Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Guest Blogger: Skhye Moncrief romance author

Please welcome my guest today, author Skhye Moncrief. RESEARCH: THE ENDLESS JOURNEY I'm Skhye Moncrief, and I blog about reference books at SKHYE'S RAMBLINGS, Whatever I note from resources such as things that are interesting or made some connection between other books I've used in research are what you'll find on my blog at SKHYE'S RAMBLINGS. First, I'm considered a nutty professor. So, it's not odd that you'll find me blogging about rocks, historical periods, poetry, deep space, astrology, society, life, and death. I'm formally educated in geology and anthropology and often talk about strange things. ;) My reference-book blog posts document my personal library for insurance purposes. I've had to evacuate from approaching hurricanes twice in the past three years. The thought of losing the books that have marched through grad school and my Time Guardian series just makes me ill. So, voila, Skhye's Ramblings is where you can find a research book or two to help you with your current wip. But what about research? Most people rely on the internet for research material. I've been beat over the head enough in college not to do so. So, how do I do research? BIBLIOGRAPHIES I've learned most people don't check out bibliographies in something they've picked up to use for research. I have found more valuable research material by jotting down a list of books and articles to check out this way. Flip to the back of something you're using for research... Look at the references listed by the author. There's gold in them there hills! Although, I usually wait to go with the current wave of thought by reading multiple sources and looking for what is accepted in a field of study. Fiction authors don't have to do this. Albeit, if you're writing historicals, you should get most of the details correct. My work is cross-genre fantasy-historical romance. My works take place along the time line and often fall in historical periods. Reconstructing the world is the name of the game in historicals. But weaving in fantasy gives an author the opportunity to play with things. AMAZON.COM Another place I've seen authors forget to research is If you search for a topic, the database will provide you with a list of books, movies, etc. Never forget to do an amazon search. ;) INTERNET RESEARCH I often begin research by searching for topics that will offer hard/book resources I can get to read at my leisure. How does a person google a topic? Well, the trick is to get the most specific buzz word(s) for a search. Do you want Scotland, medieval Scotland, or 13th Century Scotland? A search with those different terms will produce different hits. Are you searching for a person's name? Does the person have a title or a nickname? I remember searching for a man who lived during the War of the Roses. Oy! His son had the same name... After hours of running in circles, I figured him out. But, you ask when is it safe to draw the line with online research? You may say enough is enough when the information repeats itself. For example, you've read information at 12 websites and the last 5 have said the same thing. Rest peacefully and move onto a new research dilemma. For the record, I usually find a topic's basic factoid guts at INTERLIBRARY LOAN Don't forget that your library will borrow books from other libraries if you need something specialized. Best of luck with your writing and researching! ~Skhye
Who is your favorite romantic hero and heroine (movies or books) and why? My favorite hero in a romance novel is in Christine Feehan's MIND GAMES. I've admitted this somewhere else... I don't know why! I think he's just a hunky take-charge kind of guy.


6) Where do you get your ideas for your stories?

Let me surprise you! My ideas come from watching documentaries. Bet you didn't see that one coming. I can usually get three stories out of a 1-hour documentary. Scary! )

Do you have a theme running through your stories? What are your usual settings for your stories? What are they and why? The theme in my Time Guardian series is what can you believe about history or essentially reality. We all live our separate little lives, coming and going, overlapping each other's spheres of activity. So, why not stop and ponder why things are the way they are outside yourself? Even if it's only for the briefest moment in one of my fantasy romances. My settings usually fall in the present, in the UK, ending up in a Scottish castle where my Time Guardians hole up. ;) But the story about King Arthur, HE OF THE FIERY SWORD, primarily takes place in medieval Ireland. THE SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON occurs in medieval northern England. FORBIDDEN ETERNITY, SACRIFICIAL HEARTS, and NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE move around the present in the UK. The UK location has to do with the Scottish castle--owned by the only person other than the Crown who can maintain a standing army. And this person's standing army is composed of my Time Guardians. Hence, the location.

8) If you have a pen name, how did you choose it? If you don’t have a pen name, what would you choose if you decide to take one?

My pseudonym is numerologically a lucky rabbit's foot. I wanted a Scottish surname with all the numbers between 1-9 that gave me a full house. (Refer to Norman Shine's NUMEROLOGY). Skhye has an "h" because I needed a letter with its value to get all the numbers between 1-9... Long story. My Time Guardians time travel with numerology. It just seemed like a cool and lucky thing to mispell the name... It's almost impossible for me to type sky fast without an "h".

9) What part of the world is your favorite? Where would you like to visit that you haven’t yet?

Well, Scotland and Ireland have always been at the top of my list with Iceland and Easter Island. I'm quite fond of Central American pyramids after grad school. Other large monuments are equally appealing. ;)

"Don’t sweat the small stuff, Aron." Cowboy threw the knapsack’s wide flap open and glanced sideways at her.

Her eyes widened like a kid in sugar heaven. He plucked out a M68 grenade, his choice for her given it wouldn’t detonate until impact.

"These are jawbreakers." He placed the elliptical explosive on the counter and grabbed a stun grenade—a lightweight M451 explosive proving essential in blinding and disorienting bystanders with bright flashes of light and high-pitched sounds. "That’s your ultra-sour gummy bear." He placed the M451 beside the M68.

"And here’s your run-of-the-mill red hots." He pulled at one AN-M14—an incendiary grenade capable of burning at 2,200 degrees Centigrade for half a minute. He set the cylindrical explosive next to the others.

She reached for them.

Too fast. He grabbed her wrist. "Hold on, Lara Croft. You gotta learn the rules or your teeth will rot."

"Who’s Lara Croft?"

Nice twinkle of jealousy in her eyes. "A heroine in a story who lives and dies by weapons."

She stared at her reflection in the mirror and rolled those baby blues.

Laughing would only tick her off. "If you don’t learn to brush your teeth, you’ll wish you had. I’d hate for you to loose an arm." Or kill his heart if she died using an explosive improperly. Talk about blood on one’s hands.

Her reflection’s gaze locked on meet his. "Please spare me the analogy. Do these all blow Its to bits?"

"No." Revealing the grenade she had been using gave her a four to five-second window before detonation was not what he preferred to do.

Babes shouldn’t be airbrushed nor maimed. Women with curves and limbs rated right up there with breathing to men.

She scowled at him.

"Calm down." He pushed her arm back to her side and rooted around in the bag for the bomb ranking numero uno with terrorists.

Smooth and rough surfaces bumped into his hands.

He shoved them aside. "What you’ve been using was all I had at the time. Although the Soviet RGD-5 is exceptionally successful, I’d say you’re risking life and limb dancing with it in your pretty little hand."

"What?" she squawked like a goose.

Gods, he despised cranky geese. With the luck he’d run into lately, any second, she would change into a goose like in all those Celtic tales he was forced to read. Or were those swans? He shook the thought from his head, placed the SGD-5 next to the other explosives on the counter, and locked his gaze on Red’s ruby lips.

A man would be a fool to let her play with the grenades. Her sweet small nose could be sliced off her face in a nanosecond. "The projectiles it sprays an area with aren’t kind on soft skin or anything living."

Her disgusted mask drained of color. "You mean shrapnel? I wasn’t thinking of flying dirks back then. Not to mention, I never saw one scrap of metal."

True. He hadn’t thought of shrapnel at all. For some reason, It turned into tangible preserves during a grenade explosion. But not one bit of metal landed in the deluge. He scooted one side of his butt onto the cold stone countertop.

"You know." He met her gaze. "Something’s odd here. It can attack us here or in the blister armor but never do we see one remnant of the grenade after it has exploded inside It."

Red’s gaze widened then narrowed with intrigue. She grabbed the SGD-5 and tried to cram it in her pocket.

No luck with those form-fitting jeans. Purchase your copy of NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE: in paperback HAUNTED HEARTS at in e-format Thank you, Skhye for being my guest today. Good luck with your book. Ashley


Beth Caudill said...

Hey Skhye. Just stopping by before sitting down to write.

I love your blog. So does Amazon and because I've picked up books. Between Medieval, Wiccan, and paranormal topics, my library has grown. On any given day my husband could thank you or curse you. :)

I admit, for quickie searches, I use the internet. But I do prefer books. I support my library and I have access to one of the college libraries. (My husband and I are alumni so I joined the friends of the library and can check out books. I figure If I can't find it there or on the's not worth having).

Cate Masters said...

Great post, Skhye. Like you, I'm a research junkie. I love it so much it takes away writing time. I'm a great believer in writing what you DON'T know - and research provides invaluable authenticating details.
Best of luck with your new release!

Debra St. John said...

Hi Skhye, thanks for the research tips. I find I do most of mine just seems to be right at my fingertips when I need something.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Beth! Amazon has loved me for a long time. I can't tear myself away from there.

Cate, I'm an armchair adverturer myself! ;)

Debra, it's okay to do research online as long as you know you can't trust a thing there! LOL. Looking for trends in info is what helps. At least, that's what PhDs told me. I was such a worry wart!

Emma Lai said...

Bibliographies have always been a great source for further research though I've yet to apply that to my writing career.

Skhye said...

Emma! Should I say you know better? LOL. Thanks for stopping by!

Mary Ricksen said...

Duh. I never thought of Amazon, so put me in with the other people who are glad they read this blog!
You know how I love time travel, and anyone who writes it.
And then there is that special thing about you I love, that makes you who you are. A big heart.

Anonymous said...

Aw, Mary. You're too kind. :) Amazon really is a fabulous place to sift through title rubble.

Unknown said...

Thanks Skyhe and everybody for visiting with me today. Skyhe, you're the greatest and I'm happy to have you as my guest. I hope you'll come back often.

What great advice.

Unknown said...

I love to read bibliographies, old letters, and family history for research. I've gotten some of my best ideas from them.

Skhye said...

Those are wonderful resources for period tales. You can really get the feel for a time period! Thanks for having me over again. Ashley

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