Title: Beltaine’s Song, Book Two: Dark Goddess Trilogy
Release Date: 11/11/10
Author: Kelley Heckart
Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing
Genre: Celtic historical romance/Paranormal fantasy
For each of them, spring's song has a different meaning.
Now king and queen of the powerful kingdom of Dal Riata, Aedan and Domelch have more than just Cailleach's wrath to contend with. Aedan struggles with being a king and being a husband. Domelch struggles with her beliefs, trying to be the Christian woman Aedan wed, but her heart still thrums with the voices of old gods. They must battle earthly foes—enemy kings and traitorous allies. For the first time, the arrival of spring heralds the sound of a harsh battle horn as their foes close in. Through all this turmoil, can their love survive?
Gartnait, the first-born son of Aedan and Domelch, has lived in secrecy most of his young life to escape Cailleach's wrath. Fostered in Fortriu, he has earned his first mark of manhood and on his way to becoming a formidable warrior. He grapples with the awakening of his true destiny and the meaning of the appearance of a beautiful maiden in spring only he can see. Does she mean to harm him? For him, spring brings with it the promise of new love and the thrilling sound of the battle horn, putting those he cares about in danger.
Hi Kelley, I'm so thrilled to have you here! Your book, Beltaine's Song, came out November 11, 2010. Tell me a little about it.
Hi Rie, Thank you for having me as a guest at Author Offerings.
Beltaine’s Song is the second book in my Dark Goddess Trilogy. Beltaine is a Celtic celebration that occurs on May 1 and coincides with spring. In my trilogy, Beltaine is associated with the myth I used that revolves around the changing seasons of spring and winter (and two goddesses). I had a theme throughout this book that even though spring is a happy time, it also has a darker side—the ancient clans battled in the warmer months of spring and summer. This is a huge part of my main characters’ lives and their struggles against earthly and unearthly foes while trying to stay together.
I loved Cat's Curse, the first book in this series. How many more books can we expect?
Thank you. I really appreciate that. There is one more book titled Winter’s Requiem that will be out sometime in 2011 by Awe-Struck.
What inspired you to write a series, and did you in fact begin with a series in mind, or did it happen on its own?
No, I didn’t plan to write a series. While I was doing research on the Picts, I came across a sixth century Irish warlord named Aedan mac Gabrain with a shadowy past. This inspired me and I came up with an idea for a trilogy. But, I will confess that I didn’t have everything prepared when I started the first book and contracted it. Thankfully, the other two books came together, but not before some hair pulling on my part.
Who is your cover artist and how much input do you have in the design?
The cover artist is Skye Wolf. For print, the other books have similar designs so they look like a series.
I did fill out the information for the cover artist and said what I wanted and didn’t want on my cover.
If you could co-author a book with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I’m not sure I could co-author a book with anyone. I like working by myself too much. If I had to pick someone, I would pick Ann Rice. She is really good at depicting historical time periods and she was the first to write the ‘erotic’ vampire.
What books are in your TBR pile?
The Lance Thrower by Jack Whyte—the 8th book in his Camulod series.
The Golden Bough by James Frazer—I started it and want to get it finished.
I just finished your story—A Winter’s Night and enjoyed it very much—want to know what happens next in Volume II.
I’m re-reading Women in Celtic Myth by Moyra Caldecott
*Blushes* Thank you, Kelley, that's sweet of you to say. When you begin a new book, do you write it straight through, or do you work on more than one story at a time?
I like to work on one book at a time so I can get it finished. If I work on more than one book at a time, I feel like I’m not getting anything done.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on another historical paranormal romance with a Saxon princess and a Pict druid. Neither of them are what they appear to be. I want to do something a little different with the werewolf myth. I’m setting this story in the 5th century. I have a whole back story on the hero that may require another book so this may turn into a series even though I swore I would never do another series because it’s too hard to keep everything consistent. I’m just whining.
That's okay, I used to be a counselor, I can take it! Christmas is just around the corner. How do you celebrate?
I celebrate Christmas with my family and the pagan Yule privately. I love Christmas trees so I will be putting up my little tree. Unpacking my ornaments is fun—there are so many memories attached to them.
Favorite Christmas treat?
Anything with chocolate in it.
If Santa could bring you anything you want, what would it be?
I want the new Kindle e-reader.
Lights or candles?
Candles. I love the way candle light wavers and glows—it’s otherworldly.
Who is your favorite reindeer?
I’m trying to remember all of their names. I got it—Prancer. I love the Christmas movie called Prancer with Sam Elliot. He is so hot and seems to get hotter the older he gets.
I have to agree with you on that one, I love Sam Elliott. Ever been to the North Pole?
I think so but I don’t remember how I got there. When I was a teenager, I think the elves abducted me because I was a bad girl. I was good after that.
Great answer. I threw that one in there because here in Oklahoma we have a little town called The North Pole! What are your plans for New Year's Eve?
I will probably be sleeping by midnight. I’m not the party animal I used to be. At least now I remember New Year’s Eve.
Champagne at midnight?
No champagne. Maybe some warm milk. With a little chocolate.
Who will you kiss?
My dog. Or my husband if he is in bed with me.
Thank you for joining me, Kelley. If I twist your arm would you give us a little teaser to read?
Sure. Here is an excerpt. Thanks for having me, Rie.
Excerpt from Beltaine’s Song:
King Galan and King Morcant, along with their advisors, listened intently as Aedan told them the news of King Conall's death. Domelch sat next to him, feeling relaxed.
“I need to know for certain that both of ye will support me in fighting for the kingship of Dal Riata.” Aedan's expression grew serious. He carefully watched each king, his gaze unyielding.
Galan met Aedan’s unwavering stare. “I am with you. I have waited for this moment to finally move against Bridei.”
Galan's warrior marks flickered in the lamplight, marking his many battles and kills, a reminder to Domelch of his great experience as a Priteni warrior.
“As am I. I see many advantages to aligning myself with the king of Dal Riata.” Morcant smiled, his fox-like face looking keen in the lamplight.
“I must request that your advisors leave the room before we continue,” Domelch said, looking at the two monks who appeared stunned by her request.
“This is most unreasonable,” sputtered Talgorm, Galan's advisor.
“I agree.” Morcant's advisor glowered at her.
Galan held up his hand, putting a halt to their protests.
Morcant looked bemused by it all. “I have to say I am quite curious as to what must be so secretive that our advisors have to leave.”
“Is it necessary that they leave?” Galan looked at her with a questioning expression, a reddish brow arched.
“If Galan has no protest to this, I will allow it.” Morcant turned his attention to Galan, folding his hands in front of him on the table.
“Talgorm, wait for me outside,” Galan requested.
The two monks left, grumbling and giving her dark looks.
“Well, please do not delay. I am most eager to hear this,” Morcant said, his face filled with curiosity.
“For this alliance to work, it will require an oath of fealty, a blood oath,” Domelch stated. “This is not Aedan's doing. I am the one who requires it.”
“An oath of fealty I can well understand, but a blood oath? You do not trust your own brother?” Galan's pale green eyes flashed with amusement.
Galan looked taken aback. “Dear sister, have I ever given you cause to distrust me?”
“Dear brother, I know of your impulsive nature. Besides, a blood oath will also ensure that Aedan keeps his word. We all have much to gain here. If we are to become an invincible power, we need to work together and have absolute trust. The ancient blood oath will ensure that trust on all sides.”
Morcant looked on with a mixture of amusement and admiration. “An ancient blood oath. Most clever indeed.” He looked at her with admiring eyes, glancing at the other two kings, pondering his answer. “I will take the blood oath.”
Galan groaned, giving his sister a wounded look. “As will I.”
Galan's wounded expression recalled memories within Domelch of when they were lovers back when she was Cardea and she rejected him for Aedan. Having those memories sometimes confused her as to who she was now. Only Galan could arouse the demon within her and now she would be seeing more of him.
The feeling unsettled her but she shook it off, producing a dagger and motioned for a servant to bring the cup of mead. One by one, the three kings held out their hands. Domelch sliced their palms with the whetted blade, dripping dark red droplets into the golden mead, swirling like a maelstrom of blood and fire. She spoke words in Latin, waving her hand over the cup. The scent of human blood, sweet and intoxicating, filled her senses. Like a haunting melody, it weaved its spell into her soul, filling her veins with a hunger. She stiffened, terrified by her dark thoughts, thinking that part of her long dead.
Solemn-faced, each king took a drink of the crimson-laced drink, saying, “I vow complete fealty to my blood brothers as long as I shall live.”
Quiet descended on the hall, the shadows retreating to the far corners. She thought she heard the ancients whispering, their presence filling the hall. A ripple of dark wings stirred the fire, sending a chill breeze against her cheek. Their cold talons stirred the fire, raising and lowering the flames as if in acknowledgement of the ancient blood oath. It was not an oath to be taken lightly. If broken, the penalty was death.
To read another excerpt: http://kelleyheckart.com/BeltainesSong.html
'Ms. Heckart draws the reader into the pages and enchants them with her words.'
Karen McGill, Coffee Time Romance
'Timeless tales of romance, conflict & magic'
Other books by Kelley Heckart: