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.
 

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.