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Writing means different things to me. I'm a storyteller, a book editor, and a songwriter. For me, it's like breathing.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Mixing History with Fantasy—The Story Behind Of Water and Dragons by Kelley Heckart

Of Water and Dragons started out as a fantasy romance. Later, I decided to turn it into a historical fantasy romance. I chose Roman Britain as the setting and referenced real historical accounts.

One problem I had was that Romans wrote all of the historical references. The Celts were an oral society, so I had nothing in writing from them to use as a reference. Of course the Romans made themselves look good. They called the Celts barbarians, but archaeological evidence doesn’t support this claim.

The Celts lived with the land, and they were fierce warriors. Like the Romans, they worshipped many gods and goddesses. They even invented chain mail and were superior iron workers. Soap was another Celtic invention. Their druids were a priestly caste of doctors, lawyers, astronomers, story keepers, and political advisors. Not barbarian traits in my opinion.

The one weakness they had, however, was inter-tribal fighting. They were no match for Rome’s legions because they refused to join together to fight the one true enemy. This would be their downfall, at least in Briton and most of the world. In what is now called Scotland, Rome was unable to defeat the Celtic tribes there. Possibly because the rougher terrain made it easy for native warriors to ambush a marching army.

I did my research and found a major battle fought in Caledonia (now Scotland) between the Roman legions and the Celts. The Battle of Mons Graupius took place in 83 or 84 AD, but the exact location is a mystery. I set the battle near the Grampian Mountains, one of the possible locations. Though the Roman army was outnumbered, they managed to defeat the Celts and sent them scattering into the forests.

This is how my hero, a Roman soldier, meets the heroine, a half-Fae, half human who lives in the thick woodlands of the Grampian Mountains. She has a dark past involving Roman legions and shies away from human contact, but she decides to help this wounded Roman soldier. He has been taught that the Celtic tribes are barbaric and deserve to be conquered. She opens his eyes. Still, many obstacles stand in the way of any kind of relationship developing between them.

Roman Britain thrived until the Roman legions pulled out in about 383 AD. Despite the way Rome conquered and ruled over the Celtic tribes, they did bring law and order to the land. They brought advanced engineering to Briton like heated bathhouses and sanitation through aqueducts that provided clean water and added drains to keep the streets clean. I wanted to show the differences between how Romans and Roman Celts lived versus the free tribes of Caledonia.

Another historical account I touched on was the disappearance of the Ninth Legion in Caledonia. They virtually disappeared from Rome’s accounts, possibly because having one of their greatest legions defeated by barbaric tribes was a huge disgrace for Rome. Nobody knows what really happened. It’s possible they were transferred to another country to fight for Rome, but as there are no records to verify this, it’s up for debate. My creative version involves dragon magic. Who’s to say it wasn’t druid or Fae magic that made the Ninth Legion disappear?

By mixing history with fantasy, I was able to create a love story that touches on the realities of life in Roman Britain and in the wild lands of Caledonia while also integrating the magic of these people who lived with the land and believed every living creature and everything in nature had a soul. To them the trees were just as alive with pulsing energy as the living creatures with blood and oxygen rushing through their bodies. Beyond the safety of their campfires, the Celts believed there lived unknown beings capable of unbelievable powers, some benevolent, some not. This was a time of magic. Anything was possible.


Website: https://www.kelleyheckart.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/kelleyheckart

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BYB1FGL8





Wednesday, May 10, 2023

A Stupid Writing Rule

Recently, there has been some discussion on social media about "writing what you know." Some believe a writer should only write what they know. This is a stupid rule.

If writers followed this advice, we wouldn't have any historial stories, fantasy, futuristic stories, or sci-fi.

Better advice is to write what inspires you and do your research.

I'm more uncomfortable writing a contemporary story than a historical one. Technology changes so much that I can't keep up with it, and I feel out of touch with modern times. I must have an old soul. I'd rather spend time researching historical periods to write about.

I've never been to Scotland, but I've written more than one story set there in medieval times. I read travel blogs by people who'd visited the places I wanted to use for my settings, and I read Walter Scott books with detailed descriptions of these areas. Google Earth was also really helpful. I even found sites dedicated to historical Scotland with specs for hill forts. Written accounts by various monks also helped me get a feel for that time period. There are also archaelogical websites that have a wealth of information.

Writing what you don't know is possible.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Of Water and Dragons #newrelease #historicalfantasyromance



He’s a Roman soldier. She’s an enemy of Rome.

The Romans call the land they want to conquer Caledonia. Nemu calls it home. The half-human, half-water faery has a second chance to save the Celtic people from the Roman legions, but the cost might be too high.

Ambiorix is torn between his duty to Rome and his growing affection for a mystical Caledonian woman. He questions everything he’s been taught about the barbaric Celtic tribes.

Their worlds collide in a fury of fire, blood, and darkness.

˃˃˃ Of Water and Dragons combines the Roman history and Celtic lore of ancient Britain and Scotland, creating an unforgettable story of love and sacrifice.

This is a revised 2nd edition.


The shadow of a large white owl flew near the trees at the edge of the camp, but he knew better. He was certain he saw her face shining in the trees like a tiny moon. I will never forget you, Nemu. Weakness overwhelmed him, and he stumbled. Guards surrounded him, and he lost sight of her, but he sensed she was still there watching over him.

Alas, she would be gone by morning, and the thought of never seeing her again struck his heart with sadness.

***99 cents for a limited time***

YouTube Of Water and Dragons book trailer:

Sunday, March 12, 2023

FREE ebook--The Enchanted Meadow #freeebooks


Sign up for my newsletter and get an ebook copy of The Enchanted Meadow FREE.


Monday, October 31, 2022

Book Review of Tales From the Eerie Canal #anthologies #fantasy #horror

 4 stars

Dark and thought-provoking

This anthology of short stories fed the darker half of my soul. They reminded me of the Twilight Zone, of which I am a fan. Ms. Rein's talent is apparent in her ability to both scare and challenge this reader's grasp of the unknown.

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BH99QKJZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

New Release: Sinfully Hot by Tina Donahue #PNR #erotic


Erotic Paranormal Romance

UNIVERSAL LINK: https://books2read.com/u/mV8vpP



A hotter-than-sin reaper. A badass demon. Hell doesn’t get steamier than this.


Zekiel owns the newest nightclub in the French Quarter. The decadent atmosphere draws the corrupt, their blackened souls just what he likes to reap.


Jewel is not amused. Not only has Zekiel cut in on her territory, Satan’s gotten hardcore, upping her quota. All hell’s going to break loose if mortals don’t start selling their souls to her.


The race is on. Zekiel claims victory and wants Jewel as his prize for one evening. Nothing forbidden. Nothing denied. In other words, the whole enchilada, including voyeurism and BDSM.


After the first promising look and lingering touch, they’re goners…even though they’re supposed to be competitors.


This book was previously published in a box set.




She stilled then stroked his arm. “I’m not leaving. You can’t make me.”

“How right you are. You’re staying all night. That’s what I won, an evening with you. My games. My rules. You forbid me nothing and don’t hold anything back.”

Zekiel’s demand flooded Jewel with outrageous warmth. She got lightheaded and weak.

He trailed kisses from her ear to her temple, his lips velvety, his breath gliding across her skin.

Her lids slipped down. Bad move. She had to stop this before he went too far. Screwing around with him when he’d been a possible conquest was one thing. Losing herself to lust that wouldn’t go anywhere was another matter entirely.

He turned her until they faced each other.

She sagged into him, her boobs crushed against his massive chest, her slit snug to his rod and balls. Heaven. And a waste of precious time when she should corrupt mortal souls. She parted her lips to protest.

He slanted his mouth over hers and did far more than claim. He possessed, spearing his tongue inside, entering her deeply.

Coherent thought vanished, the moment too delectable to resist. She wreathed his shoulders and buried her hands in his glorious hair.

They staggered to the right and left, trying to get closer, touching as much of each other as they could. He squeezed her breast and thumbed her nipple. Delight thrummed through her. Giddy, she enjoyed the delightful package between his legs.

Someone bumped into them.

Zekiel growled.

She suckled his tongue.

He groaned like an oversexed teen then dove in for more passion. All man, he took what was his, cupping her ass, pulling her closer, her belly tight to his. Not even a breath could get between his sex and hers. The way it should be with lovers.

Internal alarms rang. Dismissing them, she pushed his tongue from her mouth and filled him instead, sweeping his inner cheeks and teeth.

An uncivilized noise poured from him, deeper than any sound the music could make.

Reckless and wanting, she ground her hips into his, needing to crawl inside his body and become a part of his core, making him her new home, a shelter against every crappy thing in her life.

Right. He was a reaper, her main competition.

Good luck getting over that hurdle. Once they fucked, she’d be an afterthought to him, and a nuisance he wouldn’t let inside his damn club.

Outrage and sorrow coursed through her. She tore her mouth free and gasped. Perfume, perspiration, and booze scents filled the heavy air. Beneath those fragrances were odors from too many vile souls.

Zekiel stood in the way of her getting even one.

His breathing was rough, hair wonderfully mussed. She’d pulled his tee from his jeans and unzipped his fly. No way did she regret that.

He smiled lustily. “More.”

An eternity wouldn’t have satisfied her. Better not to dream. She locked her knees and forced herself to stay put. “No.”

Surprise then confusion raced across his face. “Why not? What happened between a few seconds ago and now?” He pointed at her. “Don’t you dare say you didn’t enjoy our kiss. You’ll never convince me of that.”

The crowd hooted and whistled at the newest song. A skinny young man spun in place, lost his balance, and rammed into Zekiel.

He waved his hand again. An invisible force pushed the kid away. Not once did Zekiel’s attention stray from her.

Damn, he knew how to make a woman feel important. She should lie about that and everything else but couldn’t. “Okay, so I did enjoy it—you—what we did. Satisfied? If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do.”

“Not here.” He cuffed her wrist and reeled her in.

“Aw, come on. I’m desperate. If I don’t make my quota tonight, you have no idea the bad shit that can happen.”

He pressed her hand to his chest, nothing but hard slabs of muscle. “Tell me what you’re afraid of.”

“Why? You want to gloat worse than you already are?”

“I thought I was being nice.” He eased her hair behind her ear.

She slumped against him, hating herself for being weak and wanting him so badly. Oddly enough, he did seem to be a good guy with a wicked streak she honestly liked. “Let me do my thing and then we can talk.”

“That’s not the way competitions work. You haven’t given me my prize yet.”

“You don’t remember my tongue halfway down your throat?”

He laughed. “I’ll never forget it. But it was far too little.” With his arm around her waist, he led her to the left.

She held back. “We’re not staying here?”

“Too tame for what I have in mind.”

A pulse beat deep within her channel, already slick from arousal, primed for his rigid cock. “Are you sure?”

“Yep. Too noisy, too.” He settled his hand on her tummy and skimmed her waistband. “First, we go to a place where you tell me what Satan has in store for you. Then we play.”

Pain and pleasure. Sounded like a plan. And a recipe for disaster. “I shouldn’t. I can’t.”

“You will. Come on.”

About Tina:


Tina’s an Amazon and international bestselling novelist who writes passionate romance for every taste – ‘heat with heart’ – for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. She’s won Readers’ Choice Awards, was named a finalist in the EPIC competition, received a Book of the Year award, The Golden Nib Award, awards of merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competitions, and second place in the NEC RWA contests. She’s featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.


On a less serious note: she’s an admitted and unrepentant chocoholic, brakes for Mexican restaurants, and has been known to moan like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally while wolfing down tostadas. She’s flown a single-engine airplane (freaking scary), rewired an old house using an ‘electricity for dummies’ book, and is horribly shy despite the hot romances she writes.


Website/Blog: https://tinadonahuebooks.blogspot.com/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tina-donahue

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/tinadonahue

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tinadonahuebooks/  

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/1wFmIu6

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tinadonahue

Triberr: https://bit.ly/1CE2ec7

Pinterest: https://bit.ly/1yFLeMx

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/1ChWFkO

My page at TRR: https://bit.ly/1vb7eEc

Kensington Author Page: https://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/24772

Sweet ‘n Sexy Divas: https://bit.ly/1ChWN3K