Most of the time, my interest in sports is limited to NCAA football, and to a lesser degree, figure skating. I don’t go mad in March, and when the Stanley Cup came to town several years ago, I didn’t have my picture taken with it.
But once every four years, athletes in summer and winter sports come together for the Olympics. Until August 12th, I will join billions throughout the world to watch track, swimming and gymnastics, both men’s and women’s. But what I like best about the Olympics is that the lesser-known sports will also be highlighted — the ones whose top athletes you’ve never heard of, and that you may not watch again for another four years.
While the Olympics are on, however, I will get up early to watch things like the equestrian events, rhythmic gymnastics and water polo. Mind you, I don’t ride, I could make two (at least) of the young ladies who compete in gymnastics, and I am an average swimmer. Yet there I’ll be in the wee hours of the morning, looking for live broadcasts.
Part of the attraction of the Olympics for me is that behind the monolithic stadiums and the cheering crowds are a thousand individual stories. We’ll never hear more than the tiniest sliver of them. Each is unique, and we’ll be reminded again that some of the athletes walking into tonight’s Opening Ceremonies have had to travel more than physical distance to get there.
Some have come to London from war zones. Some have battled poverty, prejudice, or both to find a way to train. Seeing someone attain a major goal inspires all of us. In spite of cynicism about commercialism, nationalism, and IOC politics, the Olympics are still A Very Big Deal. Athletes will compete through mental blocks and physical injury because they won’t be stopped from achieving the dream of competing in this unique world arena.
And I will be getting up at 3 a.m. to cheer them on.
What are your favorite Olympic events or stories? There are plenty to choose from, aren’t there!
We went to the best museum over the weekend. It’s called Historic Auto Attractions, but it’s much more than cars. It even says so in its promotional material! We’d gone when it first opened about ten years ago and saw some really cool exhibits. Mostly cars (Johnny Cash’s “One Piece at a Time” car, a big foot monster truck, an old Chandler race car, and a Secret Service limousine used the day President Kennedy was shot), but other neat things, too, like costumes from “Gone with the Wind” and some music memorabilia.
My husband had never been, (poor guy had to work the day we went before) so we decided to make another visit. I looked it up on line and couldn’t believe the scope of things that had been added. The number of items on display had at least quadrupuled. And each one was more fascinating than the last. I couldn’t wait to go explore, and the actual experience didn’t disappoint.
We saw the Delorian from “Back to the Future”, the hearse from “Ghost Busters”, three different Batmobiles, and the Family Truckster from “Vacation” (complete with Aunt Edna on top). There was a fleet of Presidential limousines (from Grant’s to Reagan’s), cars used by other world leaders (Hitler, Stalin), one of Elvis’ cars, and even a Richard Petty “43″ car. The “Gone with the Wind” display had expanded to include props from the movie. Galleries were devoted to stars like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, James Dean, and Johnny Cash (wax figures, clothing, personal items). About a dozen Presidents, plus half a dozen world leaders were represented in wax. Tableaus paying tribute to classic tv shows like “Happy Days”, “Mash”, “All in the Family”, and “Sanford and Son” were on display as well.
The latest addition (recently acquired by the museum) to the Kennedy exhibit was the top of the birthday cake from his 35th birthday, made famous by Marilyn Monroe’s sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday Mr. President”. We also saw the flag that had been draped over his casket while lying in state in the East Room of the White House. There were display cases of Jackie’s clothes, the briefcase he’d brought with him to Dallas, the printing plate used to print the newspaper headline telling of his assassination, and countless other artifacts. The exhibit had become an entire gallery. A smaller room held Lee Harvey Oswald artifacts, including his tombstone.
Talk about an eclectic mix of historically and culturally significant items. All on display in an off-the-beaten-path museum in northern Illinois. Who would have thought?
It made me wonder what kind of things will be left behind from the world today. What will future generations look at in museum displays? Will cell phones and computers seem prehistoric? Will airplanes be to them what horses and buggies are to us? What present day iconic books and movies will stand the test of time? “Twilight”, Harry Potter? Will there be a display of reality show tv? With so many to choose from, who will be the music and movie celebraties represented? Which President will be the ‘new’ Lincoln or Kennedy? When our present becomes the past, how will it be seen? What things will be thought of as fascinating? Old fashioned? Or just plain strange? What part of our history and culture will stand the test of time and become a legacy?
Until next time,
I was fortunate enough to land an interview with a great newspaper, The Examiner. In case some of you missed the interview, I’d like to share it.
Seriously Interviewed questions.
Thank you for sharing who you are with us. We have tried to make the process simple. There are two sets of questions. Serious questions and Are you serious? fun questions. Choose up to 5 questions from each list that you would like to answer.
Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity. I am thrilled you asked me for this interview.
Serious Questions – please use these questions to tell readers about you – the author and your books. Serious questions with serious answers. Choose up to 5 from the list.
What is your favorite thing about being a romance writer? My favorite thing about being a romance writer is the ability to make up characters and situations in my head. I love to get my characters into as much trouble as possible, then see if I can get them out of it. There is no better job in the world!
When writing your description of your hero/ine what feature do you start with? Eyes, age, hair color, etc? I usually begin with the most unusual or striking feature. For instance, in my book Innocence Lost, Megan has violet eyes and that is typically the first thing someone notices about her.
Is there anything special you do to get in the mood to write? For some odd reason, when I listen to Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and most classical music, this puts me in the mood to write. I may also read a book that strikes a chord and puts me in the right frame of mind to write.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m actually a little of both. I create plotlines for my stories, then just let my characters fill in the blanks. When I tried to plot an entire story, I found my characters usually had different plans, so I just gave up and let them have their way. For instance, in my forthcoming third book, Innocence Found, I had no idea a shot was about to be fired upon the hero in the park until it happened. That allowed for an interesting and somewhat inconvenient attempted murder charge to be inserted into the plot.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why? Well, I would recommend a first time reader start with the first book in my series, Innocence Lost. Although each book in the series is a stand alone book, they are in chronological order.
Are you Serious Question – these are fun, quirky bits about you. Answer with a single word or go into as much detail as you want. Choose up to 5 or come up with some of your own.
What song would best describe your life? Love Rollercoaster by The Ohio Players from their 1975 Honey album. No question!
What’s a guilty pleasure you have? Chocolate and shopping. Okay, that’s more than one, but I couldn’t decide which one to put down.
What sound drives you crazy? When someone eats with his or her mouth open. Arrgggg! I can’t stand the smacking!
If you came with a warning label, what would it say? Warning! Anything you say and do can and will be put in my next book!
What’s number one on your list of things you hope to do before you die? Be on the New York Times bestseller list.
I hope you enjoyed the interview. If you could ask your favorite author a question, what would it be?
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I love research. It opens doors in my mind and is often a source of ideas. When I browse the pages of books and web articles or scan websites, surprise plot twists evolve. Not always, but when they do, they’re a real bonus.
While researching Chaco Canyon of New Mexico, the setting for Flames on the Sky, and the pueblo Indians in the area, I ran across the word nukpanas, which means evil spirits. What a perfect name for the evil spirit that plans to destroy the ancient artifacts of Chaco Canyon. Further research allowed me to create a villain I could be proud of, one I hope my readers love to hate.
Though I have several books on the pueblos in New Mexico, the majority of my research data came from websites, in particular The New Mexico Parks Service and Government Archives. The Anasazi of 1000 A.D. held a monopoly on the turquoise trade so I spent a lot of time researching where they might have obtained their turquoise. I strove to make all aspects of the story—the Native American people, their language, dress, and etc. as accurate as possible.
Flames on the Sky is the second book of The Turquoise Legacy. In the first, My Heart Will Find Yours, I used the ancient piece of turquoise in Texanna’s locket, ley lines and spin torsion fields to initiate time travel. In the second story, I use those phenomena again but added the vortex to the mix. Until I started writing time travels, I never knew of these natural occurrences. Now, I can’t say they can actually cause time travel, but hey, that’s what imaginations are for.
Here is the link for the book trailer for My Heart Will Find Yours on U-tube.
The book trailer for Flames on the Sky won Most Artistic Trailer for June 2010 from The NEW Covey Trail Awards. Click on the book title to go to U-tube.
Both books are available in both ebook and print formats. You can purchase a copy at Amazon.com, The Wild Rose Press, Fictionwise.com and other online book stores.
Thanks for reading!
Why is it that, even when one feels bright and alive and full of anticipation, something can suddenly pop out and announce, “You aren’t sixteen–or twenty-six–or even thirty-six–anymore”? It could be a favorite song that’s suddenly become ‘classic’. Or the scent of a long-forgotten cologne. Or it could be that beloved granddaughter coming over with a special request–”I want to wear something vintage to the school dance so could I borrow that dress you have in the cedar closet, Grandmother?”
Any one of those instances would probably have called up a memory for me, one that would have given me a quick smile, a moment of nostalgia, and then passed out of memory as the next project took my attention. All of them? All on the same day? That might give me goose bumps but nothing more. First it was that song, Misty, that was playing in the background. Just a couple of bars of music seeping out of the lounge next to the restaurant where I intended to have lunch, just a few notes, and I was seventeen and hunting for the perfect party dress for the junior-senior mixer. The ‘seventeen again’ moment was still with me as the hostess guided me to my table and a drift of lilac cologne followed us for a few steps. I glanced aside, somehow expecting my little grandmother, gone for almost thirty years now, to be standing right beside me. And I was a young girl again for just a second before I remembered now I am the grandmother. Still those little inklings that time had flown weren’t enough to make me feel, well, old–maybe just a bit older. Even when my delightful Katie-Rabbit called later that day to ask about borrowing the dress I put away long before her mother was born, that wasn’t enough to focus my mind on the years slipping away. No, it took my mailman to do that!
Once my young angel had tried on, modeled and giggled a bit over the beaded bodice, sweeping skirts, and mounds of crinoline petticoats of my ‘vintage’ dress, I settled back to read the snail mail that had accumulated in my box the last few days. Most of my communications, like everyone else these days, comes through my computer. I venture down to the mail box every other day, or sometimes less. The only paper mail I get these days seems to be offers for cremation, reverse mortgages, or anti-aging cosmetics. So it was with some excitement I pulled out the thick, cream-colored square envelope that usually announces an invitation. Yes, it was an invitation–one I couldn’t decline but one I had mixed feelings about accepting.
YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN US, YOUR CLASSMATES, IN CELEBRATING THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR GRADUATION !!
Now hearing the song of my youth, catching the sweet lilac perfume of my childhood, even listening to my granddaughter make quips about my ‘old-timey’ dress hadn’t made me feel anything but a bit of nostalgia. But a reminder that it’s been fifty years since my high school graduation??? That made me feel ancient. Can it be? Have fifty years, half a century, passed since I was that misty-eyed, ever-hopeful young girl about to tackle the world armed with four years of French, all the good manners the sisters at St. Elizabeth could instill, and a firm belief that I could do anything I was big enough to try?
Truth is, yes, it has been fifty years. And I guess, technically, that makes me one of the older generation. But I refuse to accept that other word, o-l-d. Not as long as I can still giggle with Katie-Rabbit or dance the twist with my number one daughter. Not as long as I can walk in the moonlight with a handsome–albeit white-haired–Courtly Knight. Or as long as I can play in the rain, dream a new dream, or plan another adventure. Grandmother could touch her toes a hundred times when she was eighty-five. Mom at eighty-eight is still a force to be reckoned with in local politics. I’m just a green kid compared to them. So it’s been fifty years! So what? Fifty is only a number. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Meanwhile, there’s a world out there to see, a host of stories just waiting to be told, and–oh, yes, I need a new dress for the dance Saturday night. Come along, you young things of fifty, sixty, seventy-whatever. We’re just now old enough to have some fun. Pop the popcorn, get the music going. Party’s at my place!
DON’T CALL ME DARLIN’
BLACK RAIN RISING
ELOPEMENT FOR ONE
HALF PAST MOURNING
CRY AGAINST THE WIND (forthcoming)
The Fun in Being Eclectic by Terry Spear
As I began to write my stories, I heard—you HAVE to brand yourself, write in one area, develop a following, be like McDonalds with the Golden Arches, Pizza Hut with the red roof, or well, a genre that readers will see and say—oh, I know an author that writes that, and to stick to it.
But I love to write about a variety of different kinds of worlds from contemporary romantic suspense to fantasy, to urban fantasy romance to contemporary romance to historical romance to time travel romance to…even true stories.
I love to diversify, because I’m an eclectic reader. I read everything.
True, I’ve branded myself with paranormal romance, specifically werewolf romance. I have 15 contracted wolf books, nine out, four more either written, turned in, still being edited, or being written. With having so many wolf books out in the same series, I finally made USA TODAY bestseller with A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing. I truly believe it had some to do with branding. Not quitting at writing three or four wolf stories, but writing several with more to come so that if readers like your world, you develop a following. I’ve had fans who say that they see a picture of a wolf, read about a wolf, they think of me. Fans send me pictures of wolves and articles about them. One sent a picture of her family dressed as Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, which I featured on my blog. That’s branding.
So yes, it’s important.
But I love to write about a variety of different kinds of worlds. It helps me to keep my longer series works fresh. I’ve just started a jaguar series with Sourcebooks also. I’m working on book two with book one, Savage Hunger, coming out in October. It’s new, the jaguars much different than wolves in personality, yet they are shifters like wolves and I’ve begun to make connections between the two worlds for fun. I hadn’t ever intended that, but…that’s the way I write. I don’t plot out whole worlds and a whole series, or…even a whole book at once.
The characters create the story.
That’s some of why I create different worlds. I get an idea, and take off running. When I wrote The Dark Fae, all I thought of was I wanted to write about a world where the fae coexist with us and where they are the reason for some of our missteps in life. The series took off. I had never planned to write more than one book. I did it for fun. But I had so much success with it, I wrote three more in the series with another one on the way. So some of the reason for writing eclectic is that I can enjoy writing something different, and find that readers love the new world, too. Or some that wouldn’t touch one kind of book that I write, might like something else I write. Others read everything I write, so for me it’s a win-win situation.
I also write a Highland historical series. I have two out with readers clamoring for more, but haven’t had time to write them. I am in the process, and have three books started. Winning the Highlander’s Heart began the series. I love to read historical romance and I love to write about Medieval times. I have a lot of Scottish roots, so write mostly about Highlanders, but I’ve written others also.
I’m just editing a book written some years ago—a third marriage comedy kind of book. It’s a contemporary, Marriage under Duress, in the line of Marriage, Las Vegas Style, and Exchanging Grooms. I wrote them for Flipside, but my stories have humor and a serious side to them so they didn’t work for the line. Again, they were a fun diversion from other works I was writing.
For me diversifying is the key to keeping my writing fresh. Branding is great, but for some of us, we need to try something different to keep the creative juices flowing.
The voice is what makes the work ours. With mine, I have mystery, adventure, romance, and humor. It can be set in the 12th Century Highlands, or in contemporary world America. It can be our world with a paranormal twist with vampires or werewolves or jaguar shifters living among us. It can be pure fantastical worlds or futuristic even. Or we can drop everything and travel to the past like in A Ghost of a Chance at Love, a time travel western ghostly romance.
That’s because I’m an eclectic reader and love to read everything!
Thanks so much for having me here today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
USA Today bestselling author, Terry Spear has written over three dozen paranormal romance novels and two medieval Highland historical romances. An award-winning author, Terry’s Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year in 2008. A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry Spear works in a library by day and spends every spare moment writing paranormal romance as well as historical and true life stories for both teen and adult audiences. Spear lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on three wolf books, another jaguar book, and has a variety of other eclectic works in progress! For more information, please visit http://www.terryspear.com/.
Happy summer everyone! Congratulations to all our Summer Solstice basket winners!
If you are in Colorado, I pray you’re safe from the wild fires. If you’re in the east, prayers for those affected by the storms that yanked the power from so many. It’s been a strange season here in Oklahoma this year. Spring always brings tornadoes and here in the central of the state we had one to mention. It was scary though it was a good ten miles from our house, my husband was only a half mile from where it touched down. We’ve had rain. Now when I say we got rain it usually is accompanied by house-rattling thunder that sends hubby’s little dog into panic attacks so those are bad. Very bad. Strangely, we’ve had just one or two mild ones. The rest of the spring we got two to three days at a time of much needed no-fear rain, downpours. I like those. Feed the earth without scaring my pants off me—I can handle those storms.
They were saying to expect triple-digit heat by the end of April and that, too, didn’t happen. I think we have had one or two days and it’s already July. By this time last year we were well on our way to thirty days straight of 100%+ temps that began in June, totaling 63-100%+ days by the end of summer, without a break for even one day of less than 100%. As I said- odd weather this year. But I can’t help wondering—for all our calm spring, lack of severe weather/tornadoes—what’s in store for us come fall?
I think for now I’ll enjoy the nice weather and not let what may come spoil this beautiful summer for me. I hope you have a nice and bearable summer. While you’re here, why not share your weather with us here at ABM? We’d love to hear what other parts of our country and the world are having in the way of a normal/abnormal season.
Happy belated Independence Day!
All the Moonlighters would like to thank everyone who commented in June, liked us on Facebook or followed our Twitter page. We look forward to hearing from everyone in the future — don‘t forget about our monthly gift card drawings.
Meanwhile, we’ll be contacting our winners so that we can their baskets sent out to them. Woot!
Thank you all again!