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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, April 04, 2024

Book Review--Understanding and Managing Depression and Stress by Josephine Spire


Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-managing-depression-Stress-Josephine-ebook/dp/B06XRJB9C4/ref=sr_1_1?dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.k7ko5BX2bf_QHyAOXwkyJJzR1uRRMh2ej3da-1V2Txve10uDHFptDqdJF1hijQo4kqmBAaL20gx8z_KhVmo3_JEqKOVgbst7_YHDb5XmqUk.-n4L5qlbbj3GeqoD1P0razPxVuufqqJ7U3_Uj4UFZKw&dib_tag=se&qid=1712249711&refinements=p_27%3AJosephine+Spire&s=digital-text&sr=1-1&text=Josephine+Spire

5 stars

A helpful, comprehensive guide

I was looking forward to reading this book because I have had bouts of stress. Who isn’t stressed out in this crazy world we live in?

The author starts off by explaining different types of depression and stress, causes of depression and stress, how these affect our bodies, followed by techniques for coping with these mental health problems. She also outlines treatments like medication, seeing a therapist, and other options like alternative therapies. It’s important to note that severe depression should be treated by a licensed professional.

What I found interesting is how much a healthy diet plays an important part in our mental well-being. I didn’t connect these before now.

There were many useful techniques like self-hypnosis and relaxation for coping on a daily basis. I found these useful for my own stress. Mindfulness was also something I’d heard about, but I never fully understood it until now.

Overall, this is a complete guide to recognizing depression and stress and then seeking the help you need. There are also some helpful resources listed at the end of this book. Highly recommended.


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Of Ravens and Wolves: new historical fantasy romance release #99cents


Buy now on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CW19RCPH

Also in KU and Print

Magic demands its price.

In the sequel to Of Water and Dragons, Nemu and Ambiorix must fight to survive in the wild lands of the Caitt in northern Caledonia where they have sought refuge after Ambiorix’s desertion from the Roman army. Another more sinister danger also stalks them, a result of Nemu’s dark magic. Their idyllic world is about to be shattered, and their relationship tested.



Crows flew into the air from a nearby tree in a sudden rush of fluttering black wings.

Ambiorix froze. His soldier instinct warned him that something or someone had startled them. He picked up the sword that he always kept near him from the flat rock and turned around, gripping the smooth ivory handle with the confidence of a seasoned warrior.

Eerie silence descended on the forest. The day had been dark and gray, the clouds heavy with winter rain or snow. As night closed in, the shadows deepened, crawling like creeping black vines across the forest floor. He saw nothing unusual and hurried back toward the cave to make sure Nemu was safe.



“Heckart’s work offers beautiful poetic descriptions rich in detail. Reading this book is a sensual pleasure. It is especially a joy to read about the idyllic agrarian lifestyle and the sense of people’s connection to the land, to the tribe, and to the spirit world. The richness of detail in descriptions create a powerful aura that positively fills this world.”

Reviewed by Snapdragon at the Long and the Short of It


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


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