USA Today Bestseller Vicki Hinze — A Publishing Pioneer

By Bayard & Holmes

 

USA Today Bestseller Vicki Hinze

USA Today Bestseller Vicki Hinze

 

Vicki Hinze can write anything. She has several popular series from romantic suspense to military thrillers to Christian fiction and non-fiction books on the writing craft. She has published over thirty-five books in as many as sixty-three countries and won multiple awards since her writing career began in 1987. A kind and sharing lady who enjoys associating with others, Vicki Hinze is also one of the charter sponsors of International Thriller Writers and served on its Board of Directors.

We are honored today to welcome Vicki Hinze.

Vicki, you write romantic suspense, military thrillers, science fiction, Christian thrillers, and pretty much everything else. Is there any correlation between events in your life and the types of book you prefer to write at any given time?

Honestly, I write about what I’m fearing most at the time or about something that sets me off like a rocket.  For example, I was midway through a three-book contract for paranormal romance novels when I went to the commissary (grocery store on a military base).  Anyway, this young airman and his wife were standing in the aisle debating between buying a jar of peanut butter and a can of tuna–they couldn’t afford both.  I was stunned to hear that, went home did some research and discovered the lowest four pay grades in the military were eligible for food stamps.  I went postal.  They put their lives on the line for us, their families sacrifice too, and they’re eligible for food stamps?

I went on a “this has to change” binge with elected reps (and it has now) and called my editor.  I wanted to write military romantic suspense/thrillers that depicted the special difficulties soldiers and their families face.  Like custody battles due to deployments.  Military romantic suspense/thrillers hadn’t really been done, but the editor trusted me and we went for it.  That gave me the opportunity to write about a lot of fears–environmental terrorism (before the phrase was coined)–fear of our water supply being poisoned, our food supply, dirty bombs.  I wrote about all of those things in the mid 90s before they were totally on everyone’s radar.

It’s God’s sense of humor, when you get down to it.  I hate to cook, so where do I have the most epiphanies?  In grocery stores.  And in a quirk I can’t explain, I marry my fears to them. That often results in a new sub-genre, or something being done differently than it has been, but I’m okay with that.  It’s interesting and challenging.  I gravitate toward challenges.

Your books or articles are published in over 60 countries. When publishers in countries that are very different from America contract for your books, do they ever ask you to change things to appeal to their local cultures?

Typically in these situations that’s established in contracts.  That publishers can alter content so that it is consistent with the market in the distribution area. When you think about it, it’s it everyone’s best interest.  Something that is ordinary and totally acceptable in one culture could be extremely offensive in another.  The objective isn’t to isolate or irritate readers.  Now, authors are seeing more contracts call for world rights and those contracts do retain rights on that front.  Since the objective is to provide great reads, it’s a common sense thing to give the work the best possible chance for attaining its objectives.

Christian fiction is a relatively new publishing genre, if you don’t count the Book of Esther. Some people think Christian fiction is all about prayer meetings, devout pioneer women, and girls in fluffy dresses giggling over boys at youth camp, but your books include such gritty turns such as murder and human trafficking. How would you describe the Christian (faith-based) thriller genre to people who are not already familiar with it?

That’s a common misconception about the Christian fiction market and I’m not sure why it exists.  Being a Christian doesn’t exempt you from life’s problems or insulate you from realities occurring in the world.  What it does do is give you tools to cope with those challenges and an understanding that whatever you face, you don’t face it alone.  Christian fiction is as diverse as human beings.  You will find people struggling in relationships, struggling against bad things that happen to them, hard times, and all the rest.  It’s a solutions-oriented genre, and one that embraces constructive solutions to everyday problems as well as ones we hope we never have to face.

Often what happens is out of our control.  But how we react to it is in our control.  Faith provides a foundation to sustain us and knowledge of faith provides us tools and constructive solutions.  You’ll find the same diversity in the challenges, obstacles or conflicts that you encounter in any thriller. 

You’re known through the publishing world for your original ideas, such as creating limited edition, multi-author ebook collections. In keeping with your reputation, you just launched a new web site that allows your readers to connect on a private social media site. Could you please tell us more about this?

Readers Group News Community is a community I created for my Readers. Those who get my Newsletter are eligible for the Community and everything there. I’ve gotten to know many of my readers, and they’re great people. I thought they might enjoy having a place where they can meet and get to know one another. I also didn’t want our conversations and interactions to always be all about me. I want to know more about them, too. A community where we can chat and interact seemed like the answer, so I thought we’d give it a try and see how they like it.

So far, I’d say they like it very much. There are recommendations for books that are free and on sale, virtual exercise buddies and virtual walk videos (Venice and Australia and other cool places). A place to share recipes. Contests. A place to celebrate whatever anyone is celebrating, chats–and well, all kinds of things.

Readers Group News Community is new, but the responses and feedback thus far have been great. The site has been busy, that’s for sure.

Anyone signing up for my newsletter receives an invitation to join us. People are encouraged to do as little or as much there as they like. It’s not supposed to be “another thing I have to do” for anyone. It’s supposed to be a place where you can get support if you need it, someone to cheer with you, or you can recommend a book you read and enjoyed so others can read and enjoy it, too.

My goal in creating Readers Group News Community was to give Readers a place that isn’t so overwhelming and is more intimate and focused, where you can interact and grow friendships. Readers clearly like the idea of it, so that bodes well for the community long-term.

Sounds like a brilliant way to connect with your readers and provide them with a way to connect with you and each other. We predict many authors will follow your lead, as they so often do, and reader communities will become familiar throughout the writing world.

Thank you so much for sharing your time and insights with us. It’s been an honor to have you at our site today.

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Vicki The Marked Bride

 

Our sincere thanks to this lovely, talented lady whose big heart and talent are legend in the writing world. Her latest release is THE MARKED BRIDE, first in the Shadow Watchers series. Would you turn to the man that you dumped at the altar and ask him to risk his life for you? When terrorists kill and threaten to kill again, do you really have any choice? You can find this and Vicki’s other bestselling books at her website, Vicki Hinze, along with inspiring posts, common sense, and resources for both writing and life.

BUGGING OUT — 5 Star Dystopian Fiction

By Piper Bayard

Noah Mann delivers a winner of a dystopian thriller with BUGGING OUT. The future is alarmingly possible, the characters are refreshingly real, and the challenges are terrifying in this deftly-spun tale of survival and treachery in a world left barren by the Blight.

Bugging Out by Noah Mann

Eric “Fletch” Fletcher is a sensible man–prepared, but not quite a prepper. The sort of fellow many of us are or hope to have for a neighbor when it all hits the fan. When Eric’s best friend, a government insider, approaches him with a warning to get out of town, Eric is most reluctant to do so. He fights his shifting reality right up until all of the TV stations broadcast a Code Red. Then, he can deny it no longer. Eric Fletcher must bug out.

As a highly trained survivalist and disaster preparedness expert, Noah Mann weaves a journey of endurance and gritty wit with exceptional style and polished prose. A great read that both thrills and satisfies. I decidedly recommend BUGGING OUT.

You can find BUGGING OUT, as well as the sequel, EAGLE ONE, at Amazon. Click on the pictures for the links.

Bugging Out Series Eagle One

 

FIRELANDS 5-Star Dystopian Thriller — On Sale at Kindle for $0.99

 

Firelands Cover

 

Eighty years in the future, America has devolved into a totalitarian theocracy. The ruling Josephites clone the only seeds that grow in the post-apocalyptic climate, allowing their Prophet to control who eats, who starves, and who dies in the ritual fires that atone society.

Subsisting on the fringes, Archer risks violation and death each day as she scours the forest for game to feed her people. When a Josephite refugee seeks sanctuary in her home, Archer is driven to chance a desperate gamble. A gamble that will bring down the Prophet and deliver seeds and freedom, or end in a fiery death for herself and for everyone she loves.

Seeds are life . . . Seeds are power . . . Seeds are the only hope of a despairing people. What will Archer do for the seeds of freedom, and what will she justify in their name?

Field on Fire Canstock

Praise for FIRELANDS

“Piper Bayard’s FIRELANDS is a harrowing and cautionary tale of a world in strife, of men and women struggling to survive amidst the fiery apocalyptic ruins of modern society.  Thrilling, moving, and ultimately hopeful, here is a novel to be savored long after you turn the last page.”

James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of Bloodline

“With great characters and an amazing world that both mystifies and terrifies, FIRELANDS deserves to be mentioned with the other great dystopian novels of the past three years.”

Jeff Ayers, Author Magazine

“With echoes of Under the Banner of Heaven and The Hunger Games,  FIRELANDS is a sprawling adventure ranging across a world racked by post-apocalyptic want, denial, and prophetic dictum. Equal parts heroic quest and morality play, it races forward on a current of deftly woven characters and breakneck action, never failing to deliver what every reader wants–a helluva good story.”

Ryne Douglas Pearson, screenwriter of Knowing and best selling author of Simple Simon and Confessions

 

“Piper Bayard explodes on the scene in FIRELANDS. Creative. Imaginative. Chilling and reassuring.  A captivating tale well told.”

Vicki Hinze, USA Today Best Selling Author of Mindreader

 

“FIRELANDS envisions a terrifying and prescient future of a United States lost to the worst extremes.  Piper Bayard’s wonderfully relevant and beautifully realized fantasy tale would make George R.R. Martin proud as it combines the best of Children of Men with Stephen King’s seminal The Stand . . . the result is a major debut that is not to be missed.”

Jon Land, bestselling author of Strong at the Break and Betrayal

 

Flat Spooky — Lovesick for NYT Bestseller Allison Brennan

By Piper Bayard

Flat Spooky is a wannabe spook whose mother was a Russian Honey Trap and father was an extra in The Bourne Legacy.  He came home with me from his birthplace in the back seat of a Ford Focus in San Francisco to be my Spook Consultant when Holmes is tied up with his other work.

FS SF driving across Bay Bridge into city 5-3-14

Flat Spooky driving across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco from his birthplace on Treasure Island.

Once he got to our house, he immediately began practicing his stealth techniques on our dog, Parker. Parker was not amused. In fact, he ran out of the room before I could get a picture.

When Flat Spooky disappeared the other day, I finally located him curled up on the couch with his new best friend, Grumpy Cat, and one of his true love Allison Brennan’s books.

Flat Spooky with best friend Grumpy Cat and Allison Brennan's book, STOLEN.

Flat Spooky with best friend Grumpy Cat and Allison Brennan’s book, STOLEN.

 

He was incredibly excited when I found him. . . .

Spooky:  “Look! She has a plain dot at the end of almost every sentence. She’s thinking of me!”

Me:  “That’s called punctuation. It’s in every book.”

Spooky:  “But it’s in HER book!”

 

Dead Heat by Allison Brennan

In an attempt to explain, we took a “look inside” at Allison’s new Lucy Kincaid novel, DEAD HEAT. It didn’t help. He was only more convinced of her adoration.

It was clear he needed to get out more. So I took him on a hike in the mountains to practice his forest stealth technique should he ever be called on to hunt down the Taliban or kidnapped adventure tourists who waste our military’s time and resources on a fairly regular basis by doing things that their mothers and common sense warned them not to do.

Flat Spooky hiding in a cactus.

Flat Spooky hiding in a cactus.

 

 

The first thing he did was run ahead on the trail and hide in this cactus to try and see if I would spot him. It wasn’t the best choice, as he quickly discovered that getting into cactus is much easier than getting out of cactus.

Spooky:  “Will Allison still want me with all of these cactus prickles?”

Me:  “She didn’t want you before.”

Spooky:  “She does want me! You saw all of the dots. You can’t deny it!”

 

Flat Spooky spying on the trail below.

Flat Spooky spying on the trail below.

 

His next move was to hide in a tree to spy on the trail below us in his hopes that Allison would walk by.

Me:  “She doesn’t live in this state.”

Spooky:  “She travels.”

 

Flat Spooky discovers wind limitations.

Flat Spooky vs. Wind

 

Then a wind kicked up. I took him home and put him to bed. A few hours later, I checked on him and discovered he had comforted himself with a bag of chocolates . . . My chocolates.

 

Flat Spooky raids Piper's stash.

Flat Spooky raids Piper’s stash.

 

He is now in the dog house eagerly awaiting the arrival of DEAD HEAT. Parker is not amused.

How do you suggest I deal with this little guy’s crush on Allison Brennan?

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Yakuza Launches Recruiting Site

By Piper Bayard

Pic like the ones you find at Yakuza site. Not Yakuza pic.  Image by Norbert Weber.

Pic like the ones you find at Yakuza site.
Image by Norbert Weber.

 

Membership in Yamaguchi-gumi, the largest family of Yakuza, or Japanese mafia, has been falling. Due to economic difficulties, the gangsta life is apparently not enough of a recruiting magnet on its own. So the Yamaguchi-gumi now has a recruiting website with its own corporate song, a poetry page, fishing diaries, and a message from the boss. Read about it here . . .

 

Japanese mobsters launch their own website

And this is the site. It’s in Japanese, but don’t worry. It has an English translation option.

Yakuza Recruiting Site

And here’s their video of happy little Yakuza at play to the tune of their theme song.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Speaking of Yakuza, Japan, and such, a big welcome to historical fiction author Susan Spann, the newest featured author at the Social In network. Look for Susan’s posts about ninjas, a.k.a. shinobi, on Saturdays at SocialInDC. Also, you can pre-order her latest Shinobi Mystery, BLADE OF THE SAMURAI, at Amazon now.

Blade of the Samurai

Kokkie H Reviews The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

In case you missed it, Holmes wrote an excellent piece about Boko Haram, the kidnapping that caught world attention, and the Western response. Boko Haram — Nigeria’s Jihadi Biker Gang

Image of kidnapped girls released by Boko Haram.  From Voice of America

Image of kidnapped girls released by Boko Haram.
From Voice of America

Emotional Triggers–A Direct Path to Human Connectivity. Great advice about social media marketing strategies from Lonny Dunn of Pronetworkbuild.

UNHCR Says Internal Displacement Affects Some 10,000 People in Ukraine

Via Screenwriter and Best Selling Author Ryne Douglas PearsonPhotos: Ray Bradbury’s House for Sale. Cozy enough for the best of writers. Can be yours for only $1.49 million.

Ray Bradbury's house

Ray Bradbury’s house

 

Photos: Welcome Home–The Story of Scott Ostrom via Christine Moore. There is more than one way to sacrifice a life. This Memorial Day, I won’t only be thinking about those who have died. I’ll be thinking about those who are called to go on.

Great article from New York Times bestseller and former Green Beret Bob Mayer. Survival Friday: Burglaries. I recommend checking out all of his Survival Fridays and picking up his book, The Green Beret Survival Guide. Part of the proceeds will go to Special Operations Warrior Foundations. SOWF provides scholorships grants, education and family counseling to the surviving children of special operations personnel who have died.

 

The Green Beret Survival Guide

Morning A.D.D. (Awkward Daily Dose): Gallery. Get ready for a laugh.

Porn addiction is a very real and very serious issue. Your Brain on Porn: 10 Common Signs of Addiction by August McLaughlin, who is the person you’d get if Dr. Ruth and a supermodel had a baby.

And our video for the day . . . Think of the tub as the Yamaguchi-gumi Recruiting Site, the dog as the Yamaguchi-gumi, and the cat as the poor sucker who takes their web site seriously.

 

 

All the best to all of you for a week of knowing who your friends are.

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Corn Dogs Shut Down Interstate

By Piper Bayard

image by BenFranske, wikimedia commons

image by BenFranske, wikimedia commons

A truck carrying ketchup, mustard, and 76,000 corn dogs wrecked on I-220 near Shreveport, Louisiana, this week, shutting down the interstate. Acting on the Five-Second Rule, local rednecks descended on the grub like zombies attacking the cast of The Walking Dead. Fortunately, no one was injured in the making of this End is Near moment.

Louisiana weather forecast? Cloudy with a Chance of Corn Dogs.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

A big welcome to Kelly Roberts, the new kid on the Blogoverse Block. And So It Begins . . .

Interesting perspective from Natalie C. Markey. Life Lessons from a Middle Eastern Compound Resident

7 Minutes with . . . Allison Brennan by J.T. Ellison. New York Times Bestseller and Sharp Lady Allison Brennan this week kicked off her new Maxine Revere crime series with the release of NOTORIUS.

Notorius by Allison Brennan

Author K.B. Owen reminds us that there is a holiday devoted to mirth. Happy Hilaria! Cool Pranks, Past and Present

“Flat Stanley” Home after Decade in Soldier’s Wallet. Via Author Jenny Hansen of More Cowbell.

Author Julie Glover shares Dancing Bacon and My Three Degrees to KevinThose of us from small towns in and near Texas know that Footloose wasn’t fiction. This fun video that Julie found brings it all back.

Campaign Style Poll of the Week . . .

All the best to all of you for a week of hearty meals.

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Putin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

By Piper Bayard

Always trying to outshine Stalin, aren’t you, Vlady?

Let me put this in perspective. Putin is invading Ukraine based on the argument that because there are Russian speaking people of Russian heritage in that country, Russia has the right to go in and protect the interests of those people. By that reasoning, we can expect the Mexican army to be setting up camps through the Southwest any day now.

Ah, well. Once Yasser Arafat won it, there were no surprises left.

Vladimir Putin, Dove of Peace image by premier.gov.ru

Vladimir Putin, Dove of Peace
image by premier.gov.ru

See our previous response to the notion of Putin and Peace Prize in the same sentence at B&H Nobel Peace-Through-Ironic-Laughter Prize Nominations.

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

Proud to say our Monday post, Ukraine Crisis: Vladimir Putin and the Power of Gas, was Freshly Pressed this week. A big welcome to all of our new subscribers!

It Didn’t Start Last Week — Timeline of Ukrainian Invasions

Timeline of Ukrainian Turmoil — Part Two, 2001 – Present

Ukraine in Crisis: Vladimir Putin and the Power of Gas

The Cliffside Rose

The Cliffside Rose

The Cliffside Rose Flash Fiction Contest — Vote Now! When Holmes and I stumbled across this rose on the side of a cliff in the middle of a secluded desert on the day after Valentine’s Day, we challenged our readers to explain this oddity using the words “Dixie,” “witness protection,” and “cheese grater.” We have eight outstanding entries who are vying for your vote. Come by and enjoy the yarns they have spun in an effort to win a copy of DOWN AND DEAD IN DIXIE by USA Today bestseller Vicki Hinze.

I had the honor of guest posting at New York Times bestseller Allison Brennan‘s Murder She Writes site this week. In James Bond vs. The Spook, I share a few things I’ve learned about real covert operatives since I started working with Holmes.

Is this the real Holmes?

Is this the real Holmes?

Recently, numerous bloggers participated in August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2014. Three of my favorites are What are Your 21 Layers of Beauty? by Jenny Hansen, Beauty: A Matter of Mind Over Matter by Kassandra Lamb, and Inspiring Beauty Quotes: A #BOAW3 Wrap-Up, Part II by August McLaughlin.

Like Detective Fiction? Thank the Metropolitan Police Act by K.B.Owen at Misterio Press.

Yoga IS for Everyone. A Short Guest Series, Part 2 by Christine Moore.

When so many of us are tired of winter, it helps to be reminded of the beauty. Crystallize – Lindsey Stirling Dubstep Violin Original Song.

Campaign Style Question of the Week:

All the best to all of you for a peaceful week.

To join in comments, come to

Bayard & Holmes

The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Putin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize