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.