Guest Post: Reality Show Inspirations by Joely Sue Burkhart + giveawaay

Today we have Joely Sue Burkhart on talking about where she got the inspiration for her latest book Yours to Take.

Reality Show Inspirations

I admit it – I love a really good reality show. I’ve been a fan of
Survivor since the very first season, but I came later to shows
like Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model . I’m
fascinated by the fashion world, the glitz and glamor, lights and
fabulous clothes. Things I would never wear or see in my ordinary
life. I guess it was inevitable that my favorite shows would slowly
work their way into my writing.

America’s Next Top Model came into play with Victor’s Hurt
Me So Good
. They held a “mock” reality show called America’s
Next Top sub
, where subs competed to win the Master’s collar. I
didn’t really know much about Vicki until the very end of that book,
when she designed a gown for Shiloh.

Ack! I thought. A clothes designer! Where did that come
from? I guess I’d better watch more Project Runway for

What I found was definitely inspiration – above and beyond Vicki’s
research. My favorite designer on Project Runway so far has
been Mondo Guerra from season 8 and the recent all-stars series. I
love the way he mixes patterns – things that are shockingly different.
Black and white graphic prints mixed with brilliant colors that
shouldn’t look good together at all, but they do. It’s incredible.

I can’t really sew more than very basic things, so I wondered how I
could take that kind of inspiration into my writing. I wanted to mix
patterns and colors of characters together in an unusual way. I
needed surprise. An accent color. Something different.

That’s when Jesse walked into the story and the book took off.

Here’s an excerpt from Yours To Take that I love because it mixes up the ideas of colors and characters.

~ * ~

“I need an evening gown, definitely, and it needs to be the
showstopper.” Her stomach churned and a stress headache threatened.
“I don’t have much time to pull this off, because now I need two new
pieces, not one. I don’t even have the design yet, or the fabric, and
Miriam still has to hem…”

Stepping up behind her, he closed his palms on her arms, which stilled
her frantic thoughts. He didn’t press against her, but his closeness
made the nerves hum up and down her spine. “First, color. Something
unexpected, but you can still mix with the others.”

“It has to be a color that I’ll look decent in.”

He let out a low, husky laugh against her ear that sent the southern
half of her body on full alert. Oh God, now it was her turn to feel
ashamed at her ravenous hunger. She was lucky her stomach didn’t
rumble as loudly as his had at breakfast. Starved and so damned needy,
it took all her willpower not to turn around and haul his mouth down
to hers.

“You’ll look gorgeous in any color. Do you have a favorite color,
something that’s meaningful to you?”

She had to clear her throat. “No.”

“Any color will go with black, white and gray. How about green to
complement the red?”

Closing her eyes, she fought not to lean back and rub her entire body
against him. She hadn’t been held, touched, in months. That’s all this
is. A night with Elias, and I’ll forget this insane need. “Too

“The colors you’ve chosen so far are hard and dramatic, a bit like you
and Reyes.” Jesse mused aloud. “He’s harsh and grim. As a cop,
everything is black and white. Right or wrong, law and order or utter
chaos. I bet he despises the gray. Gray is where people begin to tell
lies. All too soon, gray leads to black. There can be no middle
ground, no compromise, or black wins every time. Everything has to be
in its proper place, right or wrong, and he’s always right.”

His analysis was spot-on, but then again, Elias wasn’t that hard to
read. She wasn’t too concerned, until Jesse began analyzing her.

“You’re definitely red: passionate, uncontrolled wildfire. You clash
with black all the time and you never give up without a fight.”

His gentle voice didn’t sound aggressive or inflammatory, but he dared
a soft brush of his lips against her ear that damned near made her
knees buckle.

“Maybe you need a buffer between you and him. Someone softer, gentler,
who can absorb all the dramatics without falling apart, who would
never try to set one against the other, and will always do exactly as
you say, when you say, how you say, no questions asked. Someone who’d
love getting burned by your sparks, and isn’t afraid of the harder
black, either. In fact, you just might like someone who can take it
hard, real hard, as hard as you want.”

She knew, then, that she was in serious trouble. Street-smart and
worldly in ways she couldn’t even comprehend, Jesse had voiced the
crux of her relationship problems with Elias. In the great war of
passion between them, Jesse offered himself as Switzerland.

What he didn’t get at all was that Elias would go all shock-and-awe on
them both if she even thought about it.

So why am I thinking about it?

~ * ~

Joely always has her nose buried in abook, especially one with
mythology, fairy tales, and romance. Find her on her website, Twitter, and Facebook.. Be sure to check out her”>freereads!

***We are giving away a download of Joely’s book to a commenter. Simply tell us your favorite Reality TV show and why. Open to everyone.***



  1. Maria pronounced Mariah

    My favorite reality show is So You Think You Can Dance. My youngest daughter loves to dance and I love seeing her face light up when they dance. Not to mention they are so creative and don’t have all the strict rules of all the other shows like no lifts and hold this way and that. They praise the contestants for being who they are!

    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

    1. Joely

      Maria, we love SYTYCD too – one of our favorite summer shows! I get inspiration from it every time they dance the Paso Doble. 🙂

  2. ClaudiaGC

    I, too, like So You Think You Can Dance. I love it how the contestants are getting more confidant with each show. They are pushing themselves further with every show and reach levels of skills they wouldn’t have believed they could reach.

    1. Joely

      Claudia, what kills me is when they get down to the final four. I always love the contestants so much it’s heartbreaking to send them home.

  3. Carol

    Dancing With the Stars is top at our house. We’ve learned to be critics for different ballroom styles (Did you see a lift there? or That didn’t look like a cha-cha to me.) It is interesting to see novices to ballroom dancing work up to such difficult routines.

    1. Joely

      Carol, we never clicked with DWTS for some reason. I’ve seen a few episodes but it’s not something we watch regularly. If they had one of my favorite actors on (like Clive Owen, drools), then maybe that would hook me!!

  4. Julie

    I don’t really watch reality TV, but I was anxiously waiting for each new episode of last season’s The Sing-Off. I’m a huge a cappella fan, and getting to go to a taping was the highlight of it. 😀

  5. TBRG (Post author)

    I’m a reality tv whore, until the people piss me off. I LOVE Real Housewives, DWTS and SYTYCD. Amazing Race and Celebrity Apprentice are favorites as well.


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