Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Is technology messing up with our lives? by Vijaya Schartz

 We rely on technology so much these days, that the simplest hick-ups can ruin a perfectly good day... or week... and even a life. As a science fiction writer (among other genres) I love futuristic technology, but it sometimes gives me nightmares.

I remember  a long time ago someone saying "If cars were as unreliable as computers, no one would drive." Well, now computers drive our cars as well. Last summer, a Tesla on autopilot ran full speed into a semi, killing the non-driver. As much as we would like to think technology is perfect, it isn't. And Uber is implementing driverless cars!

We have learned to accept these glitches as growing pains. And like everyone else, I did, gracefully... until a few days ago, when Firefox updated their browser.... and my personal nightmare started.

"Faster and more powerful" said the update. All of a sudden, my passwords were not recognized... most of them anyway. I am still locked out of my main email account with Cox.... and cut out from my business mail. I can't access my account at Amazon. Facebook still works, and so does my online banking, but I am scared to even try to access many of my regular writers and readers sites, for fear of the nightmare.

I tried to contact Cox, of course, but their automatic phone butler keeps you listening to music for hours and never lets you speak to an operator.

"Just reset your password," says one site... but in order to do so, they must accept my old password, which they don't. Then they say they'll send you an email to confirm and you will have to acknowledge the change by clicking the link they emailed you, before you can log in again.... but I can't access my email! Grrrrr.

Although usually comfortable navigating cyberspace, I suddenly feel inadequate. Am I getting old? Am I wrong to expect updates not to mess up my carefully organized life? Or is there something more sinister going on?

Maybe there is a story in here... every life experience can be fodder for popular fiction, right? Imagine a world where glitchy computers make life and death decisions... Or is it already happening, and we are not aware of it?

There is a big difference between technology and progress. Although we are making great leaps in technology, progress lags behind, since progress is the evolution of the human mind and the human condition. I think mutual respect, quality of work and life, and caring customer service are part of progress, but these seem to be sorely lacking in today's society.

Sorry for venting here, but I was wondering if you had similar experiences with glitchy technology.


  Vijaya Schartz
  Action, Romance, Mayhem
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Monday, October 23, 2017

WRITING ANGELS AS ALIENS - Fantasy or Science Fiction?

It's not always easy for a writer to figure out where what they write fits in the cookie cutter categories imposed by booksellers and promoters. Unfortunately, if the book doesn't fit perfectly anywhere, it might be featured on the wrong sites and blogs, displayed on the wrong shelf where it will not sell, or be ignored completely.

White Tiger is an award-winning Science Fiction/Fantasy romance
featuring a medieval type of society on another planet
along with technologically advanced aliens
 FREE in eBook everywhere
 This is especially true for writers like me, who like to mix genres. Since I'm rarely satisfied with one straight genre as a reader, the same is true when I write. My next book blends Science Fiction (set in space, other planets, and a space station) with Fantasy (immortal angels with amazing powers, telepathic felines) and Romance (the love story at the crux of the book). I also like to write strong heroines, evil villains, a lot of action, and I enjoy portraying the fight between good and evil... where the margins are often blurred.

The Ancient Enemy series features the "Worst villain in Science Fiction... Captain Kavak" The heroines carry guns, like many of my heroines. They are the key to saving the human race. And romance is their reward.
So, where does my story fit? It's not literary since I write to entertain. It's not mainstream since Science Fiction and Fantasy are small niche markets. So, what is it?

One thing I have going for me is my voice. Whether I write medieval romance, fantasy, action adventure, or science fiction, the professional reviewers recognize my unique style... and they usually like my brand of fiction.  "Phenomenal world building, characters the readers care about, and an intriguing mystery... all the elements one expects from a Vijaya Schartz story! Easily recommended!" CK2sKwipsandKritique.
Ashes for the Elephant God is a unique brand of reincarnation romance
set in India. This award-winning book doesn't fit any category.
Originality and quality are good, I guess, but it takes longer for readers to discover your particular brand when it is spread over several genres. And not all are willing to cross genre from medieval to science fiction to contemporary romance.

The solution? Write for the market? I would never do that. I am proud to write the books of my heart, and I will continue writing them. I may not have as many readers as other popular authors, but my readers are fiercely loyal. They love my stories, and I love them, too. Fortunately, my publishers stick with me because they like my books as well.

My latest series, just completed this year, is Fantasy (based on authentic legends) and medieval, as well as romance.
So expect more romance, action, adventure, science fiction, fantasy, or historical stories, with exotic settings, strong heroines and despicable villains, where the fight between good and evil is front and center.

Happy Reading!

Vijaya Schartz
Action, Romance, Mayhem
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

I write action, adventure and romance, not horror!

Find all my BWL titles at your favorite online retailer by clicking on each cover here

Let's face it, many books and movies nowadays focus on the scary, the morbid, the deadly, the darkness in people's souls. Some are masterfully written (thank you Mr. Stephen King) and that's well and good for those who relish the genre. Personally, it gives me nightmares. When a hopeless group of people is doomed to certain death by an unknown and unstoppable evil, watching them die one at a time in utter paralyzing fear, panic and dismembering bloodshed is not fun to me. Horror focuses on creating fear... a negative emotion that releases toxic chemicals in the human body.

You can find General KAVAK, "the worst villain in sci-fi history" in the Ancient Enemy series

In my novels, I prefer to focus on hope, and the courage of the brave heroes and heroines who overcome their fears to fight the battle of good vs. evil. Although reviewers said I write "The worst (meaning best) villains in sci-fi history," I do not need a large body count to demonstrate they are bad guys. Usually, one death by elephant, one human sacrifice, or one severed head rolling on the sand is enough to make my point... there are bad people out there, and demons, and things that go bump in the night. But in my books, for every demon there is a loving immortal, a determined human, or a half-angel willing to risk their very life to fight it.


The Archangel twin books, a tale of redemption in the battle of Good vs. Evil
In the world of medieval fantasy romance, I've been accused of writing bloody battle scenes, because I do not sugarcoat the middle ages. As a writer, I want to reflect the truth of the historical period according to my extensive research. In the horror genre, however, I would be considered an innocent babe. My goal is to write an uplifting story with flawed but worthy characters who constantly overcome their fears and limitations to save others.
The Curse of the Lost Isle series depicts the Middle Ages in a realistic way

Call me a boy scout if you like. I just like the good guys to win and redeem themselves in the process. I like action, adventure, and romance in my books, those I read and those I write. I've been accused of mixing genres, and I'm proud of it. So sue me. I live for the thrill of a good story, with heroic heroes and villainous villains, plenty of action and adventure, and a dash of romance.

Vijaya Schartz, author
Romance with a Kick

Monday, September 4, 2017

Valerian and the city of a thousand planets - by Vijaya Schartz






A phantasmagorie of epic proportions. A thousand worlds anchored into one single city floating in space. Virtual worlds to be sure, but worlds nevertheless, where people thrive and tourism brings millions of humans and alien species. I love the graphics, and the many worlds Luc Besson brought to life.


Impressive photography, I loved all the alien races represented and the many worlds, with their different civilizations. There, a tourist can travel through the universe without leaving the safety of the city in space. A very lucrative business, to be sure.


Of course, all repairs and maintenance are performed by robots... including security, by a cylon-like race of faceless military giants.


The heroes are young and fearless, kind and selfless.


Some aliens are peaceful and idealistic.


They have cute pets that can reproduce whatever you feed them... including priceless energy pearls... which they use to create their own virtual world.


 But that world is threatened by greedy humans, bent on owning the adorable pets for the sake of controlling energy sources.


I loved that famous actors and personalities play secondary roles... including Rihana, who portrays an alien shapeshifter who helps the heroes along the way.



And of course, there are the alien races. Here are a few examples:





And the various habitats of the thousand planets, and the technology, the spacecraft...

All in all, the movie, like Avatar, is an experience you do not want to miss. As for the story and the characters, unlike in Avatar, I found them too simple, and the characters too young and lacking a back story, not deep enough to be interesting. 

Still, if you like science fiction, you will want to see it.


Vijaya Schartz
  Action, Romance, Mayhem
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Friday, July 28, 2017

Moving is such a hassle... especially for a cat

My cat Jasmine was very upset when she saw all the books disappearing from the shelves, and many of the small furniture, wall pictures and mirrors vanish from what had been her home for the past three years. And what was that strange contraption on the patio? It looked like a cage!

I only moved a mile and a half away, and I had a month to make the move, so I took my time carrying out the small stuff myself. Never would I have guessed I had accumulated so many things in the short three years I lived there.
So upset was Jasmine by the time the movers came, she hid in the cupboard under the bathroom sink for the entire duration.

Finally, at the end of the major moving day, I went to pick up Jasmine. The poor thing didn't want to come out from under the sink. After much coaxing, she finally stepped out, only to bolt back to her hiding place when she realized the entire apartment was now empty.
After much effort, that included crawling under the bathroom sink, I retrieved my reluctant little kitty (not so little, as she is a well fed cat) and managed to get her into the carrier under violent protests.
The short drive to the new place was punctuated by much complaining from Jasmine, in the carrier belted onto the passenger seat. She never liked riding in a car and let me know it loud and clear.
 
Finally, I took her out of the car and carried her upstairs. When I opened the carrier, she immediately stepped out then looked around. Realizing all her favorite things were here, she started purring and exploring, with her tail up, like a happy cat. My new residence, another small apartment, was now packed with boxes and piles of books.
The furniture, bought to fit the previous place, did not fit as well in the new rooms. Although of similar size, the different dimensions and proportions of the rooms did not allow for the same setup.  I had to try several configurations, as the one I had originally intended did not look good once in place. But Jasmine had already found her favorite spots. She loves windows and here there are tall trees, and birds in them. Free TV for cats!


The worst part for me was to live without internet service or TV for over a week. But after all these details were resolved, Jasmine and I are ready to enjoy our new place. Here she is, at home at last, enjoying the recliner, like any spoiled cat must.
As for me, I'll soon be back to writing, once I catch up with all my emails and social media obligations... and up to date with all my changes of address. Moving is definitely a major event, no matter that it was only a mile and a half away.
Keep up with my books on my website:
 Vijaya Schartz
 Action, Romance, Mayhem
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Ladies of the Lost Isle were ahead of their time

Available everywhere in eBook and in paperback

Myths and legends are often cautionary tales, but each of them relates to specific events and periods of the faraway past, and contains a kernel of truth. Even these immortal ladies were modeled on existing heroines of old, who influenced society in times of turmoil.
Beside the persecution of Pagans during the dark ages, many important historical events punctuate the lives of these immortal ladies. The Viking invasions in Scotland are front and center in books one and two. Then the foundation of Luxembourg in books three and four. Feudal life and religious struggles in France come to life in book five. The greatest adventure of all times, the Crusades with their different facets are depicted in books six and seven, and the best known legend of Melusine the Fae in Aquitaine, the cradle of many royal lines, comes to light in book eight.

But who were these strong women who fought to survive against all odds, in a world ruled by men, in a violent society where life had little value?

They were Celtic and Pagan. They did not abide by the rules of the new religion Charlemagne had imposed by the sword. They believed in equality and refused to bow to the will of the men who would tame and control them. They practiced kindness toward all and worked for the common good. Early on, they symbolized hope and freedom for many, especially the oppressed.
The ruins of the castles they built still stand. Here, Melusine's tower in Vouvant, Aquitaine.
These ladies were smart and astute politicians and influenced the rulers and the historical events of their day. They had the welfare of their community at heart. They fought for what was right in a world where the powerful held sway with ruthless violence, and often with impunity.

These ladies were not perfect. Far from it. Each of them made grave mistakes in their youth, using their powers for purposes other than the common good. For these mistakes, they were cursed, and spent their entire lives dealing with horrible woes... all the time struggling to hide their Pagan origins and avoid discovery by the Church... which would lead to burning at the stake. They also sought redemption in the eyes of their Pagan Goddess.
Melusine in her cursed shape still graces the walls of the Castle of Lusignan
 Even in today's society, these ladies of old stand as a shining example. I loved writing about them. Their names are rarely mentioned in the history books, although they appear in many legends. But their famous and infamous descendants blazed new trails throughout history.

I hope when you learn more about them, you will like them as much as I do.

Vijaya Schartz
Action, Romance, Mayhem
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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