About Me

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I spend most of my time daydreaming and creating otherworldly tales steeped in myth, magic, and romance. All of my heroes have long hair, and my heroines are strong-willed. Prior to being a writer, I played bass guitar in an all-girl hard rock/metal band in southern California. When I'm not writing, editing, or reading, I enjoy practicing target archery.
 

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Outlines: Do you have to use them?

I am working on my fourth book and I am on my sixth manuscript revision. Yikes! I guess that isn't so bad, but I thought I had the story down and then it changed on me. That happens a lot when I write. I start in one direction and the characters pull me into a different direction. That is why I work with a rough outline and not one set in stone.

Is is better to work with an outline? Some authors swear by it and it is probably a more organized way to work, but each writer has their own way to write. My brain seems to work better with a rough outline so I have a basic idea of what I am going to write. Once I start writing, the story may pull me in a different direction. I keep notes on what I am doing and this helps me to stay organized.

This story is turning out to be a good one, but I am not finished yet. The editing process is even more time consuming than writing the story. A story is not finished to me until I 'feel' it is finished. Pretty weird, huh? But that is how I work.

A writer should use the technique that best works or him or her.

Hopefully Cat's Curse will be finished at the beginning of next year.

Interview at Romance Junkies

I was recently interviewed by Romance Junkies. It was a fun interview and here is the link to it: Interview with Romance Junkies

For a writer, the promotion never ends and interviews can help get an author's name out there. I am grateful to all of the sites that help promote authors.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Writing Funk

I am in a writing funk. I just can't seem to get myself motivated. My brain is fried from all the research I have been doing. Does this happen to other writers?

To help my motivation, I turned on some music, which actually helped. If you get in a writing funk, listen to music that is emotionally moving. It really works. I was able to get some work done that way, but I am still not working as fast as I usually work. It is as if my brain is stuck on pause.

I think it is time to take a break and give my mind a rest. This usually happens when I do too much research. It is time to free my mind up with some 'pleasure reading.' That is a good way to open up the mind to creativity.

Yikes! I hate when this happens.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Book signing at Tucson Celtic Festival

I just had a book signing at the Tucson Celtic Festival. It was a fun way to spend the day and sell some books.

I met some wonderful authors. Lauren Royal (she writes historical romances) was my booth mate and she was so nice. I really learned a lot from her about having a successful book signing. I thought you were just supposed to sit there and wait for people to come over to you. That is not how it is done. Lauren had bookmarks and she would ask people if they wanted a free bookmark. That would bring people over to us and it helped sell books. Lauren’s website http://www.LaurenRoyal.com

Author Jude Johnson and I were corresponding online and I finally had the opportunity to meet her in person. She is the author of Dragon & Hawk and she was there in the Welsh booth. Jude’s website is http://www.scorchedhawkpress.com

I will be doing more of these Celtic Festivals. The next one is in Mesa, AZ in February.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Doorway by Kelley Heckart

In the spirit of Samhain, here is a short story I wrote in honor of the original meaning of Halloween.

The Doorway
By Kelley Heckart

32 BC:

Mist covered the ground, swirling up around the stone altar that stood as a silent sentinel beneath the massive oak trees. A full moon illuminated the sacred grove revealing a woman lying motionless on the altar, and seven robed figures moving sunwise around the altar.

Beneath the hoods, their faces hidden in shadow, seven pairs of lips moved in chant. The beautiful and haunting voices melded together, floating as if borne on wings up through the trees and into the night sky.

The woman waited in anticipation for the cold blade of the dagger to pierce her heart, sending her soul on a journey to her next life. Her dark hair was streaked with gray, framing her gaunt face and her blue ceremonial robe hung on her diseased body. This body would not house her soul much longer. She was honored to leave the world in such a way. Without fear, she clutched her favorite brooch in her hand.

One of the figures broke from the circle and stood before the altar. The others continued to chant.

Long, ringed fingers reached beneath the robes and came out clutching a bronze dagger.

“On this eve of Samhain when the veil between the realm of the dead and the realm of the living is thinnest,” the gruff voice rumbled. “We send our sister from this life to the next. May her journey be filled with wondrous light.”

The chanting grew louder and faster. The dagger arced down toward the woman. Just before the whetted dagger reached her chest, a bright blue light appeared, opening like a doorway and enveloping the woman. The blue light vanished and the stone altar was empty. The woman was gone.

****

With lights flashing and siren wailing, Officer Duncan Murray rushed to a call he had just received—a 211 in progress.

It was Halloween and a full moon filled the night sky. He thought to himself that this was probably the first of many calls he would answer tonight.

Fingers gripping the wheel and adrenaline rushing, he sped along the winding, tree-lined road that passed the creepy mental hospital. He shivered when he saw the white ghostly figures of the lions that guarded the entrance.

The moon passed behind clouds, causing instant darkness.

She appeared out of nowhere in front of the speeding police car. With no time to stop, he heard the sickening thud and his car skidded to a stop near the entrance to the mental hospital. His heart pounding, he called for an ambulance and informed dispatch that they would have to send someone else on the 211 call.

Jumping from his squad car, he knelt next to the broken woman. The flashing lights of the squad car reflected the look of shock on his beardless face. He searched for a pulse, but there was none. Her wrist was cold as stone like she had been dead for hours. How odd, he thought. His trained eyes scrutinized the body, noting the strange blue robe.

A man appeared from between the white stone lions that guarded the entrance to the mental hospital. He wore a rumpled blue coat and he mumbled something.

Duncan turned to the man. “Do you work here?”

The man nodded. “As an orderly.”

Do you know this woman?” Duncan asked in a voice filled with authority.

The man stared in shock at the woman’s body, shaking his head.

The flashing red and blue lights on the squad car cast an eerie light on the whole scene.

“I s-saw this woman walking through the h-hall. I didn’t t-think she was a patient, but she l-looked crazy to me.”

What makes you say that?” Duncan’s eyes shifted to the woman.

“Well, look at her. S-she is wearing that strange blue robe and s-she kept muttering some gibberish to herself.”

“What sort of gibberish?”

The man thought a moment before giving his answer. “Something like Sow-in, Sow-in.”

That wasn’t gibberish, Duncan thought, his eyes shifting back to the woman’s body. That was the Celtic word for Halloween. A strange feeling crept over him.

The man continued his story. “I tried to stop her and s-she looked at me real w-weird like and I couldn’t move...like I was paralyzed.”

The man’s story sounded really weird, but Duncan had a feeling that the man told the truth. For some odd reason, Duncan thought back to the stories his Grandma used to tell him about his ancestors in Ireland. She told him that one of his ancestors was a powerful Druid priestess and that the Druids were known to make human sacrifices on the eve of Samhain to bring balance to the world.

“I guess w-we will never know the madwoman’s s-secret now,” the man muttered to himself.

The poor man was in shock. Duncan was feeling a little shaken up himself. He leaned against his car for support.

This place had always given him the creeps. According to old legends, the area used to be an ancient burial ground that even the Indians stayed away from. Supposedly it was still haunted. He didn’t believe in ghosts so he couldn’t understand why he suddenly wanted to leave this place.

The radio in his squad car squawked and Duncan reached into his car to answer it.

The sound of approaching sirens echoed through the night.

“Uh, Officer?” The man stared past Duncan’s shoulder at the spot where the body lay. “The b-body is gone!” he shouted.

His mind in a whirl, Duncan knelt next to the spot where just moments before a woman’s body had lain. He stared up at the moon now free of the clouds, his blue eyes dazed. He had just received disturbing news over the radio. The officer who answered the 211 call in his place had been shot and killed.

Something on the ground caught his eye, gleaming in the splash of moonlight. He bent down and picked it up, his hand shaking. It was a golden brooch with intricate spiral designs—the brooch that had belonged in his family for centuries, the brooch that was buried with his Grandmother.

A chill crawled up his spine.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The 18 Questions Survey for writers

I found this site and thought it might be a good way to promote my books. The best part is it is a free promotion. Just thought I would share my answers with everyone.

Kelley Heckart
http://www.kelleyheckart.com
Bio: Kelley lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs. Though she has
one foot firmly planted on the earthly realm, the other foot often crosses the
barrier into the otherworldly realm of fierce warriors, faeries and magic. She
can be found online at http://www.kelleyheckart.com

1. Did you choose the writing profession or did it choose you? I think it chose me. It was never my goal to be a writer. I was a musician and thought that was what I would be doing with my life until some health problems and some soul searching changed my path, leading me to writing novels.

2. What is your background? (education, work, etc.) I have some college credits, but never received a degree. I worked as an accounting clerk for many years, but I think my real experience came to me because I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with Celtic mythology or ancient history.

3. When did you 'know' you were a writer? I think I have always known that I was a storyteller. I realized I was a writer when my first book was published.

4. How would you describe your style of writing? I write with an engaging style that draws the reader into the story. At least that is what my editor told me and I agree with him. I try to make sure the story is compelling so that it will draw the reader in. I write Celtic fantasy romances and prefer to write about ancient or lesser known time periods.

5. What is your writing process? I usually have a basic idea of the story I want to tell and two main characters in mind. I like to make up character charts. This helps me discover the motivation of the characters. Then I write up a rough outline. I call it a rough outline because sometimes the characters may pull the story in a different direction so I don't always stick to the outline. When I am starting a story, I write in a notebook before I put anything on the computer. I am more relaxed when writing in a notebook for some reason.

6. What was your path to publication? I decided not to try to publish with any of the 'big' publishers. I figured that would take way too long so I went with an e-publisher and I am very happy. Ebooks are starting to gain recognition and there are a lot of well written ebooks out there. I just bought an ebook reader and most of the books I buy are ebooks.

7. What is your favorite self-marketing idea? This is a good question because I still don't know if I have this part of writing down. I think my website was the best idea so far. I also like to have book covers that really stand out to potential readers.

8. What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer? I don't think I realized just how much work goes into publishing a book. I guess I thought I would write it and that was it. The editing process is my least favorite step to publishing.

9. How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity? I get inspired by reading mythology and history, especially about the Celts. Music is also a huge inspriation for me. I just finished a story called White Rose of Avalon that was inspired by a song I heard.

10. What is your proudest writer moment? My proudest writer moment was probably with White Rose of Avalon. I had to add 20,000 words to the story and I surprised myself by accomplishing it in less than two weeks. I didn't think I could do it and then an idea just hit me.

11. What's the best advice you were given about writing? The best advice came from a Creative Writing class--show not tell. I keep that posted near my computer to remind myself to follow it.

12. What is your most embarrassing writer moment? My most embarrassing writer moment was allowing my mom to proofread a story and forgetting to warn her about the spicy sex scenes. She said the first one shocked her because she wasn't prepared for it.

13. What business challenges have you faced as a writer? The business challenges I have faced are trying to think of more ways to promote myself and just keeping it all organized. I finally bought a planner so I can write in my goals. It has helped to motivate me more.

14. What is your writer life philosophy? Write from the heart.

15. When you're not writing what do you do for fun? When I am not writing or researching my next book, I enjoy reading fantasy and historicals. I am also addicted to t.v. My favorite shows right now are Smallville, Supernatural, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, House, Nip/Tuck, Ghost Whisperer...there are probably more I can't think of right now. When I get out of the house, I like to go for walks or go hiking. And music is still a huge part of me even though I don't play in a band any longer.

16. Who do you like to read? I like fantasy, historicals, romances. I like anything with supernatural elements. Some of my favorite authors are Ann Rice, Stephen King, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Morgan Llewelyn. There a few ebook authors I like too.

17. What's your advice for new writers? My advice to new writers would be to just keep writing--don't give up. And always write from your heart.

18. What are you currently working on? I am working on two books. The first one is a medieval fantasy romance called Cat's Curse set in Scotland in the sixth century. The second book is a prequel to my Of Water and Dragons and Ravenwolf books. I don't have a title yet for this one, but I am working with Goddess of the Flame.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When a reviewer gets your book

It really makes me feel good when a reviewer does get my story and realizes it is fantasy and more like a faery tale than something that is supposed to be realistic. I think that people who like fantasy understand what I was trying to do then people who are die hard romance and erotica fans.

Love is not always based on lust. There can be deeper connections between two people. In fact, I find the stories based on lust unbelievable because in real life, if a guy gets a woman in bed right away, he usually doesn't want anything to do with her. For love to really last there has to be more than tingling nipples and aching shafts. I speak from personal experience.

I am not knocking romance and erotica fans because everyone is entitled to their own perception of what they like, but I just want people to understand where I am coming from. I do enjoy romance and erotica. There are some very talented writers in the genre, but I don't want my book getting criticised because I have a different perception of love.

I am learning to take the good with the bad and hold my head high. I will stick to my guns and write what I believe in.

Many thanks to the reviewers who get my story. You are awesome!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Reviewers who do not get the story right

This really bothers me so I have to vent about it. Maybe it has happened to other authors.

It frustrates me that sometimes a reviewer just doesn’t get my story and they misinterpret it to the reader. I realize that not everyone is going to get my story, but it still bothers me when it happens.

My story has a lot of magical and mythical elements in it and maybe some people are not knowledgeable in these areas, but then maybe they shouldn’t be reviewing books with supernatural elements. This isn’t a book with explicit sex in it and maybe if the two characters don’t suck and lick each other, they can’t possibly love each other. Anyway, a kiss was shared between the hero and heroine at the beginning of the story. In fairytales and magic, a kiss is a very powerful enchantment. Think Sleeping Beauty. And their destinies were tied together through a druid prophecy so they were destined to fall in love by supernatural means. That is why they were compelled to find each other again.

Maybe I just have a different view about love than other people. When my husband and I met more than 20 years ago, we just knew that we belonged together—in a matter of days. Maybe I am fortunate to have found love like that, but it would be nice if people could use their imagination more. It seems that in books lately, if the hero and heroine aren’t having sex every second of the book or their nipples aren’t tingling or their cock isn’t twitching, then they can’t possibly love one another. I have read books that were so unbelievable to me because the hero and heroine are fleeing from an enemy yet they have time to have sex at least three times as their pursuer is hot on their heels. Is that how love is written now? Does everything have to be so explicit now that nothing is left to the imagination of the reader? I don’t mean to offend any authors out there who write erotica because I read erotica and enjoy it, but that shouldn’t be all that is out there.

We authors are at the mercy of reviewers and unfortunately some of these reviewers are inexperienced or aren’t taking the time to read the book. I am grateful for reviewers—they help to promote the book and I appreciate a good, honest review. But when a reviewer does not get the story right, misinforming readers about the plot, that upsets me. After all, it is my book’s reputation that is on the line.

I feel much better now.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Creating Heroines

I like my heroines to be strong, but still be feminine. They are usually beautiful, but not in the ordinary way. My heroines are usually mysterious and not alway human. They are bold enough to stand up to a man, but also know when to let the man have control. There is usually an aura of sadness surrounding my heroines.

I think in recent times there have been stronger role models for women. My favorite t.v. heroines are Xena and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They can kick butt and still enchant a man with their beauty and feminine wiles.

In the story I just finished, White Rose of Avalon, the heroine is Gwenhwyfar. She is innocent, but she is also intelligent and she grows as the story unfolds. She shows the ultimate strength in the end. I have to admire a woman like that.

My heroine in Of Water and Dragons is part faery and she is full of mystery. She is also flawed, having made mistakes in the past. She wants more than anything to be human, but what does it mean to be human? In the second book, Ravenwolf, she discovers that she misses the life she once had. She is drawn once again into the life of magic and discovers that she cannot escape her dark past, a past she had forgotten.

My latest heroine has to live with a curse. She has to fight the hatred that continues to live inside her. Revenge, she finds out, is not always sweet.

I like to create heroines with an inner strength and with flaws like ordinary people even if some of my heroines are otherworldly creatures.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Excerpt from White Rose of Avalon by Kelley Heckart

Visit my website for more information and to view the enchanting book cover. White Rose of Avalon is scheduled to be released in 2007 by Awe-Struck.

With the land falling into Saxon hands, the Christian monks make a pact with Morgaine, Queen of the Faeries. She promises to give them a High King who will unite the Britons against the Saxons if he takes a queen from the faery realm. She hopes this will restore the Goddess faith, bringing Avalon back to its rightful place and not hidden within the mists.

Morgaine’s lover, Lancelot, is sent to guard the future High King, Artorius. The Saxons are driven back by Artorius’ army and his kingdom reigns until he weds Gwenhwyfar. A love potion meant for Artorius and Gwenhwyfar falls into the wrong hands, sending the kingdom into ruins. Gwenhwyfar is the only hope for the future of Britain, but betrayal, revenge and forbidden love surround her, threatening to destroy the lives of four people.

Excerpt:
A cold ethereal wind blew into her house, fanning the central fire. Morgaine sat up in her bed, her heart pounding with fear. Otherworldy voices whispered to her, warning of treachery. The face she saw was Gwenhwyfar’s sweet face. Innocence and beauty was a clever disguise for evil and even beautiful white roses had dangerous thorns.

Morgaine frowned. She had raised Gwenhwyfar herself and had sensed only goodness in her despite her initial vision of a possible betrayal, but Myrddin had warned that he had seen Gwenhwyfar’s betrayal. That was why Morgaine had used magic to bind her love to Artorius. Could something have gone wrong? Myrddin would have reported any odd behavior to her.

Unable to go to back sleep, Morgaine needed to glimpse what her seeing pool would show her. On bare feet, she slid out into the almost moonless night, a shadow among the still night. The dark pool was hidden in hazel and willow trees deep in the woodlands.

Kneeling before the pool, she waved her hand across the water. Ripples coursed over the small pool revealing images clear as glass. What she saw there made her gasp. Her sweet Gwenhwyfar was standing naked, beckoning Lancelot like a seductress. Their possible betrayal left Morgaine shaking and pale.

Morgaine fumed with jealousy at the thought of Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar together, but Lancelot was a man. She was aware of his occasional trysts when he was away from Avalon, but they meant nothing to him and he always returned to her. A sense of foreboding warned her this could be different. Though she knew it was hard for him to resist such female wiles, Gwenhwyfar should know what she was doing could bode ill for everyone. She was not only betraying her husband, Artorius, but she was betraying the land and Goddess as well. And worst of all, she was betraying Morgaine.

She hoped that her vision of Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar’s betrayal was not a true one. Her visions were not always accurate. She was convinced that it had to be a false vision because the love potion she made was a powerful one. Anger fumed inside of her though when she thought of Gwenhwyfar betraying her.

“If this be true, you will be punished for your treachery Gwenhwyfar!” Morgaine roared. A flutter of wings erupted in a nearby tree. Her sudden shouting had startled some sleeping birds. A raven landed near her on the ground, watching her with sharp eyes. Morgaine reached out and plucked a glistening feather from its tail.

Holding the black feather in the palm of her hand, she whispered ancient words of a faery curse. She blew on the feather, sending it off into the night of the waning moon. An eerie silence fell upon the land.

Copyright 2006 by Kelley Heckart

Creating Heroes

It is hard for me to predict what kind of heroes readers would like so I create the kind of heroes that I like.

Since my stories take place in ancient time periods, my heroes tend to be warriors or druids. Some are not completely human either. When I create a warrior character, I think of the ancient warriors of Ireland--the Fianna. They were fierce warriors, but they were also poets. My favorite type of hero is strong yet sensitive. My favorite hero in my books is Ambiorix, the Roman/Celt warrior who falls in love with a faery woman. He has an arrogant side to him, which I think most men do, but he is also befuddled by women and their mysterious ways. I think that is an endearing quality about him. He is also a conflicted character who doesn't always make the right decisions.

One of my favorite fiction heroes is Lancelot, who I had the opportunity to re-create in my latest book, White Rose of Avalon. I think he is one of the most misunderstood heroes in fiction. He is usually portrayed as the bad guy for betraying King Arthur, but I think there is more to that story so I gave him a voice so that maybe readers can understand him more. Despite his flaws, there are many heroic qualities about Lancelot. Everyone has flaws and I feel that the best developed heroes do have flaws.

What kind of heroes do you like?

Dealing with last minute publisher requests

It seems I spoke too soon when I said I was done with editing White Rose of Avalon. After sending the finished ms into the publisher I was told that they do not publish novellas. What? I was freaking out because it had been accepted for publishing. Anyway, it was a misunderstanding of some sort so I had to add at least 20,000 words to my 'finished' ms. Once I calmed down and gave it some thought, it was pretty easy to do. For the last two weeks that was all I worked on because I wanted to get it back to the publisher so we could stay on schedule for the release date. I ended up adding 25,000 words. The story was good before, but it is even better now with added depth to the plot. I am very pleased with how the story has turned out and glad that the publisher made this request.

Having to expand my ms in a short time period was a great learning experience for me. I am sure this is not the last time that a publisher will make a request like that and I am more prepared for it now. How do other writers deal with these last minute requests?

I was literally working every second I could to get the story done. I even kept a pen and notebook near my bed because ideas and pieces of dialog would come to me in the middle of the night. I would also be writing things down as I was making dinner or even watching t.v. Thoughts would come out of nowhere. These characters were inside my head the whole time. Is that crazy? It was exhausting. That is what happens when I am deep into my work. Now I can take a moment to relax before diving into a new story that I had begun prior to all this.

Now another set of characters will live in my head for a while. This is so much fun.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Creating Villains

This is something that can be quite tricky for writers. For me, I like to create characters that are not pure evil. I want readers to feel for my villains so I try to give them redeeming qualities.

For instance, in my latest story, White Rose of Avalon, Morgaine may be seen by some readers as the villain of the story, but she isn't evil. She is desperate to save something that she believes in and she makes some decisions that sadly backfire on her.

In fact, I don't like to create any characters that are black and white. The hero and heroine of my Celtic Mythology series are conflicted in many ways. Nemu has a dark past that she has fought to overcome. Ambiorix deals with the consequences of acting on revenge. I think flaws in a character make them more real to readers. In real life, no one is perfect. We all have a dark side.

Is there such a thing as pure evil? Or do certain circumstances make us act on our dark side? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself when I am creating a villain or a dark character.

I think a great example of this on television is the show Lost. Most of the characters on there have a dark past, but you can't help feeling sorry for them and liking them. I think that is what I like most about that show. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was another television series that dealt with a lot of conflict with the characters, thinning the line between good and evil.

There is nothing more exciting to me then a character with a dark past.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Editing for White Rose of Avalon is finally done!

Finally, after trying to edit while dealing with three barking dogs that demanded my attention, I have finished the editing for White Rose of Avalon. Yeah!

I am very pleased with this story and it is generating a lot of interest on some of the writer-related Yahoo groups I belong to. It seems that a lot of readers are interested in Arthurian inspired stories. I believe that mine is a unique take on a timeless tale. My bookshelves are filled with books on King Arthur and the legend has been told very well by some authors. I didn't want to just write what they had already done so well so I decided to focus just on the love triangle and I wrote the story from the point of views of Lancelot and Morgaine, Queen of the Faeries. All of the books I read were about Arthur or Merlin so I wanted to do something different. Lancelot has always been the most intriguing character of the legends and the least understood. Morgaine is also a character that lives in the shadows. I have brought them to light in my book, White Rose of Avalon.

This has got me to thinking that I may spin a new tale on some other old legends. I haven't decided which ones yet, but my mind is working on some ideas.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Editing sucks

I am on my 5th revision of my White Rose of Avalon story. I keep finding things to change. It is driving me crazy! Every time I read through it thinking it will be the final time and I find something else. To most people, the changes probably would seem minor, but I am so anal about everything that I can't control myself. Do all writers have to make numerous changes or am I doing something wrong? There is so much to think about when I am editing that I can only focus on certain things each time. I have a raging headache now from reading this ms over and over again. Editing has to be the worst part about writing.

I hope this is the final revision. This is taking way too long. It's time to move on to other stories I am working on.

The good news is I am very pleased with how this story turned out. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Author Party at Novelspotters

Hi all,

I am working hard to promote my book to online groups. On Tuesday, August 15th, I will be hosting an author party at Novelspotters from 2-6 pm EST. There will be contests and prizes. To join the fun, all you have to do is join the group. It's that easy. Hope to see you there.

Promoting online is the best way for me to promote because I don't have to leave my house. There are many Yahoo groups that cater to authors. I enjoy doing book signings every once in a while, but it costs money to travel. It is nice to meet readers face to face though so I will continue to do them. In fact, I will be doing more Celtic fairs in the future, which I really enjoy doing. Those men in kilts are an awesome sight to see!

It is a neverending journey to promote my books. I do my best to make it as fun as possible for myself and for readers.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tasteful sex scenes

What does this mean? Tasteful sex scenes. Is there such a thing? My novella, WHITE ROSE OF AVALON, was originally supposed to be erotic, but now I need to tone down the sex scenes. I still want it to be sensual, but it can't be as explicit as it was because I changed publishers. This is tricky because what offends one person may not be that bad to another person. The first changes I made were to the terms referring to certain body parts. Some terms are more offensive than others. I don't mind toning downs some of the scenes, but I still want it to be hot because I have never read a sensual version of the Arthurian Romances and I thought it would be cool to write a sensual version. The story is still strong without the sex scenes, but they do add some spice. I don't want the final version to end up being too 'vanilla.'

How many more ways can you describe the female genitalia? My sister has been a huge help with this. I don't know what I would do without her input.

Anyway, this is much more difficult than I thought it would be. It will take me a few times to get this right. Are there guidelines on tasteful sex scenes? Anyone?

Celtic Festival in Flagstaff, AZ

I just got back from attending the Celtic Festival in Flagstaff, AZ. It was a wonderful experience. I did a book signing in the Hastings booth on Sunday and I made some contacts that could be helpful to me in the future.

Flagstaff is beautiful this time of year with temperatures in the 80's. It was much nicer than the 120 degree temperatures we left behind in Lake Havasu! Surrounded by mountains and tall pine trees, I felt at home there. I enjoyed watching the men in kilts wandering around the festival. I am trying to talk my husband into buying a kilt.

The trip to Flagstaff was an enlightening experience for me. I found out that my paternal grandmother's maiden name, Murray, is a Scottish clan descended from the ancient Picts. The Picts were one of the founding races of the British Isles and were believed to arrive in Scotland about the 5th century B.C. There are many legends surrounding the Picts and controversy about where they originated from before they arrived in Scotland. Some scholars believe they are descended from the Scythians or the Basques of Spain. In some myths, the Picts are believed to be the 'faery folk' of the Sidhe. I was very excited to learn that I have Pictish blood surging through my veins. Long before I was aware of this, I was intrigued by the Picts and the many mysteries surrounding them. Maybe this explains why I am enamored of mist-filled glens, fierce warriors and tales of the Fae, all of which appear in my books. This also explains my fetish with wooden chests and keepsake boxes. The Picts had wooden chests called kists that they kept their belongings and keepsakes in. These boxes were sacred to them. I must have at least twenty boxes and chests of varying sizes around my house.

I hope to attend more festivals like this one in the future.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Inspiration hits me!

The writing funk I was in the other day is over. I had given up on the story I was working on for that day and turned off my computer to give my brain a rest. Well, I thought of some ideas while brushing my teeth later that evening. Ideas come to me in the strangest places. Today, I thought of something while vegging out watching t.v.

I guess sometimes it is better to just put the story down for a while. Anyway, that works for me.

Here is a new word I learned: 'mouse potato,' a person who spends a lot of time at the computer. That's me!

I am off to the Celtic Festival in Flagstaff, AZ where I will be doing a book signing in the Hastings booth. Looking forward to cooler temps. It is supposed to be 122 where I live. Ouch!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Writing Funk

I am in a writing funk right now. I know it will pass so I won't let it freak me out. Do other writers have 'writing funks?'

Creative work cannot be forced. It flows when it wants to. That is something I have learned to deal with. Sometimes my funks have to do with certain times of the month. I am sure other female writers can relate to that. I just can't think today! Aggg!

So, instead I am bitching about it here. Maybe that will get the 'flow' started again.

I am working on two projects at once and that might have something to do with it. While I am researching one novel, I am writing another one that doesn't require a lot of research. Sometimes the research part fries my brain so to give it a rest, I work on another story. I know other writers are able to work on multiple stories at the same time. How do they do it? I think I am just tired today. It is better to put the story down and come back to it. Otherwise I just get frustrated.

Anyway, if anyone has any useful tips on how to get out of a writing funk, I am listening. Maybe a nap would help. I even tried music, which usually works. Not today.

Oh well. Happy writing! At least someone out there is having a happy time at it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My third book

Hi all,

I am busy doing research for my third book, which is a prequel to OF WATER AND DRAGONS and RAVEN WOLF. This book is untitled at the moment, but will be filled with Greek and Celtic mythology and faery lore. The main setting for this novel will be Minoan/Mycenaean Crete. I have come across many writings by ancient Greek writers, but my favorite is Hesiod. I like him because he sympathized with the followers of the lost Goddess religion, which is a main focus of this story.

I am reading all the old classic Greek novels--the first one being the Iliad. I am exited to read this because I love ancient history, but most of my research has been on Celtic mythology and I hadn't had the chance to read any Greek classics yet. Most authors do not like to do research, but I love it. Learning about ancient cultures is intriguing to me and I don't mind putting the extra effort in to do the research.

One interesting bit of information I came across while reading THE CHALICE AND THE BLADE was that there were female Greek writers--only they aren't mentioned much at all in the history books. And most of the classical myths are written by men who suppress anything positive about the female deity, which makes me wonder if these classic myths are truthful. In my research, I found many discrepancies between the pre-Hellenic myths and the Olympian myths. This peeked my interest and gave me great ideas for my story. I will mix history, mythology and fantasy to create an exciting story, but of course I will use creative license to create the kind of characters I think will be interesting. I have already started to outline this story and I am very excited about it. I hope readers will like it as well.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My novella, WHITE ROSE OF AVALON, has been accepted for publication by Awe-Struck. The release date is set for early 2007. Originally, it was supposed to be published by HeatWave Romance (sister company of Awe-Struck), but they decided to close down that site. WHITE ROSE OF AVALON is a sensual romance based on the Arthurian Romances. Here is a short description:

With the land falling into Saxon hands, the Christian monks make a pact with Morgaine, Queen of the Faeries. She promises to give them a High King who will unite the Britons against the Saxons if he takes a queen from the faery realm. She hopes this will restore the Goddess faith, bringing Avalon back to its rightful place and not hidden within the mists.

Morgaine’s lover, Lancelot, is sent to guard the future High King, Artorius. The Saxons are driven back by Artorius’ army and his kingdom reigns until he weds Gwenhwyfar. A love potion meant for Artorius and Gwenhwyfar falls into the wrong hands, sending the kingdom into ruins. Gwenhwyfar is the only hope for the future of Britain, but betrayal, revenge and forbidden love surround her, threatening to destroy the lives of four people.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Booksigning at the Celtic Festival in Flagstaff, AZ

I have some opportunities for promoting OF WATER AND DRAGONS coming up.

On Thursday, June 15th, I will be co-hosting a chat at Romance Studios with Vicki Gaia, a fellow Awe-Struck author. Vicki's latest release is a historical romance set in WWII titled WARRING HEARTS: CRADLE THE LIGHT. The chat is from 9-11 pm EST. Come join the fun! Here is the link to the chat room. Just click on 'I am over 18' and you will be able to join the chat. http://www.theromancestudio.com/chat.php

On Sunday, July 16, I will be signing copies of OF WATER AND DRAGONS at the Celtic Festival in Flagstaff, AZ. I will be in the Hastings booth from 11-2 pm. If you live near Flagstaff, come and join the fun! This is an annual event that has been extended to two days. I love Celtic Festivals anyway so I can't wait.

That is all I have planned right now, but I will probably host some more author parties. Stay tuned!

Happy writing!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Brenda Williamson's Romance Party Yahoo Group

A writer's work does not end when the book is completed. It is a continuous cycle of promotion after the book is released. Setting up reviews, interviews, author parties and chats are a constant part of my time. Doing author parties and chats are new territory for me and I was lucky to have Brenda Williamson's expert advice on how to prepare for a party or a chat. Brenda is the talented author of numerous erotic romances. I will share some of her advice with the newbies out there.

When preparing for an author party or chat, it is best to have an itinerary word doc file ready so you can post everything quickly. Some emails do not convert the word doc correctly so you should turn off the smart tags. To do this go to Tools>Auto Correct Options>Auto Format (uncheck straight quotes with smart quotes).

If you are hosting a four hour party, then posting every 15 minutes is good, but if you are hosting an all-day party, you may want to spread the posting out to 30 minutes apart. Make a schedule according to what you want to accomplish within the time period.

Excerpts should be short so people can read them fast. People love contests so have at least one contest where you give something away. I gave away gift certificates to fictionwise and ebookwise. This is easier because you don't have to ship anything. It might be good to give away items that relate to your book rather than the book itself so that people will buy your book. But it is up to you. I also gave away a couple of signed copies of my book. To make the contest open to everyone (even the people who may come to the party late), it might be better to announce the winners the next day. I had four contests. To make it easier to organize the entries, I created four different folders in my mailbox to move the contest emails from my in box.

Weekdays are usually better because most people spend time with their families on the weekend. Evenings may be better because most people are home and at their computer in the evening. Either way, people will probably see your posts even if they see them later or the next day.

The itinerary helps to keep you posting in the event that people do not show up. Most people lurk, but will still read the excerpts and hopefully buy a book. Just keep on posting. Any promotion you do is a step toward selling more books.

Happy writing and promoting!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Yeah! I finally finished my second book, RavenWolf, which is a sequel to Of Water and Dragons. RavenWolf takes the reader on a journey to an ancient land filled with spiteful goddesses who threaten to tear Ambiorix and Nemu apart. Can their love survive?

I worked every day for two weeks to get it finished and I feel so relieved right now. It is in the publisher's hands. My brain is fried from over use. Now I can take a short break before starting work on my third book in this series, and also work on an erotic romance set in medieval Scotland tentatively titled, Cat's Curse.

I learned my lesson about procrastinating and I will not do that again. I could have finished it three months ago and then I would not have been so stressed out to get it finished. Anyway, I will keep people informed on the release date as soon as I know it.

It is exciting to see where these characters are taking me. There will be two more books for sure. One will be a prequel set in ancient Greece, Britain and Ireland. I need to do more research for that one because I have never written about ancient Greece. I know the basics about Greek mythology, but I am going to read the Iliad and the Odyssey to prepare for it. Yikes! These are not short books. I also have some books by Greek writers on ancient Greece that I will go through. So I have a lot to do. Wish me luck!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Well, I have been taking my time to finish my second book (sequel to Of Water and Dragons) and now I have to bust my butt to get it to the publisher. That is what I get for procrastinating. I had been messing around and not making final decisions about certain character names and dates so I just stopped working on it. Well, I was forced to make the decisions and I am glad because sometimes I need a kick in the butt to get a project finished. Is that the way with other writers? Or am I damaged in some way?

Anyway, I should have it completed and ready to send to the publisher by the end of next week. I still have to finish the synopsis, which is my least favorite thing to write. It is the opposite of how a writer thinks and I have to switch to the other side of my brain to do it. There is no room for outstanding prose in a synopsis. Publishers want a concise summary of the complete story. It really is a challenge to describe in one or two pages an 80,000 word story. The best advice is to keep it simple and to the point.

I am off to read through my manuscript and make the final changes.

Happy writing!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I am often asked how I come up with my story ideas. For me, it is not something that I can force out. Ideas come to me at their own will, but I do try to stimulate my mind to help the creative process. Something as simple as a song can give me a story idea. For example, 'Ghost of a Rose' by Blackmore's Night inspired an erotic romance that will be released by HeatWave Romance in 2007.

I read a lot of books on Celtic mythology and a lot of ideas come from this. I try to read as much as I can about ancient history. Currently, I am going through 'The White Goddess' by Robert Graves and taking notes. This book has a wealth of information on history relating to the Great Goddess cults that thrived in the Middle East and Europe for thousands of years. Another great book that has inspired me is 'When God Was a Woman' by Merlin Stone. A book on faery lore gave me the idea for one of my main characters (Nemu) in 'Of Water and Dragons.' From there, I devised a whole history for her just from one paragraph out of this book. Even fiction in the genres I like can help inspire a story. Reading is probably, for me, the best way for the Muse of Inspiration to grant me story ideas.

Sometimes ideas will come to me out of the blue when I am sleeping. I will go days with no ideas and then all of a sudden an idea will come to me--it's truly magical sometimes.

Is this the same for most writers? I would love to hear what other writers have to say about their source of inspiration.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

New Release from Awe-Struck--Of Water and Dragons

Of Water and Dragons is now available in ebook format from Awe-Struck.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with ebooks, I will be happy to enlighten you. Ebooks do not take up space in your bookshelves and they are a lot cheaper than print books. You can either read them from your computer monitor in html or pdf format or purchase an ebook reader, which can accept other formats. I just bought an E-Bookwise reader for 115.00 and it takes pretty much all formats except for pdf. A memory card enables storage of numerous books in the reader. Book files can also be stored on your computer. This E-Bookwise reader is about the size of a paperback and you can buy from fictionwise.com, which also has New York Times bestselling books available for download. That is the other positive thing about ebooks--you can download your book and not have to wait 2 weeks for it to be shipped to you. And you save some trees by not buying a print book. See how good they are? Have I convinced you yet?

I know that you are probably thinking that ebook publishers don't publish great books, but I can say from experience that I have read some ebooks that are way better than some of the bestselling NY Times books. For one thing, ebook authors have a little more control over what they write and don't have to stick to a certain formula, which always bugs me about "big publishing houses." Ebook authors can cross genres without being punished for it. For example, my book crosses over into romance, historical, fantasy and erotica. Of Water and Dragons is an unusual romance, not your typical Harlequin Romance. (No offense meant to any Harlequin authors out there) I was able to pick my own cover design, which I know won't happen with a big publisher. The author has very little input over their creative work with a large publishing house. Have I convinced you yet? You can't knock it until you try it. Download one ebook onto your computer to check it out--just make sure it's my book. I'm kidding of course! Psyche!

Happy Reading!

New Review for Of Water and Dragons at Coffee Time Romance

4 Cups! This tales speaks of another time. A time of faeries, soldiers, druids, and magic. Ms. Heckart draws the reader into the pages and enchants them with her words, making them believe for just a little while that they too can call on dragons or control armies. For the time it takes to read this book, we just might have the power to control the universe. Of Water and Dragons is a romance to make you believe again.
Karen MagillReviewer for Coffee Time RomanceReviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Coffee Time Romance is another review site for authors who write any type of romance--in any format. I think they have even branched out to other genres like mysteries and non-fiction. They are easy to work with and authors and/or publishers can contact them to request a review. A review is a great way to promote your book even if it isn't a great review. Everyone has their own opinion.

Happy writing!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Writing and stylistic preferences

When writing stories set in historical settings, a writer needs to make a choice between using historically accurate dialogue or dialogue that compromises between modern phrasing and historically accurate words so the readers can best understand the dialogue. This was a choice I had to make and I know I will take some flack for it.

My books, though set in historical settings, are not true historicals. They lean more toward fantasy. To gain a wider range of readers, I have opted for the latter choice. I avoid any modern slang from slipping into the story, but my phrasing is more modern and simple. I admit that I even have a hard time reading a historical novel that uses "historically accurate dialogue." I realize by not sticking to the historically accurate diologue that it could discolor the atmosphere somewhat, but I make up for this by writing detailed descriptions to pull the reader into the story. I realize that some readers (especially those that are sticklers for accuracy and those that read straight historicals) may not agree with my stylistic choice. But maybe these readers would not be interested in my book anyway.

Hopefully, readers will still enjoy my stories. So far I have received favorable reviews. I stick by my choice, but I welcome comments related to this topic.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Editing--overuse of certain words in a ms

As I go about editing my second ms, I realized that I have a bad habit of repeating certain words. This was pointed out to me in my first ms and I thought I had it under control, but obviously not. In my first ms I overused the word "glared." All of my characters "glared" at each other. I went through and substituted some of these words for "stared hard" and "fierce stare." In my second ms I discovered that I am overusing the word "somber." Everyone has "somber" eyes. So I must find other appropriate words to use in place of some of these "somber eyes." I just wanted to point out one thing that everyone should be on the lookout for when editing their ms--do not overuse words. It can pull a reader out of the story and that is never a good thing.

One book I recently read overused the "ly" words. Every sentence had at least two of these, as my editor calls them, "tom swiftlys." Adverbs are nice to use, but they should be used sparingly--(hey, I think I just made a joke), to modify a verb, adjective, or other adverb by describing or limiting to make meaning more exact. I was pulled out of this story many times because of this. And this was a best-selling author! Lucky for her the story was otherwise very interesting and I was able to finish the book.

Happy writing! And remember not to overuse certain words throughout your ms.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The dreaded research

I am in research mode and it is not fun. It is one of those necessary evils of writing. I write romance/fantasy books that are set in historical times. They aren't true to history, but they still need to be historically correct when it comes to people and places. I also write about ancient history, which is even more of a challenge because there are holes in most of the history and experts disagree on timelines and such things. So what does a person do? I read different books on the same subject to get a middle ground on the information. I also read books that are recommended by experts. Amazon.com is a great place to find out about a book before buying it because there is a wealth of information in the customer comments. I buy most of my books because I live in a small town that doesn't have a huge ancient history section. I also conduct research online as well.

Now what to do with all the information that will soon leave my brain? I discovered that if I take some notes while I am reading a book, it helps my brain to retain the information. The only problem with that is I have been writing my notes in whatever notebook happens to be nearby at the time. Bad idea! I can't find what I am looking for. So now I am in the process of typing the notes into the computer and organizing them into categories. I should have done this in the beginning. I am slapping myself right now for being stupid.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Always a Metal Maiden

Long before I started writing books, I played bass and wrote songs in an all female band called Driven Steel. We played in Orange County, CA, L.A. and the Inland Empire in the late 80's to mid 90's. Yes, we had the "big hair" going on at first. My husband and I laugh about that because we lived in a small apartment, and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so that we could afford to get our hair done. He was also (still is) a musician, but his "big hair" is long gone. We had our priorities straight--the hair came first when you played in a heavy metal band back then.

Anyway, back to my story. Driven Steel was my life for many years and we played with aggressive passion. We proved that chicks could rock just as hard (and better) than the guys. Though it ended in a bitter cloud, I wouldn't change a thing. It was an awesome experience for me.

It was unfortunate that we broke up, but this was a huge turning point in my life. It turned out that writing lyrics and music would one day lead me to writing books. My roots are in Driven Steel and will always be a part of me--the metal maiden to my fiction chick.

Metal Maidens is an e-zine based in Holland that was and still is a huge supporter of Driven Steel. They recently interviewed us, and it was a pleasure to travel back to the past and reminisce about the good times. The link to this interview is http://www.metalmaidens.com/drivensteelint.htm

Rock on!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why faeries?

This is a question I often ask myself. I grew up with a fascination with vampires and other creatures of the night so I surprised myself by writing about faeries. Faeries do share some aspects with vampires in that they are both immortal and magical beings. I think I became enamored of faeries because there are so many different kinds and they are more mysterious then vampires. We seem to know where vampires came from, but where did faery lore first take root in people's imagination?

There are numerous legends in Ireland about faeries. People seem to fear the capricious nature of these elusive beings. Some people believe that faeries grew out of a time when people couldn't explain why some things happened in nature. Some also believe that faeries are related to the fallen angel myths. Are they gods or something else? Or just figments of the imagination?
The unknown is what drew me to faeries. I was reading a book on faery lore called A Witches Guide to Faery Folk by Edain McCoy when I came across Ashrays. These water faeries found in Scotland were thought to have been a mythological race cursed to live under the sea. This inspired me to create a story behind this myth. My third book will be a prequel to the whole series. I will take readers on a journey back to ancient Greece and a war between two nations of gods and goddesses.

Some day I may write a vampire story, but for now I am devoted to the faery folk.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Writing historicals

I would classify my books as fantasy/romance, but my stories usually take place in a historical setting. Historical settings are a challenge for me because I can learn from textbooks, but it takes more than that to get the atmosphere right. To help me understand a historical setting, I will read fiction by authors who write in the time period I am trying to re-create. In a way, this is more helpful to me than reading a textbook. I use both methods to get the historical setting as realistic as possible.

Ancient time periods (like in my books) are tricky because there isn't much information to learn from. This is where a vivid imagination comes in handy. I also weigh what I know against what I don't know and find a middle ground by filling in the blanks with the obvious. By doing some detective work and putting myself in their place, I come up with the historical setting. One thing I have learned from studying ancient civilizations: people haven't changed much throughout history, just the technology. By taking away the clutter of machines, televisions and computers, I think about what people did back then. They were in tune with the earth's cycles and they were superstitious about the unknown. Some of these civilizations were very advanced for their time. And sadly, most of these civilizations were destroyed by disease, nature's wrath or warfare with another nation. The wheel keeps turning.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Finding my writing voice

It took me a few years to develop my writing voice. I wrote short stories and I kept a journal--I wrote whenever I could. It finally came to me after I gave in and bared my soul. I didn't care about what other people would think. My editor at Awe-Struck commented that I have an engaging writing style that draws the reader into the story. I was flattered by his positive opinion of my writing because I wasn't trying to be that way. I only achieved this by not thinking too hard about it and letting my voice develop on its own.

I even fought writing romances for many years because I had never really liked reading them. My favorite authors were Stephen King, Ann Rice and Morgan Llywelyn. I always thought romances were silly until I read Diana Gabaldon's outstanding Outlander series in which she incorporates strong character development with sci-fi elements. By combining romance with the elements of fantasy and the supernatural, I developed my own style of romance. Once I accepted that I was going to write romances, everything clicked into place. I like to write unusual romances between two very different people, and I like to infuse fantasy with reality to create a surreal atmosphere filled with human and otherworldly beings.

So, if there are any new writers out there, don't fight yourself--go where your Muse takes you. You just might be surprised by what happens.

Sequel to Of Water and Dragons

I am very excited about my second book, which is a sequel to Of Water and Dragons. I never planned on writing a sequel to this book, but new ideas came to me and I could not resist the call of the Muse. The sequel is titled, RavenWolf, and will focus on the mythology that is a huge part of Scottish and Irish history. Ambiorix and Nemu struggle to stay together, but someone from Nemu's past threatens to tear them apart. Nemu also learns who she was before she was reborn as Nemu. I have created some new characters that I think readers will find interesting. RavenWolf is near completion and I hope to have it published soon. Here is an excerpt from RavenWolf:

The Raven Women surrounded the stone fortress, imprisoning me. I realized that this was the place I had dreamed of. Somewhere nearby though was the land of my mother’s people and the place of their final entombment. A silent tear rolled down my cheek as I thought of the fate of my mother.

Dark stone monoliths jutted out in the distance from the mist-filled water. I watched the sun fall beneath cloud-strewn skies, creating a burst of pink and purple. It should have been a glorious sight to me, but instead of white clouds colored pink and purple, I saw white wings covered in shadow and stained with innocent blood.

Wrapped in large black wings, The Raven Women silently guarded me. I barely glanced at them because I knew I would be ignored. Their presence was oddly comforting to me though.
There was a lot I still did not understand, but this I knew—Mine is the dark face of night, the silver moon my only true friend. Solitude is all I have ever known and will ever know. This I have come to accept as I accept that the sun rises each morning and sets each night in a fiery ball of glory. My only regret is that I should have realized this much sooner…before love.
It is strange how life can change in an instant. Perhaps I should have heeded my dreams, listened to my inner voice. But I have learned that life does not always go the way it was planned. No wonder mortals were so tormented. Of course, the Romans had again played a role in destroying my peaceful existence. But I feared that I was to blame for that. My thoughts whispered to me that there was more for me to learn about my past. By allowing the dark one to bring me here, lost memories had rushed back and I was not the same person I was before. A prisoner, I was alone again, and maybe that was my true destiny. I wanted to place the blame on others, but the truth was, I made my own choices. I could not change what I was. I was foolish to believe it could be done. Maybe I was not meant to live as a human among human beings. And I have learned a secret that has changed me forever. My eyes filled with tears at the memory of what I was and would always be.

What have I done?

How Of Water and Dragons was born

I am often asked how I came up with the idea for Of Water and Dragons. It actually started out as a short story titled, Water, and was a romance/fantasy between two very different people-a human and a faery woman. My Creative Writing teacher encouraged me to turn this short story into a novel. I changed the setting to ancient Britain and Scotland after reading about a significant battle between the Romans and the Celtic tribes. The male character changed to a Roman soldier named Ambiorix. My female character, Nemu, stayed the same. The battle was the perfect way for my two different characters to meet.

The story was built using Roman history and Celtic mythology. I love combining reality with fantasy. I feel that this gives the story a more surreal touch. I am a huge fan of history (boring to most people), but I love to see how people lived in the past, and this is what inspired me to write in an ancient time period. Mythology is also another fascination of mine, especially Celtic mythology. I can't seem to get enough of it and constantly read books dealing with the Celtic myth cycle. Magic and the supernatural is another favorite pastime of mine, and there is some of that influence in this book as well.

The idea for Nemu came to me when I was reading a book on faery lore. I found a description of Ashrays or Water Faeries that lived underwater and melted if sunlight would touch them. This is how Nemu was born. I wanted to show her as a bit naive, but with an inner strength fueled by magic. Her character will continue to grow in the second and third books in this series on Celtic Mythology.

I wanted Ambiorix to be a strong, brave warrior, but also have the heart of a poet. He is probably the most conflicted of the two characters because he is torn between his love for Nemu and his loyalty to Rome. His character goes through more changes in the second book, which reveals his true strengths and weaknesses.

My favorite romances are the ones that are complicated, and I wanted to write a romance with obstacles for the main characters. There is also an unusual love triangle going on in this book, which I didn't plan it at all. It just happened, but it enhanced the story even more. Sometimes when I am writing, my characters seem to take over and write the story for me. I just go with the flow, and let the story take me where it wants to go.

I also incorporated a couple of legends into this story. One was the mysterious disappearance of the Ninth Legion, and the other was the Loch Ness monster legend.
Anyway, that is how Of Water and Dragons was born, and from there I was inspired to turn it into a trilogy.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My book, Of Water and Dragons, is being released May 2006 by Awe-Struck E-Books. Now, I know that most people probably don't read ebooks and I hope that some people might consider this reading option. I have been a firm believer in the printed book. That is until my bookcases have became so overloaded that I can't fit any more books in them. I do not like to get rid of books that I love, and I happen to love lots of books. This was one reason I have turned my attention to ebooks. The other reason is I review for Coffee Time Romance and I read a lot of ebooks for them. Most of these ebooks are very well written. There is a lot of unknow talent out there in the ebook realm. What I like about being an ebook author is that your story isn't butchered by some hotshot editor. I also got to choose my cover art. The creative freedom is what drew me to e-publishing. In my opinion, most of the well-known print books that are out today are too formulaic for my taste. I like to read fresh stories and not the same plots over and over again. So, I hope that people start to discover the hidden gems in ebooks. Ebooks can be read on your computer, printed out, or read on a ebook reader. I am still deciding on which reader I want to buy. Ebooks cost less than print books, too. Please support you ebook authors!