Friday, February 27, 2009
Today's guest is author Skyhe Moncrief. Hi, Skhye and thanks for agreeing to be with us today! One of the things that always fascinates me is where authors get their ideas. Where did you get the idea for the Time Guardians?
I was reading a piece of science fiction written by the daughter of one of North America’s greatest anthropologists. Something triggered my thoughts of the Celts in the future. The story world of a culture discovering a time-travel mechanism, adapting to the cons dealing with time travel, and two cults evolving from the need to protect humanity against the ugly side of human nature quickly consumed my reality.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I was a strange child. I wrote things when I was young. Although, my family thought I’d be some kind of teacher-scientist because I also took notes from documentaries… I wrote in high school. But that was an outgrowth of our weekly journaling requirement. So, let’s just say I have no idea.
How long did you write before you got published?
I think I started writing novels in 2001. I got my first publishing contract for HE OF THE FIERY SWORD in 2007.
What is your favorite scene from He of the Fiery Sword?
I still get chills reading the opening. It’s always sad when I meet the dragon and learn of his woes. Here's the opening:
When the past is born of the future, when the future is born in the past, there are no coincidences. There is only purpose.
~ High Priestess Nayli, 3033 A.D., planet Scotia Major
Planet Scotia Major
There were only three.
A reflection of luck. An abomination. He was one of them. The nameless, known as The One. And he could feel the love, the hate, the sorrow, and the joy of all the ages.
Sadness choked his heart, boiling his thoughts until he struggled against the fresh-smelling rushes the priestesses had spread for him beneath the stars.
Dogmatic loneliness always tried to smother him after nightfall. He clutched his chest, squeezing at the nidium scales until his paw went numb.
Alone, he was powerful. With his sisters, he was indestructible. But both siblings had gone before him, hurling themselves into the tall stones in hopes the Gods would take pity upon them. And both were lost.
His eyes brimmed with anguish, smearing the darkness of night.
But he could still see his past. His sister’s doleful eyes had mirrored the knowledge of the ages, reached out to him in The Knowing, comforted him when the pain was so excruciating he howled to the Gods with a plea for death.
But he was alone now. His purpose fading.
The dragon triad had vowed to rise above their fellow humanity, unite to hold the line, defend time and history because the vileness of human nature spurred their creation in a corrupted dream to change the past by altering the timeline. Yet, no matter how hard his sisters tried, they could never fly fast enough to escape humanity’s emotions.
And, now, the triad was broken. With it, luck had withered.
The Brotherhood’s High Grand Master had implored him to hold onto what was left of his courage for he was male and females were prone to weakness. But the Grand Master was wrong. No human born in true form could comprehend a dragon’s thoughts. The changes to the human genetic code only magnified his dragon senses. What led to a smile for a lad was overwhelmingly rapturous to his kin. Therein lay the intolerable pain that drove his sisters’ laments.
A male dragon couldn’t control his own greeting with the echoing howls of all human emotion from every point in time haunting his overly-perceptive mind.
Yet, he hadn’t relinquished his human grasp on hope. He clutched hope like a sparkling star, praying for the ability to activate the stone circle. To do something to make a difference. No other option would end his sorrow for those valiant men and women who had gone before him. For all of those servants of humanity lost to time.
Tears warmed his eyes, smearing his view of the glistening stars in the Dagda’s battle-club constellation.
How could he remain here and relive the same agony night after night? So blessed many time guardians who had sacrificed their lives in studying the past and searching for Truth were lost in duty, imprisoned in time, marooned across the Universe on a planet he had never seen. Breaking his sacred oath of protecting the timeline meant little in the sacrifices of those lost ones to study the past. He could do something. Try to turn back the hands of time. Possibly prevent his creation. Relinquish his life’s breath so he wouldn’t experience the anguish of lost time guardians. He blinked away the smeared heavens and focused on the twelve stars forming the Dagda’s club.
The scepter of the Gaelic father. The father could damn him. Or save him. “I pray to you, Father, for strength and forgiveness. If you cannot assist in my passage through time and space, I only beg for a quick death. My time stagnates here. Surely you can feel this as your arms stretch out the night’s black cloak to embrace all your sons and daughters.” True purpose never felt so near. Shifting his paw against the cool rushes, he stared down through the shadows at the five curled claws upon his forepaw.
A day never passed when he hadn’t imagined what emotions he would feel if he saw the fingers of a man, a weaker creature who rarely made a decision without hurting his kindred with a hard fist. Now planning to do the impossible, was he any different? Was his plan so selfish? His wings, his claws, his impenetrable fireproof scales, his unnatural ability to share the fire in his heart with a snort, all his remarkably horrific features would be used to save the countless souls of time-traveling Gaels. For naught more than a selfish whim. No. Not selfish. Selfless. An act bards would praise for all eternity.
Honor swelled inside his heart.
Hope played a wicked game with those who fell to its ploy. Yet, he was one now, and the shackles of loneliness were too hard for an immortal creature to wear. Perhaps he already donned a cloak like the Dagda. No. A dragon’s mantle demanded justice. More so, personal sacrifice. The time had come for him to judge himself instead of mundane human bickerings.
His gaze trailed along the moonlight-carved walls of the Ring-Master Keep, over the blackened pointed treetops on the horizon, to the clear night sky. Were the Gods, Goddesses, and Spirit listening? “By the God-dess-Spirit, I shall seek out those lost in time and see them to safety. Not one Brother or Sister shall be lost on my watch as long as this dragon draws breath.”
The nagging whisper of gooseflesh tickled beneath his scales.
Portentous emotion. How dare fear rear its shameless face? He pounded a fist against the hard surface of planet Scotia Major.
A dull pain flowed through his paw.
Pain for Truth. Truth dwelled in his future. Pushing up into the gentle night breeze, he drew in a deep cool breath of crisp air.
Now, he must go, before the priestesses awoke with the dawn. How could a dragon attempt the impossible with brimful Druid-blue eyes beseeching he cling to their dreary hope yet another day? He strode between the low circular wooden windbreak of a fence sheltering his paddock’s bedding.
Rushes whispered beneath his paws.
Hopefully, the grass knew of his purpose and bade him well. He cleared the gateway, hopped into a trot, and grabbed still air with his wings.
Cool wind kissed his taut skin with lover’s hands.
Hands he had only ever dreamed of. The stone circle would propel him back in time or end the unending madness of a celibate creature’s suffering. He pulled himself toward the Gods’ stars.
The Druids said constellations were different on planet Earth. No Dagda or Cerridwyn watched from the heavens. Most a pity. He would miss the only father he knew. And Cerridwyn’s constant reminder to welcome experience. He looked back to a Scotia Major’s dappled-but-moonlit surface.
The stone circle had shrunken to wee bits of rock glowing faintly in the moonlight like a small mouth.
The Stones of Destiny. Rather, the omnipontent jaws of Fate. But how would he activate the time machine? His sisters had flown so fast they created a whirlwind. Was the force enough to free him of this time? Or, at least, his immortal breath? He thrashed the wind with his larger male wings, raced through the thick air in an infinity pattern, and circled in upon himself in an eternal knot of damnation.
What would unwind the quarrels of his Gaels with his absence? Perhaps he was wrong. Or frightened. Only legends could save him now. “Fafnir, Grendel, Ddraig Goch, Wyvern, Draco, Amphisbaena, Worm. Brothers and Sisters of legend, see me strong. See me fast. See me through the Stones of Destiny.” He lunged toward the circle.
Air whistled across his cheekbones. The stony ring glowed yellow, then so white the ground blackened in its wake.
A portal. A circle of promise. His doorway to solace regardless of the destination. Anything to squelch his torment. Was this all a dream? Would the Gods cooperate? He thrust his paws out to touch the star-like stones. To seize hope.
Blackness engulfed him. Thunder droned like the honking skirl of an army of bagpipes stuck on one squawking note. He was motionless, floating yet not floating, hung aloft in a strange dark place.
Was this the place without time?
The ground knocked life’s breath from his lips.
Such a timeless place of silent darkness had to be one of death. A vault. His tomb. At last, the Happy Otherworld. Where were the joys promised so often in old bards’ tales?
“Arthur is a masterpiece… Anyone who likes fantasy worlds and romance mixed with myth and legend should run right out and pick this one up.” He of the Fiery Sword's King Arthur ~Diane Mason, The Romance Studio
What are you working on now?
I’m writing a werewolf space opera that begins on earth and moves off world in the present. And I've just submitted another Time Guardian novel!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I never blow off what writers tell me. I always try to figure out what they are talking about. It’s really difficult to be objective with criticism. But there’s something to a comment. Even if you have to conclude the comment is just an outgrowth of a personal bias. But you can look at the bigger picture and decide if the bias is something that will affect your audience. If you can’t, don’t sweat it. You can’t please everyone all of the time. I found reading all the writing resources I could get my hands on helped.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell the readers?
I blog about reference books at http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com. I have a Free Read. The free read and the first chapters of my stories are located at http://www.skhyemoncrief.com and http://www.timeguardians.com on my new releases pages. Thanks for having me, Elaine! ~Skhye
Thanks for taking the time to be with us today!
"Arthur is a masterpiece..." 4 hearts for He of the Fiery Sword's King Arthur ~Diane Mason; http://theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/fieryswordmoncrief.htm
"Intense, original, suspenseful, and dramatic... an unpredictable topsy-turvy romance... the suspense builds with every page in SACRIFICIAL HEARTS. In a world where symbols mean everything, magic is the way..." ~Snapdragon; http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2008/05/review-sacrificial-hearts.html
"Master of her craft, Moncrief delivers an explosive plot, captivating, adventurous characters, and a healthy dose of sensual intrigue. A superb read, start to finish!" ~Author Sky Purington www.skypurington.com
HE OF THE FIERY SWORD available at www.thewildrosepress.com