Friday, October 25, 2013

Medieval Heroines can kick butt, too - by Vijaya Schartz


Find the books in kindle HERE.

My name is Melusine the Fae. Aye, like in immortal beings descended from ancient angels, way before the establishment of Judeo-Christian religions. Part human, part celestial angels, we Fae have a bad reputation on this planet. Especially since Charlemagne decided to impose Christianity in Europe by chopping the heads of all Pagans. But for us Fae, or sorceresses, or demons, or witches, the bishops reserve the pleasure of burning at the stake. That would definitely kill even an immortal like me. So would any violent kind of death.

I hate fire. I am a water creature. In fact, since my mother cursed me, so long ago in Scotland, I transform into an ondine every first Wednesday of the month. Those who call me a mermaid are gravely mistaken. Mermaids keep their fish tail permanenty. Ondines, like me, only transform into water creatures with a serpent tail on certain days. The rest of the time we look, feel, and act like women... but we have many supernatural gifts.

My problem is that ondine curse. I have to concede I deserved it. I was barely out of childhood when I abused my supernatural powers to take revenge upon a human king... my father. At the time I blamed him for all the misery my mother suffered after their separation. My mother was Fae, and also burdened by a curse, and he triggered that curse. I did not understand at the time that humans were weak by nature... well, most humans anyway.

My only hope of redemption from my curse resides with Sigefroi, the shrewd knight of Luxembourg. To serve the Goddess I worship (one of the original angels) I seduced him, married him, and became the first Lady of Luxembourg. I'm good at designing fortresses. I also gave Sigefroi a sword of power that makes his arm invincible in battle. But if he ever divulges my secret, I will be doomed.

Here is the scene of our first official encounter. On that particular day, I was wielding the magic sword, and barred his way in knight's armor, in the middle of the road. The full helmet hiding my face, I lowered my voice to pass as a young man and challenged him to a fight...


Sigefroi's murderous glare drilled into her through the helmet slits. Would he recognize her? Nay. Melusine realized he didn't see her as a person anymore, but as an enemy, a vile thing to crush like a viper on the road. Such barbarism burned in his amber gaze, such determination.

The close proximity of this ferocious man frightened and thrilled her at the same time. Parrying high, Melusine caught a glance of the squire who held the horses at a safe distance. The lad watched with open curiosity, obviously enjoying his master's skillful demonstration. But Sigefroi's well-honed skills wouldn't bring him victory this day. To keep a semblance of fairness, Melusine kept fighting, making the combat look evenly matched.

When Sigefroi dealt a particularly fierce blow, Melusine sent through her parrying arm a wave of energy like a lightning bolt. Sigefroi was thrown back, flying through the air. His sword and shield clattered on the dusty stone of the road. His helmet flew off. He hit the ground in a pounding of metal. Flat on his back, the knight didn't move.

In two steps, Melusine had Caliburn's point at his throat. "Do you yield?"

Sigefroi blinked, and the slow realization of his desperate situation showed in the widening of his eyes, along with a spark of rage, and something else... Surprise!

When he did not respond, Melusine repeated louder, "Do you yield?"

His words came with difficulty. Sigefroi, no doubt, had to swallow a great deal of pride. "I... do... yield," he croaked.

"In exchange for your life, I shall exact an oath." Melusine made her voice carry so that the young squire could also hear and understand. "Within a week, a royal princess by the name
of Melusine will ask for your hospitality. Not only will you treat her according to her noble rank, you will betroth her and take her for wife."

"What?" Sigefroi, in his surprise, had started to rise, but Melusine pressed Caliburn's point harder against the mail at his throat, forcing him to lie still.

"Swear on your knight's honor, or I kill you right now!"

In no position to bargain, Sigefroi finally said in a strangled voice, "I swear it."

"Louder!" Melusine insisted, applying more pressure.

The mail shifted as Sigefroi swallowed, and blood trickled at his throat under the sword's sharp tip. "I swear it on my knight's honor!"

Drawing back the weapon, Melusine returned the great sword to the scabbard. Sigefroi sat up slowly, coughing, shaking his red mane, and rubbing a grazed throat. Melusine didn't wait for him to get up or retrieve his broadsword.

When she whistled, the white mare came at a trot. She mounted swiftly and turned the horse around.

"Wait!" Sigefroi shouted in a broken voice.

Melusine halted the mare and turned in the saddle, a wide grin on her face. She'd been waiting for this moment to deliver the coup de grĂ¢ce.

The knight rose on unsteady feet. "If you won't give me your name, at least let me behold the face of my victor!"

The humiliation in Sigefroi's eyes and voice delighted Melusine. Slowly, she lifted her silver helmet and pushed back the head mail, letting her long hair cascade over slender shoulders. Staring at him with glee, she however measured her deliberate reply. "You were bested by a maiden, my lord."

Sigefroi's thunderstruck expression made her laugh. "But have no fear, your honor is safe with me. I shall keep your defeat a secret." After a mock bow to Sigefroi and his dumfounded squire, she spurred the mare away and didn't look back.

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LADY OF LUXEMBOURG is free for a few days - by Vijaya Schartz

Free in kindle, Oct.17 to Oct 21, 2013
Curse of the Lost Isle Book 5
Medieval Fantasy Romance
by Vijaya Schartz

978 AD - Melusine the Fae, immortal and cursed Lady of Luxembourg, managed to hide her Pagan nature from mortals for many years. She fiercely protects her handsome Count, Sigefroi, but in their princely bliss, neither of them seems to age, and a few suspicious bishops take notice. Then an ondine wreaks havoc during a battle, luring enemy soldiers into the river.

Betrayed, Sigefroi reflects on his many sins from the depths of a rat infested dungeon. Under torture, will he reveal her deadly secret? And when her beloved turns into a devout Christian, can Melusine salvage her happiness? Can love truly redeem her curse, or will she burn at the stake?

Box set: CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE - Special Edition includes:
Princess of Bretagne, Book 1
Pagan Queen, Book 2
Seducing Sigefroi, Book 3


Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Magic Creatures of the past - by Vijaya Schartz

In the Curse of the Lost Isle, I have immortal Fae, Ondines, even dragons. Late into the middle ages, the belief in these magic creatures persisted. Even later, good people persecuted witches, and some in central Europe came to believe in vampires. Such legends abound throughout the middle ages. Mermaids, sirens, silkies, vampires, unicorns, the undead, benevolent fairies and malevolent entities fill the stories of the past.

  These creatures seemed very real to them. What made them believe in such creatures? Hemingway said that at the root of every legend lies a kernel of truth. Others say there is no smoke without a fire. What was the reality of the time? People with sharp intellect and accurate insight were suspected of having contact with angels? Evil human beings were accused of witchcraft and dealing with the devil? Old deities, angels and such, appeared to important people in history, and no one laughed at them.

A few of these people were historical figures, and we know they did exist. So how did they happen to become part of the legends? Magic, Fae and witches seemed very real to the people of the time. Even the Church wrote about it and excommunicated and burned at the stake those who dealt with such forces. So strong was their belief in such beings.

Scientist bring up natural unexplained phenomena. It's as good an explanation as any. But if you watch Ancient Aliens, you know there is much more to this. In modern society, some will say alien sightings was the source of visions and subsequent beliefs and superstitions. 

Recent sightings of mermaids have been reported and caught on camera in South Africa and in the South Pacific. Many bodies of mermaids showed up in archeological digs.

We may not have been the first race to inhabit the earth, and giants and immortal beings might have dwelt on this planet before us. Some of them might even still be there, hiding. Our aging process is regulated by a single gene. When we can modify this gene, we will live forever and be forever young.

For my part, I choose to believe that the universe is vaster and more varied than we can ever imagine. It tickles my imagination to think that the legends might be true, and I like to research and write about them. In my other books (futuristic romance) I deal with aliens, and here, again, research uncovers incredible facts ignored by science.

Our minds can encompass what the limits of science cannot. Faith, beliefs stronger than logic, cannot be explained by science, no matter how hard they try. Visions of the Great Lady are not necessarily of the Virgin Mary. 

Ancient gods may have been alien visitors with advanced technology. Thor's thunder could be a modern weapon. 
Maya carvings show gods piloting spacecraft. The Mahabharata in India describes epic battles fought in the sky by blue gods riding chariots of fire called vimanas. These texts also describe nuclear explosions, and the ruins of these cities show signs of vitrification... It would explain so much.

The fact that hard science hasn't caught up with explanations doesn't make those facts wrong. It makes them unexplained. And the unexplained is the most tantalizing fodder for an author's imagination. That's why I love writing about the legends. They make us think beyond our limited concept of the universe.

Penny for your thoughts?

Vijaya Schartz

Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick