Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Finding inspiration in history and myths - by Vijaya Schartz


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

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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. 

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Vijaya Schartz, author

Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Shakespeare would turn in his grave - by Vijaya Schartz

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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
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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

Friday, September 24, 2021

An author's definition of success - by Vijaya Schartz

Success means different things to different people. Even among writers, opinions vary. And your opinion of yourself as a writer will depend upon your personal definition of success.

For some, it's about making lots of money, a common beginner's mistake. For nonfiction authors, it can be about sharing your experiences, reporting the news, or proving your worth to your colleagues or your family.

For novelists, it can be about finding a publisher, or getting their stories published and read some other way. It can also be about recognition. Winning awards is important for a fiction writer, since we work in isolation for months on end to write a novel.

We all have different goals. I always liked the saying "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." Writing to me is a passion, It fills my days with wonder.

The same way I loved studying so much as a kid, that I wanted to be in school for the rest of my life, I love writing. And I'm so happy that I can write every day.

The fact that I found a publisher who loves my books is the cherry on top. And when my readers tell me they love my stories, that's the sweetest reward. That's when I know I succeeded. Angel Fierce, Azura Chronicles Book 2, won the 2019 Arizona Literary Contest. Angel Brave, Book 3, is a brand new release this month.

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Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats
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Monday, July 12, 2021

The importance of book covers, especially in series - by Vijaya Schartz


This is the cover reveal for my October release
Angel Brave, Azura Book 3
As an author, I see images in my head when I write. Like a 3D movie, with sounds and lights and special effects, and color, and smells, and heat, and cold… and all these elements end up in my story. So, I have a pretty good idea of what my characters look like, sound like… and I want my readers to see the same movie in their heads as they read the book. So I do make suggestions to the artist cover designer, here Michelle Lee, and this latest cover does reflect my vision perfectly.

Chuck Lorre, creator of The Big Bang, Young Sheldon
Two and a half men, The US of Al, and many award-winning sitcoms.

I remember something Chuck Lorre wrote in a vanity card at the end of a show. I paraphrase: “I learned over the years, not to obsess over whether or not the actor looks like the character in my head, but rather to find a talented actor who will make the character his or hers.”

And here resides the secret of success. Learning to let go of the characters we created to let the reader re-imagine them. I’m certain authors whose stories make it to the screen struggle with the same problem. How the movie director, the screenwriter, and the producers see the characters often differs from what the original novelist had in mind.

The Archangel Twin books
Evil has many faces, not all of them human...

Sometimes, the book cover reflects my vision of the characters, and sometimes not. And who is to say which is best? My idea of Michael was very different, but I do love the new covers for the Archangel twin books.

Byzantium (Space Station) series, action, romance, and telepathic cats

Then, there is the cover without people on it, a trend which comes and goes with the seasons. It portrays adjacent scenery or an animal relevant to the story. Like in the Byzantium Space Station series, with telepathic cats as secondary characters.

Chronicles of Kassouk - Sci-fi Romance with big cats

In a series, there is also the concern for continuity. A long time ago, with another publisher, I received a cover that was unacceptable. It was book 3 in a series, and while the first two book covers featured photographs of male cover models (it was sci-fi romance) the cover of Book 3 was a comic book drawing with juvenile UFOs and little green men. It took me a while to figure out a nice way to tell the person in charge that this cover, while lovely, didn’t fit the mood of the story, and most importantly didn’t match that of the two previous books. Ooopsie!

Ancient Enemy series - Sci-fi Romance

All the book covers in a series should reflect the same palette, ambiance, font, design, etc. so the potential reader can recognize a book as belonging in a familiar series. Like The Curse of the Lost Isle, or the Chronicles of Kassouk.

Curse of the Lost Isle, Celtic Legends, Paranormal Romance

This said, I hope you’ll check out all these titles on my pages below.

Happy Reading!

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Warrior women Part 3 - 16th Century to today - by Vijaya Schartz


Find Vijaya's novels at BWL Publishing HERE and on her website HERE

Amina, Warrior Queen of Zaria (1588-1589)

Amina was queen in a part of Nigeria now known as Zaria, where women could inherit the throne on an even keel with men. Many city states dominated trans-Saharan trade after the collapse of the Songhai Empire to the west. At the age of sixteen, Amina became the heir apparent. Although her mother’s reign was known for peace and prosperity, Amina immersed herself in military skills from the women warriors of her tribe.

Three months after her ascent to the throne, Amina started her conquests to expand her domain and open safe trade routes. She remained a warrior queen for 34 years until her death.

India during the Raj (British occupation): Velu Nachiyar (1730–1796 AD)

Queen of Sivaganga from 1780 to 1790, Velu Nachiyar was the first female freedom fighter against the British. Also known as Veeramangai (brave woman), she was trained in martial arts, horse riding and archery. She was also fluent in French, English and Urdu. 

After her husband was killed by the British army, she took refuge with Haider Ali, the Sultan of Mysore, then she launched her attack. When her daughter was martyred in the fight against the British, the queen formed a women’s army and named it after her daughter. Her fearlessness and gallantry on the battlefield are still remembered today.

Nakano Takeko, last female Samurai of Japan

The last Samurai warrior woman, Nakano Takeko, was recorded in the 19th century. During the Battle of Aizu, she led a corps of female Samurai against the Emperor's forces. She fought with a naginata, the traditional weapon of choice for Japanese women warriors.

Takeko was leading a charge against the imperial troops when she took a bullet to the chest. Knowing she would die, the 21-year-old warrior ordered her sister Yuko to cut off her head and hide it from the enemy. Yuko did as asked, and Nakano Takeko's head was buried under a tree.

The struggle of 20th Century women to be accepted in the military.

I remember when I was a teenager, learning that the Israeli military accepted women in their ranks. Not wearing skirts and typing reports in an office, but in combat gear on the front lines. I was fascinated.

First Israeli women in the military

Since then, after much hesitancy concerning the battlefield, the US military is training women for combat. They are now fighter pilots, foot soldiers, Marines, and much more.

US Fighter pilots

US Navy Seals

But this is a phenomenon happening around the world. We see battalions of fighting Amazons in Russia, women soldiers in Africa, in India, in the middle east. The women have risen and are taking control of their own lives, to defend their freedom, their rights, their land, or their family.
Warrior Women of Kenya

Women in India's Military Police

Russia's battalion of Amazons

Kurdish women fighting ISIS

If you like strong heroines with a warrior slant, check out my books. In my novels, they are bounty hunters, law-enforcement officers, Avenging Angels, soldiers, starship captains, Amazons, and warrior queens. They are often in charge, and playing an important role in their society. Sometimes, they rescue the hero, and they are definitely his equal.

I especially recommend these to lift your warrior spirits. Book 1, Angel Mine is 99cts in kindle, Book 2, Angel Fierce, is an award-winner, and Book 3, Angel Brave, is coming in October.

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 venture beyond the warning space beacons are never seen again...

Happy Reading

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats
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