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
Thursday, February 19, 2009
28 romance authors invite you to participate in a month-long event of love and laughter. Each day starting Feb. 1, 2009 an author will throw a romance party at her blog and host a contest with a prize. The link to the next day's blog location will also be provided at each location. Just drop by and enter the contest. And get ready to heat up the cold wintery days of February. You could win a prize a day!
On February 28th, one person will be awarded the grand prize of a $75 WRP gift certificate. All you have to do to enter the grand prize contest is make a list of each author in this blog event and name one title she has available. Submit your list to Christmasrideblog@live.com by midnight CST, February 27, 2009. The winner will be announced on February 28th--just in time to warm up that person's February. Visit http://www.amberleighwilliams.blogspot.com on February 1st to begin.
Now, that you know what Romancing February is all about, here's my contest.
Do you remember your first kiss? Was it timid and sweet or hot and full of passion? This excerpt is from The Welcome Inn, and it shows the first kiss of Buck Abercrombie and Julianna Martin.
Buck and Julianna are attracted to each other, but each of them also has some serious issues that complicate their relationship. In this excerpt, Julianna stayed overnight with Buck because someone is trying to kidnap her.
Julianna awoke first the next morning and saw that sometime during the night Buck had removed his sweat pants and shirt. It gave Julianna a wonderful view of his shoulders and chest, and her face flushed in the presence of so much bronzed male skin and muscle. She sensed something vital, something elemental about Buck, and the wild, fiery side of Julianna’s nature was attracted to him as surely as a moth is attracted to the light.
She let her imagination take flight and soar where it would, and it came as no surprise when her fantasy carried her straight into Buck’s bed. She imagined herself surrendering to his kiss—and more—and her face burned with both shame and desire. She knew better! All men were the same, and she’d be a fool to forget it. Obviously, the break-in had affected her even more than she had realized.
She threw the covers back and slipped her feet into her bedroom shoes. She’d get dressed and leave before Buck woke up. Then maybe she’d stop thinking about him. As she passed his bed his hand shot out to grab her wrist. “Good morning, Julianna. What’s your hurry?”
“Oh, you’re awake. I, uh, wanted to get dressed before you got up.”
Buck’s first finger gently stroked the inside of her wrist. “You look damn good in green.”
“Well, I like... uh, thanks.” Julianna swallowed hard. She had to get out of here and soon. Buck looked too devastatingly attractive for her peace of mind!
“Thank goodness you aren’t one of those anorexic females that you see on television. You’ve got enough curves to prove you’re a woman.”
His voice lowered and became huskier. “No wonder poor Tim wanted to kiss you. I’ve wanted to taste those lips from the first time I saw you. So kiss me, Julianna. I’m sick of fighting it. It’s torture to be in the same room with you and not kiss you.”
“Uh, no, Buck, I...”
Her voice trailed off as Buck stood up. She made no protest when brawny, sunburned arms enclosed her and held her tight. He nuzzled his face against her neck, and Julianna quivered in his arms.
“You smell sexy,” Buck growled. “I couldn’t sleep last night because I swear I could smell you in the other bed.”
He buried one big hand in her tousled curls, and his lips, heavy and warm, pressed themselves against hers.
With a strangled moan, Julianna threw her arms around him and eagerly returned his kiss. Madness! This was madness! But, oh he could kiss!
For a chance to win an electronic copy of The Welcome Inn leave a comment. Talk about The Welcome Inn, or tell us about your own first kiss.
Your next stop for Romancing February will be http://MyBlog.SusanneSaville.com
Friday, February 13, 2009
Famous Lovers Quiz
How many of these lovers do you know? The answers are at the bottom of the page. Don't peek.
1. He was a Roman general, and she was the queen of Egypt.
2. Their love destroyed Camelot.
3. He gave up his throne for her because he couldn’t marry a divorced woman.
4. They met each other while filming a movie about ancient Egypt. They married once, divorced, and then married again.
5. Both star crossed lovers died in this Shakespearean tale which told of a bitter feud between two noble families.
6. She lost him, but tomorrow is another day.
7. A short man, he ruled the French Empire, but he divorced his true love because she couldn’t bear him a child.
8. They were two gangsters who enjoyed robbing banks.
9. The king of rock and roll, he married a girl he met while he was in the army.
10. He’s faster than a speeding bullet, and she keeps trying to guess his secret identity.
11. They fell into a burning ring of fire.
12. He lived in the jungle and swung through the trees, but she loved him anyway.
13. She was a governess who fell for a man with a dreadful secret hidden in the attic.
14. She gave him an apple that he wasn’t supposed to eat.
15. He was only a stable boy, but he loved her with all of his heart. Then she married another man.
16. He was the captain of The Millennium Falcon, and she was a princess on a mission.
17. She wrote a book called A New Leaf, and he went to the bookstore and bought the first one on the shelf even though they had plenty of copies at home.
1. Antony and Cleopatra
2. Lancelot and Guinevere
3. Edward VIII and Wallis Warfield Simpson
4. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
5. Romeo and Juliet
6. Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara
7. Napoleon and Josephine
8. Bonnie and Clyde
9. Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu
10. Superman and Lois Lane
11. Johnny Cash and June Carter
12. Tarzan and Jane
13. Edward Rochester and Jane Eyre
14. Adam and Eve
15. Heathcliff and Cathy
16. Han Solo and Princess Leia
17. Elaine Cantrell and Wallace (Okay, we aren’t famous, but hey, a girl can dream.)
Friday, February 6, 2009
A couple of years ago our local newspaper ran an article about an Ivy league college that had been forced to offer a course on good manners to their graduates. It seems that the students had no idea about what constituted good manners, so they were offending people they were trying to do business with.
Duh! Anyone from the South could have told you that manners count. And not just because my mama said so. (That reminds me of the time one of my son’s teachers told me what a polite boy he was. I hadn’t noticed that at home so much, so I asked him about it. ‘Wouldn’t you rather I was polite in public than at home?’ he asked. I had to have a long talk with that boy.)
The South is changing-no doubt about that-but I hope we never forget good manners. Life certainly flows a lot smoother with good manners to lubricate our interaction with other people. Here are some things that a good southerner always does.
1.Be polite to everyone-the cashier at the bank, the guy who changed the oil in your car, your waitress at the local restaurant-everyone.
2.Only trashy people are loud and cause a fuss in public.
3.Always say please and thank you.
4.Be friendly to everyone whether you know them or not. It’s okay to talk to someone you don’t know if you’re waiting in line together.
5.If it’s in your power to do a kindness for others do it.
6.Don’t act like a know-it-all even if you know you’re right. Example. I have a friend who loves to go to Pigeon Forge in North Carolina. She’s been there so many times she could get there blindfolded. She went to Pigeon Forge with a church group who took a wrong turn. She didn’t say so, though. She said, ‘I think we should have turned onto that last exit.’
7.Always address people using ma’am or sir. Yes, ma’am. No, sir.
8.A gentleman always holds a door for a lady and lets her go before him.
9.A gentleman will stand when a lady enters a room. The guy who put down the tile in my bathroom was on his hands and knees on the floor when I poked my head around the door to check on his progress. He jumped up the minute he saw me.
10.Offer food and drink to visitors in your home.
11.If someone you know has surgery or a baby take some food over to them.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’ll get your started. In general, if you remember to put others first you’ll probably do okay.