Saturday, September 10, 2016

Savvy Saturday: Rita Bay on Her Experience with Champagne Book Group

I will always be grateful to Champagne Book Group for contracting my first book and picking up my orphaned books when another publisher folded. I was one of those writers who finished stories, then filed them away in a drawer. Why? As a successful grants writer, I feared having my stories rejected. After several years of writing with no submissions, a multi-published older author in my RWA chapter “encouraged” me to submit my stories with a valuable piece of advice. “If you don’t submit, you’ll never be rejected, but you won’t ever be published.”

That made sense, so I dusted off a couple of manuscripts and submitted the first of my “Lyons’ Tales” shapeshifter stories to Champagne. Why Champagne? Veteran author Allison Knight had signed with Champagne when they opened their doors over ten years ago. Her reasons for choosing Champagne included their successful business model, great editors, a fair contract, and their commitment to paying on time.

I was stunned when I received my first contract offer for Into the Lyons’ Den two weeks later and an offer for my Regency historical series from another publisher the following week. While I have continued to write for both publishers - even added a third for my contemporaries, I consider Champagne my home. The publishers, editors, and authors maintain a close virtual relationship. Mentors are available for novice authors. Also, while some publishers encourage authors to stick to one genre and heat level, Champagne offers the flexibility of publishing in three lines – mainstream, erotic romance, and science fiction/fantasy – and multiple heat levels.

Finally, I value Champagne’s longevity. Publisher Ellen Smith, besides having a wicked sense of humor, understands the publishing industry and has grown the company over time while others have closed their doors. Several years ago, I published three books with a new publisher I met at a conference. Despite her best efforts, the company went under in less than five years. The stress that group of authors experienced as they scrambled to find homes for their orphans was painful to watch. I am grateful that Champagne has published one orphan (The Twelfth Night Queen’s Deception) and the two-book contemporary military series (Search & Rescue and Ely’s Epiphany) is scheduled for a fall release.

I’m currently working on the final book in the “Lyons’ Tales” shapeshifter trilogy and plan to write two additional stories in my mythological erotic romance series – “Cupid’s Back in Town” for next year. I look forward to continuing to write for Champagne Book Group, as long as they will accept my submissions.

About the Author

Rita’s journey began on the Gulf Coast. Over the years, she has lived and/or traveled in the eastern US and most of western Europe. While juggling family and work, she participated in archaeological digs, earned a black belt in Shotokan karate, prospected for gold and crystals, camped across Europe, and volunteered with the American Red Cross Disaster and Education Services. Her education includes undergraduate degrees in nursing and psychology, a Master’s in Counseling, and a Doctorate in Education. Along the way, Rita has worked as a registered nurse, educator and school system administrator. Her first writing efforts included curriculum development, grant-writing, and comprehensive program planning. She retired early to expand her volunteer work and write wondrous tales of romance and adventure. She has recently moved to the beautiful mountains of North Georgia where she shares her yard with deer, bears, squirrels and chipmunks, and other critters of various sorts.

Rita has written numerous historical and paranormal novels and novellas and recently ventured into contemporary and M/M novels. Read blurbs and excerpts from her stories HERE. In addition to Rita Bay’s Blog which posts daily on, she blogs at The Writers Vineyard.


  1. I think the level of trust and care at CB is certainly worth my loyalty as well. I can write either SF or Fantasy without worrying about the genre hopping. While others either fold or make a mess of things, Ellen keeps CB kicking. I often recommend this publisher to those caught between either waiting years with the Big Five or throwing in the towel and self publishing.

  2. I agree. Ellen not only maintains a personal relationship with the authors and editors, she has the business acumen to keep CB sound.

  3. I agree with both Rita and Kerry about working with Champagne, Ellen, and the editors. Thank you, Rita, for letting the public know about this fine example of a successful small publisher which continues to grow year after year.

  4. Champagne Books has a soft spot in my heart as well! Well said, Rita!