Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Skhye Moncrief Educates Us on Research

Today, we welcome Skhye Moncrief, paranormal author extordinare! Skhye is sharing a lot of great information with us! If you write paranormal or have wondered how authors research for the subject, you'll want to read this.

In addition to having a drawing, to make our day even better, Skhye is sharing her favorite eye candy with us!

Why research when writing paranormals or fantasy? I'm just kind of sick and love research. But I also write a time travel series that allows me to toy with historical fact, x-hmmm legends derived from oral history... Just call me evil. I set my series up so I could do this. And I wanted to be able to write about any time period or culture. I'm a disgruntled geologist and archaeologist--where my formal education lies. So let me list some books that might help you find a unique twist to an old plot or a totally new (and difficult to sell) ultra-twisted storyline like my Time Guardians. :) Or you can use the books to sketch out the goals, motivation, and conflict of your story set somewhere in Western history. Then again, you can merely use these resources to paint your tale with historical ambiance. Let's begin with a little quiz with a contest...

Match the heresy with its defining belief:
a. Docetists
b. Bogomils
c. Joachites
d. Gnostics

1. They believed that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, but only appeared to do so through a divinely inspired collective hallucination of the onlookers.

2. They espoused that cosmic symmetry dictated that the second person of the Trinity--the Holy Spirit--would be incarnated as a woman.

3. Rather than a struggle between good and evil, they envisioned a conflict between two Gods--an unknowable, true God, and a lesser, rule-giving God who presided over the world.

4. This heretical sect claimed that God allowed his other son Satanael (Satan), to create the material world.

Post your answers as a comment by midnight CST tonight. I'll choose a winner with correct answers tomorrow. The winner will win a PDF of THE SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON set in medieval Cumberland. So you're wondering what in the heck is that tale all about...

One must die so the other can live.

A werewolf and a time traveler’s carnal attraction becomes a curse when she arrives in medieval England to kill him for turning against his time-travel brotherhood.

He must guard a relic. She doesn’t care if she gets in his way.

Druid Elspeth is a were-assassin sent to Cumberland to kill a renegade time guardian. She never expected to find him her soul mate. All she knows is she must stop Aidan Gordon from changing history. The sexy powerful knight proves too tempting to refuse. If his noble actions convince her he was wrongly accused, she will be forced to haunt the frenzied wood under THE SPELL OF THE KILLING MOON.

Back to the quiz... The quiz came from the back cover of ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HERESIES AND HERETICS (Just like the Who's Who in the Middle Ages, you can look up your historical figure, jump to another from that article, and another until you've gained an incredible understanding of Western taboos for creating your own characters!) This is an interesting resource for all sorts of goals, motivations, and conflicts.

WHO'S WHO IN THE MIDDLE AGES (Here's your starting point for researching historical characters like Robert the Bruce, saints, and Justinian. Never overlook the historical examples we have that readily translate into a fictitious story character...)

MEDIEVAL FOLKLORE: a Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs (This book helped me understand medieval life in Medieval as well as Renaissance/Reformation Literature. You really need to know what everything means to grasp the significance of stories with foreign metaphors. With information explaining everything from Christianity, the occult, authors, and everyday lifeways, you will definitely fill your pages with realitistic details based on reputable backstory.)

MEDICINE & SOCIETY IN LATER MEDIEVAL ENGLAND (I use this book to represent medieval and Near Eastern medicine given the significance of alchemy in healing then. This is pre-scientific medicine. Not that alchemy isn't a science itself. You should treat it that way.)

THE DICTIONARY OF ALCHEMY: HISTORY, PEOPLE, DEFINITIONS (This collection of information is as intriguing as the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF HERESIES AND HERETICS. You will find more information here about Galenic medicine than anywhere else.)

ALCHEMY: THE MEDIEVAL ALCHEMISTS AND THEIR ROYAL ART (This is the textbook for alchemy. The first chapters explain the "science" extremely well and place it in historical perspective.)

THE WORDSWORTH ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PLAGUE & PESTILENCE (Find the plague or pestilence afflicting your characters any time or place in this book.)

THE HISTORY OF HELL (A book that can help you understand the origins and evolution of the concept. This ideological gem also tells you which religion thought what way back when. That in itself is enough to stop you from pulling your hair out.)

CHRISTIAN MYTHOLOGY (A book that will help you understand the significance of major Biblical stories and characters for writing them correctly instead of distorted by your bias. Nobody knew the answers when I took a few literature classes. Even the Bible thumpers!)

THE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (This was a unique thrift store find loaded with the meanings of Biblical customs...)

DICTIONARY OF MEDIEVAL WARFARE (3,500 years of military history)

THE CELTIC WORLD (This book is a mammoth collection of formal papers for the die-hard researcher. I love them. But I'm formally educated in geology and bioarchaeology. You may not love reading the articles. See if you can check this book out of the library before purchasing a copy. It may not be for you.)

I'm going to stop here and just send those writing paranormals to my other list,, containing even more historical reference books. :) I blog about my personal reference books at Although, I used to blog almost daily, before Lyme Disease curbed that addiction, I still manage a few reference-book posts a week and host a guest author who shares reference sources for his/her book/series. Thanks for having me over Karen. ~Skhye

Win prizes at Skhye's newsletter group:

Skhye's reviews:
"His forbearance, pure love, and finally his and Katie's "hand fasting" create an enchanting love story with a touch of magic... destiny sends them to a time and a life far removed from the lives they have known... a tale of future, present, and past with each of the time periods nurturing Katie and Murdo until the time is right for their union—their destiny. Skhye Moncrief creates a unique culture from which Murdo comes. She weaves it in with present culture, making a compelling, sparkling love story with a unique twist near the end." SWORDSONG ~Camilla, LASR
"Arthur is a masterpiece..." He of the Fiery Sword's King Arthur ~Diane Mason; The Romance Studio

"Talk about a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and telling others to leave you alone until you're finished. Ms. Moncrief has created a story unlike any other. It's the best when it comes to spine-tingling suspense. Her words are so visually written. I didn't feel like I was reading at all, I felt like I was living the story myself. The story is dynamite; it explodes off the pages and leaves you breathless for more. In the future, I will be more than excited to see a new release from Skhye Moncrief, not including what I'm ordering from her backlist!" FORBIDDEN ETERNITY~Tulip, LASR

“The Spell of the Killing Moon offers the best of spine-tingling suspense. The setting is perfect... Moncrief’s ability to wield magic and emotion are without compare. Her words twist together emotions and visuals until you experience this tale as if the trap were set for you. Some lines blend a kind of poetic magic: “Moonlight wove a special kind of magic, a spell so vacillating that a person never knew if reality were anything other than a dream.” Darkness and premonitions and deadly intent fill these pages... a unique blend of mystic Medieval Gothic and romance…and a true blood-curdling thriller. 5 books" ~Snapdragon, LASR

"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; LASR


Beth Caudill said...

You know Skhye, It's not fair to my checkbook to keep giving me books to have. :)

No need to enter me in the contest. I already have all of Skhye's books.

Anonymous said...

I did the quiz without doing any research. Will let it fall where it does.
1 - A
2 - D
3 - C
4 - B

Have most of Skhye's books on my wish list.
Great list of resource books even if we aren't writing. Some of us just like research for the sake of research.

Skhye said...

Thanks, Beth & Pat. And you're not alone, Pat!

Judy said...

I did research, alot of good it did me, once I got a few sentences into the paragraphs I have no idea what they are talking about:)Good thing I am not a writer or researcher!!! I was not going to put my answers first, I did not want someone just copy them, because I have no idea if they are correct. So, my answers are the same as library pats, we are either both right or both wrong!!



Skhye said...

LOL, Judy! Great job. I think. I have to go look up the answers in my book! LOL Thanks for stopping by.

Marissa MacFae said...


I'm game...hope i'm not late. Westcoaster here. My answers:
1. A
2. D
3. C
4. B


Skhye said...

And the answers are:


So, I'll let Lizzie pick a winner from those who entered! And thanks to everyone who took the time to pull their hair out over these odd terms. :)

Thanks for having me over, Lizzie. Have a wonderful weekend! ~Skhye

Lizzie said...

Thank you for sharing great information with us Skhye and for the prize.

The winner is, Judy. I'll let you contact her for any info you need from her.

Brandy B aka Brandlwyne said...

I love the post Skhye, I wish I would have caught it yesterday, lol