Traditional or Independent Publishing


The debate hasn’t just started on this subject and it’s far from over. We hear of traditional success stories and independent publishing success stories. In either forum, at this time, we hear many more stories from authors who are struggling.

About five years ago, I wrote a post about my belief that mid-list wasn’t dead, it was morphing. That the new mid-list would be in ebook format and that only when an author reached a certain sales level would that author be put into print.

Just as the world wasn’t ready to receive my “romantic fantasy” (now a genre tagged as paranormal romance) in the early 1980s, it wasn’t ready to receive that mid-list prediction. But just as a the paranormal genre birthed and thrived so too, I believe, will mid-list novels in ebook format.

That isn’t to say that there won’t be some serious bestsellers by authors who elect ebook and shun traditional publishing. There are already and will continue to be more of them. But I still believe publishers will move to ebook for mid-list and only major bestsellers in fiction will be out in print. Another couple years maybe…

I also believe the pressure is on our traditional publishers. One question I hear repeatedly is: “How can traditional publishers stay relevant?”

It’s a fair question and honestly asked. Publishers find themselves in a new world now. One where authors can and are publishing without them. The reasons why vary. Some authors write niche books–ones that appeal to a limited but dedicated audience. This lack of volume makes these book less appealing to traditional publishers, and the authors want to write them anyway and do it then publish themselves.

Some authors have written to the genre/market dictates and haven’t gotten publisher support or pushes to elevate their book’s standing in the market, so they opt out and publish themselves. Some are weary of the submit and reject process–whether it is to a publisher or an agent (or committee of agents at the agency)–revising the book to the point the work has become a work-by-committee and the author no longer recognizes it as the book s/he wanted to write anymore. And for still other writers, they’ve done the math on their specific book sales and determined that publishing traditionally is costing them serious money so they opt out and publish themselves.

There are some authors who feel to be taken seriously they must traditionally publish. However, when those same authors talk to other authors who are independently publishing and discover that they’re out-earning the traditionally published authors who are at the same level in their writing career, they hop off that ladder rung or pause and rethink their position. Some go, some stay with traditional publishing.

Traditional publishers can do things for authors that independent publishers can’t do for themselves. At one time, many things. But as the market changes, that list is dwindling. How much or how successfully it will dwindle, whether or not the list will disappear, is another topic of debate.

Where once authors found an immense stigmatism attached to independent publishing, they’re now using adverbs like “liberating” to describe the writing experience. Some do however resent the time required to market what they publish. Some authors just want to write their books.

I fall into the “I just want to write my books” category. However, let me assure you that it doesn’t matter if you’re traditionally or independently published, you’re not going to just write your books and sell. You might hire someone to handle the other aspects for you, but in either forum, you have obligations and responsibilities and seldom do few of them come with the tag, “Optional.”

These days, traditional or independent publishing is a personal choice. You know there are advantages and disadvantages to either selection, and that regardless of your choice, you are going to have to engage in some level of promotional activities.

If you hate deadlines, don’t care if you are paid an advance (that actually pays in advance of publication) or are weary of the submission process and rewriting of your books, you might do the math and determine independent publishing is for you–or not.

The bottom line at this point is traditional publishing is driven by bottom lines as they’re interpreted by said publishers. Editors don’t have the luxury of buying books they love, they buy books they love AND they can sell. That’s fiscally responsible and wise. Independent publishers bring a lot of different and personal-to-the-author priorities to the table. They weigh the bottom line and add those personal priorities and decide accordingly.

A guess on how publishers stay relevant is content but also execution. If they develop killer marketing and promotion forces that drive sales and if they create an environment that is author-friendly and fiscally friendly, then they will. If they cross-media market, that’s a big perk–one too time-consumptive for an author to do, unless s/he hires a firm who does that specifically. There are ways, IMHO, for publishers to stay relevant. But it’s not going to be in the ways they’ve relevant previously, and they’re aware that authors look at the matter through different eyes. They now have options.

I suspect that many major sellers will elect to opt out of traditional publishing eventually. Some have already, finding in cost-benefit analysis that it behooves them to subcontract editing, cover artists and other production aspects, as well as marketing/promotion.

Now understand that these opinions are predicated on professional level work being done in both traditional and independent forums. Does this mean I believe traditional publishing is doomed?

Of course not. Publishers can be nimble and flexible and creative. Traditional books will be with us for many reasons. But I do expect it to change. It must. Just as independent publishing has and will continue to change.

It’s the nature of all business to change. Stagnant industries die. It’s that simple, and complex.

When you get down to the bottom line, what you find is the answer is in the author’s bottom line. Whether to publish traditionally or independently is a matter of choice. And the reasons for making the choice you, the author, make are as varied as the books authors write. Key is to study your market, study your path, so that you’re making informed choices based on reasonable expectations. This isn’t the place for off-the-cuff decisions. Know what you’re getting into and what is required. Understand that publishing a book is and always has been a craps-shoot. Some books have all the push there is to be had and still tank. Some get zero push and soar. The readers choose.

And that–the readers choosing–is the one constant in all of publishing, traditional or independent.

Vicki Hinze
ⓒ 2011




When the Writing Isn’t Working–Get Your Priorities in Order

Writers Write–Part 1

Character: A Short-Take

Turn the Page

Old Books Never Die

Why We Write


Mean-Spirited Shenanigans

Sometimes There Just Aren’t Enough Backups


2010 has come and gone and 2011 has arrived.  With it comes opportunities.  Ones for fresh starts.  For doing the things we intended to do last year, but didn’t.  Opportunities to review our pasts and set our eyes on our futures.

Change is hard for us.  We get comfortable and when things upset our apple carts, we typically first react with annoyance or, in some cases, despair.  A few weeks ago, my domain file corrupted.  I had over 79,000 things on that site, and 4 other sites that corrupted as well.

I’ve been faithful about making backups.  So much so that my “non-corrupt” copy was overwritten by my corrupt copy–a fact possible, I learned, after the overwrite and corruption occurred.  My safekeeping copy was also corrupted and the disk safe-safekeeping backup copy.

They all got zapped.

And so the reality of having to redo and recreate set in.  I promised myself a good attitude.  Focus on the solution, not the problem.  And I worked exclusively on this from arising to konking out for over a week.  But tonight, it’s done.

I have a uniform, clean site.  I have a separate book site.  I have recreated the additional sites.  And I’ve diversified segments on them so that never again will I have to recreate everything–even if backups do corrupt.

There were low points.  Like when I discovered that I couldn’t import a blog because I couldn’t get it in the right format.  After a little muttering, I set out recreating.  And after I’d done the last of them–days of work–I discovered that the file in the correct format could have been had, though everyone I asked said it couldn’t.  But in doing all this work, I discovered a way that I now can share with others.

So I’ve learned a lot and gotten new sites and diversified.  Not a painless task.  Not an easy one without sacrifice, as this happened during the holidays when I was supposed to finally have some time off.  But good has come from it.

In addition to the new sites all cleaned up and shiny, I gained a few new skills.  But maybe the best thing I discovered is that faced with calm and focused on the solution, not the problem, forcing myself to slow down and think before acting, I didn’t lose any of the 79,000 plus documents/tidbits/graphics, and I didn’t make myself sick with tension.  There was no tension.  Just nose down determination and lots of prayers that nothing else corrupted and wiped things out before I could get them.

Calm prevailed.  And won.

So I start the new year a wee bit tired, but also excited.  What was viewed as a bad thing actually turned out to be a good thing–a fresh start.  Learning lessons come all throughout our lives.  We can’t avoid them.  But it’s nice to know that sometimes they’re good things–proverbial blessings in disguise.  So I guess that makes it a blessing too that sometimes there just aren’t enough backups.

Seize your fresh start this 1/1/11 day and remember the solutions focus holds the key to calm.  Remember that even when there aren’t enough backups, you’re being given the opportunity for a fresh start.



©2011, Vicki Hinze





What is inspiration?  Why do we need it?  Why is it important to us?

An informal chat…


Support Our Troops

Please pause a moment today to think of our troops and to show your support for them.  How?  Light a candle and post a kind thought.  Here’s the URL:

(Copy and paste into your browser…)

or here’s a hyperlink…

Light a Candle to Support our Troops



Unexpected Insight and Answers

It started out simply enough. Dinner with the kids and grands at a local waterfront eatery, lots of laughing, joking around—fun! Then came a restroom run…

A woman was there with her elderly mother. Mom was disoriented. Daughter was worried and exhausted, and the flashback came immediately and without warning. Suddenly I no longer stood before a sink, watching the daughter tell her mom to stay right where she was and then step into a stall. Suddenly I was back in the hospital with my patient mother and in the same worried and exhausted state I’d been in then, with one difference. Then, I was mentally, physically and emotionally drained. Now I was an objective observer, but acutely aware of the emotions of both women.

The daughter’s state was processed immediately; I’d lived it for a grueling six months. But the mother’s perspective was vivid and clear to me now in a way it had not been then. Weary of my limitations, fearful of being “too” much trouble and being put away in a home to wait for death. Angry at my body for betraying me by not doing the mindless tasks that once had been so simple they required no thought. And fear. Fear of being a burden to those I love, fear of having lived too long. Missing my deceased husband, my dead children, my youth…

The emotions tumbled one over the other through me—grateful for everything, for nothing. For just being, and feeling selfish for that gratitude because it meant she lacked the freedom to just live her life. Confusion and an overwhelming sense of no value, of not having spent my life wisely, being a better person, of wondering what I wouldn’t be able to do tomorrow or even later today. All evident in her expression—the soul truly is seen in the depths of the eyes.

And then her daughter walked out, smiled and asked her mom if she was okay. Tears welled in the woman’s eyes and she blinked hard, smiled brightly and said she was fine. The daughter looked relieved. The mother did, too.

I was enlightened.

It’s been a decade since my mother passed away, and during her lengthy illness, I knew she’d had many of these feelings; we talked about them. I’ve always been perplexed by her death. She’d been released from the hospital and moved to a facility to regain strength, after which she’d be ready to go home. Only she died instead and there’s never been a totally logical explanation. At least, there hadn’t been until now. Until I saw all I did in that stranger’s eyes. She wasn’t depressed; she still laughed easily and often. But fighting the weakness, the limitations, the loss of so many she loved . . . she was ready.

I thought on this for days and applied the insight to other people. Even to my beloved Weimer, Alex. She instinctively knew when she was injured not to walk up the steps. She instinctively knew when she was too old to go up them anymore, to jump up on the unforbidden—hubby’s recliner—which she’d done her entire life. When she was ready, she changed a lifetime daily habit. Rather than going to bed that night in her bed beside mine, she went into a different bedroom alone—my mother’s room, and lay on the floor at the foot of her bed. Nothing could coax her into her own bed, which was far more comfortable.

Realizing that brought to mind sitting at my dying father’s bedside, willing him to live. When I reached for his hand, he gently whispered, “Don’t touch me, Tiger.” I hadn’t understood that, then. But he too was ready and detaching from those things here that made him want to linger. He was ready.

And all three, parents and pet, understood instinctively that to each thing there really is a season—and when it is coming to a natural end, one knows. They’d fought the good fight, during fighting season, but when it had passed, they all just stopped breathing, just let go. No fear, no anger, only peace.

They knew instinctively. But entrenched in life, it took me ten years to discover answers to lingering questions and to gain this unexpected insight.

That it came from a simple trip to the restroom proves that everywhere, as well as everything, is fodder.



© 2007, Vicki Hinze

The OOPS! Factor

Our every act has an Oops! Factor.  You know the one I mean.  You write your heart (or gut) out and realize on page 150 that everything you’ve had happen since page 37 is impossible because your character is mortal and not superhuman, or you changed hair/eye color on a character three times during the course of the project, or you changed the background/history/parentage of a character and forgot to note it early on in the book so now the character has led a double life and s/he shouldn’t have because there’s no logical reason for it.

These things happen to us all.  We write and get so lost in the fascinating creation that we often are just typing as fast as we can and huffing, totally breathless from trying to keep up with the characters and what they’re doing, feeling, saying.  I call that getting into “the zone.”  My husband calls it me being in “lala land.”  But regardless of what you call it, we who write all want to get there.  We want to shut out all but the creation and lose ourselves in it–and when we do, well, it’s pure magic.

In experiencing the magic, we generally have locked up the internal editor–and we want to do that, too.  We want that internal editor stuffed into a mental closet.  We want the door shut and locked and something really heavy blocking the door to keep the internal editor off our backs and out of our stories–for a time.  The creation time.

The creation time is our bliss.  That sweet expanse when art and creativity and imagination come out to play and somehow merge and blend until one isn’t decipherable from the other.  And oh, we savor our time in bliss.  We stretch our creative wings and fly through the pages, feeling every emotion, seeing every detail, experiencing each single event to the hilt.

And barring interruptions–Wait.  Fact:  There are always interruptions and after we’ve dealt with them, we have to work like the damned to get back to where we were in the bliss zone [sometimes we’re successful, sometimes we’re not but we create a new place instead]–but interruptions and all, we finally reach the end.

Ah, we’re satisfied.  What a whale of a story we’ve created!  We feel great.  Not good, GREAT.  It’s DONE!

Then comes the Oops! Factor.

Done is a relative term.  We have to go back and edit . . . and edit . . . and edit.  We expand some scenes and shrink some scenes and gag when we read some scenes that have us banging our heads and groaning, “What was I thinking?”  Oops!

Reconciled, we toss the raunchies out and rewrite and eventually we feel great about these new scenes, too.  But wait…  An inconsistency pops up.  Then another.  And, shoot, there’s a dangling thread—and–ooooh–there’s a new totally cool gem we just have to add in–somewhere.  So we search for the perfect place and then edit the surrounding text so that this place we’ve chosen becomes the perfect place, and we fix all this stuff and then read on.  Dang.  More other little stuff pops up.

We’re so focused on the little things, on the gems and those vivid details that make the writing rich and lush and fragrant, that we totally miss a whopper blooper story-stopper.  Oops!  Not done yet.

But we reconcile.  This happens in creative pursuits.  It’s normal.  So we keep a good attitude–mostly–and let the work cool for a time so we see it with a clear eye, and then we read it again and edit it some more.  We catch a few more errors and sometimes in correcting them we make a few more mistakes.  But we know to expect that, so we resist the elation of feeling done and the urge to get the final copy printed and get the thing out the door and submitted.

Yes, and we accept that this “fascinating creation” is now “the thing.”  We’ve read it so much and worked on it so long, the bloom has definitely worn off the rose.

So we exercise a little discipline and let the thing rest–partly to gain a new fresh eye and partly because we think if we have to read it again now, we might just decide we hate it, tear the thing up and forget ever looking at it again.  But what’s totally annoying is that inside, we feel this faint longing to create something new and different–something we haven’t done before–and we fight that urge, sometimes calling on our last sliver of discipline.

We stare at the stack of pages sitting innocuously on the edge of our desks, knowing we need to get back to the thing, but suddenly doing the dishes or mowing the lawn takes on mammoth importance and just must get done.

We feel the urge to get the thing off our desks.  To just shove it in a mailer and get it gone.  But we know better and so we drag it front and center and with a sigh borne of resignation, we again begin to read.  Our enthusiasm, at this point, is snuffed out.  Dead and buried.  We’re down to sheer grit.

And about five pages into the thing, we realize we’re living the story and not editing.  Oops!  Have to go back and start over.  And so we do.  But–oops!–it happens again.  But while this is good–surely if we’re sick of the thing and we’re transported from reading words on a page to living the story then the reader will be, too–it’s not good right now.  We need to catch those errors, sharpen those images, get the thing done.

With renewed determination and a warning to ourselves to stay sharp, we go at it again–and before we know it, we’re again lost in the story.  Frustrated, and now totally sick of this–why did we want to write the thing in the first place????–we say spit upon it and keep going.  And an amazing thing happens.  Errors and inconsistencies jump off the page, snag our attention–and tick us off because they pull us out of the story.

So we fix them and press on.  We finish, enter the changes and corrections and print out a fresh, clean copy.  We know we should read the thing again–to make sure we didn’t create new errors or screw up scene breaks–but oh, the thought of it has us weary and bleary-eyed.  Our fascinating creation has morphed into the thing and now it morphs again.  We moan and groan and half-convince ourselves to give into temptation and call the damn thing done.

But at that very moment we give in to temptation, the internal editor busts out of the closet shouting, “Hey!  Hey, writer.  Yeah, you.  Don’t you dare short-shrift me after I spent all that time stuck in that closet so you could create in the zone!  I demand my turn–all of it!”

Grumbling, grousing and adding new meaning to the term “pregnant sigh,” we can’t make ourselves ignore the internal editor or shoot the damn thing out in the mail with the editor looking over our shoulder.  Internal editor would have a coronary.  Worse, if one negative comment came back to us on that mailing, we’d never hear the end of it.  And the very worse:  he’d be right.  Wishing we’d put him in a soundproof vault instead of a closet, we reconcile and hatch a new avoidance tactic by talking  ourselves right into letting the damn thing sit and cool again.   But . . . oops!

The internal editor is not happy.  And then he starts nagging.  The need to get the work finished, off the desk and out the door.  We block him out, resist listening as long as we can because now we’re sick and tired of the whole damn thing.  So sick and tired of it that the idea of reading it yet again, well, it makes raking the lawn or scrubbing toilets look as enticing as a trip to the water park on a scorching hot day.

We mutter and curse but discipline wins out and we cave in.  We must read the whole damn thing again.  To console ourselves we’ve gotten away from our desk, gone to our recliner and propped up our feet or parked ourselves on the grass under our favorite shade tree and, sipping at a chilled glass of sweet iced-tea or tart lemonade, we get started . . . and get lost . . . and we stay lost in the world that had been pure imagination until we dreamed and worked it into creation.  We live the story.  We feel the feelings and see the places and people in our minds.  We love and hate and hurt; laugh and cry and get mad and sad and scared to death.

We experience the fictional dream.

We read on and on and when we’re done, we stop, emotionally wrung out and suddenly surprised.  “Oh, wow.  What a story.  What a story!”

Then it hits us and we think, “I wrote that?  I can’t believe I wrote that.”

The internal editor snorts, “You mean we.”


“Yeah.  You, me, determination, discipline–wait.  You’re not thinking you’d have gotten this fascinating creation without us, are you?  You were stuck with the whole damn thing.”

“True.  But I’m happy with it now.”  Actually, brimming with satisfaction is a more accurate description.  We absorb that magnificent sense of accomplishment and realize–oops!–the  whole damn thing really has morphed yet again.  Somehow it has again captured us and become the fascinating creation.

“How did that happen?”

Internal editor snickers.  “It’s the Oops! Factor.”

The Oops! Factor.  Mmm…

If at any time during the process, when Oops! sounded the alarm we’d ignored him, we would have been stuck on a journey with a one-way ticket to “the thing,” or “the damn thing,” or “the whole damn thing.”  We’d never have made the round-trip back to “fascinating creation” or experienced the “wow” moment.  “The Oops! Factor.  Yeah.”

We stroke the pages, content.


©2007, Vicki Hinze

Writing Shortcuts

An interesting question was put to me a few days ago, and determining a thoughtful, honest response to it has taken time.  I had to think, ponder, explore.  But finally, I have a firm grip–at least, a firm grip that reflects reality to me.  Your reality might be different.  (I secretly hope that it is!)

The question?  What writing shortcuts have you learned that can help me?

The short answer:  There are none.  None.  Not one.  Not a hint of one.  Not a whiff of a sniff of a hint of one.

Writing is craft but also art, and art requires its due.  You can rush it, and not focus intently enough to unearth the gems.  You can nip and tuck and automate creating novel elements to shorten the process and then toss those elements together in a faster fashion, but to get to the core of those elements, you’re going to eventually have to slow down and focus intently so that you–you got it–unearth the hidden gems.

This goes beyond craft and into storytelling.  That’s the art, and a gift, and you either have it or you don’t.  Storytelling can’t be taught.  It’s that still, quiet voice that tells the author, “You’re on the right track.  This is significant.  This is of value.  This is infused with purpose.”  It’s that drumbeat that matches the beat of your heart that thuds and echoes in your ears, signaling you that you’ve hit the mark, touched a core truth that otherwise would remain hidden.  It’s that bubble in your gut, that burning that starts at the back of your nose and stings your eyes just before they fill with tears.

Some things can’t be rushed.  Won’t be denied their time in the sun.  Demand their due.  The creative writing process is like that.

It’s the embodiment of the human condition.  It encompasses all we were, are, and can be.  It’s our dreams, hopes and fears personified.

It’s also why some books come to us in a flash–like a lightning strike.  One minute we have nothing, the next the creation process is done and we’ve experienced an entire novel–or series of novels–in our heads.  Then we work out the details.  Then we begin the discovery of the hidden gems.

And it’s why some books take years and years to write.  We work on them, focus and give them all we have to give, but we know they’re just not ready.  We know there are underpinings yet to be discovered, and often we must wait for something to happen in our own lives that reveals them to us by giving us some new insight or perspective that lifts the scales from our eyes so we’re able to see that core truth.

There are no short cuts in writing.

There are many, many short cuts on the business end of writing, in the methods implemented to lay the groundwork for writing.  But the writing itself allows none.

And for that, we should be grateful.   Why?  Because each project we are dedicated enough to take from a thought to fruition is a project in which there are hidden gems–ones that speak core truths to us and to our readers.

That is the reason we write.  So the answer to the question is there are no shortcuts, but the journey is worth every effort because there are many, many hidden gems.



Writing With Passion

Writers are ordinarily compassionate and empathetic people–for the most part, when writing any type of fiction, they have to be to realistically portray the inner character of their story  people.  But what many, including writers, often don’t consciously realize is that it is the tapping of their own emotions that leads them to write the specific stories they write.

An example.  Many watched (American) Idol Gives Back last night.  There were moving (read that heart-wrenching and heart-warming) segments aired during the show.  I would love to take an informal poll on how many people watched and managed to view the entire program without tearing up at least once.  I would love to know how many writers watched the program and how often they teared up.

My guess is that the writers doubled the national average.

It isn’t that writers care more, are more compassionate or more concerned than the average human being.  It is that writers are more accustomed to expressing empathy quickly, fully and without restraint.

The reason for that is this connection is the way in which we and our characters bond with our readers.  We feel to impart feeling into the characters.  And the characters feeling invokes feeling in the readers.

This morning when my daughter arrived with the baby (Hubby and I take care of her while Mom teaches school).  She teaches kindergarten, so she’s especially sensitive to children and their needs in the way writers are sensitive; perhaps more so.  (Let’s face it, neither educators nor writers are in it for the money.)  Anyway, my daughter and I were discussing last night’s fundraiser.  Our reactions were interesting.

We both were thrilled that Idol raised 30 million in two hours.  We both felt an enormous desire to do all we could to help.  We both donated.  We both cried often at seeing so many doing so much suffering.  We both loved Carrie Underwood’s song and her gentle touch with the children in Africa.  The hugs and snuggles and tender touches.

But we had different reactions, too.  One in particular.

In one segment, a mother and baby were trying to get 50 miles to a health facility to get the baby treated for malaria.  (It’s curable, and the medication costs $2.)  They were in a race against time, and they lost.  The baby died.

My daughter wished that they hadn’t aired that segment.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she strongly empathized with the mother, having a baby of her own, and but for the grace of God . . .

I was glad that they did air that segment.  It hurt and still today, it hurts.  My reaction alternates between an intense clutch in the chest at the loss of a child and total outrage that the loss was needless.  For $2.  TWO dollars.

Maybe if the rest of us–enjoying that grace of God and spared this devastation directly–are hurt enough or outraged enough we’ll DO something about the problem.  If enough of us do something, then the problem will no longer be a problem.

To have hungry, homeless kids is Africa is heartbreaking.  To have them in America, where so many have so much, is despicable–and shameful.

We can’t cure all ails, but we can work together and do a lot.  I’ve always been of the mindset that if we–society, I mean–fight hunger collectively, then there will be none.  We might differ on a lot of things, but taking care of kids shouldn’t be among them.

After deciding on a donation last night, I went to bed praying that many, many hearts would be touched (or consciouses–whatever it takes) and we’d start doing a better job taking care of our kids.  When push comes to shove, they’re all ours.  I woke up this morning more resolved and went back and increased my donation and made an executive decision on my income for this year.  The kids get a huge chunk.

It’s the only way I’ll be able to swallow a single bite of food and not be haunted at knowing they’re hungry.  The only way I can close my eyes and not see a baby dying for $2.  The only way I can meet my eyes in the mirror and not be ashamed of what I see. is still taking donations.  I’m starting a book this morning that I’m going to publish on the net strictly for donations for the kids.  It’s not much, but it’s a start…




Auction to Benefit Diabetes

My friend and fellow writer, Brenda Novak, has a son with diabetes and she’s determined to do what she can to help find a cure.  I understand her passion for this; both my parents were diabetics and I have several dear friends who have this challenge.

Every year, Brenda sponsors an auction to raise money to help find a cure.  Many writers, agents and editors participate.  They auction everything from books to trips, dinners or luncheons with them, reads of your work, critiques and/or career strategy advice.

There are a ton of golden opportunities for writers in this auction, and for that reason, I wanted to share the current information I have on the auction.  For the utmost latest, check out the diabetes auction section on Brenda’s website.

I’ll be donating a bunch of books.  Here’s the rest of what’s up at this time from Brenda:

Here’s the list (so far) of “agent” items that will be available in my
upcoming on-line auction for diabetes research. Lots of great agents here, eh? (If
anyone has an agent who might be willing to participate, just let me know
and I’ll ask them. :-))

1. Have lunch in New York City with historical romance author Kristina Cook
(author of Unlaced, Undressed, Unveiled, and To Love A Scoundrel) and her
agent, the fabulous Marcy Posner of Sterling Lord Literistic! Dish about
romance, writing, the publishing industry, or anything you like while you enjoy a
delicious lunch at the oh-so-trendy Manhattan hot spot, Five Points
(_ ( ). Wine,
lunch, dessert (their sticky toffee pudding cake is to DIE for!), and
scintillating conversation included, along with a goody bag including autographed
novels and other fun stuff. Who knows, you might even spot a celebrity or two.
Date and time to be mutually agreed upon.
_www.kristinacook.com_ (

2. Coffee or tea with multi-published Cathy McDavid (Harlequin American and
Dorchester author) and her agent, Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary
Agency at RWA National this summer.

3. Tea with Superromance Author Melinda Curtis and her agent Pam Hopkins at
RWA National this summer.
Award winning author Melinda has a passion for writing romance and
fast-paced action. RT gave her May 2007 Superromance, The Best-Kept Secret, 4.5 stars
and claimed readers “won’t be able to put this one down”. Recently “retired”
from the corporate world, Melinda is a part-time marketing consultant until
her writing career moves into full gear with the help of her agent, Pam
Hopkins. Melinda Curtis has her own hero, a man who makes her tremendously happy
while simultaneously driving her crazy – although he has help from their
three kids, two rambunctous labs and their bevy of relatives. Since 2003,
writing for Harlequin’s Superromance line has been an enjoyable escape – although
you’ll often find a spunky kid, beloved relative or ball-crazy dog in her
novels…she can’t quite get away from her loved ones completely.

4. Nancy Yost with Lowenstein-Yost Associates Inc. – A Read

5. Caren Johnson – A Read

6. Elizabeth Pomada – A read, followed by a half-hour telephone

7. Barbara Collins Rosenberg – A critique of the first three chapters of a
nonfiction proposal.

8. Scott Eagan, Greyhaus Literary Agency – A read

9. Eileen Cope – Trident Media Group (Represents a lot of NY Times
bestsellers in multiple genres.) – A Read

10. Randall Klein – Trident Media Group – Randall is an assistant at
Trident, who is also a freelance editor, and he is donating an edit of a partial.

11. Robin Rue, Senior Agent, Writer’s House Literary Agency – Read of a
proposal (around 50 pages).
Robin Rue began her long and illustrious career as an editor at Dell but has
spent the last thirty years as an agent (10 of those years working for Writer
’s House). She represents such big names and Linda Howard, Lisa Jackson,
Mary Jo Putney, Joann Ross, Pat Rice, Laura Lee Gurke, Jacqueline Frank, Holly
Lyle, Lynn Vale, and V.C. and Andrews. She loves almost any kind of fiction
and represents it well: women’s fiction, historicals, young adult, middle-grade
fiction, fantasy, hard-core mystery, thrillers, etc. (As an aside, straight
erotica and chick lit are not among her favorites.)

12. Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency — A read and an in-depth
written critique of the first 30-50 pages
Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency, LLC
Kristin established the Nelson Literary Agency in the chic/hip urban setting
of lower Downtown Denver in 2002. In such a short time, she has sold more
than 50 books to such publishers as Random House, Hyperion, Harlequin, Simon &
Schuster, Hachette/Warner and the Penguin Group. She has landed several film
deals and has contracted foreign rights on behalf of her clients in all the
major territories, including Germany, Spain, Holland, Japan, and even into
Russia and Indonesia. Her authors are RITA-award winners and national
bestsellers. Several NLA titles have appeared on the Barnes & Noble and The Denver Post
bestseller lists.
She specializes in representing commercial fiction (romance, women’s
fiction, science fiction, fantasy, young adult) and high caliber literary fiction.
She also considers a few nonfiction projects that tend to be story-based, such
as memoir and narrative nonfiction. Kristin is a hands-on agent and strongly
believes in taking on clients for their whole career. She provides editorial
and marketing guidance as well as aggressive expertise in contract
negotiation. Member: AAR, RWA, SFWA. Please visit our website _www.nelsonagency.com_
( before submitting

13. Nadia Cornier – Critique of a proposal, and a second Short Critique
followed by breakfast at RWA National this summer

14. Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency – A read
Christina Hogrebe is a literary agent with the Jane Rotrosen Agency in New
York City. She is actively seeking commercial fiction–with a particular
interest in Southern settings, Latina lit, generational stories, suburban lit,
coming-of-middle-age stories, cozy mysteries, and legal thrillers—and food
memoirs and travelogues

15. Annelise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency—A read
Annelise Robey is a Literary Agent with the Jane Rotrosen Literary Agency in
New York City. She is actively looking for writers of all genres – both
published and unpublished authors.

16. Daniel Bial, Daniel Bial Agency –A read
Daniel Bial has been a literary agent, book packager and book doctor for 14
years. Among his clients is Yossef Bodansky, author of OSAMA BIN LADIN: THE
MAN WHO DECLARED WAR ON AMERICA, a number 1 New York Times bestseller. Dan
was also an editor for 14 years. Besides two years each at Holt and Longmeadow
Press, he spent 10 years at HarperCollins, where he acquired several
bestsellers just as Hank Aaron’s I HAD A HAMMER and Ralph David Abernathy’s AND THE
WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN. In addition, he is the author of four books of his
own, and translated another.
As a literary agent, Dan is primarily interested in biography, business,
cooking, entertainment, history, humor, Judaica, language, popular reference,
popular science, psychology, sports and travel.

17. From award-winning author and Ashley Grayson Literary Agency agent, Lois
Winston, a read and critique of the synopsis and first 50 pages of a
manuscript, plus signed copies of TALK GERTIE TO ME and LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT

18. Steven Axelrod, The Axelrod Agency – A Read

19. Deidre Knight, The Knight Agency – Breakfast with Deidre Knight and a
thirty minute career consultation at RWA National.

20. Lucienne Diver, Spectrum Agency – A Read followed by a 45-minute coffee
or tea with the winner at RWA National.
Lucienne Diver is a long time book addict who went to work for Spectrum
Literary Agency fourteen years ago to feed her habit. She now represents over
forty authors of commercial fiction, primarily in the areas of romance, fantasy,
mystery/suspense and erotica. Clients include Marjorie M. Liu, Susan
Krinard, Roberta Gellis, Rachel Caine and Claudia Bishop. Her alphabet soup of
memberships includes AAR, RWA, MWA and SFWA. Further information is available
on the website: _www.spectrumliteraryagency.com_

21. Mary Sue Seymour, The Seymour Agency—The read of a proposal of women’s
fiction, along with a follow-up tea at RWA National in Dallas.
Mary Sue represents all types of romance, mysteries, inspirational books and
also nonfiction written by credentialed authors. Some publishers in which
she has sold books are: Warner Books, Harlequin, NAL, Berkley/Jove and Bantam.
She is a member of the AAR, WGA, RWA and The Author’s Guild and has movie
industry contacts and aspires to sell her clients work for film. She enjoys
traveling to conferences and meeting with authors. Recent conferences include
Prepare to Pitch in Silicon Valley, Spring Into Romance in San Diego and the
Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention in Daytona Beach. For current sales and
upcoming conferences, consult Mary Sue’s web site at _www.theseymouragency.com_

22. Elaine P. English—The read of a proposal of women’s fiction, including
all types of romance and mysteries.

23. Amy Moore Benson, AMB Literary Management – A read

24. Meredith Bernstein, Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency – A read

25. Kimberly Whalen, Trident Media Group (my agent) – A read followed by
Lunch at RWA National

26. Donald Maass – Maass Agency – A read

27. Michelle Grajkowski – A read followed by a lunch at RWA National
From the moment Michelle Grajkowski first opened her doors to the 3 Seas
Literary Agency in August of 2000, she has been living her dream. (What could be
better than surrounding yourself with great authors and their exciting and
imaginative books?)
Since then, she’s successfully sold more than 200 titles to major publishing
houses including Harlequin, NAL, Berkley, Dorchester, Kensington, Avon,
Pocket, Random House (both here and in the UK), Knopf, Andrews McMeel, Warner and
Currently, she is looking for fantastic authors with a voice of their own.
Michelle focuses on romance, women’s fiction, Chick-Lit young adult and
middle grade fiction.
Michelle is listed in the Diamond Edition of Who’s Who in America
publication for 2006
28. Kelly Harms, Jane Rotrosen Agency – A Read
Here’s to making a difference!

May this be the year a cure is found!




Failing Your Way to Success

“Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps more precious is the courage acquired through endeavour, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions.”
— Aung San Suu Kyi

No less than three times in as many days have I had a writer tell me:

1.  She was afraid to submit her work because as soon as she did, she’d read a group of things she’d done wrong and wish she hadn’t and she couldn’t be sure she was ready.

2.  He hadn’t submitted his work because he didn’t think he could stand getting back a rejection.

3.  She submitted her work and then contacted the individual and pulled the submission.

If as a writer, you’re waiting for a time to come when you don’t see changes you need to make or ones you wish you’d made AFTER the submission, consider your experience an oddity.  Epiphanies have a way of sneaking in and zapping us after the fact.  Recognize that it’s normal and happens more often than not.  Note it and when the opportunity arises, edit and incorporate.

As a writer, you continually seek to grow and master your craft.  Because you do, you will encounter this challenge–and if you aren’t, you’re either very, very lucky or you’re not studying craft and continuing to grow.  Warning:  that leads to stagnation, and stagnant things die!

I’ve been in this business nineteen years and I don’t think I’ve ever been sure a project was ready to submit.  Yes, I know I love them.  Yes, I do allow them to cool to make sure what I think is conveyed on the page is conveyed on the page.  Yes, I do strive to submit only my best work.  And I have enjoyed many bubbles in the gut that shout, “oh, this is strong.  This really works.”  But to feel that there is nothing–not one word–that could be changed to make the work stronger?

If I ever get there, believe me, I’ll be broadcasting it, so you’ll know.  So far, this has escaped me.  Which is one of the best reasons to solicit outside readers.   It’s true that many projects are submitted too soon–before they’re polished and splendidly shine.  By having a couple others read the work and getting their reactions, you will get a cross-section of responses.

Vary these readers.  One who loves to read this type book.  One who is familiar with the subject matter in the book.  One who is sharp on writing craft and construction and novel structure and characterization and mechanics.  Barter.  I’ll read and comment if you’ll read and comment (with another writer).

On rejection.  Understand that if you’re a writer, you will be rejected.  Not you, the person.  Your work.  Accept it and then press on.  I know only two writers who haven’t received–and I mean all during their career no matter how high up on the career ladder they’ve gotten–rejections.  And both have multiple readings and edits before their work is ever submitted.  I know no one who has penned the perfect book.

This is why we create and then edit and edit and edit.  We’re striving for the best we’re capable of producing at the time.  Then we have others read and we shove (or smother) our egos, hear and listen to what they have to say.  What we agree best serves the story, we incorporate.  Only what we agree best serves the story do we incorporate.

Often agents ask for revisions.  Then editors suggest revisions.  Then copyeditors ask for more.  Often more than once!

So do strive for perfection, but don’t expect that your perfection is perfect.  Others will see things you miss.  Know things you don’t know.  Catch mistakes that save the book, save your backside, and sometimes they’ll save your hair–spare you from pulling it out by the roots in frustration.

Develop rhino hide, understand that revision recommendations are given for a single purpose:  to strengthen the book.  Everyone involved in the process (and no one more than the author) wants the strongest book possible.

Rejection might not be about the work, but about what best sells to the readers.  Marketability.  List balance.  Suitability.  House focus and/or direction.  A million other things.  The point:  it’s not about you.  And it might not be about the work.  It might be connected to strengthening the salability of the book.

Writers get rejections.  That’s what happens when they submit, stretch and grow and experiment and make all manner of effort.  This is not a bad thing and it rarely has spit to do with the author so it should never be taken personally.

There are times and situations in which a writer pulls a submission.  Shoot, there are times when an author contracts a book and then buys the book back.  But this isn’t something you want to do or something you do without considering all aspects of it and the consequences.  Tread lightly.

Remember, first impressions are just that.  One-shot deals.  You don’t get a second chance.  So if you must pull a submission, make sure it’s for an excellent reason and that you don’t make a habit of it.  And be wary of the second-guessing trap.  It’s easy to talk yourself into thinking something is awful and unfit–especially if it’s a purpose-driven novel.  If you must do this, be extremely judicious.  And it goes without saying to do all you can to make sure you’re ready to submit before you do so initially.

It takes courage to put yourself out there.  If you do so with a realistic view on potential, then you’re in a far better position to cope with the results.  Understand what rejection is and isn’t.  Understand that continued growth nearly promises you’ll have post-submission epiphanies.  And understand that the best way to avoid having to pull a submission is by doing the necessary work and expending the effort before submitting.



©2007, Vicki Hinze


Benefits of Attending Small Conferences

Two weekends ago, I attended the Emerald Coast Writers, Inc. conference in Destin, Florida.  Not only was it held at a terrific resort on the sugar-white beach (5 pools, a spa, exercise room and oodles of goodies) but it was a small conference of just under a hundred people.  I had a terrific time.  And that got me to thinking of the many benefits of small conferences that I thought I would share.

1.  Networking.  A NYT bestselling author did the keynote.  But he (Jeramiah Healy) also did several workshops on craft and the business.  He hung out with all conference attendees, so even brand new writers had access to him and his considerable bank of knowledge.

2.  Networking.  Two excellent agents attended.  Elaine Spencer from Deidre Knight Agency and Natanya Wheeler from Lowenstein-Yost Agency.  As well as a panel and appointments, they hung out with all conference attendees so even brand new writers had access to them and their considerable banks of knowledge.  If you’re shopping, check these agents out on the web.  Both are very personable, earthy and friendly, and sharp.

3.  Networking.  Two excellent editors attended:  Kerry Estevez (Medallion Press Editor) and Nina Kooij (Pelican Press Editor-in-Chief) and both did a panel and hung out with all conference attendees so even brand new authors had access to them and their considerable banks of knowledge.  Medallion and Pelican are both Independent Presses.  Medallion is building quite a reputation.  It is home to a horror author who is not S. King or P. Straub who is on the list–not with her NY publisher, but with Medallion.  This company also took on Dolores Wilson (Big Hair and Flying Cows) who as a brand new author won Publisher’s Weekly Pinnacle Award.  (Hilarious book, btw.)  Pelican has 500 titles on its backlist and is the largest Independent Press operating.  So strong companies, strong editors, and very author-friendly.

4.  Networking.  A host of multi-published authors and educators did workshops.  When I wasn’t one of them, I sat in other workshops.  The quality and variety was significant, and because the classes were small, more writers got to ask more questions that pertained to their specific situations and circumstances.

5.  Networking.  Among the workshops were two–not one, but two–by noted Life Coach Darlene Dean.  Both were inspiring and illuminating.  Darlene is also a writer and it shows in ways I can’t begin to describe.  Every author wrote not one but two stories during a one-hour class–and read them aloud–and they were GOOD.

As you can see, a lot of networking opportunities existed.  Far more than a writer typically encounters at large conferences.

6.  Education.  The educational opportunities were amazing.  Coordinator, Joyce Holland, made sure there was something for everyone–from poetry to crime fiction to young adult and nonfiction to the mechanics of writing–and just to be sure no one left with unanswered questions, there were two “Ask Me Anything” sessions.  One with Jerry and me, and another.

7.  Fun.  There were evening gab sessions where everyone gathered and just talked writing and the business in a large group.  Friendly, relaxed, informative and just plain fun.

8.  Some spent some time on the beach.  Gorgeous and the weather was amazing.

So while the three days were busy and schedules were full, because of the atmosphere and attitudes creating such a positive atmosphere, people went home relaxed and not worn out.  That alone is worth giving a small conference a serious look!

I’ll be going to this one again.  The hotel was extremely reasonable, the conference fee minimal (how they manage to offer so much for this price is beyond me) and the rejuvenation on its own makes it a bargain.  I was very pleasantly surprised–and I met two people who will be friends for a long time.

Now I’ve been to many conferences.  And I’m saying that it’s next to impossible to gain this level of interaction and information and attention to your specific needs at large ones.  I can’t speak for all small conferences, but I can and will speak for this one.  Emerald Coast Writers, Inc., and Joyce Holland, the conference coordinator, gave attendees real value.  The kind that comes in many ways, including those which can’t be measured.

Beam me up for 2008!



RITA Award Finalist: Her Perfect Life

The writing life, like others, is one of ups and downs and today is definitely an up day.  Each year, RWA, the largest writing organization in the world, recognizes specific books as the best of those published during the year in specific categories.  This is its RITA award.

One of the RITA categories is Best Novel with a Romantic Element.  And this year, I’m thrilled that HER PERFECT LIFE has been named as a Finalist.  It’s an amazing honor and, well, humbling.

Those who know me well know my philosophy that I’ll never write a book I don’t love.  And many of those same folks know that HER PERFECT LIFE is extra special because of its subject matter (a female POW left behind) and how emotionally challenging it was to write.  To see this book honored in this way . . . well, it defies description.

But it does not defy gratitude.  Thank you so much!

And my most heartfelt congratulations to all of the other RITA Finalists and to those selected as Finalists in the GOLDEN HEART.

WOW.  What a great day!



The Power of Silence

“Look at this.  The dialogue needs heavy editing,” she said.

I look.  I read.  “Reads great to me.”

“No, no,” she said.  “He asked a question and she didn’t answer it.”

I read it again.  “Sure she did.”  I pass the paper back.

“Where?”  She scans the page again.  “The woman didn’t say a word.”

“True, but she definitely answered.”

Silence is often the strongest communication of all.

It can signal agreement, disagreement, approval or disapproval.  It can signal contentment with what’s been expressed or outrage.  Silence can signal a direct or indirect reaction.

Which reaction, indirect or direct and the exact nature of the reaction, is subjective.  The author’s intent is open to interpretation.  And that means a reader looks at the silence in context to decipher and define it.

Let’s examine a situation to see the flexibility and power of silence.

A reader reads a book wherein two people are talking about religion.  One person states a criticism of a specific faith that happens to be the faith of the second person.  This criticism is mocking, flaunting an air of superiority that makes the speaker feel good about not being of that faith but embracing her own.  The second person reacts with silence.

What is the unspoken, innate reaction of Person #2?

It depends.

In a direct reaction, the author gives the reader context to enable the reader to intuit the second person’s reaction.

If the third-party reader interprets the criticism and the second person’s reaction to it in a broader context–what’s written around the exchange–the reader will deduce the author’s intended meaning of the silence.

Whether the second person hearing this criticism of her religion agrees with the criticism, is angered by it, offended or exasperated or frustrated by it, or if she just thinks the speaker is uniformed and biased and would best serve herself by not tromping on others’ beliefs.

Whether the second character wonders why the first character is so insecure that she must justify her faith in her religion by criticizing another’s?  Why must she build herself up by tearing another down.

Whether the second character feels the first, who professes to be broadminded and accepting, realizes how narrow-minded and unaccepting the criticism depicts her to be.

Whether the second character feels the first isn’t as informed about the second’s religion as she thinks or she’d know better than to criticize on the basis stated.

Or the silence could mean something else entirely.   Then you have an indirect reaction.  One that is separate and unrelated to the exchange, but impacts it.

Perhaps the second character has embraced a personal philosophy never to discuss volatile topics, like religion and/or politics.

Perhaps the second character sees nothing constructive in any response and considers any response a waste of energy.

Perhaps the second character avoids conflict due to criticism or esteem issues she has carried with her for an extended period of time and has not yet resolved.

Perhaps the second character knows the first has received criticism for her beliefs and felt it was wrong then and now but understands that when slapped, some must slap back–even if they’re slapping someone uninvolved who hasn’t been critical.

Perhaps the second character knows the first is seeking a fight–justification for some other event entirely and is using this exchange as a surrogate to force a confrontation.

Again, the second character could have an entirely different rationale for her silence.  And the reader can’t (and won’t) know exactly what it is (or what it means to the second character) unless the author builds context around and through the exchange for the reader to assimilate and make that determination.

How the  reader will react depends on two things:

1.  What supporting context the author has included in the book that guides the reader into grasping the intent and disposition of the second character.  What meaning the silence carries for her in this specific response in this specific situation.

2.  How the reader feels about criticism of this particular faith.  She brings her own emotions and reaction to the table, too.  She might or might not agree.  Might be content or outraged, just as the second character is.  Or the reader’s reaction can differ.  (Perhaps the second character feels the criticism is fear-based and let’s it slide like water off a duck’s back, but the reader takes serious exception.)

If the author has added texture to the novel that establishes and supports context, then the reader knows exactly what that silence means to the second character.  Knows exactly why the first character feels the need to criticize.   No interpretation on the reader’s part is required.

That’s not to say that the reader will agree with either the criticism or the reaction to it, but she will understand it.  Remember, her own views on volatile issues play an important role here.

And the more volatile the issue, the more important the role becomes of the author controlling the reader’s reaction so that what is intended by including the exchange does reach fruition.  The exchange and reaction fulfill their story purposees.

It helps to think of this context as “supporting evidence.”  Vivid, concrete images–in the form of physical details–that portray the  character’s emotional reaction.

Remember, we notice whatever has our focus.  And we perceive what we notice in ways that encompass and reflect our emotional state at the time.

If the author fails to give the reader the necessary context on the criticism and on the reaction to it, then odds are not favorable that the reader will react in the way the author intended.  When that happens, the purpose for including the exchange in the novel misses its mark.

So what happens then?  If the author hasn’t offered that supporting evidence, or context for the exchange?

Without that broader context, the third-party reader is most likely to superimpose his or her own personal reaction (rather than the second character’s) to the criticism, and to interpret the character’s silence to mean whatever the reader’s reaction happens to be.

This can be fine or problematic for the author because it puts the reader identifying with the character in jeopardy.  The content reader will continue to relate to the character.  But the offended reader is going to want justice–and might not get it–because the bond between the reader and character has been broken by this disagreement on the criticism and/or reaction to it.

Broken bonds are a violation of reader trust–intended or not.  And that is an inviolate rule that a wise author moves mountains never to break.

So silence can speak volumes.  Can carry more story weight than words.  It carries  assets and liabilities.  Silence can create a bond, maintain a bond or break a bond between characters, but also between characters and readers.

Silence is powerful.  Often, the strongest communication of all.



©2007, Vicki Hinze

Readers’ Choice Award Finalist


HER PERFECT LIFE is a finalist for’s Reader’s Choice Award for Best Book of 2006. If you read and enjoyed it and feel you can vote for it, please do. The URL to vote is:

Thanks so much!







Viewing Recommendation

In my humble opinion, The following program, offered by the history channel, should be required viewing . . .

The War against al Qaeda
Episode: The War against al Qaeda.

Wednesday, January 17
10:00 AM
Wednesday, January 17
04:00 PM
Search for other upcoming episodes

RSS What is RSS?
In the wake of 9/11, America and its allies launched a worldwide effort to attack al Qaeda. After war in Afghanistan and a worldwide manhunt, 3,000 al Qaeda operatives were captured or killed. The U.S. tracked down potential terror cells at home and shut down financial networks that sustained terrorists. But the top two most wanted men–Osama bin Laden and his right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri–remain at large. And the U.S. faces a new threat from cells that have sprung up in 80 countries.
Rating: TVPG V
Running Time: 60 minutes
Genre:Military & War


The War Against Al Qaeda DVD
$24.95 DVD-R
Buy Now


I finished a mainstream suspense today and I have to tell you how FANTASTIC it felt to flex those muscles, expanding and added more and more layers into the book than you have space available to add in restricted formats.

What a joy!  To unleash creatively and just run with it.  I’d nearly forgotten the rush that comes with that.  I won’t again, which is why I’m pausing to jot this note and share.  Hopefully, you’ll remember and not forget, too.

I’m working on Part 7 of Mistakes we Make.  It should be done shortly.  The baby had shots.  Need I say more?

I also want to express my gratitude to RT Magazine for my recent nomination for a Career Achievement Award.  I’m honored and humbled.





150 Thrillers Contest

I’m a charter member of ITW–International Thriller Writers–and the organization is having a contest that is a fantastic opportunity to study the market and enjoy a lot of good books. I’m passing this along for those who are interested . . .
Blessings, Vicki

From ITW:

150 Thrillers!

It’s a thriller lover’s dream – the chance to win 150 novels by some of the biggest and best thriller authors in the business. That’s right, 150.

Imagine receiving books written by Joseph Finder, Tess Gerritsen, John Lescroart, Gayle Lynds, and David Baldacci for free. Then multiply that by thirty, because they represent only five of the 150 books you will receive if you’re the winner in the International Thriller Writer’s “150 Thrillers” contest.

The best part? Just by entering you’ll begin receiving the free ITW newsletter, a monthly email newsletter that contains loads of information about upcoming thriller novels, thriller authors and thriller news.

All you have to do is go to, or email before February 15th and sign up to get the free ITW newsletter. That’s it.

Once you’ve subscribed, you’re entered. The winner will be picked randomly from all entrants, and will receive 150 thriller novels from some of the top novelists writing today. Three runner-up entrants will each receive a copy of the 2006 Thriller Anthology, edited by James Patterson. But really, everyone who signs up to receive the ITW newsletter is a winner.

So go on, sign up. You know you want to.

Please note: one entry per person, and, as usual, ITW will not share your email information with anyone.


Vicki Hinze



Windshields and Rearview Mirrors

As many of you know, I’m taking care of my daughter’s newborn while she teaches, so my schedule has had to undergo radical changes.  Well, I got this brilliant idea to finish a first draft on a new suspense novel over the holidays–what was I thinking???–and so I’ve been pulling some marathon days.

I started at 2:30 A.M. and worked through until my darling hubby called me for dinner.  I felt great.   Not only had I edited pages 100-200, I had also produced 32 new pages.  What a fantastic writing day.  On a roll from beginning to end.

The second time he called me, I rushed, and promptly saved the old document over the new one–the one with 17 HOURS worth of changes THROUGHOUT the manuscript and those 32 new pages.

I knew the moment I’d goofed–just as I knew done was done and there was no going back.  I was not happy.

And that’s why you’re getting this post rather than the one I’d planned for today, because this too is a mistake we make that we don’t want to make.  I’ve now changed procedures so that I have two backups and save intermittently on 2 different jump drives as well as the hard drive so this doesn’t happen again.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I screwed up and lost all that work.

I was . . . emotional. <eg>

But within two hours, I accepted the fact that I’d just have to redo it all, and the credit for that largely goes to Joel Osteen.  In a lecture he gave just a few days ago, he was talking about the mistakes we make and how some of us get stuck and can’t let go of them and that keeps us from moving forward.

I know, it sounds like what we’ve been discussing in the MISTAKES WE MAKE SERIES.  And while I knew that, I admit I was tired and cranky and I just needed to wallow a little.

Then I remembered a cute saying (you all know how I love sayings) that he shared..

There’s a reason cars have big windshields and little rearview mirrors.

I just loved that.  Totally loved it.

We can’t change what’s behind us, so once we look at it, accept it, we’re done with it.  We have to look at the bigger vista and that’s before us.

And so I changed my attitude and my view–from rearview to windshield.

I’m not yet back where I was on the book–end of year duties just insist on being done.  But you know, I’ve gotten enough distance from the setback now that I know when I get  past the editing and back to the writing again, the book will be stronger because now I clearly envision the places and conversations and events I created then.  Now, I’m starting out with attitudes in place and a sharp focus rather than that nebulous getting acquainted fuzz.

Please note the photo above was on realizing what I had done.  Made a mistake.

The good news?  I survived and am pressing forward again–but without the jump drive inserted and with the new procedures in place!!!

I hope you’re off to a fantastic start this New Year’s Day and that sharing this faux pas helps.

May you never have one like it. 🙂



c 2007


Happy New Year

A new year brings new opportunities that are governed by our attitudes.  If we seek joy, we find joy.  If we seek the good in others, we find it.  Upon whatever we focus–positive or negative, our dreams or our fears–we create.  We manifest.  And that manifestation becomes our life.
–Vicki Hinze

Happy Holidays

My holiday wish for all of you is that you know joy, laughter, love and peace.



Think Your Reviewer Was Tough?

It’s enough to have you pulling the hair right out of your head.

If you think a review on your book was tough, check out this one:

Typically, a reviewer at least reads the book before slamming it, but not in this case.  And what he says about when the book is actually written has my jaw on the floor.

In my years in this business, I’ve met many reviewers.  Most are genuine, ethical people who would never consider writing a review on a book that doesn’t exist or allow their feelings toward an author color their opinion on a book.

The brass with which he “apologizes” (using that term VERY loosely) is as much an insult as the initial action.  The newspaper is credited with more grace.

Anyway, if you think you’ve got review troubles, reading this story should grant you a great deal of perspective.

And remember:  a review is a subjective opinion.  The professionals take their work very seriously and adhere to professional ethics.  I’m sure those pros are cringing at this conduct.



Vicki Hinze

December 18, 2006


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