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


At Ellora’s Cave Blush:

Friday, July 1, 2011


Most readers do not really understand the concept of science-fiction Romance. And if you like my books, I invite you to read this romantic novel from a fellow author who excells in this particular genre. This is an oldie but a goodie, available in mass market paperback, kindle, nook, and every eBook format from your favorite supplier. It's one I like to reread, mainly after I read something I didn't really cared for.

FINDERS KEEPERS by Linnea Sinclair

Independent trader Trilby Elliot is making some not-quite-legal modifications to her starfreighter, when an unexpected visitor falls out of space. Literally. He’s crashed onto the uninhabited planet of Avanar in a crippled ’Sko fighter–the last place you’d expect to find a Zafharin military officer because the ’Sko and the Zafharin have been at war as long as Trilby can remember. 
Rhis Vanur is your typically arrogant Zafharin. But to Trilby’s surprise, he doesn’t look down on her or her slapdash ship. Still, Trilby’s learned the hard way that even though she found Rhis, she can’t keep him. She’s just a low-budget jump jockey as far as men like him are concerned. She’s not falling for his offer to help…until Port Rumor reports her best friend missing and Trilby learns that the ’Sko are hunting both her and Rhis. Now they’re in it together for better, for worse–or till death blasts them to oblivion....

About the Author

Winner of the prestigious national book award, the RITA, science fiction romance author Linnea Sinclair has become a name synonymous for high-action, emotionally intense, character-driven novels. Reviewers note that Sinclair’s novels “have the wow-factor in spades,” earning her accolades from both the science fiction and romance communities. A former news reporter and retired private detective, Sinclair resides in Naples, Florida with her husband, Robert Bernadino, and their two thoroughly spoiled cats.
This is a highly recommended read, well written, plenty of action and romance to satisfy readers of either genre. Finders Keepers is definitely a keeper.
Vijaya Schartz
Award-winning Science Fiction and Romance with a Kick