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.

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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

 

The Spy Bride Challenge and a New Release!

It’s a big week here at Bayard & Holmes!

We are proud to announce the release of our first novella, THE SPY BRIDE, in the Bestsellers’ Collection RISKY BRIDES. Bayard & Holmes are honored to join USA Today Bestsellers Vicki Hinze, Rita Herron, Donna Fletcher, Peggy Webb, and Kathy Carmichael, and veteran authors Kimberly Llewellyn and Tara Randel as we each share our unique take on what it means to be a risky bride.

8 novels and novellas. 8 genres. 8 risky brides.

The Spy Bride Risky Brides Boxed Set final Cover

To celebrate, we’re having two contests!

The Spy Bride Blogger Challenge

We are inviting all bloggers to write a post about absolutely anything espionage or wedding related. Link back to this post to be entered in a contest for a $25 Amazon card and a copy of RISKY BRIDES.

Write about your favorite Bond movie, your favorite historical spook, or how you used to spy on your siblings. Tell us about your wildest bachelor party, you favorite wedding, or your worst bridesmaid’s dress. If you manage to write about both spooks and weddings in the same post, you’ll have your name entered twice.

Be sure to link back to the post at our web site so we see your entry!

The winner will be chosen on Thanksgiving Day. I will attach the names of all entries to a shooting target. Then I will blindfold my lovely daughter, DD, and she will shoot the target. The name that is shot will be the winner of the coveted Amazon gift card.

DD ready to determine the winner.

DD ready to determine the winner.

And for our awesome readers . . .

We have some wonderful prizes for you, as well. Sign up for the Bayard & Holmes Newsletter and be automatically entered to win a Secret Decoder Ring, a stash of Ghirardelli chocolate, or a bottle of sparkling wine from Mumm Napa vineyard.

Bayard & Holmes Newsletter Link–Click Here to Enter

Feel free to enter both contests!

Best of luck to all of you. Can’t wait to see your entries!

 

 RISKY BRIDES

 

 

RISKY BRIDES is on sale for a limited time at only $.99 and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and Kobo.

 

THE SPY BRIDE by Bayard & Holmes — Spy Thriller Quick Read

With her wedding only days away, a CIA operative and her mother must thwart a top-level traitor before he delivers computer technology to international crime cartels, allowing them to hack US security systems and target thousands of innocents for slaughter.

THE MARKED BRIDE by Vicki Hinze — Romantic Thriller Novel

Nine months after breaking their engagement, Mandy sends Tim, a private security consultant and former Shadow Watcher (spies who spy on spies), an SOS. She’s in trouble. NINA caused the breakup and, though Mandy and Tim have been apart, NINA has struck—targeting Mandy.

THERE GOES THE GROOM by Rita Herron — Romantic Suspense Novel

A jilted bride is arrested for her fiancé’s crimes when he goes on the lam!

THE IRISH DEVIL by Donna Fletcher — Historical Romance Novel

The infamous warrior the Irish Devil was promised a bride by the King of Ireland for services rendered. Faith is as kind as she is beautiful and wants no part of marrying the fierce warrior, but has no choice, and once wed she discovers just how sinful the devil is.

ELVIS AND THE BURIED BRIDES by Peggy Webb — Cozy Mystery Quick Read

Bad boy Jack Jones is finally retying the marital knot! But where is the bride? When Callie and cousin Lovie both go missing, everybody is crying in the chapel. Can canine sleuth Elvis and the Valentine gang find them in time to croon “Love Me Tender” at the wedding?

SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING DEADLY by Kathy Carmichael — Mystery Quick Read

When the groom is found murdered hours before the wedding, can bridesmaid and owner of the Skullduggery Inn, Ashley Sands, clear the bride from imminent arrest? With numerous suspects, all with strong motives, Ash must figure out who-dun-it before the murderer strikes again.

LOVE AT THE SWEETHEART INN by Tara Randel — Sweet Romance Novel

Wedding planner Kara Delaney has had her heart broken too many times to expect a wedding of her own. Lucas Winfield can’t promise forever to any woman. As they work together on a wedding, the attraction is undeniable, but can they overcome their pasts to have a future together?

ALMOST A BRIDE by Kimberly Llewellyn — Sexy Romance Novel

After getting dumped at the altar, Ivy Hammond enters a sexy research study with one rule: don’t fall in love. But with each sizzling assignment, her hot research partner, Kip Lockehart, convinces her some rules were made to be broken.

Spy Truth & Fiction — Automatics, Semi-Automatics, and Revolvers

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

There are basically three types of handguns—the revolver, the semi-automatic, and the automatic. All three are commonly misnamed or misrepresented in fiction.

 

Gunner's Mate 1st Class Montrell Dorsey with M240B automatic weapon Image by US Navy, public domain

Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Montrell Dorsey with
M240B automatic weapon
Image by US Navy, public domain

 

With an automatic weapon, the cartridges load into a removable magazine. It’s called automatic because when you pull the trigger, it automatically fires repeated bullets until you take your finger off of the trigger. As the shooter fires, the brass shells of the cartridges are ejected from the weapon.

 

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 semi-automatic Image by Avicennasis, wikimedia commons.

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 semi-automatic
Image by Avicennasis, wikimedia commons.

 

A semi-automatic also has cartridges that load into a removable magazine, which, in a pistol such as this one, fits into the handle of the gun. However, one trigger pull equals one shot, and the brass shell from each cartridge is automatically ejected. The weapon does not automatically keep firing.

It’s very common for a semi-automatic to be inaccurately referred to throughout media, movies, and TV as an “automatic” weapon. No matter how hot the journalist, movie star, or soap opera star might be, don’t believe it just because they say it.

 

Piper in the remake of Dirty Harry

Piper in the remake of Dirty Harry

 

A revolver is so called because the cartirdges reside in a revolving cylinder. Like the semi-automatic, one trigger pull equals one shot. However, the brass shells are not ejected automatically. A shooter must open the cylinder and eject all of the shells simultaneously.

Not to knock one of Piper’s favorites, The Walking Dead, but if you listen closely when Rick fires his Colt Python .357, you will sometimes hear the sound of ejected brass hitting the floor with each shot—something only semi-automatics and automatics do. Total audio fiction.

Now it’s your turn. What Spy Truth & Fiction questions do you have for us?

 

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 RISKY BRIDES

Limited Time Edition Now Available for Pre-Order!

Bayard & Holmes debut novella, THE SPY BRIDE, in this multi-genre

bestsellers’ collection.

The Spy Bride Risky Brides Boxed Set final Cover

8 Risky Brides — 8 Novels & Novellas

Looking for your next must-read author? You’ll find him or her in this limited-time-only collection. USA Today Bestsellers, (Vicki Hinze, Rita Herron, Donna Fletcher, Peggy Webb, Kathy Carmichael) veteran authors, (Kimberly Llewellyn and Tara Randel) and dynamic newcomers, (Bayard & Holmes)—all share their unique take on what it means to be a risky bride.

Spy Truth & Fiction — The Equalizer Gets Some Things Right

By Piper Bayard

The Equalizer is a thriller film by Antoine Fuqua in which an ex-CIA operative must defeat the Russian mob to save his friend. Denzel Washington plays Robert McCall, a widower who has left his former life of intelligence fieldwork. He keeps a simple life as a supervisor at Home Mart in Boston. Each night, his insomnia drives him to a corner diner with a classic book, where he chats with Alina (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young prostitute who is pimped out by the Russian mob. When Alina is brutally beaten and hospitalized by the Russians, McCall determines he will prevent her keepers from ever hurting her again. His decision triggers a series of events that lead to Moscow and to one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs.

 

The Equalizer Movie Poster

The Equalizer Movie Poster

 

Though this movie is not intended to be a documentary, it gets several Truth & Fiction aspects right.

One: Robert McCall is a former CIA operative.

Intelligence operatives get to resign or retire if they want to. There is a grand myth in some spy fiction that intelligence organizations are like the mafia—that once you’re in, there’s only one way to leave, as in to die. Unlike James Bond, who will outlive all other intelligence operatives on the planet, CIA operatives, active or past, actually do eventually all die of the same causes that afflict the rest of the human population. However, the Company does not put out a hit on operatives who decides to strike out in other directions, regardless of how many secrets they may know.

Two: Robert McCall is a man who wears jeans and plain button up shirts.

While some former intelligence operatives might wear leather clothing and ride motorcycles, it is not required. In fact, most people who are confident that they can kill you with their pinkies prefer to appear as innocuous as possible. Life is just more comfortable for everyone that way.

 

Robert McCall, a.k.a. The Equalizer Image from The Equalizer

Robert McCall, a.k.a. The Equalizer
Image from The Equalizer

 

Three: Robert McCall works as a supervisor at “Home Mart.”

Except for congressmen, no one gets rich by working for the government. That includes intelligence operatives. As a result, when they leave, most of them must find other gainful employment, and that might be anything from selling used cars to teaching high school to assisting people with their lumber purchases at a home improvement store.

Four: Robert McCall does not rely entirely on firearms to kill the bad guys.

One of the best parts of this movie is the creative way McCall kills off his opponents. A large showdown takes place inside a home improvement center. While our hero unrealistically passes on the obvious opportunity to pick up a few heavy firearms from the skumbags he kills, his creativity in killing with common store items is worth the price of admission. Through the entire movie, he lays out approximately two dozen bad guys, but he only shoots one of them with a firearm.

 

Robert McCall and Alina Image from The Equalizer

Robert McCall and Alina
Image from The Equalizer

 

Five:  Robert McCall is in control.

Operatives certainly have their bad days, and sometimes they end up in situations that are beyond their control. But, as Holmes says, “If you’re in a fair fight, you’re using poor tactics.” In every situation, our hero in The Equalizer has the upper hand.

It’s worth noting that this control is actually a negative when it comes to sustaining tension. At no time is the viewer genuinely worried that McCall won’t survive an encounter in order to collect his paycheck and do another movie. However, he is so creative in how he maintains control that this doesn’t sink the film.

Six:  Robert McCall dedicates himself to his chosen mission simply because he believes it is the right thing to do.

As a general rule, American intelligence operatives are an idealistic lot who devote themselves to their professions because they want to make the world a better place for innocent people to reside. No one does it for the money.

 

Robert McCall, a.k.a. The Equalizer Image from The Equalizer

Robert McCall, a.k.a. The Equalizer
Image from The Equalizer

 

 Seven:  The evil kingpin behaves like an evil kingpin when cornered.

The Russian mobster at the top of the international crime food chain is aptly named Vladimir Pushkin. (All similarities to any living Russian oligarch are, no doubt, purely coincidental.) We see very little of Putin Pushkin, but where we do see him, he is behaving realistically, exhibiting disbelief that anyone would actually kill him, combined with the confidence that he can buy his way out of the situation.

 

Overall, The Equalizer is a thoroughly enjoyable movie that impressed me with its creativity. Denzel Washington is excellent in his role as the man people turn to when they have nowhere else to go. Chloë Grace Moretz does a great job breaking out of her Kick Ass role to show a bit more diversity. And of course, who doesn’t want to see a Russian mobster named Vladimir Pushkin get what’s coming to him? If you enjoy thrillers and justice movies, you will likely enjoy this one.

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We are pleased to announce that our first Bayard & Holmes spy thriller novella, THE SPY BRIDE, will be released in the RISKY BRIDES bestsellers’ collection on October 21 from Magnolia Press.

The Spy Bride Risky Brides Front Cover via Hightail

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?

FIRELANDS–It’s Back & Nominated for 2014 Best Indie Novel!

By Piper Bayard

I had the pleasure of waking up and finding out that my Nine Year Baby is

nominated for  a book award!

Dystopian thriller FIRELANDS was first released last June from StoneHouse Ink.

Firelands Cover

Then it was acquired and re-issued by Shoe Phone Press on February 25, 2014.

FIRELANDS_2ndEd

It’s now available on Kindle,

and it will soon be up in paperback at Amazon,

and on Nook, Kobo, and iTunes.

As an excellent “welcome back,” FIRELANDS was honored with a nomination for Indie ReCon’s Best Indie Novel Award 2014.

Indie ReCon Logo

Voting is at Indie ReCon. If you are inclined, click on the link below to vote. Voting is open until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 27.

Vote here for

FIRELANDS 

Indie ReCon Best Indie Novel Award 2014

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Thank you for your support and for such a warm welcome back for FIRELANDS.

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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?

Field on Fire Canstock