The Fae and the Barbarian – Damsel of the Hawk

damselDAMSEL OF THE HAWK
Curse of the Lost Isle (standalone)by Vijaya Schartz
Medieval Fantasy Romance

in paperback and kindle
http://amzn.com/1771459476

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

Posted in castles, epic fantasy romance, legends, medieval, post arthurian legends, Series, Vijaya Schartz | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finishing the Curse of the Lost Isle series – Vijaya Schartz

It’s always a little sad to write the last book in a long series. I’ve been working on the Curse of the Lost Isle medieval fantasy series for twenty years, off and on, and Book 8, ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN, will be the last one, bringing Melusine’s curse to its conclusion.

 Amazon Barnes & Noble

curseseriesIn the historical chronology, this book takes place before Beloved Crusader and Damsel of the Hawk (portraying the other two sisters and set during the Crusades), but it is the most well known legend of Melusine, the myth scholars have been studying for centuries… particularly in Europe.

melusine 2This book is set in Lusignan, the town Melusine created according to legend. Lusignan is also the name of the family she started in Aquitaine. Melusine is first featured in Book 2, PAGAN QUEEN, as a child. She reappears in Book 3 SEDUCING SIGEFROI, Book 4 LADY OF LUXEMBOURG, and Book 5 CHATELAINE OF FOREZ.

Previously, from her Luxembourg family, after marrying Sigefroi, she gave birth to a line of kings and emperors who lived in Germany, Flanders and Austria. In Forez, her initial success was later crushed by religious cleansing.

guydelusignanIn Lusignan, she gives birth to a powerful family. Her descendants Guy of Lusignan and his brother became kings of Jerusalem and Cyprus during the Crusades. Another descendant of hers is the famous and infamous Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice queen, and mother. King Richard mentions more than once the stain upon his family, his evil ancestress through the centuries, the cursed one. That was Melusine.

melusine-basreliefBut beyond the myth and the legend, I wanted to find the heart of these characters. Remembering that history is always written by the victors, and Paganism was crushed by Christendom. So it made sense that the Pagans of the time would be reviled and presented in a negative light, even accused of horrible deeds.

In my research, I strive to peel the layers of superstition to find the truth of these fascinating characters, and bring them to life in a favorable light, with their hopes and struggles. I hope you will enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

HAPPY READING!

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

Posted in epic fantasy romance, legends, medieval, post arthurian legends, Series, Vijaya Schartz | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Building the castle in fantasy series

Click here to get it in kindle

As I am writing the last book ind the Curse of the Lost Isle medieval series, ANGEL OF LUSIGNAN (Book 8) set in Aquitaine, I am thoroughly enjoying the research, as much as the story and the characters.

Start reading the series with the boxed set of the first four novels. Seven are already published, and the last one will be out for the holidays.

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, build mighty castles, 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. 5 stars on Amazon “Edgy Medieval. Yay!”

* * * * * 

In the Twelfth Century, castles sprouted all over Europe. In England the first castles were mainly built in a hurry, out of wood, by the Norman invader to secure conquered territory. They were motte and bailey castles, with a keep, earth works, wooden fences and sharp stakes. Later, the keep and walls were rebuilt in stone.

Meanwhile, on the continent, like in Aquitaine, castles were already made of stone. The Romans had built stone roads and forts centuries earlier, leaving solid foundations in prime locations. Just out of the dark ages after the barbarian invasions, the central power fractured into smaller estates, the local lords rebuilt and expanded these stone forts for protection. Not only they fortified their castles, but also their entire cities.

Medieval building technique. Notice the crane.

The new cities and castles were generally built on a promontory, a plateau or a hill, surrounded by water, at an estuary, a confluent, or on a cliff overlooking a river. A body of water protected the castle from attacks by land, but rivers could also be highways for enemies invading by boats. Occasional Viking and Norman raids were still common.

Fortified city and castle of Carcassonne – Southern Aquitaine

The lack of a strong central power also encouraged greedy land owners and bands of rogue knights to appropriate territory by force. Stone walls offered the best protection.

Building a castle was expensive and required a great amount of gold to pay the many skilled workers needed for the monumental task. A lord would hire a taskmaster, overseers, a master mason, architects, an army of masons and stone cutters, carpenters, blacksmiths, lead beaters, barrel makers, potters, candle makers, and other craftsmen. He also needed diggers and general workmen, as well as water carriers.

Castle of Lusignan – Aquitaine – Original design

First, the trees around the site would be felled and peeled, then sliced lengthwise to provide lumber for the scaffolding, and the giant beams to support the wooden ceiling of the upper floors. Meanwhile, the stone had to be extracted from the surrounding rock, then cut and chiseled to size. Often the stone was extracted from the excavation for the moat. Secret passages and underground storage rooms and cellars would often be dug from the rock before erecting the walls, with arched ceilings and thick columns to support the edifice above.

Arrow slit in a castle wall

And do not think castles were uncomfortable. Although the external defense walls only had arrow slits, the buildings inside the enclosure had windows to bring in the light. They also had amenities, like giant fireplaces to provide heat during the winter, large kitchens with bread ovens, to cook for hundreds of soldiers, and skilled chefs to prepare meals and special feasts for the nobles. There was wine and cheese aplenty in the cellars.

medieval toilet – or garderobe

The castle even had toilets called garderobe, simple sitting holes at the outer side of the wall, allowing automatic disposal of human waste straight down into the moat or the river below, which conveniently eliminated odors.

Castle of Tiffauge – Aquitaine – France

Also important to the castle was a permanent source of fresh water, so if there was no natural spring on the premises, digging a well would constitute a first priority. In case of a siege, the castle must be self-sufficient.

Mock up – castle of Lusignan – Aquitaine – France

A great castle would include several courtyards, including one for weapon practice. Also inside the walls would be stables for the horses, a barn for the hay, barracks for the guards and soldiers, sheds and work places for the artisans, blacksmiths, etc. The kitchens would have their own buildings and storage rooms.

Castle of Lusignan – Aquitaine – France

Very few of these early stone castles have survived a thousand years of warfare, and those that did survive were updated and modified over the centuries, but we have lithographs and drawings, as well as mock ups to show us what the original construction looked like.

Vijaya Schartz
Swords, blasters, romance with a kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Posted in castles, eBook, epic fantasy romance, legends, medieval, post arthurian legends, Series, Vijaya Schartz | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The legend of Tarzan is a hit! by Vijaya Schartz

  Surprisingly good movie on an old theme. This story doesn’t address the well known legend itself, but takes place later, after Tarzan and Jane have married and live in England among the nobility, and Jane is pregnant. The backstory comes up in skillfully handled flashbacks and does not distract from the story at hand, but adds to its intensity, like the friendship with his ape brother, who perceived his leaving the tribe as a betrayal.

 I love it when writers and movie makers strive for excellence, and they surpassed themselves in this production. The character is believable both as an English Lord and as a wild man. Equally at ease with gentry as he is with apes. He also looks the part, with pale skin and the northern European physique. They have gone as far as thickening the muscles of his hands from walking on all four as a child on his front knuckles, like apes do.

But most of all, this Tarzan has the true spirit of the character, fiercely protective of those he loves. A true alpha hero with a sense of justice in troubled times in the persecuted world of Belgian Congo. He understands intrigues and politics and fights for justice and the well being of a country in need of help.

 

 I especially liked the details about the historical period. King Leopold of Belgium is exploiting his colony for cacao (chocolate) as demonstrated by the inscriptions on cargo items being loaded on the ships. He also traffics slaves, and is in search of secret diamond mines to pay his enormous debt and buy mercenaries to “pacify” the land.

 

 The villains in this story are twofold. One is a ruthless Belgian secret service agent, and the other a local chief, both with reasons to capture Tarzan. One to use him, the other to kill him… because Tarzan killed his only son long ago. Later we learn that the son hunted and killed Tarzan’s ape mother.

 There is also the love story, of course, and it is made very believable. We can relate to Jane’s feeling for Tarzan and his feelings for her. What they have is true love, and it was since the moment they first met, when Tarzan saved Jane’s life and almost died in the process. Then she nursed him to recovery… all shown in flashbacks.

So, if you like adventure historical stories with a lot of action, adventure, and a sense of justice, by all means, go see THE LEGEND OF TARZAN 2, and you won’t be disappointed.

Happy viewing!

Vijaya Schartz

Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

http://www.vijayaschartz.com

Posted in epic fantasy romance, legends, movies, Vijaya Schartz | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Epic Fantasy at the Phoenix Comicon, by Vijaya Schartz

If you like Sci-fi or epic fantasy, you are probably a geek, and you are not alone. On June 2-5, over 90,000 people braved the 115-degree heat to attend the 2016 Phoenix Comicon, and discover their inner geek. And it was worth it. The city had to close some roads for the block parties, and the heavy construction on 7th Street made traffic a nightmare, but that did not stop the fans.

I attended as an exhibitor, signing my novels at a small table with my author friend in geekdom, Linda Andrews. This was our third Phoenix Comicon together, and it has been the best so far. We were ensconced between two booths with tall displays of graphic art, with the artist selling on one side, and another drawing your caricatures as your favorite character. For four days, we watched the crowd, many in full costumes, cruise by our modest display. Many of the vendors sold costumes, wigs, light sabers, and all the geeky paraphernalia you can only find in specialized shops and at Comicon. And among all these convention goers, there were readers. Some only stopped to admire the covers, but others actually liked to read good sci-fi or fantasy books.

You meet some interesting characters, some funny, and some scary. I particularly liked these two:

Fans could take selfies with their favorite DC character in authentic costume, there were contests for the largest group of the same character Cosplay. Fans attended panels with their favorite sci-fi movie stars. Everyone had a blast. This is heaven for gamers, artists, writers, and fans.

I was honored to be singled out by a famous Cosplay character, the best in his trade, a local celebrity in full costume, impersonating “Ex Excessive.” I love the concept as well as the costume. Who wouldn’t fall for these gorgeous black wings. He is local, his name is Trevor Gahona, and he gave me one of his roses. You can see it as a red dot of color on my table. Here is one of his official pictures in costume taken at the convention. What did I tell you?

In other words, I had a fantastic Phoenix Comicon, and I’ll be back next year for sure. This event is a highlight of the year. I loved it. Hope to see you there next year.

Vijaya Schartz, author

Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

Posted in Comicon, conferences, epic fantasy romance, Fan fairs, legends, medieval, post arthurian legends, Vijaya Schartz | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

RT16 Booklovers Convention was a blast!

This is not my first RT Booklovers Convention, far from it, but this event never ceases to amaze me. As an author, it’s uncanny to meet so many readers who recognize you and have read your books. Since I write in mixed niche genres, medieval fantasy romance and science fiction romance, I never expect a large crowd. Yet, somehow, it seems my readers love to go to RT every year… and they were all there.

The night events especially Viva la Historical and Cirque du Punk had incredible costumes, food, and circus entertainment. There were many pictures taken, but I don’t want to use them without permission.

The Intergalactic Bar & Grille reader event with NYT best-selling author Linnea Sinclair (the queen of sci-fi romance) and a dozen mid-list authors like me, rocked the convention. We played games and cheered until our throats were raw. I died my hair purple for the event. You cannot really tell from the pictures, because of the lighting, but it is purple.

 

Jenifer Raniery (left) Book cover designer for DBP – Vijaya Schartz, author – Gail Delaney, publisher.
 

I also had breakfast with one of my publishers, Desert Breeze Publishing, from California, and their attending authors. We only meet at these kinds of events, so had to take a group picture. 


The giant book signing was incredible, and every single one of these 700+ participating authors sold several books that day. Here is my signing table towards the end. As you can see, very few books left. I gave out hundreds of postcards and promoted my April release (the small poster of Damsel of the Hawk on the table). And yes, these are mini peanut Reeses dark chocolates on the table.

 

These events are a big  expense of money, time and energy but they are certainly worth it if you can afford them. I do not attend every year, I usually skip a year or two, so no RT for me next year (in Dallas). This time it was at a driving distance from Arizona. Maybe sometime soon they’ll have it in Phoenix. That would be cool.

In the meantime, happy publishing, happy promoting, and happy writing. For me, it’s back to the computer to start my next novel.

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

Posted in epic fantasy romance, legends, medieval, post arthurian legends, Series, Vijaya Schartz | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free in kindle CRUSADER Archangel Book 1 by Vijaya Schartz

crusaderUntil April 12 only, CRUSADER, Archangel Book 1, is free to download in kindle. Yay!
Find it at: http://amzn.com/B004HO69RS

Michael Tanner, proud, brash, irreverent, half Native American, and single father, doesn’t believe in aliens. When a Blue Angel claims to have fathered him, Michael knows his drinking has gone haywire… But a seductive Prince of Darkness born of a nightmare now targets Michael’s family. When his girlfriend disappears and characters from his dreams suddenly materialize to threaten his daughter, Michael must come out of denial and overcome his weaknesses, to face the unbelievable mystery of his birth and fulfill his unique destiny.

“…relationships, angels, aliens and seduction… even Satanism… kept this reviewer riveted… compelling fantasy… you won’t want to put it down… superior… enthralls, and, at the same time, awakens!” – Metaphysical Reviews

“A mighty fine tale primed to read through in one sitting.” – Curled Up With a Good Book.

“…engaging and fast-paced… a harmonious mix of enticing story… where real people do extraordinary things… humorous and hopeful… fluid and entertaining… quick and often droll dialogue… a marvelous tale of good and evil…” – The Charlotte Austin Review

“…Lavishly described, expertly written with stirring descriptions that take one’s breath away. Author Schartz has written a solidly absorbing, old-fashioned science fiction novel of good and evil, yes and no, the one and the many.” – The Book Reader

HAPPY READING!

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
http://www.vijayaschartz.com
AmazonBarnes & NobleAll Romance eBooksSmashwords iBooksKobo

Posted in eBook, epic fantasy romance, Series, Vijaya Schartz | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment