Monday, February 22, 2010

The Value of Research in Writing Cultures of Long Ago by Skhye Moncrief

Skhye Moncrief, author of the Time Guardians, is here today to share her research about Love Potions. Let's give her a warm welcome.

I love quotes. You can do so much with them in writing fiction. I also find taking literature courses to study history is one of the most revealing ways to uncover cultural details for reconstructing a moment in time for the reader. Or I studied archaeology too long. [Note here: one must have deciphered the ancient text of extinct cultures to pluck details such as the one I am about to share with you. Without historical documentation, we have no evidence of what the culture's members thought. But I'm going with Shakespeare here. So, we're not in need of a Rosetta Stone.] Although, I have learned that it's truly difficult to understand period metaphors without guidance. I learned that truth while researching for my time traveling Druids in my Time Guardian series.

Just how in the heck do we even know what people did to snare their heart's desire? Well, I'm always on the hunt for great research books. Today, I'm sharing LOVE POTIONS by Julia Jones and Kenneth Ames. I've pulled this one out before when posting about love and romance. And since it's the month of love, why not revisit this treasure?

"Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell,

It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it Love-in-Idleness.

Fetch me that flower - the herb I showed thee once;
The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid
Will make a man or woman, madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees."

~William Shakespeare, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Jones & Ames, p. 17)

Jones and Ames note how legend describes pansies as initially being white but shot with Cupid's bow now wears the colors of the wounds caused by love. Pansies were called "heartsease" by the Celts and thought to cure the broken heart through the 17th Century (p. 16). They've provided a potion for those considering its use...

2 tsp heartsease
2-3 cloves 1 Tsp clear honey
1/2 pint red wine

Cover the herbs and spice with boiling water, cover, steep 10 mins. Strain. Sweeten with honey. Add wine. Warm and serve. (p.16). If your wip deals with a broken heart before the 17th Century in a culture affected by the Celts, this quote and potion can add an authentic romantic ambiance.

Now, my Celtic Time Guardians don't use heartsease. My humanitarians are from the future. My heroines use cinnamon incense to control their spouses. The burning incense triggers a hypnotic state in male time guardians. I figured girls need an upper hand! *wink* However, both the male and female order members use Highland Heather incense to attract spirits in hopes of receiving news of who their soul mates are during time-travel jaunts through history. Long story... But Highland Heather incense is known for ghost conjuring. And that just leaves open way too much conflict with all the things that could go wrong. *snicker* I'll just add everything else is history! Thanks for having me over, Karen. ~Skhye

"Arthur is a masterpiece..." HE OF THE FIERY SWORD's King Arthur ~Diane Mason; The Romance Studio

"A story that will keep you on the edge of your seat and telling others to leave you alone until you're finished... 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." 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

HE OF THE FIERY SWORD available at

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


Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Welcome, Skhye. Thank you for sharing your intriguing information with us. I enjoyed the post.

Skhye said... Best Blogger Tips

You're welcome. Maybe the info will come in handy? :) The authors' LOVE TOKENS is just as fascinating. I also blog about reference books at

Skhye's Feb/March contest: one person will win...

1 THE EMERGENCY CHOCOLATE KIT: Boyfriend Replacement Kit

1 DRAGON SLAYER Voodoo Doll Key Chain

1 Limited Edition pink grapefruit TicTacs

1 Physician's Formula SHINY ROSE Plump Potion

Maggie Shayne's BLOODLINE


Read the contest details at


Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Emergency Chocolate kit? I need that on a regular basis. lol

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Heartsease has been mentioned in several books I've read, but I'd not known what it was. Thanks for clearing that up. I'm not a writer, but I love the research. Nothing like having a head full of information you may never use. I enjoy it, and that is what counts.

Skhye said... Best Blogger Tips

Don't we all, Karen? LOL

Hi, LibraryPat. Don't worry about all those things whirling around inside your head. I've got the same problem. ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Mary Ricksen said... Best Blogger Tips

Just where do we get lovesease?

Skhye said... Best Blogger Tips

I don't know, Mary. Have you researched lovesease? Heartsease is just the pansy flower. :) Thanks for stopping by!

Margaret Tanner said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Skhye,
Thanks for sharing such interesting information. Being an historical writer myself, I love anything to do with history.

Skhye said... Best Blogger Tips

You're welcome, Margaret. :)

Debra St. John said... Best Blogger Tips

HI Skhye,

Interesting post.

Anyone get a chance to try the potion yet?!??!

Skhye said... Best Blogger Tips

LOL, Debra. I was hoping someone would confess by now too... Thanks for asking. ;)

Skhye said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey, Karen. I'm a black wolf: You're dark and mysterious. You fear nothing! But everything fears you!

I guess I shouldn't have said my favorite food is meat? But there wasn't a chocolate option!


Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Skhye-- lol

Hmm, maybe I shouldn't laugh at the black wolf. Raw meat covered in chocolate coming your way.

Skhye said... Best Blogger Tips

It's an omen... I have the Fairy Oracle Tarot. You're supposed to pick the card that appeals to you most and the one that repulses you. I picked Spirit Dancer (beautiful) and the Soul Shrinker (ugh). It turns out they are the opposites of each other (the Soul Shrinker is like the inverted Spirit Dancer). So, do dip my meat in chocolate... ;)

Mindy said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Karen & Skhye :)
What a cool article :)
I love learning about other cultures.
I had read about pansey/ heartsease in high school Shakespear but never could find a recipe about how it would have been used.
A boyfriend replacement kit? that works too

SiNn said... Best Blogger Tips

i love your posts really i do ty for stoping in and the spells and everything are just well interesting and awesome

Skhye said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks, Mindy & SiNn!!! Do tell us if the potion works. ;) Pansies are a winter flower. They're everywhere right now!

Carol North said... Best Blogger Tips

Terrific interview and recipes. OOps, got to go--the water is boiling.