2019 was a busy and rewarding year in many ways and many areas of my life. On a personal level, my divorce was finalized, after twenty-five years of marriage. The last five years we were separated. Not a tremendous change, but a symbolic one. I always valued freedom above all.
As for my writing career, a few surprise awards came at the very beginning. I was a bestseller for 2018 at BWL, and ANGEL MINE (Azura Chronicles Book 1) was voted Best Positive Future Novel of 2018 by Critters Annual Readers Poll.
My publication year started with ANGEL FIERCE in February, followed by BLACK DRAGON in June. Then I had to revise and refresh all the books in the CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK (six of them) over the summer for the second publication of this favorite award-winning series by BWL. Then I had to rewrite a short work into a full novel, AKIRA’S CHOICE, Byzantium Book 2, which was released in November. I also contributed to an anthology of essays about genre discrimination and the condition of women, to be released in January to benefit a women’s charity.
Ten titles in one year. Phew!
When the stars align, you better be ready for the turmoil. It was grueling work. And a lot of time and effort spent on writing, on promoting the release of each book, not to mention meeting insane deadlines. I had no other choice but to bury myself in my work.
But the rewards exceeded all my expectations.
The crowning came on November 2nd, with the 2019 ARIZONA LITERARY AWARDS, where ANGEL FIERCE won first place in fiction, a very large and competitive category. Here I am in my Phryne Fisher Murder Mysteries costume, cloche hat and all, receiving the award. My book cover is on the big screen. The smile alone tells the story.
Then, a few weeks later, on November 26, I was selected for the Best of Glendale award in Media and Entertainment, for my achievements as an author, for the year 2019.
"Each year, this program identifies companies and individuals that we believe have achieved exceptional success in their local community and business category. These exceptional people help make the Glendale area a great place to live, work and play. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners. The Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Glendale Award Program and data provided by third parties. Only one winner is selected in each category."
It took me twenty years of arduous work and perseverance from my first book release to get to this point, and I have no regrets. After thirty original titles, it was all worth it. I realized my dream of becoming a recognized and celebrated author, respected by my peers, and loved by my readers. Too bad Amazon doesn’t consider quality as its principal standard.
But where do I go from here? Keep writing. I’m now working on MALAIKA’S SECRET, Book 3 of the Byzantium series, to be released in 2020. Next will be ANGEL BRAVE, Book 3 of the Azura Chronicles, set on the angel planet. Angel Fierce, the award-winning book, was Book 2 of this series, and Book 1, Angel Mine, won a Readers Poll. Each book is a standalone.
I sincerely hope 2020 gives me a little time to breathe. I wouldn’t want to get burned out about writing, like some of my author friends who stopped producing altogether. I wish to retain my joie de vivre an enjoy some kind of personal life… which was missing in 2019. Besides, having a life can also give authors some inspiration for new characters and new stories.
Winner Arizona Literary Awards, Fiction, 2019
Something’s rotten on the angel planet. When Avenging Angels turn up dead, Urielle, their Legion Commander, suspects the handsome intruder brought unspeakable evil to Azura.
Maksou never met a woman he couldn’t seduce. He came to the forbidden planet to rescue his friends and get rich in the process, but the jungle crawls with lethal life forms… including a gorgeous warrior angel, who saves his life but keeps him prisoner and challenges his irresistible charm.
Urielle, sworn to protect Azura at all costs, has no use for a maverick who ignores the rules and endangers the planet… no matter how attractive. Especially when the Galactic Trade Alliance (GTA) wages a secret war to get their greedy hands on the priceless crystal at Azura’s core.
"full of fascinating elements and a unique spin on Angels... fast pace and strong, vivid characters that draw readers in and keep them glued to the pages... an entertaining and intriguing read." Ind'tale Magazine
When bounty hunter Akira Karyudo accepted her assignment, something didn't add up. Why would the Galactic Trade Alliance want a young kidnapped orphan dead or alive?
She will get to the truth once she finds the boy, and the no-good SOB who snatched him from a psychiatric hospital. With her cheetah, Freckles, a genetically enhanced feline retriever, Akira sets out to flush them out of the bowels of the Byzantium space station. But when she finds her fugitives, the kidnapper is not what she expects.
Kazmo, a decorated Resistance fighter, stole his nephew from the authorities, who performed painful experiments on the boy. Stuck on Byzantium, he protects the child, but how can he shield him from the horribly dangerous conditions in the lawless sublevels of the space station?
Akira faces the worst moral dilemma of her career. Law or justice, duty or love. She can't have it both ways.
"Wow! If readers want to see and feel and believe they are in deep space, then ‘Akira's Choice’ is the perfect choice! With a touch of romance, the vivid descriptions and beautifully developed characters masterfully presented by Schartz create a virtual world that invite the reader not merely to observe, but to walk amongst them and participate... This is a delicate art, and Schartz wields her weapons with precision and skill. Banzai!" 5 stars - exceptional - recommended read - Ind'tale Magazine
"A captivating story with interesting, appealing characters. Being a cat lover, I found the relationship, with its psychic element, between Freckles and Shane absolutely captivating. As always, Ms. Schartz’s solid plot and crisply-written prose incorporates a good blend of action and intrigue... This story can easily stand alone... but I believe you’ll enjoy this exciting Sci-Fi series much more if you start reading it from the beginning... a must read for all fans of Sci-Fi romance. Go pick them up and settle into your favorite armchair for some entertaining reading. 4.5 stars - Manic Readers
I wish you all a fantastic year in 2020.