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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Where in the universe would you live?

If you could live anywhere in the universe where would it be? Would you choose Mars where they think they’ve found water? How about Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. I hear it's one of the places on the fast track for colonization.

Me, I’d choose the moon. It’s close. It’s familiar and it would be easier to build livable domes or something similar because getting supplies there would be shorter and easier. Of course, we’d need to build a spaceship that could land and take off with ease. Maybe something like the Harrier plane/helicopter.

The moon is close enough you could come home for visits, kind of like if you lived in South America or Europe.

Plus think of the view. You can see that beautiful, big blue marble every day.
Monday, October 28, 2013

CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK - discounted on Amazon - By Vijaya Schartz

Don't miss this opportunity. The entire award-winning sci-fi romance series CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK is discounted on Amazon kindle, and paperbacks. $3.99 for the eBook instead of $5.99 everywhere else in all formats, and only $8.99 each for the paperback edition.
Find the entire series at these bargain prices HERE
Start with NOAH'S ARK (prequel)
Book One - White Tiger
Book Two - Red Leopard
Book Three - Black Jaguar
Book Four - Blue Lioness

"Filled with action, adventure, greed, betrayal, and love... Having read the other books in the series, I was anxiously awaiting the prequel and Schartz delivers. She engages the reader right from the opening. Her writing style is crisp and easy to read. Schartz excels at world building as she layers the humans' discoveries... The dialogue adds a rich authenticity to the story. It's the little touches which bring the humanity into the story from Viking the cat to Tabor's horseback riding lessons... "  Five stars  Sally Pink Reviews

"Wow! Talk about a real page turner! I absolutely Adored Blue Lioness. Ms. Schartz is an incredible storyteller with a very big imagination... kept me turning the pages late into the night, because I was desperate to see if Ariela and Starro were going to get their happy ending... stellar world building, and a beautiful love story, oh, and sentient big cats... you do not want to miss this one. I for one am going to go out and buy the rest of the books in this series, and I encourage you to do so as well, Ms. Schartz is not to be missed!"
Coffee Time Romance


Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, swords, romance with a kick 
Amazon  -  B&N   

Friday, October 25, 2013

Moony For Love

Did you all see that moon October 19-20? It was nearly red as it crept past the horizon, then turned orange as it rose, finally becoming the usual white high in the sky. 

Also known as a Full Hunters Moon, its technical term is a waning gibbous moon. Not quite as romantic.

And a full orange moon is romantic. In addition to the lunar pull that affects the 70% of water in the human body as it does the tides, it's a perfect symbol for celestial love and lunar romance. 

Here are a few sci-fi explorations of moonrise love... including a title by our own Linda Andrews.
Blue Maneuver: The extraterrestrials have landed and they're human.
Rae Hemplewhite didn't believe in aliens until a close encounter with out-of-this-world technology drags her into the extraterrestrial security program. Helping alien refugees adjust to life on Earth is difficult enough, but her first clients have a price on their heads. Plus, her new partner seems torn between the urge to kiss her or kill her.
And that's the good news.
The bad news: Alliances are forming in deep space. If Rae doesn't keep her witnesses alive long enough to transfer their top secret information to the right faction of humanity, Earth will become a battlefield. 

For other sci-fi and paranormal reads, click here to see an Amazon list.

Probably one of the most famous moon romance films is Moonstruck:

"The moon brings the woman to the man, capiche?" 

For other moon-based films, click here.

A big moon makes people a little looney (get it?). Mix that with love, and the story lines are endless...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Science Fiction Tropes

Female Android Robot in Space Station courtesy of Victor Habbick via 
What's your favorite trope? Is there one that makes you cringe every time you see it used (AGAIN?!). Of course, even the most tired tropes can sometimes be reinvented and become fan favorites. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here are a few that leap to mind:

1. Alien comes to earth and falls in love or befriends a little kid.
2. Virtual reality interface somehow becomes real, or you find out at the end that none of what you just read was real because all the characters were in a virtual reality.
3. Aliens come to earth to take our resources because their world has been depleted. (Riiiiight--they want our fossil fuels. How else will they get home?)
4. Computers used to protect/help humans become power-hungry sentient beings, or they decide to kill off the human race because it has become too corrupt.
5.  Robots going all Frankenstein on their creators/mankind.
6.  Alien abductions.
7.  Aliens using humans as game.
8.  Time travel used to avoid a catastrophe, or to improve a person's future.
9.  Earth governments are really made up of alien beings and they have a nefarious plan they've been sitting on for centuries. Well, judgement day just came, you sorry bastards.
10. A normal guy suddenly discovers he is the chosen one. He learns to harness powers he lived 18 years without realizing he had, and recruits a group of misfits to eventually overthrow the alien evil doers hell-bent on destroying his planet for no good reason.

So, what are some of your favorite/least favorite tropes? :-)

-Kimber Vale

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A "Soul-Mate" Isn't What You Might Think...

Obviously, I love a good old-fashioned romance.  Boy meets girls.  Love at first sight.  Fairy tale ending and everyone lives happily ever after.  Right?  That's all the rage in romance novels.  There are a variety of ways to label this phenomenon: lifemate, soul-mate, kismet, fated-mate, etc...especially in the paranormal genre.  We've got a very firm grasp on the idea of one true love that was destined, fated, and meant-to-be.

And maybe that's true for some.

Maybe it's not.

But either way, I think soul-mate may be the incorrect label for that kind of true-love, romantic relationship.  True love is amazing, wonderful and miraculous, don't get me wrong.  But that's not what I believe a true soul-mate is.

So, if that's NOT what a soul-mate is, you may be wondering how, exactly, I DO apply that label.  Well, here goes:

1 - A soul mate is someone from whom you truly hide nothing of yourself because they SEE you, and they understand.
2 - A soul mate connection is so strong, so unbreakable a bond that you know it will survive anything, and I do mean literally anything, life can throw at it - Divorce.  Death of loved ones.  Cancer.  Drug addiction.   Old age.  Job loss.  Loss of faith in oneself or the world.  Depression.  All tremble in fear at the power of this bond.  It is truly unbreakable. Invincible.  A miracle.
3 - A soul mate knows you better than anyone on this Earth (including the significant other you may be sleeping with and/or married to)
4 - A soul mate loves you, and you them, no matter what.  Warts and all (and they see all the warts.)
5 - A soul mate has your back.  Period.  Homeless?  No problem, stay as long as you like.  No job?  She'll help you find one.  Need a kidney?  She'll give you one.  Depressed?  She'll come drag your sorry hide out of bed.  Lost?  She'll find you.  Losing faith in yourself?  She will forever believe in you.

Who is this person, you  might ask?  Well, if you're very lucky, the first one is your mother.  If you're doubly lucky, you'll have a sibling that's a true friend.  Not a  lot of us are so lucky.  And if you are truly blessed, you'll have a friend so true that you know you'll never, ever be facing this life alone - no matter what happens.  Whole new spin on the term "BFF."

I've been well and blessed.  My mom was amazing.  And my BFF was a true soul-mate.  They both just "got" me.  I lost both to breast cancer, one this year, and I still miss them dearly.  But I will see them again, and I know they are both cheering me on from the other side.

The point?  This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - go get your mammogram.  Stay here a while longer.   I'd bet you've got people who need you.

~Michele Callahan

RED NIGHT (Timewalker Chronicles, Book 1)
SILVER STORM (Timewalker Chronicles, Book 2)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


My birthday falls near the end of October, so when I was young I loved Halloween. Every year my birthday party was a costume party. My younger brother's birthday is also in October and we're only two years apart, so Mom insisted that we celebrate with one big gathering of all our friends. Saved her time, money and clean up. The family party was held separately and earlier in the month and costumes weren't worn, much to the disappointment of my cousins and me.

But for the kid party our friends came dressed as cowboys, Indians, spacemen, fairies, and some things I'm not sure of. As the birthday girl I reserved the privilege of being the one and only witch. When I was very young I chose to be the ugly, wart covered kind. But as I got older and boys started to interest me my witch got less warty and a bit slinkier. Back then (in what my children refer to as the Dark Ages) no one dressed up as super heroes other than Superman or Batman and no one ever thought of coming as some movie star or sport figure. And the only monsters were the classic Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy.

If the weather allowed we held the party outside. We jumped in the leaves my dad had raked for that purpose, played Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and blind man's bluff. We dunked for apples and ate hot dogs, potato chips, and birthday cake. If Mother Nature refused to cooperate we moved inside my parents' tiny house and proceeded to destroy it. Mom always prayed for good weather.

When my two boys were young I tried to recreate the sweetness of those Halloweens. But either my memories were flawed, times had changed or my boys just weren't interested in good old fashioned fun. They preferred rough and tumble games like laser tag and paint ball, and costumes that featured fake blood and gore with body parts hanging or missing. Tricks proved more irresistible than treats, especially to the neighbor boys.

I could live with the TP decorating my trees and having my car picked up and turned sideways in the driveway. Even the condom (fortunately unused) stretched over the front doorknob didn't sour me on Halloween. But did you know that eggs tossed against wood siding or your car will eat off paint?

As the years went by Halloween turned from an anticipated event to a dreaded one. The costumes seemed to get gorier and grosser, skimpier and sexier. Then there was the whole tainted treats scare. Razor blades in apples. LSD coated candy. Where I used to make homemade treats like caramel apples and popcorn balls, now I was forced to buy prepackaged candy from the store, and check each piece my boys brought home before they could eat it. Probably not a totally bad thing since I could monitor how much they ate and when they ate it. Yeah, right. The growing cynic in me wondered if the whole scare wasn't just a promotional tool of the candy companies.

Once my boys outgrew the need to dress up in costume and go out to terrorize the neighborhood under the guise of begging for candy, Halloween slipped further down the list of my favorite holidays. Giving out candy meant spending my afternoon and evening jumping up every few minutes to answer the door. If I decided not to hand out the sweet stuff I risked having my house egged, porch light broken or garbage strewn across the porch by angry teenagers much too old to be out Trick or Treating.

Each year that passed whittled away at my affection for Halloween. It got so the sight of ghosts, skeletons and monsters decorating the stores made me cringe at the coming of that one night.


That's why I found it strange when I wrote my contemporary romance MAGGIE UNDERCOVER I included a Halloween scene. In that scene the hero takes his young daughter out to Trick or Treat and the heroine joins them. Writing the scene brought back memories of taking my boys out as well as going out as a child. It stirred my old love of dressing up and pretending to be someone or something else for a short period of time and being rewarded for imagination with sweet treats.

Available from Amazon & Smashwords for .99.

So while I still find myself less than fond of the Halloween holiday, I cherish the memory of those past. The experiences I gained from them stirred my creativity, shaped my imagination and helped develop me into the writer I am today.

Hope you enjoy this coming Halloween!
Friday, October 4, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Month-How Dense are You?

My mother is a breast cancer survivor.
So when, a few  years back, I heard that doctors didn't think women should get yearly mammograms, I was quite naturally perturbed. Was this yet another conspiracy to jeopardize women's health for greedy insurance companies to earn a buck? Or did some male legislator/senator decide to bump off an unwanted wife a slow and rather painful way?
And while either of those would make an interesting book, the truth was much more prosaic.  You see, mammograms don't detect cancer in all breast types.
In fact, if you have dense breasts the chances of it finding the tumor while still small are about half.  I have dense breast tissue. So does my mother and one of those fibroids developed into an extremely fast growing cancer.
Of course, half is still better than no chance at early detection, so my doctor and I agreed: Yearly Mammos coupled with an ultrasound it is.
And then, I found this on Ted.
Aside from the bit about a mandatory 40 lbs of pressure for the boobie squish (like to see a guy endure that on his testicles), the information was great and the science was even better.
So, ladies, next time you're doing your yearly check-up, ask what kind of breasts you have. The life you save may be  your own.

Who We Are

This tells about us.