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.
 

Friday, July 31, 2009

The History of the Cross




I started making crosses about eight years ago, crafting them from pieces of wood and other things I would find like crystals, stones, shells and feathers. The first cross I made was as a get well gift to my mom who was very ill and in the hospital. My little cross rested on my mom's nightstand and she recovered from her illness. Did the cross I made for her make her better? Maybe, maybe not, but from then on I wanted to keep making crosses. When my mom bought me a wood burning tool, I was so excited. I started making larger crosses with Canadian driftwood, burning in either American Indian symbols, Runes or Neolithic symbols, depending on what style I was making. Crosses have a special meaning to me, a powerful symbol that has existed for many centuries.
Each cross I make is unique. When I look at the blank piece of wood, it speaks to me, it's special energy guiding me toward creating a unique design. The three styles I work with are Southwest, Runes and Goddess. I have gathered a multitude of decorations from amethyst and crystal points, moonstones, turquoise, garnets, carnelians and many other stones to various shells, small dream catchers and other items I come across at swap meets. I am fortunate to live in a place where it is easy and inexpensive to find these items. Each cross I make has a special meaning to me and sometimes it is hard to part with them, but I feel good when I hear a heartwarming story from a buyer. One particular cross I made with a dragon centerpiece was purchased to be placed with a dearly departed friend. My crosses have journeyed all over the U.S. and beyond to the Otherworld. As an artist, that gives me a sense of immortality--long after I am gone my crosses will survive, leaving a part of me behind.
I have posted some information on the history of the cross below:

Crosses were around long before Christianity as the most cherished of religious symbols. It is believed that the ancient Cross symbolized the earth's four directions and the divine center. Spaniards saw Indians worshipping the Cross. The Peruvians and Babylonians had the Maltese Cross. The druids were believed to have made their Cross out of a stem and two branches of the oak tree. Buddhist Crosses are common throughout the East. The Thor's hammer Cross is a well-known Pre-Christian Cross and several deities of ancient Egypt hold a Cross in their hands. Wheeled Crosses are seen on some Pre-Christian stones, possibly as symbols of solar worship.

Ireland is known for its many ancient Crosses. Pre-Christian Crosses have been identified at Dowth and New Grange on the Boyne, Knockmany of Tyrone, Deer Park of Fermanagh, Cloverhill of Sligo and Slieve-ha-Calliagh near Lough Crew of Meath. The ancient faery people of Ireland, the Tuath-de-Danaan, had Crosses that were adorned with snakes, birds and other animals. In the Scottish Highlands, the Fiery Cross, when dipped in goat's blood and flaming, was a message of alarm among the wild tribes. A serpentine figure was often twisted around the Fiery Cross.

The Cross is still a very powerful symbol of faith all over the world.

My crosses can be found on http://www.ebay.com/ by putting wall crosses in the 'find' box and home and garden in the 'in' box. To refine the search, go to the left under Refine Search and specify seller by entering 'havasukelley'




Thursday, July 30, 2009

Daisy of Love Finale

See which mimbo Daisy picked to be her love mate.
http://www.myspace.com/phantomqueen3

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

St. Columba--Druid or Monk?


To announce my new release, I wanted to post something relevant to my story. Cat's Curse is a Celtic historical romance/fantasy set in sixth century Scotland (Alba). I based this story on an actual Irish warlord and many of the minor characters are based on real people. One of those real people is the famous monk, St. Columba, who was a close friend of this Irish king and though a minor character, St. Columba (Columcille) played an important role in the story. Throughout my story and through the entire trilogy, there is the lingering conflict of Christianity versus Paganism, a favorite theme of mine. Having pagan beliefs, it was tempting for me to elevate one over the other, but as a writer, I try not to be biased and tell the story as it is. One challenge I was faced with was—how do I portray a Christian monk?

Most of my information on him came from Adomnan's Life of St. Columba. What I found fascinating is that St. Columba had visions, spoke prophecies and performed miracles. These were well-documented cases. In fact, he picked Aedan (my hero) to be king over his brother because an angel came to Columcille and told him to pick Aedan. He also prophesied that Aedan's older sons would die in battle and his youngest would be king after him.

When I created this character for my story, I didn't want to show him as a pious monk. I thought of him as a monk with a warrior heart. According to one account, St. Columba was forced to leave Ireland (Eirean) because he caused the deaths of three thousand people as the result of his involvement in a battle between his kinsmen and King Diarmait mac Cerbaill. He was exiled to Scotland where he attempted to convert the pagan Picts as his penance for this unfortunate event. For some reason all of this information made me think of him as a monk who followed God, but also would be willing to sacrifice warriors' lives in battle for his beliefs. He is described as a tall, imposing man. And he had to be in good physical shape as a man in his forties to be able to travel into the wild country of northern Scotland to meet with King Bridei. Early Christian warriors followed God because they saw him as the greatest of all warlords with his army of angels at his side. I wondered if maybe some early Christian monks also believed this.

I also saw him as a monk with a druid heart. One interesting bit of information left out in Adomnan's book is that St. Columba was born into a pagan family, which made me wonder just how much pagan beliefs influenced him even after becoming a monk. It seems likely to me that some of the early monks had to be influenced by the teachings of the druids, and in fact, some of these monks may have even been druids at heart in the guise of monks. I'm sure it was dangerous to practice as a druid and it may have been a matter of survival for druids to disguise themselves as monks. St. Columba's island of Iona, where there was a large Christian monastery, used to be a druid sanctuary and highlanders still refer to it as Druid's Isle. I pictured him as a Christian trying to convert pagans to God, but also as man who had some understanding of pagan beliefs and didn't force people to convert. The Irish monks formed what was called Celtic Christianity, which differed from the church in Rome and there are accounts of St. Columba being part of a mysterious community called Culdees that may have included druids. One of the things that made me think he could have been a druid is that he wore his tonsure like that of a druid (from the front of the head in a crescent shape) rather than the Roman tonsure that was a circle on top of the head (representing a halo). This was how the monks in Ireland and Britain wore their tonsures and was one of the disputes between them and Rome. Another interesting thing is Columcille wore white robes, as did other early monks in Ireland and Britain. I am pretty sure druids also wore white robes. We will never know for certain if he was influenced by druid teachings, but all of this gave me something to think about as I created this character for my story.

Another thing that fascinated me was that St. Columba was descended from the powerful Ui Neill clan, the clan that the high kings of Ireland were picked from. Now why would a man turn his back on kingship to be a monk? Maybe he really cared about serving God or maybe he knew that the real power was with the church. Could St. Columba have had another motive for converting the pagan Picts? By converting them he could bring them under Irish rule. It gave me something to think about. The church had all the wealth to back these kings. Some of the early Christian kings were Christian in name only so they could get the support of the powerful church. There was one documented account of Christian Briton kings taking some Irish people as prisoners and making them slaves. The church condemned this act, calling it un-Christian. I also use this approach in my story, having a couple of Christian kings with dubious beliefs. Not everything is all black and white. And that is how I wanted to portray St. Columba—as a man with shades of gray.

Blurb from Cat's Curse:
Cardea, follower of the Great Goddess is cursed to live an eternity as a blood drinker. For centuries she has lived with hate hunting and feeding off humans. Now she finds herself at the end of a sword blade held by the most handsome and arrogant man she has ever met.

Aedan mac Gabrain, prince of Dal Riata and a Christian, trusts no one after suffering a curse that keeps him from touching any females or he will turn into a black cat like his brother. He especially distrusts this strange female who could be the one who cursed his clan since no one knows Cat Anna's true face.

Can two tortured souls find love while battling a dark goddess determined to destroy them?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Though they are drawn to one another they still have some doubt in their hearts, each with dark secrets. Aedan is still uncertain about Cardea and if she is the one who cursed him since no one knows Cat Anna's true face. Kelley

Excerpt from Cat's Curse:

They moved on silent feet by the light of the moon, crossing carpets of fern. Cardea's body thrummed with the magic of the moonlit night, aware of everything around her from night birds watching them with piercing eyes from treetop perches to Aedan’s even breathing, and the sound of his warm blood pulsing through his veins. She always hunted alone, but Aedan felt like a part of her, matching his movements to hers, their even breathing matching the same steady rhythm.

The forest vibrated with life all around her, each tree and plant emanating its own gentle heartbeat and scent. A shift in the wind brought a new scent--the scent of blood assailed her senses. A warm-blooded creature stood just ahead of them. Turning to Aedan, she pointed to where the creature waited to forfeit its life. She notched her arrow and moved forward. Nodding, he moved to the right to close the animal in, his spear balanced confidently in his steady hand.

A small meadow came into view. Like a scene from the faery realm, the meadow, bathed in moonlight, radiated a silvery blue glow. Flowers twinkled in the bluish glow, meadow grasses rippled like gentle waves on a loch, and the full Hunter’s Moon filled the skyline, cold and mysterious. A majestic stag stood in the meadow, still as a statue. Nine tines glowed in the eerie light.

Cardea raised her bow, pulling back the bowstring, her hand steady, aware of Aedan waiting for her to take the first shot. Something did not feel true to her. The air seemed to be polluted by a malicious, musky scent. Danger. It seeped into the meadow, curling in invisible smoke-like tendrils around the thick tree trunks.

Out of the corner of her eye, something moved above Aedan, drawing her attention away from the stag. A large wildcat perched on an outstretched oak branch, its body coiled and ready to pounce on Aedan’s unprotected head. Sharp teeth and claws flashed in the darkness of the thick-leaved tree. She pivoted toward Aedan, pointing the arrow in his direction. A look of surprise filled his eyes and his spear arm raised, aiming the spear at her. Cardea let the arrow fly. It roared past Aedan’s head, hitting the wildcat in the heart. The beast slumped over, falling with a loud thud to the ground. The stag bounded out of the meadow and into the dense forest, leaving swaying ferns in its wake.

Aedan looked at her and she could tell by his unquestioning expression that she had earned some of his trust. “That, lass, is why I hunt with my hounds.” Aedan prodded the dead cat with his foot. “This is the largest wildcat I have seen.”

“It would have torn your skull open.” Cardea stood next to Aedan, staring down at the dead beast, surprised that she trembled at the dreadful thought.

“Ye saved my life, lass.”

His tender voice filled her with joy.

“It will make a fine warm pelt for winter,” he remarked. Unsheathing his sword, he handed it to her. He knelt, laying the huge cat on its side. “Ye made the kill. Ye should make the first cut.”

Aedan handed his sword to her, unsheathing a long knife from his belt. A warrior never relinquished his sword to anyone unless he trusted that person.

He trusted her now.

The possibility of finding love after centuries of loneliness seemed more likely now, but why does my heart sing of happiness and then die off with a dour note of sadness? She wanted desperately to tell him her secret, but fear paralyzed her so that she could not get the words out.
Kelley
'Timeless tales of romance, conflict & magic'
http://www.kelleyheckart.com/
http://www.myspace.com/phantomqueen3
http://twitter.com/CelticChick
Cat's Curse, available now from Awe-Struck:
http://www.king-cart.com/Awe-Struck/category=Kelley+Heckart/exact_match=exact

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Flagstaff Celtic festival

It started out as a hot day, much hotter then it should be in Flagstaff, AZ this time of year, but it was much cooler than the 118 degree weather we left back home in Lake Havasu. I enjoy doing book signings at these Celtic festivals, especially watching the guys in kilts. While sitting in my shaded booth, I snapped a few pictures of some of these kilted men. That's how I amuse myself between visiters. One thing I noticed is some of the men looked great until my gaze strayed down to their legs, which sometimes disappointed me with glaring white, skinny legs. Oh well, I guess not all guys can look awesome in a kilt. Now my husband would look great in one. He has awesome, manly legs, one of his best features I think. Too bad the utilikilts they were selling there were like 230.00. Ouch. Too much money for us right now.

My book signing went pretty well. I sold some books and would have sold more if it had stayed dry. In typical Arizona fashion, a summer storm blew in over the mountains and it started pouring. I had to scramble to gather my stuff and put it away out of the rain. The hot day turned very cold for me in my tank top and I regretted leaving my hoodie in the car. Mother Nature took pity and it was a short thunderstorm, but it left the table soaked and my book signing came to an end. It could have been much worse. The wind picked up and the tent rattled, threatening to collapse, but it stayed its ground with the help of some burly men helping to hold it up. They may have been wearing kilts, but I was too busy trying to save my books that I didn't notice. The storm added some unexpected excitement to the otherwise boring day. Thunderstorms always make me nervous and I can't understand why other people seem unaffected by them. Did you know that lightning can strike twenty miles away? Apparently most people don't know this because I watched a bunch of people just standing out in the open.

I think I may have learned a couple of lessons at this book signing. One is that I need to pack my bag so that I can pull the zipper closed to protect my book marks and other stuff from rain. And I need to bring a jacket of some kind when there is a possibility of rain.










'Timeless tales of romance, conflict and magic'

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Long haired hotties for July

I decided to do something different with my blog and pay homage to a lifelong passion of mine--men with long hair. Every month I will feature a different long haired hottie from music or movies. I would like to start off with the two long haired hotties who filled my early years with joy and many wonderful daydreams. So for the month of July, my featured long haired hotties are David Lee Roth of Van Halen and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. I so enjoyed finding these old pictures of them. It brought back many pleasant memories for me. I like that Robert Plant still has long locks and looks great for his age. He reminds me of a Celtic king. All he needs is a crown and long sword. Yum.

http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=A2KJkeuTwQxQwGgAF3iJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBlMTQ4cGxyBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1n?back=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3F_adv_prop%3Dimage%26va%3DDavid%2BLee%2BRoth%26fr%3Dfp-yie9%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D24&w=500&h=518&imgurl=userserve-ak.last.fm%2Fserve%2F500%2F53300447%2FDavid%2BLee%2BRoth%2BRoth.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.last.fm%2Fmusic%2FDavid%2BLee%2BRoth%2F%2Bimages%2F53300447&size=33.9+KB&name=David+Lee+Roth+Pictures+%2817+of+36%29+%E2%80%93+Last.fm&p=David+Lee+Roth&oid=a755dfb75132acc1ecf0ad9316a6ec5c&fr2=&fr=fp-yie9&tt=David%2BLee%2BRoth%2BPictures%2B%252817%2Bof%2B36%2529%2B%25E2%2580%2593%2BLast.fm&b=0&ni=48&no=24&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=11onei7aj&sigb=13butbr2g&sigi=11vn8q28s&.crumb=3.Kx7Au1.rn

http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=A2KJkevDwQxQAikAnFaJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBlMTQ4cGxyBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1n?back=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%2Fimages%3F_adv_prop%3Dimage%26va%3DRobert%2BPlant%26fr%3Dfp-yie9%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D2&w=738&h=1049&imgurl=4.bp.blogspot.com%2F_ffF2ei-kKXA%2FTEb9MnhVQbI%2FAAAAAAAADVE%2FcbzqQyj7Yuw%2Fs1600%2FRobert-Plant1.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwhat-listen.blogspot.com%2F2010%2F07%2Frobert-plant.html&size=99.5+KB&name=Robert+Plant&p=Robert+Plant&oid=d75bc7841cac40ccaabc05a9b8638421&fr2=&fr=fp-yie9&tt=Robert%2BPlant&b=0&ni=42&no=2&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=11pegf5tc&sigb=138grj4so&sigi=12qqrcc0m&.crumb=3.Kx7Au1.rn

Monday, July 06, 2009

New Release! Cat's Curse from Kelley Heckart


Kelley's latest Celtic romance release from Awe-Struck is titled Cat's Curse and is the first book in her Dark Goddess trilogy.


Blurb: Cardea, follower of the Great Goddess is cursed to live an eternity as a blood drinker.


Aedan mac Gabrain, prince of Dal Riata and a Christian, trusts no one after suffering a curse that keeps him from touching any females or he will turn into a black cat.
Can two tortured souls find love while battling a dark goddess determined to destroy them?


Daisy of Love

Kelley's Daisy of Love posts can be found on her myspace blog http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll

Check in to see what Daisy and her mimbos are up to each week.