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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Music to Eat By

I'm stuck on my current WIP.  I have to rewrite a fairy banquet scene and my imagination is letting me down.  I can't see the scene, hear the music, or smell the food.  Nothing comes to mind. Most of the time I can resolve a problem in a day or two. But this issue has lingered for three weeks with no progress.

I think my playlist is missing a song.  Something to inspire unique fairy dishes my human heroine can sink her teeth into.  Despite having 27 songs in this playlist, nothing matches the tone of this scene.  Even Pat Benatar and Roxette, my favorites, have let me down.

I need a song which leaves an impression of bright colors and sweet, fairy foods. I need your help with some ideas.  What are your favorite songs about food or inspire you to eat?
Monday, February 25, 2013

Just Goes to Show

That you should never put off til tomorrow what you should do today. Take me for instance, I've been iced under in my house since Thursday. I thought, nah, I've got plenty of time to get a blog post up. Here I am, Johnny-come-lately. *head hand of shame*

But being the recipient of sleet and ice in my house wasn't so bad. I had edits to do on my upcoming release of the third book in my Legends & Lovers series, The Turncoat's Temptress. From today it's 49 days until the release. I'm nervous, excited, and anxious to release it into the world. How about a little taste? Here's the first official excerpt.


Basil took his hand away from her face and reached inside his coat. He pulled out the tintype, bent, worn, a little faded, and set it on the table.
A younger Nora smiled up at them. Her mind pulled her back to the day the image was taken. When she thought she'd known what the world was about and love was the only thing that mattered. Basil had stood behind the photographer, making silly faces, trying to get her to laugh. She'd mastered her emotions and arranged her face in what she'd hoped was a seductive pose. After the flash of powder, she'd blinked away the light and found Basil looking at her with unmasked passion.
The heat of that look stayed with her. She still felt it, curling at her like flames over paper. It was different than the look he gave her now, but the old spark was there.
“You kept it because it reminded you that there's still some good in the world. And I wonder if you hoped that someday you might come back to it.” She stared at him daring him to deny it.
“I tried a dozen times that summer to tell you why I was at Brighton Manor. What I was. Who I was. Christopher and your grandmother both warned me not to. That it would only frighten you. So in the end I kept the secret.” He gazed down at the photograph then ran his finger along the edge. “Why haven't you run away yet? All this talk of fairytale creatures and the supernatural. Most women wouldn't stay.”
“I'm something of an oddity, Tinwhistle. I think you'd have learned that by now.” She touched the image. “We're magnets. Stuck together in this. Sometimes we might get flipped over, might push away from each other, but we'll always come back.”

Blurb:

Basil Tinwhistle's life changed when he was nine years old and he revealed that he had a proclivity for finding the paranormal. Taken from his family and raised by a special order of men dedicated to memorizing legend and hunting monsters, he's risked life and limb to keep the United States safe from terror in the night. More than that, he left behind the only woman who ever held his heart.

Nora Frost's parents abandoned her in favor of pursuing a sideshow career in a circus. Her grandmother raised her with a strict hand to prevent history from repeating itself. Nora has never felt comfortable with herself, except for the brief summer Basil spent at her grandmother's antebellum mansion. When Basil vanished without a word, he broke her heart and she vowed never to fall in love again.

Years later, on one of Nora's worst days, Basil suddenly reappears. The attraction between them is as strong as it was that long ago summer, but Basil is about to reveal a danger Nora never imagined—one that might tear them apart before they can repair the past.

It's official release date is April 16, 2013.

I also blog at Have Novel, Will Edit. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and G+.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CHANGES

There are a LOT of changes happening in my life right now. Hubby is planning to retire soon and we'll be relocating to warm, sunny Florida  from the currently cold, grey Ohio. In preparation for this we listed our house for sale. Now, any of you who've ever sold a house or watched Home & Garden TV, know that selling a house, especially in today's market, is much more complicated than just slapping a FOR SALE sign on the front lawn. First you have to "de-clutter," which essentially means stripping your living space of anything personal, anything that makes living in it easier or comfortable, including things like your toothbrush, hairbrush, and other personal care items. Of course, once you hide them away it's almost impossible to remember where they are.

Next you have to "stage" your house, so it looks like a freaking model home. You have to wipe everything down every morning. I know, doesn't everyone clean their sinks, toilets, stoves, etc. after each use? Dust. Vacuum - need those nice vacuum cleaner lines in the carpet.

Then you sit and wait for total strangers to want to come tromping through your nice, clean house with their dirty feet. And on top of that, while they're in your house you have to leave. We've been down this road twice before, so I knew what to expect - weeks, if not months of waiting and leaving. Guess what? The house sold in less than a week. The third couple bought it before we even had the first Open House.

Here are a couple of pictures of the house.




 This sounds like great news, doesn't it? Well, sort of. Because we expected there'd be a couple of weeks, to a month before we got an offer, we figured we'd have time to go on down to Florida and find a house there. Believe me, you don't want to have to put your whole household in storage. It's freaking expensive. With such a quick sale we ran into a time crunch. Fortunately, the buyers were agreeable to extending by a month the day they take possession. Whew!

In the middle of all this work and emotional upheaval our youngest son (he's 29) ran away from home. At least that's what my husband calls the fact that our son decided to find his own apartment rather than relocate with us down to Florida. We spent the weekend the house was on the market moving him out of his room and across town into an apartment. This was physically and emotionally exhausting.

Now don't think I've forgotten about writing. Well, maybe a little bit. I did manage to finish and publish a short contemporary St. Patrick's Day story LUCKY'S LEPRECHAUN. It's available for .99 from Amazon and through Smashwords.

http://www.amazon.com/Luckys-Leprechaun-Holiday-Council-ebook/dp/B00BAVPW9M
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/282144



  A Holiday in Council Falls Short Story
7,000 Words

Lucky no longer believes in wishes, hope or dreams. Cheated by his bookkeeper and his ex-girlfriend, he's resigned himself to losing everything.

Twenty-five years ago curiosity about a small human trapped Diamond, a leprechaun, inside a crystal paperweight. Now she has one day left to grant Lucky his final wish or perish.

Can a chance meeting between a little boy and a leprechaun result in love?
Friday, February 15, 2013

New Release

I'm very happy to say that my latest, a Valentine's Day themed romantic comedy is now available.



How's a girl supposed to stay single with the entire town wants her married? Alessa Lombard has a plan to avoid the marriage trap. It's not that she's opposed to marriage. Wedded bliss if fine for other people. Now all she needs is the help of the town's newest bachelor to help pull off a fake romance.

Determined to fall in love, Sloan Dugan immigrates to the magical town of Amores.  Surely in the town devoted to love, he'll find a woman who doesn't use trickery and deceit.

But Cupid has other plans. Soon Alessa and Sloan will find themselves playing the game of love. Will winner take all?
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Memories

What are my favorite valentine memories?  Well there was on year that I had bought my dear husband a windsurfer.  Not muchs in the way of liquid water in Colorado in December.  We decided to go to Arizona for  Valentines Day.  I took a couple of days vacation and off we went.

It was a blizzard the day we left Denver.  An actual blizzard.  It too us 2 hours to reach the southside of town and get on our way.


We stayed with my husband's sister, Connie.  She knew how my husband could get and wasn't that surprised to see us show up on her doorstep.


Arizona is interesting in winter.  Connie called herself a desert rat.  It was February and 70 degrees.  Jim and I are loving it, running around in shorts and tank tops.  Connie is wearing jeans and a heavy coat.  Cracked me up.  The looks we got from people as we went into the convenience store was priceless.  They looked at us like we were crazy and I'm sure we looked back at them the same way.


So tell me what is your favorite or strangest valentine memory.  I'd love to know.


My latest book doesn't have any Valentine memories but it does have some hot encounters.  I hope you'll check it out.




Blurb:
They stole her love, her life and want to steal the secrets secured in her mind. Secrets that could topple world governments and decimate quadrant security forever.  Now she’s on an epic quest to find out why and make those responsible pay.

Honora Reyestat gave up everything to become a member of the esteemed Gregarian Guard.  No family, no friends, no connections--nothing that can ever be used against her.  Captured and enslaved, she's become a prized gladiator for her master.  Given the task of training a new slave, she recognizes a fellow Zolthor and the son of a tribal leader at that.  Her mission changes from discovery of the enemy's tactics and secrets to returning Joridan to his people.  

Drawn to this fierce woman as no other, Joridan Dolana tries to explain she is wrong.  He's not Zolthor, he's Centauri.  He was raised on Centauri with his sister.  Faced with proof of a father's ultimate betrayal, he must choose between revenge and the protection of this woman who has sworn to never return his love.
Monday, February 11, 2013

Plotting the Romantic sci-fi novella - by Vlijaya Schartz

Novellas are just as difficult as a novel to write or plot. They require the same elements indispensable to any good story. I am back in the groove of writing science fiction, after a stint in Medieval Fantasy, and I love it.

But I realize that my plotting methods are changing. When I started writing, I wrote by the seat of the pants, not knowing where the story would lead me. Then when I had multiple book contracts, I decided to plot my novels. Since I was writing on deadlines, I couldn't afford to write a chapter or two in the wrong direction only to have to delete them later if they didn't fit the new direction of the story. I needed a tighter focus.

While writing my medieval series, I wrote from historical facts, so my job was to make the story enjoyable, believable despite its fantasy slant, and find character motivations for actions already determined by History. That was a different kind of challenge.

Now I use all these tools. I heard recently the term plotting in layers. I like it. I now start with the main characters. I have to know them before I start writing anything. I know the main plot line and twists. I know how it's going to end. I know the characters' internal conflicts. I have a starting point.

Then I start to write. It's a little scary, and the first draft is skinny bones. I'm only on Chapter 2 of Borealis 9 (no definite title yet), and I can feel the flow of ideas rolling in. The plot thickens is not just an expression. It's turning from a light broth to a hearty soup and eventually a rich stew.

In any case, I'm enjoying the process. I'll keep you updated on this experience.

In the meantime, you can read my previous contribution to the Borealis Space Station Universe, BLACK DRAGON, from Desert Breeze Publishing.

BLACK DRAGON
A Borealis Novella
by Vijaya Schartz


A dandy is cheating in a gambling 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, intends 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, however, her reaction surprises everyone, most of all herself.

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Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
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Friday, February 8, 2013

Science Fiction Romance Anime


While anime (Japanese animated comics, films, and video games) tends to be geared for the younger crowd, it's still worth a look when it comes to the creative expression of Science Fiction Romance. Plus, getting the kiddos hooked early on a good SFR story pays off well into adulthood :)

Here's a look at some popular anime media (list from Screen Junkies):





The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. This anime film is about a girl who discovers she can time travel, the challenges she faces and the love she finds along the way. The movie was named Best Animation Film by the Japanese Academy Awards.





Metropolis. A boy and his uncle must learn the secrets about a mysterious, beautiful robot girl. This movie won Best Animation Feature from the Fant-Asia Film Festival and from the Online Film Critics Society. 



Howl's Moving Castle. This action adventure anime with elements of romance is the story of a young woman who needs a young wizard to break the curse that has been put upon her. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Looking Back at a Year of Doing Big, Fun, Scary Things

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. It's a hair early, but there's always room for love.

I'm happy to report that I managed to rewrite and finish that novel I deleted accidentally on purpose. January was a great month for writing for me. I've even had time to read over it once and I'm relieved that it isn't as bad as it could be for a second first draft. It's not due out until this fall, so I have plenty of time to edit it. It's the fourth book in the Legends & Lovers series, more mythical beasties, but this time one with a heart as opposed to creatures bent on evil. It was quite the challenge and even though it gave me a lot of grief, I'm happy where it eventually ended.

I mentioned last month that I have a lot going on this year. The Turncoat's Temptress, my third book is coming out in April and I'm working on edits, promo and marketing for that. Looking back on where I was this time last year, it's hard to think that I'll have three out when last year I was just getting started in self-publishing. I still think of myself as that debut author. It's a stretch to imagine that by the beginning of next year, probably around this same time when the fifth book comes out, the series will be over.

One of my beta readers keeps nudging me toward adding more books. Don't let it end, she says. There's potential for a lot more. She's right, but I'd hate to be accused of overkill.

I'm between things right now, editing The Turncoat's Temptress, finishing a historical romance I abandoned in order to take on the L&L series in 2010, plotting the fifth book. In the foreseeable future, I can't even imagine starting another steampunk, either stand alone or a series. I'm not even sure I want to write another series for a while, although I have an idea for a trilogy.

It's a little scary, this ending a series thing. For me, the thrill of writing the book, sharing little snippets as I go, is a lot more exciting that putting a book out there. After NaNoWriMo is over, they have a topic on the forum called The Year of Doing Big, Fun, Scary Things. I feel like I've really reached that point. There are still tons of things to do, but there's so much scary stuff left over.

And I'm looking forward to it. The second year in self-publishing is bound to be interesting.




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