Hey everyone! It’s my great pleasure to introduce our visitor today here at Wildflower Junction, Ms. Rebecca Vickery. Rebecca is one busy lady. Not only does she write some awesome short stories and novels, she owns her own publishing company, Victory Tales Press.
Hi Cheryl and Everybody! It’s wonderful to be here.
I try to stay busy as it helps keeps me out of trouble. (My Hubby says not completely.)
Laura Shinn and I were discussing writing short stories as a way to hone our craft back in March 2010. We decided to invite a few authors to join us for publishing an anthology or two. The idea caught on and snowballed and Victory Tales Press was born. Several authors say that not only have the shorts improved their writing, but they have given them a new excitement by enabling them to try something new. Laura came on board as Chief Designer and Consultant and our first anthology, in which Cheryl’s story, To Make the Magic Last, first appeared, was published June 1, 2010.
Victory Tales Press has only been in existence a little over one year. But what a wonderfully successful year it has been! With 14 assorted anthologies published over the past 17 months, there is no end in sight. Anthologies are a popular venue these days for people who are “on the go”—and who isn’t? Victory Tales Press has a great system for letting you, the reader, know just what you are buying with their “heat” rating. These anthologies are rated sweet, sensual, and spicy.
Laura and I both write Happy Ever After Romance in various sub-genres from sweet to spicy so we decided to stay within boundaries we know. Therefore, we don’t publish erotica or other than traditional romance. (We leave that to others who know more about it.) We always have heat ratings on our VTP books. Our Sweet stories contain long, lingering glances, hand holding, and gentle kisses. The Sensual stories contain passionate kisses, foreplay leading up to the bedroom door, and possible mild cursing. Stimulating is probably my favorite and includes lightly described love scenes, intense emotions, and the more violent thriller or suspense stories. And for the in-depth love scenes, stronger language, and intense passion we have the Spicy rating. We often have an anthology that combines Sweet and Sensual, but we try not to ever include Sweet and Spicy in the same book.
Rebecca’s company has been so successful that she has added two imprints, Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery, and Western Trail Blazers. This imprint boasts well-known western authors such as Pete Brandvold, Jory Sherman, and Kit Prate. Tell us what brought this all about.
Once our anthologies were launched, I began to have requests from authors to assist them with publishing their book and to help them get into print. Rather than charge them money for my services, we agreed to share royalties. Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery was the result and is now the “parent company” according to my legal advisors. At PbRJV we publish in a variety of genres not limited to romance (but do not include erotica) and currently have works available from 17 authors and are adding more all the time. Amanda Ashley is one of the better known, NY Times Bestsellers who contracted a story with us this year.
Then Cheryl introduced me to a Western author who was looking for a new publisher. We began talking and Western Trail Blazer was born soon after. With many traditional publishers closing or discontinuing their Western lines, the American Western I grew up reading was about to die out. I don’t want my grands to grow up not knowing about our Wild West and this is my way to help achieve that. To the authors Cheryl mentioned, we should add Troy D. Smith, Madeline Baker, John Duncklee, John D. Nesbitt, and Chuck Tyrell, all very experienced Western authors and we are adding more there, too.
Now that you know who Rebecca Vickery is, I’ll let her “do the talking”—here are some questions and answers y’all might like to know about Rebecca, and if there’s anything she didn’t tell you here, just ask! She’s a mighty nice lady and very knowledgeable about all aspects of the publishing world. And she’s also a darn good writer, in her own right!
Rebecca, let’s talk about the publishing end of things first. Why did you choose anthologies to focus on in the beginning?
There really isn’t another publisher out there I know of that focuses on romance anthologies. Publishing anthologies was a chance to involve more authors and it provides us all with a much needed break from working on longer books. We can also share a wider variety of romance for our readers and in different heat levels. A win-win situation.
How successful have the anthologies been for you?
Monetarily, we aren’t getting rich by any means. Royalties are split among the authors in each book and Laura and I take a very small cut for expenses. But money was never the point. The anthologies have been successful in helping several authors regain their eagerness to write, come up with new material, step out of their “box”, and improve and tighten their writing skills. So personally, these anthologies have been very successful for me. Best of all, I’ve made friends with authors and readers I would not have met otherwise.
Do you see a resurgence of interest in anthology stories rather than novels?
Book interests seem to be almost as changeable as Hollywood husbands. For a short time anthologies were more in demand than full-length novels. Right now sales are down for both anthologies and novels as a newer trend takes over.
What plans do you have for future anthologies? Do you ever publish “stand alone” short stories?
I’ll answer these two questions together. The current trend seems to be moving away from the anthologies, except for holidays. We plan to cut back on them for 2012 and probably publish only for Halloween and Christmas, which have been our most popular ones so far. The trend is now moving toward short stories published individually and sold inexpensively. With the new reading apps for cell phones and less expensive e-readers, the shorts are perfect for waiting in line, at doctor offices, on work breaks, and even while stuck in traffic. We currently have a 99 cent Gallery for short stories at PbRJV and we offer Dime Novels for 99 cents at WTB. They are extremely popular.
What about your imprint, Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery? Tell us about what kinds of material you publish through that venue?
We offer mainstream fiction and non-fiction, romance, suspense, Inspirational, speculative fiction, fantasy, time travel, and historical. I probably missed something, but it is pretty much all genres non-erotic and non-Western.
Well, you know this is a western-y blog, so tell us all about your Western Trail Blazers imprint.
We are really happy with the way our Western imprint is growing. We published our first story in September of 2010 and had two authors with us. Now we have 15 authors and have published 45 works so far. At WTB we accept submissions in fiction and non-fiction, Action/Adventure, Romance, Historical, Fantasy, Paranormal, SteamPunk, Time-Travel, and Mystery/Suspense as long as they are based in the American West and have a Western theme. No erotica or non-traditional relationships are accepted. We would also like to publish a few non-fiction biographies of Western heroes and maybe a campfire cookbook.
What do you have lined up in the future for these imprints?
We plan to publish more quality reads at affordable prices while helping authors who are tired of the traditional publishing madness, but aren’t quite ready to go out and publish independently. We hope to continue to grow and to help encourage both writing and reading.
Now let’s talk about YOUR writing. Tell us about your novels?
I have four novels currently available and two short stories. Surviving with Love is a sensual adventure romance. A female tracker and an ex-military man must rescue two boys kidnapped by thieves. Looking Through the Mist is a sensual mystery/romance about a detective who does not believe in psychics, but gets stuck working with one when he must locate two missing children. Following Destiny is a highly sensual romance with fantasy elements, in the form of a magic ring, which helps a woman hear warnings from her ancestors about a serial killer. Seeking Shelter is my most recent and a sweet romance about a young woman who gets in a pile of trouble trying to find her horse, a home, and a man she can love. One of my shorts is The Rescue, a speculative fiction story about a crashed spaceship crew and an alien. (Beware it has an ironic ending.) The other short is The Trouble with Fishing and is a slightly humorous, romantic adventure of a city girl on a camping vacation.
I hear you are giving away a prize or two. Tell us about those prizes and how we can win?
Every visitor is welcome to a free download of our VTP recipe book (no coupon needed):
Christmas Dessert Decadence at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/42869
and 2 WTB shorts,
The Divided Prey at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/36979 (coupon code SSWSF)
Kill Crazy at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/25001 (coupon code SSWSF)
From PbRJV, my short:
The Trouble with Fishing at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/43093 (coupon code SSWSF)
Then if you leave a comment and your email address, you will be entered in a drawing to win a pdf ebook of either Bad Wind Blowing by Peter Brandvold or In the Shadow of the Hills by Madeline Baker and published by Western Trail Blazer. (Reader’s Choice to 2 winners) I’ll post the winner at 9 EST tonight.
Where can your books be purchased?
Our e-books can be purchased at major online retailers:
Smashwords, Amazon, B & N, Sony, Apple iStore, etc.
Our Print books are available at Amazon, B &N online, Books-A-Million online.
The links are at our website stores for your convenience.
Can you give us a link for the sites we’ve mentioned so everyone can go see what’s available from these awesome imprints?
The link to Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery has just changed. You can now find us at http://pbrjv.com
Western Trail Blazer is at http://westerntrailblazer.com or at
Victory Tales Press is at http://victorytalespress.yolasite.com
Thanks so much for being here with us, Rebecca. I know you said you’ll pick your winner(s) later on tonight, but just to whet our appetites, can you give us an excerpt or two?
This is an excerpt from Peter Brandvold’s Paranormal Western:
Bad Wind Blowing
(To set the scene:
Clay Carmody has ridden into a strange town to bring dead bushwhackers to the Sheriff and stumbled into a gunfight at the saloon.)
Carmody dropped to his butt and pressed his back against the bar. As he automatically began replacing the spent brass from the .44’s cylinder, he glanced left, where the smoke hung thick over the overturned gambling table. Blood-splattered chips and playing cards were scattered across the floor. The man who’d produced the derringer lay limp over an overturned chair, bleeding from several wounds. Carmody caught only glimpses of the other gunmen lying in twisted heaps against the far wall.
The sheriff sat with his back to an overturned table, knees raised toward his chest. The lawman was fumbling with the gun in his lap, reloading from his cartridge belt. He was having a hard time, as his right arm was shaking, apparently from the graze to that shoulder. His face was hidden by the flat brim of his snuff-brown hat.
Carmody got up and walked over to the sheriff, his ears ringing, eyes stinging from the smoke. As he stopped before the man and opened his mouth to speak, the man snapped the Peacemaker’s loading gate closed and jerked his head up suddenly. The pistol shot straight out from the man’s chest, the barrel aimed squarely at Carmody’s heart.
Carmody’s gaze flitted from the revolver to the face of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.
An excerpt from Madeline Baker’s Historical Western:
In the Shadow of the Hills
(To set the scene: John McKenna, half white and half Cheyenne, has married a white woman. Because his grandfather is rich and powerful, he has been allowed into society.)
My mother was delighted to hear the news of Clarissa’s pregnancy and immediately began making arrangements for one of the rooms in the mansion to be turned into a nursery so the baby would have a room of its own when we came to visit.
The Van Pattens were less than pleased, though they tried to hide it. Grace Van Patten looked at me as if I had defiled her daughter; Belmont looked as though he was going to be sick.
I saw the hurt in Clarissa’s eyes when her mother forced a smile and said, “how nice”. I saw the tears my wife blinked back when her father poured himself a stiff drink and downed it in one quick swallow.
That night, as I held Clarissa in my arms, I was suffused with guilt. But for me, Clarissa would have married some fine, upstanding young man who came from the same background she did, a man her parents would have welcomed with open arms.
And hard on the heels of that guilt came a surging tide of anger at their reaction. Clarissa was their only child. Why couldn’t they see how happy she was? Why couldn’t they be happy for her?
“It doesn’t matter, John,” she told me late one night.
But it did matter. Among the Cheyenne, family was everything. Mothers, aunts, and grandmothers played an important role in the raising of a daughter; fathers, uncles and grandfathers all had a hand in the raising of a boy. No Cheyenne child ever lacked for a lap to sit in, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear. Because a boy’s father was often away hunting or fighting, he spent much of his early years in the company of his grandfather.
“Please don’t let it bother you, John,” Clarissa urged. “You’re my family now, all the family I need. All I’ll ever need. I don’t care what my parents think. I know you’ll be a wonderful father.”
Holding Clarissa in my arms, I vowed that our child would lack for nothing, that, if necessary, I would be father, brother, uncle and grandfather.
Thanks so much for being with us today, Rebecca!