Tuesday, June 28, 2022

New Release: Red Romeo - by Peter Bernhardt

 

Find it on Amazon  HERE


The summer of 1977 finds divided Germany locked in a fierce espionage battle. West Germany’s premier spy hunter, ambitious SABINE MAIER, faces off against ruthless Stasi General WERNER HEINRICH. Sabine has filled half a prison with her prodigious arrests of communist spies. Heinrich is the mastermind behind a small army of spy gigolos who prey on lonely women working in the West German government’s most secret divisions. Caught in the middle is ladies’ man STEFAN MALIK, a reluctant Romeo, forced to do the general’s bidding or rot in a Stasi prison.

Just as she thinks she’s gaining the upper hand, Sabine’s worst fears are realized. The Stasi has infiltrated the highest ranks of West German intelligence and Heinrich’s well-placed mole is watching her every move. With the number of women spying for love growing by the day, Sabine risks everything on a cutting-edge technology that promises to identify traitors.

The ingenious system soon picks up the scent of Stefan, who is targeting the Chief of the Chancellery’s secretary. But when Sabine discovers that Stefan has an agenda of his own, she lays a risky trap. With the security of the West at stake and Stefan’s life hanging by a thread, she gives her all to unmask the mole and outwit the Stasi spymaster.

German Edition: Roter Romeo – Stasi Gigolos und die Spionjägerin von Deutschland (Inspiriert durch tatsächlich zugetragene Ereignisse)

What Bernie Silver, author of Nathan in Spite of Himself, says about Red Romeo:

You’ve heard it all before but in Red Romeo’s case it’s true. The novel is fast-paced, suspenseful and features plenty of intrigue, to say nothing of intriguing characters. Plus it offers copious romance (though of a somewhat duplicitous nature). Suggestion: wear gloves so you don’t bite your nails off.

Monday, June 20, 2022

New Release: OSS TOP SECRET OPERATIONS. Volume 1: COVERT MISSIONS WW 2 - by Mike Rothmiller

 

Find this book on Amazon HERE

These are the true stories of OSS covert operations during World War 2.

There are three volumes.

They were written at the end of WW 2 and cut to the chase. There is no flowery narration, just hard-hitting facts of their successes, difficulties, and failures. This is the most accurate assessment of intelligence operations from the war.
Before World War II, intelligence activities in the United States were mostly carried out by the Department of State, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and the War Department's Military Intelligence Division (MID). Hoping for greater coordination of intelligence activities and a more strategic approach to intelligence gathering and operations, on July 11, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed William J. Donovan to head a new civilian office attached to the White House, the Coordinator of Information (COI). The COI was charged with collecting and analyzing information that may have had bearing upon national security, correlating such information and data, and making this information available to the President, authorized departments, and government officials. The COI operations duplicated but did not necessarily replace functions carried out by the State Department, ONI, and MID.

When World War II started, Donovan worked with the newly created Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to place the COI under JCS control; while preserving COI autonomy and gaining access to military support and resources. On June 13, 1942, the COI became the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The OSS gathered intelligence information about practically every country in existence but was not allowed to conduct operations in the Pacific Theater, which General Douglas MacArthur claimed as his own. J. Edgar Hoover of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Nelson Rockefeller, the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, insisted that the OSS should not operate in the Western hemisphere. For these reasons, the records of OSS covert operations were primarily confined to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The OSS established more than 40 overseas offices during World War II, extending from Casablanca to Shanghai and Stockholm to Pretoria.

Most records were transferred to two federal agencies after the OSS was eliminated on September 20, 1945. Approximately 1,700 cubic feet of Research and Analysis Branch records ended up at the Department of State. In comparison, more than 6,000 cubic feet of operational records were transferred to what was to become the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Note that the CIA was not created until July 26, 1947.

After World War II, OSS veterans in the Strategic Services Unit (SSU) arranged most OSS operational records according to OSS locations, offices, and file categories. For a list of these categories, see the Arrangement of OSS Records.
In 1946, the State Department began releasing records to the National Archives, which had taken over the bulk of Research and Analysis Branch files after the war. The most extensive series consists of intelligence reports relating to political, economic, military, and morale. The information covers nearly all nations. Each series is arranged by document number. The office would assign the next consecutive number to the accounts and correspondence sent to the R & A Branch.

As a historian and bestselling author, I edited various passages for clarity, punctuation, and ease of reading. However, it did not change the information or story in any fashion.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Where do science fiction authors find their inspiration? - from mythology, of course - Part 2 - by Vijaya Schartz

  

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

Last month, we covered the mythology of Asia as a source of inspiration, and Indian mythology that could be interpreted as advanced technology. But this is not unique to that part of the world.

In the Norse legends, Odin possessed two magical raven who flew over the world and showed him everything that happened in real time. These black birds often represented inside a clear globe would now be called “camera drones.” There is mention of a rainbow bridge, which, according to Albert Einstein, could have been a wormhole (or Rosen bridge). Also, Thor, God of Thunder, did have the power to harness lightning and thunder and used them as a weapon.

Similarly, in Greece, Zeus wielded weapons of lightning and thunder capable of great destruction… not unlike our war missiles.

The god Apollo flew north each year in a golden chariot… in other words a shiny metal craft.

The Anunnaki (meaning: they who from the heavens came) claimed to have come to Earth to harvest gold, a commodity they needed to save their own planet. In the process, they genetically improved, educated, and enslaved humans to provide a labor force to work and mine the gold for them. In doing so, they may have started the Sumerian civilization.

The Egyptian pharaohs claimed to be descended from the gods who came from Orion in barges. They were embalmed to make the trip back. The pyramids are aligned on Orion’s belt.

Ezekiel - St. Augustine Church - Paris France

The Old Testament says Ezekiel saw a chariot coming down to Earth with wheels turning inside wheels… not unlike the modern representations of UFOs.

Jacob witnessed angels climbing a ladder into a luminous craft.

And the Book of Enoch, one of the oldest manuscripts banned from the bible, describes in simple words his trip into space with angels, aboard a spacecraft, where he saw the Earth from space, then went to another planet and studied in their company. The elaborate details of his trip make a lot of sense to a modern mind familiar with space travel, but couldn’t have been fabricated by someone who didn’t understand advanced technology. Yet, this witness account was penned millennia ago.

This happened all over the world. In the Americas, many Native American tribes relate that sky people came as teachers (Kachinas) to educate their ancestors. The Thunderbird can also be interpreted as a vehicle transporting sky people.

The Incas, the Mayas, the Aztec, all had similar stories, about beings coming down in crafts from the Pleiades, sometimes demanding blood sacrifices, and strongly influencing their culture.

Several African tribes also spoke for centuries about being visited by space travelers from the Sirius II system. No one knew Sirius II existed until quite recently, as it is hidden by Sirius I.

So, you see, one doesn’t have to go far to find inspiration about science fiction stories. Space travel and alien visitation are old recurring themes even on our little planet.

This month, Congress reviewed undeniable footage of UAP (Unexplained Aerial Phenomena) taken by the US military, to discuss the implications for National Security.

Soon we will explore space on our own, search for new planets and encounter new civilizations, some more advanced, and others in infancy, and we, too, will become the powerful beings who encourage the pursuit of knowledge and accidentally start new myths and new religions… like in the Star Trek movie, where Captain Kirk inadvertently starts a new cult when the natives witness the Enterprise rising from the depths of the ocean and taking flight.

In the meantime, you can dream and imagine other worlds by reading science fiction, my favorite genre.

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 Happy Reading!


Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats




Monday, June 6, 2022

New Release: Kiss Of The Shaman’s Daughter - by Peter Bernhardt

 

Find this book on Amazon  HERE


Against the backdrop of the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains, aspiring diva SYLVIA MAZZONI hopes to combine her Santa Fe Opera debut and a romantic reunion with her lover, Washington attorney ROLF KELLER. But Rolf’s old nemesis from law school, CHARLES SLATER, now an archaeologist, intrudes on their tryst. He is on the run from ruthless antiquities traffickers, who are after his recent find of prehistoric Indian artifacts.

After Slater vanishes under suspicious circumstances, Rolf plunges into the New Mexico wilderness to search for him and his priceless cache. Soon, he finds himself in desperate flight not only from the guns of the murderous smugglers, but from the FBI as well.

When the soprano slated to sing Tosca develops vocal problems, opera management drafts Sylvia as a last-minute replacement. While struggling to convert the daunting challenge into the career triumph she has pursued all her life, she and Rolf are threatened by the smugglers who will stop at nothing to get their hands on Slater’s hoard.

As they unravel the twisted clues Slater left behind, Sylvia and Rolf stumble upon the intriguing legend of a shaman’s young daughter, TEYA, who played a crucial role in the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680 against the Spanish oppressors and perhaps concealed the treasure of a lost pueblo.

Now, three centuries later, the paths of Teya, Sylvia and Rolf are about to cross in this riveting historical thriller involving archaeological crime, southwestern history and grand opera.

German Edition: Kuss der Schamanentochter – Revolte, Verlorener Schatz und Schmuggler (Diva Unverzagt Buch 2)

Monday, May 30, 2022

New release: Poems from the Asylum - by Martha H. Nasch

 

Click on cover for the Amazon link

Anthology of harrowing and insightful poems written by Martha Hedwig Nasch, patient-inmate #20864 at the St. Peter State Hospital for the Insane.

After noticing something strange from a secret medical procedure in 1927, St. Paul, Minnesota, Martha Nasch's doctor claimed she just had a "case of nerves." With a signature from her adulterous husband, Martha was committed against her will to the asylum. She spent nearly seven years in the Minnesota hospital during the Great Depression and tried to escape twice. Martha's poems from behind bars include shocking eyewitness accounts of patient treatment and a long-suffering adoration for her only child, now being raised alone by her deceiving spouse.

When not a soul believed Martha's story, she sought an explanation for her mysterious condition that led her to a spiritual answer for the mystifying curse. Would her findings make her a metaphysical guru of the Breatharian lifestyle, or would she become the laughingstock of her Depression-era family?

Editing and arrangement by Martha's great-granddaughter, Janelle Molony, with an introduction by Jodi Nasch Decker, granddaughter and family historian. More than fifty photographs and illustrations are included with the historical research that accompanies this beautiful collection of poems.



Monday, May 16, 2022

Finding inspiration in ancient mythology - 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

NEW RELEASE: Down a Dark River (An Inspector Corravan Mystery) - by Karen Odden

 

Find this book on Amazon HERE


London, 1878. One April morning, a small boat bearing a young woman’s corpse floats down the murky waters of the Thames. When the victim is identified as Rose Albert, daughter of a prominent judge, the Scotland Yard director gives the case to Michael Corravan, one of the only Senior Inspectors remaining after a corruption scandal the previous autumn left the division in ruins. Reluctantly, Corravan abandons his ongoing case, a search for the missing wife of a shipping magnate, handing it over to his young colleague, Mr. Stiles.
 
An Irish former bare-knuckles boxer and dockworker from London’s seedy East End, Corravan has good street sense and an inspector’s knack for digging up clues. But he’s confounded when, a week later, a second woman is found dead in a rowboat, and then a third. The dead women seem to have no connection whatsoever. Meanwhile, Mr. Stiles makes an alarming discovery: the shipping magnate’s missing wife, Mrs. Beckford, may not have fled her house because she was insane, as her husband claims, and Mr. Beckford may not be the successful man of business that he appears to be.
 
Slowly, it becomes clear that the river murders and the case of Mrs. Beckford may be linked through some terrible act of injustice in the past—for which someone has vowed a brutal vengeance. Now, with the newspapers once again trumpeting the Yard’s failures, Corravan must dredge up the truth—before London devolves into a state of panic and before the killer claims another innocent victim.


About the author:

KAREN ODDEN received her Ph.D. in English literature from New York University and subsequently taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has contributed essays and chapters to many academic books and journals; she wrote introductions to novels by Dickens and Trollope for the Barnes and Noble Classics Series; and she served as an Assistant Editor for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture. She freely admits she might be more at home in nineteenth-century London than today, especially when she tries to do anything complicated on her iPhone.





Monday, May 9, 2022

NEW BOOK RELEASE - Greenebriar's Garbage - by S.M. Drake

 

Find this book on Amazon HERE

Journey to the south Chicago suburb in the late 1970's as the Williams family moves from Texas due to a job transfer. At the closing on the purchase of their home, they find out they will be living in an HOA. Too late to find a different home, they begin a two year journey of mishaps, mayhem and murder.

Monday, May 2, 2022

NEW BOOK RELEASE - The Sun Thief - Science Fiction, Children's novel by Caren Cantrell

Buy it from Amazon HERE


The year is 2450. After graduating from the Galactic Preservation Academy, 12-yr-old Earthing Manny Adams is thrust into the role of Chief Cosmic Controller for the Moon when his commander dies in a suspicious moonquake. Jupiterian Cira Blondt is the Chief Cosmic Controller for the Sun, a role she’s wanted since she grew her baby body vents. The two share a unique telepathic bond.

Together, they engage in a battle of wits and courage when Reginald Daschell III, their nemesis from the Academy, concocts a plan to destroy their reputations and proclaim himself a hero to win the respect of his powerful father. Dasch captures the Sun’s Control Center and stops sunlight from reaching the Moon. Without solar power to run the Moon’s equipment, it’s losing the ability to rotate, weakening its gravitational pull on the Earth.

Manny and Cira have just 48 hours to stop Dasch before the Moon crashes into the Earth, exploding it into a gigantic mass of space debris.


Reviewed By Ammaarah Seboa for Readers' Favorite
Caren Cantrell's debut children's novel The Sun Thief falls into the sci-fi, action, and adventure genres. Set in the year 2450, the story follows a group of Galactic Preservation Academy graduates, Manny, Cira, and Taran, as well as their nemesis Dasch. They embark on the next stage of their lives at different Control Stations to monitor the sun, moons, planetary atmospheres, and orbits in addition to noting potential dangers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Public Speaking for Authors Part Two - By Jeanne Burrows-Johnson

 Before the Covid virus arrived, I took a promotional road trip. In my hometown of Portland, Oregon, I attended the 50th reunion of my high school graduating class and spoke to several audiences, including creative writing classes at the high school and a combined meeting of book clubs. How did my planning for Public Speaking engagements mesh with the actual experiences? Were my preparations adequate? What were the results?



TRAVEL

~ Shipping books and marketing materials in advance proved useful. Not only did they arrive safely, but once I completed my appearances, I was able to pack the remaining items into the spacious luggage I took for that purpose.

~ During research for travel, I joined an international hotel group that awards points. They also provided: transport to area restaurants and businesses; quality buffet breakfasts which permitted taking food back to one’s room; offered a 25% discount for dinners, including when I hosted guests. 

~ Since the penalty for altering flights was the same as emergency rescheduling, I did not purchase airline tickets with that option…I would have done so if my itinerary were more complex.

~ With today’s complex public safety rules, I had to carry multiple small containers of toiletries, snacks, and food supplements, which I divided between carry-on and checked baggage. In case my checked bag failed to arrive, my carry -on pieces included: clothing; accessories; necessary paperwork for public appearances, such as handouts for audiences. I also carried a thumb drive with data that could be downloaded and printed out in the hotel’s business office.

~ Because I was having dinner with a friend [and former theatre director] shortly after my arrival, I was not able to schedule an initial day without activity. But the following day I enjoyed a delicious lunch at a Hawaiian Café and a memorable tour of the city with my editor, while moving from a hotel near the airport to one near my engagements.

~ I was grateful to avoid renting a car. Although I tried using share-ride transportation, I found it awkward to schedule repeat transport with drivers I liked, and the cost was not substantially less than a highly rated traditional cab company. Thereby I repeatedly scheduled drive times with a couple of cab drivers I liked!

~ I travelled with ample cash for tipping people who rendered excellent service, such as porters at airports and the hotel. As I encouraged readers to purchase books through their favorite local stores or online, I made only a couple of cash sales, although I was capable of taking credit card payments.

PUBLICITY AND MARKETING

~ Since my events were not open to the general public, there was no reason to generate Media Releases. I did add a news page to my author website and referenced my travel on Facebook. I posted a picture with my editor taken at the book club meeting I addressed.

~ At the reunion, I followed the organizer’s suggestion and served Hawaiian macadamia nut candy...and discussed all of my books in the Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian mystery series.



APPEARANCE 

~ I followed my own advice regarding maximizing the expression of one’s personality and profession. Because my writing focuses on Hawai'i, I wore tropical print jackets and a large name badge throughout my trip—with business cards at the ready. This facilitated conversation with numerous people I would not have otherwise met! 

~ Since the Northwest was becoming colder and wetter than Tucson, I had to travel with varied clothing for the eight days. Despite necessary increases in the number of items I carried, my planning for multiple events proved to be appropriate. 

~ Except for when my editor joined me in speaking to the book club, I was the sole presenter and did not need to coordinate my attire with other speakers. 

~ In addition to my tropical-themed wardrobe, I accessorized with a necklace of my design and the name badge featuring my personal logo. I also wore a realistic appearing artificial orchid in my hair, which I wore pinned to heavily sprayed hair swept to one side, so the arrangement would remain in place for several hours. 



SETTING THE STAGE

~ While it was not appropriate to hang a banner from podiums, my colorful attire proclaimed my personal style and the nature of my writing. 

~ I positioned my presentation outline, a large watch, and bottle of water in advance of speaking—and a short bio in my pocket in case the person introducing me forgot the copy I had provided in advance

~ I set up a colorful display with marketing materials, books, and laid out an information request sheet on a clipboard. These items were placed on clear acrylic stands on a multi-level tablescape covered with purple and gold tablecloths, with a scattering of shell leis and tropical flowers.



BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER PERFORMANCES 

~ I provided event organizers with my bio and a short introduction in advance of each event...and carried a copy with me in case they omitted important details.

~ Since the venues at which I spoke were small, I did not need overhead projections or a sound system. I merely arrived with a spiral bound binder with my presentation, potential readings from the three books in my series, and handouts. [I also carried notes for unexpected issues that might arise, and backup electronic files.]

~ Walking through Portland’s cold air provided physical warmups; I was limited in my ability to warm up vocally.

~ By using an annotated outline rather than scripted presentation, I was able to make periodic eye contact with my audience...letting attendees know I cared about them individually.

~ Despite allergies, my voice was strong enough for the demands of my public speaking. Theatrical training and experience has increased my ability for vocal projection.

~ My primary challenge was ensuring I covered each of my main points before the conclusion of each presentation. My large watch aided time management so that free-flowing dialogue could develop during Q&A segments, thereby maximizing audience interaction.

~ I concluded each presentation by holding up a pin with a single inspiring word...IMAGINE! Beyond the generally inspiring meaning, the word highlighted my branding, as my marketing website is ImaginingsWordpower.com!

~ As part of my long-term branding program, I travelled with Thank You cards, distinctive postage stamps and gifts of Hawaiian candy. I presented the candy to key people involved with events and mailed Thank You cards prior to leaving Portland.


Let me close my Postmortem by confirming that each public speaking appearance is a branding, as well as sales, opportunity. When you decide to embark on promotional road trips, I urge you to choose trips that can serve multiple purposes. And, by planning your journeys with care, you should be able to enjoy each phase of the experience! You never know who or what you’ll encounter along the way. I can say that I established new readers and organizational contacts with which/whom I’ve remained in touch. My only regret is that because of Covid, I wasn’t able to follow through on other planned events, such as attending a book fair in Hawai'i, because I might have travelled again to Portland en route!

Wishing you the best,

Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, author, narrator, consultant, and motivational speaker. Find more about her  on her blog at: https://blog.jeanneburrows-johnson.com/ 






Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The difficult balance of Science Fiction and romance in the sci-fi romance genre - by Vijaya Schartz

 

"...an exceptional tale that belongs in a place of honor on keeper shelves everywhere." Johnna Flores - Coffee Time Romance - 5-cups

Readers of Sci-fi romance expect a good science fiction novel as well as an engaging love story. Some of them also expect love scenes. I sometimes struggle to deliver the latter. As I get older, I tend to focus more on the slow-evolving romance, based on true and lasting feelings rather than lust. 

 Although many of my novels have love scenes, most of these scenes happen later in the story and are not graphic. Some readers want more of it, while other readers, are perfectly happy with a love story that never makes it to the bedroom, at least on the page. 


RELICS is an intense thrill ride of a futuristic romance; I highly recommend it." - Paranormal Romance - "...an intriguing romance... all the staples of a good science fiction story." Romantic Times - " ...will keep you captivated from beginning to end." 5 hearts Love Romances - "I consider this to be among the best reads of the year!" Fallen Angel Reviews - 5 angels


 But let’s face it, I am an action junkie. So, in my novels, you can expect a lot of action and adventure, space adventure, plot twists, evil villains, some paranormal elements, and a clean romance, with a happily ever after ending that will leave you satisfied.

 In the sweet sci-fi romance category, you’ll find these titles of mine, also suited for a teen audience.

The Byzantium Space Station series are sweet and only include kisses
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"I love this one by Vijaya Schartz. As always, her action-packed, well-plotted out prose kept me glued to the pages of Black Dragon from start to finish." TwoLips Reviews 5-kisses review and a RECOMMENDED READ


Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats