Sunday, July 20, 2014

Need Something to Read?

While you are waiting for book four of The Legacy Series to be finished (see word count off to the right - currently starting Chapter 10), you might be interested in my new endeavor! 

I'm dipping my keyboard into romantic suspense (Victorian era) under the pen-name of Nora Covington. Follow the link below to check out the current release and the new set of novellas coming your way. It's "Romance With a Kiss of Suspense."

The first book in the series was released on July 5th (Thorncroft Manor), and I'm working on the second novella (Whitefield Hall) in a set of six coming your way.  If you want to know why Nora, please read the "About" me tab at my website to explain my reasoning behind the pen name.  In the meantime, these new short releases will hopefully keep you entertained while I'm working on The Price of Passion.

Stately homes, mysterious characters,  and suspenseful romance set in Victorian England

Available Now - Thorncroft Manor

Caroline Woodard was convinced that she would die a spinster. Her headstrong personality was not her best quality, or an attractive female characteristic to eligible Englishmen. 

Upon her cousin's invitation to be her maid of honor, she travels to Pendeen, a small village on the Cornwall coast of England. Soon after her arrival, Caroline is introduced to Bramwell Croft, who will be the best man. Even though he is a wealthy owner of a tin mine, Caroline finds him to be a brooding and disagreeable man. Instantly, their personalities clash like the tempestuous sea that pounds the rocky coastline. 

When she is forced to spend more time at Thorncroft than she would like, she finds herself strangely intrigued and attracted to the gloomy lord of the manor. However, as time goes by, Caroline cannot help but wonder if she will be his next victim of seduction or perhaps murder. 

"Romance With a Kiss of Suspense" - Novella (Approx. 38,000 words) - Thorncroft Manor is the first in a set of six individual novellas placed in stately English homes, with mysterious characters and suspenseful romance, during the Victorian era.  

Thanks to Period Images for the great models posing for historical romance.

All my best,
Vicki



Saturday, June 28, 2014

The History of the Legacy Series

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I thought that I would take a moment to talk about The Legacy Series and how it came about. If you have not followed along at my Legacy Series Books Blog, you probably don't know the whole story.

The Price of Innocence was written in 2009. It is my debut novel.  I researched my fingers to the bone on that book, studying about legalized prostitution in France, the infamous Chabanais brothel, and the challenges of the poor in 1870's Paris.  

Since its release, it has garnished a lot of criticism, most of which started when the book hit the #1 spot in historical romance on Amazon for three days in a row in May of 2012.  Great to be #1, but it's almost like having a target on your back.  It was edited in 2009 by Autumn J. Conley, a book editor, who has been in the business for 28 years. In addition, it has been subsequently proofed and updated a few times by additional editors afterward. 

Is it my best book?  No, but it was my first book -- the book that launched my career as a writer. Even though it may not be great, it did receive a favorable critique from organizations such as Writer's Digest and other good reviews from romance sites.  Like any other author out of the gate, you grow in your craft and learn.

The Price of Deception came about a few years later.  After release, I was hounded by readers to write a third installment. Many fell in love with the book, which frightened me that I would not be able to live up to the expectations for a third one.  Interesting enough, I wrote it during a six-month period when I had huge challenges in my life.  I was caring for my eighteen month old granddaughter and working full time.  During those six months, I had pneumonia and then fell a few months later breaking my shoulder.  It made the best selling paid list on Amazon a few times and the Movers & Shakers list, too, in 2012. It's times like that, you take screen shots to keep the memories! 

As much as my fans wanted The Price of Love, I frankly felt stumped trying to figure out where to take the story. I made premature promises on its release and let people down, for which I'm very sorry.  However, if the inspiration isn't there for an author, writing a story is torture.  It took me longer than I anticipated to decide what to do with Jolene and Robert, plus the remainder of the dysfunctional family.

Now that is past, the emails continue from fans to keep the story going. The Price of Passion has begun, but I'm off right now working on a new release under a different pen name.  I will return to it shortly and am shooting for the end of the year.  However, I make no promises.

As the series continues to either enthrall or enrage readers, it has sold over 18,000 paid eBook copies, plus many print copies, since the first book was released. In addition, over 22,000 free copies of The Price of Innocence have been download. What is even more amazing, is that my sales on Apple and Nook have skyrocketed in the last six months regarding the series since The Price of Innocence went perma free.  I have only 48 reviews on Amazon and 222 ratings on Apple. That is astounding.  I'm hopeful that the series will continue to do well in the years ahead. 

From the bottom of my heart, I thank those who have supported me as an author and sent some of the most moving and wonderful private emails letting me know your feelings about the series.  I've had a few comment that they'd love to see it in a TV series.  Yes, in my dreams, too, but it takes getting noticed with substantial sales for that to happen. 

Remember, the best way to thank an author for a book you love is to write a review -- even if it's just a few words. 

Have a great weekend.  It's rainy and cool in Oregon, so I'm going to write to pass the time.

All my best,
Vicki

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Price of Passion - It Begins

I have decided, after much prodding, to get serious about writing The Price of Passion.  Off to the right, you'll see a tracker on my word count and goal of 75,000.  This goal is a guess and could be longer or shorter, depending on how the story plays out.  The next few weeks, I'm going to sit down and focus solely on this work and put aside my other for the moment.

In anticipation, I always need visuals. After looking around for an appropriate cover theme, below is a temporary, but not final, cover for the story.  For updates, make sure to either sign up for my newsletter or follow this blog.  I'll let you know how it's coming along and share with you some fun research along the way.

Monday, April 21, 2014

We're Such Romantics

Historical romance is a fantasy world for most of us in the 21st century, but in the 19th and early 20th century, it was a world of hidden dangers.

Recently, I stumbled across two very fascinating documentaries done by BBC about the hidden dangers in the Victorian and Edwardian home.  Since my last book is set in the Edwardian era, I thought I would post the video here about this fascinating series.

If you're more into the Victorian era, CLICK HERE for the video regarding Victorian life.  Frankly, they are both worth the watch.

I'll keep writing the fantasy, but after reading about the reality, I am thankful that most of these dangers no longer lurk in our homes.


Enjoy, Vicki

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Break Out the Champagne! The Apple Has Posted!

Today I wrote a rather demanding letter to my distributor about iBooks and The Price of Deception.  The third complaint moved the big Apple.  It's finally up!  

The drinks are on me!




"The House of Pleasures" - A Shocking Movie About a French Brothel



Written and Directed by Bertrand Bonello
Warning - Adult Content

A few months ago, I streamed this movie on Amazon Prime. I hesitated placing a review here, but have decided to relent. It is a graphically, shocking movie about prostitution in France in a mansion of tolerance, like the Chabanais where I set my book, The Price of Innocence. The movie is French ("L'Apollonide") with English sub-titles.

It has everything I researched for The Price of Innocence from registering as prostitutes with the Bureau of Morales, being indebted to mistresses and unable to leave their employ because of it, champagne baths with customers, selection parlors, global fashions worn by prostitutes, and opulent client bedrooms. It even had a scene where one prostitute in the movie said she had been a laundress beforehand, and prostitution was a better job compared to the horrible conditions in the wash house. (You would have thought they read my book!  It did confirm to me, though, that I got it right after months of reading about legalized prostitution in the late 19th and early 20th century France.)

The movie is filled with nakedness, sexually explicit scenes, etc., and not for the prudish or faint of heart.  In U.S. terms, think NC-17 rating.  There are scenes of abuse where one customer disfigures his purchase, which was difficult to watch.  Even though he gets his due in the end, it is disturbing.  However, it added to the reality of a life of prostitution, focusing on the sad and hopeless plight of women in brothels. The particular establishment depicted in this movie catered to aristocrats and rich businessmen, much like the Chabanais where I set my book. Even the mistress was as shrewd as my own character, Madame Laurent.

The movie is two hours, slow moving, and not the best flick you'll ever see. (Even though the critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 81% rating.) In fact, it's disturbing to see the sad lives of these poor women working night after night in the house of pleasure. It's a job, and most of the sexual scenes show the men enjoying their paid visits, while the women merely go through the motions void of emotion. As troubling as the scenes were, I found myself transported into the world I wrote about and came away shocked at seeing the reality portrayed on screen. (Perhaps that is how I would feel if The Price of Innocence ever went on film.)

The scenery inside the brothel fit closely to my book--the staircase to the rooms on the second floor, pictures of naked ladies on the walls going up the stairs, and the different quarters for the women who boarded and lived together at the brothel.

There is also a scene of the prostitutes waiting to be examined by the doctor and his report to the mistress of the house. It was the usual examination each had to endure to check for sexually transmitted disease. As far as their personal hygiene, it was pretty much as I described.  They kept cleaned, bathed, used creams, and perfumes.  The selection parlor was filled with beautifully clad women for the choosing, and also topless women who served the men.

Should you decide to watch it, you have been forewarned.  The sexual acts are openly displayed.  There are full naked scenes of women and men. The language is crude, but of course in English subtitles where the "F" word is often used.

Let's face it, being a prostitute wasn't glamorous.  It was a profession that many poor and unskilled women chose in order to survive.  It was a dangerous job where women died of syphilis, lived lives with no hope, and sold their bodies in order to eat and have housing.  It portrayed a society that found pleasure in sex, living a way of life where brothels were an acceptable form of male entertainment until they were abolished in the early 20th century.

How did the movie end? The director showed prostitutes in modern Paris, standing on the street soliciting customers driving by in cars. The job is the same, but the working conditions are now a far cry from the lavish houses of pleasure that once existed in Paris, France.

Vicki

The Price of Deception on iTunes

The Price of Deception is available on audio at iTunes already, or you can listen for free at Audible.com by merely opening up an account and using the 30-day free trial.  No strings attached, and they even have apps for iPad.  

Also, I still have a few redeemable codes for a free audio copy of The Price of Innocence.  Contact me if you are interested.

As of 4/4/14, The Price of Deception finally got posted on iBooks.

Vicki

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Price of Deception Audiobook Released

I'm happy to report that The Price of Deception audiobook has been released.  It is currently available on Audible.com, Amazon, and iTunes.

Yes, iTunes!  Where is the print version of The Price of Deception on iTunes?  It's still not loaded, and I have no idea why.  If it doesn't go up by April 1, I'll contact my distributor again.  Can you believe the book was sent to them November 30th?  I'm so, so sorry for the delay.  If you can't wait for the eBook, you can listen to the audio.

Once again, I was blessed with Steve Marvel's wonderful narration.  

Below are the links:

iTunes

Amazon

Audible

Okay, next to be recorded - The Price of Love.  Hopefully, I'll have that one out by mid-June.

All my best,
Vicki

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Price of Innocence - Audio Freebies

As part of the promotion from Audible.com, they have given me quite a few redeemable codes to the audio version of The Price of Innocence for free giveaways.  At this time, I'm willing to let go of 10 of them.

If you would like a copy, the first 10 readers who leave a comment below will be sent a redemption code.  Please leave me your email.  If you don't wish to leave it on the blog, just comment and then shoot me an email at vicki@vickihopkins.com with an email address where I can send the code.  

The codes are redeemable for residents in the United States only from Audible.com.  If you have an Amazon account, you can log in at Audible.com OR you can set up an account.  It costs nothing.  You can download the book to a variety of devices and listen - Smart Phone, Kindle, iPads, PC, or use the Audible Cloud player.

This post will be up until I fulfill the ten spots.  Come and get it!  The Price of Innocence on audio.  After listening, if you feel inclined, ratings and reviews are welcome. 



Monday, March 10, 2014

Two New Trailers

This past weekend, I spent quite a bit of time taking audio from both of my books and matching it up with the audio versions.  Below are two new trailers to give you an idea of the wonderful narration of the first two books.  Fell free to share with your friends!

The Price of Innocence



The Price of Deception

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Price of Deception is Finished on Audio

I am happy to report that the narration of The Price of Deception has been completed.  I've approved the audio and it's gone to quality review.  It should be up for sale in a few weeks.

I was fortunate to engage Steve Marvel to record the story.  He was the winner of the 2013 Audible.com Audiobook Narration Contest and does excellent work. I hope that in the years ahead, I can use him once more.

Next, The Price of Love.  It's up for auditions, but that may take a while to get on audio.  I'll keep you advised.

In the meantime, below is the retail demo sample that will be posted with the audiobook.  I hope you enjoy.

Your grateful author,
Vicki


Friday, February 21, 2014

The Price of Deception Audio Update

Today I had the opportunity to listen to the first six chapters of The Price of Deception, narrated by Steve Marvel.  You can find out about Steve on the popular imbd.com website with his bio and previous and current acting performances.

I am very pleased with Steve's rendition of the characters.  It was a difficult decision whether to tell the story through a female or male's voice.  Since book one of the series is really Suzette's story and book two is more through the eyes of Robert, I decided on a male.  Steve's British accent is spot on, and Robert sounds like the typical aristocrat.  Jacquelyn is coming across as the mentally ill, obsessed woman I created her to be.  Suzette and Philippe are well done, too. 

As stated in my previous post, the final work is due March 9.  Then it's a matter of my listening to the book, asking for changes, if needed, and approving.  After I do so, it goes through a quality check, then heads to retail where it could take a few weeks to get up.  I'm thinking it will be for sale no later than April 1, but will keep you informed.

In the meantime, enjoy The Price of Innocence!

Vicki

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Price of Innocence Audio is Up for Sale

Well, I cannot contain my excitement.  The Price of Innocence has come alive due to the wonderful narration of Stevie Zimmerman and her talented portrayal of each of the characters.  Her rendition of Suzette was absolutely perfect.  The brothel scenes have come alive.  Hearing Madame Laurent, Nadine, and the other girls makes you feel like you're there in the Chabanais.  Lord Holland and the dashing Philippe are fantastic, too.  

I cannot say enough about Stevie's work on this audio.  She was prompt, communicative, and a pleasure to work with.  I'm hoping to get her to do The Price of Love and eventually The Price of Passion, if she can fit me into her busy schedule.

What's happening with The Price of Deception?  It's in production, but I haven't received any audio yet to review.  The finished book is due to me by March 9th for my evaluation.

In any event, I hope you enjoy The Price of Innocence.  Remember, setting up an account at Audible.com is a breeze.  Your first book is free, and membership is only $14.95 per month.  You can cancel at any time.  There are numerous ways to download the audio on your phone, iPad, computer, etc.

So if you want to transport yourself back into 1870 and hear Suzette's story come to life, you can do so by clicking the icon below for Audible.com.  In the days ahead, you'll be able to purchase the audio on Amazon and iTunes, as well.

An extremely excited author....

Vicki
The Price of Innocence Audio - Book One of the Legacy Series
The Price of Innocence Audio

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Price of Innocence Headed to Retail

It won't be long before The Price of Innocence on audio is up for sale.  It's passed quality control and is being prepared for Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  Below is the retail sample for your listening enjoyment!  Stevie Zimmerman, Narrator.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Good News Bulletin

Stevie Zimmerman, my talented narrator, has finished recording The Price of Innocence on audio. It turned out absolutely fantastic.

Her talent brought the story to life in a way I never imagined, especially with the scenes at the brothel.  It's one thing to read the printed word, it's another to hear the lines acted out with emotion.  I am so glad I decided to put my books on audio.

Once the chapters are all loaded at ACX, they will go through a round of quality control, then be prepared for retail, and then distributed to Audible.com, Amazon, and iTunes.

If you love the series and want to get on board listening to it come alive, now is the time to take out a membership at Audible.  You'll be able to listen to your first book for free.

Second news bulletin, I just signed off on the print version of The Price of Love.  I received my proof print copy in the mail today, and it came out great.  Watch for it to slowly appear on Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, and the rest of the world by the end of the month or early March.

As soon as I can, I'll post a sample of The Price of Innocence for your listening enjoyment.

All my best,
Vicki

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Price of Innocence Could Be Free on Audio


PictureStevie Zimmerman, my narrator, has 12 chapters posted.  We are up to the scene were Suzette meets Robert for her night of deflowering.

I cannot put into words how wonderful it is to hear this story on audio.  Stevie is doing a tremendous job, especially with all of the characters.  Madame Laurent, Nadine, and the other girls in the brothel have come to life with distinct voices and various accents.

If all goes well, The Price of Innocence should be up for sale on Audible.com late March or early April, followed by Amazon and iTunes.

If you want to receive a FREE copy upon release, all you have to do is sign up for a membership and purchase The Price of Innocence as your first audio book on Audible.com.  With Audible, the first book is free, then one book a month for $14.95.  Sign up for an ideal introduction to Audible

It's a great way to hear your favorite stories.  If you're anxious to get started now, Dark Persuasion, my award-winning Victorian romance, is available.  Below is a sample for your listening enjoyment narrated by Lorna Bennett in London.  When I have The Price of Innocence retail sample, I'll post it as soon as it is available.

Just for fun, leave me a comment and let me know what five-minute portion of The Price of Innocence you'd like to hear as a sample.


All my best, Vicki

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Print, Audio, and Book Four Updates

Finally, I'm getting around to the print version of The Price of Love. I've been so busy getting all of my books in audio, I've gotten sidetracked.

As far as audio for The Legacy Series, I am happy to report that The Price of Innocence, narrated by Stevie Zimmerman, and The Price of Deception, narrated by Steve Marvel, are both in production and should be finished March 31 and processed and released in April of 2014.  The Price of Love, is still open for auditions, but I haven't found the right voice yet. Stay tuned for more information on the wonderful narrators as we get closer to completion.  Audio will be available on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes for download.

The print version interior and cover have been formatted and finished.  I just have a few more quality checks to do before uploading the finals to Lightning Source, my print on demand printer and distributor.  Release in print should occur mid to late February, and I will keep you advised. Below is the print cover.  

Now, as far as The Price of Passion, I have received an overwhelming response from readers to continue Jolene's story, along with Robert and Philippe.  It seems you just have to find out what happens to those three in the years ahead, especially with Jolene's experience with passion and love. I'm making no promises as to when release will occur, only to say I hope to finish by fall of 2014, if not sooner.

So stay tuned!  Remember, if you want updates on any of my other books or other author matters, subscribe to my blog at my website at:  Author Musings

All my best,
Vicki