Friday, December 23, 2011

Free kindle download for the holidays on Vijaya's books!

Find ASHES FOR THE ELEPHANT GOD and CHECKMATE (Archangel Book Two) in free download on Amazon today.

Free kindle download HERE

Two lovers, murdered in a previous life, meet again in this life in India, where their murderess awaits...

"... a broad-stroked, magnificent picture of a lavish India of the past and the present... a vivid tale of suspense... a gripping account of a woman coming to terms with heightened awareness... a destiny that yields true fulfillment." The Book Reader

"... entertaining, fast-paces yet deeply spiritual... Here is a superior metaphysical novel!" Richard Fuller - Metaphysical Reviews

"... passionate... love, lust, faith and deception... a magnificent offering to the world of fiction..." Charlotte Austin Review

", sensual... multilayered... a thriller... magical, mystical book..." Writer's Digest
Archangel Book Two - CHECKMATE
Download it for free today on Amazon HERE

"Sword-and-shield adventure... aliens and angels and dreams truer than life and depraved shapeshifters and evil sorcerers and parallel universes... Funny and sad and very intelligent." --The Book Reader Magazine

"Wickedly insightful. Grab this today along with the prequel, Archangel Crusader." --Curled up With a Good Book - 5 stars

"...charm that keeps you reading... A fun piece of escapism... hours of sheer entertainment." --Rapport Magazine

"You will be hooked... a good read from start to finish." --Alan Caruba - BookViews

"Rollicks right along at a good clip... a fun concoction and a fast, zippy read... Really, this one is among the most pleasurable." --Writer's Digest

Enjoy the gifts.

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Guns, Swords, Cats, Romance with a kick

Friday, December 16, 2011

Welcome guest author Stephanie Burkhart

Stephanie is the author of the December 15 release called "The Faberge Secret." It's an international contemporary romance, novella size, something a little different from Stephanie's werewolf historical series, Romance Under the Moonlight.


STEPH: Vijaya, I'd like to thank you for having me here today? I'm a big fan of your Chronicles of Kassouk series and I'm looking forward to Noah's Ark.

VIJAYA: What prompted you to write in different genres, like paranormal werewolf romances, historical, steampunk, and now contemporary? Is there more?

STEPH: Actually, there is more! The Green Rose is a fantasy romance and is due to be released 1 April with Desert Breeze. When I first started writing, I tried my hand at contemporary and really enjoyed it, finding I had a very good contemporary voice. I got away from the contemporary genre for a couple of years, but Mona Risk's international contemporaries have revitalized my interest in writing the genre again. Having spent 7 years in Europe during my time in the military, I developed a passion for traveling and learning about different cultures. What attracted me to paranormal writing was the concept of bringing out the humanity in a supernatural being. My paranormals tap into my love of the gothic. (as inspired by Victoria Holt)

When I started writing paranormals in the mid-2000's, it was a "hot" subgenre. Wanting to be different, I decided to deal with werewolves. I also wanted to place my paranormals in the late 1800's, early 1900's. It's a historical period that involves a lot of change and modernization that fascinates me. This time period resonates deeply in my soul. I'm very comfortable writing it. While I like reading historicals prior to 1850's, I find my historical voice is lacking for anything prior to 1850.

What I like about steampunk is how it requires a blend of elements – Victorian historical and paranormal steampunk allows an author to really expand their imagination. You have to envision a Victorian era world (a historical element that I feel fairly comfortable in) with fantastical steam drive futuristic gadgets with a paranormal element. (which I feel comfortable with)

I'd like to think, as a writer, I'm open to multiple subgenres. It allows me to grow, expand, learn, and sharpen my craft.

VIJAYA: Do your readers easily make the transition from one genre to the other? Do you use several names? How do you manage it?

STEPH: I'd like to think my readers manage the transition effortlessly because of my writing style. Regardless of genre, my stories engage the reader right away and I've got a writing style that's easy to read and flows well.

I do have a pen name – SG Cardin, my maiden name and when I write for the horror genre, I usually use my pen name.

I'm a hard copy note girl. My thoughts, story ideas, plot outlines, character bios are all neatly organized in a binders. I usually write one novel or short story at a time so I can give it my full attention.

VIJAYA: I see a trend in your books and a fascination with Central and Eastern Europe. Do you have roots there? Do you like the setting, the people from that area of the world? Have you been there?

STEPH: My ancestry is French, Polish, and Ukrainian. I grew up in Manchester, NH, the 2nd largest French speaking town in the US. At an early age I was completely fascinated with my French roots. I had 3 years of high school French. I wish I could have started my French studies earlier. I love the language, but I'm not quite fluent. As a senior in high school I had a Russian history class which resonated deeply within my soul. It was about this time the Army recruiter approached me about joining the Army and I saw this opportunity to travel to Europe so I took it.

Part of my heritage growing up involved Polish customs. At Christmas my grandmother would cook a feast of Polish foods – pierogi, stuffed cabbage, beet soup, fish soup, but I didn't appreciate it then as I do now. In 1997, I had a chance go to go Poland. I visited a pottery factory, but I also saw a land that wasn't as modernized as the west. In 2005, I read a novel, "Push Not The River," which really made me feel proud of my Polish heritage.

I spent 3 months in Hungary in 1997, on a military deployment. Hungary, and Budapest, especially was a jewel in Central Europe, a unique blend of the west and east. The Hungarians I met in Hungary were a wonderful people. Being on a military base, I dealt a lot with Hungarian translators and I admired them. Hungarian is a bear of a language and very different from English and the Romance languages I was familiar with. It takes real talent to translate from Hungarian to English.

The Hungarians I got to know were talented, giving people, eager to share their customs of Hungary with us. They were friendly and honest.

VIJAYA: How much research goes into your stories?

STEPH: It depends on the story. My steampunk, "Victorian Scoundrel," had me spending a good 3 weeks in research. For my paranormals, it takes about a week. They I spend a good week with preliminary task, plot outlines, characters development, etc.

VIJAYA: Tell us about your action packed past, your military career, your LAPD connections:

STEPH: I joined the U.S. Army in 1986. I was 18, and wanted to see the world. My MOS was 95B, Military Police, and I completed my basic and advanced training at Ft. McClellan, AL. My training was rigorous, but I learned things and did things I would have never done. I shot an M16 Assault Rifle and an M60 machine gun. I went on field problems and mile long marches.

When I went to Europe, I performed physical security duties and flew in a schnook. I went on field training exercises with the British Army. The British don't incorporate female soldiers so integrally into their army. (at least they didn't in 1987) and many British soldiers were duly impressed to see an American female MP. I enjoyed meeting British soldiers and learning about them. One thing I liked about the British was their MOPP gear, (mission orientated protective posture) which is worn when an NBC (nuclear, chemical, and biological threat) was elevated. Everything was Velcro and easy to put on.

I left the Army in 1998 and was hired by LAPD as a 911 dispatcher in 2000. I enjoy my job very much and find it very rewarding. I work a variety of positions as a "PSR" (police service representative) but nothing is as challenging as answering 911.

VIJAYA: I see lots of new titles coming up from you next year. Can you tell us about those?

STEPH: Sure. My Desert Breeze Titles include:

Twilight Over Moldavia – 1 JAN 2012 - Paranormal/werewolf romance - This is book 2 of my Moldavian Moon Series. Prince Stefan has been cursed to become a werewolf. As he tours Romania, he's hunted by a werewolf. Can Caroline's love free him from his curse?

The Green Rose – 1 APR 2012 - Fantasy romance - The peace of Gaia is threatened when the evil mage, Balthyser kidnaps King Juris of Tapin and King Edward of Daháka. Sonia and Ivánstan must seek out the magical green rose in the hopes of defeating Balthyser.

A Gentleman and A Rogue – 1 NOV 2012 - Steampunk romance - In Book 2 of The Windsor Diaries, Edmund and Alice travel back in time to "right" the time line, but Jonas Byron has other plans. Complicating matters is Edmund's brother, Richard, the guardian of the time line. He's sent back to stop Edmund from making mischief. Will Edmund "right" the time line and finally win Keira Russell's heart?

The Secret Door – 1 DEC 2012 - Paranormal/werewolf romance - This is book 4 in the Budapest Moon Series. It's 1927 in Budapest, Hungary. Sophia Varga is a well known Hungarian actress who finds herself in love with Zoltan Kristos, the Minister of Reconstruction and a werewolf. Sophia and Zoltan embark on a secret and passionate love affair, but their love will be tested when their secret is discovered.

My latest release is an international contemporary novella entitled: The Faberge Secret.

Elise Goodwin runs a heritage museum in Brattleboro, Vermont. She travels to Boston to buy some items for her museum at Sotheby's auction. What she acquires is a delicious surprise that would excite any curator – a Faberge egg.
Enter Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov. He goes to the auction with the intent of buying the egg only to discover that Elise is in possession of it. His dilemma? He's attracted to the petite brunette with doe-like eyes and a trusting disposition.

Complicating matters is Dimitri's rival, Gustav Kelch, who wants the precious jeweled object for his own collection. Can Dimitri protect Elise from Kelch?


His gaze was as soft as a caress. He reached out and tucked a stray tendril of her hair behind her ear. Slowly, he curved his hand around the nape of her neck and moved closer so there was no space between them. Their lips skirted each other's, teasing, tempting, until Dimitri's mouth captured hers in a drugging kiss.

His lips were firm – persuasive. He smelled wonderful – soap and sandalwood. Something intense flared within her. She fisted her hands against the lapels of his coat. Her body betrayed her desire. His erection pressed against her thigh.

All of a sudden, an all-crushing fear consumed her. He was hard for her. It was too soon, too fast. She broke the kiss, practically pushing him away.

"Elise--" Dimitri began.


Elise's heart jumped. She swung around and looked at the door. Dimitri peered over her shoulder.

It was slightly open.

"Lucy!" Elise forgot about Dimitri's kiss and pushed open the door, rushing in. Dimitri was right behind her. Concern spiked within her the second she saw Lucy.

Lucy's hands and feet were tied to a chair and a gag was in her mouth. The room was thrashed. Their suitcases were turned over; clothes and books were tossed haphazardly about.

Fear knotted inside Elise. She rushed to the chair and took off the gag. Dimitri also rushed to the chair and began untying the knots at Lucy's feet. Concern for her friend was evident in his eyes. Elise was thrilled that Dimitri helped with no hesitation or reservations.

"What happened? Who did this?" asked Elise.

"They were looking for the egg," said Lucy. She glanced at Dimitri, but instead of her earlier resistance to him, gratefulness filled her eyes.

Dimitri froze, glancing up, his stare drilling into Elise. "Egg? A Faberge egg?"

Elise loosened one of the knots around Lucy's hand. She looked at Dimitri, perplexed. "What do you know about Faberge eggs?"

He muttered something to himself in Russian, finished untying Lucy's knot around her second foot and stood, straightening his shoulders.

"That's what I lost – that's what I've been looking for – my Faberge egg."

Visit Stephanie at:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A DESPERADO FOR CHRISTMAS has a new price for the holidays - Vijaya Schartz

Just in time for the holidays, you can now get A DESPERADO FOR CHRISTMAS for 99 cents in all formats at SmashWords, and in Kindle from

Not just another busy night on the Arizona border.

Rookie Border Patrol Agent Kaitlin Harrington hates Christmas and all men, since her lover jilted her and she lost her unborn child on Christmas Eve. This year, as she guards the Mexican border in southern Arizona, she encounters more than she can handle. No amount of training prepared her to arrest the gorgeous desperado who challenges her. His name is Miguel, a human smuggler fascinated by the green eyes of the feisty auburn-haired beauty bent on impeding his important work. But Miguel is a man of many secrets. And on this dangerous adventure through the Arizona desert, anything can and will happen.

"A Desperado for Christmas is a love story and an adventure rolled in to one. There is very little "down time" in this fast-paced story, and this reader was glued to it until the very end." Fallen Angel Reviews
"...The reader can really empathize with her character on many levels. Ms. Schartz also does a fantastic job of setting you right in the scene with her characters. She builds the suspense and follows through with vigor, sweeping her readers up in the action." Coffee Time Romance

"Vijaya Schartz always manages to produce stories that are a spectacular blend of romance and action and this one is no exception." CK2S Kwips & Kritiques

"...a romantic adventure from beginning to end. Brimming with twists, secret identities and danger on every page, this is a page turner that will entertain any reader. I will be interested in checking out additional titles by this author." Joyfully Reviewed

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Guns, Swords, Romance with a kick

Vijaya's books at

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Comfortable Moments - by A.R. Norris

My friend and I were having lunch and the discussion moved to relationships. My friend asked me what my favorite memory was with my husband.
“Geez. 16 years adds up to a lot of memories,” I said. (This was a while ago. We’re on 18 years now.)

“One,” she insisted. “And not the birth of your children. It has to be an experience that was just you and him.”

I sat back and one memory kept floating to the surface. No, that couldn’t be my favorite memory, I thought. It’s so... boring and dull. But it wouldn’t go away. It was my favorite memory.

“Ash and I dropped the kids at my sisters and snuck off to the beach. It was Fall and the northern coast was warm and there was no wind for a change. We’d brought a blanket thinking we’d need to sit on the sand wrapped up in it, but instead we were able to lay it out. Ash and I sat and talked. Then laid and talk. And then took a nap together on the beach.”

Huh, who would’ve thought?

But in hindsight, it makes sense. This was quite some time ago and between then and this post I had a major health issue. After the ambulance took me to the hospital in the city for surgery, my husband dropped the kids off at my sisters and met me there. We sat in the patient room and talked. When I got tired, I laid the bed down and with him sitting in the guest chair, we talked. Then we took a light nap together. (That could’ve just been me sleeping... can’t be sure.)

Passion is exciting, yes. And it burns hot, most certainly. But the most meaningful and deep moments are often those quiet moments where it’s just you and him, beyond the passion. Because let’s face it, passion without love it like a fire with only kindling... it burns fast and then is dead. Love is the log that keeps the fire going.

In my latest release, Revelations of Tomorrow, Doctor Brenda Bonney and Captain Makai Yourimoc have one of those comfortable moments. Well, if they weren’t chasing space pirates and stopping a terrorist plot, who knows, their courtship probably would’ve taken years with how understated and introverted they are.


Brenda and the captain returned the way they'd come, not speaking. The sounds of woods were calming and she enjoyed the moment of quiet. She'd grown up in space, mostly in vessels. There'd always been something running and making a disruptive noise of some sort. These sounds of nature were in synch with the environment.

"You do not smile enough, Doctor." He slipped the machete back in its scabbard, on the opposite side from his standard sword.

She'd expected it so make a shish sound as it slid in, but it was silent. So much for the inertial vids.

"Please, call me Brenda." She decided not to respond to his observation, not sure whether it was a complaint or a compliment. Maybe a mixture of both.

"Okay, Brenda it is, if you call me Makai, of course."

They fell into a content quiet for some time. Brenda immersed herself in her surroundings on the way back through the forest. The noises blended together could've come across chaotic. Instead, the rustling of leaves, chattering of various animals, and the crackling of brush underneath their feet made for harmonic music. Added with the mixed smells of flowers, rotting woods, damp ground foliage, and the subtle acrid scents of weeds, the experience was rich and if she could describe it thusly -- thick.

Coming from the sterile environment of vessel living, she found the organic surrounding enveloping. The connection beyond her physical self and a sense of relaxed enjoyment spread through her spirit.

"These woods are very peaceful. I'm surprised there's no settlement here. It'd be a great vacation spot," she voiced to her quiet, contemplative companion and wondered if his thoughts were in line with her own.

"It is unusual. I was raised on a planet similar to this. It can be very peaceful, but also very... enclosing." A flash of grief crossed his face and his mouth tightened momentarily before he sighed and looked out beyond her into the trees.

Before she had a chance to filter herself, she asked, "Why does that make you sad, Makai?"

He stared down at his hands a moment and blinked several times. Many minutes they walked in silence. Brenda began to assume he wouldn't tell her. Her heart ached for him and she wanted to reach out and grasp his arm in comfort.

"My wife," he started, but his voice cracked. "My wife and I settled on my planet for many years. She loved our home. Several years ago I uprooted her to take a position on a satellite station."

The shock of his marriage startled her. The idea had never crossed her mind and the revelation caused her a little embarrassment at the direction many of her thoughts had gone since their introduction. "Oh. I'm sure your wife adjusted well to the station."

"No. She never made it. I'm a widower now." He said it in the simple way she'd heard other long-term widowers say it. Grief settled on him like a long worn suit, very deep inside and only came out occasionally during strong memory triggers.

She didn't touch him. It would be wrong at the moment, disrespectful to his wife's memory. Just as any comment would've been insincere.

He shook off the moment. "I apologize. It hits me sometimes unexpectedly. It was many years ago and I've managed to reconcile the grief." To prove it, he bent without missing a stride and plucked a purple flower. Handing it to her he said, "You look like a fairy in these woods, Brenda."

She allowed a small gasp, took the flower, and sniffed the beautiful scent. "Your wife must've been very lucky in her marriage."

They smiled at each other and completed the rest of the walk in a content silence.


Purchase Links:

Amazon kindle - B&N nookAll Romance eBooks
Also from the Sony Reader Store, and Apple's iBookstore

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Anne McCaffrey, the Grande Dame of the Dragons of Pern, left us at 85

I will always remember the wonder of reading my first, worn, library copy of the first book in the Dragons of Pern series.  And I believe I read all of Anne McCaffrey's books I could get my hands on. She wrote over a hundred of them. I even read her less known sci-fi stories, like the Crystal Singer. I loved them all, but the dragons stuck in my mind.

Anne is one of the unique authors who inspired me to write and create fantastic worlds of my own.  Born in the US in 1926, she died on the other side of the pond, shortly after a stroke. I'm sure she is now flying on the backs of her magnificent dragons, and enjoying the company of dragon riders.

May you repose in peace, Anne. You gave us countless hours of reading pleasure, you transported us to a world where adventure and passions rule and justice always prevails. We love you for enriching our lives and our intellects.

I, for one, will never forget.

Vijaya Schartz

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Traveling to India, the land of the Blue Gods

I was privileged to live in India for many months, in an ashram in a small village of Maharastra. At the time I wasn't writing novels but studying, translating nonfiction books, meditating, and keeping journals and travel logs. I fell in love with the land of the blue gods, the smells, the colors, the people and their philosophy.

It took me several years after I left this fascinating culture to finally have enough distance to write about it. It's difficult to write what you are living now. Later, with a broader perspective, you undersdand the facts better and the emotions are still fresh enough. Anyhow, since I write fiction, I decided to use my experiences of India as the backdrop for a love story, a very Indian story, a story of reincarnation.

That's how ASHES FOR THE ELEPHANT GOD was born. Although the story is fictitious, I used my deep immersion into East Indian culture to write a unique story tied to a unique place. In this novel, India is omnipresent, and only in India could this story ever happen. This book is the only one of mine like this. It is the book of my heart, the important book I was meant to write.

My other novels are action romances and romantic science fiction. I create new imaginary worlds for them. Although I wish I could visit the future and travel to other planets and come back to write about it. Maybe one day I will... if I live long enough. One can only hope. Since according to Indian culture, death is only the beginning and we keep reincarnating until the end of times.


To scatter her brother's ashes over the Narmada River, Fabienne leaves France for the mysterious India of her childhood dreams. As she awakens to a newfound spirituality, unexpected visions of a former life during the Raj stir ancient yearnings for a long lost passion. Mukunda, the palace architect Fabienne loved a century and a half ago, lives again as an American engineer and works on the local dam project. As Fabienne falls in love again with India and the man of her destiny, the tapestry of her previous life unfolds. But, in the karmic land of the blue gods, a ruthless foe lies in wait. The Kali worshiper, who murdered the two lovers in a faraway past, has come back through the centuries to thwart their dream once more.


"... a broad-stroked, magnificent picture of a lavish India of the past and the present... a vivid tale of suspense... a gripping account of a woman coming to terms with heightened awareness... a destiny that yields true fulfillment." The Book Reader

"... entertaining, fast-paces yet deeply spiritual... Here is a superior metaphysical novel!" Richard Fuller - Metaphysical Reviews

"... passionate... love, lust, faith and deception... a magnificent offering to the world of fiction..." Charlotte Austin Review

", sensual... multilayered... a thriller... magical, mystical book..." Writer's Digest
The book is now available in all eBook formats. There is an older edition paperback with a different cover and you might still be able to find a rare copy on the internet.
Wishing you all travels, discovery, and many adventures on the way.
And a fantastic holiday season.

Vijaya Schartz

Friday, November 4, 2011

Some Kind of Magic - By Lisabet Sarai - comment to win

BIO: A dozen years ago LISABET SARAI experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published two single author short story collections and six erotic novels, including the BDSM classic Raw Silk. Dozens of her shorter works have been released as ebooks and in print anthologies. She has also edited several acclaimed anthologies and is currently responsible for the altruistic erotica series COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS.

Lisabet holds more degrees than anyone needs from prestigious universities who would no doubt be embarrassed by her chosen genre. She loves to travel and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her highly tolerant husband and two cosmopolitan felines. For more information on Lisabet and her writing visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory  or her blog Beyond Romance ( ).

Sometimes writing seems like a magical act. You spend some time in your head and some time pounding the keys, and voila – you've created a book. Even if you're the most organized plotter on the planet, there are always revelations that occur during the process. The best laid plans can definitely be hijacked by a recalcitrant character or a sudden burst of insight. Despite what some “how-to” volumes about writing might suggest, writing fiction is not primarily a rational process that can be analyzed and controlled.

It all begins with that germ of an idea. It might be an image, a particular scene that plays itself out on the screen of your mind and that you just have to describe. My paranormal novel Necessary Madness grew from my image of a young man sprawled on the pavement beneath an overpass, surrounded by drunks and bums, ravaged by horrible, precognitive visions. Kyle was desperate, driven to the brink of sanity by his unwanted talent for seeing the future. He needed someone to save him before he succumbed to the dangers of living on the street or death by his own hand. Necessary Madness tells the story of Kyle and Rob Murphy, the gruff cop who needs some emotional rescue himself.
Many of my stories derive their emotional essence from personal experience. Raw Silk, my first published novel, recreates my own confusion and fascination when I was first introduced to BDSM. It also draws on my memories of the two years I lived and worked in Bangkok. The book is not auto-biographical, but nevertheless incorporates many details from my history (as well as a selection of my most cherished fantasies).

I've had cases where an entire story grew from a title that popped into my mind. You can find two examples on my free reading page – “Crowd Pleaser" and “The Antidote”. On the other hand, sometimes I'll be close to finishing a story and still struggle to find an appropriate title.

And sometimes – I have no idea where the story comes from. One minute I'm scratching my head, wondering what to write. The next minute, I know the characters and their conflicts, and have a fairly clear vision of the narrative arc and the resolution.

Like I said, it's a kind of magic.

I have a paranormal release coming out next Monday from Total-E-Bound, called Hot Spell. The genesis of this tale definitely included something near supernatural. My editor had asked if I'd like to submit a novella for TEB's “Lust Bites” line. “The hotter the better,” she said. I started casting my mind around for a story idea and found myself focusing on the idea of heat. For one thing, I live in a tropical country where there are three seasons: hot, hotter and unbearably hot. It happened to be during the third season when I began work on this! I'm not normally the sort who basks in the heat, but I happened to remember, as I was walking and thinking, a high summer encounter with my boyfriend when I was in grad school, in which the sweltering weather seemed to intensify our passion. The next moment, I had my title, and maybe five minutes later, my heroine.

Sylvie endures a solitary urban existence for the sake of her career, but she's far more at home in nature than in the city, The city swelters in the grip of an unseasonable heat wave. and Sylvie escapes to the pine-shrouded mountains east of the metropolis.

There, of course, she meets the hero, a muscular, sun-bronzed man with the red-gold hair who's cursed with power he fears will destroy her if they give full rein to their passion. Aidan is a Fire Elemental, and he knows from tragic past experience that if he makes love to a mortal, she's be burned to ash.

In fifteen minutes, I'd figured out the framework for the story. Of course, the writing took longer, but I had a clear notion of where I was going the entire time. In a matter of a few days, I had a tale that was sensual, tender, and both literally and figuratively hot.

I knew the name I wanted for my heroine right away – Sylvie, derived from the Latin word for “forest”. Initially, I didn't know what to call the hero. Then all of a sudden, the name Aidan popped into my head. I knew it was Celtic, but otherwise I had no idea of its significance. It just felt right, so I kept it.

Halfway through the writing, I looked up the name. Imagine my wonder when I found that it means “fire”!

Magic indeed!

Anyway, here's a sneak peak at Hot Spell. And by the way - I will be giving away a copy of a paranormal book from my back list (your choice of Serpent's Kiss, Rendezvous, or Fire in the Blood) to one lucky person who leaves a comment.

Hot Spell Excerpt (PG)

“Are you hungry?” His voice was steady—pleasant but neutral—belying the riotous signals she picked up from his body. “I’m afraid all I can offer is canned chilli, with some wild greens I picked this morning…”

"Yes, I’m hungry, she wanted to scream. Hungry for you! Then shame flooded her, damping down her desire. She had promised him she’d behave, that she’d keep her distance and not tempt him. She wasn’t sure that she subscribed to his conviction that their making love would kill her, but clearly he believed it and suffered for that belief. Reminding him of their mutual attraction would just make him more miserable. For his sake, she had to control her carnal urges, difficult as that might be.

“Sounds good to me. At least as appetising as dinner back at my campsite—freeze-dried beef stew.” He rose from his chair and she followed. “Can I help?”

“No, that’s okay. It’ll just take me a few minutes. But come over here first. You’ll like this.” He gestured towards the south-facing windows, the ones near the cots. A gap of about a yard separated the two beds. They stood together in that space, gazing out of the open window.

To the west, at their right, rose the high peaks, jagged and ashen against the orange sky. The sun streamed through gaps between them, loosing shafts of fire into the valley. Far below the fire tower, Crystal Lake was transformed from the sapphire mirror she’d seen earlier in the day to a sheet of beaten gold. The trees surrounding the water were already grey-green shadows, but the lake burned like the caldera of a volcano, brimming with molten lava.

Sylvie caught her breath. It was exquisite—awe-inspiring. Nothing in her city life was this lovely. Nothing had this power to rouse her emotions. A sense of completion, of rightness, settled on her. This was where she belonged. At the same time, her whole body vibrated with a new kind of excitement, similar to sexual arousal but somehow more subtle and refined.

She was acutely aware of Aidan’s bulk beside her and the strong, male scent of his sweat. He radiated heat—a human furnace. That was part of this bliss, too, inseparable from the miracle of the fiery water. Her need for him was a fierce, sweet ache that brought pleasure even without being consummated.

She didn’t dare move. She didn’t want to break the spell. Then she felt his fingers entwine with hers. She sensed the strength in his grip even as her skin burned from the contact.

Sylvie did not turn to him. It wasn’t necessary. She knew what he was thinking. She understood he wanted her. For now, in this endless moment, that was enough. His guilt eased in her presence. She felt his tension dissipate, bit by bit, as they continued to hold hands.

either spoke. Neither made any sort of effort to deepen the touch or turn it into something more explicitly sexual. That would have been redundant. They stood together, perfectly connected, until the sun sank out of sight and the flaming lake was extinguished.


I want to thank Vijaya for letting me come and play on her blog.


Hot Spell will be released on November 14th. You can pre-order it now – or leave a comment and I'll enter you in a drawing to win a free copy. I'm blogging all over the place this month. You can find a schedule in the left-hand sidebar at my blog ( Anyone who leaves a comment (with your email please! I need to be able to find you if you win!) on any of my guest posts will be entered into the contest. I'll draw the name on the first of December.

Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! - Contest Winner - More books to win

Congratulations to the winner of COYOTE GORGEOUS, commenter Andy M. Burns. He received the pdf via email this morning.

But do not despair. My Holiday Contest is still going on my website and if you click on CONTEST at the top right at: you could win a copy of A DESPERADO FOR CHRISTMAS.

In the meantime, wishing you all a fantastic Halloween, with lots of sweet things, and not necessarily candy.

Then stay tuned for November 4th, when Lisabet Sarai is a guest on thisblog, talking about her naughty new releases in Erotic Romance.

Stay safe.

Vijaya Schartz
Award-winning Sci-Fi & Romance with a Kick

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Perfect read for Halloween, my shapeshifter novella is up for grabs. Just leave a comment with your email address, for a chance to win a pdf copy.

Arizona Game Ranger Madison Huntley, investigating a wild animal attack on a ranch in Cave Creek, discovers disturbing details. If she didn't know better, she'd say the legends frightening the ranch hand might be true. But Madison isn't just a wilderness cop. As a biologist and a wild life expert, she believes in facts and science, not scary tales.

And when Kaletaka, a Hopi sculptor, awakens bloody, with no recollection of what he did the night before, he remembers the legends of his tribe, and the meaning of his name. But as hard as he tries, can he escape his destiny?
"Phenomenal world building, characters the readers care about, and an intriguing mystery... COYOTE GORGEOUS has all the elements one expects from a Vijaya Schartz story! Easily recommended!" - 4.5 shamrocks - Debbie CK2sKwipsandKritiques.

"So many times my theory of who done it was thwarted and yet I was thrilled to stay on the edge of my seat until the very last word just to find out." Five stars - Book Junkie Reviews

"...excellent characters... well written. Fascinated about the subject matter and the legends..." Five hearts - Romance Book Scene
Vijaya Schartz
Romance with a Kick

Monday, October 10, 2011


Rookie Border Patrol Agent Kaitlin Harrington hates Christmas and all men, since her lover jilted her and she lost her unborn child on Christmas Eve. This year, as she guards the Mexican border in southern Arizona, she encounters more than she can handle. No amount of training prepared Kaitlin to arrest the gorgeous desperado who challenges her. His name is Miguel, a human smuggler fascinated by the green eyes of the feisty auburn-haired beauty bent on impeding his important work. But Miguel is a man of many secrets. On this dangerous adventure through the Arizona desert, anything can and will happen.

ENTER TO WIN THIS HOLIDAY STORY AT:  and click on CONTEST at the top right.

Good luck.

Vijaya Schartz
Award-winning Sci-Fi, Guns, Swords, Romance with a kick

Vijaya's paperbacks, kindle, and audiobooks at

Vijaya's eBooks at ARe:

Vijaya's nooks at:

Vijaya's eBooks at Smashwords:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Despite the blogs criticizing it, I still love Castle. I don't know much about police procedurals, so the flaws mentioned in the blogs didn't bother me in this week's episode. I just enjoyed the entertaining value, and the trip in the cryogenic lab was fun. Although I agree that the formulaic pace could be improved. Every time my husband says "This guy is the murderer for sure," I check the clock and say "Nope. We are only twenty minutes into the episode, so it's a red herring for sure."

I also watch BODY OF PROOF, on Tuesdays after the results of Dancing With the Stars, and find myself enjoying it, too. Just when you think it can't get worse, it does (in a good way). Great storylines. And they saved the sick little boy who was kidnapped, and the culprit was totally unexpected.

As you can probably tell, I'm a fan of Dancing with the Stars, and last night's elimination was a total let down. I hate it when the viewers do not vote according to talent. But, of course that's what makes the competition unpredictable. Although I believe the judges' scores should count for more than half. This happened in the finals of a previous season, and they changed the system so that at least the final say is to the judges in the last contest and quality can win over popularity. Will probably keep watching, but much of the spark is gone.

Vijaya Schartz
Award-winning Sci-Fi, Romance with a kick

Saturday, October 1, 2011

BLACK DRAGON has a winner - the novella is out today!

And the winner of the contest is Cherie Michalec from OK. Congratulations, Cherie, and thank you for your support. I've seen your name entering my contests many times.

BLACK DRAGON is now available for download in kindle, in nook, from the publisher Desert Breeze in many formats, and will be at All Romance eBooks before this day is over. The beauty of this novella, although my other books from this publisher are more expensive, this shorter one is only $2.99.

So follow the links below for the downloads.
I wish you happy reading.

Find out more about this novella HERE

Vijaya Schartz
Award-winning Sci-Fi, Guns, Swords, Romance with a kick

Vijaya's paperbacks, kindle, and audiobooks at

Vijaya's eBooks at ARe:

Vijaya's nooks at:

Vijaya's eBooks at Smashwords:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

BLACK DRAGON has a cover - enter to win a copy

Coming close to the release of BLACK DRAGON, the BOREALIS universe novella coming from Desert Breeze Publishing on October 1, 2011. The cover matches all the covers designed for this series.

In orbit over a deserted outpost at the edge of conquered space sits an aging space station under the control of the Trans Planetary Protectorate named Borealis. It is slowly falling apart as the Protectorate funnels its massive resources into the border wars and keeping the outlaying systems in line, as insurrections break out.

This series includes anthologies and single novellas from various authors, set on the same space station with a few recurring characters. Just like episodes of your favorite sci-fi TV shows


A gambler is cheating in a den of the Borealis space station, and Lieutenant Zara Frankel intends to catch him in the act. She always gets her man, but this one could prove more than she can handle.

Captain Czerno Drake, code name Black Dragon, has come under cover to break his innocent uncle from the most secure penitentiary in the galaxy, on the Borealis space station. He will stop at nothing to succeed, even enrolling the help of the lovely straight arrow TPP enforcer. When Zara realizes that she's been used by a shrewd but seductive rebel, her reaction surprises everyone, most of all herself.

There is still time to enter my contest and win a pdf copy of this novella. Just click on CONTEST on the top right at:

Vijaya Schartz
Romantic Science Fiction with a Kick

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Jimmy Thomas comes to mind as the inspiration for my latest hero, BLACK DRAGON.  But he did not become one of the most popular romance cover models by chance. There are many ways to become such a favorite of the ladies who read romance, in the wake of other famous names, like Jimmy and Fabio. Visit Jimmy's impressive website at:

One climbs to this height by maintaining a body to make women swoon. Yes, I'm using romance language here, as it is advisable. Being friendly to the camera is a must. You do not have to be perfect. Perfection would be boring. It's the small imperfection that make a face endearing, or a mouth kissable. There is also the photographer's talent, the lighting. Everything in taking pictures for a romance novel cover contributes to the beauty, the mood, the special effects. And yes, a touch up here and there is sometimes necessary, but that's the nature of this business.

Okay, okay, this is a PG13 blog. Still, I do not apologize for writing romantic science fiction. A hero and a heroine deserve their reward after the battle.

So, if you are so inclined, if women turn around to look at you, if they do a double take, if they smile when you walk by, and if you think you can handle a career in this field, maybe this contest is for you.

For years, Romantic Times sponsored the Mr. Romance Contest. Since they are not doing it next year, the romance writing community of Arizona is organizing the Mr. Right contest for cover models. You have to be 21 to enter, and there is a very small fee. But you could end up on the cover of a romance novel from Sapphire Blue Publishing, one of the sponsors of this contest, and, incidently, one of my publishers.

Here is the link to information and registration. It will all take place during the Chocolate Affaire (an event of romance and chocolate) in Glendale Arizona the first weekend of February 2012. Good luck to all the handsome devils who will compete for the coveted spot. This could be the start of a new career.

Good luck! See you at the Chocolate Affaire with Jimmy Thomas in February, where I will be autographing my books. Jimmy will be coordinating and judging the contest. Ladies, come for the romance novels and the show. I wouldn't miss it for anything. There will be much picture taking, so bring your cameras.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


BLACK DRAGON, a novella from the Borealis Universe, is coming October 1, 2011 from Desert Breeze Publishing. BOREALIS is an aging space station at the edge of the known universe. Various authors contribute to this series with novellas... like episodes of your favorite sci-fi shows. Like in all my stories, there is a cat, this time a white Angora. You might recognize the actor and model I portrayed as the inspiration for my characters. Namely, Cover Model Jimmy Thomas, and the lovely actress Alyssa Milano.

I am still waiting for the book cover. Will post it when I have it.
This is what the story is about:

A gambler is cheating in a den of the Borealis space station, and Lieutenant Zara  Frankel intends to catch him in the act. She always gets her man, but this one could prove more than she can handle.

Captain Czerno Drake, code name Black Dragon, has come under cover to break his innocent uncle from the most secure penitentiary in the galaxy, on the Borealis space station. He will stop at nothing to succeed, even enrolling the help of the lovely straight arrow TPP enforcer. When Zara realizes that she's been used by a shrewd but seductive rebel, her reaction surprises everyone, most of all herself.
Find out more about this story and the entire series at:

For a chance to win a pdf copy of this future release, click on CONTEST on the top right at

Good luck.

Vijaya Schartz
Romantic Science Fiction with a Kick

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Here are the dates and the links. Don't be afraid to comment, for several of these blogs one commenter will win a pdf of Blue Lioness. Here are the dates and links:

Thursday August 4, 2011 - The Eclectic Writer Blog - Interview

Sunday, August 7, 2011 - Goddess Fish Launch Party - Blue Lioness:

Monday August 8 - Desert Breeze Blog - Author Spotlight Q&A with Vijaya Schartz:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - Desert Breeze Blog - Spotlight week - Vijaya Schartz about Science Fiction


Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - Desert Breeze Blog spotlight -

Thursday, August 11, 2011 - Desert Breeze Blog spotlight
Vijaya talks about her favorite authors

Friday, August 12, 2011 - Desert Breeze Blog spotlight
Excerpts of BLUE LIONESS

Join the group for the chat at:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - Vijaya on the PARANORMAL ROMANTICS BLOG

Saturday, August 27, 2011 - Vijaya posts an article on writing dialogue at SAVVY AUTHORS

How I became addicted to my eBook reader by Vijaya Schartz

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BLUE LIONESS, by Vijaya Schartz, is out today!

Blue Lioness
Chronicles of Kassouk Book Four
by Vijaya Schartz
Romantic Science Fiction
from Desert Breeze Publishing
Release date: August 1, 2011

Available in all eBook formats everywhere.

In the face of Human slavery, Back Sword Captain Ariela of Kassouk must do the unthinkable. Rebel against the Mutant regime. But she cannot do it alone.

Ariela suspects the king's death is no accident. And the tyrant who usurped the throne looks guilty as hell. As leader of the Human rebellion against the Mutant rulers, Ariela is desperate for help, and Lord Starro, the handsome Crown Prince of the Star Children, offers the technology the Human faction lacks. But can Ariela trust a spoiled, arrogant foreign prince who never fought a battle, and thinks he is destined to rule the universe? Is she trading one tyrant for another? No matter how kind, handsome, or fascinating, Starro has frightening mental abilities. And this alliance is not safe, especially for Ariela's heart.

Each story in the Chronicles of Kassouk series can be read independently, but if you are like me you like to read them in the right order. Here they are:


This series would now be complete, except that I am now writing a prequel, which will tell the story of how it all started. The book will be titled NOAH'S ARK, and will be released from Desert Breeze in April of 2012.


Vijaya Schartz
Romantic Science Fiction with a Kick

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I could not be more pleased with the cover of BLUE LIONESS, coming August 1, 2011 from Desert Breeze Publishing, in all eBook formats everywhere.

THERE IS STILL TIME TO ENTER MY CONTEST TO WIN a pdf copy of this book. Click on CONTEST to enter your name.

In the story, the lioness is silvery gray, but Blue Lioness is also the warrior name of the heroine, Ariela, who has blond hair with a streak of blue on each side and Cerulean blue eyes.

The cover with the grey lion looked washed out on the blue background, it looked more like a wolf than a lion, and from a distance, it resembled too much the cover of WHITE TIGER, Book one in the series. I like the fact that all the covers in the series have the same feel. See them all in a row HERE

So I opted for a not so blue lioness on the cover, but I love it. The eyes are striking. And I believe covers are more subliminal than actually representative of the real characters in the book.

So I opted for this one, and I am dancing around my office, sending this splendid cover to everyone I know.

Don't forget to enter the contest. Click on Contest on my website to enter, and on the cover of Blue Lioness anywhere on my site to open a full page and learn more about it (including an exerpt).

Hope you enjoy reading this novel as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.

Vijaya Schartz
Award-winning Science Fiction, Romance with a Kick

Monday, July 18, 2011


Vijaya: When are your latest and upcoming releases, and what genre or subgenre are they?

Janet: Latest release. In June, there were four, all re-releases - three contemporary and one historical. Any day now there will be two more, one a contemporary set of novellas with Jane Toombs, called Moon Pool and the other is a YA fantasy called Quests and is part of a YA series. I tend to pop around the genres a lot. Actually The Temple of Fyre though already in electronic form has been released in paperback/

Vijaya: Tell me a little about these books
Janet: The Temple of Fyre is a spicy fantasy romance. The heroine is in training as a priestess of the temple of Fyre and does not like some of the chief priestess' ideas. She is beaten and rescued by the hero. The pair sets off to find the fabled original temple. To gain full control of the fyrestones they must unit physically, mentally and emotionally. They face a final battle with the evil priestess and change the ways of the Temple of Fyre.

More titles coming soon:

The Moon Pool is based on a legend and is paranormal in tone. "Looking into the moon pool on the night of a full moon you will see the one meant for you." One of my heroines looked and rejected the choice. She has a second chance if she goes to the pool during a 'Blue' moon. The second heroine has seen the one for her, married him but he refused to look in the pool. He is dead and she is drawn to the moon pool a second time.

In Quests, the story begun in Flight and Refuge continues. The young people set off on three quests. One group seeks the gems that enhance their control of an element, earth, water, fire or air. The second group searches for artifaces such as a sword, a staff of living wood, a scrying cup and a flute. The third group seeks the remaining halflings with affinities to complete their four quartets. Along the way they must face Dom Senet and his minions and find ways to keep from capture.

Vijaya: How long have you been writing? How many books do you have?

Janet: If we go with the ones I had published before I took the time out to return to nursing to put my children through school there are a number. 31 or so plus 3 non fiction. There are also 7 novellas, some short stories and poems. I began writing in 1968 so it's 40 plus years.

Vijaya: How did you manage to have so many titles? How long are your stories?

Janet: Writing is my obsession and my addiction. I write every day usually several thousand words. The stories range in length from 1500 words to 100,000 words. Most come in around 70,000 words. Each story is as long as it needs to be to accomplish what I set out to do.

Vijaya: Do you find it difficult to write in various genres?

Janet: Since I love reading in a number of genres, I find no problem switching from one to another. I spend a short time telling myself what kind of writer I am until the book is finished. At present I'm into spicy, contemporary and the next will be a paranormal alternate world. Once the current one is finished I'll program myself to a new genre.

Vijaya: Do you write one book at a time? Or can you work on several stories at once?

Janet: Absolutely only one book at a time. If there are stray thoughts about other books I'll jot a note and file that for later. Once tried to do more than one at once but then I became impatient to see something finished so I concentrated on one of the projects.

Vijaya: Are you a plotter or a pantser? and why?

Janet: I am sort of both or neither. I always know the beginning and the end of the story before I begin. Unless I have the ending nailed down I tend to wander. I do a sort of treatment that tells the story in a few paragraphs or pages. This will be divided into scenes or chapters. What happens in each chapter will be left to the writing. The outline is sort of hero meets heroine. bad guy comes onto the scene. they make love. they have a disagreement. Not really a plotting but not a panster just semi-organized.

Vijaya: Who are your favorite authors?

Janet: There is a long list.Bujold, Mccaffrey, Norton, Bradley, Dick Francis, Rollins. I jsut read a lot and there are the oldies John Donne, Tolstoy, Austen. Could have pages of favorites.

Thank you Janet for joining us on this blog.

Find more about Janet on her website HERE
Find her blog, the Eclectic Writer HERE
Find Janet's books at Amazon HERE
Find Janet's many titles in paperback and all eBook formats from all online distributors.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Warning: Keta writes the spicier kind of romance. So beware if you visit her sites.

 Vijaya: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Keta: Thank you so much for asking. I just finished an anthology with three wonderful authors, Stacey Kennedy, Amber Scott and Elise Hepner called Kissed From Beyond. This is four paranormal stories involving ghosts, time travel, and genies. More information on Kissed From Beyond here: Kindle:

Mystic Sword was just released this week, July 10th. This is the original short story that launched the full-length novel The Sin Eater’s Prince. Think werewolves, vampires, Wales, mysticism. More about Mystic Sword here for only .99 cents:

Vijaya: What's your favorite drink with a kick? What's your guilty pleasure?

Keta: I’m a huge coffee drinker, but I don’t much of a kick unless you consider cream a “kick”. My son read an article to me last night about how good coffee is for you medically. “I just knew it,” I said. According to the article, it’s good for your liver, your intestines and fights diabetes. Who woulda thought? I love Starbucks, hang out there all the time while I write.

Vijaya: How long have you been writing?

Keta: I’ve written all my life in one form or other, but didn’t get serious about publishing my books until six years ago.

Vijaya: Please describe your writing environment

Keta: In the summer, my writing environment is wonderful. I’ve enclosed a picture that looks very similar to the cottage I live in on a lake. We have six acres of woods surrounding us with a small environmental lake on the property. There’s a lot to look at, owls, eagles, loons (the winged version) and it’s very peaceful. In the winter, I write inside because we live in the snowy Midwest.

Vijaya: What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?

Keta: I think about a story in my mind for weeks, allow it to germinate. When I’ve gone through all the scenes, conversations and even what they wear, I sit down to write. I never make outlines, but I might use note cards to remind me of certain items or scenes I want in the book. I guess you would call me a seat-of-the-pants- writer then.”

Vijaya: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place?

Keta: I do all my writing on my laptop and use my PC for other things, storing files, backup that sort of thing. I rarely use pen and paper, although those are on my list of favorite things to collect —stationary and pens.

Vijaya: Stilettos: Sexy or not?

Keta: Not for me. I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl, with sneakers. If I must get dressed up (sigh) I would never choose stilettos. I’d probably kill myself in them.

Vijaya: Do you have anything special you do to get into the writing mood?

Keta: I spend so much time on the laptop. I’m accustomed to writing or promoting about 12 hours a day, every day. I make sure I have fresh coffee, sometimes chocolate and a clear mind (hahaha on the last one). I do break for lunch and take a half an hour to exercise. Well, not what you probably call exercise, but I either walk outside or devote the time to my Chi machine (you can Google that, then you’ll know).

Vijaya: What’s been the most challenging part of writing for you?

Keta: Time. To get all the stories done I have in my head. I need a clone – desperately need a clone, preferably one who comes pre-programmed with excellent writing skills so he/she can help me.

Vijaya: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keta: Yes: Are you sure you want to write a novel? Really, really sure? It’s very hard work if you hope to make money writing. If they answer yes, I would tell them to stop putting it off, put your butt in the chair and write. It’s not easy. I know many reviewers or readers think it is, but it’s not. See two sentences up: It’s very hard work, and so many things have to come together to write a good book. At least for me. I have to be in good physical health, and hopefully in the right place with my mind. And then pray the words will come. If I’m sick or thinking about going to the lake, my writing shows I’m distracted. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I hit the delete button and then bang my head on the desk. During those times, I think a 4th grader can write better than me. There’s a lot of second-guessing, self-doubt and that’s because the book you think they will love, they don’t. The book you’re feeling queasy about, they love.

Recently I’ve released some books Indie. Readers had a limited choice in content before the explosion of ebooks. I’m happy to see authors self-publishing now, bringing fresh content to readers, books we have been discouraged to write in the past. Self-publishing no longer carries the stigma it did before. Of course, Indie authors have a huge responsibility to deliver great writing, intriguing plots, characters with depth and relatively error-free books. I still publish the traditional way too but love the freedom of self-publishing.

Sojourn With A Stranger
Paranormal romance

Amazon Kindle:

Penniless when she arrives in Norfolk, her mother and father drowned at sea, Raine Brinsley longs to return home to her grandfather in Maine. When Derek Stafford, owner of a large plantation, offers a solution to her dilemma, she’s stunned, if not outraged. She’d prefer to fulfill the contract to have his child and forget about him and his self-serving scheme. If only she could dispel the passion he’s awakened in her.

Derek Stafford’s only wish is to father an heir to Stafford House, thus securing his future. He didn’t count on the Scottish lass with green eyes interfering with his well-laid plan. After one night in her arms, guilt, not to mention the loss of his soul, becomes his penance. He’ll do anything to win her back, anything to quench the hunger tormenting his soul.

A lucky commenter will receive a free copy of Sojourn with a Stranger, so, please, comment.

You can find Keta on the net at the following places:

Author home:

Monday, July 11, 2011


VIJAYA: I'd like to welcome author Stephanie Burkhart to the blog today. Her latest release is a steampunk romance entitled "Victorian Scoundrel." Steph, what's the difference between science fiction and steampunk?

STEPH: Thanks, Vijaya, for having me here. The story is generally set in the early industrial period where steam power is more widely known, such as early Victorian England, but it adds a second element such as a science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy or paranormal twist. Adding to the complexity of the "steam" is that the story usually takes place in an alternate time, or parallel universe.

Science Fiction is its own genre and generally takes place in our "future," where steampunk is firmly set in the industrial age, between 1830-1901. In "Victorian Scoundrel," the added, second element is time travel (generally considered paranormal) but there's a mention of HG Wells. I couldn't resist.
VIJAYA: What made you decide to write steampunk?

STEPH: Gail Delaney, Editor-in-Chief at Desert Breeze, put out a call requesting some steampunk fiction. I was intrigued by the concept. Steampunk blended my love of historicals and along with time traveling. Still, I needed an idea. I decided to go more "traditional" with my story, focusing on a Victorian setting. Then I discovered the Great Exhibition which was in1851. From there my story idea just blossomed. What if two royals from the future went back in time? The plot came easily after that.

VIJAYA: How much history goes into this novel vs action or romance?

STEPH: A lot. I wanted to be accurate so I did a lot of research on the clothes they wore, Victoria and Albert, and the Great Exhibition itself. I must have spent a good two weeks compiling and reading my research notes.

VIJAYA: What are the challenges of writing a speculative alternate history and how much research goes into it?

STEPH: I did research this as well, but it wasn't extensive as my historical research. Since my lead characters, Alice & Edmund are royals, they had to have the "flavor" of the royal family. To establish my speculative alternative history I took a look at the British Monarchy as it now, and built Alice & Edmund's family based loosely on that. Also, I looked at energy power sources. We're all familiar with gas and electricity but Alice & Edmund come from a world that deals with compressed natural gas and what we would consider alternative fuel sources like wind and solar.
VIJAYA: What other genres do you write? What are your other books?

STEPH: I enjoy writing paranormals and international contemporaries. My previous novel length books with Desert Breeze are paranormals which center around werewolves. I love the creativity and imagination I can tap into when I write my paranormals. J My books with Desert Breeze are: The Hungarian, The Count's Lair and The Wolf's Torment. I have two short stories with Desert Breeze: Shadows & Light which is Sci-Fi and Matchmaking Amusement which is a "light" fantasy about two muses who fall in love.

VIJAYA: What can we expect from you in the future?

STEPH: In November, "Danube In Candlelight" Book 3 of the Budapest Moon series releases. Then in December I'll be releasing "The Faberge Secret," a novella sized international contemporary romantic suspense set between Brattleboro, Vermont and St. Petersburg, Russia. Both are with Desert Breeze.

Here's a link to the Book Teaser for Victorican Scoundrel:

Publisher's Buy Link:

BLURB: It's 2011 and compressed natural gas has taken over from the coal producing steam machines of the Victorian Age. Alice Windsor, Princess of York, follows her mischief-making cousin, Prince Edmund of Wales back to the past and 1851 where Prince Albert is hosting Britain's Great Exhibition.

Alice soon discovers Edmund has struck up a friendship with their great-grandfather, Prince Albert, and his mischief making entails leaving a dinosaur-sized footprint in history. She also meets Grayson Kentfield, Earl Swinton, and the Prime Minister, Sir John Russell. The Prime Minster finds her odd, to say the least.

Only when Alice falls for the handsome Earl Swinton does she realize the dangers of time travel. How can she give her heart to a man from the past while striving to stop Edmund from changing time with his forward thinking ideas?


Alice doodled on a piece of paper. She enjoyed drawing more so than writing. Making letters took effort. Drawing figures and designing clothes were much more fanciful. Especially in the middle of her Medieval History class, that topic bored her to tears. If only she could wear her light, frilly summer dresses again. Victorian clothes were so restrictive. And itchy. Her glasses slid down the bridge of her nose and she pushed them back.

Edmund looked over her shoulder. "You really should design a couple of gowns for the exhibit. Grandfather wants everything. He's got botanical exhibits and contraptions for the kitchen."

Alice put down her pencil. "They're just doodles, Ed. Are you suggesting I improperly influence British fashion for the next fifty years? I don't think so."

Edmund clasped his hands behind his back, a teasing smile gracing his lips. "I told him about you."

Alice stood up. "You did not!"

"I did, too. He wants to meet you."

"You're incorrigible."

"Didn't I tell you I prefer mischievous?"

Alice tamped down a scowl. "Really, Ed. Is that where you went yesterday? To see Prince Albert?"

The gleam in his eyes confirmed her answer. Alice crossed her arms in front of her. "Just how many fingerprints have you left in this time so far?"

Edmund shrugged his shoulders, walked over to their window, and looked out onto the street below. Alice joined him. Grayson would be here any moment to take them to Ascot. A part of Alice didn't want Edmund to go so she could enjoy Grayson's delicious company all to herself, but a part of her was glad Edmund was going because then she could keep her eye on him.

Alice turned away from the window and went back to her desk, tapping her fingertips on her drawing. Perhaps if she did sketch some clothing designs, it would give her access to Prince Albert -- access that Edmund already enjoyed. It would make getting inside the Palace easier. This way she could keep up with Edmund. She needed to find out what he'd been up to in this time and sabotage it if she could.

"You know, Ed, I like your idea after all. I think I will design some gowns for the exhibition," she said.

Edmund turned away from the window, smiling at her. "I can't wait to see what you come up with."

Muffled sounds of carriage wheels and horses came from outside. Alice went to the window and looked out. Grayson's carriage had arrived.

Edmund pointed to her bed. "Don't forget your cape and bonnet."

Alice glared at the bonnet on the bed. "I am not wearing that thing. All these clothes are uncomfortable enough."

"Aren't you the fashion icon?"

Alice ignored him and picked up the cape from her bed, fastening it around her chest. Their room at the hotel was spacious with two twin beds, a bathroom, and a window overlooking the street. There were two bureaus, one for her, one for him, which were slowly filling with clothes for this time. The room was masculine in color, though, with earth tones -- browns, grays, and maroon reds.

Victorian Scoundrel is available as an Ebook For Sony Ereader, Kindle, Nook, Kobo and various formats for download.

Review from Tia Taylor:
"Victorian Scoundrel is a clever Steam Punk novel full of Time travel, interesting gadgets, witty dialogue and love scenes that will have the reader reaching for a fan!"

Stephanie Burkhart has a fresh, quick, quirky, inventive imagination and she gives the readers of Victorian Scoundrel a delightful mixture of all of the above!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shape shifters in Mythology - by Mona Risk

Today shape-shifters, werewolves, and others are a big hit in romances. While doing intensive research for my paranormal fantasy set in mythological Egypt, I discovered that the concept of shape shifters is as old as the world and often associated with Romance.

In Greek Mythology, the god of gods, Zeus seduced many pretty women, but he had to switch to bull or shift his lover to swan, or heifer, or other animals to protect her from his jealous wife Hera.

In the Egyptian Mythology, the gods use their shape-shifting power to perform their duties, attack enemies or defend followers. I will let the god Horus who has no direct role in my story introduce you to the society of gods performing in OSIRIS’ MISSING PART.

My mother, Isis, wanted a son and spent years hoping that the handsome Osiris stop flirting around and propose to her.

Isis was the goddess of family and health, and the most beautiful goddess in the pantheon. Her crown was decorated with the horns of a cow on her head encasing a solar disk between them. Sometimes she also was represented as a cow, or a woman with a cow's head.

My father, Osiris, the god of knowledge, work and agriculture, was probably the only Egyptian god who never shifted to another form. His subjects adored him because of his kindness. With his Atef cone over his hand, his scepter and a key of life in his hands, he was so handsome that women and goddesses fell in love with him.

My uncle, the hateful Seth, threw iniquities on the people who called him god of storm and darkness. He usually wore a red mantle to match his red hair and eyes. Because of him, Egyptians considered the bright red to be a color of evil. Osiris’ brother was often represented with a human body and jackal’s head. He could switch to a black pig or hippopotamus, or even to a crocodile or a shark, as when he tried to capture my mother Isis underwater in the Red Sea.

Nephtees, Seth’s wife, is a protective goddess who symbolizes the death experience. In the funerary role, Nephthys often was depicted as a bird of prey called a kite, or as a woman with falcon wings, usually outstretched as a symbol of protection. Nephthys's association with the kite or the Egyptian hawk (and its piercing, mournful cries) evidently reminded the ancients of the lamentations usually offered for the dead by wailing women.

My cousin, Anubis, believed to be the son of Nephthys and Seth, was associated with the mummification and protection of the dead for their journey into the afterlife. He was usually portrayed as a half human, half jackal, or in full jackal form wearing a ribbon and holding a flail in the crook of its arm.

Nut, mother of Isis and my grandmother, was the goddess of the sky. She spent hours bending over the earth or reading the star constellations to decipher the future and wisely explain the world plans.

Sobeck, the crocodile god, He could protect the justified dead in the netherworld, restoring their sight and reviving their senses, but he often ate their insides before mummifying their bodies. Because of his ferocity, he was considered to be the patron of the army.

Everyone hated the ferocious Kismet. The goddess of destruction had a statuesque woman body and a lioness head adorned with the solar disc and a cobra. Her hatchet man, Nekhoret the vulture, helped her in her attacks.

Min, the gloating dwarf, was the god of the desert. My father Osiris didn’t like him as he tried to court Isis.
Now let me tell you about myself as I may become the hero of Mona’s next book. As I said I am Horus, son of Osiris and Isis. My favorite shape is a human body with a falcon head bearing an orange sun disk wrapped with a golden cobra serpent. Ancient Egyptians believed that the Sun was my right eye and the Moon my left eye.


When the evil god, Seth, killed his brother, Osiris, cut him into fourteen pieces and spread them over Egypt, Isis, goddess of family, found and reassembled thirteen body parts. She used a human substitute to replace the fourteenth missing part, where his godly power is stored.

Love blooms between the charming Osiris and Isis as they fight evil gods and search for the missing member, but can Isis forgive the sins of his past and their unexpected consequences?

This book is dedicated to the many friends, readers and fans who love Ancient Egypt, a fabulous civilization, shrouded in mystery, glamour and mysticism.

Warning: Mona writes the "spicier" type of romances


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