Guest Post – Were You Ever Crazy? By Terry Spear
Okay, maybe not crazy, but did you ever do stuff that you look on today and realize just how crazy doing that was?
When I was a kid, I used to explore the jungle-like swamps across the street from my house in Florida. I have to say jungle-like, because they weren’t called a jungle, per se. But they had all the prerequisite jungle-like stuff: swamps, alligators, huge zipper spiders clinging to gigantic webs, palms, sword grass (that can cut you to ribbons), trees, reeds, water moccasins, snapping turtles, rattlesnakes, just to name a few of the nice local fauna and flora. Oh, and mosquitoes and no-see-ums.
I’ve always been a storyteller since I was little, but part of the fun of creating stories was exploring my world. We lived on Merritt Island and had to cross causeways across black waters to reach our home and late at night I thought—what would happen if the bridge collapsed and we ended up in that very dark water? Behind our canal, mountains of sand made it look like a scene out of the Sahara Desert, and there we would climb them in a real adventure to make it to the top with great difficulty because if you’ve ever tried it, you keep sliding with all those grains of sand back down to the bottom. The mountains must have been about forty feet tall and were dumped in long ridges intended to fill in the swamps all around us to build homes. The space program began laying off, and when that happened, the building stopped. So between the jungle-like swamp to the one side of us, and the sand dunes beyond our canal behind us, we had the perfect world to play in. And make up stories.
We swam in the canal, too, until we wondered why no one else did. Water moccasins in our minnow bucket, a tortoise shell on the other side of the canal where they had never added the other bulkhead, and missing dogs, rumored due to alligators hunting a midnight snack, meant we gave up swimming in a hurry.
Not all together though. We swam in lakes that were filled with snapping turtles. In SAVAGE HUNGER, I had a scene where Connor’s sister is telling on him for being unheroic. It was based on my father’s experience (WWII vet, EX-POW, 16 months held in captivity, numerous death marches, numerous other near death experiences growing up), yet when my mother was attacked by a snapping turtle (think BIG turtles, not little tiny ones), my father was the first out of the water. The park ranger (hero) bandaged my mother’s toe where he proceeded to tell us that the snapping turtles can take off a toe. Mom (heroine) was sure mad at dad (villain). He just gave us one of his typical dad grins and said he didn’t know what was attacking her and had to get out of there quick.
Then there was the time I went with my girlfriend and her parents to another lake to swim. We stayed at a cabin, listened to palmetto bugs (which have to be the biggest cockroach-like insects in the world) on the back porch (they sound like elephants killing each other) and my girlfriend’s mother had to explain they were making out! Then we swam in the water, saw bubbles, which meant something was breathing under the water…water moccasin, snapping turtle, alligator. Take your pick. We were the only ones in the lake. Her parents stayed wisely on the deck reading. We had to traverse through all the thick reeds to get to the clearer water, which was so murky, we had no idea what was swimming in there with us. So we splashed and kicked and screamed and made enough noise to keep everything away from us. Not realizing that an alligator might have thought we were wounded prey and ready for dinner. We went on night walks, because during the day it was too hot and better to swim in the snake/snapping turtle/alligator lake then, and heard a bear. Yes, they have bear in the national forests in Florida.
One time I swam way, way out in the Atlantic Ocean, paddling happily on my back, ears in the water, no sense that I was way, way out in the ocean, past the rock jetty where a man had just pulled in a shark. My dad, who wasn’t the best swimmer in the world (and I’ll say here, that even if he was the villain in the snapping turtle story, he did try swimming out some distance to me to holler and holler to get my attention, so in this story he was the hero), when I finally lifted my head out of water and realized JUST how far out I was. I was terrified. Think of it. You’re way out there in all that black water. You KNOW there’s lots of big bad stuff swimming out there with you. I was about thirteen. I wasn’t afraid that I couldn’t swim all that distance. I was terrified something in the water would get me before I made it back. There were no lifeguards to come out and rescue me. And dad couldn’t have either. I was all alone. But not really. And that was the scary part. I began to swim back, trying to fight the panic I felt, seeing how panicked my dad was. I never ever went out that far again!
It’s not my fault I went on such dangerous missions. I loved to read, and so would have happily read books in my room and saw the world that way. But my mother thought it was unhealthy. That we needed to get outside and play. So we did. In the jungle. In the lakes. In the canal. Way, way out in the Atlantic Ocean.
In my stories, I’ve drawn on my experiences over the years, including some of my military training as Kathleen in SAVAGE HUNGER is an Army officer. We had to qualify with an M-16, 9-mm weapon, take water survival, compass course, leadership reaction courses, obstacle courses, confidence courses, and survival training. So see? Maybe it wasn’t so crazy to have had all those experiences!
You never know when you might see them in a book or three.
What about you? Done anything crazy that you wonder what WERE you thinking AFTER you did them???
SAVAGE HUNGER BY TERRY SPEAR – IN STORES OCTOBER 2012
USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has captured hearts worldwide by wrapping the realities of nature into the glorious romance of the wild. Now, she turns her award—winning imagination from the sexy werewolf hunt to the intense sizzle of jaguar shape-shifters.
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…
About the Author
Bestselling and award-winning author Terry Spear has written a couple of dozen paranormal romance novels and two medieval Highland historical romances. Her first werewolf romance, Heart of the Wolf, was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and her subsequent titles have garnered high praise and hit the USA Today bestseller list. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on her next werewolf romance and continuing her new series about shapeshifting jaguars. 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 . To purchase Savage Hunger, please visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all other major booksellers.