She saunters up the rickety old steps to the haunted mansion on the hill, black gown billowing in the breeze. Using the lion head door knocker, she raps three times, announcing her presence.
With a croak of rusty hinges, the door swings open and Oliver stands there, costumed in a black leather kilt and black leather cowboy hat. His eyes gleam and his pearly white fangs break into an engaging grin. “You rang?”
Extending one of his bulging biceps, he escorts the witch down the long dark corridor to the parlor. A mouse twitters and a bat screeches as it flaps its wings. Bones of previous guests line the walls in between the fiery red eyes that gleam then vanish into the void. From the parlor, organ music grinds out a spooky instrumental to the accompaniment of blood curdling screams. They enter the parlor where the Queen of Hearts sits in her throne, standing candelabras flickering. Hello and welcome to Week Three of my Halloween blog! Today’s special guest is friend and fellow Wild Rose author
And she is here to chat with us and read us an excerpt from NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE,
A HALLOWEEN TIME GUARDIAN TALEBut first, a little about Skhye:
"I'm a Texan that believes men do look best in kilts. Unfortunately, my husband disagrees. I blog about reference books at http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com. I hold a BS in geology. Writing lured me away from finishing my thesis in (bioarchaeology) anthropology. Archaeology just dislikes the way we authors misconstrue fact. But the sacriledge is so enjoyable. Still, there's nothing like scratching around in the dirt looking for fossils or potsherds. I'm so detail-oriented that I suffer from an adrenaline rush when told to make a map.
I guess the easiest way to describe myself is as a person who finds nature incredibly pleasing and intriguing. The same about
reconstructing human prehistory and history. Yes, I am certifiably geek. I write cross-genre paranormal romance as a way to focus my academic interests in an attempt to write something capable of entertaining the masses. Let's just say, writing fantasy is a challenge."
NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE - BLURB
A demon stalks Druidess Aron MacKintosh, trying to use her to gain control of the timeline in present-day Scotland. Time plows toward Samhain when the doorways open between the Now and the Happy Otherworld. She finds herself in a strange alliance with an unusual time guardian, Cowboy. The duo struggles to defeat the demon. If Cowboy can't earn her trust, the integrity of the timeline could be endangered. Only Cowboy's charm and southern idea of chivalry has what it takes to leave an ancient evil bound NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE.Sharon: Welcome, Skhye! Now before we chat and get too comfy in these nail-back thrones, I promised the beasts you’d read to them from Naked on the Staircase. And a witch is a witch is a witch….so go to it, dearie!
Oliver delivers a witch’s brew, a dark green liquid with mint leaves floating about. Skhye takes it down like a witch and takes center stage. She clears her throat and it comes out in a croak as she reads to the vampires, dragons and ghosts in the rafters.
"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 ligh t 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
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
Druids, magic, time travel. They're all present in Naked on the Staircase. The title of this book intrigued me, but by the time I'd finished reading I understood why the author chose this intriguing title. The entity is a mysterious being whose identity is not solved until the last few pages, but its very existence holds the story together.
Naked on the Staircase is well written with intrigue, mystery, magic and time travel,
ingredients that work well in a fantasy novel. The interaction between Aron and Cowboy was excellent and the background of the story was skillfully woven into the book.I enjoyed reading NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE and would like to read more of Skhye Moncrief's novels." Orchid: LASR
From inside the cracked walls of the mansion, the skeletons applaud. A bat screeches and perches on Skhye’s shoulder.
Sharon: Excellent. Bravo! What an enchanting read and one I must have one of the pet bats liberate. Are you ready for more brew, dearie?
Skhye: With this chilly ambiance? Of course! *rubs arms to stir up some heat*
Sharon: rings her vampire bell. "Oliver, we’re ready for our steaming green tea with mint leaves, corn curls and candy corn. Do serve them up." Oliver appears with a sinister smile. With a sweeping bow, he presents the steaming brews and snacks and winks seductively at Skhye. He whispers to her that the ingredients are as ordered, green blood with frog legs floating, fingernails of vampires and candied toads. Skhye winks. “Perfect mixture. You must have called my doctor! They’re making me take EVERYTHING these days for Lyme Disease.” She shoots Oliver a sinister grin. “I think I’ll take you over to Skhye’s Ramblings to be my little pet!”
Sharon: Go away, Oliver. Don’t you know you can’t fool Mother Nature. I’m the Queen of Hearts and still hold the power to turn you into a toad and sell you to the gypsies. Now tell me, Skhye, tell me what inspired you to write this book of druids, magic and time travel, the perfect Halloween-inspired ingredients, I might add.
Skhye: Sharon, the gypsies live in my neck of the woods. Oliver will be cared for on my watch. *rolls eyes contemplatively* Oh! Oh, you asked why I mixed all these crazy topics together in my time-travel series… Well, one just can’t write about one aspect of earth life with time travelers and make a story real for the reader. It’s best to incorporate as much as culturally possible. And I fancy the process challenging and fun.
Sharon: And how does a cowboy fit into the mix?
Skhye: He’s an ex-Legionnaire assumed dead but saved by the Hood (bad joke for brotherhood) in his induction into The Cause (time guardianship). Heck, if a good-looking man is going to die, why not save him for a higher purpose. Like--*eyeballs Oliver*--selling him to the gypsies where he’ll become the preferred stud!
Oliver grins and plants himself next to Skhye, tips his leather cowboy hat and takes hold of her hand. Then he pops a candied toad into her mouth.
Skhye: I see he’s well-versed in magic!
Sharon: Tell us about the Time Guardian Tales.
Skhye: A war wages among the Gods. Two Celtic time-travel orders from the future intermarry as soul mates to safeguard history. Paradox is but a stolen heart away. Open the door to a new reality where legend becomes history and destined love defeats timeless evil.
From the inside walls, a woman screams bloody murder. “Let me out! Let me out!”
Sharon: Oh, don’t mind her. She didn’t much care for my last book. And The Queen of Heart gets even. Isn’t that a good motto, Skhye dear?
Sharon: With your background in archaeology, I have to ask. As the charismatic Oliver escorted you through the corridor, you no doubt noticed my art gallery of bones. With your sharp eye, which bones might they be in your expert opinion and to what species?
Skhye: Definitely, human. Homo sapiens sapiens. That’s anatomically modern human. And you did mention bones of previous guests in the opening. Should I feel threatened? I guess good help is hard to come by… I do NOT see any spare ribs. Uh, I once worked on a Maya skeleton whose rib was erroneously marked “spare rib” on the bag. Ahhhh! Talk about science gone awry!
Sharon: Let’s dish about Halloween. What is the most interesting or bizarre costume you ever dressed in?
Skhye: I usually scare people the most when I dress like myself— and talk. Bwah ha haaa. I remember the year I had this great idea to staple leaves all over a garbage bag to wear as a bush. But I didn’t think folks were as big a naturalist as I was! LOL. I’m actually thinking about buying a medieval dress. I said thinking. I don’t make frivolous purchases and can’t justify the cost with a child. But she was asking me what I was going to be when we go trick-or-treating. Talk about scaring one’s mother. I have to come up with something now!
Sharon: And how do you decorate your house and yard? And how will the the wee one be costumed this year?
Skhye: We do the pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, potion bottles, skulls (gotta have bones after working in a bone lab 2 years), and candy corn!
Sharon: Dearie me. Time travel does indeed fly when you’re having fun. Skhye, thank you for being with us on this special day. Where can readers buy Naked on the Staircase and get in touch with you? I know you mentioned it earlier (wicked chuckle escapes her lips) but that was before they drank the witch’s brew. So tell them again please.
Purchase your copy of NAKED ON THE STAIRCASE: in paperback (anthology with SACRIFICIAL HEARTS) HAUNTED HEARTS at http://tinyurl.com/ahjmz2 in e-format Oliver appears as the Gredorian chant plays on the organ. He thrusts his leather-clad hips and removes a chain from around his neck. He lassoes the witch close to his hairy chest and takes her for a spin around the ballroom. As the woman shrieks in delight from behind the walls, the ghostly figures vanish into the night. Skhye’s definitely getting more details to add to one of her paranormal romances!