Happy Friday everyone! Casey here with a big welcome back to USA Today best seller Terry Spear! Stay tuned until the end of the post to read an excerpt and for a chance to win a copy of Terry’s latest book SAVAGE HUNTER.
In the beginning, like not quite during the dinosaur age, but close, when we were still submitting manuscripts on typewriters and there was no such thing as personal home computers or cell phones, even, I was writing stories for publication (children’s stories back then) and getting rejected. A couple went to senior editors, but still the rejections came.
Undaunted, I switched from children’s stories to western historical romance because I love westerns and I love romance and happily ever after. I heard that romances sell better than children’s stories unless you have an agent. And getting one is harder than getting published.
So I merrily went about writing my first historical western romance. And when I was done, I learned historical romances are hard to sell. Western romances are the hardest.
This taught me a couple of things. If I wanted to become a published author—and I did at that point beyond a doubt. I knew I would do anything to write the book someone wanted so that I could support myself with just my writing—I had to write. Constantly.
It taught me to take chances on writing for different lines that had recently opened up: Comedy Romance, Fantasy Romance, Bombshell, YA, you name it. Every time a new line with an established company started, I wrote a story for them.
The first time I got picked up, two of my YA were bought. The company paid advances, but then two years later, and only one month before my first book released, they closed the YA line. But it was a new line and they were buying. Until they closed it. I did keep the advances, so that was the good thing.
Then I got another break. Sourcebooks was one of those companies that had just started to request manuscripts. They had bought two historical romances written by NY Times bestselling authors. And then they picked up ME for Heart of the Wolf, urban fantasy romance.
I wasn’t the only one that was picked up about that time. Some of us are still with them from the beginning, and some are not. It was interesting when I went to Anaheim this year with the RWA Conference, I was one of their first authors, and proud to be. They gave me the break I truly needed when agents were rejecting me and when many of the NY pubs were saying—“close, but no cigar.”
But last year, I tried my hand at self-publishing. Remember all those books I wrote for publishers while trying to find a home for one? Tons and tons and tons of books? My critique partners who are still with me after eight years, used to joke that I would someday take a U-Haul truck filled with manuscripts and sell them all at once to NYC.
Well, it didn’t happen quite like that. I self-published 24 titles and for the first time in the years I’ve been published, I made enough to quit my day job. I’d been working 40 hours at the day job, and 40-45 hours in all my spare time before work, after work, and on my two days off trying to keep up with writing, editing, and promotions—all with the goal that one day I could quit and write all 80 of those hours per week!!!
And I did it. August of this year, I was writing full time and loving it.
It took me a lot of years to get here. Sixteen, in fact. The key to success for me was to keep writing. To never give up. I actually have 45 published novels or novellas out and many more that I’ve written that need major revisions before they’re publishable. And many more that I’ve started that need to be finished. So you see, all that time spent writing for all those years wasn’t wasted.
With any job, we have to be dedicated to it. I’ve treated my writing as a full-time job even when I had a full time job. I have goals I set, deadlines I have to meet. I had so many this past month, even without a full time job, I was having a time keeping up. I had a book due Sept 15, Oct 15, and 40,000 words worth of blogs due by mid-September.
I have another book I’ll need to be revising soon. It’s all doable. I set goals. I finished both of the other books early and turned them in. And then I began to tackle the 30 guest blogs. Four a day, in a week they’ll all be done.
And then? It’s back to writing.
Which is great! Because for all those years, that’s exactly what I wanted to be doing! Creating stories for the world full time.
In SAVAGE HUNGER, Connor Anderson has one goal, get Kathleen McKnight, former Army officer, back to civilization before his sister turns her! Everyone should have a goal, don’t you think?
What would you do if you decided Connor was just the kind of man you wanted in your life, but he wasn’t willing to turn you?
Thanks so much to 7 Scribes for having me here today, and one lucky person that answers my question will have a chance to win a copy of SAVAGE HUNGER.US/Canada Addresses Only.
Terry – thanks so much for being our guest today! Remember Scribes’ fans, answer the question for a chance to win a book!
About the Author
USA Today bestselling and an award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval romantic suspense, Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, that are personalized that have found homes all over the world. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses or gardening. Her family has roots in the Highlands of Scotland where her love of all things Scottish came into being. Originally from California, she’s lived in eight states and now resides in the heart of Texas. She is the author of the Heart of the Wolfseries and the Heart of the Jaguar series, plus numerous other paranormal romance and historical romance novels. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.spear .
SAVAGE HUNGER by Terry Spear
She heard something moving toward her from behind. The hair at the nape of her neck instantly stood at attention. Her heart was already tripping. She was afraid it was him—the cat with the deep, angry, growly voice. She knew the big cats moved silently through the jungle. She imagined the cat would appear before she would even be prepared to face him. And then what?
Turning slowly, she looked to see who or what it was. An armed man? Or a toothy jaguar?
She saw the most beautiful creature she had ever chanced to see up close—way too close. A huge jaguar. No fence or moat to keep him from her, like at a zoo. Her skin chilled, and her heart thumped erratically.
As much as she’d wanted to see one, she hadn’t quite thought to observe one like this. If he did belong to Connor, she didn’t see any sign of the man. Which meant this one could be a real danger.
In the back of her mind, she wanted to pull her camera out of her bag and take a picture, take a hundred pictures. That was just plain crazy. She stayed porcelain-statue still, afraid any sudden movement would trigger him to pounce. She had envisioned watching one swimming in a river or maybe drinking water at a riverbank. She’d thought she might catch sight of one lounging in a tree while she watched from a nice, safe distance, but not on the prowl like this while she was standing in its path.
Her heart still pounding out of bounds, she stared at the jaguar, which had the most beautiful golden eyes and matching golden body covered in large black rosettes. His belly was white and covered with more rosettes. His long whiskers bristled. He lifted his nose and sniffed the air, taking a whiff of her scent, she was certain, although there wasn’t a whisper of a breeze with all the vegetation surrounding them. Was he trying to smell just how tasty she might be? Despite the muggy heat, a chill raced down her spine.
His eyes were round, fully watching her as he stood frozen in place. His tail twitched, jerking back and forth in a tight motion, just like her cat’s would when she watched a bird on a tree branch near the living room window. Her cat’s eyes would be just as huge as the jaguar’s and her body just as tense, ready to pounce on her prey if she could have gotten beyond the glass windowpane.
Don’t move, Kathleen screamed silently to herself. He is curious. Just curious. You are not dinner.
Who was she kidding? All she could think of was the Indian word for jaguar, yaguar, meaning “he who kills at one leap.” Looking at the way that he was standing so still, she wondered if he was thinking about it. He wasn’t in pouncing form, crouched, ready to leap, but maybe he was waiting for her to run, offering more sport that way.
They would eat deer and tapirs. Why not a tasty woman?
Then to her shock, she heard another growl. This one came from behind her. Yet the jaguar was still standing in front of her, and he hadn’t made a sound. Her skin grew a fresh rash of goose bumps.
Maybe he wasn’t a he, but a she, and her nearly full-grown cub was behind Kathleen, coming for dinner. Or maybe this one was a he—he looked awfully big not to be, around six feet in length and weighing, she guessed, around two hundred and fifty pounds—and the other was his mate. How big was the other, then?
If they were mating, maybe Kathleen was needed to keep them well fed for another bout of tying it on. That didn’t improve her outlook on the situation in the least. The only thing she could hope for was that they had the hots for each other, and one human wouldn’t distract them that thoroughly. Maybe that’s why they had been roaring. As a love call. Or maybe he would think Kathleen was a threat to his mate.
She hoped both cats had recently eaten and that she wasn’t about to be on the menu.
He slowly walked toward her. She had to tell herself that was because the other jaguar was somewhere behind her with Kathleen inconveniently in between the two of them.
She wanted desperately to dash off. But she couldn’t outrun a big cat that could take her down with one leap. Not to mention that if she turned and bolted, she would probably run straight into the other jaguar.
She meant to glance behind her for a tree that she could reach and quickly climb, but when she looked over her shoulder, she saw the other cat. And her heart nearly stopped. Her breathing definitely did.
Smaller, though not by much, the second jaguar observed her with the same golden eyes and had the same golden coat with black rosettes and the same hungry look. This was so not good.