Thursday, February 11, 2010

Skhye's Valentines

        It's February, and we're surrounded by stylized hearts. Just what's in the symbolism of a heart? We can go back to the Ancient Greek legend of Prometheus to find a terracotta man with fire from the sun stuffed into his heart--the symbol of knowledge coming to man. Or we can stick with the later Roman-Catholic idea of flames shooting out of a heart--The Sacred Heart obviously the symbol carried over from the earlier Greek culture that evolved into Roman ideology [representing Jesus' love for us]. But all of the Catholics I know never mention the connection with the pre-Roman Greek idea. ??? Instead, we have Valentines Day. I'm not complaining. I get gifts. And it's my husband's birthday. We really celebrate! So, what's up with the apparently not-so-anatomically-correct symbol of a heart we promote like heck for a few weeks at the front end of every year?
        We are a culture set on romance, love, and marriage. Without the promotion of this fundamentally basic decision that affects everything in our lives, we wouldn't truly be individuals. And individualism is what the United States is all about. However, I have gone almost Forrest Gumpian in my Time Guardian tale, SACRIFICIAL HEARTS. What's inside a heart-shaped box of chocolates? Here are two excerpts...

Excerpt #1
Gerard had better things to do than stand around Ronat Castle waiting for an annoying suspicious woman to finally realize he was honorable. Aye, better things like wandering through the grocery store.
 Lines of rich cellophane-covered boxes glistened blood red, leading him back the way he had come.
 Sacrificial hearts.
 Truth echoed in the whisper of his boots crushing grit into the white-flecked-with-black linoleum floor.
 Sacrificed to Time. Just like every person he had ever befriended during his training. One after another, sent on to the unknown with only a soul mate for comfort. What a glorified box of chocolates. The Gods hadn’t gifted him that singular luxury. He would show her what kind of sacrifice lay in her future. Companionship. Friendship. Trust. Respect. Each tasty morsel was a prize worth savoring. She was a fool for thinking herself common along Time’s vast continuum.
 No one was simply common to the fairies. All souls were unique. Especially a time guardian’s soul—trained to deal with anything in stride. A time guardian wouldn’t let a Centurian woman’s cultural baggage irritate him. He was a fool for not seeing Truth before. He grabbed a heart-shaped box and strode toward the empty cashier’s counter.
 A Brother who couldn’t respect a woman like Twila didn’t deserve to have a wife. Had he walked away from a chance with a woman who could have married him? Chosen him. The candy would remind him to keep his wits about him; and if he got hungry, he could dine on the sweets. A symbol of compassion and a food reserve. Duty demanded a stiff price. Valentine’s chocolates undoubtedly couldn’t compare.

 Excerpt #2
Nice jeans. Nice waist. Nice. Nice. Good grief, Twila had to stop thinking like the man was a side of beef. But who could look at Gerard and not marvel at his strength and prowess? How did a man with his build mate with his destined love?
 Destined love? Dare she believe the madness? Well, move over world. There’s this thing called time travel. Here was her chance to buy a ticket on a train to any place. “Have you traveled through time?”
 His back was to her, and he didn’t turn away from the pot he placed upon the stovetop. “I’m not at liberty to discuss that with anyone except Order members or my spouse.”
 Nothing about him wavered. Was he trying to hide something or appear stoic? Did he fear she would accuse him of lying again? She couldn’t see his face. A person couldn’t hide his true feelings in his eyes. Just one look would declare his thoughts. She had to chance a glance. She strode toward him, around the end of his brown leather loveseat.
 Something red glistened on a sofa table behind the seat’s rounded back.
 A box of Valentine’s chocolates. For whom? Did he know she would be here? Could he know their future? He had journeyed to her house in the States. Not more lies. She stopped.
 Her heart sank.
 Maybe she was still wrong about that cult thing.
 “What’s wrong, Twila?”
 “You know our future, don’t you?” She turned to him.
 He watched her, drying his hands with a red dishtowel.
 “You knew I’d be here today. Didn’t you?”
 His brow furrowed. He tossed the towel at the gray countertop. “What I know is you’re overwhelmed with all this new information. I’m not going to take offense to your accusations.”
She grabbed the heart and thrust it at him. “Then who is this for?” Bad question, Twila. He will probably say another woman’s name.
 His combat boots squeaked as he crossed the space between them. But he skirted her only to sink onto the creaking loveseat where he raked his fingers through his tousled hair. “Please sit with me, Twila.”
Why not? She shoved the box of candy onto the table and claimed the space beside him.
 He almost smirked with a straight-lipped smile. Instead of scolding her, he reached for the red box. “I had forgotten this was here.”
 Likely story.
 He faced her squarely, wide-eyed, intently.
 A chill skittered down her spine.
 “This box reminded me of you.” He held it up like they were at Show and Tell. “Only you.”
 A Valentines’ box reminded him of me? Was that even remotely normal? Since when was anything about his world normal?
 He just looked at her.
 What was he waiting for? “What do you mean?”
 “Twila, it’s a symbol of what you are.”
 I’m a heart-shaped box of candy? “I don’t know what you mean.”
 “When I saw this in the store four days ago, I was struck by the blood-red packaging. The box looked wet, almost like a heart cut from your chest, packaged so beautifully that any Brother couldn’t refuse the boon of possessing you.”
 Lord, the morbidity...
 “But when looking deeper, there’s more. The different candies inside represent all the things about the self. Pride. Honor. Love. Respect. Do you understand, Twila? This box is you at the moment. This is your new reality. You feel betrayed, shanghaied into a new existence that goes against everything you believe. And you have every reason to fear the unknown. You have every reason to fear me. So, Twila, I’m giving this box to you.” He slid the box onto her knees without relinquishing her gaze.

        Well, they manage to work through her disgust in my Time Guardian Valentines tale. ;) Have you written a story with a stylistic symbol that does more than what a reader would expect? Or have you read something that sticks with you? Share it here today. I'm giving away a pdf of SACRIFICIAL HEARTS to one commentor who answers one of these questions by midnight CST, tonight. 

Thanks for having me over, Judy! ~Skhye
"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

"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

Win prizes at Skhye's newsletter group:

"Be the change you want to see in the world." ~Ghandi


Skhye said...

Thanks again for having me over to blab. Skhye doth talketh too much... ;)

And everyone enter to win the wee-est sterling-silver claddagh pendant on 18" chain at:

Skhye said...

Purchase e-book

Skhye said...

Purchase print copy

P.L. Parker said...

Morning Skhye - Thee spakes with a kind heart -or so to speak. Good blog. Love all these historical bits and pieces.

AnneMarie Novark said...

Funny, I had never thought about the symbolism of the heart other than it stands for love and romance.

Your posts always make me think more deeply, Skhye!!!

AnneMarie Novark said...

*waves to Judy*


K9friend said...

Sounds like a couple of smokin' hot stories, Skhye!

Skhye said...

Thanks, y'all! :) I'm a big fan of quotes. So, expect some love quotes at my blog tomorrow!

Ginger Simpson said...

Loved the did I miss having you on my "February Love Fest" in honor of Valentine's day? This post would have fit perfectly at "Dishin' It Out." *smile*

I've never written anything symbolic, but the heart shape we use to indicate love certainly beats an image of the alternative.

I love how you fit the symbolism into your story.

Genella deGrey said...

Hi Judy - Hi Skhye!
Funny you should mention this because I have been drooling over Jane Seymour's "Open Heart" jewelry concept for a while now.


Debra St. John said...

Great post, Skhye. I've always wondered about that heart thing!

Skhye said...

Dang, Ginger! That would have been fun. And, LOL, Genella. I see that commercial all the time. I hope you land one Sunday!!! :)

Caroline Clemmons said...

Haunted Hearts has a terrific cover. Loved the blog and symbols. I have a greeting card I use as a bookmark that is photos of natural hearts--a cactus pad, a rock, the opening in a hollow tree, etc. Personally, I prefer the heart shaped box of candy. LOL

Skhye said...

I'm with you, Caroline. Give me chocolate! And caramels! And molasses chews... :)

Hywela Lyn said...

Greqt excerpts Skhye - and I love the way you always manage to put a different slant on things.

I couldn't agree more about the chocolate. I have a bag of heart shaped chocolate shapes in a drawer for my hubby, as well as a couple of other gifts, just in case he buys me flowers, 'cause I know he'll share the chocs with me! LOL

Skhye said...

Oooooo, wise thinking, Lyn! My husband said he had to go to town this afternoon. And that was all. I have no idea what he bought. :) I've nagged him ever since he came back home...

SiNn said...

Skhye your work is awesome i loved this post ! im already a member of your yahoo group ty for the post to day I hope you have an awesome valentines day

Skhye said...

You're welcome, SiNn. :) And the winner is... Ginger Simpson. Please e-mail me at to claim your prize. :) Thanks to everyone who entered and just stopped by to chat. I hope you all get amazing Valentines tomorrow. ~Skhye

nlindabrit said...

An interesting blog post, as always, Skhye. Thanks!

Skhye said...

Thanks, nLindaBrit. :)

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Skhye,
Though it's too late for your contest here, I did want to stop by and say hello. And am I glad i did. Loved your excerpts.

Skhye said...

Thanks, Julie!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Skhye, sorry to be late. Love the excerpts and the legends! You know me, the symbolism behind a legend has to be investigated and written into a storyline. Beautiful words. Hope hubby got you something special!

Skhye said...

Thanks, Sharon! You had a great blog on Valentine symbolism yourself!!! :)

Nathan Lamirand said...

Your books look vrey good. It is so nice of you to give away gifts. Thanks. Nate

Skhye said...

You're welcome, Nathan. And thank you too!

jellybelly82158 said...

Both these books sound great.