Where Romance and History Meet - www.heartsthroughhistory.com/

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guest Blogger - Skhye Moncrief: Books of Magic for Research

President of Hearts Through History Melinda Porter invited me over to share a few resources that might be helpful to those authors wanting to put what I consider an authentic slant to their historical wips without going over the top and creating a new world that has nothing to do with what readers consider historical. I'm known on my blog, SKHYE'S RAMBLINGS, for posting my personal collection of reference books. My library spans many topics. "Many" may not be the best word. For example, I'm formally educated in geology (paleontology) and anthropology (bioarchaeology). A person acquires a lot of books studying those two subjects. I've also taken quite a bit of ceramics and art history on the side. Then, I write about time travelers who are alchemists from the future who use magic and a force only the fairies control to travel along the timeline. Take alchemy as an outgrowth of scientific study, add Druid and Freemason beliefs, and shake... You can see how I had to do some research to devise logical cultural evolution for my time travelers in the future.

My personal library tripled in size as the geo-archaeologist pushed up her sleeves and went in to descry what in the heck Druids were in prehistory, history, and today. We literally know nothing other than what Romans reported in documents or what has been historically recorded in the past few centuries as the revival of a belief system. The same holds true for witchcraft. But what we do have to play with when researching fairies are a few wonderful collections of information that were written by people we hold in high esteem--academia. I'm going to share some of the books with you just in case you're writing a historical with a speck of magic. Okay, maybe you just need to know which deity a person might have known about or secretly revered...

SPIRITS, FAIRIES, LEPRECHAUNS, AND GOBLINS: An Encyclopedia by Carol Rose. If you want to find a vague legend to weave into your historical wip, buy this book.

GIANTS, MONSTERS, AND DRAGONS: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth by Carol Rose. Rose's other collection of factual tidbits is certain to become a springboard for your creativity.

Turner, Coulter, and Coulter's DICTIONARY OF ANCIENT DIETIES has it all. Flip to any page and find tons of information from cultures through time spanning the globe.

Lindahl, McNamara, and Lindow's MEDIEVAL FOLKLORE is a book I refer to often. It's extensive entries can often be overwhelming when you go in to search for an answer. But I'd rather be inundated with information than operate on a line or two.

Search for a copy of Christian mythology if you want to find really good new twists for the same old story. I'd give you the title of mine but it's buried in the garage. We're still renovating (carpet/tile/countertops/shelves). I have no idea which box contains the coffeetable-sized tome.

A book's introduction I found incredibly useful for creating a knight was in the SONG OF ROLAND. The version I used is at
http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com/2008/09/04/the-song-of-roland.aspx filed away at my blog among my Reference Books blog posts.

If you're interested in even more paranormal, fantasy, or historical references, visit http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com. My ever-growing reference-book blog-post list currently has approximately 150 titles.

~Skhye

15 comments:

Beth Caudill said...

Hey Skhye

I've got most of these put on my wish list but did need to add a few. :)

Always happy to add a new book...just need to figure out where to store it.

Skhye said...

LOL, Beth! The Dictionary of Ancient Dieties is AMAZING.

SFWriterMasha said...

Skhye, I had the same problem with pre-Christian Russian beliefs. Not much known there, and it's hard to dig up some facts out of the modern myths about old times. Unfortunately, most of my sources are not in English... Go figure...

Skhye is a great one for throwing amazing resources at you and for brainstorming keywords for searches. Research geeks unite!

Skhye said...

Masha, let me just say what academia teaches about medieval Christianity in some of the liberal arts courses I've taken leaves much to be desired! I had to piece the evolutionary thought process together in lit classes. The professor did know the answers to my questions. The other students were so lost even when I asked questions...

Cindy K. Green said...

Great resources Skhye! I did look up the Sayers version of Song of Roland on Google books and the Intro is there. Reading through it now. Thanks!

Linda LaRoque said...

Hey, Skhye. Thanks for the great list of references. I'll see if they have any copies on albris.com/
Linda
www.lindalaroque.com

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Very nice list Skhye,
Thanks for sharing. I mist get a copy of the Dictionary of Ancient Dieties.
I read the Song of Roland when I was a kid. I use it as well for a knight stories.
So romantic....

Mary Ricksen said...

I wish I could buy every single one of them. They all hold fantastic information!
Thanks Skhye, great reference books.

Emma Lai said...

Great info as always, Skyhe! I long for a world in which all reference books were in English and posted on the web for reading. *Sigh.* A girl can dream!

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Great information, Skhye! I have so much respect for anyone who can research for historicals, and for those who can create entire new believable worlds in their imagination for fantasy and paranormal. Awesome!

Skhye said...

Thanks, Emma, Mary, Stacey, Marie-Claude, Cindy, and Linda. I know I'm sick and have this strange OCD behavior toward possessing reference books. But you can get them USED! ;)

Christina Phillips said...

Great list, Skhye. Oh I love researching my historicals, there just aren't enough hours in the day for it all!!!

Skhye said...

Tell me about it, Christina. I'm lucky my extra-long stint in college forced me to learn tons of information, or I'd never get anything written! Once I'm interested in a subject, I can't stop reading about it. ;)

Nicole North said...

Thanks for the great list of reference books, Skhye!! I can't wait to browse through some of these.

Skhye said...

Thanks, Nicole. These really aren't "magic" resources. But they definitely can help the researcher of history. ;)