Friday, February 28, 2014


You're in for a treat today. My guest, Vijaya Schartz, has a great tale of conquering fear.
Thank you Brenda, for having me on your Fearless Friday blog today.
Before I start, I would like to mention my two historical fantasy romance bargain books in kindle today:
Curse of the Lost Isle, special edition box set (3 novels in one download) for 99cts:
and Chatelaine of Forez, Book 5 in the same series, discounted for the first time 99cts:

When we say fearless, we are not talking about the absence of fear. Everyone has fears, it’s ingrained in our DNA. Fear protects us from doing dangerous things. Those who have no fear at all usually die young. When fear threatens to overcome you, however, the trick consists in finding peace and clarity of mind, despite overwhelming or dangerous circumstances. Like our heroes and heroines, when the time comes, we need to overcome fear, in order to do what needs to be done.

In the movie AFTER EARTH, the wounded hero teaches his young son, their only hope of survival after a crash on a hostile planet, to ignore fear, because fear is not real. The boy says, "How can I pretend there is no danger?" And the hero answers: "Oh, danger is very real, but fear is a choice."

I remember being about twelve, doing handstands in our small apartment, late at night. On the way down, my bare foot hit a heavy ceramic bowl, which broke, and a large shard gouged a hole in the top of my foot. Blood everywhere... for the first time in my life I saw my mother paralyzed by fear, babbling, unable to function. She could hardly breathe, she was so upset she couldn’t think at all. We had no phone, there was no 911 then. We had no car, it was a small town in France, no hospital, and that late at night, everything was closed.

So, I remembered my martial arts teacher saying “Stay calm. Think. What needs to be done? Do it.” So I did. I told my mother to get out of the room. I took a few deep breaths, then calmly asked my sister to get the first aid kit. I washed the wound in the sink, then cleansed it with alcohol despite the sting, and packed the hole, then bandaged the foot tightly to stop the flow of blood. Then I cleaned up the blood from the floor, the walls, the sink. Early the next morning, I limped to the doctor’s home office with my sister, and the doctor stitched me up. I wore a big scar on my left foot for decades.

Of course, some of us are thrill seekers. Conquering fear has since become a hobby of mine: jumping free fall out of perfectly good planes, braving the river wild, fighting opponents three times my size just to see if I can do it. I have to mention I stand barely 5 feet and a hundred and five pounds (on a good day) and was always picked by my various martial arts teachers for the time honored David and Goliath demonstration.

Skill, speed, balance, training, coordination, foreknowledge of the enemy, endurance, will power, clarity of mind, these are the elements of victory over fear. These are what drives a champion to the Olympic gold, what makes a fictional character worthy, what makes a soldier lethal. Although, in a soldier’s case, there is something to be said for a good exoskeleton... especially on alien planets where gravity can play tricks on you.


1 - Take a big breath, release it slowly, it calms your mind, slows your heartbeat.
2 - Stop and focus. What needs to be done?
3 - What’s the most effective way to do it?
4 - Got it? Now, just do it.

You may be tempted to think of the worst that can happen. Forget the consequences. Get over it. Do what needs to be done. It will save your life, or someone else's life, and whether or not you become a hero, you’ll have the satisfaction of having done the right thing in difficult circumstances. The more you do it, the easier it gets. It’s that simple. I said simple, I never said it would be easy. Good luck.

About the author:
Born in France, award-winning author Vijaya Schartz never conformed to anything and could never refuse a challenge. She likes action and exotic settings, in life and on the page. She traveled the world and claims to also travel through time, as she writes without boundaries about the future and the far away past. Her love of cats transpires in most of her books. Her stories collected many five star reviews and literary awards. She makes you believe you actually lived these extraordinary adventures among her characters. Reviewers compared her stories to Indiana Jones with sizzling romance, and she takes that as a compliment anytime. Find out more about Vijaya and her books at:

Now you know Vijaya writes kick-butt, fearless heroines (and heroes), and you can find them in all her romantic novels, whether in a futuristic, contemporary, or historical fantasy setting.

About the CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE historical Fantasy series:
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. 5 stars on Amazon "Edgy Medieval!"

Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick

Monday, February 24, 2014

Love Found - Remembering Where is the Problem

February is the month of love. You've seen numerous posts on the topic, and you've been bombarded with ads for all those things you need to buy your significant other so he'll love you.

My husband and I don't do Valentine's Day. Thank goodness. I can barely remember our anniversary date. In fact, it's only been the last few years that I have. There were numerous anniversaries I forgot and only remembered when he handed me a gift or took me to dinner. I'm so bad. What's more, we don't even agree on where we met. Honestly, I have this one, but if I can't remember the day we were married it does throw doubt on my memory. We do agree it was at a dance - we just don't agree which one.

I love stories of how people met. After all, I write about love so it's one of my favorite topics. One of my friends met her love on line - yep, on line dating. Another has married the best man at her first wedding. I know a few high school and college sweethearts that tied the knot. And one of those couples married, divorced and married again. I know another couple who are a few years apart in age. While she had a crush on him, she had to grow up and watched as he married and divorced twice before she caught his attention.

In my fiction world, love is found:

*she watched him sing a heartfelt country western song on a Las Vegas stage, married three months later
*she was the little sister of his best friend
*blind date
*woke up in bed with the guy she vaguely remembers from her best friend's wedding the night before
*she runs into his arms out of a dark alley where she's being stalked

I doubt any of my fictional characters will have trouble remembering where they met.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tortuga, Teeth and Tractors

 Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Fairy, newly painted and ready for spring.
So much for going on hiatus as I blabbed about last time on Tortuga Thursday. Life on Tortuga Flats Farm never really takes a hiatus even if the farm part of life slows down in the winter. When some events started unfolding, I remembered what I promised back when I started this blog and decided I better post. Here's a piece of what I said:

What do you do for retirement when the main financial contributor to the household has been out of work for three of the last five years - thanks to the not quite a depression of the last several years - and your retirement accounts have been cut in half due to the same state of affairs? … Two years ago, in the midst of wondering what the last half of our life would be like, my son, Lance, called and proposed we join forces, create our own little commune. … You'll hear all about our trials and misfires and what works. Maybe my glimpse into retiring with nothing in the bank but love will inspire or scare others in the same boat. …Oh by the way, the retiring part is my husband. I will still be toiling away at my writing career.
With that in mind, here's what's new and how we are managing.
Half of a tooth fell away. I knew without going to the dentist I would need a cap. Unfortunately, the Indian Medical Center does not do caps. I can get cleaning, check ups and fillings but no serious work. A day later, I got a coupon in the mail for a free checkup and X-ray at a Chino Valley dentist. Free is good. As I suspected, I need a cap to the tune of about $1200. There are interest free payment plans but it would still cost $100 a month. If I take out their insurance, I can save $200. Forget about it...
The tractor needs fixing. The estimate for that work is right at $1000.
Bulbs are up and flowered a month early.
Keep in mind, our pickle business is not yet off the ground, but we are so confident about our product that our hopes are positive. We have pickles piled up and although we have a few customers without even trying, we aren't in a position to start the income flowing yet. We did get some of the necessary registrations and fees taken care of, but there are more in order to do the Farmers' Markets. Takes money to make money is not just a saying. We have to spread out the expense. Our goal is to get going on the markets by the end of this summer.
And speaking of our pickles and relish, the reviews are astounding. Which is how we got some customers. We asked a few people to do some taste testing for us, and they are now insisting on buying jars. One guy buys a half case at a time of the pickles. I've gotten some great ideas on how to use our relish. This relish is not just for dogs and burgers. One man makes to die for scrambled eggs with it. Another person always puts it on roast beef sandwiches. I'm so anxious to get out to the markets. 
Garlic is much larger than this time last year.
So seeds are ordered, the field is mapped out for planting and now we wait for warmth. We are so lucky to be able to keep on heading for our goal. It doesn't have to be easy, just worth it. I have another book coming out soon, I can work in the sunshine and hang with the family for mutually beneficial activities. Life is good.
Tomorrow, the Old Farmers Almanac, 2014, is due in the mail. Sure hope it says the last frost will be earlier than usual because we are anxious to get started.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Time Travel with Nancy Pennick


Please welcome Nancy Pennick to Muse Monday. Time travel - love that concept!

First I want to thank Brenda for inviting me to guest blog about my series today. I thought I’d use time travel as a springboard to introduce my young adult books, Waiting for Dusk and Call of the Canyon and the soon to be released Stealing Time.

Time travel…
 In 1895 H.G. Wells wrote of it in The Time Machine and it still piques our interest more than one hundred years later. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a recent addition to the genre and even became a movie.
Waiting for Dusk slowly grew and changed into a time travel novel in my mind. My original idea included a dream world and reality. As I continued on, I thought, “Why not make this real?”
The first thing I discovered was that time travel needs rules. You definitely need them and have to stick by them. There can be amendments and add-ons but the mainframe has to be set in stone--how the character gets there and how they return.
I don’t want to give away too many spoilers but since my second book is named, Call of the Canyon, I can tell you that Katie goes back to the Grand Canyon in 1927.  
Since Waiting for Dusk is a young adult romance novel, time travel becomes an important part of the story. It’s the only way she can get to see the boy she loves.
In the beginning, she doesn’t know she’s time traveling and it becomes one of the major plot points of the book. Katie slowly begins to realize she’s not dreaming and that this world she visits could be real.
Call of the Canyon continues the story of Katie and Drew.  It explores more in depth the affects of time travel on people’s lives. Their biggest worry is not to change history; just be observers. Somehow that doesn’t quite work out. It’s difficult to go somewhere and not interfere, participate or make suggestions. As soon as that happens, history changes.
Questions also arise about age and returning to the same time period over and over again. Will there be multiples of one person? Do people remember you if they met you before? Do you stay the same age? Since my characters return to only one period in time, these questions needed to be addressed.
With the resurgence of the “Doctor Who” BBC television show, time travel is becoming popular again. In my third and final book of the series, Stealing Time, there’s a shout out to the show. Fans, I hope, will chuckle at the subtle reference.
Many people wish they could travel through time. Some would choose the past and others the distant future. Although we realize this could never happen, we can’t help wonder if there’s a slight possibility. And that’s why we read. To escape. To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before. To go back in time. To see the future. To time travel.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk Win Fest

Hey, Readers, you're in for a treat! You can experience a taste of ten of the stories from the extremely popular Honky Tonk Hearts series and be eligible to win, win, win!
This is a blog hop you are certain to enjoy. Gus Rankin himself has provided the instructions so read below.

Ladies, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking old Gus, owner of The Lonesome Steer honky tonk couldn’t have brought together all the lonely, broken hearts that he did. But I’m here to tell you I have. Not only do I have the pictures of these couples in my office to prove it, but there’s been a whole series of romances written about the men and women who found love at The Lonesome Steer. And just like every one of my couples, each of these romances is a keeper.

The authors of these books have put together a Valentine Honky Tonk Blog Hop, an easy way for you to get a sneak peak at every story. And there are prizes to put a bounce in your Texan Two-Step. To be eligible, visit each blog link below and leave a comment. The more hop stops you visit and comment on, the more chances YOU have to win a $50 gift card to The Wild Rose Press. In addition, the publisher has provided a second grand prize of a $25 gift card to The Wild Rose Press and a TWRP Mug for a random commenter (Sorry, US visitors only for the mug prize). Some of the ladies will also be giving away their own personal prizes. So whatcha waitin’ for? Happy hoppin’! 


Just for leaving a comment on my blog, you'll have a chance to win a $10 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press. So leave me a comment and then hop on over to all the other blogs for more prizes. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

My story is entitled, The Morning After, the tale of Abigail who wakes up with a redheaded cowboy named Bobby next to her in bed - a cowboy she's never seen - who believes in love at first site. Below is an excerpt from a scene that takes place a the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk - the bar Gus owns.

Knees shaking, Abigail concentrated on the door of the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk, but as she came next to Bobby her heart hammered faster. Her neck stiffened, and in her peripheral vision, his glare seared her. Once she passed, rigidity turned to jelly; her chin dropped. The crunch of gravel beneath her boots echoed in the night, mingling with the muffled music inside the bar. She glanced at the boots of the man who strode beside her, boots that rightfully labeled Tex a shit-kicker.
“I guess you need a little more time,” Bobby called across the parking lot. “I’ll be in touch.”
She rolled her eyes. His lady friend must be so drunk he wasn’t concerned with her hearing him.
The tall cowpoke opened the door, and music and laughter poured out. Abigail stole a glance back. Bobby’s fancy red truck remained parked, lights on, but the flashing sign atop the building reflected off the windshield obscuring the people within.
Tex urged her forward toward the bar. The band covered Garth Brooks’s song, Mr. Right, sending Abigail’s mood into a downward spiral—one thing she did remember from her marriage night was two-stepping with her redheaded hunk to that song.
Her new friend waited for her to take a stool and sat on the one next to her. She propped an elbow on the bar and rested her head in her hand. After a few minutes, time enough for Bobby and his woman to leave, she’d head out.
Down the bar, Kiera Rankin waved in her direction while her father, Gus, stepped toward them.
 “We’d like a couple of Longnecks, Gus,” Tex drawled. Gus raised a brow when he looked at Abigail’s companion and darted a questioning look her way as he reached in the cooler for the beer. 

Now get on outa here and leave comments at all those blogs!