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Monday, September 23, 2019

Living in the past or in the future?

WHITE TIGER on amazon
Free in Kindle Unlimited
A book can take you wherever and whenever you like. We are bound to the present, and the reality of our existence, but when we read, we can escape and learn about a different time and place. Some of us like to revel in the past, others prefer their entertainment in the future. As a historical and science fiction author and fan, I love both… and to me, they are very similar.

Some readers dream about living in slower times, simpler times… when people worked with their hands, and took the time to plant trees, grow their own food, smell the flowers and bake their own bread. Sounds idyllic, right? As writers, however, we have the responsibility to research the period, discover the truth, and write the reality of those times. The people in those days died much younger. Swords didn’t kill as many as automatic guns, but there was also tyranny, social inequalities, enslavement, exploitation, revolutions, famines, pestilences, the din of battle, the smell of horse sweat and burning homes... vultures swooping over gory battlefields. You get the picture.

CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE MEDIEVAL CELTIC LEGENDS SERIES ON AMAZON

Others readers dream of future times, when we have resolved our petty differences, to explore the confines of space in shiny starships and establish colonies on faraway planets. It also sounds good... until we realize that space is a dangerous, inhospitable place, and we are not alone out there. Our prejudices now apply to other species we call aliens. Our world may have expanded, but the main conflicts remain the same. Competing for essential resources, survival vs. greed… sounds familiar? Except that the stakes are higher, since our weapons can destroy entire planets.

ANGEL FIERCE
AZURA CHRONICLES
ON AMAZON


Whenever and wherever we are, there is good and evil, courage and cowardice, selflessness and greed… and whether it’s a human or an alien world, conflicts will arise. Which is good for us writers, because without conflict there is no story. I’m often told that my imagination knows no bounds, but to me, writing a story is only a matter of logic. I start from what I know from extensive research, then I put myself in my characters’ shoes, sandals, or combat boots. Who are these people? How do they live? What do they want? What do they fear? Who do they love? Then I live their lives in my head, like a 3D movie, and I write their struggles, hopes, defeats, victories, and rewards. 

I have been known to write action, adventure and romance, featuring fierce women, brave heroes, and cats. These are only a few of my latest releases. Find the full list on my website or on my author page at each retailer below:

amazon  -  B&N  -  Smashwords  -  Kobo  



Vijaya Schartz, author
 Strong heroines, brave heroes, romance with a kick
 www.vijayaschartz.com 
  
Monday, July 29, 2019

The cats are back in space - Chronicles of Kassouk by Vijaya Schartz

I have been accused of having a wild imagination, and I plead guilty. I’m a writer. It comes with the territory. I write strong heroines, brave heroes, and cats.

You may not know it, but in my world, real and imagined, most cats are telepathic and exhibit all kinds of special powers. Some are very judgmental, others just loving, and others yet very food motivated. They can read people’s thoughts and intentions and sense whether a person is good or evil. They can disappear from a room and reappear through closed doors, or vanish entirely… until they decide to re-materialize… usually around meal time. 

Jasmine never misses a meal, no matter how invisible she has become.

As I revisit the Chronicles of Kassouk for their second edition through BWL Publishing, I am thrown again into the sci-fi fantasy world I created for the series, Humans and their cats, fighting for their freedom against technologically advanced aliens with their own agenda. 

In the world of Kassouk, as you can tell by the book covers, cats are an important part of the culture. In Noah’s Ark, the hero’s companion is a fierce domestic cat named Viking. But all the following books eminently feature large felines, kept as pets and trained for battle. These cats are usually loyal companions, often heroic to a fault. 

Noah’s Ark is set against the dramatic background of Human scientists, runaways, fugitives, and settlers crashing on a wintry planet. The title of each following novel is the warrior name of its hero or heroine. White Tiger is the heroine of her book and all the stories after that have a corresponding big cat as a secondary character. In this series, each novel is a complete standalone with its own set of characters, its own romantic story and satisfying ending, and can be read independently from the others. 

  
 

As the population of Kassouk evolves, however, a few long-lived characters and continuing story threads develop through several novels, and have repercussions in more than one story. So, it helps to know what happened before. And if you are like me, you’ll want to read the Chronicles of Kassouk in the right order. 

I am thrilled with the republication of this series. NOAH’S ARK was just released in July 2019. WHITE TIGER is on pre-order, to be released August 1, 2019. And the following titles will come out back to back over the summer – RED LEOPARD – BLACK JAGUAR – BLUE LIONESS – SNOW CHEETAH. 

Here are the specifics of the first two novels currently available. Enjoy the read.





NOAH'S ARK
Chronicles of Kassouk - Prequel
Exclusive on amazon for a short time HERE

When Trixie's starfreighter, Noah's Ark, drops out of jump space in an uncharted part of the universe, she believes the Earth-like planet on her viewer represents hope and salvation for her motley crew and the ragtag settlers aboard her ship.

Kostas, ex Space Marine, the expert survivalist recruited for this expedition, doesn't believe in coincidences, and knows that when something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

Everyone on this voyage to seed a new planet with life, is running from something, and harbors dangerous secrets... including Trixie, who vowed to never let a man control her life again. As for Kostas, he would get lynched on the spot if anyone suspected who he really is.

But on this seemingly abandoned planet, others are watching, herding them for evil purposes... And when the truth emerges and secrets unravel, Trixie and Kostas will have to fight for survival, for freedom, and for the right to love...

"Filled with action, adventure, greed, betrayal, and love..." 5-stars on amazon.



WHITE TIGER
Chronicles of Kassouk Book One
Exclusive on amazon for a short time HERE

On the frozen plains of Kassouk, where a few aliens rule a medieval Human world, Tora, Human warrior trained by tigers, seeks her father’s murderer. But what she finds at the point of her sword confuses her. How dare Dragomir, the handsome Mutant, question her bloodline and her loyalties? And could a new enemy control the savage hordes of the fringe?

Dragomir offers to help, but Humans and Mutants are forbidden to fraternize under penalty of death... Should Tora trust her mind, her instincts, or her heart?

In the vortex of war, treason and intrigue, among blizzards, avalanches and ambushes, Tora sets out to solve the mystery of her father’s death. When she unveils the secret of her birth, she realizes Dragomir is the key, and together, they must save their planet from the invaders and fulfill their destiny... if they can survive dire persecutions from those they mean to protect.

"...an exceptional tale that belongs in a place of honor on keeper shelves everywhere." Coffee Time Romance - 5-cups

"...this is one futuristic that you do not want to miss!" Fallen Angels Reviews - 5 angels - Recommended Read

HAPPY READING!

Vijaya Schartz, author
 Strong heroines, brave heroes, romance with a kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
 amazon  -  B&N  -  Smashwords  -  Kobo  -  FB
Monday, July 1, 2019

Aliens and angels, myths or ancient history? by Vijaya Schartz

Throughout the ancient world, various mythologies feature extraordinary beings with incredible powers, coming from the heavens to teach and help, or chastise the Human race... or to mine some rare metal.

Whether we call them deities or angels, or aliens, or any other name, they look very much like technologically advanced extra-terrestrials, some with blue skin, some with several sets of arms, some with wings, others with animal heads. They taught our ancestors and made a lasting impression upon the minds of the population of the time. So much so that they left us gigantic statues and sculptures to remember them by... not unlike the US presidents immortalized in the rock at Mount Rushmore.

In the ancient Sanskrit texts of India, these beings wield fantastic weapons. There are several factions, and sometimes they wage war in the sky against equally powerful beings from the stars. They ride flying chariots of fire, and inhabit floating cities... not unlike a mother-ship.

Shiva is represented with blue skin and four arms. This protector of India, possessed a weapon so powerful, they named him the destroyer of worlds:



Some of these beings in different cultures are represented with bird heads, some with wings:

Anunnaki ancient Sumeria

Egyptian god Thoth
  
Indian god Garuda


Others have different animal heads, like Ganesha the elephant god, bringer of harmony and happiness in the home.


When you read the Vedas (ancient Sanskrit texts) or ask the people of India about these incredible beings, they will tell you these epic adventures actually took place in their ancient past. According to them, these beings were real and lived among the population of the time, and these are not stories or legends, but their ancient history.

If you want to explore exotic India in an award-winning novel, I suggest this one:

by Vijaya Schartz

A novel of reincarnated love, set in India - Two lovers, murdered in a previous life, meet again in India, where their murderess awaits...

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 Magazine - 5 stars.

Happy Reading!


Vijaya Schartz, author
 Strong heroines, brave heroes, cats, romance with a kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
 amazon  -  B&N  -  Smashwords  -  Kobo  -  FB   
Monday, June 3, 2019

What's this cute kitty doing on my new sci-fi cover? by Vijaya Schartz

Find the links to purchase this book and my other titles from BWL here

What is such a cutie doing on a spaceship? On the cover of a book titled BLACK DRAGON? He is neither black, nor a dragon.


Well, there is an explanation. You see, this kitty's name is Marshmallow, and he is the prized pet of the fierce Black Dragon, code name of an infamous Resistance fighter, escaped from prison, and wanted by the authoritarian regime on several star systems.

Unlike his heroic guardian, Marshmallow is quite spoiled. He loves tuna, loves the ladies, loves angels, loves blue crystal, and no one can resist petting him when he rolls on his back and rounds his blue eyes into pools of cuteness. He also has a special telepathic connection with the hero, and serves as his side-kick in undercover operations. This kitty is the best at distracting the enemy.

But although everyone loves Marshmallow, BLACK DRAGON isn't a story about a cat. It's a sweet sci-fi action romance, set on the Byzantium Space station. Book Two, AKIRA'S CHOICE, is scheduled for release in October 2019.

This space station was previously featured in the Azura Chronicles series, in ANGEL MINE, and ANGEL FIERCE. It will also figure in book 3, ANGEL BRAVE, scheduled for 2020.

 


About Byzantium:

Hovering at the edge of conquered space, in orbit around a dying star, sits an aging space station under the control of the  Galactic Trade Alliance. Byzantium, once a thriving commercial hub, is turning into a den of crime, drugs, and debauchery, where anything or anyone can be bought or sold. The maximum-security penitentiary at its core, the Fortress, is a pit of despair and holds the most dangerous felons in the galaxy. For over a hundred cycles, the GTA has annexed worlds and plundered their resources. It now controls most of the galaxy, except for a few useless rocks and a small number of rebellious planets, who still manage to challenge their military might. But something is coming to upset the balance of power... something the GTA did not foresee.



BLACK DRAGON
Byzantium Book 1
June 7 release, in preorder now

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A gambler is cheating in a den of the Byzantium 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, has come under cover to break his innocent uncle from the most secure penitentiary in the galaxy, the Fortress, on the Byzantium space station. He will stop at nothing to succeed, even enrolling the help of the lovely straight arrow GTA enforcer. 

When Zara realizes that she’s been duped by a shrewd but seductive Resistance fighter, her reaction surprises everyone, most of all herself.


Early reviews:


"I love this one by Vijaya Schartz. As always, her action-packed, well-plotted out prose kept me glued to the pages of Black Dragon from start to finish." TwoLips Reviews 5-kisses a RECOMMENDED READ

"I like the balance of humor and danger in this story, and the action kept me glued to the pages... I enjoyed watching as suspicion turned to admiration, and admiration became the first flickers of love between Czerno and Zara... Pick up a copy of Black Dragon, by Vijaya Schartz, and enter a world of adventure, romance, and a spoiled cat named Marshmallow."  4½ stars Sensual Long And Short Reviews

"Vijaya Schartz is known for her strong female characters and Zara is no exception... gives the reader lots of action and a sweet love story." Single Titles Review 4½ stars

HAPPY READING!

Vijaya Schartz, author
 Strong heroines, brave heroes, cats, romance with a kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Monday, May 6, 2019

Are we becoming cyborgs? by Vijaya Schartz

The future is here. Many of us already have surgical implants, heart valves, pace-makers, artificial knees, bionic legs, hands and arms controlled by the mind. Some have artificial lenses in their eyes, cochlear implants to allow the deaf to hear. 



Science can now regrow in a lab new body parts or make them from biological material with 3D printers.

Babies can be born with the DNA of three parents. Animals have been cloned. Human cloning is illegal, but how long will it take for some governments to secretly grow their own human clones?



In China, tests have proven successful in creating improved babies by replacing DNA strands with stronger ones, or different ones. Soon, parents will be able to have designer babies, choosing the hair and eye color, the physical strength, the intelligence, the immunity to known diseases. 

Nanotechnology (tiny microscopic machines introduced in the blood stream) will allow us to repair or rectify any malfunction in the human body, cure any disease. Some day humans will be quasi-immortals... and part robots. Linking the brain to computers will increase the capacity of the human brain.



The next step will be to produce super-intelligent human beings, super-soldiers, special individuals adapted to live in  specific environments, like space, or on different planets.

These changes are happening quickly and soon, we'll have to deal with the problems of the future. We'll need new laws, new guidelines, to accommodate the progress of science. That's what makes science fiction fascinating.



And if you like reading futuristic fiction, you may want to try my latest series, Azura Chronicles, set on a tropical planet inhabited by angelic beings. amazon  -  B&N  -  Smashwords  -  Kobo

  

There is a planet out in the universe, emitting a strange turquoise glow. A long time ago Azura refused to join the Trade Alliance. The Alliance sent their military fleet to destroy the Azurans, but their powerful supernatural abilities spread fear even among the fiercest Devil Dogs. Since then, records have been erased. Rumors and legends all but died. Azura is strictly forbidden, and the daring few who ventured beyond the warning space beacons were never seen again...

Vijaya Schartz, author
 Strong heroines, brave heroes, romance with a kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Monday, April 8, 2019

Adding the final touches to my next sci-fi romance novel - by Vijaya Schartz


I just finished the sixth or seventh rewrite of Black Dragon, to be released in June, the first book of a new series. It is set on a space station named Byzantium, featured in the Azura Chronicles series, and set in the same universe. Like all my novels, it has a lot of action, adventure, and romance… a courageous heroine, and a brave hero… as well as a spoiled telepathic cat, a white Angora named Marshmallow.

When I went searching for illustrations of my setting, here is what I found: 


 Polishing is my favorite part of writing a book. It has been read by my critique partners and beta readers, and now that I have the finished product, comes the task of making it shine. 

Polishing is the most important part of a writer’s job. It’s an art. It can turn a mediocre first draft into a decent read, and a great story into a fantastic book. But the lack of polish can also destroy a potentially great novel by washing it out, diluting it in too many words, and leaving it vague, ordinary, or forgettable. 

This is the time to deepen the characters, make sure their motivations are on the page, find the secret links and motivations you may have overlooked or understated, show, rather than tell, and deepen the point of view. Ramp up the emotion, or was poetic on some descriptions or feelings, make the setting part of the story, etc. 

The process will take me a month, then the book will go to the editor. If you want a taste, here is what it’s all about: 

Czerno Drake, AKA Black Dragon
A gambler is cheating in a den of the Byzantium 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, has come under cover to break his innocent uncle from the most secure penitentiary in the galaxy, the Fortress, on the Byzantium space station. He will stop at nothing to succeed, even enrolling the help of the lovely straight arrow GTA enforcer. When Zara realizes that she’s been duped by a shrewd but seductive Resistance fighter, her reaction surprises everyone, most of all herself. 

Zara Frankel, undercover security forces

A previous and much shorter edition several years ago, received this review: 

"I love this one by Vijaya Schartz. As always, her action-packed, well-plotted out prose kept me glued to the pages of Black Dragon from start to finish." TwoLips Reviews 5-kisses review and a RECOMMENDED READ


Vijaya Schartz, author
High Octane Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com 
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Monday, March 11, 2019

Imagining and writing the future - by Vijaya Schartz


You can’t stop the proliferation of technology. The visionaries warned us in the nineties that progress would require a severe loss of privacy. They weren’t kidding.

We already have AIs in our homes, who talk back and do our bidding. They tell us when to get the pie out of the oven, when to order more milk and when to change the air filters. They can also record our conversations. The cameras on our computers can be activated without our knowledge. Most houses have motion-activated cameras that capture the life of the entire neighborhood.

Self-driving cars are delivering our groceries.
We can clone body parts. Our cars drive us, not the other way around. We find our mates on dating sites that match our profiles. Our phones have become banking machines, movie screens, and a lifeline to all the people in our lives, whether we know them or not. Our daily lives are displayed for all to see and judge on Social Media. The authorities have access to all this information and our DNA can be used to solve cold cases... 

More and more teenagers who are not strong enough to sustain the pressure and the bullying on Social Media commit suicide. I see it as a gruesome reminder of what unchecked technology can bring to our lives. Or is a natural selection occurring, weeding out those unable to adapt?

Let’s face it. It’s a new era. Where will it stop? What will the future look like? Soon we might improve embryos in the womb, or grow babies in test tubes. We might even make ourselves more intelligent.

Human nature can adapt, but not as fast as our technology. I believe there will be a breaking point, and a severe backlash. Some visionaries believe in robot uprising. It could happen. Or the divide between the rich and the poor will cause a revolution and topple governments. Or a war, or a computer glitch will destroy most of the planet, and leave society in shambles. These are the usual themes of dystopian novels and movies, like the Hunger Games, the Divergent series, the Mad Max series, the Postman, the Terminator series, and many others.


I’m of the opinion that yes, some segments of society might rebel, and no, we will not destroy ourselves or lose all our technology. We shall adapt enough to survive. Then, when space exploration develops and becomes accessible to most, I believe many of us will sail into the unknown, like the adventurers who followed Christopher Columbus, like the pioneers who rode their wagons West. Some will look for riches, others for fame, for adventure, or for knowledge and the study of alien species. Others yet will look for a simpler way of life, for religious tolerance, for a chance to raise their family in peaceful surroundings.

Despite the rapid evolution of our technology, I believe we humans will slowly evolve, but our passions will remain the same. We’ll learn from our mistakes, we’ll love, we’ll fight for our freedom, and we will continue to do so, as long as the human race exists in this universe.

That’s why I enjoy writing the future. No matter what the technology becomes, humans will always be humans.

My latest novel, ANGEL FIERCE, is now available.
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Something’s rotten on the angel planet. When Avenging Angels turn up dead, Urielle, their Legion Commander, suspects the handsome intruder brought unspeakable evil to Azura.

Maksou never met a woman he couldn’t seduce. He came to the forbidden planet to rescue his friends and get rich in the process, but the jungle crawls with lethal life forms… including a gorgeous warrior angel, who saves his life but keeps him prisoner and challenges his irresistible charm.

Urielle, sworn to protect Azura at all costs, has no use for a maverick who ignores the rules and endangers the planet… no matter how attractive. Especially when the Galactic Trade Alliance (GTA) wages a secret war to get their greedy hands on the priceless crystal at Azura’s core.

HAPPY READING!

Vijaya Schartz, author
 Romance with a Kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Monday, February 11, 2019

ANGEL FIERCE, New Release February 2019 from BWL, by Vijaya Schartz


ANGEL FIERCE

Azura Chronicles Book 2
February 2019 - from BWL Publishing
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The story of Urielle the Avenging Angel, and Maksou, Fianna's young brother, both introduced in Book 1, Angel Mine.

All Maksou wanted was to rescue his trapped friends and get rich in the process. But this forbidden blue planet crawls with lethal life forms… including Urielle, a gorgeous angel of frightening power, who saves his life but shuns his irresistible charm.

Urielle, Legion Commander of the Avenging Angels, is sworn to protect Azura at all costs. She has no use for a maverick intruder who ignores the rules and endangers the planet by his very presence… no matter how handsome and charming. Especially when the Galactic Trade Alliance (GTA) wages a secret war to get their greedy hands on the priceless crystal at Azura’s core.

When immortal angels turn up dead, Urielle springs into action… and Maksou is in her line of sight.


Vijaya Schartz, author
 Romance with a Kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Monday, January 14, 2019

The wonderful magic power of deadlines - by Vijaya Schartz

Deadlines can make you do what you thought was impossible. The first time I was given a deadline by a publisher, I panicked. It had taken me eighteen months to write my last book, and I only had six months for this one.  But I didn't want to miss this publishing opportunity, so I signed the contract. Then I realized what a great motivator that deadline provided.

Whether it’s a high stakes countdown in an action novel, or a self-imposed goal, or an imperative work time limit, for some reason, our subconscious treats deadlines like a do or die situation. Unlike new year resolutions, which tend to fade by February, deadlines can motivate us all year long.

If my critique partner didn’t come to my living room every week, I might not have my chapter ready, or the floor might not get cleaned as often. The prospect of taking pictures at holiday parties certainly motivated me to lose the three extra pounds I gained in early fall.



This month, I wrote “the end” on the second book in the Azura Chronicles series, making my January 1st deadline, and it’s a good feeling. Last year, without a specific deadline, it took me much longer to write the first book. I discovered that deadlines not only keep me on schedule, but they sharpen my focus on my story and characters. They force me to stay the course. Next to my wall calendar are reminders of my deadlines for next year. Three book releases. And because I have strict publisher deadlines, these books will be released on schedule.

So, instead of New Year resolutions, I suggest you give yourself deadlines. Keep the goals realistic and take control of your life. Using deadlines as a motivator, you will reach your goals, and get a great sense of accomplishment.

As for me, back to my newly finished novel. It’s polishing time, and this is my favorite part of the work. I wish you all a wonderful year in 2019.

ANGEL FIERCE, Book 2 of the Azura Chronicles is coming out in February. In the meantime, you can read ANGEL MINE, Book 1 in the Azura Chronicles series.

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

"... fast-paced space adventure/romance with lots of twists, turns, and enough action to satisfy sci-fi enthusiasts... storytelling is imaginative and action scenes vivid... pleasing happily ever after that sets up a sequel." Ind'Tale Magazine.

Vijaya Schartz, author
Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Monday, December 17, 2018

I love holiday movies - by Vijaya Schartz

I love this time of year, especially because I can binge-watch Christmas movies on cable. I’m not talking about the black and white classics, like It’s a Wonderful Life, or Miracle on 34th Street, but about the movies of this century that are becoming the new classics. Not all are noteworthy, but here are two of my favorites. Of course, the stellar cast helps, as these feature some of my favorite actors. You may also notice that they are not movies for children, nor are they tear-jerkers, but drama-comedies for grownups to thoroughly enjoy.


LOVE, ACTUALLY (2003 Romantic Comedy) – Now, my favorite holiday movie of all times. You can’t go wrong with Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Billy Bob Thornton, to name only a few. The story follows eight different couples embroiled in their own problems during the holidays. From the playboy prime minister (Hugh Grant) to the pathetic lowly employee with a disabled brother, and the blocked writer (Colin Firth) who leaves the country to write and falls in love with a Portuguese immigrant. This holiday tapestry puzzle comes together as we gradually discover what links these characters. At the end, as they are all gathered in the same room, we are overjoyed, and our faith in the holiday spirit is renewed.

THE HOLIDAY (2006 Romantic Comedy) – This movie is rapidly climbing to the top of favorite holiday movies lists. Again, great actors, like Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black (who shines in a serious and touching kind of role). On impulse, two recently single women of vastly different backgrounds swap houses across the pond for the holidays. The movie trailer genius from L.A. ends up in a snowy English countryside cottage, and the British columnist with a heart of gold experiences a Hollywood mansion for the first time. As a result, both their lives are changed forever. A feel good movie with lots of holiday cheer.

Here you have them, my favorite holiday movies. What are yours?

In the meantime, you can read my books. Which are not holiday related, but full of action, love, good and evil, angels and villains, and other historical or futuristic characters. Happy Reading!


Vijaya Schartz

Romance with a Kick


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Monday, November 19, 2018

Writing can be an art - by Vijaya Schartz

You take a picture of a building, and it’s just a building. Then you see a photograph of that same building in an art gallery, and it’s art. What makes it art? It’s the same building. But the artist waited for the perfect time at sunset, when the light hit the pillars just so, and the sun glanced off the metal roof, and the color of the sky echoed that of the turning leaves on the surrounding trees. Then the artist chooses a different angle, and the entire tableau takes another dimension. When you look at art, you are moved. You feel something.

 



You take a selfie, and it’s a portrait. But someone talented will play with light and shadow, maybe choose a black and white medium. And will speak to you and make you feel something, so that the portrait will look happy, or haunted, or sad, or intriguing. It’s still your face, but in the hands of an artist, it became art.

  



Similarly, a painting can be flat and inexpressive, while another painting of the same subject will make you feel something. People loved or hated the great painters of their times because they made them feel. And sometimes these feelings were uncomfortable. Hatred and guilt are strong feelings. Picasso had many enemies before being recognized as a genius. True art brings emotion to the person experiencing it.
Degas

Picasso

Gauguin

A movie documentary can be informative without emotion. But an artist will make that documentary poignant and get the audience to stand up and cheer and clap at the end. A fictional movie will use music to set the mood, and sounds and special effects to make the audience feel anticipation, fear, love, victory, etc.

And so it is with a novel. It can be a series of actions from characters in a setting, or it can be a true experience for the reader. We are painting with words, expressing emotions to make the reader feel, and our novels become a work of art.

So the secret for a writer is to feel deeply. Only then can we use words to make the reader feel and care about our characters and our stories. But like with any art, there is also a technique, like there is for painters, photographers and film makers. And it takes practice to master the technique. The secret to get the feelings on the page is in the details. A description will fall flat if it doesn’t include visual as well as other important sensory details. Smells, sounds, touch, taste, and visual effects, as well as the physical sensations experienced by the character in the story will evoke the same reactions and awaken the same feelings in the reader.

After reading ASHES FOR THE ELEPHANT GOD, readers told me they could feel the heat, smell the flowers and the spices, and hear the music, and taste the foods of India. They felt transported to another place, another time, another culture. It’s because I brought my own love of India to the pages of the book, and because I felt it, I was able to bring it to life in the writing and make the reader feel it as well.

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