Thursday, September 27, 2012

School Rules with Guest Blogger: Terry Spear

Win a copy of Savage Hunger 
and welcome paranormal author 
Terry Spear to the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about how school work comes in handy even all these years later and here's what she had to say...

When you were a kid in school, did you ever wonder why you had to learn so much stuff that didn’t make any difference in your life? Who cares about fractions or percentages or dissecting dead frogs smelling of formaldehyde?

Did you ever discover that you learned something you really loved and so it wasn’t all that bad?
Were you ever fascinated with a topic you didn’t study later, but today still, you remember it and sometimes think about it?

One day that I was working at the library, I had to count the money and do the reports. No one else knew how to calculate the percentage of sales tax and so we were cheating ourselves out of the money and paying the state too much sales tax every day. I used algebra to work the problem backward to figure it out. Now, others could have just used a percentage to figure out the correct amount. But that’s what I love about math. You could go about a problem using different methods and come up with the right answer.

One of the ladies who had been doing the reports forever (and I was the newbie here), refused to calculate it that way, stating that no one told her from higher up and without their okay, she wouldn’t do that. The higher ups were the ones telling us that she (since she did most of the reports) was wrong in the way she was figuring the percentage.

I had taken math a hundred years ago, and who knew I’d ever save the library money years and years and years later?

One of the subjects I found fascinating in college was botany. I used this in A Howl for a Highlander where the heroine is a botanist researching for a college grant on one of the most beautiful island paradises. I have a lot of fun writing about plants. I love them. I grow jasmine and roses and cypress trees, southern pine, crepe myrtles galore. I have irises and crocuses and daffodils and day lilies. I even have a sago palm. What I don’t have is a wolfish hunk like she meets during her stay in paradise.

I keep working at it. If she can do it, so can I.

I mention her again when there’s a tie in to plant study in the Amazon in A SEAL Wolf Christmas. Perfect, right? The Amazon has some of the most variety of plant species that we haven’t even documented yet. Cancer cures have been found in the Amazon. It provides a huge percentage of our oxygen. What will happen if the Amazon is all bulldozed down?

Turning deserts into lush forests has always been a fantasy of mine. It’s too bad we couldn’t do that, instead of tearing down our forests and jungles and turning them into deserts.

Speaking of the jungle, that’s where Savage Hunger is set, and after that, Jaguar Fever will have a chance to explore the rainforests of Belize.

I love doing research and learning what kind of plants and animals exist in these areas. Someone asked me, “Do they really have pink dolphins in the Amazon?”

Yes! And electric eels and piranha. Yet natives and guests alike swim in the river. I actually described a scene I’d taken from a picture I’d seen of gray-haired grandmas and grandpas floating in the river as pink dolphins swam around them. Had I known the dolphins existed before this?

I was doing an all pink blog—and came across the pink dolphins. I thought they were Photoshopped, so I did some research. Nope, not Photoshopped. They’re real. I never imagined a couple of years later I would write about them in Savage Hunger though!

So you see? I don’t need to be in school to keep learning. For every story I write, I research weather—ohmigosh, it’s hot and muggy in the jungle (I lived in hot muggy Florida across from a jungle-like swamp that I used to explore, so I know a little about hot and muggy), and buggy, but colorful? Tens of thousands of orchids? Colorful parrots, toucans, and other birds of paradise? Brightly colored frogs? (Don’t dissect those. They’re poisonous—every bit of them.)

But in Savage Hunger, and later, Jaguar Fever, the hero and heroine are one with the jungle. Think of it. If you were part jaguar, wouldn’t you feel at home in the environment? Sure you would!

In A SEAL Wolf Christmas, I talk a little about Christmas tree farm management. I love researching stories!

In Seducing the Wolf, I have a scene where the hero is swimming naked in a lake in Oregon. Now, I used to live there and so it’s not that I don’t remember something of the place. But, even so, it’s been years. So I was merrily writing about it, then I did some research to make sure my facts were straight, and yikes, some of the lakes were still closed because the snow was in the area. LOL

I love writing stories. And digging myself out of holes I’ve buried myself in. Once, I was writing in Dreaming of the Wolf where he wanted to take her to a drive-in movie. But then I realized they didn’t have any in the area. I’m jaded. Near here and where I lived in Oklahoma both had drive-ins, so I naturally assumed everyone did. Wrong.

So, there went the thought. Not that he didn’t suggest it, but it turned out not to be a viable option.

One of the things I loved learning about when I was in college was geology. Every time I drive on a road cut through a mountain, I glance at the layers of earth exposed for the geologists at heart to speculate about. The early layers, the way the earth was formed—a fault that caused the abrupt upheaval, an uplift…I’ve always been fascinated with how the layers came to be, what lived during the earlier times when the lower layers were on top.

I wonder the same about earlier people from more civilized times to even earlier than that. And I loved learning about caves, stalactites and stalagmites and exploring some on my own back east and in the Caribbean. And yes, they made their way into a story—Jaguar Fever!

I’m always learning about new things. I hope never to stop. What about you? Are you ready to take a trip to the jungle and see what there is to see? Meet up with a toothy jaguar that has some really hot moves when he’s in his human form?

Thanks so much for having me here today at Book Boost and one lucky person that answers my question will have a chance to win (see below for details).

A Note from the Book Boost:  Thank you for joining us, Terry.  Boy, if I ever need help with research, I know who to turn to.  You really have a knack for it.  Best of luck with finding that "wolfish hunk".  Please tell us more about your latest.


As a jaguar he is graceful and gorgeous...

Speedy and stealthy...

Fierce, independent, and wild...

As a man he is passionate and powerful...

Willful and wonderful...

And he'll stop at nothing to protect what's his...

Excerpt (edited for length):

She shrugged as if it made no difference although it did and she was having a hard time hiding her feelings. “Roger stuck it out with me for a while, figuring I’d return to my former self. But I had flashbacks of the killings, night terrors so vivid that I beat on him in my sleep, trying to make the bad go away.”

Connor cast her an elusive smile. Standing next to the wash basin with a soapy scrub brush and a frying pan caked with burned fish remnants, he had an appealing quality about him. Any man who would clean a frying pan that was that much of a mess had to have some good in him.

"Hey,” Kat admonished him for giving her such a smug smile. “If I slept with you and began beating on you in the middle of the night, I bet you wouldn’t stick around either.”

“Try me.”

Connor looked dead serious. Maya looked genuinely astonished, but then she quickly looked away, attempting to hide a smile.

Even Kat’s mouth gaped before she could recover. “You wouldn’t say that if you were in a deep sleep and I slugged you.”

“I bet we could come to some kind of arrangement that would mutually satisfy our need to sleep.”

Just the wicked gleam in his eyes said he wasn’t thinking about sleep.

Want More Terry?

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Contest Time:

Leave a comment (and answer Terry's question above) to be entered to win a copy of Savage Hunger. (US/Canada Addresses Only, please).

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**


Terry Spear said...

Good luck to everyone who comments!

Debby said...

I would love to meet a jaguar. Sounds like an amazing book!
debby236 at gmail dot com

Terry Spear said...

Thanks, Debby! They can be very HOT!

bn100 said...

I'd like to visit a jungle and a jaguar.


Terry Spear said...

Thanks for commenting, BN!

diva donna said...

My head is spinning with all the research that you do, and interesting things I learn from your books. and Savage Hunger is no exception. I never knew about Pink Dolphins either and a lot of other things, I can't mention now. The book is amazing. I know hot and muggy. I know Wolves. I live in Minnesota, so I don't know Jaguars...but I'm learning.

Terry Spear said...

Thanks, Donna! Yeah, I love the research and finding out all about new stuff. When I was doing my research for Jaguar Fever set partially in Belize, I discovered about the electric eels!

Bonnie said...

You know... I had to google the pink dolphins after you mentioned them. Not that I didn't believe you but I just had to see what one looked like. I love your posts because I learn exciting little tid-bits from them :-)
I'm looking forward to some hot steamy jungle jaguar lovin in Savage Hunger.

Terry Spear said...

I know what you mean, Bonnie! When I was doing that pink blog post, I really didn't believe there were real pink dolphins. I really thought they were photo shopped. I loved watching that program about a kind of hammerhead that was pink because it ate pink shrimp! They have golden hammerheads too. Stuff like that fascinates me!

SheriV said...

I want to visit the jungle and find my own jaguar shifter. :)

smurfettev AT gmail DOT com

Terry Spear said...

But what will you do with him, Sheri? Inquiring minds are all eager to know. And then it'll be in the next book. LOL!!!

Angela Adams said...

Great Excerpt. And, your book cover is HOT!

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