Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dear Reader, Love Shelley Schanfield

Dear Reader…

When you were a kid, would you get so lost in a book you didn’t hear your mother call you for dinner until she came and pulled it out of your hands? Me too!
I love books so much that I became a librarian so I could hang out around them all the time. I’ve also always loved writing—not only the joy of putting words together to form ideas and stories, but also the physical act of making beautiful, inky dark, cursive letters on a pure white, lined sheet of paper.  But I didn’t discover my true calling as a novelist until after I’d married, raised two kids, and had a successful career.
It’s a bit of a tale as to how that happened and I love good long stories—give me an well-written epic hundreds of pages long and I’m ecstatic—but I’ll try to keep my own story short. Growing up, I spent long hours in front of the fire escaping cold Minnesota winters via books. In particular I loved exploring other cultures, and the world’s mythologies and religions fascinated me. India’s rich, warm religious tradition led me to a Buddhist legend about a young woman whose grief over her son’s death had driven her mad, and the Buddha heals her with his teachings on compassion. The story resonated deeply, because when I was young my oldest sister suffered a devastating illness and I could see that young Buddhist woman’s anguish in my parents’ eyes. Over the years, I learned more about the Buddha’s teachings, and they gave me strength in dark times.
As an avid reader, I looked for a good historical novel about Siddhartha, the handsome Indian prince who gave up wife and son and wealth and power to seek an end to humanity’s suffering and became the Buddha. You would think his story was made for one of those epic reads I love that transport me to a faraway time and place for hours on end. I searched for years but never found a novel that really brought the man and his era to life.
Finally, I decided to write my own.
Good thing I didn’t realize what a crazy idea that was. I had to learn the writer’s craft at the same time as researching ancient India, caring for young children and aging parents, working, and pursuing a black belt in Tae Kwon Do with my son as well as my own yoga and meditation practices. It took sixteen years to write two books! History, myth, and legend are all blended together during Siddhartha’s time and place, 2500 years ago in northeastern India.  As such, I decided not to write true historical fiction, but a historical fantasy. I was drawn to the strong women in the legends and especially his wife, who stayed behind with their newborn son when he left on his quest for enlightenment.  The Mountain Goddess, Book II in a trilogy about the women of the Buddha’s time, is my reworking of the stories surrounding her, with more than a dash of magic and romance.
The Tigress and the Yogi, the first book in the trilogy, received great reviews, and I’m excited to know how readers like its sequel, The Mountain Goddess. I have already started writing Book III, and I promise it won’t take sixteen years to write! I’m aiming  for its release in 2018.
I’d love to hear about the stories you love and what you think of my books. Connect with me on
My website:
Twitter: @seschanfield
 About the Author

Shelley Schanfield’s passion for Buddhism and yoga arose sixteen years ago, when she and her son earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do. The links between the martial arts and Buddhist techniques to calm and focus the mind fascinated her. By profession a librarian, Shelley plunged into research about the time, place, and spiritual traditions that 2500 years ago produced Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Yoga, in some form, has a role in all of these traditions. Its transformational teachings soon prompted Shelley to hang up her black belt and begin a yoga practice that she follows to this day.

Because she loves historical fiction, Shelley looked for a good novel about the Buddha. When she didn’t find one that satisfied her, she decided to write her own novels based on the spiritual struggles of women in the Buddha’s time. She published the first book in the Sadhana Trilogy, The Tigress and the Yogi, in 2016 and will publish the second, The Mountain Goddess in early 2017.



About the Book:

Author: Shelley Schanfield
Publisher: Lake House Books
Pages: 471
Genre: Historical Fantasy

A beautiful warrior princess. A tormented prince. A terrible choice between love, duty, and spiritual freedom.

In ancient India, rebellious Dhara runs away to a sacred mountain to study with the powerful yogi Mala, a mysterious woman with a violent past. Flung by war onto an adventure-filled journey, Dhara meets and captures the heart of Siddhartha, whose skill in the martial arts and extraordinary mental powers equal her own.

Worldly power and pleasure seduce Dhara, creating a chasm between her and her husband, who longs to follow a sage’s solitary path. She takes on the warrior’s role Siddhartha does not want, and when she returns wounded from battle court intrigue drives them further apart. As Siddhartha’s discontent with royal life intensifies, Dhara’s guru Mala, who has returned to her life as a ruthless outlaw, seeks her former pupil for her own evil purposes.

Dhara’s and Siddhartha’s love keeps evil at bay, but their son’s birth brings on a spiritual crisis for the prince.  If he leaves his kingdom to seek enlightenment, he turns his back on love and duty and risks destroying his people. Only Dhara can convince him to stay. 


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