About Me

My photo

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.
 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Musings: Wildlife in my backyard—Godzilla vs. Cactus Wrens

I don’t even have to leave my house to see a variety of wildlife. We don’t live on the edge of town, but we have a side yard outside our wall filled with nasty cactus that protects small animals from larger predators. I know for sure that rabbits, lizards and kangaroo rats live in there. I’m not sure I want to know what else might be residing in our side yard.

Since we moved here, we have had an injured hawk in the front yard, a sick or injured vulture in our backyard that I had to herd out of the yard because my husband was afraid of it, and we’ve opened our front door in the morning to find pieces of rabbits leftover from marauding coyotes. That thankfully stopped once we started leaving our porch light on at night. One morning, I opened the sliding back door because I heard a bunch of shrieking bird noises to find the yard covered in gray feathers and one bird foot. Ick. I think a raven killed a mourning dove.

Today I heard some loud, scolding bird noises and went outside with my camera to find two cactus wrens beneath our palo verde tree. I took a picture of the birds and then saw Godzilla, the large white lizard that inhabits the side yard, confronting the birds. He scared the hell out of me one day when he got stranded in our garage. I had to call my dad over to help me get him out of the garage because I was afraid of him. I didn’t want him to die in the garage though. Besides, he eats bugs and I hate bugs in my house. Usually Godzilla is elusive, but I was able to get some good pictures of him this time. I’m not sure what was happening, but I think the lizard and the birds were fighting over the grub worms in the soil beneath the tree.

That’s a popular spot in our backyard. The area beneath our palo verde tree is like a popular animal bar or restaurant. I get mad because birds and other unknown nocturnal creatures dig and mess up my rocks. But it is kind of cool to see all the wildlife in my backyard. I just wish they could put the rocks back after they dig up their worms.

100_0957

I took this picture and didn’t even see Godzilla.

100_0961

100_0962

I think he’s posing for me. lol

100_0963

He’s looking at me!

100_0964

100_0955

This was taken a few days ago. How would you like to walk outside

and see this on your wall? This is the first time I saw this lizard.

I haven’t named him yet. The pattern on his back reminds me of tiger

stripes. I might call him Tigger.

 

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Friday, June 27, 2014

Favorite Friday

Favorite Book

The Shapeshifters’ Library, Released by Amber Polo

Liberty Cutter is the librarian of the Shipsfeather, Ohio library where a curse has imprisoned an ancient race of dog-shifters in the basement. The dog-shifting scholars protect the world’s libraries from the evil, book-burning werewolves.

This light fantasy shifter series is a refreshing change from all of the same shifter books I’ve come across. I haven’t seen a dog-shifter series before. The concept of dog-shifters saving books from evil werewolves is also a new, clever idea. Witty dialogue and a quick pace will keep readers compelled to keep turning the pages. With likeable heroes and heroines and snooty villains, this light fantasy was a fun, entertaining read. I think this book is geared toward a young adult audience, but adults will enjoy it too—I did. This is a wonderful first book in this series. Highly recommended to fantasy readers of all ages.

 

 

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Weird Word Wednesday

Afeard

afeard

adjective \ə-ˈfird\

Definition of AFEARD

chiefly dialect
: afraid

Variants of AFEARD

afeard or afeared

Origin of AFEARD

Middle English afered, from Old English āfǣred, past participle of āfǣran to frighten, from ā-, perfective prefix +̄ran to frighten — more at abide, fear
First Known Use: before 12th century

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author
Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly
http://www.kelleyheckart.com
http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/CelticChick
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Musings: Writing fiction--Can there ever be too much action?

I’ve been pondering this lately after agonizing over my own stories, rewriting and deciding what kind of scenes I want in my books. And after hearing different opinions about writing and adding more action, I started thinking about what I like in a book. I like to write the kind of books I like to read, so it makes sense to me to look deeper into how much action I like in a book.

Action can improve the pacing, but too much action can also overshadow the growing relationships in a story, especially in a romance novel where the relationship is very important. I like those interactive scenes between characters, witty dialogue and moments pondering those raging emotions. I realize some readers and editors like the pacing to move quickly, but others like slower moments in a story as long as these scenes still move the story forward.

I’ve read books with more action than interaction between the two main characters, and I didn’t feel like I was able to know the characters, to feel what they were feeling. Too much action gave the book a fast pace, but I was left disappointed, like I missed something. I think maybe I like character driven novels and that’s what I like to write, too. Pacing is important in a story. You don’t want to bore the reader, but you don’t want to set the pacing so high, you leave the reader wondering what happened. I like to think of pacing in a book like a roller coaster. You have your wild turns and gut clenching drops, but you also have those moments where the roller coast just glides along the rails.

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Friday, June 20, 2014

Favorite Friday

Favorite TV Show

Salem

Okay, another witch show. I know. But this one is different. It’s really dark, way darker than Charmed (which really wasn’t a true witch show but still fun) and even darker than Witches of East End, which I also like for different reasons. I like the premise of how the witches are trying to gain control of Salem by using the witch trials to get the Puritans to kill each other—sort of like the wolf hiding among the sheep.

What I like about Salem—anytime Puritans get what they deserve, I’m right there cheering it on. I mean, how hypocritical can you get? They fornicate all over the place, even the preacher who condemns all the fun stuff, yet the people caught fornicating get an F branded on their foreheads. Geez. This is one of the darkest times in history—because of superstition, fear and ignorance, innocent people died in terrible ways.

What I don’t like about Salem—the witches are portrayed as evil demons consorting with the Devil. That bothers me because I don’t think of all witches as evil, and witches have been around for centuries, so how can they sell their soul to the Devil when the Devil is a Christian invention? Yet I am compelled to keep watching this show. I love the main witch character, Mary Sibley. The actress does a great job in this role, making all the Puritans think she is innocent. Mary wants to be evil but her love for Captain John Alden, played by the hunky Shane West, keeps her soul pure.

If you want to be entertained by powerful witches getting revenge on the oppressive, hypocritical Puritans, then I recommend this show.

 

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Weird Word Wednesday

Aerie

ae·rie

noun \ˈer-ē, ˈir-, ˈā-(ə-)rē\

: the nest of a bird (such as an eagle or hawk) built high up on a cliff or on the top of a mountain

: a room or building built high up so that people inside can see things happening below them

Full Definition of AERIE

1

:  the nest of a bird on a cliff or a mountaintop

2

obsolete :  a brood of birds of prey

3

:  an elevated often secluded dwelling, structure, or position

See aerie defined for English-language learners »

See aerie defined for kids »

Variants of AERIE

ae·rie also aery

Origin of AERIE

Medieval Latin aerea, from Old French aire, probably from Vulgar Latin *agrum origin, nest, lair, from Latin ager field — more at acre

First Known Use: 1554

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Musings: Cool Arizona cloud formations

100_0204

100_0223

100_0616

100_0680

100_0683

100_0684

100_0705

100_0758

100_0841

 

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Friday, June 13, 2014

Favorite Friday

Favorite Artist and Book

Amy Brown//The Art of Amy Brown I & II

One of my favorite faery artists is Amy Brown. I love the clothes her faeries wear and have two of her artwork books that I use for clothing references for my otherworldly characters. Her faeries have cool tattoos and different looks. Some are more innocent looking, while others appear darker, more mysterious. I like the diversity of her faeries. Her faeries look like they have walked out of the enchanted forest or the faery realm and into our world. In her books illustrating her artwork, Ms. Brown also includes little notes about the inspiration behind each drawing. I highly recommend her books to lovers of fantasy and faeries.

 

 

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Spotlight: Henrietta and the Dragon Stone (Book 2) by Beth Barany, Fantasy/Adventure

I welcome award-winning YA Fantasy author Beth Barany to my blog today. The 2nd book in her Five Kingdom series is full of adventure and features a strong heroine--an awesome combination. Beth is giving away 2 signed copies of Henrietta and the Dragon Stone (Book 2) so don't forget to enter below.

Henrietta and the Dragon Stone (Book 2)
· Print Length: 300 pages
· Publisher and date published: Firewolf Books, Jan. 31, 2014
· ASIN: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I54CZII
· Genre: young adult fantasy/epic fantasy
· Format: Digital and print
Henrietta.and.the.Dragon.Stone.by.Beth.Barany.Book.2.Five.Kingdoms.series.290x480
About the Book
A new story of young adult epic fantasy adventure by award-winning author, Beth Barany.
Book 2 in the Five Kingdom series of the continuing adventures of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer.
What if everyone you loved was threatened by a force you couldn't see or fight?
Henrietta the legendary dragon slayer wants to return to her village for a heroes’ welcome. But an unknown sorcerer rides after her and her Dragon Stone and aims to destroy everyone she cares about. Can she claim her newfound powers sparked by the Dragon Stone and keep her loved ones safe, or will the sorcerer destroy everyone and everything she loves?
Excerpt of Henrietta and the Dragon Stone (Book 2 of the Five Kingdom series)
chapter one: in his grasp
The Dracontias, dra-con-ti-as, emphasis on the second syllable, is the most powerful gem in all the Five Kingdoms, and more powerful than all the other so-called Kingdom Stones. This one and only Dragon Stone unifies the kingdoms and empowers its user. But beware its one fatal flaw.
—from the Fire Wizards Compendium
Early Winter New Moon (Mitte Moon), Oro Islands, One of the Five Kingdoms
King Singfan sucked in a breath, stretched the crossbow, and held it steady, tracking the beast.
Time was of the essence. If he didn’t kill this dragon and obtain the Dragon Stone on the great dragon’s forehead, he’d have to start all over again. Unthinkable. Impossible.
He had to renew this king’s body during this night, while the stars were aligned just so, and the moon hung below the horizon.
The girl Dragon Slayer, that Henrietta, was performing exactly as he’d expected. She’d taken the proffered reward and given him the secret dragon lore, confirming what he needed to know. She crouched nearby, ready to do his bidding.
King Singfan breathed out, steadying his aim, and smiled.
Inside of him, Bjirn Eyvindir smiled, too, at Singfan’s glee. Hidden to everyone, Eyvindir had occupied the body of King Singfan for seventy-five years, a long king’s rule—longer than anyone on the Oro Islands could remember. If they did remember the length of King Singfan’s reign, Eyvindir by King Singfan’s hand had made sure they didn’t remember for long, and didn’t remember anything ever again.
King Singfan had given him free reign to run his magic through the man and control his every move. The man was his best and most perfect servant. Eyvindir wasn’t going to end the arrangement anytime soon. He’d planned this renewal too long for the moment to go awry.
The dragon hovered above the enormous cave floor about to settle, its scales flickering and iridescent in the torchlight. King Singfan held his breath, steadying his strong stance and perfect aim. He readied the powerful crossbow.
Before he could loose the arrow, Henrietta yelled “You can’t!” and shoved him to the hard-packed ground.
The dragon slayer pinned his arms against his torso with her legs, heavy on his chest. He struggled beneath her weight.
“How dare you!” he snarled. “We had an agreement.”
How had she slipped past his guard?
With every second that ticked by, he felt his power draining from him like water down the drain, no doubt shifting his appearance. But his voice held strong and loud. He gathered courage in that. There was still time to kill the dragon and obtain the Dragon Stone.
“I can’t let you!” she shouted, glaring down at him.
***
Beth-Barany_360by270-cropped
About Beth Barany:
Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible.
Book 1: Henrietta The Dragon Slayer was the 2012 Grand Prize winner at the California Fiction Writers Book Contest and the 2011 Finalist at the Hollywood Book Festival.

Reader reviews of the award-winning young adult fantasy, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, Book 1 in the Five Kingdoms series
As far as young adult fantasies go, Henrietta, The Dragon Slayer is a good read that I think any age, teen to adult, would enjoy. I only hope a sequel is in the works!
--LunaMoth
The witty dialogue and good story line makes this book hard to put down. I really could not stop reading it and was really tired the next day. It's also very satisfying to read about a girl heroine fighting the good fight. --Jeri
Beth, best known for strong heroines in her stories, this story is no exception. It is a tale of righteousness and overcoming adversity including magic. --Robert Mendak "RJ"
The book is a beautiful story about friendship, a heroine, and a quest to kill a dragon. Who wouldn't be excited? The entire concept sounded interesting and I was not at all disappointed. --Brittany, from Goodreads
Beth Barany has made a world where unlikely friendships rule and being a friend means more than you can know. --Tami, from Goodreads

Special Blog Tour Giveaway: Grand Prize
I’ll be giving away 2 signed copies of Henrietta and the Dragon Stone.
<a id="rc-2a406b15" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2a406b15/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script>
I’ll mail you a copy anywhere in the world.
I’ll also give away e-book copies of HYPERLINK "http://bit.ly/Henrietta2"Henrietta and the Dragon Stone at each blog tour stop.

Where to find Henrietta and the Dragon Stone (Book 2)
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1jB4AxQ
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1mHPfA4
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1puwOxV
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1puwVJT
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/henrietta-dragon-stone-five/id812548135?mt=11
More at: http://bit.ly/1fsbqR7

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weird Word Wednesday

Aeciospore

ae·cio·spore

noun \ˈē-shə-ˌspȯr, ˈē-sə-\

Definition of AECIOSPORE

:  one of the spores arranged within an aecium in a series like a chain

First Known Use of AECIOSPORE

1905

 

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Monday, June 09, 2014

Monday Musings: Hummingbirds, warrior birds

Hummingbirds are found only in the western hemisphere, so the only myths about these tiny birds are Native American or South and Central American in origin. Growing up in Southern California and now living in Arizona, I am quite familiar with these fascinating birds.
They are fun to watch, flying and spinning, their tiny wings moving so fast they look like blurs. Hummingbirds don’t sit still for long, and I had a hard time getting some pictures of them, but I was able to capture a female resting on a tree branch. Another hummer hovered by her side. I think that one was a male and they may have been mating. If they aren’t fighting, then they are probably mating. Usually only males fight each other for territory and for females. Hummingbirds are very territorial and fighting can be so vicious, it can lead to death for one the birds.
100_0937
100_0941
100_0945
I’ve always wondered about how fierce hummingbirds can be and then I found an Aztec myth that may explain hummingbirds and their warrior nature.
A warrior named Huitzil led the Aztecs to a new homeland and helped them defend it from enemy warriors. The warrior’s full name was Huitzilopochtli, which means, “hummingbird from the left.” The “left” in Aztec mythology is the deep south, the spirit world. Huitzil was killed at a key moment in the battle. His body disappeared. In the exact place where his body disappeared, a green-backed hummingbird rose up, inspiring his warriors to victory. Huitzil became a god. The Aztecs believed that every warrior killed in battle rose to the sky and orbited the sun for four years. After this, they became hummingbirds. The transformed heroes fed on flowers in the garden of paradise and engaged in mock battles.
To honor these tiny, magnificent birds, Aztecs decorated their ceremonial cloaks with hummingbird feathers. Chieftains wore hummingbird earrings. Aztec priests carried staves with hummingbird feathers to suck evil out of people.
So, the next time you see hummingbirds battling it out in your backyard, remember that they might be the spirits of those ancient Aztec warriors.


More Hummingbird myths: http://hummingbirdworld.com/h/native_american.htm

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author
Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly
http://www.kelleyheckart.com
http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/CelticChick
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Friday, June 06, 2014

Favorite Friday

Favorite TV Show

Continuum

One of my favorite TV shows is Continuum on SyFy. This is a time travel show where in the grim future corporations are so powerful, they are the government, turning people into slaves. Sound like a familiar, possible scenario? I love how this show takes on some real serious topics like terrorism. I think Continuum is a cautionary tale of what our future might look like if corporations continue to grow more powerful. It’s hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys in the show because I find myself rooting for the supposed bad guys.

 

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Weird Word Wednesday

Aepyornis

ae·py·or·nis

noun \ˌē-pē-ˈȯr-nəs\

Definition of AEPYORNIS

: elephant bird

Origin of AEPYORNIS

New Latin, genus name, from Greek aipys high + ornis bird — more at erne
First Known Use: 1851

aepyornis

 noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of a group of giant flightless birds in the extinct genusAepyornis, found as fossils in Pleistocene and post-Pleistocene deposits on Madagascar. Most were massively constructed (some stood more than 10 ft, or 3 m, high) and had a small skull and a long slim neck. Remains of aepyornis and its eggs (as large as 3 ft, or 1 m, in circumference) are common. Its ancestry is uncertain.

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author
Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly
http://www.kelleyheckart.com
http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/CelticChick
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604

Monday, June 02, 2014

Musing Mondays: Moon shots

100_0704

 

100_0823

 

100_0825

 

100_0826

 

100_0832

 

100_0838

 

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Captivating...Sensual...Otherworldly

http://www.kelleyheckart.com

http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/CelticChick

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kelley-Heckart/111838455604