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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Twilight Thursday

Welcome Author
Kelly Heckart

Kelly Heckart

June Holidays/Special Days: 1st – Atlantic Hurricane Season; 5th – World Environment Day; 14th – Flag Day; 19th – Juneteenth Day (Freedom/Emancipation Day); 20th – Father’s Day, 21st – Summer Solstice; 24th – St. Baptiste Day; 27th – Helen Keller Day;

GRACEN: When you stop to consider trends and traditions, June marks a time of beginnings (marriages, commencements). What about you, any weddings, anniversaries or graduations to attend this month?

KELLY: Hi Gracen, thanks for having me as a guest on your blog. No, I have nothing planned for June that involves romantic unions, celebrations or graduations of any kind. No new beginnings for me, I guess. It's just the same old stuff. I did just start a new job as an editor for an e-pub. I guess that counts as a new beginning. Not as fun, though, as a wedding or other celebration. Oh, well.

GRACEN: While April 22nd marks Earth Day, June 5th is World Environment Day. What will you do to celebrate our environment?

KELLY: I am aware of Earth Day but World Environment Day is new to me. I always appreciate my environment so I celebrate every day. We have the most beautiful lake and mountains here and I hope they stay that way.

GRACEN: Speaking of the environment, do you strive to be more energy efficient or more environmentally conscious? How you accomplish this goal?

KELLY: I am more aware of being energy efficient now, probably because it's so expensive. We use the light bulbs that last longer and use less energy, and we recycle our aluminum cans.

GRACEN: What traits make the men in your life good father figures? Will you do anything special to celebrate these men? If so, what will it be?

KELLY: My father has always been there when I needed him. He's been a great dad. We always have a family gathering to celebrate Father's Day.

GRACEN: While the summer solstice occurs on June 21st, warmer weather usually arrives earlier than that, encouraging people to get out and enjoy the weather. What activities do you usually start in June?

KELLY: Well, June here in the desert is the time to either stay inside the air-conditioned house or submerge yourself in a pool or the lake. June is when we start to have 100 plus degree weather. We Desert Rats get outside and enjoy the nice weather in the winter or spring—not summer.

GRACEN: While people generally clean in spring, they need to do something with all the stuff they find they do not need. If it isn’t given away or donated, many people have rummage or estate sales. What about you, do you like to hit the rummage sales on a nice warm morning? Do you go alone or with someone else? Is it a family tradition?

KELLY: I'm the one that needs to have a garage sale. My husband is afraid I'm going to turn into a hoarder and made me watch the television special about hoarders. The show kind of freaked me out because it said that potential hoarders have OCD and bad social skills. When this was mentioned in the show, my husband and I looked at each other and laughed because I do have a little bit of OCD and I spend most of my time by myself writing. I don't have that much stuff, really, but I could get rid of a lot of stuff I haven't used in years. I'm thinking after seeing that special, maybe cleaning out my stuff is a good idea.

GRACEN: In many areas, private community schools tend to schedule festivals and bazaars as fundraisers throughout the summer. What about your area? What kind of festivals and bazaars can be found and when will they occur? Do you make appearances at them, or do you avoid them? If so, why?

KELLY: We do have festivals like the Winter Fest, but in the summer, this town is all about boating and the lake—it's all bikinis and beer. I have attended some Celtic festivals in the past in the fall and spring in California and Tucson, AZ.

GRACEN: The weather in June seems to be a great mix in almost every state, and most people tend to plan vacations in June. What about you, are you a June traveler? If so, where will you be going? If not, when do you prefer to travel and why? Where have you gone or will you be going this year?

KELLY: June is the perfect time to get away from here and the summer heat. We don't have anything planned, but sometimes we go to Flagstaff, AZ for the weekend. It's beautiful and much cooler up there in the mountains.

GRACEN: We’ve had our fun now, so let’s put the focus on your writing. While there are many genres to choose from, what specifically brought you to romance? Why this genre over the others?

KELLY: I started writing romance because it's the most popular genre with readers. Once I started writing it, I realized that I liked it because romance is an important part of life and makes for a lot of angst and conflict in stories. To make my romances more appealing to me as a writer (and hopefully appealing to readers), I cross over into paranormal, historical and fantasy.

GRACEN: Even though the popularity of the romance genre continues to grow, it’s still not always a highly respected genre. What, in your opinion, is the reason for the continued interest in the genre and for the lack of respect it receives?

KELLY: I think some critics feel that romance is all fluff and no substance. This is true of some romance books, but not all. Women continue to read romance because they are drawn to that happily ever after ending that doesn't exist in real life. Romance is an escape from the harsh realities of our complicated lives.

GRACEN: Earlier, we asked about what traits make the men in your life good father figures. Now, we want to know, have any of these men, or their traits, been inspiration for characters in your stories? If so, which men, what characters and/or traits and why?

KELLY: The heroes in my stories tend to be ancient/medieval warriors so they aren't based on any one I know, but they do have some of the traits from men I have known or still know. The majority of my heroes are based on literary warriors like King Arthur, warriors in the Iliad or warriors from Irish myths.

GRACEN: For a writer, inspiration can be found everywhere and in almost anyone, but sometimes specific people, places and events can inspire certain characters, personality traits, events or situations that happen in our stories. In your current story that we’re promoting here today, Cat's Curse, did any one particular person, place or event inspire you? If so who/what was it (were they), how did it/they inspire you and how is this inspiration reflected in your story?

KELLY: The hero in Cat's Curse is based on an actual sixth century Irish warlord who was known as one of the most feared king's of his time. I came across him while researching the Picts. He is mentioned in a book called In Search of the Picts as having a shadowy past and may have fathered a king of the Picts. This intrigued me and I decided to make him my hero and imagined what kind of woman would win his heart. He was called 'Aedan, the Treacherous' in the Welsh poems. This posed a challenge for me because somehow I had to turn this fearsome warlord into a likable hero. After giving it some thought, I realized that his enemies would say negative things about him, and to the outside world, he would have to be tough to be a successful king in that time period, but in private to the woman he loves, he would show a more tender side.

GRACEN: Without giving away anything pertinent to the story, tell us about the hero and heroine (s) of your story. What do they look like? How do they meet (or “did” if this is not the first book with these same characters)? What are their personalities – Are they comical cut-ups, are they serious or are they a mix of the two? Please give us a little bit of dialogue from the story that can illustrate this. (Not much, but just a few lines and from a different section than the main excerpt – Thanks!)

KELLY: In Cat's Curse, my hero (Aedan) is a tall, strapping Celtic prince and living in exile deep in the highland forest. My heroine (Cardea) is a petite woman with raven black hair and blue-green eyes. She is an ancient Greek vampire who can't remember how she arrived on Alba (Scotland). They meet when Aedan is trying to light a fire. She is compelled to help him even though his attitude is arrogant toward her. I will post that excerpt, but here is some dialog showing that she is a bit bold while he can be kind of grumpy.

Aedan hurried out of the water and froze at the sound of female laughter echoing in the clearing. He looked down and his clothes were still three steps away from him.
“It is a bit cold, is it not?” The lass he'd met last night flashed him a wicked smile, staring boldly at him. She stood a few feet away in the shadow of the great trees.
“Have ye nae shame, lass?” ‘God’s teeth, she is a beauty,’ he thought, blushing.
“No, I suppose not.” She turned away as he dressed.
“What do ye want now?” he muttered, yanking his clothes on.
“Are you always in such a foul mood?”
“Only when a woman dares to laugh at me,” he scowled at her back.

GRACEN: The main characters are usually great, but sometimes, secondary and tertiary characters are known to steal the scenes, even if the author did not intend this to happen. Who are the secondary/tertiary characters in your story and what do they look like? What’s unique about them? What is their relationship to the hero/heroine? Have any of these characters gone on to become scene-stealers? If so, who and how did they do it? Is there the possibility for them to get their own story? (Again, please give us a small bit of dialogue to illustrate this – thanks!)

KELLY: There is a character in Cat's Curse that I really took a liking to the more I wrote about him and thought he could steal the scenes. His name is Galan (he is based on an actual Pict king). Galan is Aedan's nemesis and complete opposite in looks and personality. While Aedan is tall and strapping, Galan is tall and lean like a wildcat. A Pict, he is covered in tattoos and has the exotic looks of a wildcat. I found myself taken with his dangerous looks and unpredictability. He is also in Beltaine's Song, which is the second book of my Dark Goddess trilogy (available soon from Awe-Struck), and plays an important part in the plot. Here is some dialog to show how adventurous he is:

Galan came to her drying her with a soft cloth. “Your skin is so soft,” he whispered. He pulled her into his arms. “Will you bite me again?”
“Do you want me to, my lord?” She touched the healed puncture marks on his neck. “I did not kill you.”
“I know that if you wanted to kill me, they would be burying me right now.” He gazed at her with a glimmer of affection and trust. “The biting…it was a strange feeling, almost pleasurable.”

Cat's CurseBLURB:
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?
Available in ebook formats on Cat's Curse will be available on Kindle and soon.

Cat's Curse is my latest release from Awe-Struck. My book page at Awe-Struck

The man started at her sudden words, turning toward her with the sword blade stopping just before the blade cut into Cardea's neck, the coldness of the iron striking a shudder in her. That was the second time in one night she almost lost her head to his sword blade.

“Why are ye following me?” Irritation filled his voice.

“You look like you need some help starting that fire.”

“I do not need yer help.” He stared at her. His brows knitted together, his eyes scrutinizing her. “A good Christian lass would not be out here all alone in the forest at night,” he remarked with a sneer.

Cardea’s mocking laughter filled the air.

“Do I amuse ye?” He peered at her, eyes narrowed in annoyance.

She found her courage again. “You presume much of me, but what about you? I can only imagine what dreadful act you committed to be banished into these dark-winged woods. Though I can assume your misdeeds had nothing to do with fire,” she smirked, crossing her arms and planting her feet firm to the ground.

“Ye lass, are a rude minion of the Devil himself.” His handsome face rippled with indignation.

“That I may be indeed.” She stared hard at him. His ranting recalled images of the hated Levite priests. A shudder tore through her body and rage fumed inside of her, threatening to rise. She flirted with the temptation to rip his neck open and drink him dry. No one would find his rotting corpse out this far in the forest. The beasts would clean the bones of all flesh. She did not understand why she held back, but her hesitation had something to do with the odd way this man stirred her senses.

He turned around and strode with great arrogance back to his fire pit, striking the blade with the flint rock in angry thrusts. After watching him for a few moments, she approached him.

“Do ye have more insults for me?”

“No. I just cannot stand to watch you make a mockery of fire starting.”

“I can start the fire,” he insisted, turning back to the fire pit.

She watched him struggle again with the stone and blade, trying not to laugh.

“Please, allow me to assist you. It is much too cold tonight to be without a warm fire.” She did not understand why she felt compelled to help him and reached for the dagger she carried on her belt. His cold blade touched her throat before she could blink. Three times now his blade touched her throat and she wondered if it were a portent. “I need my dagger to start your fire.”

He eyed her with suspicion, but withdrew his blade from her throat.

“Ye live alone?” he asked, giving her room to start the fire, but he did not sheath his sword.

“Yes.” She noticed how he bit back a derisive retort.

Cardea held the stone with the sharp edge facing the blade and struck the blade in one swift movement. A spark shot out and the dry peat began to smolder. She struck the blade one more time and a flame rose from the peat, sending out warmth.

“You have to strike the blade in one swift movement with the stone to create a spark. Rubbing it like you were doing only wears the stone down. And it is best to strike the blade with the sharpest edge of the stone.”

“I have a capable pair of eyes. I saw how ye did it.” The bitter tone of his voice revealed his irritation toward her.

“I did not intend to offend you.”

“Good night to ye.” He waited for her to leave the fire before sheathing his sword. Keeping his eyes on her, he stoked the flames.

She stepped toward him and he jumped up, moving away from her. “Do not touch me.” His eyes turned an angry shade of dark blue and an aura of torment surrounded him. “I wish to be left alone.”

Cardea bristled at his surliness, thinking him to be the most arrogant man she'd ever met. “I will take my leave of you now, but you are in my territory so I imagine we will see one another again whether you approve of it or not.” Fuming, she stomped away before he could respond to her announcement. She had even lost the desire to drink his blood. His behavior puzzled her for no man could resist her legendary beauty and charms, but she had noticed a small glimmer of desire in his eyes, leaving her awash in bittersweet feelings.

She wondered why she could not touch him and why he was filled with so much torment and rage. Such a man excited her because of the mystery shrouding his spirit. For once in her long life, she stayed away from a choice bite. Cardea crept through the forest, hunting, but could not take her mind off of the strange, handsome man.

Also look for:
Beltaine's Song

Here are some other places to find Kelly:
'Timeless tales of romance, conflict & magic'
Kelley's book page at Awe-Struck

Posted for Gracen....

2 Moonbeams (comments):

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly! NOT much cooler here in Prescott either. I think AZ is in for a HOT summer!

Anyhoo! Enjoyed reading your post; your book sounds great!

Wishing you LOTS of Sales!

hugs, Kari Thomas,

Kelley Heckart said...

Hi Kari,

I like Prescott. Was there a few years back for an art festival. It is also close to my favorite place--Sedona.

It's already near 100 here today.

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. Stay cool!