Aural Pleasures

Aural Pleasures: THE BILLIONAIRE’S CHRISTMAS BARGAIN by Joely Sue Burkhart

The Billionaire's Christmas Bargain Joely Sue Burkhart

Joely Sue Burkhart’s new release from Samhain, The Billionaire’s Christmas Bargain, released today just in time for the start of the holiday seasons! Joely stopped by EverAfter to answer our questions about how music impacts her writing process! Be sure and pick up a copy of The Billionaire’s Christmas Bargain today!


A billionaire for Christmas… tied up in a bow.

The Recluse: Ever since his parents died in a holiday car accident, Harvey Caine has shut himself away with his lingering injuries and his guilt, hating Christmas more with each passing year. Clinging to the one obsession that keeps him alive—wrest control of Caine Enterprises from his aunt.

When his longtime friend mentions a niece who needs a job and a roof over her head for a few days, Harvey agrees, figuring his mansion is large enough to ignore her.

The Maid: Professional BDSM Mistress Kelsey Marley doesn’t do “ignored.” She’s been hired to do what she does best—push the billionaire’s buttons until his defenses crack. The paycheck will buy her dream of owning her own bar.

The Figgy Pudding Thickens: As Kelsey administers the discipline Harvey needs to release his pain, she realizes too late they’re getting too close, too fast. If he finds out she’s been bought and paid for, this holiday might go down in his ledger as a big fat loss for them both.


1. How do you make your playlists for your books?

I’ve always used music to set the story in my mind, but I had a really hard time coming up with songs that worked for The Billionaire’s Christmas Bargain. The normal holiday carols just weren’t working at all. They were too happy and cheery for the self-proclaimed billionaire Grinch. So I turned to Google and searched for “sad, depressing Christmas songs.” Bingo!

2. Do you use the entire playlist for the whole book or specific parts for certain sections or types of scenes?

Every book and song is a little different.  For this book, “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues, ended up being the main theme for the entire book. The whole “I hate you – but I love you” attitude is PERFECT for what I wanted in this book and I played it continually. But I also like to have a theme song for each character. For Harvey, “Ghost Town” by Adam Lambert became his personal song. His heart has definitely been a ghost town…until Kelsey shows up. For her, the main song I played was “Cold White Christmas” by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. It’s even set in St. Paul!  (Though she has no aunt and uncle sending her money for graduation.)

3. How does the music impact your writing process?

It helps set the mood for me, just like it does in a movie. In fact, I often write to movie soundtracks, especially if I’m going for a certain mood. For my book releasing in Feb 2016, I wrote to the Hannibal TV series soundtracks.

4. Do certain songs or artists continually come up in your book playlists?

Not at all.  In fact, I’ve found new-to-me artists on Twitter and YouTube by watching for music people are talking about.  I hadn’t heard “Ghost Town” until someone mentioned it on Twitter. It piqued my interest, and when I played it, I knew immediately that it worked for the book.

5. Does the music on your playlists also get put into your casual listening?

Sometimes, yes. Even years since I wrote the book, if I hear “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum on the radio, I immediately have Vicki and Elias in my head from Yours to Take.

6. What’s one piece of writing advice you would like to share?

Stay open to trying new things. With each book, I’ve learned that my process needs to be fluid. Some books go fast; some are slow. Sometimes I need lots of music in the background to set the mood; other times, I’m happy with a white- or rain-noise generator. If something’s not working, don’t make yourself stay with it because you’ve “always” done it that way. Try something new!


Joely Sue Burkhart has always loved heroes who hide behind a mask, the darker and more dangerous the better.  Whether cool, sophisticated billionaire, brutal bloodthirsty assassin, or simply a man tortured by his own needs, they all wear masks to protect themselves.  Once they finally give you a peek into the passionate, twisted secrets they’re hiding, they always fall hard and fast.  Dare to look beneath the mask with delicious BDSM in a wide variety of genres with Joely on her websiteTwitter and Facebook.  Be sure to check out her free reads!

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