As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

French Christmas and cats

Thank you, Shaunna, for having me on your blog to kick off the holiday season. It’s my favorite time of the year. You can find out more about me and my books on my website at: You can find my paperbacks and eBooks on AMAZON – B&N – ARe – and all the major retailers, including the Apple Store.

I was born and raised in France, where the holidays are even bigger than in the US (at least the way I remember them). The traditions are different, and so is the food. The French do not celebrate Thanksgiving, so they have turkey for Christmas, and they stuff it with chestnuts (boiled then sautéed in butter with caramelized onions). The first time I tasted sweet potatoes (that was in India and the French still don’t know what they taste like), I thought they were chunks of chestnuts. The taste is very similar.

Raw oysters and seafood are also a big part of the French holiday menu. And the traditional dessert is the Christmas log, which my mother used to make herself with chocolate or coffee butter cream. Yum. Lots of calories.

I remember with fondness the holidays of my late teens and early twenties, no school, parties every night from Christmas Eve to the New Year. Of course it helped that my birthday fell right between the two holidays.

We did not take down the tree or the nativity scene until January 6, the twelfth day of Christmas, when we celebrated the arrival of the wise men, the Magi, that we called kings. There is even a special “galette des rois” stuffed with almond paste for that particular day. Whoever finds the hard bean (or ceramic bit) hidden in the galette becomes king or queen for a day. And he/she chooses a consort by dropping the hard bean into the chosen’s glass while they aren’t looking. The king and queen wear golden paper crowns (provided by the bakery with the galette). And not just the children wear the crown all day. Adults join in the fun, too.

And all that time, I wished I had a cat. I had an uncanny obsession with cats, and several times brought strays home on my way from school. Unfortunately, my father wouldn’t hear of keeping animals. In his view, animals belonged in a farm, not in an apartment, period.

Now that I do have cats, however, and since I’m a writer, I include cats in my novels. As you can tell from my covers, cats, big and small, take an important part in most of my stories. My new release coming out today in paperback (the eBook has been out for a while) is RED LEOPARD, Book Two in the Chronicles of Kassouk series. The feline in this story, Rascal, won an award for the best animal character in a book for 2010.

Book One, White Tiger is already in paperback, the other books in the series, already in eBook format, will follow in paperback in 2013, with the prequel coming last. Book Three, Black Jaguar, is scheduled for February 1st.


In this futuristic series, set on an alien planet where a human spaceship crashed centuries ago, a small human community, having lost its technology, struggles to survive, battling the domination of a more advanced galactic race. Each book is a separate love story, as well as an action adventure, so you do not need to read the books in the right order, but if you are like me, you’ll want to start at the beginning.

Chronicles of Kassouk Book Two
by Vijaya Schartz
From Desert Breeze Publishing
In paperback Dec. 1st at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

In charge of the fortress of Kassouk in the King's absence, what is Terek to do when a Goddian spacecraft lands in his medieval backyard, and the striking woman leading the galactic party insists on colonization?

Galya, the Goddian Princess commanding the geological vessel, is bent on finding a crystal with unusual hyper conductor properties. And the futile resistance of the local population isn’t going to stop her. Not even that defiant tribal chief nicknamed Red Leopard, like the infernal feline that follows him everywhere.

Terek and his band of swordsmen and felines must defend their people’s freedom, no matter the cost. But with this unexpected arrival, an old prophecy surfaces, taking new meaning and carrying a new threat... When political intrigues, greed, murder and betrayal tip the scales, who can Galya really trust? Her fellow Goddians? the Mutants bred to serve her race? or her primitive Human enemy?

"...action packed, fast paced story... I can't wait to read the next book in the
Chronicles of Kassouk series." 5 angels - Fallen Angel Reviews

"This book was so good. I was completely lost in the world Vijaya created and loving every second of it." - 5 stars -

“Packed with action and adventure. Galya ... a tough warrior... a sweetness about her that makes her easy to like... I loved how Rascal was Terek's faithful companion and defender throughout nearly the entire story... I really liked Red Leopard." - The Hope Chest Reviews

Enter a comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of RED LEOPARD.

Good luck.
Vijaya Schartz
Blasters, Swords, Romance with a Kick
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