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

 

Flash Fiction Contest — The Cliffside Rose

By Piper Bayard

Since my writing partner, Jay Holmes, is a covert intelligence operative, we often meet and work in remote locations. The day after Valentine’s Day found us plotting our next novel while we hiked up a cliff in a remote section of a desert. Near the top, I noticed a rose. Yes, a rose. In the middle of nowhere. Then another, and another. A trail of four roses that led to the very edge of the cliff.

The Cliffside Valentine

The Cliffside Valentine

I immediately turned to Holmes and expounded on how two lovers quarreled the night before:

Dixie arrived first and watched the sunset from the edge of the cliff, remembering Orlando’s kiss. Just because they had met at a meth lab three weeks ago…Just because they were only sixteen…Just because they were cousins…None of that would keep them from testifying and entering witness protection together before the baby was born. Surely he would make her a Valentine’s bride.

MyPhotos Dixie watching sunset in desert Feb 15, 2014

Orlando topped the rocks behind her and held up four roses. “Check out what I scored from dad’s new girlfriend. Oh, and I got you a cheese grater. Let’s go back to dad’s trailer, and you can make me a pizza.”

Dixie, stunned by his words, numbly took the flowers. “A cheese grater?”

Orlando shrugged. “What else would I bring? Come on. I’m hungry.”

Furious, Dixie flung the roses at Orlando with such force that she lost her balance and toppled over the cliff. The mountain lions rejoiced.

When I finished, Holmes rolled his eyes and said, “Back to our spy thriller . . .”

We agreed to leave the romance to you and to USA Today bestseller Vicki Hinze. So today, we offer you a flash fiction challenge.

Come to the Bayard & Holmes website and tell us your story of the Cliffside Valentine Rose in the comments below. Tell it in 150 words or less, and include “Dixie,” “witness protection,” and “cheese grater.” Click here . . .

Bayard & Holmes

The Cliffside Rose — Flash Fiction Contest

Next Wednesday, March 5, come back and vote for your favorites. USA Today bestseller Vicki Hinze has generously donated three copies of one of my own favorite books, Down and Dead in Dixie, about a young woman who stumbles into the middle of a mob turf war and finds out that to live, sometimes ya gotta die.

Down and Dead in Dixie Cover

“Dixie” and “witness protection” are some clues as to what you will find in this clever, humorous novel. Cheese grater? Nothing to do with Vicki Hinze’s book, and everything to do with a reason to throw flowers at a boyfriend. But that’s another story.

The Nine Year Baby — FIRELANDS Cover Reveal

By Piper Bayard

Most babies take nine months. Some take nine years.

Nine years ago, a friend offered to get me into the insurance business. I had an inactive law license, and my kids had just started back to school. It made sense. They would pay for my licensing and get me set up in business. Money coming through the door on my schedule. Sounded like the perfect fit for a recovering attorney/stay-at-home mom. . . . Except for one thing. If I poured my energy into starting an insurance business, I would never write a book. I could live and die happy without ever selling an insurance policy, but I couldn’t live and die happy if I never wrote a book. And so it began.

Writing in notebook Can Stock 2377066

The first draft took 5 1/2 years. Yes, really. I sat in the corner of the coffee shop, playing with my memories of all of the people I knew and wanted to know and telling whatever story they directed me in that day. Plot? Why have plot when you have 78 main characters? Tension? Who needs that? Books are where we go to escape tension, right? I took every night, weekend, and summer vacation off, along with an entire year to care for my mother. Eventually, though, I had what was sure to be the next #1 New York Times best selling novel, not to mention a blockbuster movie starring a younger Kiera Knightley and Ian Somerhalder. All of my family and friends loved it. It would produce the greatest bidding war in publishing history!

Then a few rejections started rolling in. What? Couldn’t they see my vision? I swallowed enough of my pride to hire an editor. Enter Kristen Lamb, best selling author, social media jedi, and editor. One of the teachers from my first Dallas/Ft. Worth Writers Conference. When she quit laughing, she called me up and spent five hours telling me exactly what was wrong with my book. I scrapped my “baby” and started over. Page one.

Kristen taught me the difference between writing a novel and hanging out with my imaginary friends. Over the course of the next year and a half, I slaughtered 68 of my favorite 78 characters, introduced a wicked antagonist, wrote action that was connected to a plot, and actually had a few people disagreeing with each other along the way. At the same time, also with Kristen’s help, I built a social media platform which connected me with several best selling authors who I now call my friends and mentors.

After another, much more successful edit, it was time to polish and market. With all of the upheaval in New York among the Big However-Many-Are-Left-Standing-Today, I wasn’t so sure I even wanted an agent or the traditional model. After all, I had a brilliant publishing attorney, Susan Spann, in my corner. I focused on writing my next book–a spy thriller with my writing partner Jay Holmes. It was enough to let my dystopian thriller shake out as it would.

With time and recommendations from Kristen and other new friends, I met up with best selling author and publisher Aaron Patterson of Stonehouse Ink. He chatted with me a bit and decided I wouldn’t be too much of a pain to work with (I hope he still thinks that), so I sent him my manuscript. He welcomed me to the outstanding Stonehouse family of authors.

Out June 14 from Stonehouse Ink

Out June 14 from Stonehouse Ink

I’m proud to present FIRELANDS. My nine year dystopian thriller baby. She will be delivered by Stonehouse Ink on June 14 at Amazon, and later at other outlets. I hope she will come to mean as much to you as she has to me. I also hope the rest of my babies take nine months or less.

My profound thanks to Kristen Lamb for making me her social media guinea pig and writing student. Since we met in 2010, she founded WANA International, which is dedicated to providing instruction and support to help other authors on their paths. I can’t recommend her and WANA highly enough.

My thanks, also, to each and every one of you, our readers, for your support in helping me realize this dream. You are the reason.

Next week, I’m swimming back upstream to where it all started, the DFW Writers Conference. This time, I will be a teacher.

Holmes and I wish you an outstanding week of coming closer to your dreams.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Field on Fire Canstock

FIRELANDS

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?

FIRELANDS

Available from Amazon in Paperback and on Kindle

Also in e-book at Barnes & Noble and Kobo,

and at iTunes for iPad and mobile devices.

Bourne in Hell . . . Review of “The Bourne Legacy”

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

The Bourne Legacy is born from the trilogy of Matt Damon Bourne movies and is intended to give birth to a new flood of cash. After rogue agent Jason Bourne does his superspy tap dance across the CIA in the previous three movies, that agency decides to terminate operations coming from Treadstone, the top secret project creating ultimate warriors like Bourne. Terminating operations means murdering all of the people connected with them. One of these uber-soldiers, Aaron Cross (played by Jeremy Renner), manages to escape his execution and goes on the run with one of the doctors who helped create his super powers, Dr. Marta Shearing (played by Rachel Weisz).

We’ll tell you right up front that we didn’t like this overblown excuse for a movie, but that was definitely due to no fault of the actors. They did the best they could have done with this cinematic travesty. In fact, the acting was the only redeeming quality of the entire two miserable hours.

image from en.wikipedia.org

Now for our individual observations.

Bayard:

Understanding that this is fiction, I’m generally pretty charitable with movies. However, I do not give them license to be stupid. Shortly into this movie, I knew The Bourne Legacy crossed that IQ line when I cracked up laughing, thinking, “What? He’s got a rifle? Why didn’t he just shoot the damn ****** instead of dancing with them?”

It did not get better. In fact, about a half an hour in, I had to stop myself from moo-ing because The Bourne Legacy is what I call a Dairy Farm Movie. I understand that the movie business, like every other business, is in the business of making money. But movies, books, paintings, dance, etc. should give us something in exchange for that money, and that something should not be to treat us like cash cows to be milked.

As an author, I’ll say I found this story sorely lacking in structure. It has a beginning; it has a middle, a middle, and another middle, all of which consist of chase scenes punctuated by an occasional dramatic pause. In fact, if it’s true that visualizing a physical activity is almost as effective as doing the thing, I burned at least 5k calories watching these chase scenes. It finally got to the point that I thought I’d taken a wrong turn and ended up in The Terminator.

Unlike The Terminator, though, The Bourne Legacy has no actual end beyond a trite committee meeting held with people who would have already known about the project in the first place for it to exist at all. At no time do the “white hats” actually take charge of the situation and dominate the “black hats” to obtain satisfying resolution to the story problem.

Bottom line? I want those two hours of my life back, please. I could have been ironing my pantyhose or watching my dog catch flies.

Holmes:

This movie was Bourne in Hell, and then it got worse.

It’s rare for me to walk out on a movie, but if I hadn’t been there to review it, I would not have stayed. Generally, if I’m going to review a movie, I watch it at least twice so I can catch more detail and find more things to appreciate about it. I’m sorry, folks. I did my best but I can’t tolerate The Bourne Legacy a second time. All I can offer is my honest first impressions.

If a movie with a well-developed plot or great action is what you seek, then by all means spare yourself the agony of sitting through this one.  And if you’re hoping to see a Jason Bourne movie, it isn’t one of those, either. The producers saved themselves a bundle by only flashing a brief glimpse of Matt Damon’s photograph rather than hiring the actual actor.

As to plausibility of the movie concept, there isn’t one. I won’t claim that the CIA has never, ever killed anyone, but it is not their normal and customary practice to run around killing each other. No intelligence organization in a democratic society could sustain itself by routinely murdering its own employees or citizens. That was standard operating procedure for the Soviet Union, and you see how well that worked out for them.

Most of the “action” scenes are severely edited, resulting in a hint of action amidst abundant kinetic energy. It’s more like a stop-action animation film with bad editing. For example, one moment a woman is upright on a motorcycle, and the next she is falling off the side, clinging to a bus, but we never see how this happens. It is frenetic activity, but it is not fluid action.

This is, unfortunately, a money-saving trend in modern films. While they clearly saved a lot of cash by cheating on the action scenes in The Bourne Legacy with staccato film editing, it gave me annoyance rather than the tension and interest it was supposed to be creating.

And the plot?  Are the writers on strike again?

So far some critics have been upset by the lack of an “ending” to The Bourne Legacy. I’ll let them slide on the ending. If you never quite start the movie, why should you have to end it? Besides, in the case of The Bourne Legacy, my favorite thing about the movie is that it finally stopped when it did, though sooner would have been better.

At the “end” the non-action switches abruptly to a non-love scene. We are all better off not seeing that love scene. It would have no doubt amounted to something like “Fifty Shades of Bilge Grease” or “Last Tango in a Tropical Hell.” I want to personally thank the writer and producer for sparing me that agony.

On the positive side, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, it’s not to late to avoid the pain. If you have ten bucks that are burning a hole in your pocket and you are in dire need of some action, then use the cash to buy a pair of knitting needles and a skein of wool. Learning to knit would be a better bet for entertainment than paying to see The Bourne Legacy.

The Bourne Legacy will soon be coming to a theater near you! Warn your loved ones!

Rating:

The Bourne Legacy earns our first Dud Chinese-Manufactured Ammo* rating. We know better than to look for documentary style reality in movies, but this film did not bother to employ the many modern techniques available for producing a satisfying story or exciting action scenes. If you’re looking for action or for a movie, this isn’t either.

Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

*Our Movie Rating System:

  • Dud Chinese-manufactured ammo: Stay home and do housework. You’ll have more fun.
  • .22 rim fire:  Not worth the big screen, but ok to rent.
  • .380: Go to the matinée if someone else is paying.
  • .38 special: Worth paying for the matinée yourself.
  • .357 magnum: Okay to upgrade to prime time if you can stand the crowd.
  • .44 magnum: Must see this. Potentially life-altering event.

Piper Bayard is a recovering attorney with a university degree or two. She currently pens post-apocalyptic sci-fi and spy novels with Holmes when she isn’t shooting, SCUBA diving, or chauffeuring her children.

‘Jay Holmes’, is an intelligence veteran of the Cold War and remains an anonymous member of the intelligence community. Piper is the public face of their partnership.

You may contact them in blog comments, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Piper Bayard, or by email at BH@BayardandHolmes.com.

© 2012 Piper Bayard. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

From the Secret Blog Prison — James Rollins and Bloodline!

By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

Last fall, Holmes and I devolved into serial interviewers, targeting best selling authors. Our first victim guest at our secret blog prison hideout was New York Times Best Selling Author and Heckuva Guy James Rollins*. Dr. Rollins was a stellar interviewee, not once complaining about the handcuffs or the fact that his parachute got tangled when we pushed him out of the plane over his house. (James Rollins and New Characters for Sigma Force)

During that interview, my dog, Daisy, showed her astute doggie intuition and hit on just the right questions to pull some exclusive info from this author/veterinarian. She asked about war dogs. Here is an excerpt.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Hi Dr. Rollins. *lick, lick, wag, wag* It’s so nice to meet you. I love meeting writers who get it. Writers who understand that dog readership is a driving force in today’s market. Would you please explain the benefits of having animals in books?

As a veterinarian, I simply enjoy folding them into the story.  I knew from third-grade that I wanted to be a vet, and though I only do volunteer work with my vet degree, that passion still runs strong.  So animals keep creeping in on silent paws into my books.  Also, I think an animal is a great way to personalize and characterize the men and women in a story.  Are they a cat person or a dog person?  Can they ride a horse?  What type of dog or cat do they have?  These details can really make a significant difference in how a reader views a character.

I know they certainly matter to me and to my pet human.

There’s been lots of news about Cairo, the war dog who took down Bin Laden. (Sincere thanks to Cairo’s pilots and assistants.) War dogs are really hot, the way they sky dive and save their pet humans from bombs. Have you ever considered adding a war dog to the Sigma Force team?

In fact, that’s coming up in my very next book:  Tucker Wayne and his canine partner, Kane.  They are an incredible team.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

On June 26, we finally got to see Kane and his pet human, Tucker Wayne in Bloodline, the eighth novel in the Sigma Force series. To celebrate this event, we tracked Dr. Rollins on his Bloodline Tour and approached him on the street outside of a bookstore to interrogate chat with him about this exciting new release.

When he first saw us coming toward him, he dodged into a nearby pet store. We found him crouched behind a large open glass container full of Belgian Malinois puppies, and, once we proved we didn’t have any blindfolds on us or black helicopters hovering outside, he agreed to answer a few questions.

Dr. Rollins, will Tucker and Kane be a natural addition to the Sigma Force team in Bloodline, or will they have issues to settle to blend in?

From a professional standpoint, Tucker’s training as an army ranger and his partnership with his military working dog, Kane, create a formidable search-and-rescue team—the perfect recruit for Sigma.  But Tucker is disillusioned and bitter and not a team player.  With Kane at his side, he’s a bit of a lone wolf.  His trust needs to be won—but can Sigma earn it?  That’s answered with in the pages of Bloodline

When you spoke with Daisy, you told her Sigma Force will go up against The Guild in Bloodline, and only one group will be left standing. Does this mean Bloodline is the close of the Sigma Force series?

Nope.  This book exposes the true puppet masters of the Guild and dramatizes the final, fiery confrontation between this shadowy organization and Sigma. But as this story ends, a new thread begins that will carry the story of Sigma into the future. 

Would you please tell our readers a bit about Bloodline?

The president’s pregnant daughter is kidnapped by Somali pirates, and it’s up to Sigma and its newest recruits–Tucker and Kane–to rescue her from the mountainous jungles.  But her kidnapping masks a greater threat–one tied to her unborn child, a baby who may hold the key to the secret of immortality.

About this time, a Vietnamese woman who seemed well-acquainted with Dr. Rollins showed up. As she passed the puppies and pushed her way between us and our target friend, I noticed the outline of a Sig Sauer in her belt holster under her shirt. In light of this new development, we wished Dr. Rollins all the best and left him to resume his Bloodline Tour.

Our sincere thanks to James Rollins. We were honored to have another opportunity to speak with him. You can find Bloodline at his web site, James Rollins Bloodline, or at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Do you like the idea of a war dog and his pet human in a thriller?

*James Rollins is the author of eight Sigma Force novels, the Jake Ransom YA series, and the novelization of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. He is known for high adventure drawn from his extensive and accurate knowledge of science, technology, and history. He is also a veterinarian who regularly contributes his time to his local clinic to spay and neuter animals.

Best Selling Author Vicki Hinze – A Writer for All Seasons

By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

My blogging and spy novel writing partner, Holmes, and I have been restless lately. Fidgety and irritable. Unable to sleep at night. Piper even found herself re-arranging the objects on her writing desk into alphabetical order, muttering about blog hideouts, interrogations, and best selling authors. That’s when we knew it had happened. It was undeniable. We had become Best Selling Author Serial Interviewers.

Rather than deny ourselves the pleasure of talking with more greats like Sandra Brown and James Rollins, we began stalking our new target, Award Winning, Best Selling Author Vicki Hinze. We believe she is the perfect prisoner guest for the Romance Doctors in this season of Valentine Love.

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 twenty-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 to our blog.

Please make yourself comfortable, Ms. Hinze…. What? Open a window? I do apologize, but that actually isn’t a window. We just put up some curtains because we knew you were coming and wanted to make the cement walls a bit cozier.

Thank you so much for allowing our black helicopter to bring you here to our blog hideout.

I appreciate the opportunity and the ride.  You know I have a special fondness for all things military and those that fly.  (I married a Hurricane Hunter I asked to get into something safer.  He went into Special Ops. 🙂 )

You have a well-deserved reputation for the sort of kindness and generosity that pays it forward. Who were some of the people who helped and influenced you when you were new to the publishing world?

There have been many.  First, I’d have to say Nina Coombs-Pykarre.  At the time she’d published about 60 novels, and yet she invested a great deal of her time bleeding red on everything I wrote.  That was two decades ago, and I still in my head ask myself, “Would Nina buy into this?”  Susan Wiggs has been another mentor.  She’s a very savvy business woman and since the first time I met her has always been home when I’ve had questions or needed to talk over business issues.  There’ve been many mentors over the years, and I’m grateful to all of them.  In this business, you rarely have the opportunity to pay back those who help you, but you can pay it forward, and I’ve tried hard to do that and will so long as I’m able.

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. 

Your newest faith-based thriller, NOT THIS TIME, was released yesterday. Would you please tell us about it?

This is the third book in my Crossroads Crisis Center series.  The books all stand alone and you need not have read FORGET ME NOT or DEADLY TIES first.  It’s a story about two friends that started what’s become a very successful business.  One marries a man that the other can’t stand.  When he goes missing, is kidnapped, and reported murdered, she becomes the prime suspect.  Her partner, the man’s wife, is hospitalized, and this suspect, Beth, must choose.  More than anything she’s wanted this man out of their lives.  Now she suffers torn loyalties.  Does she do the easy thing or the right thing?  Does she put her effort and energy and resources into protecting him?  It’d be right and best in her judgment to not lift a finger, but can she live with herself if she takes that route?  And unless she finds the truth, will she be blamed for everything that’s gone wrong?  Terrorism rocks the town and all signs point to someone close to her being responsible for it.  She fears the truth.  Fears uncertainty.  And she fears the answer to a question she must ask:  is anyone so evil that they’re beyond redemption?

Hard questions, and sometimes not-so-pretty answers.  But we eventually have to face what is.  Not what we wish or want to be reality.  Yet when we do, we gain gems.  New insights, bits of wisdom that help us endure and grow and move on in life stronger for the experience.  Sometimes we discover that what we thought was true wasn’t true at all, and we face our futures with that expanded vision.

We have a big fan of yours here who would like to ask you a few questions, if you don’t mind a bit of dog hair.

Not a bit.  I love pooches.  Especially this rascal. 

*crosses to intercom* Rolf, please bring in The Love Pooch.

Daisy. She had this opportunity to do this final interview with Ms. Hinze shortly before passing on.

It’s so nice to meet you, Ms. Hinze. *lick, lick, wag, wag* I love your books. You really know how to appeal to your dog readership with all of that action and romance. Dogs are all about being active and loving people.

Loyal, too.  *scratching scruff*.  It’s great to see you, Daisy.

My pet human tells me you enjoy oil painting. I know at least one of your books, BEYOND THE MISTY SHORE, involves a mysterious painting. Do you often incorporate art and painting into your books?

I don’t.  Well, once in a while I do.  It’s hard to get a lot of action and adventure going on there, and since 1995, most of the books I’ve done have had heavy military influences.  Not much art or time for painting in between fighting terrorists and preventing biological, chemical or nuclear attacks, you know?  Yes, Misty Shore, the first Seascape book, is about a mysterious artist and a particular painting of the mystical Maine, Seascape Inn.  I also have an artist play a pivotal role in FORGET ME NOT, the first Crossroads book.  Otherwise, it just hasn’t fit.

I know you also enjoy home improvement. I like home improvement, too. I’ll bet you can do much more with your opposable thumbs and tools than I can do with my teeth. Do you draw on your love of home improvement for any of your novels?

True about the thumbs, Daisy, but your teeth are far stronger, to be sure.  Actually I finished a proposal for a mini-series of books on home improvement recently.  I’m not sure yet I’ll write them, but you know the idea holds appeal.  I love home improvement projects.  A couple years ago, my pet human, a.k.a. Hubby, got tired of the racket and domestic upset and asked for a six-month moratorium on me knocking down any walls.  I opted for a year.  Then last February, we did two major projects.  Both are done now except for a few tidbits.  One more big project to go.  Gutting the kitchen.  Hubby’s an amazing woodcarver (usually of fish and ducks since I tried to kill the carved rattlesnake he had the poor judgment to leave on the kitchen bar overnight) and I’ve conned, er, asked him to build the cabinets.  He agreed and wanted to get started now, but I suggested we wait until after hunting season.  He liked that idea.  Between you and me, Daisy, I did, too.  I need the rest from all that hammering. 🙂

Would you mind dropping by Piper’s place and helping me fix a door frame I chewed? There was this little thunderstorm, you see, and….

I totally understand, Daisy.  *rubbing scruff*  Alex–I was her pet human–hated thunderstorms.  She handled bombs being dropped on the range that jarred windows and teeth just fine, but lightning made her a nervous wreck. She loved to chew ice.  Do you like ice?  Alex would bat the icemaker on the fridge door and get her own.  That worked out fine until we had a hurricane and no electricity.  She batted and batted and got no ice.  She was not a happy puppy about that.

Now, Daisy, it’s not appropriate to ask Ms. Hinze for home improvement assistance. She’s our guest.

*crosses to intercom* Rolf, would you please take The Love Pooch?

Wait.  *Smooch*  Bye, Daisy.  You stay in touch and here’s a “cookie” *dog biscuit* for later when your pet human says it’s okay. 

Thank you, Ms. Hinze. *lick, lick, wag*

Ms. Hinze, can you tell us anything about your current project? Will it be another faith-based thriller, or are you returning to one of your earlier genres?

I’m working on a new series, actually, called Lost, Inc.  Two books are done.  I’m just starting on the third one.  Don’t know the title of it yet, but I think it’s going to be My Deadly Valentine (obviously a February planned release).  They are faith-based romantic thrillers.

You know, every novel I’ve written, regardless of genre, has had suspense, mystery and romance.  The defining factor has been which of those three elements gets emphasis, and to know that I have to develop the story or write it to see what happens.  The Lost, Inc. books are romance with a mystery/suspense element in a faith-based setting.  NOT THIS TIME is a suspense with a mystery and a touch of romance in a faith-based theme.

What comes after this third Lost, Inc. book?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I have two others in progress that are unrelated, three possible new series, all of which are in some stage of development, a great idea for a new mainstream thriller series, and I’ve been doing a lot of reading in a genre I haven’t tackled to see if I want to tackle it.  Could be fun, but the jury is still out.  I need to read more books in it before deciding for sure.

When I finish this Lost, Inc. novel, I’ll know.  One of the projects will start haunting me, nagging me, waking me up during the night with ideas, and that’s the one I’ll focus on next.

Are there any questions you wish we had asked you here today, or any further comments you would like to share with us?

If you don’t mind, I’d like to expand just a bit on your last question, for your readers who are writers, enough to say that it’s far easier to build a career by writing one type of book.  You build a readership that knows what to expect from you and that helps gain momentum.  I obviously haven’t done that.  I’ve known that I should, but my mind doesn’t work that way and forcing it to violates my vision of success.  I’m a purpose writer of healing books.  So I follow where that takes me.  Self indulgent?  Yes.  Harder to build a readership?  Yes.  Gratifying?  Oh yes.  But if you can write one type of book in one genre, that’s clearly better for building a career–provided it’s the career you want to build.  Just tossing that out there because it’s worth making deliberate choices not drifting onto harder roads.

Thank you so much for sharing your time with us and visiting our blog. It’s been an honor. We’ll have to ask you to put the blindfold back on before you leave, but you’re welcome to take it off before you parachute out over your home. You might like to keep it though. It makes a lovely sleep mask.

Why thank you.  I appreciate the lovely gift, and getting to visit with you here in the cave.  I’ve read about it, of course, but visiting firsthand is a whole different experience.  And my very best *hugs* to you and Holmes, Piper.  Oh, wait.  I nearly forgot.  I brought gifts.  A gold pen for you, Piper.  No, that’s not your name inscribed on it.  It’s the guarantee.  “Thou shalt never experience writer’s block.”  And this is for Holmes. *passes box.*  I know how much Holmes loves things that go boom, so here’s a new ACOG scope for his Sig.  All the bells and whistles–aim is everything, dahlink.

What thoughtful gifts! Thank you so much, Ms. Hinze. You are every bit as gracious as your reputation foretold.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Ms. Hinze is safe once more in her writing cave, and our interview-junkie shakes have calmed for the moment. Our sincere thanks to this lovely, talented lady whose heart is becoming legend in the writing world. You can find her new book at NOT THIS TIME, as well as all of her books at her website, Vicki Hinze. Also, you can find NOT THIS TIME at a Christian bookstore near you. Find a Christian bookstore near you.