Monday, January 2, 2023

Happy New Year traditions from all over the world - by Vijaya Schartz

 

At the very end of December, after all the holiday parties, the family gatherings, the excessive eating, the drinking, and the sugar comas, we tend to reflect on why we gained five pounds… And new-year’s-eve is still ahead. But with the New Year comes new hope.

Also called St Sylvester’s night in Europe, New Year’s Eve, and New Year's day, include many traditions to ease the transition and generate good luck and prosperity.

In the US, whether you are, from the East to the West coast, you will probably have or attend a party, count the seconds to midnight, and watch the ball drop in Time Square. You will have a drink and sing Auld Lang Syne, and some will stand under the mistletoe, for a chance of a kiss at midnight.


In Canada the fireworks are magnificent. And some of the most popular New Year’s Day traditions are the Polar Bear Swim in Vancouver, and to go ice-fishing. Brrrr!

In Japan, December 31st is a national cleaning day. The houses are scrubbed from floor to ceiling and decluttered, to start the new year in a favorable setting. On New Year’s Eve, it is also the tradition to eat buckwheat noodles called Toshikoshi soba. Just before midnight, Buddhist temple bells ring out 108 times, representing the 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana and get rid of last year’s bad luck.

The enormous bell is rung with a strong pole, pulled by several people with ropes.


In Brazil, everyone wears white on New Year’s eve for good luck and peace. They also run to the beach and throw white flowers into the ocean. Of course, it’s summer and beach weather in Brazil that time of year.

In Mexico, at midnight, people drop a gold ring into their glass to bring good fortune in love and money. Then on January 1st, they go door to door, offering home-made tamales to friends and neighbors. I’ve also seen it done in Arizona as traditions migrate.



In Greece, onions are a symbol of good luck and fertility, so, on New Year's Eve, they hang bundles of onions above their doors to invite prosperity into the home. Then, on New Year's Day, parents wake up their children by gently knocking them on the head with the onions that were outside.

In Singapore, revelers let wishing spheres containing their hopes and dreams float down the river. Thousands of them on the Singapore River make for a magical sight.

In Puerto Rico, they dump a bucket of water from a window to ward off evil spirits. I hope it’s not on the pedestrians below. They also sprinkle sugar outside their houses for good luck.

In Russia, New Year's Eve revelers write a wish down on a piece of paper, burn it and add the ashes to their champagne or vodka glass. Then they drink the entire glass quickly at midnight, in less than a minute, to make their wish realize.


In France, Champagne is the drink de rigueur to ring the New Year, along with raw oysters on the shell, turkey, goose, and seafood, in an elaborate and abundant meal they call a reveillon. And in Paris, the Eiffel Tower lights up in a splendid show of lights for the occasion.

In Spain, to get good luck in the New Year, you must eat 12 grapes on the 12 rings of midnight, and keep the pace… no sweat, just don’t choke!



In Switzerland, they summon wealth, and abundance by dropping ice cream on the floor at midnight. Personally, I think it’s a waste of delicious ice-cream.

In Denmark, to celebrate the New Year, they smash old plates on the doors of family, friends, and neighbors, to ward off evil spirits. The more broken plates at your door in the morning, the more good luck in the New Year.

In India, they build an effigy of an old man and burn it at midnight, to symbolize the death of the old year with its struggles, to make room for the new and hopefully better year.


In China, they celebrate the New Year on a lunar cycle, in January or February, and the festivities last two weeks. Lots of dragons parading on the streets, food, fireworks, and the color red, for good luck.

I wish you all a fantastic New Year, with success and happiness all year long.

Happy Reading

Vijaya Schartz, award-winning author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes,


Friday, December 23, 2022

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Books as holiday gifts - by Vijaya Schartz

 


Vijaya's latest release.
 Find it HERE

Whether it’s a stocking stuffer novel, a kindle gift sent to a friend faraway, or the wrapped gift of a complete paperback series, if you know the favorite genre of the avid readers among your family and friends, books make wonderful gifts.

Maybe it’s the story they talked about but never got to buy for themselves. Maybe it’s the new release in a series they started and loved. Or you can surprise them with a book you enjoyed and want to share with them. In any case, it’s becoming simpler and easier than ever to gift books.

You can do it from your laptop or phone, order online from your favorite retailer, and have it shipped or emailed. It takes little time and effort. It will be appreciated on cold, snowy, or rainy days.

Going with a reliable publisher, like BWL Publishing, will ensure it’s a quality book. Other ways to select a good book is considering the author’s track record. Award-winning authors usually deliver consistent quality reads. You can also read the ratings and reviews shared by other readers on the retail sites.

The most difficult part of this process is selecting the right genre and the right titles. Find out if you friend likes cozy mysteries, romance, action/adventure, Historical novels, fantasy, science fiction, or a mix of genres.

I write in many genres and also like to mix them. From contemporary romance to realistic Celtic legends, to space opera and science fiction, including even felines in some of my stories. But each author brings his or her personal touch to the writing, and if you like an author in one genre, chances are you will like that author’s other writings as well.

Here are some suggestions from my popular writings:

Curse of the Lost Isle series (Celtic legends – Edgy medieval)
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo



Chronicles of Kassouk series (Sci-fi romance)
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo



Azura Chronicles series (Set on another planet – includes cats - androids - romantic elements)
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo



Byzantium series (Set on a space station - cats – action - sweet romance for all ages)
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo



Archangel twin books (Aliens and angels in a contemporary setting)
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo



Romance (rated R)
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

 



Happy Holidays with books!


Vijaya Schartz, award-winning author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo FB 


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Curse of the Lost Isle entire series - 50% off at SmashWords, for a short time - by Vijaya Schartz

Take advantage of this special sale. Perfect time to catch up with all the installments of the Curse of the Lost Isle series. Click here for the direct link on Smash Words 5 stars on Amazon "Edgy Medieval. Yay!"


amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

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.

"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.

Happy Reading

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo FB







Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Finding inspiration in history and myths - by Vijaya Schartz

 


amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo


“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke

amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo


All science fiction authors struggle to make their stories believable, because most of us only believe what we can explain and understand. Anything else is considered fantasy. And while we witness unexplained feats of magic and fantasy each day, like UAP (Unexplained Aerial Phenomena), ghosts, premonitory dreams, out of body or transcendental experiences, fiction writers are held to more stringent rules. Unlike reality, our stories have to make sense in the physical world.

Readers often tell me I have a fertile imagination, but to imagine the future, you only have to study the so-called mythology of many Earth cultures.

Lord Shiva claimed to be from another planet
and traveled through the air on a vessel surrounded by flames


Ancient civilizations worshipped gods who came come from the sky (heavens) in chariots of fire that rumbled like thunder. They were said to possess magical powers, like the power of flight, infinite knowledge, and incredible powers of destruction… powers we now understand as advanced technology.

They lived in magical cities in the sky, cities we would now call motherships, and they flew down in smaller crafts they called Vimanas. They also waged violent wars in the sky, with terrible repercussions for our planet.



Shiva (the destroyer of worlds) wielded weapons that could destroy entire planets and fiery arrows that never missed the target. 



The Shiva Lingam found in a multitude of temples, and long discarded as a fertility symbol, was recently recognized as an accurate representation of a nuclear cooling tower. Lingering radioactivity in ancient ruins and bones, along with vitrification of the stone (that only happens with the kind of heat produced by a nuclear explosion), and ancient manuscripts describing epic battles of the gods with such weapons in the same area, support the fact that a nuclear event must have happened around that time… several millennia ago.

 

In the subcontinent of India, these powerful beings, who visited Earth and lived among men in the faraway past, were not human. They had blue skin, several pairs of arms, sometimes a third eye, monkey heads, elephant head, or snake bodies, and claimed to have come from other planets. To the people of India, they were not mythical or gods, but flesh and blood beings from another place. The epic adventures depicted in the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Mahabharata are not considered mythology but true ancient history and taught in schools as such.


But this phenomenon of alien visitors perceived as gods is not particular to India.

In the Buddhist world, the stone stupa inside which the statue of buddha resides represents some kind of transport craft to take him to the “cities in the sky.” Spaceships?



In China, the first emperor descended from the sky on a flaming dragon and claimed to come from space. To this day, the dragon is the symbol of China.


In Japan, Amaterasu, the goddess of light, came down to Earth to start the ruling dynasty to this day.



In my science fiction stories, my characters travel the galaxy, discovering new planets and cultures, or they are planet bound, visited by more advanced aliens. 

amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo




Vijaya Schartz, author

Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Shakespeare would turn in his grave - by Vijaya Schartz


amazon - B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

The conversation, on some Facebook groups for authors this month, turned to common mistakes in English grammar. As a wordsmith, I cringe at typos, misspellings, and grammar blunders in professional books. And I’m talking about simple mistakes, not wrong tenses, dangling participles, or run-on sentences. In the media arena, the language of Shakespeare is taking a beating. But it’s a lot worse than you would expect.



Here is a reminder of a few common mistakes… are you guilty of those? Maybe you should stick this note to the side of your tablet or computer screen.


And these are only a few. There are many more. I particularly resent “it’s” instead of “its” and “than” instead of “then.” There is also “lie” and “lay,” “affect” and “effect,”


I can easily forgive readers and casual posters for not remembering their schooling. But if you make any of these common mistakes on your resume, for instance, you may well have forfeited the job.


And if you run an ad for your business with a mistake in it, the return will be so low, you’ll lose your investment in advertising.


Furthermore, I see these common mistakes repeated by newscasters, on advertising spots, on printed ads, and in articles by news writers and other professional people of the spoken and written word.


What about “verbing” or “verbification?”

There is also the new tendency of making verbs with nouns, called “verbing” by the Oxford University Press, or also verbification. This is part of normal language evolution. When there is no verb to express the action, you can use a noun as a verb. “To parent,” for example, has become part of the vocabulary, like “to vacation.”


It used to be that the printed word was respected and valued. Nowadays, anyone can write and print anything, without any knowledge of proper language, grammar, or spelling. Worse, they do not hire an editor. If it’s important enough to say or write for the public at large, it’s important enough to be edited.

Another way to improve your grammar is to read well written books. Here is the Curse of the Lost Isle series, Medieval Celtic legends come to life. Enjoy.
Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
amazon - B&N - Smashwords - Kobo - FB



 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Presenting at the 2021 Arizona Literary Awards Banquet, November 6, 2021, at the Glendale Civic Center Plaza

Slowly the pictures are starting to surface from the November 6, 2021 Arizona Literary Awards Banquet. Here are the hosts, Toby Heathcotte, current President, and Vijaya Schartz, Former President, 2029 winner, and current Blogmistress.



The theme was 'Those were the days, my friend..." and many attendees, mostly nominees for the awards and their guests, chose to wear a costume. Here is the costume contest winner, Miss Butterfly in all her splendor. The costume is based on one of her published children's books.

Costume contest winner - Maureen Scanlon

Other notable costumes:


 

It was a wonderful event. The Mexican buffet was fantastic, and the deserts divine.



Then came the time for the awards, recognition, and speeches from the winners. On the left, Janet Crum, and on the right, Maureen Scanlon.

 

More pictures of costumed guests: Here Marty Feess and guest.

 
And, of course, group pictures:


It was a wonderful event. 

Vijaya Schartz
http://www.vijayaschartz.com