Monday, November 26, 2018

Can writing be an art?

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
amazon  -  B&N  -  Smashwords  -  Kobo  -  FB

Monday, October 8, 2018

Why writers like cats

As far as I can remember, I loved cats… and writing. I wrote poetry in first grade, around the same time I brought my first stray home. At the time my father didn’t allow us to have pets, but since then I adopted many cats… and I kept writing. I still write, and I still have a cat. 

Some say writers like cats because they are non-intrusive. I beg to differ. Even right now, my cat is begging for me to stop this computer nonsense and pay attention to her. 


Others say cats are the perfect writer’s pet because they sleep a lot and they like daily routines. That part is true. There is a time for me to write. That’s when my cat sleeps. Right now, it’s TV time and I’m still writing, that’s why my cat is so upset. 

Cats are independent, and the epitome of indifference. That part is usually true, unless it’s tuna time, or close to tuna time, or two hours before tuna time, or three in the morning and she decides it’s tuna time. 


My cat's favorite camouflage blanket

So, if cats are just as demanding as other pets, why is it so many famous writers had cats and adored them? My rational opinion could be that cats are quieter than dogs and don’t need to be walked, but I believe it goes much deeper than that. Cats are intriguing, challenging, smart, and obstinate. They tickle our muse. And if I have a question, I can always ask my cat. She will give me the right answer. 

Here are some other reasons why great writers loved their cats: 

"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not." Ernest Hemmingway 

"I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don't want to get up. She's so much more calming than my husband." Joyce Carol Oates 

"That's the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you." Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing 

"I simply can't resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course." Mark Twain 

"I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat." Edgar Alan Poe 

"When a Cat adopts you there is nothing to be done about it except to put up with it and wait until the wind changes." T.S. Elliot 

There is a cat in my latest novel, a telepathic cougar, the companion of my kick-butt bounty hunter heroine. If you haven’t read it yet, pick it up and enjoy.

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.

"I don’t know how Vijaya continues to write books that both aggravate you to no end and keep you on the edge of your seat. You can’t put it down until you know what happens next. Before you know what happened, you are at the end of the book and wondering how you got there so fast. It is hard not to get caught up in and lost in the imagery created on the pages of the locations. You can even smell what is in the air. Yet another page turner I couldn’t put down! Thank you Vijaya for keeping me entertained." 5-stars - Beverley J. Malloy on amazon

HAPPY READING!

Vijaya Schartz, author
Romance with a Kick

amazon - B&N - Smashwords - Kobo - FB

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Princess of Bretagne 99cts on Smashwords

99cts on smashwords HERE

For a limited time only, PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE, Book One of the Curse of the Lost Isle medieval fantasy series, is only 99cts in all ebook formats.

This book is also available in paperback from B&N and amazon. 
"If you like your medieval romances spiced with a little sword and sorcery, like the Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, you'll love Vijaya Schartz's Princess of Bretagne." 

From history shrouded in myths, emerges a family of immortal Celtic Ladies, who roam the medieval world in search of salvation from a curse. For centuries, imbued with hereditary gifts, they hide their deadly secret, stirring passions in their wake as they fight the Viking hordes, send the first knights to the Holy Land, give birth to kings and emperors... but if the Church ever suspects what they really are, they will be hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake.

Princess of Bretagne - Book One

806 AD - Alba (Ancient Scotland) - As the Vikings raid the coast of Alba, Pressine of Bretagne sets out to seduce King Elinas of Dumfries, chosen by the Goddess to unite the tribes against the foreign invader. Elinas, still mourning his departed queen, has no intention to remarry. Head-strong and independent, Pressine does not expect to fall for the very attractive, wise and noble ruler... Furthermore, her Pagan nature clashes with the religious fanaticism of the king’s Christian heir, who suspects her unholy ancestry and will stop at nothing to get rid of her.

"Schartz paints a realistic picture of life in a medieval castle, with all its smells, tastes, visuals, and feelings, and as always, all the primary, as well as the secondary characters are well-developed and interesting. I’m looking forward to the others in this series." - Manic Readers 4.5 stars

"The exciting battles and period details also drew me in as did the intrigue surrounding Elinas' son trying to prevent him from marrying Pressine. Overall, Princess of Bretagne was a solid story that I enjoyed reading. I'm very much looking forward to finding out what's next for Elinas and Pressine when the series continues with the release of Pagan Queen." - 4 stars - The Hope Chest Review

"The story is filled with action and danger and there are many interesting secondary characters that help drive the plot forward. I particularly like Gwenvael, Pressine's brother... Look for the just released PAGAN QUEEN, to continue the saga of these two lovers." - Four ribbons - Romance Junkies. 

Find these books on my page at:
amazon  -  B&N  -  KOBO  SmashWords
5 stars on Amazon "Edgy Medieval. Yay!"

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Magical Ladies of the Lost Isle still inspire today's women

Available online in all ebook formats and paperback.

Myths and legends are often cautionary tales, but each of them relates to specific events and periods of the faraway past, and contains a kernel of truth. Even these immortal ladies were modeled on existing heroines of old, who influenced society in times of turmoil.
Beside the persecution of Pagans during the dark ages, many important historical events punctuate the lives of these immortal ladies. The Viking invasions in Scotland are front and center in books one and two. Then the foundation of Luxembourg in books three and four. Feudal life and religious struggles in France come to life in book five. The greatest adventure of all times, the Crusades with their different facets are depicted in books six and seven, and the best known legend of Melusine the Fae in Aquitaine, the cradle of many royal lines, comes to light in book eight.

But who were these strong women who fought to survive against all odds, in a world ruled by men, in a violent society where life had little value?

They were Celtic and Pagan. They did not abide by the rules of the new religion Charlemagne had imposed by the sword. They believed in equality and refused to bow to the will of the men who would tame and control them. They practiced kindness toward all and worked for the common good. Early on, they symbolized hope and freedom for many, especially the oppressed.
The ruins of the castles they built still stand. Here, Melusine's tower in Vouvant, Aquitaine.
These ladies were smart and astute politicians and influenced the rulers and the historical events of their day. They had the welfare of their community at heart. They fought for what was right in a world where the powerful held sway with ruthless violence, and often with impunity.

These ladies were not perfect. Far from it. Each of them made grave mistakes in their youth, using their powers for purposes other than the common good. For these mistakes, they were cursed, and spent their entire lives dealing with horrible woes... all the time struggling to hide their Pagan origins and avoid discovery by the Church... which would lead to burning at the stake. They also sought redemption in the eyes of their Pagan Goddess.
Melusine in her cursed shape still graces the walls of the castle of Lusignan
 Even in today's society, these ladies of old stand as a shining example. I loved writing about them. Their names are rarely mentioned in the history books, although they appear in many legends. But their famous and infamous descendants blazed new trails throughout history.

I hope when you learn more about them, you will like them as much as I do.

Vijaya Schartz
Action, Romance and Mayhem
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Free and 99cts, Curse of the Lost Isle medieval series by Vijaya Schartz

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008LW18EG/
Free in kindle until April 12, 2017
SEDUCING SIGEFROI
Book 3 in the Curse of the Lost Isle series
Medieval fantasy romance 
First book of Melusine (complete story)

Luxembourg - 963 AD - To offset the curse that makes her a serpent from the waist down one day each month, Melusine, exiled Princess of Strathclyde, must seduce and wed a mortal knight, the shrewd and ambitious Sigefroi of Ardennes. Sigefroi, son of the Duke of Lorraine, suspects Melusine is not what she appears, but her beauty, her rich dowry, and her sharp political skills serve his ambitions. He never expected her to soften his stone-cold warrior heart. So close to the Imperial court, dangers and intrigue threaten Melusine. War looms on the horizon, a Mermaid was sighted around Luxembourg, and Sigefroi’s bishop brother questions her ancestry. If anyone ever suspects Melusine’s true nature, she will burn at the stake... 
 
"As always, Schartz spins a great story. It’s a bit bloody and bloodthirsty in places... But that's part of the drama, and Schartz certainly knows drama." Manic Readers 4.5 stars

"Ms. Schartz did a fine job with this offering, and brought elements to the myth that fleshed Melusine out and made her a sympathetic character. I think fans of Fantasy romance will enjoy this steamy version of the myth and fans of the myth might find it interesting as well." - Julianne Draper - The Examiner

99cts in kindle until April 14, 2017
DAMSEL OF THE HAWK
Curse of the Lost Isle Book 7 (standalone)
medieval fantasy series

1204 AD - Meliora, immortal Fae and legendary damsel of Hawk Castle, grants gold and wishes on Mount Ararat, but must forever remain chaste. When Spartak, a Kipchak warrior gravely wounded in Constantinople, requests sanctuary, she breaks the rule to save his life. The fierce, warrior prince stirs in her forbidden passions. Captivated, Spartak will not bow to superstition. Despite tribal opposition, he wants her as his queen. Should Meliora renounce true love, or  embrace it and trigger the sinister curse... and the wrath of the Goddess? Meanwhile, a thwarted knight and his greedy band of Crusaders have vowed to steal her Pagan gold and burn her at the stake...

"It was easy to get lost in the latest Lost Isle book. I didn't want to put it down until I was finished. Each character added their own magic to the whole of the story. Authentic detail pulled me in as well. But the dog glued me to the tale as did the lovers in their struggles to HEA." Hope Chase 5-stars on Amazon

"...so vivid I could picture myself right there... tough, honorable alpha hero... fiercely protective and loyal mountain dog, Kopec... Meliora... hints of the strong, rebellious woman she actually is... not a simple HEA for them... but once they finally get it, it's wonderful!" Lisa on Amazon

"Historical romance with a different twist... a new spin on a classic tale... standalone... Ms. Schartz has a gift that will have readers asking for more and will have them intrigued by the idea of the other books in the series." Ind'Tale Magazine

Find the entire series in kindle HERE


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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Release! ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN is out!

ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN
Curse of the Lost Isle - Book 8
medieval fantasy romance

Find it on Amazon HERE

Out today in kindle and in paperback. Don't miss it. This lauded series, based upon authentic legends, is now complete.

Set in Aquitaine, ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN tells the most popular legend of Melusine the Fae, as she founds, with knight Raymond of Forez, the famous and infamous family of LUSIGNAN. Their descendants, later became royalty and reigned in England, France, and in the Middle East. Among them, Eleanor of Aquitaine and her descendants, and the king of Jerusalem and king of Cyprus. Lusignan and their other estates of Vouvant and Mervent became the cradle of the Valois and Bourbon royal dynasties of France.

Although the book is a complete story in itself, if you are like me, you'll want to read the complete series, especially as this character grows from novel to novel, from Scotland to Luxembourg, to Forez, and to Aquitaine.

This was a labor of love. My mother still lives in the land of Melusine, and suggested long ago that I bring Melusine's story to the world at large. Here it is. Thank you, Mom for suggesting it. I enjoyed writing the series. I hope you enjoy reading it

Blurb:
Young knight Raymond of Forez, blaming himself for his uncle's death in a hunting accident, falls off his horse at the very sight of the lovely Melusine. He has no knowledge of their turbulent past. Even less that she is an immortal Fae with angel blood... afflicted by a curse. He doesn’t believe in the local legends... yet how can he resist such beauty and loving wisdom?

Melusine, who waited for him in Aquitaine, is full of remembered love. But can she trust this young knight with her mission, or her deadly secrets? In this explosive religious climate, the Church is suspicious of everyone, and the slightest rumor of witchery or Pagan magic could send them both burning at the stake. Can their love overcome the curse this time?


Here is the entire series: Find it on Amazon HERE
  
 Also check out the boxed set of the first four novels in the series HERE



HAPPY  READING!

Vijaya Schartz
  Romance with a Kick
  http://www.vijayaschartz.com
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Free in kindle for the holidays: PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE

Yay! free in kindle for the holidays
PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE
Curse of the Lost Isle Book 1


"The story is filled with action and danger and there are many interesting secondary characters that help drive the plot forward. I particularly like Gwenvael, Pressine's brother." Romance Junkies.  





Also #99cts for a few days:

PAGAN QUEEN
Curse of the Lost Isle Book 2

A few other titles may still be discounted, but hurry, don't miss it!  Find them all in kindle Here:




Vijaya Schartz
 Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
 http://www.vijayaschartz.com
 Amazon - Barnes & Noble