Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Welcome to History Undressed, guest author, Vijaya Schartz! She's with us today talking about one of my favorite topics--heroines who kick butt!


by Vijaya Schartz

It’s not a secret, I love writing strong women, and I do not make exceptions for historical series. Strong heroines are a must in a society, especially one where women are not recognized as having a soul. Reviewers call THE CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE series “edgy medieval.” Yep, lots of edges there, Magic swords, daggers, arrows, lances... you get the picture.

Contrary to common belief, there were many strong women in the Middle Ages, despite the fact that they were considered inferior by the Church… and by men in general. A few of these queens and princesses are remembered to this day. Eleanor of Aquitaine comes to mind, and she was, according to legend and sparse records, descended from the Immortal Celtic Ladies featured in the Curse of the Lost Isle series. So was Richard the Lionheart.

And I’m not just talking about knights wielding swords, but ladies as well. While respecting history is important, it is just as important for the reader to identify with the characters of the time. So my medieval heroines are particularly strong-willed, resilient, and knowledgeable. Since they are immortal, after a few centuries they are also wise beyond their youthful appearance.

But these novel plots are far from random. I did intensive research over the past fifteen years, since the first idea for this series sparked in my mind. It was on the plane trip back from a French vacation. Born and raised in France, I still have family there. More trips to Europe ensued to research the archives of many locales mentioning legends involving the cursed Ladies of the Lost Isle. There will be several books following the four already published:

Beloved Crusader, Book 6 in the Curse of the Lost Isle series, is a standalone, as it is the only book featuring this particular sister Fae. It is set at a dangerous time for Pagans, as Christianity embarked on the first Crusade. Like her mother and her sisters, this magic heroine is a fighter. She fights for what is right, regardless of race or religion. She is brave enough to change herself to change the world.

Leave a comment for your chance to win an ebook copy of BELOVED CRUSADER!

About the Book:

Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Books We Love Ltd.
Formats: eBook, Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1771454193
Series: Curse of the Lost Isle Series, Book Six
Genre: Historical Romance

1096 AD – To redeem a Pagan curse, Palatina the Fae braves the Christian world to embark on an expedition to free the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem from the Turks. Pierre de Belfort, Christian Knight of Lorraine, swore never to let a woman rule his life, and doesn’t believe in love. Thrown together into the turmoil of the First Crusade, on a sacred journey to a land of fables, they must learn to trust each other. For in this war, the true enemy is not human… and discovery could mean burning at the stake.

Praise for Beloved Crusader

“Ms. Schartz’s writing is spot on – it’s tight and flows well, there are no superfluous passages. It’s a pleasure to read excellent writing. Her descriptions are perfect to the mood and moment, with exact word choices. Plotting and characterization were excellent as well and kept me reading. Thank you for the wonderful escape!” 5-stars on Amazon

Ind'Tale Magazine says: 
"... a vivid look at what life could have been for Pagans and Christians alike. Palatina and Pierre are so lifelike, one could expect them to step out of the page, chain mail jingling and swords flashing." 5 stars (exceptional - crowned heart for excellence) Ind'Tale Magazine July/August 2015 issue.


Heart pounding, barely containing her excitement, she watched his tall figure stride with purpose into her lair. The warrior dwarfed the stone arch of the entrance with his imposing presence. The flames of the oil lamps wavered, casting shifting shadows on the rough stone shelves, strewn with worn, heavy volumes of ancient knowledge.

He walked slowly, deliberately, like a predator stalking prey. His wet tunic molded muscular shoulders. Golden hair dripped on his square face, tanned by the outdoors. A northerner.

A large silver cross glinted on his bare chest through the open fold of his linen tunic. A Celtic cross in a circle. A Pagan symbol... also used by Christians.

Palatina sensed a hint of Fae blood roiling through his veins, and she probed the mind of the handsome man to determine whether or not she could trust him. To her surprise, she could not read his thoughts. Strange. Perhaps, his spatter of Fae blood protected him from her probing.

"Who dares disturb the peace of this sacred cave?" Her voice strangled in her throat from lack of use. Her tone sounded strangely formal.

A small rodent scampered into the rocky recesses of the large cave.

The man took a deep breath, released it slowly, then faced her at three paces, feet slightly apart, hands behind his back. Still seated on her elevated flat rock, she gazed on an even keel into his deep blue eyes... eyes that could make any woman forget her duties.

He tilted his head, and the square lines of his smooth face relaxed into an amused smile that dimpled his cheeks and bared perfect white teeth. "I was expecting someone older."

Flustered, Palatina frowned. Was that meant to be a compliment or an insult? She wouldn’t let him manipulate her. She may not have lived at the imperial court, but she had seen enough of the world through her water basin to avoid such tactics. She steeled her voice. “I asked for your name and title.”
He bit back his smile and nodded. “Pierre de Belfort, knight of Lower Lorraine, my lady.”

She must make sure he was the one. As the guardian of her father’s treasure, she could only release it to the right man, for a worthy cause... or suffer the wrath of the Goddess. The Great One punished the slightest mistakes with ruthless curses. “State your family line.”

His brow arched. “I am the bastard son of a lowly concubine, my lady.”

She could tell this man had learned good manners and received a good education. His braies and tunic were fashioned of the best cloth, and his boots of the finest leather. Besides, he was a titled knight. “But your father is a powerful lord, is he not?”

He narrowed his gaze upon her. “Aye, he was. Before he passed, he bestowed upon me the modest holding of Belfort.”

Of Palatina’s two sisters, only Melusine had married and borne children... first in Luxembourg with Sigefroi, a son of Lorraine, then in Forez with Count Artaud. This knight had to be related to her somehow, and if he were, he might know of her dark family history. “Any ancient legends or Fae ancestry in your family line?”

The knight’s jaw tensed and his daunting blue eyes hardened to cold ice. His hand gripped the sword hilt. “Who dares challenge my good name?”

Palatina shuddered at his outburst. Why would he bristle at the mention of legends and Fae? She blinked away her surprise and cleared her throat but no words came.

“I gave you my name, my lady. Now I demand to know yours.” His rich baritone voice echoed throughout the cave, filling it with warmth.

“My name is Palatina, Princess of Alba, daughter of Pressine of Bretagne and King Elinas of Dumfries.” She didn’t mention immortal, or Fae, or cursed... not even Pagan.

Beloved Crusader Available at

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 many of her books… and she has more than twenty-five novels published. Her stories collected numerous five star reviews and a few literary awards.

For more information on Vijaya Schartz and her books visit http://www.vijayaschartz.com. You can Facebook and Twitter.
also find her on


Beloved Crusader Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 13
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Tuesday, July 14
Guest Post & Giveaway at History Undressed
Wednesday, July 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Thursday, July 16
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Friday, July 17
Review at Book Nerd

1 comment:

Denise said...

I love this time period in history. Sounds like a book, that I would like.