Monday, April 17, 2017

Tribulations of a writer's cat

My kitty cat Jasmine, a princess in my mind, has a dramatic story worth sharing, and who better than me to tell it?

This is how I imagine Jasmine as a kitten
As a kitten, like all kittens, Jasmine was cute and cuddly. A nice family found her abandoned by a feral mother and adopted her. They called her Jasmine because of the yellow in her calico coat. They had a house with children, and a big guard dog. Jasmine was allowed outside and had a very independent life.

Curiously, without a mother, or another cat in the house to teach her how cats behaved, Jasmine never learned to play like a cat. Instead, she learned manners from the big guard dog. So, when a stranger approached the house, she growled warnings and thought it was her job to protect the house and its occupants.

At five months, before learning to be a cat, Jasmine became pregnant. Like all expecting mothers, she was very protective of her future litter. So, when the big guard dog challenged her, she faced him, hissing and growling, like a dog ready to fight. The big dog did not understand that she was protecting the little ones in her belly, so he stood his ground.

Jasmine attacked. Unfortunately, the five-months-old kitten was no match for the big guard dog. The dog caught her small head in his powerful jaw, clamped down, and shook the kitten like a rag doll.

The family ran to her help, but by the time they calmed the dog and convinced him to release his prey, poor little Jasmine lay there, inert, bleeding, unconscious. They rushed the kitten to the vet and left it there, saying, even if Jasmine survived her ghastly wounds, they could not take her back, because their guard dog had tasted her blood. It would be too dangerous for the kitten to return.

Upon examination, the vet discovered that the dog's fangs had pierced through the kitten's head, perforating sinus and bones. Jasmine needed extensive surgery, and there was no guarantee at all that she would survive. But the vet loved animals and suspected Jasmine had a strong will to live. So he took it upon himself to perform the first surgery... then the second... then the third. The unborn kittens did not survive, and the vet neutered Jasmine.

Geisha. Rest in Peace
That spring of 2007, I had lost my little companion of seventeen years, a mixed Siamese cat named Geisha. It took me months to finally decide to adopt a new kitty who needed a good home.

In September of 2007, After months in recovery, Jasmine was back among the living and up for adoption through HALO, a no-kill shelter. Among the kittens in the cages at PetSmart adoption center, she was the largest cat. Now nine months old, she was much older than the cute little fur balls playing with each other. She did not play, and despite her regal posturing, she had the serious look of those who have suffered.

Jasmine at nine months, when I adopted her


When I read the paper stuck to her cage, detailing her health history, my heart broke. She'd been up for adoption for a while without luck, and as a result, she was on sale. I took it as a sign that we were meant to be. So, I adopted Jasmine, and brought her home.


Jasmine quickly grew up to be a big cat
 Because of her pierced sinuses, she doesn't purr loudly like a regular cat. Her purr is imperceptible, but I know when she purrs. And she is susceptible to sniffles. Imagine my surprise when a writer friend came to the front door to attend my critique group, and the young cat started to growl low in her throat, like a dog.

Since Jasmine had lost her unborn babies, I thought maybe a kitten would keep her company, and she might enjoy playing with it and caring for it. When another writer friend of mine had a litter, I adopted a cute little tuxedo cat. Unfortunately, Jasmine did not like other cats, not even kittens. She wanted me all to herself. So she spent more and more time outside, where she watched the other cats in the neighborhood. When the new kitten played with the toys, she always watched from the upstairs landing, but never participated in the game.



As always, life interfered. Eventually, I left my house (and my husband), and I took Jasmine with me to live in a small apartment. She is now ten years old, and has become a plump cat. Some would call her fat, but my friends call her well-fed. She loooves her tuna. I taught her to play, but she still prefers watching me play with her toys. She also enjoys watching the outside world from her ivory tower on the patio of my third floor apartment.

 She needs lots of cuddles and she is getting them. She has what she always wanted, me, all to herself. She is the most loving companion I could ever wish for. I hope we enjoy many more years together.



My love of cats transpires in my books. Except for my medieval series, there is a cat in most of my stories. Check them out. Here is the cat in my upcoming summer release, Angel Mine, it's a genetically engineered puma with incredible abilities. Her name is Sheba and she is a bounty hunter companion.

 
Vijaya Schartz
  Romance with a Kick
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Free and 99cts bargains on the Curse of the Lost Isle series

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008LW18EG/
Free in kindle until April 12, 2017
SEDUCING SIGEFROI
Book 3 in the Curse of the Lost Isle series
Medieval fantasy romance 
First book of Melusine (complete story)

Luxembourg - 963 AD - To offset the curse that makes her a serpent from the waist down one day each month, Melusine, exiled Princess of Strathclyde, must seduce and wed a mortal knight, the shrewd and ambitious Sigefroi of Ardennes. Sigefroi, son of the Duke of Lorraine, suspects Melusine is not what she appears, but her beauty, her rich dowry, and her sharp political skills serve his ambitions. He never expected her to soften his stone-cold warrior heart. So close to the Imperial court, dangers and intrigue threaten Melusine. War looms on the horizon, a Mermaid was sighted around Luxembourg, and Sigefroi’s bishop brother questions her ancestry. If anyone ever suspects Melusine’s true nature, she will burn at the stake... 
 
"As always, Schartz spins a great story. It’s a bit bloody and bloodthirsty in places... But that's part of the drama, and Schartz certainly knows drama." Manic Readers 4.5 stars

"Ms. Schartz did a fine job with this offering, and brought elements to the myth that fleshed Melusine out and made her a sympathetic character. I think fans of Fantasy romance will enjoy this steamy version of the myth and fans of the myth might find it interesting as well." - Julianne Draper - The Examiner

99cts in kindle until April 14, 2017
DAMSEL OF THE HAWK
Curse of the Lost Isle Book 7 (standalone)
medieval fantasy series

1204 AD - Meliora, immortal Fae and legendary damsel of Hawk Castle, grants gold and wishes on Mount Ararat, but must forever remain chaste. When Spartak, a Kipchak warrior gravely wounded in Constantinople, requests sanctuary, she breaks the rule to save his life. The fierce, warrior prince stirs in her forbidden passions. Captivated, Spartak will not bow to superstition. Despite tribal opposition, he wants her as his queen. Should Meliora renounce true love, or  embrace it and trigger the sinister curse... and the wrath of the Goddess? Meanwhile, a thwarted knight and his greedy band of Crusaders have vowed to steal her Pagan gold and burn her at the stake...

"It was easy to get lost in the latest Lost Isle book. I didn't want to put it down until I was finished. Each character added their own magic to the whole of the story. Authentic detail pulled me in as well. But the dog glued me to the tale as did the lovers in their struggles to HEA." Hope Chase 5-stars on Amazon

"...so vivid I could picture myself right there... tough, honorable alpha hero... fiercely protective and loyal mountain dog, Kopec... Meliora... hints of the strong, rebellious woman she actually is... not a simple HEA for them... but once they finally get it, it's wonderful!" Lisa on Amazon

"Historical romance with a different twist... a new spin on a classic tale... standalone... Ms. Schartz has a gift that will have readers asking for more and will have them intrigued by the idea of the other books in the series." Ind'Tale Magazine

Find the entire series in kindle HERE


Vijaya Schartz, author
Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Kick butt heroines have no fear, or do they?



At one time in my writing career, I looked at the covers of my books and realized on each of them was a young woman with a gun. So I decided I was writing girls with guns, then girls with swords and blasters. Now, as I write in different genres, including medieval fantasy, it's Romance with a Kick.

When we say fearless, we are not talking about the absence of fear. Everyone has fears, it's ingrained in our DNA. Fear protects us from doing dangerous things. Those who have no fear at all die young. When fear threatens to overcome you, the trick consists in finding peace and clarity of mind, despite overwhelming or dangerous circumstances, and overcome fear in order to do what needs to be done.

I remember being about twelve, doing handstands in our small apartment, late at night. On the way down, my bare foot hit a heavy ceramic bowl, which broke, and a large shard gouged a hole in the top of my foot. Blood everywhere... for the first time in my life I saw my mother paralyzed by fear, babbling, unable to function. She could hardly breathe, she was so upset she couldn't think clearly. We had no phone, there was no 911 then. We had no car, it was a small town in France.

So, I remembered my martial arts teacher saying "Stay calm. Think. What needs to be done? Do it." So I did. I told my mother to get out of the room. I took a few deep breaths, then calmly asked my sister to get the first aid kit. I cleansed the wound with alcohol and bandaged the foot tightly to stop the flow of blood. Then I cleaned the blood in the living room. The next morning, I walked to the doctor's office and the doctor stitched me up. I carried a big scar on my foot for decades.

Of course, some of us are thrill seekers. Conquering fear has become a hobby of mine: jumping free fall out of perfectly good planes, braving the river wild, fighting opponents three times my size just to see if I can do it. I have to mention I stand barely 5 feet and a hundred and five pounds (on a good day) and was always picked by my various martial arts teachers for the time honored David and Goliath demonstration.



Skill, speed, balance, training, coordination, foreknowledge of the enemy, endurance, will power, clarity of mind, these are the elements of victory over fear. These are what drives a champion to the Olympic gold, what makes a fictional character worthy, what makes a soldier lethal. Although, in a soldier's case, there is something to be said for a good exoskeleton... especially on alien planets where gravity can play tricks on your balance.

MY TECHNIQUE TO BECOME FEARLESS IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS:

1 - Take a few slow breaths, calm your mind, slow your heart, stop and focus
2 - What needs to be done?
3 - What's the most effective way to do it?
4 - Got it? Now, Just do it.

You may be tempted to think of the worst that can happen. Forget the consequences. Get over it. Do what needs to be done. Whether or not you become a hero, you'll have the satisfaction of having done the right thing. True heroes are ordinary people who, in extraordinary circumstances find the courage to do what needs to be done.

It's that simple. I said simple, I never said it would be easy. Good luck.


  Vijaya Schartz
  Romance with a Kick
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Friday, February 3, 2017

Writing Science Fiction again - sort of... by Vijaya Schartz

Although I'm itching to write science fiction again, after a long series of medieval fantasy romance, I find it difficult to leave the wonderful world of immortals with strange powers. So, I decided to write a science fiction romance series involving a planet where the inhabitants have angelic abilities.

I call the series: AZURA-5 ANGEL PLANET. Book One will be ANGEL MINE, and it involves a kick-butt female bounty hunter and an angelic alien. I only wrote the first chapter, and I love them already and can't wait to develop their story. I even have these characters in mind. Yes, the big cat is also a character. What do you think? I hope the cover designer for my publisher chooses to use the pictures I selected, or something very similar.





Here is the blurb (so far).

What in the frozen hells of Laxxar prompted Fianna to pursue her quarry to this forbidden blue planet? Well, she needs the credits... badly. But as if crashing in the jungle wasn't bad enough, none of her high-tech weapons work. She'll have to go native, after the most wanted felon in five galaxies. It's not just her job. It's personal.

Acielon has never seen an outworlder like this fascinating female, strangely beautiful, and fierce, like the feline predator loping at her side. He always dreamed of exploring the universe, despite the legends... and the interdiction. Is it truly a hellish place of violence, lies and suffering? If it spawned this intriguing creature, it must also be a place of wonders, adventure and excitement...

Fianna's hunter instincts tell her someone is watching. Sheba, her telepathic feline partner, doesn't seem worried... yet, something on Azura isn't quite right.


The book will probably come out in the summer of 2017. In the meantime, you can read my other science fiction romances in ebook or print from these distributors.

HAPPY READING!

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Release! ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN is out!

ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN
Curse of the Lost Isle - Book 8
medieval fantasy romance

Find it on Amazon HERE

Out today in kindle and in paperback. Don't miss it. This lauded series, based upon authentic legends, is now complete.

Set in Aquitaine, ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN tells the most popular legend of Melusine the Fae, as she founds, with knight Raymond of Forez, the famous and infamous family of LUSIGNAN. Their descendants, later became royalty and reigned in England, France, and in the Middle East. Among them, Eleanor of Aquitaine and her descendants, and the king of Jerusalem and king of Cyprus. Lusignan and their other estates of Vouvant and Mervent became the cradle of the Valois and Bourbon royal dynasties of France.

Although the book is a complete story in itself, if you are like me, you'll want to read the complete series, especially as this character grows from novel to novel, from Scotland to Luxembourg, to Forez, and to Aquitaine.

This was a labor of love. My mother still lives in the land of Melusine, and suggested long ago that I bring Melusine's story to the world at large. Here it is. Thank you, Mom for suggesting it. I enjoyed writing the series. I hope you enjoy reading it

Blurb:
Young knight Raymond of Forez, blaming himself for his uncle's death in a hunting accident, falls off his horse at the very sight of the lovely Melusine. He has no knowledge of their turbulent past. Even less that she is an immortal Fae with angel blood... afflicted by a curse. He doesn’t believe in the local legends... yet how can he resist such beauty and loving wisdom?

Melusine, who waited for him in Aquitaine, is full of remembered love. But can she trust this young knight with her mission, or her deadly secrets? In this explosive religious climate, the Church is suspicious of everyone, and the slightest rumor of witchery or Pagan magic could send them both burning at the stake. Can their love overcome the curse this time?


Here is the entire series: Find it on Amazon HERE
  
 Also check out the boxed set of the first four novels in the series HERE



HAPPY  READING!

Vijaya Schartz
  Romance with a Kick
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Free for the holidays PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE

Yay! free in kindle for the holidays
PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE
Curse of the Lost Isle Book 1
Medieval Fantasy Romance


"The story is filled with action and danger and there are many interesting secondary characters that help drive the plot forward. I particularly like Gwenvael, Pressine's brother." Romance Junkies.  





Also #99cts for a few days:

PAGAN QUEEN
Curse of the Lost Isle Book 2

A few other titles may still be discounted, but hurry, don't miss it!  Find them all in kindle Here:




Vijaya Schartz
 Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
 Amazon - Barnes & Noble