The Friendly Skies… I Mean SIKES

Mary Montague SIKES writes the Passenger to Paradise series. Simple-minded dolt that I am, I knew her for weeks before I realized that, just because she wrote about passengers, that didn’t mean her name was Skies. It isn’t Skies, it’s Sikes. Mary Montague Sikes. The “i” comes first, and then the “k”. Well, the “s” comes first. Capital “s”, in fact…. Capital “s”, small “i”, small “k”, small “e” small “s”. Sikes.

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Mary Montague SikesFrom her first visit to the Caribbean in 1980, award-winning author Mary Montague Sikes has been enchanted with the islands. Her love of the tropics inspired her to set her first novel, Hearts Across Forever, in Jamaica. Her latest novel, Night Watch, is set in Trinidad.

A Fredericksburg, Virginia native, Sikes is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Following her love of art, she studied painting and sculpture at the College of William and Mary. In 1980, she received a MFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her art is now on view at Petersburg Regional Art Center in Petersburg, at Prince George Art and Frame in Williamsburg, at Tides Inn in Irvington, and at Glen Allen Cultural Art Center in Glen Allen.

A freelance writer and photographer as well as a book author, Sikes presents programs for art, writing, and civic organizations. For the past 11 years, she has taught art at West Point Elementary School. For more information on Sikes, her books, and her art, please visit her Web site:


Night Watch Cover

A resort in Trinidad is an ocean away from the English Channel, but at first Lily doesn’t comprehend the ties the locations have with gun-running and stolen artwork. Trying to become a photojournalist, Lily doesn’t have time to understand her own connection to the past as she deals with fear and danger in caves, a nature preserve, a car chase, and kidnapping in a speed boat heading to the Grenadines. Does she recognize the dragonfly necklace because of its symbolic meaning or because she is a “walk-in” who relates to reincarnation?

Night Watch, set in Trinidad, developed from some of the adventures author Mary Montague Sikes and her husband experienced when they traveled to the big island located off the coast of Venezuela. They expected a vacation but instead found themselves caught up in a variety of exciting escapades. As always in her writing journey, Sikes used her imagination and asked the question, “what if?” She also thought about the old movie, “Casablanca” featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman that became a classic. She imagined that Trinidad might be like Casablanca, and she found that in some ways it was.

A network of dark caves with stalactites and stalagmites, located on that island, created lots of “what ifs” for Sikes, especially when she learned of the island’s colonial history and found the caves were once frequented by pirates who hid their treasures there. Crossing the gulf and passing ocean-going vessels made her wonder, what if Lily, her heroine, journeyed by small boat over these waters late at night with her life in danger? What if she looked like a woman murdered in the waters of the English Channel and mistaken identity put her in danger? What if she were caught up in a gunrunning mystery and later kidnapped? What if, to add to the intrigue, a series of art thefts might also be part of the mystery?

Because of Sikes’ fascination with exotic destinations, her publisher, Oak Tree Books, created “The Passenger to Paradise” series for her books. “Be swept away to distant lands, exotic locales,” is the slogan designed for the books along with a special logo. All will feature unusual and sometimes dangerous adventures she actually experienced on trips to these islands.

Other books in the series are: Hearts Across Forever, set in Jamaica and featuring the white witch of Rose Hall, past lives, and present day voodoo; Eagle Rising, with Sedona’s powerful vortexes and burnished landscapes; Secrets by the Sea, with a sprawling mansion overlooking the shores of Antigua. In that book, the reader gets to tour every room—exquisite ones, charming ones, and the secret ones. Future books will be set in Guadeloupe, St. Martin’s, the Bahamas and other beautiful and mysterious locations.

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Thanks for visiting, Monti! I’m reading NIGHT WATCH and can’t wait to find out how it comes out!

WRITING PROMPT: What’s the most exotic place you’ve visited? Write three paragraphs about the place. Who was there, not just with you but around you? Make them characters. Imagine a possible plot line.


p.s. It’s Tuesday, so I’m also posting at Fatal Foodies today.


I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “The Friendly Skies… I Mean SIKES

  1. Mary Montague Sikes - Monti

    November 16, 2010 at 7:36am

    Thanks for having me as your guest today, Marian.

    It’s surprising how many people make that mistake, so it must be a trick of the eye that causes it. I usually just answer to whatever!

    I’m impressed by your half-way there NaNo thermometer next to where I’m writing!

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  2. Nancy Williams

    November 16, 2010 at 9:55am

    I haven’t been to many exotic places. I suppose the closest in terms of weather was Disney World when my children were younger. I will turn them into Disney characters for your pleasure.

    Pooh Bear (my oldest Anika), scratched her tummy and said, “I want to ride the tea cups Kanga.” (I’m Kanga).

    Tigger, jumping up and down and unable to container herself, (sorry, I only have daughters and this one is Beth) said. “Ooooo…I want to ride the alien ride. Can I, can I, can I, please, please, please?”

    Eeyore, (my husband), said. “I suppose…” mope, frown, turnaround. “I’ll go on the alien ride with Tigger. No one else will.”

    I swear a dark cloud began to form over Eeyore’s head but as always, Tigger bounced right through it and Eeyore caught her infectious attitude.

    Later, after a pleasant and uneventful Tea Cup ride, Tigger and Eeyore returned.

    “You should have heard her scream,” Eeyore said.

    “Mommy, an alien came down and touched me. I almost bounced right out of the ride,” Tigger said.

    True story…except, Eeyore was not himself and very excited most of the time.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

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  3. Patricia Stoltey

    November 16, 2010 at 12:58pm

    Enjoyable post, Monti — thanks to Marian for hosting Monti on her tour. Exotic locations make great settings for novels and can almost become a character in the plot.

    I was fortunate to live in the South of France for a couple of years. I keep toying with ideas for a novel of suspense, even have a pretty bad first draft based on one idea, but I’ve set it aside for now. It’s just not coming together. Maybe later.

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  4. Mary Montague Sikes

    November 16, 2010 at 1:42pm

    I would love to read your South of France book. Lucky you–such a great place for artists!



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  5. The Golden Eagle

    November 16, 2010 at 1:53pm

    Great post on Mary Montague Sikes and her book!

    I was adopted from China . . . does that count?

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  6. Mary Montague Sikes - Monti

    November 16, 2010 at 4:40pm

    Hi Golden Eagle,

    Thanks for commenting!

    Adopted from China definitely gives you a connection to a distant land. I’m sure there are many ways to use that connection in books.

    Do you have a hidden longing to return to your native land? I think I would always want to come back to Virginia. Just a thought.

    All the best,

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  7. W. S. Gager

    November 16, 2010 at 7:47pm

    I spend a summer in Europe but the best time was two weeks at a house an hour south of Paris. It was so cool. We went to several castles that were just over the next hill, it seemed.
    Each character would fit his castle. Versailles’ prince would be a very good dresser who wears lots of gold. Another castle was dark gray with thick walls and few windows. Its owner would wear black of course and be a little testy.
    The last castle was light gray, almost white and this one would have the princess locked in its circular turret waiting to be rescued by either of the first two princes. And the winner is….

    Just had to leave you hanging. Great idea for the blog is a writing assignment. It enjoyed meeting you at Magna Cum Murder, Marion. It wasn’t until late Saturday that I figured out how I knew your name. Then I never had a chance to talk with you.

    Monti: Great post as always. Happy Travels!
    W.S. Gager


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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 17, 2010 at 12:47pm

      I love your castles as characters! One of my recent short stories had a character talking about people as “haunted castles”, each one with one lonely person looking out of the window at people in the windows of all the other haunted castles.

      Nice to meet you, too. It’s hard to place people out of context. 🙂

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  8. Susanne Drazic

    November 19, 2010 at 9:03am

    The most exotic place I’ve been is to the Bahamas on my honeymoon. It was a four day/three night cruise.

    Interesting post about the author and her books.

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