Saturday, November 17, 2012

News About Other Works & Recent Award

I know that many of my readers are waiting for The Price of Love, which is still in the works.  It's been a difficult book coming out of me.  Though I've dabbled in it, I still have much to complete. To be honest, the inspiration for the third work has not been there, because I've been consumed with other inspirations.  

Part of the problem, I think, stems from the mediocre reviews on The Price of Innocence. Though The Price of Deception has done very well in contrast, I think my discouragement over the first volume has been part of my procrastination in finishing the third. I feel a lot of pressure for the third work, and I don't want to let my readers down by trying to write a story when my heart isn't there. However, I'm soon to dust it off and try once again shooting for a February 2013 release, because I know for a fact many are waiting for the story's conclusion.  I won't let you down.

As you all know, this August I released Dark Persuasion, my latest historical romance. Yesterday, I was informed that Dark Persuasion came in as a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards for 2012. The official "award statement" is as follows:
Award-Winning Finalist in the 'Fiction: Romance' category of The 2012 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News 
The list of winners/finalists can be found at USA Best Book Awards.  

To be recognized as an independent publisher is wonderful, especially when I competed against authors from big-named traditional publishing houses.  Over 1500 entries were received from mainstream and independent publishers, which were then narrowed down to over 400 winners and finalists. Entries were judged by a panel of industry judges with extensive editorial, PR, marketing, and design expertise. Needless to say, I'm stoked!

Of course, every book I write contains the help of many friends and professionals. My beta readers who give me feedback are invaluable, as well as my two main editors, and Robin Ludwig, my graphic artist who did the stunning cover design.  Also, I must thank Jimmy Thomas, the male model on the cover, from RomanceNovelCovers.com for the stunning pose of Patrick and Charlotte.

On another note, in October my muses showed up on the door and incited me to write my first contemporary romance. I chose the pen name of J.D. Burrows (my great grandmother's maiden name). The work is a very personal one, about two lovers, with different desires, who collide in a tale of one woman's struggle to overcome the effects of childhood sexual abuse. It is for 18+ mature audiences only.

It's already receiving extremely positive feedback from my readers, and I hope to have a hit on my hands with this work.  You can find out more about the book at Conflicting Hearts website, including my Twitter and Facebook accounts for J.D. Burrows. 

The book is currently for sale on Amazon in Kindle and Amazon print, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.  Soon it will be else worldwide as distribution completes.

Once again, thank you to my Legacy Series readers for your patience and support.

Cheerfully yours!
Vicki Hopkins


Friday, August 17, 2012

The Journey for The Price of Love

I thought this picture really mirrors what I feel inside about the third volume in The Legacy Series.  I'm standing at the beginning of the picture and way down there at the end of the hall is where I need to be.  Through that door is publication, but I'm overwhelmed thinking of the journey that stretches out before me.

This past month, I've gone through a lot of doubt about being able to pull off the third book.  Yes, it's true. I think a lot of it stemmed from the tirade of reviews that hit Amazon on the first one and the tough reviews on Goodreads, as well. Since one of my latest reviews called me "lazy" and suggested I'd make a better prostitute than a writer, these things do tend to make you say "ouch."

Let's face it -- it was my first book.  Yes, it's not the best, but I've edited and changed that puppy at least four times.  The story is what it is, and I refuse to do anything more with it. Love it, like it, or leave it. 

I know some readers enjoyed it, though I don't always get the feedback that I need to stroke and validate my low author self-esteem.  Not that any other authors have that problem.  (:inserts cough:)  However, from watching people who hit my website worldwide constantly plugging in the term, "The Price of Love,"  I know they've read one and two, and are waiting for number three.  The thought has crossed my mind, unfortunately, not to finish number three.  I think, though, I would be doing a great injustice to my readers if I curled up and felt sorry for myself over this series.

With my latest release, "Dark Persuasion," and the positive comments and five-star professional review, I know in my heart that I'm growing in my craft.  Each book gets a little bit better and that is really what I want to strive for in the end.  I need to understand deep inside that book number one probably does deserve a lot of the criticism, but it still averages out on all sites as a "good read" and not a totally "suck read" by everyone's accounts.  It's just interesting how that book elicits such a reaction from one extreme to the other.  You would have thought I wrote "Fifty Shades of Innocence."

I will say that recently I heard E. L. James on her 20/20 interview respond to a question about how a number of readers think she stinks as a writer.  Her response was frankly right on - "You cannot own someone's response.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion."  Touche E.L.!   So, I'm trying not to own one woman's suggestion I should become a whore instead of writer.  :inserts snicker:

I am thankful that "The Price of Deception" has received good reviews and is my number one best seller.  That's probably because I've offered "The Price of Innocence" free, and when readers finish, they buy number two, and start searching for number three.

So here I am standing at the beginning of this very long corridor.  I have a penciled-in appointment with an editor for November to do copy editing on "The Price of Love."  For the most part, it's very disjointed right now, and I've been struggling on where to focus the story, let alone where to begin.  Oh, I have begun it already, but I may trash what I've written so far.  It just isn't doing it for me.

The book really needs to be focused upon Angelique - the baby kidnapped by Jacquelyn Holland at the end of book two.  She's on the cover already, so I guess I owe her story the spotlight.  I'm trying to develop who she will be, as a character, how her story will unfold, and how I can integrate her back into the lives of her rightful family.  Just as getting Robert and Suzette out of their previous marriages happened to be a great challenge to me, so will rearranging everyone's life in this book. You already know the theme - the price of love; and as usual, I will probably torture a few characters like I always do with struggles, decisions, and various outcomes.

Well, so much for my update!  I'll keep you informed as things progress.  Be assured that I am getting closer to where I need to be, and as soon as the muse returns from his latest celebration over "Dark Persuasion," I'll tackle this book.  On top of it, I have two others - maybe three brewing inside of my brain.  It gets pretty crowded in there.  As authors know, you just gotta let the characters and their stories out, or they'll make you go insane.

Fondly,
Vicki



Monday, August 13, 2012

My Latest Release Receives Five Stars on Night Owl Romance




Okay, I'm stoked. I woke up depressed this morning about all the work I put into my books wondering if I really want to continue writing.  Really...I did.


Then later this morning I get an email from NightOwl Romance that the review to my book, Dark Persuasion, was published.  Suddenly, I was smiling again.  Five Stars - ***** - Top Pick Award.

I guess I will keep writing!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Update on My Other Release - Dark Persuasion

I feel like a juggler between the Legacy series and my other pursuits in print. Though most of you are waiting for The Price of Love, I thought I would keep your interest in the interim with Dark Persuasion.

Finally, Dark Persuasion is at the printers.  A proof is being generated. As soon as I receive a copy and have a chance to swoon over handsome Jimmy Thomas aka Patrick Rochester on the cover, I'll take the next step. I need to make sure the interior has no glaring errors. Once I do, I'll sign off.  A few days later it will be up on Amazon and flying around the world on other venues.  I'll release the Kindle version when Amazon lists the print version.  As a reminder, the eBook version is for sale now on B&N, iTunes, Diesel, Sony, and Kobo.

Thank you for your patience. This book is dear to my heart, for some reason, and I want to make sure I've given my readers an enjoyable few hours of fantasy. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Price of Innocence - Free This Weekend

The Price of Innocence is free on Kindle this weekend for only two days - Saturday, July 28th and July 29th. I have another three days that I will probably put it up again sometime in August.

I continue to get quite a few reviews on this book. A lot are on Goodreads and Amazon. The same emotions are polarized on both sites - love it or throw it against the wall. One comment that seems to be repeated from some readers is the character I developed in Suzette Rousseau. Many women think she's weak-willed, and they don't like that type of heroine. Others don't like how Robert treats her either. At least, the book elicits a reaction. Whether that be good or bad, I've done my job.

Suzette's personality was created for a reason. In 1870 strong-willed women weren't exactly filled with rights and privileges that we have today. I think that many equate how they think she should act based upon a modern day woman in the 21st century. I made her weak for a purpose, because I wanted to take her through circumstances that were out of her control and make her face difficult decisions. It was the story I had planned on telling, and the price she paid.

It may anger some readers, but others seem to like the reality of her situation. I also find that reviews from people in the UK or Europe are more favorable than the US, and I wonder if that's a cultural reaction about how different cultures view life. It's been an interesting study on reader reaction besides writing the book itself.

In any event, it's FREE for the weekend to Kindle readers.

Thanks for your support,
Vicki

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Post Worth Reposting

Below is a post that sits over on my author blog. It was penned January 9, 2010, after the release of The Price of Innocence. Recently, it's been getting a lot of hits, so I thought it might be well worth re-posting on this site, too. As you can see, The Price of Innocence has elicited reactions since it was released. The post further confirms, it's historical romance with romantic elements. Recently, I had The Legacy Series recategorized on Amazon to: Fiction/Historical & Fiction/Sagas. In any event, here were my thoughts penned two and half years ago, which seem to be extremely timely considering the recent stir of reviews.

What a hoot! My book is stirring emotions in people more than I expected. I've made readers laugh, cry, angry, touched, frustrated, excited, and sleepless. Perhaps I should put a disclaimer on the book to read at your own risk! I must confess it gives me great joy to know that what I write can prick, poke, and make people think. It assures me that I'm penning a worthwhile read.

I am surprised at the emotions this story elicits. Some readers are going into it with pre-conceived ideas, but I've thrown them for a loop. The first in the series is not a typical romance - it is historical fiction, with romantic elements. However, when I birthed the story in my mind, it went far beyond the 81,000 words I wrote. There is much more to come that will no doubt stir more emotions until my two lovers finally come together.

In addition, when I wrote it, I pulled no punches on reality. This is how it was in 1878 Paris, France. The rich - the poor - the struggles - the privileges. Marriage was for convenience and children. Prostitutes and mistresses were for love and passion. It was a way of life, so if you're looking for a moral book, look elsewhere. It was a day when the church turned a blind eye to the practices of men, though protestants preached repentance to the street walkers. Immorality was a social norm, and so was the high rate of sexually transmitted diseases. At one time there were over 30,000 registered prostitutes in Paris, and a large portion of the population had syphilis.

The story is fiction, but the lifestyle is fact. Men did not marry below their status without a price to pay. Had I written anything beyond that, it would have been a fairy tale and that was not my goal.

Life has it struggles, its up and downs, and highs and lows. I know that many read to escape reality and therefore gravitate toward books that have more uplifting stories for their imaginations with satisfying happy endings. It's becoming apparent to me that this will be my biggest challenge in marketing this first work, because my story will leave you hanging and perhaps unfulfilled.

I'm off to pen the sequel now, bringing together the two main characters, which I've been yelled at for keeping apart at the end of my book. Patience my dears. Sometimes even reality has a happy ending. I will try my best to satisfy all your longings for Robert and Suzette, but not without a bit of pain first!

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Release - Dark Persuasion

While you are patiently or impatiently waiting for the release of The Price of Love, in the interim, my newest book will soon be available in print and Kindle. In the future, it will be distributed worldwide on other ebook platforms, print, and eventually audio. Currently, copies are available for sale on B&N, iTunes, Diesel, and Smashwords. I'll let you know when Kindle arrives.

Hope you enjoy! You can be assured, it contains a happy ending and more closely follows the traditional historical romance format.








Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kindle KDP - I'm Not the Norm

This past week, I participated in the Kindle KDP program on Amazon. The Price of Innocence was placed free for five days from May 1-May 5. I did very little promo regarding its availability, and for some odd reason it skyrocketed to number one and remained there for two days until the promotion ended. As a result, The Price of Deception is now in the top 100 best sellers on Amazon, as well as The Price of Innocence, for paid historical romance.

I have since this book was first released in 2009 consistently advertised it as historical fiction, with romantic elements. If you’re looking for traditional feel-good romance, that is not The Legacy Series. If you read the series, proceed with caution. It’s not the normal cookie-cutter story to sweep you off your feet.

I wrote the story with historical accuracy. This was life in 19th century Paris — true to form. On this blog you’ll find a series of posts regarding the background research. My characters face hardship and challenges. The story is filled with reality; and its themes are the price we pay for innocence, deception, and love.

The Price of Innocence has been reviewed by Writer’s Digest, Coffee Time Romance, Nightowl Romance, Mama Kitty Reviews, and others. The book was my debut novel. Though it’s suddenly been shot into the spotlight, it’s by no means unread worldwide already and accepted by many fans who are eagerly following the series.

Once again, be forewarned (if you haven’t already gotten the drift from recent reviews on Amazon), the content may be upsetting. The series is a three-book journey that spans many years. The Price of Love will be released in winter 2012.

Lastly, I want to thank all of my new readers for downloading the book. Whether you love, hate, or average me out, it’s been wonderful meeting you all. I’m not offended if you find the story difficult. Read according to your tastes.

My next release, Dark Persuasion, is far different.


Sincerely,
Vicki

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writer's Digest Critique of The Price of Innocence

Last year I entered The Price of Innocence into the 19th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Winners were announced February 2012. Though I didn't make the top 10, I received a wonderful judge's commentary giving me the highest point available (5), which a contestant could score, in both plot and character development. I received a score of 4 for my design/cover, and 3 for grammar (point taken, even though I had it professionally edited). The judge's review followed:
This is a well-written researched story of iconic love, the first of a series of novels involving some of the same characters, which is set in late 19th century France and England. The characters and their relationships are clearly and credibly defined by their actions. The plot moves along at a steady pace, with interest sustained with each chapter. Some twists come along the way that add to the intricacies of the tale. The descriptions are apt and vivid. The scenes involving sex are integral to the story line, which has a brothel as a main area, and are not at all gratuitous. Overall, the book is a satisfying historical romance. (J. Strawser, Editor)
Needless to say, for my self-published debut novel, I was extremely grateful to receive such a critique from an editor associated with Writer's Digest.

For the next three months, the book has been placed in the KDP program on Amazon, and will not be available on other sites due to the exclusivity requirement. The Price of Innocence is currently free to Prime Members on Amazon through July.

It will be free for everyone from May 1 through May 5, 2012. The link is below.

Amazon - Kindle - The Price of Innocence

Also, I'm happy to report that my newest novel, Dark Persuasion, is tentatively scheduled for release as follows:
  • eBook (June/July)
  • Print (July/August)
  • Audio (September/October)
To follow the progress, please visit Dark Persuasion Blog.

Thanks!
Vicki