Monday, 14 June 2010

Rebecca J. Vickery - Writing to publishing and everything in between!

A huge thank you to Lindsay's Romantics, the bloggers, and all of the followers for the great week we just had discussing the ins and outs of Indie-Authors and Self-Publishing. Now Lindsay has invited me back once again. This time I've been asked to share what I write and how I came to start my own independent small press, Victory Tales Press.

I originally began writing "romance with a twist" (the name of my home website) in 1998. I obtained an agent after two years of searching and he helped me refine my work quite a bit. But his health failed him and he was forced to retire in 2001 before having a chance to place my work. I began the rounds of searching for new representation and also submitting to publishers who would accept un-agented manuscripts. My work was often praised and re-writes requested. Some I did and some I refused, but my novels never quite met what NY was seeking as I refused to add gratuitous sex or graphic scenes and I just couldn't write to a formula. Then a horrible occurrence (the sudden death of my sister who was also my best-friend and confidante) caused me to stop trying to get published for several years. When I did start searching for a place to sub my work, E-pubs were popping up everywhere. I had very disappointing and almost disastrous experiences with two different publishers which encompassed another two years before I discovered Indie-Publishing. I finally found a place where I fit!
       
I now have four, full-length novels self-published. They are in the romance genre but contain twists of adventure, mystery, the paranormal, or Inspirational elements.  I'm also working on two new novels and you are welcome to visit my website titles page to read about them.
  
Surviving With Love was my first published novel (both traditionally and when I began Indie-Publishing) and remains near and dear to my heart. My husband and I often camped, hiked, and fished in our younger days and I drew on personal experiences for the wilderness parts of this story.

 Romantic adventure with a twist...
      Sparks fly when Stacey Parker meets ex-military hostage rescuer, Cord McConnell. She soon wonders if they will survive their assignment in the wilderness without killing each other.
      Cord McConnell felt someone step from the woods. He wasn’t prepared for the sight of a young female with a wild mane of strawberry blond curls who claimed to be his tracker.
      “I won’t wait on you if you fall behind and I don’t like whiners. I’m in charge and you do exactly as I say, regardless. Understand?”
      “I won’t wait on you if you fall behind either, and whining is for dogs. You’re welcome to be in charge and I’ll follow orders when I agree with them,” She walked from the clearing without waiting to see what this macho jerk in charge would do next.

Buy Links: Smashwords,  Amazon/Kindle, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace, and Lulu
Cover desi
gned by award winning Laura Shinn 
Next came Looking Through The Mist, currently my bestseller, though Surviving is closing in fast.

   Romantic mystery with a twist...
     
Psychic Jessica Wilder was a consultant for the FBI until she suffered burnout. The visions leave her alone for several months and she starts to make a peaceful life for herself. Then suddenly, they come back with a vengeance—visions of children being kidnapped. How could she not try to save the children?
      Detective Jonathon Lansing doesn't believe in psychics, but the young woman in front of him is very convincing. Can she truly help him track down a kidnapper? Or is she involved in the crime?
      Another child is taken right from under their noses. As they follow her turbulent visions through several states and into Canada, Jessie and Johnny begin to discover they want more than a working relationship. But will it distract them from finding the children in time? 
Cover design by award winning Laura Shinn

Following Destiny was my third release and has proven popular with fantasy romance and suspense readers.
   Paranormal romantic mystery with a twist...     Down on her luck, Andrea Duncan is excited when she inherits a house and a very special ring from the grandmother she never knew. Suddenly she is hearing voices and discovers the ring opens a portal that allows her ancestors to speak to her.
     A very friendly local Sheriff and an over-sized mutt named Heidi bring laughter and love into her life. Then a serial killer focuses on the young woman when she gets in his way. 
     Must Andrea die to follow her destiny?
An interesting fact is there really is a mood ring available like the one on Andie's finger. It was handcrafted by Tracy at Trace Ellements and is named "Moody Blue Ring." It is available for purchase at http://www.traceellements.com/

Buy Links: Smashwords, Amazon/Kindle, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace, and Lulu
Cover design by award winning Laura Shinn
(Ring photos provided by Trace Ellements)

   
My most recent novel, Seeking Shelter, was written with my grandson, Cody, in mind. He loves horses and begged for me to write a story about one. It is a story with old-fashioned romance and a focus on family, responsibility, and the love of a horse. It hasn't sold as well, but that's okay. My grandson loves it.

  Western romantic mystery with an Inspirational twist...
     Brigham Montgomery buys a rogue stallion and a world of trouble. Being the boss of a working ranch isn't easy either.
     Loss and fear sends Kat to South Dakota searching for the one friend she has left in the world - a special horse - a horse someone wants dead.
     A stable fire, gunshots, and two greedy men bring Brig and Kat together in a way neither would ever imagine.
Buy Links: Smashwords, Amazon, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, and Lulu


All four of these novels are currently available in ebook, print, and data-CD. 
I'm hoping to release them on audio soon.





Moving on to Victory Tales Press, in March of this year my friend, Laura Shinn, (my cover artist and sometimes editor) and I began bouncing around the idea of writing romance short stories. I had been writing short speculative fiction and it seemed to help tighten my writing while giving me a great sense of accomplishment each time I completed a story. Many writers recently complained to me about feeling burned out after working on two or three lengthy novels in a row. Laura and I brainstormed and came up with the idea of doing a romance anthology or two and inviting a few authors to participate. The idea snowballed and Victory Tales Press was born. 
     We now have 20 multi-talented, multi-published authors who accepted our invitations and will be providing stories for 16 anthologies during the remainder of this year and for 2011. The prospect of working on a few shorts between longer novels and tightening and honing writing skills proved a great incentive. Many wanted to be part of something new and different. We focus on traditional romance and, though some of our stories are a bit spicy, we don't publish erotica.
 
Our first anthology was released in April and was written by Christine E. Schulze.
 "For, you see, I am the new Quelda of Tynan." Share the mystery, horror, and romance within this fantasy anthology. A young woman must choose to embrace cruel tradition, run, or stand against it. A captain braves tempestuous seas to rescue Larimar, his gem of the sea. A blind girl unravels the mystery of one who grants her sight in her dreams. Seven stories woven together in a powerful collection. 




Our first multi-author anthology titled, A Summer Collection, was released May 2010.
Victory Tales Press offers the following five sweet to sensual stories from five talented authors. These tales will stir your heart and satisfy your craving for romance, summer style. The Far Side of Lonesome by Rita Hestand, Over the Coals by Laurean Brooks, To Make the Magic Last by Cheryl Pierson, Chances Are by Laura Shinn, and The Trouble with Fishing by Rebecca J. Vickery.
A discount on A Summer Collection is currently available thru June 30th at Smashwords if you use the coupon code YV52C during checkout.
Victory Tales Press releases will be coming soon to Apple iPad, Sony, and FlipKart as well as other new distributors in the future. We are not open to submissions and we only publish romance anthologies which include invited authors at this time.   
Be sure to watch for two Halloween Anthologies (Sweet to Sensual,  Sensual to Spicy) in October and four Christmas Anthologies (Sweet, Sensual, Stimulating, and Spicy) in November. Each anthology will contain five stories of romance by five different authors in a similar heat rating. For 2011 we plan to release anthologies for Valentine's Day, Easter/Spring, Summer, Halloween, and Christmas along with special anthologies such as Western Saga, Eastern Saga, Paranormal, and Historical. We hope you will find stories by authors you already read and meet some new ones, but most of all we hope you enjoy them all. Please visit us at our site: http://victorytalespress.lefora.com to keep up with all our news and talk to our authors about their work.
Contest :
Three random comments on this article will win one free download from Smashwords of their choice of either  Surviving With Love, Looking Through The Mist, Following Destiny, Seeking Shelter, or A Summer Collection. Please leave your email information in your post if you are a guest or post as anonymous. Contest ends Thursday, June 17th at noon ET USA and the three winners will be notified by email.     
Thanks for stopping by to learn more about my books, Victory Tales Press, and me,
Rebecca J. Vickery
 
 

23 comments:

Lindsay Townsend said...

Thanks, Rebecca! This is a fascinating account. I am truly sorry for your loss and can quite understand how it would deeply impact on you. I once didn't write for a year during a trauma. I think the way you have been able to return to writing is amazing and an inspiration to us all.

I wish you great success with your work and with Victory Press.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Lindsay,
Thanks again for your kindnesses and the wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts and books with your followers and our fellow authors. It is amazing how a trauma can affect us so deeply as to dry up our MUSE and stem even the desire to write. I hope and pray it never happens to me again as I felt lost and totally bereft without a way to express my loss during that time.
I wish you only great things too and have no doubt you are headed for them.

Linda Acaster said...

I am very impressed with your attitutde of standing your ground against big publishers but be willing to adapt to the market. Pity I didn't do that a lot earlier. I wish you well in your ventures.

Linda Banche said...

Good for you, Rebecca. I love stories that have something in addition to the romance. Books are only so long, and if they're filled with constant love (or sex) scenes, there's no room left for the story.

Unfortunately, like you, I see authors who combine other elements with the romance being dumped by their publishers. Straight romance with tons of sex seems to be the flavor of the month, or rather years.

Keep up the good work.

LK Hunsaker said...

Rebecca, nice continuation of the Indie series! I'm also sorry you had such a horrendous loss. I spoke with someone yesterday about a favorite local author of hers who completely stopped her art after she lost her son while away at an art show. Such a shame. I'm glad you were able to move along in time.

I also want much more story in my stories than just the romance. Hopefully, that trend will grow.

Redameter said...

Howdy, thought I'd drop by and say hey. Nice article.

Celia Yeary said...

Rebecca--you have a wonderful story of your own. I loved reading this entire offering (I just finished writing a draft for a blog on LASR titled "Confessions of a Blog Junkie.") Laura did all these covers?? Wow, I am so impressed. She does very professional work.
Yes, I was one of those who wanted to try writing shorter works, which I call "Instant Gratification Stories." Even if it doesn't sell, I didn't spend half my life writing it. Just to finish one is satisfying.Celia

Kaye Manro said...

What an inspiration you are to other writers, Rebecca!
Even with everyday stress, I can find it hard to write. Thanks for sharing.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

HI Linda A.
Thanks so much for stopping in. And we all learn where we will or won't fit but it often takes lots of time. Hope you do well with your own work.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

HI Linda B.
You are so right about those stories that contain only sex or make-out scenes. How many ways can you actually describe "it" and still be interesting??? LOL
I love adding some action or suspense or even secondary characters with some humorous quirks to keep things interesting.
Sounds like we have lots in common there.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Loraine,
Great of you to drop in. That's one thing I love about your work--it's never just the romance, but also all the things that surround your characters. That's so sad about the lady who lost her son. I hope and pray she finds her writing again. When I finally found mine again, it helped immensely, but it took time to heal first.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Rita,
Great seeing you over here. "Howdy" right back at you!!!

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Celia,
I'm so glad the idea of the shorts appealed to you. Several authors have told me the "instant gratification" as you call it, has fueled their MUSE and they are being bombarded by ideas after finishing a story. It definitely worked that way for me too. I'm also better able to tighten my longer works after working on the shorts, so that's good all around.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Kaye,
I definitely have those days too. But I'm so thankful to have my writing back. I have so many ideas and not nearly enough hours in the day. LOL

Savanna Kougar said...

Rebecca, your story on the road to becoming published has many similarities to my own. No, one of my sisters didn't pass. I have lost one of my brothers, though. But, I had a series of family emergencies that interrupted my writing for a long time.
I also had the original owners of Hardshell place one of my books for ebook sale because they loved my writing. However, they had to sell out because of their health.
And, the new owners wanted too much editorial control.
I haven't had, so far, your negative experiences with ebook publishers. Yes, I've had disagreements and I won't offer one of them a manuscript of mine again unless they change editors. However, everything has remained professional.
I can't tell you how impressed I am with your accomplishments!!! And, I only wish you continued success and bigger success.
I do have to stand up for erotic romance. I think Lindsay can vouch for me that my books aren't straight sex and have a lot of plot, action and suspense. And heart.
Writing a short story is a good break and a good exercise. I had one accepted for a Halloween anthology through Just Another Paranormal Monday, a project they took on. It's being pubbed by MojoCastle... a new small print/epublisher to me. So. we'll see how that goes.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Savanna,
Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. I think all of us have some rocks in our road, particularly where dealing with family matters are concerned...and if you are like me, family has to come first.
I read certain erotic romance writers (yours and Keta Diablo's included) and enjoy them. But just as in romance in general, I'm fairly selective. I can't read the books from either that are all love scenes or graphic sex with no depth to the characters and no plot other than who they will fall into bed with next. LOL I drew the line with one publisher who offered a contract, but said my love scenes were very weak. She insisted she would have them ghost-written to "spice the books" up after I finished them. You can imagine my impolite response to that. Talk about too much editorial control. GRRR!
I wish you every success with your stories. I'll be looking for your new one.

Monica said...

Hi Rebecca,
Congrats to you and Laura for your ongoing success with Victory Tales Press. I am so pleased Laura let me know about RAMP - I am enjoying the opportunity to learn more about Indie publishing from the experiences you all share.

As well, you all sound like such caring people - which probably helps you write great romance !!

Although I am at present writng non-fiction (health and wellbeing) I have always loved fiction, in particular, romance - simply romance fiction makes people happy!
At least it does me.

Best Wishes Rebecca.

With Warm Regards,
Monica

Rebecca J Vickery said...

HI Monica,
Thanks for following the self-publishing week. Weren't there some interesting posts and great info? We will have you writing romance in no time. LOL And in the meantime you can have us all shaping up and eating right.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Hi Everyone!

Thanks again for taking part in this wonderful week. You are all so generous in your time and in sharing this amazing info!

Savanna - major congrats to your latest contract success! Your books have so much in them - heart, adventure, other-worlds, sexy and complex heroes and amazing heroines!

Savanna Kougar said...

Rebecca, family and my doggies, first. Though, these days, writing does take up most of my time.

I'm with you on being selective. I am careful about what books I read, especially when I became less than enamored with many of the 90s romance novels.

And, I agree, straight (straight as in only sex scenes, or mostly sex scenes) sex in a story AIN'T my thing... mostly, it's just damn boring.

It's the heroine and hero engaged in sexual passion, that story, that intrigues me, that I want to read and write.

THANK YOU! For your generosity in sharing all this info. Now, if I can just get myself into a faster gear.

Savanna Kougar said...

LINDSAY, kisses from me and angelic smooches from Volcano!

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Thanks again, Lindsay, for offering us the chance to share with everyone.
And keep at it, Savanna. Sounds like you are super busy. Sure makes life exciting, doesn't it?

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Congratulations to:
Savanna, Celia, and Monica - you've won in our contest. Your emails are on the way. Be deciding which book you would like to have, Ladies.
Thanks again to everyone who participated. I've had a blast!