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Monday, July 31, 2017

Moving is such a hassle... by Vijaya Schartz

My cat Jasmine was very upset when she saw all the books disappearing from the shelves, and many of the small furniture, wall pictures and mirrors vanish from what had been her home for the past three years. And what was that strange contraption on the patio? It looked like a cage!

I only moved a mile and a half away, and I had a month to make the move, so I took my time carrying out the small stuff myself. Never would I have guessed I had accumulated so many things in the short three years I lived there.
So upset was Jasmine by the time the movers came, she hid in the cupboard under the bathroom sink for the entire duration.

Finally, at the end of the major moving day, I went to pick up Jasmine. The poor thing didn't want to come out from under the sink. After much coaxing, she finally stepped out, only to bolt back to her hiding place when she realized the entire apartment was now empty.
After much effort, that included crawling under the bathroom sink, I retrieved my reluctant little kitty (not so little, as she is a well fed cat) and managed to get her into the carrier under violent protests.
The short drive to the new place was punctuated by much complaining from Jasmine, in the carrier belted onto the passenger seat. She never liked riding in a car and let me know it loud and clear.
 
Finally, I took her out of the car and carried her upstairs. When I opened the carrier, she immediately stepped out then looked around. Realizing all her favorite things were here, she started purring and exploring, with her tail up, like a happy cat. My new residence, another small apartment, was now packed with boxes and piles of books.
The furniture, bought to fit the previous place, did not fit as well in the new rooms. Although of similar size, the different dimensions and proportions of the rooms did not allow for the same setup.  I had to try several configurations, as the one I had originally intended did not look good once in place. But Jasmine had already found her favorite spots. She loves windows and here there are tall trees, and birds in them. Free TV for cats!


The worst part for me was to live without internet service or TV for over a week. But after all these details were resolved, Jasmine and I are ready to enjoy our new place. Here she is, at home at last, enjoying the recliner, like any spoiled cat must.
As for me, I'll soon be back to writing, once I catch up with all my emails and social media obligations... and up to date with all my changes of address. Moving is definitely a major event, no matter that it was only a mile and a half away.
Keep up with my books on my website:
 Vijaya Schartz
 Action, Romance, Mayhem
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More than a Story: The Influences of an Author

More than a Story: The Influences of an Author
By S.E. Smith

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish a dictatorship... George Orwell (1903-1950)

This quote is powerful, not just for the words, but for the power behind the meaning it contains. I was originally going to write a different post, one about the strength of having strong characters, but a brief conversation about history quickly changed my focus. Who and what we are is made up of our individual experiences. Even a brief moment can change the direction of our thoughts and in some way our lives. This is why it is important to be a reflective person, one who stops and thinks about the information they are receiving, researches more, and still remains the skeptic, for those that are skeptical are less likely to be influenced by those that have their own agenda.

Authors throughout history have had a powerful influence on the world as a whole. These are the individuals who can capture the stories, the emotions, and the impact of the events that they experience and document them in a way others can understand - whether it be at the present time or in the future. For many authors, they were/are criticized for speaking out about the behavior of those they met or the treatment of other people. 

A personal story that reflects human behavior:

My husband shared this simple story about an account during his younger years. When he was in his late teens he worked for a large company that was developing land that would later become Port St. Lucie. One incident still remains a pertinent reminder of the class division that we are facing almost 45 years later. He and several other of his coworkers were working on installations. They wore uniforms, so they were nicely dressed, but the nature of the job meant that they would get dusty and somewhat dirty. Near their job site was a restaurant that catered to the public. Over the course of a few weeks, they would stop there for lunch until one specific day that still resonates in my husband's mind.

That day came when he and the others were eating and he noticed a table with four men staring at them. One man in particular glared with such distaste, such animosity, that it was impossible to ignore. Those men, and that one in particular, looked down at my husband and the hardworking men he was with as being below them, someone of less worth, less value, thus unworthy of being in that public restaurant having a meal. 

The next day, my husband's boss told him and the others that they were not allowed to eat at the restaurant again because someone had called to complain. In that moment, my husband whom I hadn't met at the time, faced discrimination. 

These stories and others should be shared and should be used as a lesson as to how easy it is to discriminate against another. What disturbed me the most about this story was that one man could have so much influence, while four others stood back and let it happen. This is what happens when people refuse to stand up. This is what happens when people refuse to reflect on what one person’s behavior can do to society. This event happened well over forty years ago, but it still has an impact on the life it touched and the lives my husband shared this story with. As an author, it is my responsibility, my duty to write down these stories to preserve them in the hopes that others will read it, get mad, take a stand, and put themselves in the other person's position - for if you won't stand up for someone else, there will come a time when there is no one to stand up for you.

S.E. Smith is a New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author who encourages readers to reach for the stars and embrace the action, adventure, family, friendship, and true love that is found in the worlds she creates. http://sesmithfl.com






Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SFR - Readers Who Never Knew Science Fiction Romance Could Be So Good!

SFR - Readers Who Never Knew Science Fiction Romance Could Be So Good!
By S.E. Smith

I remember when I received the email asking me to contact a New York Literary Agent like it was yesterday. I was surprised and confused how he could have found me. A phone call clarified it - I had made the USA TODAY Bestseller's List with Hunter's Claim: The Alliance Book 1. 


I later made the New York Times for Twin Dragons: Dragon Lords of Valdier Book 7 and for Dagger's Hope: The Alliance Book 3, as well as, the USA TODAY list more than a dozen times thanks to readers who are loving SFR. What was surprising is I was making the lists in a genre that Traditional Publishers still refuse to recognize! Both publishers and advertising venues like to group SFR in with PNR (Paranormal Romance). Science Fiction Romance authors like myself like to argue that our stories aren't Paranormal, even if the stories contain elements of PNR in it. It is modern SFR. I think one of the sweetest posts I received was from another SFR author who was ecstatic that I had not only made the list with a SFR book, but I did it without having to discount the book price. 

Why am I sharing this amazing story with you? Well, there is a very good reason - Science Fiction Romance if you have never read it or read it years ago is nothing like it used to be. My stories are filled with action, adventure, suspense, humor, and romance. Yes, you get to laugh your head off when the alien is standing there scratching his head and wondering what the heck is going on! The heroines are not the ones being saved, but doing a fair amount of saving themselves. The stories are about finding love in the stars and trying to make it work. It is about friendships, losses, and dealing with families that are like ours, but different. How would you react if your child turned out to be a Dragonling, a tiger cub, or could harness the energy around her? 

SFR is about finding love in a vast universe where we are not alone. Sometimes it is a scary place, sometimes a fun and adventurous one. From first contact to standing up and facing an alien civil war because you believe in the people who are looking to you to help save their worlds, romance among the stars had evolved to a whole new level. Readers who have never read SFR or said they never liked it are now telling me they can't get enough OF it! So, if you haven't picked up a great SFR, you might want to give it a try again. 

For some free SFR to get you started, check out: http://sesmithfl.com/free-books-reads/


S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.

Readers can check out her website at http://sesmithfl.com and chat with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/se.smith.5.

Highlights:
New York Times Bestselling Author
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
Amazon International Bestselling Author
2016 The Wishing Shelf Book Award Gold Winner and Finalist for YA
2016 Library Journal Best Book - Top 5 Pick
2014 & 2015 RomCon Reader Crown Award Winner
Indie Reader Top 5 Author - Pets in Space Anthology
2014 International TKH Science Fiction Writer of the Year Award Winner
2014 SFR Galaxy Award Winner Best New SFR Series



Monday, April 10, 2017

Seen the movie MILLENNIUM - by Vijaya Schartz

Made in 1989, from an award-winning short story, Millennium features Cheryl Ladd and Kris Kristofferson. 


In this movie, time travelers from a bleak future (one millennium ahead) have lost their reproductive abilities. They go back through time, to abduct passengers of planes about to crash, and replace them by lookalikes, in hopes to restart the Human race.
 The oldest humans alive in the future are kept in tanks with skin grafts and tubes keeping them alive.
 
The hero (Kris Kristofferson) is the crash investigator, baffled by some of the details found in the black box recordings, and by some devices found in the wreckage.
 The heroine (Cheryl Ladd)  is a time traveler observing the investigation. When errors are made, and futuristic devices are left behind, endangering the timeline, the heroine must manipulate the investigator any which way she can, even sexually... which makes for a funny dialogue, as she is inexperienced and unaware of the dating customs of the time.


Watching her eat an apple is priceless. Useless to say they fall in love... which complicates matters... a lot.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, including the ending, but although it was optimistic, it deprived the viewer of what kind of future they would have together. I would have liked a glimpse of their happily ever after... just to satisfy the romance reader in me.

Vijaya Schartz, author
Romance with a Kick
Monday, March 13, 2017

FEARLESS HEROINES - by Vijaya Schartz



At one time in my writing career, I looked at the covers of my books and realized on each of them was a young woman with a gun. So I decided I was writing girls with guns, then girls with swords and blasters. Now, as I write in different genres, including medieval fantasy, it's Romance with a Kick.

When we say fearless, we are not talking about the absence of fear. Everyone has fears, it's ingrained in our DNA. Fear protects us from doing dangerous things. Those who have no fear at all die young. When fear threatens to overcome you, the trick consists in finding peace and clarity of mind, despite overwhelming or dangerous circumstances, and overcome fear in order to do what needs to be done.


 

I remember being about twelve, doing handstands in our small apartment, late at night. On the way down, my bare foot hit a heavy ceramic bowl, which broke, and a large shard gouged a hole in the top of my foot. Blood everywhere... for the first time in my life I saw my mother paralyzed by fear, babbling, unable to function. She could hardly breathe, she was so upset she couldn't think clearly. We had no phone, there was no 911 then. We had no car, it was a small town in France.

So, I remembered my martial arts teacher saying "Stay calm. Think. What needs to be done? Do it." So I did. I told my mother to get out of the room. I took a few slow breaths, then calmly asked my sister to get the first aid kit. I cleansed the wound with alcohol and bandaged the foot tightly to stop the flow of blood. Then I cleaned the blood in the living room. The next morning, I walked to the doctor's office and the doctor stitched me up. I carried a big scar on my foot for decades.

 Of course, some of us are thrill seekers. Conquering fear has become a hobby of mine: jumping free fall out of perfectly good planes, braving the river wild, fighting opponents three times my size just to see if I can do it. I have to mention I stand barely 5 feet and a hundred and five pounds (on a good day) and was always picked by my various martial arts teachers for the time honored David and Goliath demonstration.

Skill, speed, balance, training, coordination, foreknowledge of the enemy, endurance, will power, clarity of mind, these are the elements of victory over fear. These are what drives a champion to the Olympic gold, what makes a fictional character worthy, what makes a soldier lethal. Although, in a soldier's case, there is something to be said for a good exoskeleton... especially on alien planets where gravity can play tricks on your balance.

MY TECHNIQUE TO BECOME FEARLESS IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS:

1 - Take a few slow breaths, calm your mind, slow your heart, stop and focus
2 - What needs to be done?
3 - What's the most effective way to do it?
4 - Got it? Now, Just do it.

You may be tempted to think of the worst that can happen. Forget the consequences. Get over it. Do what needs to be done. Whether or not you become a hero, you'll have the satisfaction of having done the right thing.

It's that simple. I said simple, I never said it would be easy. Good luck.


  Vijaya Schartz
  Romance with a Kick

  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Back to Science Fiction... sort of... by Vijaya Schartz

Although I'm itching to write science fiction again, after a long series of medieval fantasy romance, I find it difficult to leave the wonderful world of immortals with strange powers. So, I decided to write a science fiction romance series involving a planet where the inhabitants have angelic abilities.

I call the series: AZURA-5 ANGEL PLANET. Book One will be ANGEL MINE, and it involves a kick-butt female bounty hunter and an angelic alien. I only wrote the first chapter, and I love them already and can't wait to develop their story. I even have these characters in mind. Yes, the big cat is also a character. What do you think? I hope the cover designer for my publisher chooses to use the pictures I selected, or something similar.



Here is the blurb (so far).

What in the frozen hells of Laxxar prompted Fianna to pursue her quarry to this forbidden blue planet? Well, she needs the credits... badly. But as if crashing in the jungle wasn't bad enough, none of her high-tech weapons work. She'll have to go native, after the most wanted felon in five galaxies. It's not just her job. It's personal.

Acielon has never seen an outworlder like this fascinating female, strangely beautiful, and fierce, like the feline predator loping at her side. He always dreamed of exploring the universe, despite the legends... and the interdiction. Is it truly a hellish place of violence, lies and suffering? If it spawned this intriguing creature, it must also be a place of wonders, adventure and excitement...

Fianna's hunter instincts tell her someone is watching. Sheba, her telepathic feline partner, doesn't seem worried... yet, something on Azura isn't quite right.

The book will probably come out in the summer of 2017. In the meantime, you can read my other science fiction romances in ebook or print from these distributors. 

HAPPY READING!

  Vijaya Schartz
  Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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