About Me

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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.

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.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Art of Kissing

Since I write romances kissing has been something I have often wondered about. Watching Rock of Love has brought it to my attention even more. And it got me thinking.

When I see Bret Michaels coming in for a kiss on one of his lovely stripper/groupie potential love mates, I cringe. Why do I cringe? Because all I see is this big, fat tongue coming out of his open mouth as his lips go in for the kiss. Then I get to hear all the slurping and smacking. Am I the only one grossed out by this? My idea of a great kiss is one that starts off with the lips touching before any tongue comes out. If a big, sloppy tongue is coming at me it better be from one of my dogs, not a guy.

I notice this kind of sloppy kiss is prevalent in movies and television. Why? Does it make the love scene more dramatic? Does Bret Michaels really kiss like that (yuck) or is he trying to perform for the cameras? Are tender, quiet kisses boring? Maybe I am just a fuddy-duddy about it.

What do you consider to be a great kiss? And to all the writers out there—how do you write kissing scenes? Do you want your hero devouring the heroine's face? I suppose it would be comical to have the hero completely suck the face off the heroine. In reality, love scenes are not all perfection. In my soon-to-be released Night's Daughter, the young, inexperienced prince tries to seduce the older, experienced concubine with a sloppy kiss. She gently coaxes him to slow his over eager kisses. I also remember an episode of Sex and the City when a guy kissed Charlotte and totally licked her face. She reacted with disgust. Yuck. It grosses me out just thinking about it.

My favorite kissing scene on television happened between Buffy and Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They are at the bar in the Bronze and Spike stalks away in anger because Buffy refuses to admit her desire for him (she is also feeling hurt because Giles is leaving for England). Then the camera sweeps through the crowded Bronze and rests on a couple making out. It's Spike and Buffy locked in a passionate kiss, a kiss full of angst and desire with the music of Michelle Branch's Goodbye to You playing. The kiss says it all--Buffy wants to stay away from Spike, but a part of her desires him and needs someone to ease her aching heart, her lust for him uncontrollable. Whew, just thinking of that puts a smile on my face. I don't recall hearing any slurping or smacking sounds, or seeing any wayward tongues, but then I think Spike is way sexier than Bret Michaels. I need to watch that episode again. What is your favorite kissing scene? Or least favorite?

For anyone feeling lip-locked challenged, there are websites and books with tips on how to give the perfect kiss.
http://www.love-sessions.com/kissing_art.htm
http://www.kissingtips.com/art-of-kissing/Preludes.php
Here is a kissing quote from http://www.kissingtips.com/:
You may conquer with the sword, but you are conquered by a kiss. -Daniel Heinsius

I want a kiss to conquer me, but not devour me. In faery tales, a kiss is powerful and can make two people fall in love or break an evil curse—think Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. A kiss can make or break a budding relationship. It's the first step to finding out if that special spark exists between two people. So, to all you guys out there, reign in those tongues until the lips touch. And that means you, Bret. Hmmm. I wonder if that is why he is having trouble finding his Rock of Love.

Kelley
http://www.kelleyheckart.com/

P.S. If you want to read more about Bret Michaels, check out my satirical blogs posts on Rock of Love and Rock of Love Bus http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=29034464

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cheesy love songs--why we love to hate them

I was listening to the Mark and Brian radio show and they were talking about how embarrassing it is to be caught listening to a cheesy love song. It made me think that while these songs are ridiculed by most, we still listen to them and enjoy them. Why? Is it because they make you feel good or maybe invoke some cherished memory?

I even have my favorite cheesy love songs that when they come on the radio in the car, I shut my windows and hope no one can hear them. When I hear one of these songs, I admit to even trying to sing along. It's like a button gets turned on inside of me and I forget to act cool.

Now there are some people who just love this type of music, but I grew up a head banger (for those who aren't familiar, a head banger listens to hard rock/metal & instead of dancing, nods their head along to the beat). My favorite bands are Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and more recently—Flyleaf, Nightwish & Evanescence. I do listen to softer bands like Blackmore's Night, but I am not a fan of Celine Dion, Queen of cheesy love songs, or anyone like that. So while I dislike this type of music, which I think also belongs in the category of elevator music, I cannot turn the station when one of these songs plays.

I looked over the song list for our wedding and strangely none of the top 100 love songs were on that list. Cheesy love songs belong at weddings. I was probably too embarrassed to add them or maybe my husband forbid them. I can't remember that far back. The only songs that come close to being cheesy love songs on our wedding song list are You Were Meant for Me by Jewel, Angel Eyes by Jeff Healy and Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. Our theme song was If You Don't Know Me By Now by Simply Red because we were together a long time before we decided to get married. I think we were already past that cheesy love song moment in our lives.

What constitutes a cheesy love song? I would say this is a matter of personal taste, any song you are embarrassed to be caught listening to would be a cheesy love song. My favorites are If You Leave Me Now by Chicago, I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston,(although Dolly Parton's version is much better and I would not consider her version cheesy, but that's not the version I listen to), My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion (she has to be on everyone's cheesy love song list), Waiting For a Girl Like You by Foreigner, Wherever You Go by Bryan Adams and anything by Ambrosia.

What are your favorite cheesy love songs? Ah, come on, everyone has a favorite cheesy love song even the big, burly biker dude.

http://%20mag.weddingcentral.com.au/music/songs/love-songs.htm

http://www.kelleyheckart.com/

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Strange lights in the Lake Havasu skies

There are a lot of strange sightings here in Lake Havasu City, Arizona of the people variety, but recently there have been strange lights spotted in the night skies. I always stare up into the night sky wondering about distant planets and hoping to see something of interest. I am bummed that I keep missing these weird sightings, but one local man was able to photograph them.

http://lukephillips.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/close-encounters/#comments

So far, there has been no explanation as to what these lights are. A UFO expert is supposed to visit and investigate. The military is staying quiet, but they did say they haven't been flying in the southern part of the skies (where the lights were spotted). This area has a history of strange lights in the sky. I guess UFOs like to fly above the desert.

Has anyone else ever seen strange, unexplained lights in the sky?

I saw something strange in the night skies in New Jersey once. It had to be about thirty years ago when I was a teenager. I was sitting in my darkened room listening to rock music and staring outside my window. Not sure why I was doing that. I may have been waiting for my friends to show up so I could sneak out. Anyway, I saw these red lights moving in the sky in erratic movements, not a smooth straight line like an airplane would fly. I never said anything, but other people saw them too so I guess I wasn't hallucinating. At least not at that moment. Hey, it was the late 70s.

I am not sure what to make of it, but the lights do appear to be something paranormal-- kind of like a giant, fiery worm that belongs in a Sci-Fi flick. So far no abductions have been reported. I wonder if I have to worry about that.

Kelley
http://www.kelleyheckart.com

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tucson Celtic Festival Book Signing


A beautiful sunny day greeted me on Saturday morning for my book signing at the Tucson Celtic festival, but it could have been about ten degrees cooler. A desert rat, I am accustomed to hot weather in the summer, but not in November. I felt sorry for the people dressed in traditional Scottish wear made for the damp, cold Scotland climate, not for desert heat. The hot weather must have made people really thirsty because they ran out of most of the ale by mid-afternoon and by the condition of some of those I spoke to, I think they were the ones who drank all the ale. It made for an interesting day, that's for sure.

This was my third year attending this particular Celtic festival. I enjoy the scenery every year of men striding about in kilts. Even the security officers wear black Utilikilts. Yummy. Oh, and the solemn, commanding mountain range was a beautiful sight to look at too.

This year I signed with best-selling author Amanda Scott. For those not familiar with her, she has written at least fifty books from regencies to Scottish historical novels so you can imagine how nervous I was to be sitting next to her. In fact, I almost cancelled this year because I thought with the sagging economy and Amanda Scott's presence my sales would be lower than previous years. In the end, I decided to attend if only for the promotional opportunity and the chance to meet a best-selling author. I was not sure what kind of person Ms. Scott would be. I wondered if she would be a diva. Well, she turned out to be a really nice lady and I was glad I decided not to wimp out and miss the festival. She even signed a copy of one of her books that I had bought, but had not had the chance to read yet.

It started out slow for me and at first more people approached Amanda making me feel invisible, but things eventually picked up for me. One technique that always works well for me is to hand out bookmarks to people who dare to glance my way. I learned this from another author and it works wonders. I ended up selling more books than previous years and a few people came up to me saying they read my first book and had to have my second book. A couple of them even bought my third book. I was thrilled and Amanda leaned over and said, "That's when you know you are on your way." Cool. I expect more sales will come from all the bookmarks I handed out. Some people were thrilled to know that my books are available on Kindle, which made me happy to know that e-books are gaining popularity.

It turned out to be a wonderful way to spend a Saturday sitting there selling books, watching men in kilts, meeting some fans (even if it was only three or four), talking with a best-selling author, watching men in kilts…

Kelley

Friday, September 26, 2008

Writing Meaningful Sex Scenes in Romances

One thing I have struggled with as a romance writer is trying to write sex scenes that have some significance and are not just thrown in to spice up the story. I like to keep my romantic scenes sensual and not graphic, preferring to leave something to the imagination. After all, a reader wants to use their imagination, right? This has proven to be a challenge because I do not want to write purple prose, but I have managed to avoid this by keeping a balance between the two and avoiding terms deemed too flowery.

Sex scenes like any other scenes should reveal something about the character. Is she shy, bold or somewhere in between? Does he prefer to have control or does he like it when she takes control? Humor is something I like to add to these scenes sometimes to show how characters will react. I recently wrote a sex scene where the bed broke. I think readers can identify with the characters more if reality steps in to the love scenes. It is not all perfection as in life it is not all perfection. By writing scenes where the hero and heroine are most vulnerable, it reveals something about their personality.

The way men and women think in the bedroom are different too. Ladies, how many times do we want our man to stay awake after the coupling only to have him role over and start snoring? Or, what about the man feeling frustration because he still cannot figure out how to please his lady? The time period a story is set in also makes a difference in how characters will act, but I think the above scenarios have been happening in bedrooms for centuries.

It has taken me some practice, but when I write sex scenes between my hero and heroine, I think about each character and pull pieces of their personalities into the scenes. Well-written romantic scenes can reveal a lot about a character and add to the story.

Kelley
http://www.kelleyheckart.com
http://www.myspace.com/phantomqueen3

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Review for Ravenwolf


I received a wonderful review from Historical Novel Reviews Online and I wanted to share it on my blog. As an author, it feels good when a reviewer understands what you are trying to convey to the readers. I am so stoked! Here is a clip:


RAVENWOLF

Kelly Heckart, Earthling Press, 2007, $15.95, pb, 390pp, 1587496569


"It might be easy to categorize this book as fantasy because of its supernatural elements or as romance because of the explicit sexual content and story of lovers in jeopardy, but the lovely writing and incorporation of well-researched Celtic history and mythos elevates the book to something beyond either clich├ęd genre. Below the sensual surface, the book seems to touch on themes of balance and unity between genders. Women are empowered in the story with the depiction of powerful female goddesses, but Heckart carefully avoids the trap of choosing one sex over the other by emphasizing the need of each to come together as a balanced whole.
The story will be entertaining to most and fascinating to anyone interested in Celtic history and myth." -– Amanda Yesilbas

Historical Novels review online

To view the entire review, click on this link:
http://historicalnovelsociety.org/hnr-online.htm

For more info on Ravenwolf, visit my website at http://www.kelleyheckart.com/

Slainte!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Contest on Kelley's Enchanted Grove


Hi all,

In honor of the recent Freya's Bower release of In the Gloaming: An Anthology of Faerie Stories, I thought I would do something different for entering this contest. To enter the contest to win a coaster set featuring the faery art of Amy Brown, all you have to do is read this short excerpt (posted below)from my short story, The Enchanted Meadow, and tell me the color of the warrior's eyes by joining by Yahoo Group at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kelleyheckarts_enchantedgrove/message/62
and putting the answer in the message box. The contest runs to the end of May.
Good Luck!

Kelley
http://www.kelleyheckart.com/
http://www.myspace.com/phantomqueen3

Excerpt from The Enchanted Meadow:
She studied him, admiring the confident way he commanded his men even as he faced the unknown. He stood regal and powerful, the blue warrior marks he earned shadowing the austere planes of his handsome face. Long, golden-copper streaked hair plunged down his back in a wild tangle. She yearned to run her hands through his thick mane again.

As if reading her thoughts, he glanced back at her tree, his bright blue eyes darkening to a deeper hue in the shifting light, his face softening from its usual hardness. When he looked in her direction, he let slip his true feelings he hid from his warriors. Her heart sang with compassion for him.

She felt herself blush at his penetrating gaze. His eyes awakened that feeling of familiarity in her again, but she still could not place it. If she escaped her prison, she could go to him now.

Frowning, she thought how she hated the tree that felt like a tomb. The world beyond the tree taunted her with its bright autumn colors, a world so full of life and freedom. She could not bear to look upon it any longer.

To help her bide her time, she thought about their coupling. Her body flushed at the memory. She recalled how wonderful his muscles had felt beneath her touch and the way he had kissed her, caressing her secret places with his skillful tongue, making her moan and quake. A twinge of desire flickered inside her at the thought of having him touch her again tonight.

When they discovered another missing cow, they would have to stay. At least she hoped so. She continued to hide some of their cattle to keep the warrior there so eventually he could help her escape.

At first, she only wanted to use him to help her escape, but now her body trembled with affection for the golden warrior. After he rekindled what had been dormant for so long inside of her, she began to yearn for him and his tender, passionate touch. Could she let him go? And if he should eat of the apples….
Purchase link for In the Gloaming: An Anthology of Faerie Stories:http://www.freyasbower.com/content/view/368/77/

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Reviews for In the Gloaming: An Anthology of Faerie Stories


Faeries come from all cultures and countries and range in appearance from lovely to terrifying to looking like an everyday person. Some are benign, some malevolent. Based on actual faerie lore, this anthology incorporates the work of five spectacular authors who have penned tales of irridescent ice beings, fey men who love you into forgetfulness, frightening creatures who wear caps of human skin, enchanted lovers from a long lost era, and the land of faerie dreams.

Step into the world of glamour where the beautiful, the dreamy, the vicious, and even a bit of the sexually bizarre will captivate you--but beware of the fey’s beguiling ways!

This anthology is a fabulous collection of Faerie stories by Cora Zane, Esmerelda Bishop, K.M. Frontain, Nita Wick & Kelley Heckart.

"All of these authors did a superb job in writing such vivid adventures that I felt I was right there in the middle of it. In the Gloaming was a quick read, I would recommend this anthology for faerie and non-faerie lover alike! 5 Delightful Divas."
Reviewed by Eliza Knight at Dark Divas

"In the Gloaming is a collection of amazing stories written by five very talented authors. Each story is so unique and well written. From finding true love to defeating evil, there is something for everybody in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know others will too."Reviewed by Beth Senters at PNR reviews

Rating: One whole champagne bottle plus a flute!"In The Gloaming really is a superior set of tales."Reviewed by Nutty Nana at Cocktail reviews

Purchase link for In the Gloaming http://www.freyasbower.com/

Slainte!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

In the Gloaming: An Anthology of Faerie Stories is now available!

In the Gloaming is now available. I am thrilled to be part of this anthology with four talented authors. The heat levels range from tangy to spicy so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Happy reading,
Kelley

Blurb:
Faeries come from all cultures and countries and range in appearance from lovely to terrifying to looking like an everyday person. Some are benign, some malevolent. Based on actual faerie lore, this anthology incorporates the work of five spectacular authors who have penned tales of irridescent ice beings, fey men who love you into forgetfulness, frightening creatures who wear caps of human skin, enchanted lovers from a long lost era, and the land of faerie dreams.

Step into the world of glamour where the beautiful, the dreamy, the vicious, and even a bit of the sexually bizarre will captivate you--but beware of the fey's beguiling ways!

Anthology authors:
Cora Zane
Nita Wick
K.M. Frontaine
Kelley Heckart
Esmerelda Bishop

"In The Gloaming really is a superior set of tales." Reviewed by Nutty Nana at Cocktail reviews

Purchasing link:
http://www.freyasbower.com/content/view/368/77/

Slainte!
Kelley

Kelley Heckart, author of Historical Celtic fantasy romances Available now! Of Water and Dragons, Ravenwolf, White Rose of Avalon http://www.kelleyheckart.com/ and http://www.awe-struck.net/
Join my Yahoo. group! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kelleyheckarts_enchantedgrove/

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Research mode

I am now in full research mode, my brain trying to absorb all that I am reading. After reading Warlords and Holy Men, I have moved on to Bede: Ecclesiastical History of the English People. This is to prepare myself to write the second book in my Dark Goddess trilogy. As I read, I am taking some notes and have compiled a timeline so that I can link important events. Though I am only writing about a certain area and time period, I want to be well informed about everything going on at that time. The research is actually interesting because I love learning about history, especially the Dark Ages. The time period I am writing about is especially turbulent as Christianity fought to make its mark on the people of northern Britain and Scotland (Alba). I find that exciting to learn about and write about. My only problem with some of the research sources I read is that most of the material is influenced by Christian monks because they were the ones who put everything in writing. The pagan people, the Picts and Celts, were an oral society so I have to read between the lines on some of the information and rely more on archaeological evidence.

I am finding Bede to be a great source for the history of Britain even though some of his views have been criticized and I know some of his writings are biased toward Northrumbia (English), but it is interesting to read about the events of a long lost time through the eyes of someone who lived in that time period. I am getting closer to the actual writing process and I cannot wait. It is always exciting to start a new book, but I want to make sure I am prepared first. My fingers itch to start writing and my brain is whirling with ideas, but I have to hold back until the research is done. I am an impatient person so this is not easy for me. I hate that lull between books because I have all this creative energy that is ready to burst, but I know I will be thankful that I took the time to do the research and I am sure the readers will appreciate it too.

Kelley

Writing Update

I have been very busy writing and am thrilled that I have finished the prequel to Of Water and Dragons and Ravenwolf. The title changed to Night's Daughter, which is another name for the Greek Erinyes and Roman Furies. After tons of research, the story came together for me fast, which pleased me because I wanted to have it finished before February. This story takes the reader back to ancient Crete and Anatolia and is a new twist on the conflict between the Titans and Olympic gods. The mysterious Tuatha de Danaan of Ireland are also introduced in this book and their origins are revealed. Night's Daughter is scheduled for release in early 2009 by Awe-Struck.

While I was finishing Night's Daughter, I took a break to write a short story called The Enchanted Meadow. This story will be in an anthology from Freya's Bower titled In the Gloaming: An Anthology of Faery Stories. I am very excited about this because this is my first anthology. The release date for this is March 2008.

Currently, I am working on the second book in my Dark Goddess trilogy. The first book, Cat's Curse, is scheduled to be released in early 2009.

Anyway, that's what I have been up to lately.

Kelley

My new release--Ravenwolf

I am very excited about this latest book, the sequel to Of Water and Dragons. This was not a planned series, but the characters had more stories to tell. Ravenwolf was fun to write and is more of an adventure romance, incorporating body switching and a trip to the Celtic underworld. Since this was not a planned series, I approached it differently by making each book a separate story so they can be read together or separate.

Currently, I am working on a prequel to these books, which is set in ancient Greece and Antatolia (Turkey). The working title is Goddess of the Flame and is a different twist on the conflict between the Titans and the Olympic gods. I did tons of research for this book, studying not only Greek mythology, but also pre-Hellenic, Egyptian, Anatolian and Sumerian myths. I hope to have this finished by February 2008.

Stay tuned!
Kelley

Monday, January 21, 2008

History know it alls

One of my pet peeves in the writing world are other authors who think they know everything about history. Usually they claim to be historians or hold some fancy degree in some irrelevant subject. Normally I just brush them off and go about my business, but an article in the newspaper caught my eye and raised my ire. The way I look at it is there are two kinds of authors: historians and storytellers. Guess which one I am? I am not trying to say that it is okay to get lazy on research when writing about a historical period, but no one can possibly know everything.

This article is titled Life's a blur: When biopic movies blend fact and fiction. It talks mainly about movies, but the same information can be applied to books. It seems no matter what story is told there are always people who will pick it apart with their annoying fact-checking. Don't they have anything better to do? I feel if I have to shorten a timeline to make the story move faster then I should be able to do that without being criticized for it. It's called 'fiction' for a reason. I do what it takes to tell a compelling story. If I wanted to tell a detailed story about a historical figure then I would write a boring history book.

A couple of phrases stood out to me in this article. One is "The best biopics transcend their subjects." The other phrase is "No one is a reliable narrator of a life, not even the person living it." This is so true and some people will do right by remembering this. I don't even remember every detail of my own life. How can someone write a perfect story about someone else? It's just not possible. Why can't certain people just enjoy a book or a movie? Unless there is some major anachronism, just enjoy books and movies for what they were meant to be for--pure entertainment.

Everyone has their own way of doing research. I would say do your best to read as many sources on the subject as you can and don't rely only on the internet. Even reading respected sources on some subjects are iffy. The time periods I write about are hard to research, but I find whatever I can and then compare notes. I don't believe everything I read on the ancient Celts because the Roman writers were biased and called them 'barbaric' when archaeological evidence proves otherwise. Even the classical Greek writers were biased. I try to read between the lines and come to my own conclusions. I am proud to call myself a storyteller.

To read the entire article click here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2007/11/23/ST2007112300970.html

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Overcoming writer's block

Well, it is happening to me right now--the dreaded writer's block. I am trying to work on a prequel to Of Water and Dragons and Ravenwolf and I am finding myself just staring at the computer. It seems my Muse has abandoned me. One of the reasons I think this is happening is because I am writing in a new setting. I usually write stories set in Britain, Scotland or Ireland. This story is set in ancient Crete and Turkey (Anatolia), which are totally different from the British Isles. Even after tons of research, I am still trying to capture the feel of these places and I am just getting stuck. I put on some Mediterranean music to help me get in the mood and it helped a little, but my mind keeps wandering back to Scotland. Eek!

Trying to force myself to write is not working either. What I might try is free writing in a notebook and see what happens. Someone suggested this on a another blog. The other reason I am having problems writing is that I have been dealing with health issues and basically feel crappy, but I think I also might be using that as an excuse not to write.

I think it is the computer. It has to be the computer gremlins. They are blocking me and scaring away my Muse. So, I think I will try writing in a notebook for a while and see what happens. Hopefully, my Muse will return to me soon. This is driving me crazy even thought I know it won't last long. I really want to get this story finished because I have another trilogy I need to work on.

Must...take...deep...breaths and relax. The more I think about it, the less I get done.

Where oh where is my Muse?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Disappointing Reviews

I know I have talked about this before, but it never ceases to raise my hackles. The first advance review for White Rose of Avalon was disappointing. I feel that this reviewer had preconceived notions about the story and allowed that to influence her review. I understand that I have taken a chance by taking a well known tale and re-telling it in a unique way, but the story stills stands on its own. I have to accept that some people just want to read the same tale over and over again and not welcome a new twist. That seems to be the way it is in the world anyway. We are nothing but drones that blindly follow every new fad without having an original thought. It's really kind of sad.

Okay, now I have vented and I feel much better.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Writing Update

Wow. It's been so long since I have posted on here. I have been busy. I have done 3 book signings at Celtic festivals in Phoenix, AZ and Las Vegas, NV and a faery festival in Phoenix, AZ. They were so much fun. Love all the guys in kilts. So hot! I also sold a lot of books. I had requests for audio books. These requests were from guys (of course). The really cool thing is I have been making some contacts. There is a very strong possibility that I will be attending Coppercon27 in September possibly as a guest on one of the panels. I will also probably do a reading (something I have never done and am scared to death to do). I will have to practice reading on my husband and my dogs. Lucky them!

Between all of this, I edited two books that are coming out this year--Ravenwolf (coming out September 7, 2007) and White Rose of Avalon (coming out November 16, 2007). For more info on these releases, please visit my website at http://www.kelleyheckart.com Plus, I have started researching my prequel to Of Water and Dragons and Ravenwolf, tentatively titled Goddess of the Flame, and working on the revisions to Cat's Curse, book one of my Dark Goddess trilogy set in 6th century Scotland. I have to stop and catch my breath after all of that.

Plus, I have been dealing with some health issues so it hasn't been easy, but things are getting better. That's why I neglected my blog for so long. I had to do the important stuff first.

Well, things are heating up here in Havasu. It's supposed to 120 next week for the July 4th holiday. This is the time of year when I get more writing done because I want to stay inside my air conditioned house.

Stay tuned!

Making Revisions

I have been busy revising a manuscript so I can re-submit it to a publisher. I don’t want to mention the publisher’s name because I don’t want to jinx it. I am sure every writer has encountered this at least once--an editor loves your story, but...some revisions are requested before they will accept it. Drat! You don't have to do them, but how bad do you want to to be published? Another publisher might accept it the way it is so that is the choice that needs to be made. I chose to make the revisions or at least give it a try.

Revising a manuscript is never fun, but by taking it one step at a time, it can be done pretty easily. The first thing I did was read through the ms again (on paper) to refresh my memory with the story (since I had already moved on to other writing projects) and I made notes where I could make changes requested by the editor. Then I inserted the changes into the computer and now I am re-reading it on the computer and making adjustments as I go along. After I do this, I will read the ms again on paper. It is better to print out the ms and read it that way then on the computer. If I have to make more adjustments, I will note that on the paper copy. It sounds like a lot of work (it is) but it needs to be done right. I don’t want to re-submit work that isn’t the best I can do. I may have to read the ms a few more times before the ms feels right.

Patience and tenacity are qualities that a writer needs to have. I am still working on the patience part.

Being a published writer can be boring and unglamorous. The big reward for all the hard work comes when the ms is accepted and published in a book format. That's when I can breathe a sigh of relief, rest (not!) and get to work on my next writing project.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Outlines: Do you have to use them?

I am working on my fourth book and I am on my sixth manuscript revision. Yikes! I guess that isn't so bad, but I thought I had the story down and then it changed on me. That happens a lot when I write. I start in one direction and the characters pull me into a different direction. That is why I work with a rough outline and not one set in stone.

Is is better to work with an outline? Some authors swear by it and it is probably a more organized way to work, but each writer has their own way to write. My brain seems to work better with a rough outline so I have a basic idea of what I am going to write. Once I start writing, the story may pull me in a different direction. I keep notes on what I am doing and this helps me to stay organized.

This story is turning out to be a good one, but I am not finished yet. The editing process is even more time consuming than writing the story. A story is not finished to me until I 'feel' it is finished. Pretty weird, huh? But that is how I work.

A writer should use the technique that best works or him or her.

Hopefully Cat's Curse will be finished at the beginning of next year.

Interview at Romance Junkies

I was recently interviewed by Romance Junkies. It was a fun interview and here is the link to it: Interview with Romance Junkies

For a writer, the promotion never ends and interviews can help get an author's name out there. I am grateful to all of the sites that help promote authors.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Writing Funk

I am in a writing funk. I just can't seem to get myself motivated. My brain is fried from all the research I have been doing. Does this happen to other writers?

To help my motivation, I turned on some music, which actually helped. If you get in a writing funk, listen to music that is emotionally moving. It really works. I was able to get some work done that way, but I am still not working as fast as I usually work. It is as if my brain is stuck on pause.

I think it is time to take a break and give my mind a rest. This usually happens when I do too much research. It is time to free my mind up with some 'pleasure reading.' That is a good way to open up the mind to creativity.

Yikes! I hate when this happens.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Book signing at Tucson Celtic Festival

I just had a book signing at the Tucson Celtic Festival. It was a fun way to spend the day and sell some books.

I met some wonderful authors. Lauren Royal (she writes historical romances) was my booth mate and she was so nice. I really learned a lot from her about having a successful book signing. I thought you were just supposed to sit there and wait for people to come over to you. That is not how it is done. Lauren had bookmarks and she would ask people if they wanted a free bookmark. That would bring people over to us and it helped sell books. Lauren’s website http://www.LaurenRoyal.com

Author Jude Johnson and I were corresponding online and I finally had the opportunity to meet her in person. She is the author of Dragon & Hawk and she was there in the Welsh booth. Jude’s website is http://www.scorchedhawkpress.com

I will be doing more of these Celtic Festivals. The next one is in Mesa, AZ in February.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Doorway by Kelley Heckart

In the spirit of Samhain, here is a short story I wrote in honor of the original meaning of Halloween.

The Doorway
By Kelley Heckart

32 BC:

Mist covered the ground, swirling up around the stone altar that stood as a silent sentinel beneath the massive oak trees. A full moon illuminated the sacred grove revealing a woman lying motionless on the altar, and seven robed figures moving sunwise around the altar.

Beneath the hoods, their faces hidden in shadow, seven pairs of lips moved in chant. The beautiful and haunting voices melded together, floating as if borne on wings up through the trees and into the night sky.

The woman waited in anticipation for the cold blade of the dagger to pierce her heart, sending her soul on a journey to her next life. Her dark hair was streaked with gray, framing her gaunt face and her blue ceremonial robe hung on her diseased body. This body would not house her soul much longer. She was honored to leave the world in such a way. Without fear, she clutched her favorite brooch in her hand.

One of the figures broke from the circle and stood before the altar. The others continued to chant.

Long, ringed fingers reached beneath the robes and came out clutching a bronze dagger.

“On this eve of Samhain when the veil between the realm of the dead and the realm of the living is thinnest,” the gruff voice rumbled. “We send our sister from this life to the next. May her journey be filled with wondrous light.”

The chanting grew louder and faster. The dagger arced down toward the woman. Just before the whetted dagger reached her chest, a bright blue light appeared, opening like a doorway and enveloping the woman. The blue light vanished and the stone altar was empty. The woman was gone.

****

With lights flashing and siren wailing, Officer Duncan Murray rushed to a call he had just received—a 211 in progress.

It was Halloween and a full moon filled the night sky. He thought to himself that this was probably the first of many calls he would answer tonight.

Fingers gripping the wheel and adrenaline rushing, he sped along the winding, tree-lined road that passed the creepy mental hospital. He shivered when he saw the white ghostly figures of the lions that guarded the entrance.

The moon passed behind clouds, causing instant darkness.

She appeared out of nowhere in front of the speeding police car. With no time to stop, he heard the sickening thud and his car skidded to a stop near the entrance to the mental hospital. His heart pounding, he called for an ambulance and informed dispatch that they would have to send someone else on the 211 call.

Jumping from his squad car, he knelt next to the broken woman. The flashing lights of the squad car reflected the look of shock on his beardless face. He searched for a pulse, but there was none. Her wrist was cold as stone like she had been dead for hours. How odd, he thought. His trained eyes scrutinized the body, noting the strange blue robe.

A man appeared from between the white stone lions that guarded the entrance to the mental hospital. He wore a rumpled blue coat and he mumbled something.

Duncan turned to the man. “Do you work here?”

The man nodded. “As an orderly.”

Do you know this woman?” Duncan asked in a voice filled with authority.

The man stared in shock at the woman’s body, shaking his head.

The flashing red and blue lights on the squad car cast an eerie light on the whole scene.

“I s-saw this woman walking through the h-hall. I didn’t t-think she was a patient, but she l-looked crazy to me.”

What makes you say that?” Duncan’s eyes shifted to the woman.

“Well, look at her. S-she is wearing that strange blue robe and s-she kept muttering some gibberish to herself.”

“What sort of gibberish?”

The man thought a moment before giving his answer. “Something like Sow-in, Sow-in.”

That wasn’t gibberish, Duncan thought, his eyes shifting back to the woman’s body. That was the Celtic word for Halloween. A strange feeling crept over him.

The man continued his story. “I tried to stop her and s-she looked at me real w-weird like and I couldn’t move...like I was paralyzed.”

The man’s story sounded really weird, but Duncan had a feeling that the man told the truth. For some odd reason, Duncan thought back to the stories his Grandma used to tell him about his ancestors in Ireland. She told him that one of his ancestors was a powerful Druid priestess and that the Druids were known to make human sacrifices on the eve of Samhain to bring balance to the world.

“I guess w-we will never know the madwoman’s s-secret now,” the man muttered to himself.

The poor man was in shock. Duncan was feeling a little shaken up himself. He leaned against his car for support.

This place had always given him the creeps. According to old legends, the area used to be an ancient burial ground that even the Indians stayed away from. Supposedly it was still haunted. He didn’t believe in ghosts so he couldn’t understand why he suddenly wanted to leave this place.

The radio in his squad car squawked and Duncan reached into his car to answer it.

The sound of approaching sirens echoed through the night.

“Uh, Officer?” The man stared past Duncan’s shoulder at the spot where the body lay. “The b-body is gone!” he shouted.

His mind in a whirl, Duncan knelt next to the spot where just moments before a woman’s body had lain. He stared up at the moon now free of the clouds, his blue eyes dazed. He had just received disturbing news over the radio. The officer who answered the 211 call in his place had been shot and killed.

Something on the ground caught his eye, gleaming in the splash of moonlight. He bent down and picked it up, his hand shaking. It was a golden brooch with intricate spiral designs—the brooch that had belonged in his family for centuries, the brooch that was buried with his Grandmother.

A chill crawled up his spine.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The 18 Questions Survey for writers

I found this site and thought it might be a good way to promote my books. The best part is it is a free promotion. Just thought I would share my answers with everyone.

Kelley Heckart
http://www.kelleyheckart.com
Bio: Kelley lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs. Though she has
one foot firmly planted on the earthly realm, the other foot often crosses the
barrier into the otherworldly realm of fierce warriors, faeries and magic. She
can be found online at http://www.kelleyheckart.com

1. Did you choose the writing profession or did it choose you? I think it chose me. It was never my goal to be a writer. I was a musician and thought that was what I would be doing with my life until some health problems and some soul searching changed my path, leading me to writing novels.

2. What is your background? (education, work, etc.) I have some college credits, but never received a degree. I worked as an accounting clerk for many years, but I think my real experience came to me because I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with Celtic mythology or ancient history.

3. When did you 'know' you were a writer? I think I have always known that I was a storyteller. I realized I was a writer when my first book was published.

4. How would you describe your style of writing? I write with an engaging style that draws the reader into the story. At least that is what my editor told me and I agree with him. I try to make sure the story is compelling so that it will draw the reader in. I write Celtic fantasy romances and prefer to write about ancient or lesser known time periods.

5. What is your writing process? I usually have a basic idea of the story I want to tell and two main characters in mind. I like to make up character charts. This helps me discover the motivation of the characters. Then I write up a rough outline. I call it a rough outline because sometimes the characters may pull the story in a different direction so I don't always stick to the outline. When I am starting a story, I write in a notebook before I put anything on the computer. I am more relaxed when writing in a notebook for some reason.

6. What was your path to publication? I decided not to try to publish with any of the 'big' publishers. I figured that would take way too long so I went with an e-publisher and I am very happy. Ebooks are starting to gain recognition and there are a lot of well written ebooks out there. I just bought an ebook reader and most of the books I buy are ebooks.

7. What is your favorite self-marketing idea? This is a good question because I still don't know if I have this part of writing down. I think my website was the best idea so far. I also like to have book covers that really stand out to potential readers.

8. What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer? I don't think I realized just how much work goes into publishing a book. I guess I thought I would write it and that was it. The editing process is my least favorite step to publishing.

9. How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity? I get inspired by reading mythology and history, especially about the Celts. Music is also a huge inspriation for me. I just finished a story called White Rose of Avalon that was inspired by a song I heard.

10. What is your proudest writer moment? My proudest writer moment was probably with White Rose of Avalon. I had to add 20,000 words to the story and I surprised myself by accomplishing it in less than two weeks. I didn't think I could do it and then an idea just hit me.

11. What's the best advice you were given about writing? The best advice came from a Creative Writing class--show not tell. I keep that posted near my computer to remind myself to follow it.

12. What is your most embarrassing writer moment? My most embarrassing writer moment was allowing my mom to proofread a story and forgetting to warn her about the spicy sex scenes. She said the first one shocked her because she wasn't prepared for it.

13. What business challenges have you faced as a writer? The business challenges I have faced are trying to think of more ways to promote myself and just keeping it all organized. I finally bought a planner so I can write in my goals. It has helped to motivate me more.

14. What is your writer life philosophy? Write from the heart.

15. When you're not writing what do you do for fun? When I am not writing or researching my next book, I enjoy reading fantasy and historicals. I am also addicted to t.v. My favorite shows right now are Smallville, Supernatural, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, House, Nip/Tuck, Ghost Whisperer...there are probably more I can't think of right now. When I get out of the house, I like to go for walks or go hiking. And music is still a huge part of me even though I don't play in a band any longer.

16. Who do you like to read? I like fantasy, historicals, romances. I like anything with supernatural elements. Some of my favorite authors are Ann Rice, Stephen King, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Morgan Llewelyn. There a few ebook authors I like too.

17. What's your advice for new writers? My advice to new writers would be to just keep writing--don't give up. And always write from your heart.

18. What are you currently working on? I am working on two books. The first one is a medieval fantasy romance called Cat's Curse set in Scotland in the sixth century. The second book is a prequel to my Of Water and Dragons and Ravenwolf books. I don't have a title yet for this one, but I am working with Goddess of the Flame.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When a reviewer gets your book

It really makes me feel good when a reviewer does get my story and realizes it is fantasy and more like a faery tale than something that is supposed to be realistic. I think that people who like fantasy understand what I was trying to do then people who are die hard romance and erotica fans.

Love is not always based on lust. There can be deeper connections between two people. In fact, I find the stories based on lust unbelievable because in real life, if a guy gets a woman in bed right away, he usually doesn't want anything to do with her. For love to really last there has to be more than tingling nipples and aching shafts. I speak from personal experience.

I am not knocking romance and erotica fans because everyone is entitled to their own perception of what they like, but I just want people to understand where I am coming from. I do enjoy romance and erotica. There are some very talented writers in the genre, but I don't want my book getting criticised because I have a different perception of love.

I am learning to take the good with the bad and hold my head high. I will stick to my guns and write what I believe in.

Many thanks to the reviewers who get my story. You are awesome!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Reviewers who do not get the story right

This really bothers me so I have to vent about it. Maybe it has happened to other authors.

It frustrates me that sometimes a reviewer just doesn’t get my story and they misinterpret it to the reader. I realize that not everyone is going to get my story, but it still bothers me when it happens.

My story has a lot of magical and mythical elements in it and maybe some people are not knowledgeable in these areas, but then maybe they shouldn’t be reviewing books with supernatural elements. This isn’t a book with explicit sex in it and maybe if the two characters don’t suck and lick each other, they can’t possibly love each other. Anyway, a kiss was shared between the hero and heroine at the beginning of the story. In fairytales and magic, a kiss is a very powerful enchantment. Think Sleeping Beauty. And their destinies were tied together through a druid prophecy so they were destined to fall in love by supernatural means. That is why they were compelled to find each other again.

Maybe I just have a different view about love than other people. When my husband and I met more than 20 years ago, we just knew that we belonged together—in a matter of days. Maybe I am fortunate to have found love like that, but it would be nice if people could use their imagination more. It seems that in books lately, if the hero and heroine aren’t having sex every second of the book or their nipples aren’t tingling or their cock isn’t twitching, then they can’t possibly love one another. I have read books that were so unbelievable to me because the hero and heroine are fleeing from an enemy yet they have time to have sex at least three times as their pursuer is hot on their heels. Is that how love is written now? Does everything have to be so explicit now that nothing is left to the imagination of the reader? I don’t mean to offend any authors out there who write erotica because I read erotica and enjoy it, but that shouldn’t be all that is out there.

We authors are at the mercy of reviewers and unfortunately some of these reviewers are inexperienced or aren’t taking the time to read the book. I am grateful for reviewers—they help to promote the book and I appreciate a good, honest review. But when a reviewer does not get the story right, misinforming readers about the plot, that upsets me. After all, it is my book’s reputation that is on the line.

I feel much better now.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Creating Heroines

I like my heroines to be strong, but still be feminine. They are usually beautiful, but not in the ordinary way. My heroines are usually mysterious and not alway human. They are bold enough to stand up to a man, but also know when to let the man have control. There is usually an aura of sadness surrounding my heroines.

I think in recent times there have been stronger role models for women. My favorite t.v. heroines are Xena and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They can kick butt and still enchant a man with their beauty and feminine wiles.

In the story I just finished, White Rose of Avalon, the heroine is Gwenhwyfar. She is innocent, but she is also intelligent and she grows as the story unfolds. She shows the ultimate strength in the end. I have to admire a woman like that.

My heroine in Of Water and Dragons is part faery and she is full of mystery. She is also flawed, having made mistakes in the past. She wants more than anything to be human, but what does it mean to be human? In the second book, Ravenwolf, she discovers that she misses the life she once had. She is drawn once again into the life of magic and discovers that she cannot escape her dark past, a past she had forgotten.

My latest heroine has to live with a curse. She has to fight the hatred that continues to live inside her. Revenge, she finds out, is not always sweet.

I like to create heroines with an inner strength and with flaws like ordinary people even if some of my heroines are otherworldly creatures.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Excerpt from White Rose of Avalon by Kelley Heckart

Visit my website for more information and to view the enchanting book cover. White Rose of Avalon is scheduled to be released in 2007 by Awe-Struck.

With the land falling into Saxon hands, the Christian monks make a pact with Morgaine, Queen of the Faeries. She promises to give them a High King who will unite the Britons against the Saxons if he takes a queen from the faery realm. She hopes this will restore the Goddess faith, bringing Avalon back to its rightful place and not hidden within the mists.

Morgaine’s lover, Lancelot, is sent to guard the future High King, Artorius. The Saxons are driven back by Artorius’ army and his kingdom reigns until he weds Gwenhwyfar. A love potion meant for Artorius and Gwenhwyfar falls into the wrong hands, sending the kingdom into ruins. Gwenhwyfar is the only hope for the future of Britain, but betrayal, revenge and forbidden love surround her, threatening to destroy the lives of four people.

Excerpt:
A cold ethereal wind blew into her house, fanning the central fire. Morgaine sat up in her bed, her heart pounding with fear. Otherworldy voices whispered to her, warning of treachery. The face she saw was Gwenhwyfar’s sweet face. Innocence and beauty was a clever disguise for evil and even beautiful white roses had dangerous thorns.

Morgaine frowned. She had raised Gwenhwyfar herself and had sensed only goodness in her despite her initial vision of a possible betrayal, but Myrddin had warned that he had seen Gwenhwyfar’s betrayal. That was why Morgaine had used magic to bind her love to Artorius. Could something have gone wrong? Myrddin would have reported any odd behavior to her.

Unable to go to back sleep, Morgaine needed to glimpse what her seeing pool would show her. On bare feet, she slid out into the almost moonless night, a shadow among the still night. The dark pool was hidden in hazel and willow trees deep in the woodlands.

Kneeling before the pool, she waved her hand across the water. Ripples coursed over the small pool revealing images clear as glass. What she saw there made her gasp. Her sweet Gwenhwyfar was standing naked, beckoning Lancelot like a seductress. Their possible betrayal left Morgaine shaking and pale.

Morgaine fumed with jealousy at the thought of Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar together, but Lancelot was a man. She was aware of his occasional trysts when he was away from Avalon, but they meant nothing to him and he always returned to her. A sense of foreboding warned her this could be different. Though she knew it was hard for him to resist such female wiles, Gwenhwyfar should know what she was doing could bode ill for everyone. She was not only betraying her husband, Artorius, but she was betraying the land and Goddess as well. And worst of all, she was betraying Morgaine.

She hoped that her vision of Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar’s betrayal was not a true one. Her visions were not always accurate. She was convinced that it had to be a false vision because the love potion she made was a powerful one. Anger fumed inside of her though when she thought of Gwenhwyfar betraying her.

“If this be true, you will be punished for your treachery Gwenhwyfar!” Morgaine roared. A flutter of wings erupted in a nearby tree. Her sudden shouting had startled some sleeping birds. A raven landed near her on the ground, watching her with sharp eyes. Morgaine reached out and plucked a glistening feather from its tail.

Holding the black feather in the palm of her hand, she whispered ancient words of a faery curse. She blew on the feather, sending it off into the night of the waning moon. An eerie silence fell upon the land.

Copyright 2006 by Kelley Heckart

Creating Heroes

It is hard for me to predict what kind of heroes readers would like so I create the kind of heroes that I like.

Since my stories take place in ancient time periods, my heroes tend to be warriors or druids. Some are not completely human either. When I create a warrior character, I think of the ancient warriors of Ireland--the Fianna. They were fierce warriors, but they were also poets. My favorite type of hero is strong yet sensitive. My favorite hero in my books is Ambiorix, the Roman/Celt warrior who falls in love with a faery woman. He has an arrogant side to him, which I think most men do, but he is also befuddled by women and their mysterious ways. I think that is an endearing quality about him. He is also a conflicted character who doesn't always make the right decisions.

One of my favorite fiction heroes is Lancelot, who I had the opportunity to re-create in my latest book, White Rose of Avalon. I think he is one of the most misunderstood heroes in fiction. He is usually portrayed as the bad guy for betraying King Arthur, but I think there is more to that story so I gave him a voice so that maybe readers can understand him more. Despite his flaws, there are many heroic qualities about Lancelot. Everyone has flaws and I feel that the best developed heroes do have flaws.

What kind of heroes do you like?

Dealing with last minute publisher requests

It seems I spoke too soon when I said I was done with editing White Rose of Avalon. After sending the finished ms into the publisher I was told that they do not publish novellas. What? I was freaking out because it had been accepted for publishing. Anyway, it was a misunderstanding of some sort so I had to add at least 20,000 words to my 'finished' ms. Once I calmed down and gave it some thought, it was pretty easy to do. For the last two weeks that was all I worked on because I wanted to get it back to the publisher so we could stay on schedule for the release date. I ended up adding 25,000 words. The story was good before, but it is even better now with added depth to the plot. I am very pleased with how the story has turned out and glad that the publisher made this request.

Having to expand my ms in a short time period was a great learning experience for me. I am sure this is not the last time that a publisher will make a request like that and I am more prepared for it now. How do other writers deal with these last minute requests?

I was literally working every second I could to get the story done. I even kept a pen and notebook near my bed because ideas and pieces of dialog would come to me in the middle of the night. I would also be writing things down as I was making dinner or even watching t.v. Thoughts would come out of nowhere. These characters were inside my head the whole time. Is that crazy? It was exhausting. That is what happens when I am deep into my work. Now I can take a moment to relax before diving into a new story that I had begun prior to all this.

Now another set of characters will live in my head for a while. This is so much fun.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Creating Villains

This is something that can be quite tricky for writers. For me, I like to create characters that are not pure evil. I want readers to feel for my villains so I try to give them redeeming qualities.

For instance, in my latest story, White Rose of Avalon, Morgaine may be seen by some readers as the villain of the story, but she isn't evil. She is desperate to save something that she believes in and she makes some decisions that sadly backfire on her.

In fact, I don't like to create any characters that are black and white. The hero and heroine of my Celtic Mythology series are conflicted in many ways. Nemu has a dark past that she has fought to overcome. Ambiorix deals with the consequences of acting on revenge. I think flaws in a character make them more real to readers. In real life, no one is perfect. We all have a dark side.

Is there such a thing as pure evil? Or do certain circumstances make us act on our dark side? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself when I am creating a villain or a dark character.

I think a great example of this on television is the show Lost. Most of the characters on there have a dark past, but you can't help feeling sorry for them and liking them. I think that is what I like most about that show. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was another television series that dealt with a lot of conflict with the characters, thinning the line between good and evil.

There is nothing more exciting to me then a character with a dark past.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Editing for White Rose of Avalon is finally done!

Finally, after trying to edit while dealing with three barking dogs that demanded my attention, I have finished the editing for White Rose of Avalon. Yeah!

I am very pleased with this story and it is generating a lot of interest on some of the writer-related Yahoo groups I belong to. It seems that a lot of readers are interested in Arthurian inspired stories. I believe that mine is a unique take on a timeless tale. My bookshelves are filled with books on King Arthur and the legend has been told very well by some authors. I didn't want to just write what they had already done so well so I decided to focus just on the love triangle and I wrote the story from the point of views of Lancelot and Morgaine, Queen of the Faeries. All of the books I read were about Arthur or Merlin so I wanted to do something different. Lancelot has always been the most intriguing character of the legends and the least understood. Morgaine is also a character that lives in the shadows. I have brought them to light in my book, White Rose of Avalon.

This has got me to thinking that I may spin a new tale on some other old legends. I haven't decided which ones yet, but my mind is working on some ideas.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Editing sucks

I am on my 5th revision of my White Rose of Avalon story. I keep finding things to change. It is driving me crazy! Every time I read through it thinking it will be the final time and I find something else. To most people, the changes probably would seem minor, but I am so anal about everything that I can't control myself. Do all writers have to make numerous changes or am I doing something wrong? There is so much to think about when I am editing that I can only focus on certain things each time. I have a raging headache now from reading this ms over and over again. Editing has to be the worst part about writing.

I hope this is the final revision. This is taking way too long. It's time to move on to other stories I am working on.

The good news is I am very pleased with how this story turned out. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Author Party at Novelspotters

Hi all,

I am working hard to promote my book to online groups. On Tuesday, August 15th, I will be hosting an author party at Novelspotters from 2-6 pm EST. There will be contests and prizes. To join the fun, all you have to do is join the group. It's that easy. Hope to see you there.

Promoting online is the best way for me to promote because I don't have to leave my house. There are many Yahoo groups that cater to authors. I enjoy doing book signings every once in a while, but it costs money to travel. It is nice to meet readers face to face though so I will continue to do them. In fact, I will be doing more Celtic fairs in the future, which I really enjoy doing. Those men in kilts are an awesome sight to see!

It is a neverending journey to promote my books. I do my best to make it as fun as possible for myself and for readers.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tasteful sex scenes

What does this mean? Tasteful sex scenes. Is there such a thing? My novella, WHITE ROSE OF AVALON, was originally supposed to be erotic, but now I need to tone down the sex scenes. I still want it to be sensual, but it can't be as explicit as it was because I changed publishers. This is tricky because what offends one person may not be that bad to another person. The first changes I made were to the terms referring to certain body parts. Some terms are more offensive than others. I don't mind toning downs some of the scenes, but I still want it to be hot because I have never read a sensual version of the Arthurian Romances and I thought it would be cool to write a sensual version. The story is still strong without the sex scenes, but they do add some spice. I don't want the final version to end up being too 'vanilla.'

How many more ways can you describe the female genitalia? My sister has been a huge help with this. I don't know what I would do without her input.

Anyway, this is much more difficult than I thought it would be. It will take me a few times to get this right. Are there guidelines on tasteful sex scenes? Anyone?

Celtic Festival in Flagstaff, AZ

I just got back from attending the Celtic Festival in Flagstaff, AZ. It was a wonderful experience. I did a book signing in the Hastings booth on Sunday and I made some contacts that could be helpful to me in the future.

Flagstaff is beautiful this time of year with temperatures in the 80's. It was much nicer than the 120 degree temperatures we left behind in Lake Havasu! Surrounded by mountains and tall pine trees, I felt at home there. I enjoyed watching the men in kilts wandering around the festival. I am trying to talk my husband into buying a kilt.

The trip to Flagstaff was an enlightening experience for me. I found out that my paternal grandmother's maiden name, Murray, is a Scottish clan descended from the ancient Picts. The Picts were one of the founding races of the British Isles and were believed to arrive in Scotland about the 5th century B.C. There are many legends surrounding the Picts and controversy about where they originated from before they arrived in Scotland. Some scholars believe they are descended from the Scythians or the Basques of Spain. In some myths, the Picts are believed to be the 'faery folk' of the Sidhe. I was very excited to learn that I have Pictish blood surging through my veins. Long before I was aware of this, I was intrigued by the Picts and the many mysteries surrounding them. Maybe this explains why I am enamored of mist-filled glens, fierce warriors and tales of the Fae, all of which appear in my books. This also explains my fetish with wooden chests and keepsake boxes. The Picts had wooden chests called kists that they kept their belongings and keepsakes in. These boxes were sacred to them. I must have at least twenty boxes and chests of varying sizes around my house.

I hope to attend more festivals like this one in the future.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Inspiration hits me!

The writing funk I was in the other day is over. I had given up on the story I was working on for that day and turned off my computer to give my brain a rest. Well, I thought of some ideas while brushing my teeth later that evening. Ideas come to me in the strangest places. Today, I thought of something while vegging out watching t.v.

I guess sometimes it is better to just put the story down for a while. Anyway, that works for me.

Here is a new word I learned: 'mouse potato,' a person who spends a lot of time at the computer. That's me!

I am off to the Celtic Festival in Flagstaff, AZ where I will be doing a book signing in the Hastings booth. Looking forward to cooler temps. It is supposed to be 122 where I live. Ouch!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Writing Funk

I am in a writing funk right now. I know it will pass so I won't let it freak me out. Do other writers have 'writing funks?'

Creative work cannot be forced. It flows when it wants to. That is something I have learned to deal with. Sometimes my funks have to do with certain times of the month. I am sure other female writers can relate to that. I just can't think today! Aggg!

So, instead I am bitching about it here. Maybe that will get the 'flow' started again.

I am working on two projects at once and that might have something to do with it. While I am researching one novel, I am writing another one that doesn't require a lot of research. Sometimes the research part fries my brain so to give it a rest, I work on another story. I know other writers are able to work on multiple stories at the same time. How do they do it? I think I am just tired today. It is better to put the story down and come back to it. Otherwise I just get frustrated.

Anyway, if anyone has any useful tips on how to get out of a writing funk, I am listening. Maybe a nap would help. I even tried music, which usually works. Not today.

Oh well. Happy writing! At least someone out there is having a happy time at it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My third book

Hi all,

I am busy doing research for my third book, which is a prequel to OF WATER AND DRAGONS and RAVEN WOLF. This book is untitled at the moment, but will be filled with Greek and Celtic mythology and faery lore. The main setting for this novel will be Minoan/Mycenaean Crete. I have come across many writings by ancient Greek writers, but my favorite is Hesiod. I like him because he sympathized with the followers of the lost Goddess religion, which is a main focus of this story.

I am reading all the old classic Greek novels--the first one being the Iliad. I am exited to read this because I love ancient history, but most of my research has been on Celtic mythology and I hadn't had the chance to read any Greek classics yet. Most authors do not like to do research, but I love it. Learning about ancient cultures is intriguing to me and I don't mind putting the extra effort in to do the research.

One interesting bit of information I came across while reading THE CHALICE AND THE BLADE was that there were female Greek writers--only they aren't mentioned much at all in the history books. And most of the classical myths are written by men who suppress anything positive about the female deity, which makes me wonder if these classic myths are truthful. In my research, I found many discrepancies between the pre-Hellenic myths and the Olympian myths. This peeked my interest and gave me great ideas for my story. I will mix history, mythology and fantasy to create an exciting story, but of course I will use creative license to create the kind of characters I think will be interesting. I have already started to outline this story and I am very excited about it. I hope readers will like it as well.

Stay tuned!