Since then, she's shifted writing focus several times, delving into every genre from science fiction to mystery to Christian fiction and back again, collecting many awards along the way. Her willingness to take risks and blaze trails has won her many prestigious nominations and awards, among them nine awards from Romantic Times Book Club, two RITA® award finals, several Maggie Awards of Excellence, a Daphne du Maurier award, a Holt Medallion, and at least a dozen more.
After co-creating the first single-title open-ended continuity series, she turned to military life and has been credited with a Career Achievement Award for being one of the first to write military romantic suspense, military romantic intrigue, and military romantic thrillers.
And her achievements don't stop there. Vicki holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and a Doctorate in Philosophy, Theocentric Business & Ethics.
Vicki's contribution to the “Back to School” tote bag of love will be a signed copy of her ARC for War Games: Kill Zone, Book 5 of her War Games series.
Psychologist Morgan Cabot commands a special military support team that provides a unique service. While they are highly trained for military combat, their special abilities don’t require training—they are gifts. Dr. Cabot and her teammates, Taylor Lee and Jazie Craig, are “highly intuitive”: they hear, feel, and see things that others can’t. They are the Special Abilities Team, and they function outside of normal protocol—and the American public can never know of their existence.
IMHO: Welcome Vicki! As a mistress of learning, I’ll bet you have a lot to add to our “Back to School” theme. Educate us on what you have learned from reading and writing romance.
VH: TJ, I’ve learned that when you write, everything relates--it’s all fodder. Every single incident, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, eventually relates. Sometimes incidents combine and we don't notice them. We're too busy with the mundane details in life. Sometimes we ignore them, because to notice them requires we step outside our comfort zones and actually do something we don't want to do.
But then there are other times. Ones when we are graced (or body-slammed) with these magnificent insights.
At times those insights flow over us like heated silk and, like the butterfly, we emerge from them transformed. At other times, we rebuff the wisdom and then too often we're later sorry for having done so.
But we shouldn't be sorry, and I guess that's the message in this--at least, for me. We get what we need when we get it and when we need it.
That’s been the case with me in understanding relationships, in seeing the forces that drive healthy ones into a bond that runs so deep it’s hard to tell where one person stops and the other starts.
I’m not talking about the physical chemistry between two people; I’m talking about the merging of lives, the compassion and understanding, the striving to be understood. The comfort and joy of a relationship so special it can’t truly be grasped by anyone outside it. Love is powerful, able to contend with the worst and best in life. Able to overcome horrific circumstances and trials, and seeing two people work together to face what comes, well, that’s a beautiful thing. This happens in many romance novels.
Sometimes to gain insights in life or to catch that lucky break, we have to wait for events and wisdom to line up like the proverbial ducks, so that we have the foundation we need to be able to grasp and interpret accurately the value and worth of what’s coming to us. That happens often in romance novels.
Perhaps, if we grasped the wisdom too soon, we would misinterpret it. Then, in following it as we inaccurately perceive it, we miss the true wisdom and it misses its proper place in our lives. We do more harm than good. Miss out on the best.
These are common meanderings that have gone through my mind while reading romance. While searching for answers as to why things happen as they do.
As a writer, I’ve spent a lot of time in the past two decades wondering about a lot of things. I’ve studied a lot of topics and subjects, places and history. I’ve jumped into situations that were far outside my comfort zone. I’ve learned a lot. About the power of love, the redemption possible in it, in forgiveness. Understanding. And so much more.
In writing about this now, I realize what I’ve most experienced are those amazing moments of grace that bypass the mind and speak straight to the heart.
Characters, like real people, have all kinds of experiences that shape them into the people they become. They’re more complex. They've known sadness and joy, they've feasted and hungered, they've lived. They've been kicked out for crossing proverbial lines. And they've been blessed with unexpected moments of grace.
Whether in reading a romance novel or in living a life, we all have amazing opportunities to embrace a moment of grace. Sometimes we want to embrace them and do, and sometimes we’re inspired to, yearn to, but for some reason, we let those moments pass.
We know too that there are times when opportunities only knock once. I'm reminded of a woman who in her old age was asked why she never married. She responded that because the last time she'd been asked, she hadn't known it was going to be the last time she would be asked.
That moment came to mind in a romance novel I recently read and I worried, hoping that the character hadn’t blown off her one chance to be content and loved.
As I got nearer and nearer to the end of the book--just pages away--I had absolute knots in my stomach because there was no sign of that second chance. I prayed, pleaded, begged, but it just wasn't happening. And honestly, the writer in me was pitching a fit inside and I was grumbling. XYZ (the author) had better not leave me hanging. I want my happy ending!
The woman in me was in rebellion, and mutiny was a few pages away.
Don’t give up. I told myself that over and over. I hung onto hope by a thin thread, but this was a romance novel. Of course, I dared to hope. Of course I did.
And then, on the second to last page, there it was. That moment of grace.
And she took it.
So I suppose it’d be safe to say I’ve learned a lot both reading and writing romance novels. About love, about people, about life.
IMHO: Wow, Vicki. I love how insightful your observations are. IMHO readers, I’m going to open up the field here and not saddle you with a particular question today. If you’d like to make a comment on what Vicki's view of romance, do so! If you just want to say hi to Vicki and welcome her to IMHO, or mention something you loved about one of her books, or ask her a question, feel free. I think we’ll all learn more that way, so that fits with our theme, too, doesn’t it?
Remember, this month’s contest period is over October 2, 2009, so if you’d like to win the “Back to School” tote bag of love, the Magnetic Poetry Kit, and the $20 Barnes and Noble gift card, comment on Vicki’s post and at least one other author’s post this month (although the more posts you comment on, the better your odds of winning). I’ll announce the winner on October 4. Details are on my contest page.