Welcome to my blog. I am a Historical fantasy/Paranormal romance author, editor, musician, and artist living in Arizona. My latest series is based on my time as a rock and roll bassist. All five books in my Shadow-walkers series are available now on Amazon: Awakening, Awakening the Wolf, Awakening the Vampire, Awakening the Fae, and Awakening the Dragon. This blog is all about writing and other aspects of my life.
I want to thank everyone who participated in our Friday the 13th Blog Hop, all the authors and readers. I especially want to thank author Susan Claridge for putting the blog hop together and making it such a success. We had 201 entrants to win the Kindle e-reader.
Here are the winners:
The winner of the Kindle e-reader is Michelle Bledsoe.
The winner of the PDF copy of my historical fantasy romance, Cat's Curse, is Savannah.
Keep reading until you get to the links to your next blog hop stop.
Most people like sexual tension, the sparks that fly when meeting that special person for the first time. For romance readers, sexual tension between the hero and heroine is necessary for an enjoyable reading experience.
As a romance writer, I have a duty to create sexual tension between my characters. It sounds easy enough, but writing those scenes can be tricky. How much is too much time to wait before the hero and heroine actually sleep together? Before erotic romance, this used to be easier to work with—usually they didn’t sleep together until almost toward the end of the book. Now a lot of romance readers expect sex to happen sooner and they want hotter sex scenes.
Another issue is moving the story along and having the two main characters start to fall in love much sooner than people normally would in real life. Unless, of course, you are Kim Kardashian. I had to throw that in. Dragging the story on to fit reality will bore the reader. Romance readers want romance and they don’t want to wait half the book to find it.
So, what is a romance writer to do? It’s not rocket science—I go with my gut feeling and stay true to my characters and plot. If my characters are the type to jump into bed together, then I go for it. Sometimes it feels right to have them sleep together within the first few pages, but then pull them apart by having something get in the way of their relationship. I am working on one story with a virgin heroine. There are reasons why she can’t lose her virginity until the end of the book. To make up for it, I need to have that sexual tension and at least have them kiss to give the readers something to look forward to.
One of my favorite ways to show sexual tension is to have witty banter between the hero and heroine. I like to create heroines that have a sharp tongue. Gee, I wonder where I got that idea? My husband is familiar with my sharp tongue. Anger turns into passion and well, passion turns into love. It happens all the time, especially in romance novels. Ah, if it could only be as perfect in real life. We can only dream. And I can only do my best to create that sexual tension in my books that romance readers crave.
Welcome to the Friday the 13th Blog Hop. For a chance to win a Kindle e-reader, please follow the links to all the author blogs to the end where you will fill out anofficial entry form. I am giving away a PDF copy of Cat’s Curse, a historical fantasy romance. It’s the first book in my Dark Goddess trilogy. Available in Print and Ebook http://kelleyheckart.com/cats_curse.html Cat's Curse, Book One: Dark Goddess Trilogy, Celtic historical romance/fantasy Enter Dark Age Scotland—a mysterious, dangerous & exciting place… Blurb: Cardea is cursed to live an eternity as a blood drinker. Aedan mac Gabrain, prince of Dal Riata, trusts no one after suffering a curse that keeps him from touching any females. Can two tortured souls find love while battling a dark goddess determined to destroy them?
To start off the New Year, I picked a young guy for all the younger ladies out there. This young hottie is a rising star. Thomas McDonell is best known for his role in The Forbidden Kingdom and is starring in Disney's Prom. He is also set to play a young Barnabas Collins (a younger version of Johnny Depp who stars as the moody vampire) in the remake of Dark Shadows due out in 2012. I can't wait to see that movie. This hunky guy is certainly an actor to watch for in the near future.
I hope you have a great time during the hop. Book mark sites you want to return to, then head out to enter on all the other hops so you get your contest entries in on all the blogs! Good luck everyone!
PRIZE: One winner - PDF file of my new short fantasy romance titled The Enchanted Meadow!
MY Contest Rules: 3 things to do:
Leave a comment
Include your email addy (santa.claus at yahoo dot com)
Nothing difficult and not a bunch of hoops to jump through. (I don't like it when I have to visit other sites to enter a contest either!) Leave your comment here then begin the hop! Leave my window open, right click on the next blog and open in a new tab. Close that window after you've finished their contest requirements, come back here and right click the next blog.
A question I often ask myself is why do I prefer to write historical novels over contemporary ones? Most of the popular books are contemporary so I could probably make more money writing in modern settings. It also seems like it would be easier to write a story in a contemporary setting rather than having to research a historical time period. For most writers that’s probably true, but for me with the weird brain it seems more natural for me to write historical novels.
I can relate to certain time periods—from ancient to about the ninth century. I have a special fascination for Dark Age Scotland and Britain. I think it’s because that was a mysterious time in history. Most people think ‘Dark Age’ means that everything turned into chaos and that people were complete savages. Well, some of that may be true, but the true reason the term ‘Dark Age’ is used is because it was a time when nothing was put in writing or at least no written texts have been found during that time period.
Historians and scholars can speculate what happened and piece together some of the information through archaeology, but the truth is we don’t know what happened. That is a great opportunity for a writer to use his/her imagination.
For me it’s easier to research an earlier time period than it is to try and write a novel set in modern times with all the changing technology. All the technology confuses me for some reason. I can’t relate to texting all the time. I have the cheapest, text unfriendly cell phone and rarely send a text. In a romance novel the hero and heroine need to connect. To me that means that they need to actually talk to each other and spend time together. Modern technology pulls people apart, at least in my mind. What better way to connect to a lover than to sit by a fire and gaze into each other’s eyes?
I’ve come to the conclusion that my body is here in the modern world, but my brain is stuck back in time.
This Native American Texan, Christian Kane, is an actor and a singer/songwriter. I remember him as the evil lawyer Lindsey in Angel. Now he is kicking butt and making the ladies swoon on TNT's popular show Leverage.
I must be weird because I write romance, but I dread having to write sex scenes. I’m not a prude. The time I spent in an all girl hard rock band taught me more than I needed to know about, well, sexually related stuff and made it all seem so normal. I think what I dislike about writing sex scenes is I want to avoid making them too stiff (no, I didn’t mean this as a pun) or too laughable (as in purple prose). No matter what I end up writing in the sex scenes, I can’t read them without giggling. So, what is the best way to write a sex scene? I try to bring the characters’ personalities into the bedroom scenes and sometimes humor. Real life sex isn’t always perfect so I want to add that bit of realism, but not too much realism that it will turn a romance reader off. The key to a good romance is to have some fantasy for the reader to enjoy because that’s why people read romances—to escape reality.
By revealing a character’s personality in a sex scene, a writer can show how a character would act or react. For example, a Pict king in my Dark Goddess trilogy is shown enjoying being bitten by my blood drinker heroine, which reveals his wild side. For some humor, I have an ongoing joke with my hero and heroine in my Dark Goddess trilogy—their enthusiasm in the bedchamber breaks many beds. My biggest challenge is naming all those pesky body parts without sounding too graphic (who knew that cock was a vulgar term for a penis?) or too flowery (her ‘rose petals of love’ won’t do). I also have to keep my terms relevant to the time period I am writing so I can’t use modern slang.
I don’t want all of my sex scenes to sound the same either. Too much caressing, stroking, entwining, writhing and thrusting can get tedious. A change in scenery can help break up the monotony. Or some honey instead of whipped cream. That just gave me an idea. Maybe this isn’t as hard as I thought. All I needed to do was to experiment a bit.
This Hawaiian native, Jason Momoa, is an actor who is probably best known for playing the character of Ronon Dex in the TV series Stargate Atlantis. He has been cast to play the lead in the 2011 remake of Conan the Barbarian. Wow, if this is what a barbarian looks like, bring him on.
The GMC or Goal, Motivation and Conflict are the most important ingredients in storytelling and somehow I started a story and forgot all about the GMC. I had my basic idea and characters, but when I started working on the story, I forgot to pin down the three main points. It didn’t take me long to realize that my story had no where to go because my characters had no specific desires or wanted to gain anything and nothing was holding them back. No GMC = no story.
First, the goal is the one thing the main characters want. The goal needs to be something that they want so badly they will do anything to get to that goal. The goal should be important enough for characters to act against. The motivation is why the characters want what they want—the drive and back-story. Anything is possible for a character as long as the writer explains why to give the reader enough motivation to give the story credibility. The writer needs to know their characters well so that the actions stay in character and are justified and clear to readers. When a character wants something bad enough, the reader will too. The last piece is conflict—why the characters can’t get what they want, the trouble, tension and roadblocks that are preventing the characters from achieving their goals. Conflict drives the plot and motivates the characters. There are two types of conflict—external and internal. External conflict can be a person, an intolerable situation or an act of God. Internal conflict is inner struggles within the characters. I find it helpful to have character charts for my main characters. Here is an example of a character chart that I use to help me get to know my characters so I can define their goals, motivation and conflict: Character Name: Sun Sign: Race: Age: Height: Hair Color: Eye Color: Skin Color: Weapons: Religion or Beliefs: Dilemma: Goal: Motivation: Conflict: His secret: What would destroy him: What would help him survive and be better: Bad Trait: Good Trait:
This Australian hottie, Chris Hemsworth, plays the lead in the soon to be released movie, Thor. I don't even need to post pics because the name Thor conjures up the image of a tall, muscular man with long blond hair. But here are the pics anyway. Enjoy, ladies. I will be seeing this movie for sure.
Faith is something you can’t see or feel. Faith is something that only applies to humans, it's something we all need in order to survive. Or to keep us sane.
I’ve scoffed at faith many times. I’m not a religious person. I’m more spiritual so I don’t belong to a church of any kind. I always thought it silly when I heard someone say they had faith that God would provide. Isn’t it our obligation to make things happen for ourselves? But I’ve also had respect for faith claimers when something remarkable happens to me like the pieces of a puzzle coming together at just the right moment when it’s needed. I guess you could even say that things happen for a reason. Maybe that’s the atheist version of faith.
I’ve always associated faith with large religious groups, but I’ve come to realize that anyone can have faith, even those who don’t believe in God. Faith comes in many shapes and sizes. There is faith in oneself, faith in family and friends, faith in the world and faith in a job, hopes or dreams. Faith keeps us going, grasping on to something to help keep us from falling. I have come close to losing faith in the world, in our government and people in high places that just let everything fall apart. I’ve decided that I just need to keep having faith in myself and my place in the world, and allow things to happen as they happen.
And I’ve learned one important lesson: You can’t control everything and it’s best to let the things you can’t control slip by. Having faith can make this easier.
My pick for September even has a sexy, hero-esque name—Eoin Macken. This Irish hunk used to be a model for Abercrombie and Fitch. He came on my radar when he joined the cast of the popular SyFy television show Merlin as Gwaine. He wears leather and chain mail very well. Ladies, I'm sure you will enjoy this month's pick.
I have always been one to keep moving forward. If I left a job and had the opportunity to return to that job, I declined and decided on a new opportunity. I applied the same rule to boyfriends. If I broke up with a guy and he asked me to give him another chance, I didn’t. Perhaps I was too harsh, but maybe not. Maybe I was right to move on to a new guy, a new experience. I find myself applying this rule to my writing as well.
Now that I have seven novels finished—six published and one contracted, I have been thinking about the next phase in my writing career. One thing I have pondered is whether I should go back and re-write/re-release my first couple of novels. I keep having this thought that I could make them better since I am a more experienced writer now. But my rule of ‘keep moving forward’ is standing in my way. And maybe I should follow my rule.
If I decided to re-write and re-release some of these earlier novels, then precious time and energy that could be used to start and finish a new series and/or new stories would be wasted. A little voice inside my head is telling me to move forward, to put out new stories. I think I should listen to that voice.
This British actor, Tom Ellis, is a complete mystery. I found some pictures of him as Cenred, the character he plays in Merlin, but I couldn't find any personal information on him. Not sure why but that is kind of a turn on—a man of mystery. This hot, hunky, mysterious man plays an evil warlord named Cenred in SyFy's Merlin Gotta love those villains, especially dressed in leather and chain mail, wielding not one, but two swords. Wow. Love the smell of leather. Okay, I'm falling into TMI territory here.
I admit I like to collects things—knick-knacks and memorabilia from my past. My collecting wasn’t too bad in the beginning, but after 30 plus years of stuff, my house is full. Most of the things I have are worthless to anyone but me. The necklaces and bracelets I’ve kept over the years are pretty or cool, but I don’t wear them anymore. So why do I keep them? I think I hang on to my rocker jewelry because of the memories that are imprinted in the various leather-studded, skull-adorned, snake-shaped jewelry that I used to wear as part of my rock-n-roll persona, a part of my life that no longer exists. A psychiatrist would probably say that I am afraid to let go of that part of my life.
And then there are the numerous crystals and stones that I have collected over the years. Do I need that many rocks? No. I don’t need all the shot glasses and other stuff in my giant curio cabinet either. I remember when I went shopping for this curio cabinet and ended up buying the largest one I could find and easily filled it with stuff. I actually have two curio cabinets—the small one I started out with (and should have stopped with that one) and the gigantic one that the movers could barely get into our house.
No, I am not surrounded by stacks of boxes or left with tiny pathways to move around my house—at least not yet. After reading about a woman in Las Vegas that was believed to be missing and later found dead under piles of her belongings, and after watching a couple of episodes of Hoarders, I have finally started getting rid of some of my things that I don’t use anymore. By purging some of these things from my past, I feel like I can breathe easier and think more clearly. For the first time, I can find a tank top right away and not have to spend fifteen minutes digging through piles of them to find what I am looking for. I kept a couple of pieces of my rocker jewelry, but got rid of the rest. And I am proud to say that I have an empty drawer in my dresser for the first time in years. The empty drawer is screaming for me to fill it up with stuff, but I’m not listening. By letting go of the past, I feel a freedom I haven’t felt in a long time.
This talented Chilean actor, Santiago Cabrera, trained at London's prestigious Drama Center. He had small roles in British television series. His breakthrough role was in the widely popular US show Heroes. I noticed him when he was cast as Lancelot in the popular SyFy series Merlin. This six-foot hunk is hot with or without long hair, but of course I prefer him with longer hair. And he plays a very fine Lancelot, looking awesome wielding a long sword.
I’ve been wondering about this lately because I have finally admitted that I am socially inept. Or slightly autistic. I’m not sure which yet. And yes, I am totally serious and not trying to make fun of an illness. I asked my mom about this because I just found my report cards from when I was in pre-school on up to high school. A majority of the teachers said I don’t socialize enough and need to participate in class. I did get really good grades in reading and English. It appears that from an early age, I didn’t like or was unable to socialize well.
The biggest problem I am having lately is making and keeping friends. I guess I shouldn’t say that I don’t know how to make friends. Making friends is easy. It’s trying to keep a friend that boggles my mind. I don’t like to call people because I feel like I am bugging them. But now I think that maybe people think I don’t want to talk to them. And I’m beginning to suspect that I say things that turn people off and I’m not even aware of what exactly I am saying to make people un-friend me. I’m not even sure how I made it this far in life.
I’ve never been a touchy-feely kind of person. I’m pretty sure I’m related to the Vulcan Spock and I have hermit-like tendencies.
But what does all of this have to do with writing? Maybe nothing or maybe writers are naturally drawn to an occupation that doesn’t involve interacting with people.
I seem to have stumbled on another wrestler with long hair. For June, my pick is Greg Marasciulo aka Trent Barreta. For all you ladies out there that like Italian men, Trent Barreta can be seen on the SyFy channel on Smackdown. Gotta love the wicked tight pants he wears for wrestling. :)
I remember reading thick, five hundred page novels filled with lengthy descriptions that transported the reader to another time or place. The descriptions created the right atmosphere to forget about everything else except the story. I would be enthralled by an exotic location, or glass blowing in ancient Crete and even the art of blacksmithing. Cool stuff, those descriptions. But they seem to be passé in the writing world. Lately, I have noticed that stories are filled with lots of action and short sentences that move the story along, but leave me feeling jolted, as if I just got off a wild, but short roller coaster ride.
I wonder if this has to do with our society today and how everything moves at such a fast speed. Maybe people just want the meat of the story and the action, but want to pass on all the descriptions because they don’t have time to read a long novel. Another thought I had was that with the rise of ebooks, it seems that ebook readers prefer to read shorter, action-packed stories. In today’s fiction, is there room for lengthy descriptions? While reading a fast-paced story might appeal to some readers, I still prefer the lengthy descriptions. I want to get lost in a story for an hour or two a day for a couple of weeks, not for only thirty minutes a day for two days. I want to languish in the story and reflect on the characters, not feel like I barely met the characters. I hope there are still readers and authors that enjoy a longer, descriptive story. I can’t think of anything that’s better for calming a hurried mind except getting lost for a while in a good book.
For May, I decided to go with someone a little older. Shawn Michaels in an older man with long hair, but since I am 'older' too, I wanted to pick him for all the other 'older' ladies out there. Known in the wrestling world as The Heartbreak Kid, this wrestler still looks damn hot. He still has a rocking hard body from being a pro wrestler from 1988 until 2010.