Saturday, July 27, 2013

My Books are at the Heathrow Airport!

 How cool is that?

 Wolf Fever, A Howl for a Highlander, and Heart of a Highland Wolf are all on display at Heathrow!

And Jaguar Fever is out!!!

 It’s going to be a wild romp through the jaguar jungle!
Jessie’s Review on USA TODAY
“I love cat shifters, so Jaguar Fever was a fun read, and although I didn’t read the first book, Savage Hunger, I understood the storyline, though I will be going back to read the first. Wade (hero) is also hot, very alpha and has a laser focus when it comes to Maya. As with all of Terry’s books, the love scenes are hot and blush-worthy. Her Heart of the Wolf series is also steamy.”

Happy Release Day to Maya and Wade!!! And am waiting to hear how you love them!
Praise for Savage Hunger:
“Dark, sultry, and primal romance…will leave readers breathless.”
—Fresh Fiction
“Humor, tenderness, and pure hot loving…an awesome and exciting new world.”
—Long and Short Reviews, 5 stars
“A sizzling page-turner, Terry Spear is wickedly talented.”
—Night Owl Reviews Reviewer Top Pick, 5 Stars
“Spear paints a colorful, vivid portrait of the lush jungle and deadly beauty…of jaguars.”
—Publishers Weekly
USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal romance novels and medieval Highland historical romances. In 2008 Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world. She lives in Crawford, Texas. For more information, please visit, follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear, and like her on Facebook,
To Purchase Jaguar Fever:

This is an artist doll made by doll artist Olivia Storm and will be in a giveaway to celebrate Vinspire's 10 year anniversary.

This is a picture of the storms over Texas that delayed my flights all day on the way to Atlanta. Of course, it won't storm when I'm home, but...

Now with the horrible 100 degree weather, wishing it would storm again. Or... just rain.

Have a lovely Saturday. Getting ready for my daughter-in-law's visit, so hope you all have a lovely weekend!
And if you get a chance to visit the airport at Heathrow, be sure and check out all the great titles! 

So what do you think? Is this me in a red hot mood or a chilled down mood? My wolf persona taking over? My wolves trying to get free so they can be shared by all?

It's just beautiful, isn't it? The artist, as lovely as her work, can be found here: Linda Garrett Bonaventura

Thank you both, and Donna for making it all happen! Two of my autographed books are going out to Linda for her lovely wolfish portrait of me. :) 

"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Busy vs. productive vs. frantic

The other day I updated my Facebook status with what I'd accomplished that day: wrote 3 chapters, drafted 1, cleaned out a closet, etc.

Someone posted back that I seem to get so much done in the course of a day, far more than she, and she's surprised because she's not working full-time and I am.

I think that's why I can be so productive. You know that old expression -- "if you want something done, give it to the busiest person in the room." I work full-time, which means I have very little free time. I tend to organize my free time very carefully. I get as much done as I can and I don't waste much time doing it.

I'm also up and moving by 5 a.m. every day, weekend or weekday. If I'm up by 5, then I can exercise and get ready for my work day, which starts at 6. I work (off and on, admittedly) until 5 in the afternoon. Because I telecommute full-time, I can take time in the day to get the groceries, do the laundry, and do those other errands that would normally suck time out of my weekend.

So when weekend rolls around, I have time to do what I want to do -- which makes it look like I get a lot done, but really, it's just a matter of organization.

Let's face it: if I didn't get organized, I couldn't produce 28 books in 7 years. Those are just the ones that are in print. I've got 4 more ready to go.

Now let's see ... where's that To Do List for the weekend ....

J L Wilson
(28 books and counting)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fiction and Facts -- Writing a Fact Based Novel

I would like to introduce my friend Jordan Bollinger as a guest today. Her story was so interesting that I had a hard time putting my Kindle down until I finished reading it. I asked her to blog about it and give you the opportunity to download it to your Kindle, too. -- Paisley Kirkpatrick
By Jordan Bollinger
There have always been historical occurrences that seem to mesmerize people. Throughout recorded times, random events over-lap, causing something that seems to change everything.
News of the Titanic sinking had people on both of the Atlantic incredulous. Everyone who was out of diapers at the time, remembers when Kennedy was shot. No, let me correct that -- they remember where they were when they heard President Kennedy had been killed. And half a century later, the attack on the Twin Towers became the current generation's 'historical mile-marker'.
In the same way, on a much smaller scale, horrific crimes have grabbed the spotlight. 'Leopold and Loeb', Son of Sam', 'the Zodiac Killer', 'the Uni-Bomber', and the Lindbergh kidnapping are only a few of the events that captured the twentieth century public's attention.
The nineteenth century had its own share spectacular crimes throughout the years between 1801 and 1900. However, the ones that are probably best remember -- because of their extensive coverage in the then emerging 'yellow press' happened near the end of the era.
In 1888, a murdering psychopath, the gutter press named Jack the Ripper, slashed his way through the east end London slum of Whitechapel -- leaving, at least five prostitutes -- not just murdered, but mutilated, as well. Four years later, across the Atlantic, the mill of town of Fall River, Massachusetts experienced its own horrific mutilating murders.
On the morning of August 4th, 1892, the cry of murder echoed in the streets of Fall River. At first, it was believed that only the wealthy business man, Andrew Borden, had fallen victim to an axe-wielding murderer. A short while later his second wife, Abby Durfee Borden, body was discovered in an upstairs bedroom.
Only five people resided in the extremely modest home on Second St.: the owner, Andrew Borden and his current wife, Abby; Andrew's two surviving daughters from his first marriage -- forty-two year-old Emma and her thirty-two year-old sister, Lizzie; and the housemaid -- twenty-five year-old, Irish immigrant, Bridget Sullivan.
At the time of the murders, the older daughter, Emma, was away -- had been away for almost two weeks. Mr. and Mrs. Borden were deceased. That left only the second daughter, Lizzie; and the little housemaid, Bridget, alive, in residence, and somehow spared brutalization. And, because of the rather strange arrangement of rooms in the little house, suspicion soon center on Bridget and Lizzie.
Lizzie was arrested after only three days of what the police claimed 'extensive' investigation. She was held for over ten months, before she was tried and found 'not guilty'.
No one else was ever prosecuted and Lizzie spent the remainder of her life beneath a veil of suspicion that she had 'gotten away with murder'. Over the years, many writers have put forth their own theory of the murders. And now, it's my turn.
I've always been fascinated by this mystery. I can understand how pent up frustrations could bubble up, and end in a blood-bath. After all, it happens much more often than any of us would truly like to admit.
I've read just about everything written about Lizzie Borden. I've watched the serious movie (the one starring Elizabeth Montgomery -- that stayed very close to the known facts -- as opposed to the Scream Queen rip-offs) and TV documentaries; and I've thought a lot about everything I've read. It was only natural that I'd form my own 'pet' theory.
As a writer, I get to make up all kinds of things; heroes and villains, new worlds, and exciting plot lines. But, this was different. Oh, I still get to mold characters and manipulate story lines. However, this time I had to stay within certain parameters.
Make no mistake, 'Sisterly Love' is a novel; but I've gone to great length to stick as close as possible to the known facts of the case. I've just chosen to interpret them in a unique way.
Anyone who knew anything regarding the murders is long dead. Although, there are tantalizing rumors that Lizzie's defense attorney left some papers that may reveal new information -- if his heirs decide to release any of them.
We will probably never really know what happened that morning.
But I have an idea…

Monday, July 22, 2013

Whew! Great Conference

RWA® 2013

You've probably seen a ton of posts on blogs, FB, and Twitter about the 2013 conference in Atlanta, so I'll keep this post short. After the long drive home yesterday, I feel as if I have a bit of a hangover. Although I'm moving a bit slow, my mind is in a whirl, making to-do lists.
There are so many reasons to attend a conference such as this. Number one for me is connecting with other writers who understand the ups and downs of the business. Last year was my first conference and this year I enjoyed hanging with friends I'd made and meeting new friends.
Workshops are the second reason I attend National conference. I was happy to see so many self-publishing workshops this year. Thank you, RWA! I attended several, along with the spotlights on Kobo and Smashwords.
Many chats in workshops and around the lounge referred to a somewhat new term, hybrid author. An author who publishes both traditionally and indie like our very own Terry Spear. I also heard the term tri-published. An author who publishes digital only with a small publisher, traditionally, and indie. The times they are a changing! Yay!
~Dawn Marie
Author of  Just Beyond the Garden Gate, A Highland Gardens Novel
Available on Kindle and Nook

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Made for the big screen

About this video

My home is now the 'motel-restaurant-staging area' for the Middle Americans film shoot.  Between 6 and 13 cast and crew are here for ten days filming my daughter's new comedy webseries.

The script is printed and in binders. Wardrobe is organized downstairs by actor and episode. My refrigerator and six coolers are stuffed with meals, snacks, and beverages.

I will have an on set view of kind of what it would be like to have a novel made into a movie--if I were allowed to retain creative control, which is unlikely unless my daughter produces and directs it. After I finish it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fear and Emotion

In a thriller, or even in a romantic suspense, fear is an essential emotion. The protagonists are exposed to unusual scary situations. As a result, they are thrown out of their comfort zone into traumatic experiences. We can’t expect them to act naturally. Fear may be one of the important emotions they feel, either because they are facing an enemy determined to attack them or because the enemy wants to hurt someone dear to them. Even the macho hero is exposed to fear as he tries to protect his beloved heroine, or a child, or a defenseless person threatened by evil.

I’m often thrown out by characters so tough they can fly through horrible situations without blinking an eye.

In my new book, NEIGHBORS AND MORE, a romantic suspense, available at Amazon,   the heroine Alexa is trying hard to be strong in the face of adversity, crime, and a baffling situation that gets more complicated by the hour. Every time she copes with a problem, she deals with her emotions and promises herself she won’t let anything affects her from now on, until a new crisis challenges her, until she’s pushed to the limit of endurance.
Of course, Dante is at her side, playing his hero part.

As writers, we strive to convey those feelings of suspense, fear, and expectation to the reader.  
As readers, we love to bite our nails, feel our pulses racing as we study the scene of the crime, analyze the details, and try to guess who’s done it.

Have you ever been exposed to fear? Real fear?

I did when an intruder entered my house years ago, stole the stereo, my children’s piggybank, and my gold bracelets. When I heard from my then three-year old daughter that she saw a nice man with a big heavy suitcase in our fenced backyard and he patted her on the head, I almost collapsed. But this story is for another time.
NEIGHBORS and MORE: Life in a high rise, 300 neighbors & a man dead in a Jacuzzi.
"Neighbors and More was a fun #sexy read that kept me guessing until the end." D. Johnson. #romance, #suspense,
 NEIGHBORS and MORE: Can she count on her dear neighbors, including Dante, for help? #romance, #suspense,


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Importance Of Being Cricket

Today’s blog post is about pen names and why people use them. Or at least it is why I use a pen name since I’m sure there are almost as many reasons for using pen names as there are people who have them. One reason might be that you don’t like your own name and want something snazzier, or maybe the name you have doesn’t fit in with what you write. For example if your name is Suzy Sunshine, you might not be taken seriously as a hard-core thriller writer. Much better to use a pen name like Susan Banyon.

By the way, I am making these names up. I don’t know a Suzy Sunshine or Susan Banyon, although I’m sure both these names exist and likely belong to lovely people. But I digress.

My honest-to-goodness real-life name is Janet Miller. I wasn’t born Janet Miller but since I took my husband’s name when I married a great number of years ago, most of my adult life I’ve been known by that name. And when I first started writing my nice little romance novels about people on space ships and vampires who kept companions as blood donors, I put my real name on the books. They had sex in them but not too much and I wanted everyone to know I was a writer.

And then I got laid off from my day job and after a worrying search, took a new job at a larger and potentially more conservative company. A few months after starting my new job I sold my first book to Ellora’s Cave, a prominent erotic romance publisher, where the small press authors were actually making money. And that led me to a dilemma. Did I dare put my easily findable name on erotic romance novels and risk my job?

Cricket's latest Hollywood
After Dark book
The answer was to pick a new name, something that would at least give me plausible deniability to anyone who felt I might be risking the reputation of the company with my sexier stories. And thus Cricket Starr was born. Cricket was the name we had for a pet guinea pig when I was a teenager, and Starr was from Brenda Starr, who was a comic page character, a glamorous and intrepid reporter. The name seemed to be right for my books, humorous and I hoped a little classy, and for a long time I sold very well under that name. I had a good audience, solid reviews, and more than a few awards for my Cricket Starr books. But outside of Ellora’s Cave, my name wasn’t as well known and when the bulk of sales moved from the publisher’s website to the online stores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, my sales dropped off.

Recent books published under the Cricket Starr name haven’t done well at all. And this leaves me with a new dilemma. Do I continue to write erotic romance as Cricket Starr and hope that the name will eventually catch the public eye, or do I switch to a new erotic name? Do I even think that continuing to write erotic romance is a good idea since my non-erotic work is selling so much better?

But even if I do stop writing erotic romance, what do I do about the twenty-plus titles that currently have Cricket Starr’s name on them? Some actually are Janet Miller-style books, some sex but not erotic, that I never intended to be erotic romance novels. All Night Inn, Tasting Nightwalker Wine, and Christmas With Sarah are three examples. The author name was changed when the Cerridwen imprint was folded back into Ellora’s Cave. Those books I could switch back to Janet Miller books, and will if I ever get the rights back to them.

But the rest I did write as erotic books and to change the sex level would require rewriting the entire book. Not only do I not want to do that, I’m proud of those books as they are. They have sex, but they also have character development, unexpected plot twists, and a lot of humor, for all that they are erotic books. They’ve won awards, including two PRISM trophies as well as pins, plus Golden Angels, review site Top Picks, and a coveted four and a half star Top Pick from RT Book Lovers. There isn’t anything wrong with the books as they are. They are hot, sexy, fun-to-read erotic shorts, novellas, and novels.

So is it the name Cricket that is turning off prospective buyers? How does one figure something like that out and what to do if that is the case? 

Anyone have any ideas?

Janet Miller/Cricket Starr

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Forgive me ahead of time if I don’t jump in to plug this blog post or comment on it.  If I have my dates right, I’ll be on my boat in a place where I cannot receive or send e-mail.  My apologies ahead of time.  And to prove I’m telling the truth about my location, you can track me on our GPS breadcrumbs at this site and learn about our adventures on my DH’s blog.

For your reading pleasure, I have a confession to make and a tidbit to offer, silly as it may seem.
You know those metal-based or ceramic brushes used by our hairdressers to fluff up our hair as they blow dry our tresses?  I’d never used one until four years ago.  The process appeared to be impossible to maneuver by oneself, so I never even tried it.

Three things happened to change my mind.  First, I heard about a high-priced salon owner in L.A., who charged $250 for a half-hour instruction on how to blow-dry your own hair using the brushes. (Are you kidding me?) Second, I wanted to let my hair grow long and try for a poofy look.  Third, the hairdresser I’ve used for twelve years, looked at me like I was an imbecile when I said I surely couldn’t get the hang of it. 

So I went to a salon supply store and learned how to pick the right brush.  The rest was practice, practice, practice.  I also experimented with the goops and mousses I could apply to my hair to retain the poof.

I’ve come to think of my new skill as good exercise for my arms.  I mean, you really have to stretch and strain to keep that brush AND the hair dryer up in the air for all that time.  What's more, there is a kind of art to it to take pride in...and I didn't have to spend $250 to figure out how to do it!

Here on the boat, I tend to do the quickie blow-dry when the generator is on.  Forget the poof.   Most important tip for the summer: Relax and enjoy it!  Rolynn

Friday, July 12, 2013

How do you create unique characters?

Recently, I read an article in a newsletter that said to create compelling characters you have to know them inside and out.  You have to know and understand what makes them do the things that they do.

To do this they suggested:
-know your characters' history: where they were born, schools attended, first loves, etc.
-go beyond basics
-endear your characters to the readers
-dig deep to uncover motivations: how do your characters see the world

I thought the article was interesting and straight forward.  I've had editors tell me the exact opposite of this article.  This article tells you not to throw magic into a story just to make it different, not to mish-mash things just because...but I've had editors point me in the exact opposite direction because...well, ordinary is ordinary and not interesting.

I read books across many genres: paranormal, science fiction, women's fiction, and they all manage to keep me interested for different reasons.  Of course, like so many people, I have my favs :-)

No matter the genre, if there is something unnecessary there, it pulls me out of the story.  I did like Elvis occasionally appearing in the Sookie Stackhouse series, but I've read far more books that tried to add quirks to make the story interesting and it didn't work.

What do you think?

What have been some of the most unique things you've read in stories that did or didn't work?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You'd think I would have this figured out after 6 years

I have a lot of books out (28 or so), and I have struggled with how to direct people to information about each book.

For a while I had a page on my web site that talked about each one with links. Well, that got too long very quickly. Then I set up a page with just New Book info, but the old books are still out there, available to purchase, so I felt I was neglecting them.

I finally came up with what I think is a workable solution: individual book pages. Here's an example. I have these linked via the Shopping page on my web site. Now when I have a new book out, all I have to do is link to that one particular page.

I should have thought of this years ago! I guess I didn't think about the problems managing dozens of books.

Silly me....

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Take a Moment to Enjoy the Flowers...

Night Blooming Daylily
Whoa! I’ve been crazy-busy for the last several months. June totally blew by with the release of Just Beyond the Garden Gate and the following virtual tour. Next week, I’ll head to Atlanta to attend the RWA® 2013 national conference. I’m a tad overwhelmed by all I need to do before I leave. But, I took a deep breath and stole a moment to enjoy the beauty in my WIP garden.
Aren’t these daylilies gorgeous? Well, actually they are special. They bloom in the evening. I purchased them when we lived in New Jersey and were working late hours. In July, these beauties greeted us at our doorstep after a long day in the corporate world. We potted a few plants and moved them to Maryland with us.
Last night, we enjoyed their sweet perfume while having a glass of wine. I imagine faeries visited after we went to bed.
Available for Kindle and Nook

The Scottish Highlands—a place where faeries and brownies and other fae creatures dance through time. On occasion, so do mere mortals.

Determined to regain her royal status, a banished faerie princess accepts a challenge from the High-Queen of the Fae to unite an unlikely couple while the clan brownie attempts to thwart her.

Passion ignites when a faerie-shove propels burned-out business consultant Laurie Bernard through the garden gate, back through time, and into the embrace of Patrick MacLachlan. The arrogant clan chief doesn’t know what to make of the lass in his arms, especially when he recognizes the brooch she wears as the one his stepmother wore when she and his father disappeared.

With the fae interfering at every opportunity, the couple must learn to trust one another while they battle an enemy clan, expose a traitor within their midst and discover the true fate of the missing parents. Can they learn the most important truth—love transcends time?

Journey from the lush gardens of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to the Scottish Highlands of 1509 with Just Beyond the Garden Gate.
~Dawn Marie