The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch is not just a fun story. It is a fun story and so much more. Part “Ratatouille,” part “Top Chef,” and all magic, this is a story of love, loss, and a father’s hope for his daughter’s happiness. … I really love this book. It’s possibly my favorite thing that Joely has written, and I’ve enjoyed everything of hers that I’ve read.
WARNING: DO NOT READ WHILE HUNGRY…or do the smart thing and have snacks at the ready. This is a dangerous book for foodies!
The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch is my kind of fairy tale: fun, heart-wrenching, and sexy all at the same time! If there’s anyone I know who can pull of a Zombie Romance, I had absolute faith Joely was that author. Joely Sue Burkhart’s books are passionate and rooted in the sacrificial nature of love, which makes for engaging and emotionally stimulated reading. Added with her unique ability to sprinkle light-heated humor, a healthy dallop of tantalizing sex scenes, fascinating characters and world building dynamics, it’s all apart of why she’s my go-to author for romance.
Thank you so much, SJ!
I’m still looking for reviewers. If you’re willing and able to post a rating or review anywhere online, please drop me an email (joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com) and I’ll get you a review copy.
As part of The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch release this month (all proceeds in 4th quarter 2012 are going to Joplin Recovery), I thought it’d be fun if you guys get to help me decide what the next Zombie Category Romance should be. (Caveat: I have to finish Lord Regret’s Price before I can write this, but I’ll be using NaNoWriMo to work on both if need be!) There are soooooo may fun titles to warp. I mean, play with.
While I was searching for stockphotos for Yiorgos’s cover, I stumbled across an image that really spoke to me. I knew I could do something fun with it in the ZCR world, but I wasn’t sure what. The possibilities were endless. So I decided to bring you guys in on the fun and let you help me define which story I would write.
The first step was to commission Silviya to create another incredible cover.
Oh, all that red hair. That flirtatous attitude. She’s planning something very, very wicked, don’t you agree?
No Greek tycoon zombie for her. No, I decided she was involved with an Egyptian (or some made up Middle Eastern) mummy.
She’s even wearing a large ring. I’m sure she’s the head of her family. That means she’s a very powerful witch.
But again, the possibilities are endless. What are her powers? Is she cursing the hero… or is she going to break a centuries old curse and free him? Is the revenge hers… or his?
First up, we’ll work on the title. I have several possibilities in mind that I’ll list below. Vote for your favorite by making a comment on this post before Oct. 15th (or feel free to write in your best suggestion in the comments). The title with the most votes wins!
Prizes: in two parts.
1. Anyone who comments will be entered to win a Hope for Joplin T-shirt I’m having printed by BigfishTees. They raised over $170,000 for Joplin by selling these shirts! I’ll ship this shirt anywhere in the world.
2. For the commenters who voted for the winning title, I’ll draw one name out of the hat. You’ll be listed in the acknowledgements of this currently untitled book.
Here are the possible titles we can play with. Again, if you have a better idea, throw it out in comments. To vote, comment on this post with your favorite title!
It’s been well over a year since Joplin was devastated by a massive tornado. Clean-up crews worked hard for months just to clear streets and remove debris. Many of the commercial sites (like Wal-Mart and Home Depot) have been rebuilt, but some residential areas are still empty.
Lot after lot stretching out in the distance with just some concrete pads.
Why? Because many areas of Joplin just weren’t that affluent. When people lost everything, they simply packed up and left instead of rebuilding. Many lower-income apartments were completely leveled. The good news: many new apartments and duplexes have been built. The bad news: most of them are no longer low income housing.
They might look great, but the people who used to live there can’t afford it.
When we lived in Joplin 1990-1992, we lived in an apartment on this once BUSY street. I wouldn’t even recognize this area now if I didn’t have the street signs for reference. The entire apartment complex and exercise facility behind it are gone.
This is where our favorite grocery store used to be. It’s still just an empty parking lot.
This is where the high school used to be. It’s an enormous hole in the ground now, and the students are using a large department store at the mall in the meantime.
This is all that’s left of the original high school.
This tree manages to break my heart and yet sing with hope at the same time. You can tell from the broken branches that the tornado killed it and nearly twisted it completely out of the ground, yet it managed to hold firm. Now painted in vibrant designs, it stands in a completely empty lot and promises that the heart of Joplin still beats strong and sure, despite the broken branches.
I’ve blogged about Mythos many times, and after I was assured my beloved sister was okay, my next thought was for Mythos and all the people we know there. It’s almost like God drew His finger along Rangeline and jumped across the street…. to spare Mythos. The tornado managed to veer just enough, destroying everything (including large Wal-Mart and Home Depot buildings) across the street. There was some minor damage to the pillars outside, but the restaurant and the people we know there were spared (although the owner was INSIDE Wal-Mart when the tornado hit).
The monsters love Mythos as much as we do. And yes, in my mind, Remy’s in The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch might look just a little like Mythos. I hope I captured the same delicious food and warm, welcoming atmosphere of our favorite restaurant!
(Yes, they DO have Death By Chocolate Cake on the menu!)
The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch is live at Smashwords and should be up at B&N and Amazon shortly (I’ve submitted them, at least). If you click either on the link or the cover in the sidebar, you can read an excerpt and the first review.
Since this is a self-pub venture, I need reviews even more than usual. If you’re willing to post a rating/review online, please drop me a note with your desired format and I’ll get you a review copy.
ALL PROCEEDS (I mean all – I’ve paid for the cover and editing out of my other royalties) in 4th quarter, 2012 will go to Rebuild Joplin. (Remember the tornado?)
Why? I have a personal connection to Joplin. Early in our marriage, That Man and I lived there for nearly 3 years while I finished my undergraduate degree at Missouri Southern. My beloved sister has lived in Joplin for more than ten years and also graduated from Missouri Southern. I praise God every day that she wasn’t anywhere near the devastation area when the tornado hit, but her place of employment was completely wiped out. She’s had to drive down familiar streets that look like a bomb went off and leveled the entire area.
Yes it’s been more than a year, but some parts of Joplin still look empty and broken. Tomorrow, I’ll post some pictures we took just last month. Along with some pictures of Mythos, our favorite restaurant that inspired Remy’s.
In the meantime, please help spread the word any way you can. Thank you!
Happy Halloween, everyone! I thought people might enjoy a short, creepy free read today, so I worked on a secret project this weekend.
A word of warning: I’m not a graphic artist like Dawn, Deena, Silvia, or Soleil. So while I did purchase stock to make a cover, it’s not “art” or anything unique. However, with My Beloved Sis’s help, I think I made something simple yet appropriately creepy.
This is my short story, “Broken Angel: A Zombie Love Story” previously published in Drollerie Press’s horror anthology, Things That Go Bump in the Night. We were in a DP chat (back in 2007 or 2008) talking about zombies (like we always did!) and someone ::cough, Deena, cough:: challenged me to write a zombie romance.
I wouldn’t really call this “romance” but it is a love story and it definitely involves zombies. I hope it makes you shiver delightfully this wonderful Halloween!
Click on the cover to dowload pdf. I’ve also created epub and mobi for Kindle (although I haven’t tested the Kindle version yet – Littlest Monster ran off with my Kindle).
P.S. I might load this up to Smashwords and Amazon as practice for the Shanhasson books coming soon, so Broken Angel may not be available for free very long!
Even in the first scene, Joely pulls us right into the heart of Angelina’s distress. She keeps having this horrible nightmare about a broken doll who Angelina sees too much of herself in. She obsesses over the dream, becomes sluggish and lethaargic, posessed. Worse, she finds she’s unable to feel anything at all. I’ll admit, the first scene creeped me out, but did not repell me, rather it drew me in. I needed to know what would happen to Angelina, I needed to know that she would be able to feel again. I needed to know what her story was.
At one of the first Drollerie Press chats, Deena challenged me to write a zombie romance. I mean, how could anyone pull off someone falling in love with a dead creature that hungers for brains? Ewwww, right? But the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t look away from the horrific thing revealing itself in my mind.
Broken Angel does involve zombies, and does involve a love story. I’d even say it has a happy ever after (waaaaaay ever after!) — but I wouldn’t call it “romance.” It’s quite gruesome. So in that respect, I may have failed the challenge. Angelina’s story wouldn’t let me go, though, until I discovered why she was haunted by this horrible dream. It’s a short story, so I can’t share much of an excerpt without giving the whole thing away, but here’s the opening section for your enjoyment.
Standing on a bridge curtained with willows and blooming vines, I saw her in the crystal water flowing beneath the stone arch. At first, she looked perfect: lovely porcelain face, large sparkling eyes, and flowing silken ribbons of gold framing her angelic features. Beautiful, she rose from the gurgling stream, floated up to the bridge like dandelion fluff. She smiled with that Cupid’s bow mouth and walked toward me, stiff and jerky like a mindless robot.
Dread rolled through me, a drowning darkness of cold waters. I couldn’t breathe. My head pounded, my heart struggled to beat. Ice encased my hands, my feet, inching up my arms and legs. I wanted to run before she came any closer, but I was frozen immobile.
Dead leaves rained down; brittle flowers crumpled to dust; ice covered me. My face was stiff and cold, my eyes wide open and staring. Just like that horrible, perfect doll marching toward me with grim joviality.
From the other dreams, I knew there was something horrible about her face, something so terrifying that I couldn’t remember. I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t want to look.
Peaches and cream complexion, once smooth and symmetrical, now drooped. The eye on the right sat lower on her face, her mouth tugging down into a grimace. A dark slash cut across her forehead, another down her cheek. She stumbled forward, clutching a heavy gold watch, links of chain woven between her wooden fingers. I stared, frozen like a dumb animal, as that face broke open. Porcelain cracked away to reveal…
Screaming, I jerked awake. I clawed at the blankets, flailing toward the edge of our king-sized bed.
My husband reached for me, mumbling, “What’s wrong?”
Relieved, I sank back onto the pillows and rolled into his embrace. Even woken from sleep, his voice echoed with command. He was a man used to leadership, wealthy enough to purchase the best doctors and provide exclusive, expensive care for me. He loved me. I remembered that much.
A wave of nausea flooded my stomach, burning up my throat. I really didn’t want to see any more doctors. Perhaps one—the one who … My head hurt. Yes, he’d taken care of my head. After the accident. The bridge. Pain exploded. Why couldn’t I remember his face? His name? He saved me. Images fluttered through my mind like loose papers, blowing leaves, gone in an instant.
Pillowing my face on Robert’s chest, I tried to calm my thoughts. “I was dreaming. Oh, it was horrible. That doll, her broken face …”
Shuddering, I couldn’t tell him the worst of the nightmare. She was me. I was her. What does that mean?
“That same old nightmare again? Go back to sleep, dear.”
His dismissive attitude stung. Rather, it would have hurt if I could feel anything. I was suddenly aware that I was fully awake, yet I was still numb to my surroundings. His bare chest was beneath my cheek, but I felt no heat from him. I smelled nothing from his skin. Hadn’t he always smelled of cologne, even at night? His chest hairs should tickle, yet I felt nothing but the rise and fall of his chest. Panic gnawed in the pit of my stomach, twisting me into knots.
He made a sound of pain and took my hand in his, lifting my fingers away from his skin where I’d gouged my nails into him. “That hurts, Angelina. What’s wrong?”
I couldn’t speak for the dread choking me. I was still the doll, but I was awake. He rolled up onto his forearm and smiled down at me. Didn’t terror flash in my eyes, dark with the screams of nightmares? Or was it the blank stare of the doll? Which was worse?
He kissed me, murmuring against my mouth. I felt the pressure of his lips, but not the heat or wetness, nor the scratch of his mustache. I clutched him harder, pushing him over onto his back and climbing onto him. Nothing. No heat, no sweaty glide of flesh on flesh. Yet he threw his head back and groaned deep in his throat, his hips arching up beneath me.
He was inside me, and I couldn’t feel it. His hands gripped my hips, pulling me into a rocking rhythm that my body knew but didn’t feel. No stirring fire burned in me. Nothing but this spreading blackness of fear. I plunged harder, faster, desperation driving me to feel something, anything. He drew me down and whispered, “Are you ready? I’m coming, oh, my love …”
Nothing. I couldn’t even cry. He shuddered and made a masculine purr of satisfaction as he rolled to his side and tucked me down beside him. “I like these nightmares of yours.”
I lay there, silent, frozen, strangled with betrayal. How could he be so blind, so oblivious? Didn’t he see? Couldn’t he feel the coldness in my unresponsive body?
Do you love things that go “bump in the night?” If so, check out the new anthology from Drollerie Press! We’ve got vampires, zombies, and ghosts galore from a variety of authors, including my short story “Broken Angel: A Zombie Love Story.” More information here, bookstore link here, available in a variety of formats and coming soon to Fictionwise and Amazon.