasy lovers out there who love to read something hot and spicy. The Rose of Shanhasson so deserves the title na’lanna for me.

Thank you so much, Susi!  I’m so honored to have met you on Twitter!

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Review: The Rose of Shanhasson

Marissa is another book lover that I met thanks to Twitter, one of the incredible ROOB reviewers, and I was so thankful when she was willing to give Rose a try. 

Joely Sue Burkhart creates a rich and layered story by interlacing different elements like world-building, characterization, fantasy, suspense and romance perfect to a tee. I love her writing, it is fast-paced, smooth and easy to picture. It is like watching a movie. Her jump-off-the-pages characters are profound and her warriors addictive. The darkness and shadows of evil are perfectly mirrored in the characters that are corrupted by power. The storylines are fresh and original and I loved the traditions and blood rituals of the Sha’Kae, but perhaps they do not fit within everyone’s comfort zone. The provocative erotic scenes raised my blood pressure to the max; there really is not a thing in this book that I did not like!

It has been a while that a story took me by surprise and left me breathless, but Joely Sue Burkhart did it. The Rose of Shanhasson is intense, erotic, dark and addictive from start to finish, a perfect read!

Ten out of Ten

!!  10/10 !!  and what an incredible, detailed review!  Thank you so much, Marissa!

P.S. She also sent me some incredible pictures that maaaaay be Gregar.  I just need to see if I can track them down and find out if they’re royalty free or not.  So stay tuned!

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Giveaway: Find Gregar!

I’ve had the idea for a very long time to create character cards for the cast of the Shanhasson series.  Since Rose (book 1) is releasing in print Dec/Jan, I thought it would be the perfect time to get a really nice trio:  Rhaekhar, Shannari, and Gregar, the three main characters of the entire series.

They’re the heart and soul of the Shanhasson trilogy, and to be honest, the heart and soul of my writing, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.

So the challenge then becomes the models for these characters.  Shannari is easy — she’s on the cover of Rose.


Rhaekhar is also easy.  Back when we were first working on the cover for Rose, Deena found Rhaekhar.  I looked at him and I recognized him.  I mean, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if this man walked up and introduced himself as Rhaekhar.  The look of smug warrior arrogance on his face is perfect.  He’s Khul of the Nine Camps of the Sha’Kae al’Dan and carries the most honor on the Plains.  This man’s physique makes me believe he could challenge any warrior and win, hands down.

Of course, the hair isn’t right.  The Sha’Kae al’Dan warriors all wear their hair long, braided at the temples rather like Mel in Braveheart, but the rest is perfect.

So now, the question becomes:  who is Gregar?

Let me give you a little background.  To date, Gregar is my favorite character ever.  Yes, he beats out Conn and Victor, but to be honest, a little bit of him is in every male character I’ve written post Rose and Beautiful Death.  Why?

Gregar is my Muse.  He’s the one who drags me into the Well, the dark, watery place of inspiration from which all (my) stories flow.  Don’t get me wrong:  Conn is his own person.  Victor is his own person.  They’re not carbon copies of Gregar by any means.

No one lives up to Gregar’s sheer wickedness and danger, because the man has NO LIMITS.

Every time something a little bit politically incorrect pops up in a character, it’s Gregar’s fault.

Every time a character begins to walk on the Dark Side, it’s Gregar.

Every time the emotion is so raw and painful it feels like I’m going to rip your heart to shreds… Yep.  That’s Gregar.

So you can see why his image for this character card is so important to me.  I’ve looked off and on for years, but I can’t find him.  This is where I hope you can help me.  As much as I’d love to peruse the royalty-free photo sites looking at six-packs and bare chests…I don’t have the time.  Not if I’m going to get Victor whipped (haha) into shape for January submission.

I beg you.  Help me!  Help me find Gregar.  Look high and low.  He’s there, waiting, snickering in the shadows, but hidden from me.  I must find him.

I’ll be posting hints of who Gregar is off and on all month, little snippets from Rose, Road, and if you’re very lucky, perhaps even Return.  To give you the first hint:  if I could cast Gregar with any actor, I’d chose Adrian Paul, hands down.  There’s an episode of the Highlander television series where Duncan has his hair longer, loose down his back and he’s wearing a kilt.  YUM.  That is Gregar, except he’s wearing a red memsha about his hips in place of the kilt.

The Rules:

  • The photo has to be something I can purchase the right to use for promotional material, not a fan picture of Adrian Paul as much as I love them!
  • That means a royalty-free site like
  • The fewer clothes the better.  Get your minds out of the gutter!  It’s easier for Deena to manipulate the image to the Sha’Kae al’Dan style if he’s not wearing a shirt.

To suggest a model, e-mail the link to me at joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com.  I’ll gather the links and consolidate them in a post for voting and comments later.  Everyone who sends me a link with a suggestion will be entered to win the following prizes:

  • A $20 gift certificate to any online book retailer of your choice.
  • A set of the three character cards once we have the finished product.

The person who truly does find Gregar for me will receive the Grand Prize:

  • A $30 gift certificate to any online book retailer of your choice.
  • A set of the three character cards once we have the finished product.
  • As I add character cards, I’ll send you the new ones (e.g. I’d really like to have Dharman, Sal, and Mykal before all is said and done).
  • A signed print copy of Rose.
  • A copy of The Road to Shanhasson and Return to Shanhasson (once it’s released) in any electronic format.
  • And since this is soooo important to me, a signed print copy of Road and Return when they’re released (but this may be years away).

I’ll mail these prizes anywhere on the planet because who knows exactly where Gregar may be?

I’m deliberately not specifying a deadline for this giveaway because I really, really want to find the right Gregar, no matter how long it takes.  However, I’ll at least pick a winner for the $20 gift certificate by Dec. 31, 2009, even if we haven’t found Gregar yet.  The grand prize will not have a deadline on it.