You’re Never Too Old…

…to learn new things. It may seem like it sometimes, but no matter how old, or young you are, learning something new can seem impossible, or possible. We just have to keep working at it, never letting go of the dream.

So one of the things I really have always wanted to do is create real story art, and so while I was looking at the Pretty Actions Forum and some of their fantastic guest bloggers, is Karen Alsop’s Story Art.

Photographer Spotlight + Celebrity Mentor: Karen Alsop with Story Art

I mean, this to me would be the ultimate in creating art, don’t you think? Love it! Well, maybe someday I can get there. I signed up for her year long tutorials and maybe if I work at it hard enough, but even so, sometimes no matter how hard you work at something, it’s never as great as someone else’s work, but you know what? We all have our own “voice” or unique technique whether it’s writing, or creating art, photography, or just living life. We are unique and everything will be unique that we accomplish. Really.

Have you ever had someone in your home doing things differently than you’re used to? Or riding with someone in the car and they take you a different route than YOU always go and it’s driving you nuts, because you know your way is better?

See?

So that’s my goal. Or, at least one of them. lol I’m still taking the Photoshop tutorial class that has taught me tons, watched lots of free tutorials, and just turned in the synopsis and stuff for SEAL Wolf Undercover so they can begin to work on the cover, and have edits on Between a Wolf and a Hard Place, and am still plugging along on White Wolf Christmas. 28,000 words to go! Downhill slide from here! And I have a crepe myrtle I still have to plant! The mosquitoes are keeping me from it.

3 pelicans soaring up above text 900x4003 pelicans soaring up above--sky 900x600I used the Pretty Actions Vivid Skies Overlay on this one too. I was trying to get pictures of the pelicans in the harbor, but when we went out to the ocean side, I had tons of opportunities. Don’t they look like ancient birds?

Have a super great day! I need to get my word count and start edits!🙂

Terry

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”

Connect with Terry Spear:

Website: http://www.terryspear.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear

Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com

Short Story: The Devil’s Messenger–A True Story during WWII

airplane (800x534)

The Devil’s Messenger

Copyrighted by Terry Spear

Sixteen-year-old airman Staff Sergeant Walter Wilde studied the brown paper-wrapped parcel from his mother as he sat stiff-legged on his bunk bed in Snetterton Heath, England while B-25s roared overhead. The barracks were nothing more than Quonset huts—buildings made of corrugated sheet metal with no insulation or covering on the inside.  A small coal stove in the middle of the building crackled away as it provided the only heat.

“Hey, Wilde,” another staff sergeant said, as he punched him in the shoulder. “You’ve been eyeballing that package from home for over an hour already. Let us have a look-see.”

Walter touched the string criss-crossed over the package dated, October 4, 1943, from his hometown of Seattle, Washington. The big man stepped over to the bunk and peered down at the mail. “Come on, Wilde. Everyone else has shown off their packages from home. Maybe it’s some homemade cookies you can share with the rest of your good buddies here.”

“Yeah, besides,” another crewman said, “if you don’t hurry, we may be called up for another mission before you get the chance.” He handed Walter a knife.

“Shoot, by the time he ever opens the package,” the first said, “the war will have ended.”

Taking a deep breath, Walter sliced the knife through the string, hoping his mother wouldn’t have sent something embarrassing.  Not once had she sent him anything the whole time he’d been in combat.  He ripped the package open.  Inside, he found an Ouija board.  He shook his head, relieved it wasn’t something really awful. “Nothing good to eat.”

One of the crewmen grabbed up the Ouija board and smiled. “Come on, let’s play a game.”

Another held up the cards he was playing at a game of poker. “Play a man’s game.  That’s kid’s stuff.”

Another shook his head. “That isn’t kid’s stuff –it’s not something you should mess with. Get rid of the thing, Wilde.  It’s the devil’s messenger.”  His voice was shadowed with concern.

“Don’t listen to him. He’s just superstitious!” The airman laid the board on a table, then pulled up a chair. Walter sat on the edge of his bed across from him to play the game.

After a moment, the board seemed to move on its own. Walter’s eyes widened as he stared at the board. “You did that,” he accused, looking up at Joe.  Walter wasn’t superstitious normally, but the crewman’s words had his skin crawling.

“No,” the airman responded as he held his hands up in the air. “Scout’s honor.”

“You were never a Scout!” one of the poker players retorted as he threw a pillow at him. The pillow slid across the table, knocking the Ouija board to the floor. Walter looked down at the board and could have sworn he saw it move again.

“Briefing mission, now!” the first sergeant bellowed as he stepped into the barracks.

Walter set the board back on the table as one of the men playing poker griped, “Gee, Sarge, I was winning.”

Walter glanced back at the board as the superstitious crewman slapped his shoulder.  “Get rid of it, Wilde.  It’s bad luck.”

***

Following the briefing, Walter hurried into the barracks and grabbed his brown-leather flight jacket, then glanced over at the Ouija board.  Was it truly evil?  Would it harm the mission?  Walter slipped the board into its wooden box and closed the lid.

“Hey, Walter!” an airman shouted into the barracks. “Mess sarge’s got a Spam sandwich for you to go!”

“Sure thing.” Walter tossed the box onto the bunk and strode to the mess hall. After grabbing his meal, Walter and the rest of the crew headed for the armament shack.

Soon after, he and the other crewmen hauled their loaded guns onto their Flying Fortress. But before they took off, he grabbed the Ouija board, intending to dump it in the ocean on their mission. Just in case the man knew what he was talking about when he said the board wasn’t anything to mess around with. Then they waited in their assigned positions in breathless anticipation as the engines roared to life.

It was Walter’s seventh mission, despite still only being sixteen.  He’d lied about his age to get in, anxious the war would end before he’d have a chance to fight the good fight along with all the other war heroes he’d watched on the big movie screen back home.

While on the way to Germany, heavy anti-aircraft fire flew into the cloudless sky, popping and cracking in black puffs of smoke as it missed the B-17. Walter manned his guns as left waist gunner and soon hit a Focke-Wulf FW-190, highly regarded as one of Germany’s best fighter planes—certainly a match for the spitfire. He reached down to grab more ammunition, then saw the box containing the Ouija board shaking with the vibration of the plane as it rested on his parachute covering the hole where the last gunner had died. He pulled the chute aside and slipped the box through the hole where it plummeted into the sea.

As he turned to ready his guns once more, splinters of metal from high explosive shells ripped through the plane. Tearing through Walter’s oxygen and communication lines, the still-hot shrapnel cut through his flight jacket and lodged in his left arm. The seven-inch piece of jagged metal severed muscle, splintered bone and sliced blood vessels that caused the blood to pour out into a steady stream as Walter fought for air.

Seeing he was losing consciousness, the right waist gunner leaned down to him and offered his oxygen before Walter passed out.

Had the Ouija board truly been the cause of his misfortune?

Walter struggled to keep his wits about him as the cockpit seemed to brighten, while the airman radioed his condition to the pilot. No one else had been injured on the mission.

“Have Wilde crawl up to the cockpit,” the pilot radioed back.

With dwindling strength, Walter crept up to the cockpit while the engines roared and the aircraft vibrated. When he could breathe the oxygen freely in the cockpit, he lay still. His arm ached from the wound and the shock to his system created the urge to relieve himself.

“Gotta go,” he warned, as the plane flew back to Snetterton Heath.

As the antiaircraft fire ceased and the lead plane radioed the all-clear signal, the navigator pulled off his helmet, then looked at Walter. “Can’t you hold it? We’ll be home soon.”

“Can’t wait.” Walter squirmed on his side in agony.

The navigator handed his helmet to Walter. “All right, use my helmet, but don’t say I never did anything for you.”

Walter struggled to relieve himself, and as he finished, ME 109s tailed their aircraft, while the aircrew manned their guns. As the navigator jammed his helmet onto his head, he swore, “Damn!” as the urine trickled down his face.

Walter chuckled under his breath.

After returning to base, two of the crew hurried to carry Walter out of the aircraft.  For seven missions he’d served with the same crew, but for six weeks while he recuperated after a stay in the hospital for his wounds, every one of the crew would lose their lives on the next mission as their plane went down, with no survivors.

Walter’s injuries had prevented him from flying the mission that ended his crewmen’s lives. Had destroying the Ouija board, then saved his life?  Not normally suspicious, he still vowed never to touch another Ouija board the rest of his life.

And yet another mission lay ahead after several more…his thirteenth and again he would be warned by his crew that he was headed for bad luck.

It would prove to be his final mission in the war.

 

###

Have a super day!

Terry

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”

Connect with Terry Spear:

Website: http://www.terryspear.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear

Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com

Highlanders

His Wild Highland Lass

a novella from Kissing the Highlander

His Wild Highland Lass
Lady Sorcha Barclay has fled her sister’s husband’s castle because of his unwanted advances, except men steal her horse, and she makes the mistake of not keeping to the cover of the nearby forest. An awe-inspiring circle of standing stones capture her attention and she captures the attention of the laird who owns the land.

Laird Ronan Daziel takes Sorcha to his castle to protect her and give her a home, but before long, he wants much more. He’s duty-bound to take a wife whose clan wishes an alliance with his. So why does he long to have something more? Everyone loves the lass just as much as he does. But he has pledged his loyalty to his clan and taking Sorcha to wife could lead to battle on several fronts. How can he not take her for his own when she stole his heart from the first moment he laid eyes on her near the ancient standing stones on his lands?

Note: This is still available in Kissing the Highlander anthology now offered as an individual novella

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HighlandersBundle 500x750

http://www.amazon.com/Highlanders-Terry-Spear-ebook/dp/B00LWH9OC0

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/highlanders-terry-spear/1119987565

Winning the Highlander's Heart

 

Winning the Highlander’s Heart, Book 1

Lady Anice vows to flee the amorous advances of King Henry I, and return to her home in the Highlands, where she hopes to find a laird to wed, when she learns her staff has vanished. Premonitions of imminent danger warn her of foul play and she is certain she is cursed when it comes to marriage.

The king orders the Highlander Laird Malcolm MacNeill, seeking an English bride, to provide the lass safe escort and learn what has become of her staff. Escorting her home safely proves a dangerous trial in and of itself and keeping his heart out of the matter, when the king wishes her wed to one of his loyal barons instead, complicates issues further. Losing his heart to the lass means Malcolm could very well lose his head.

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 The Accidental Highland Hero

The Accidental Highland Hero–Book 2

Lady Eilis Dunbarton’s life undergoes a drastic change with the death of her cousin, Agnes. Now she’s faced with the disagreeable prospect of marrying the man who was to be her cousin’s husband. Not by a change of contract, though. Instead, by deceit—pretending to be her cousin. But if her husband-to-be discovers she’s not really Agnes, her life is forfeit. So what choice does Eilis have but to flee?

When Laird James MacNeill’s clan rescues a half-drowned lass from the sea, there is speculation she is of the enemy clan, especially since she doesn’t remember her own name. James is immediately enticed with the lady, but his focus must remain on finding the proper bride. For if he does not wed soon, he must give up his holdings to one of his younger brothers.

Focus slips away with each day Eilis is close, and James finds himself contemplating the thought of taking her to wife without knowing her true identity.

But how dangerous would the end result be?

And what will happen if Eilis’s husband-to-be comes looking for her only to find her in the arms of another man?

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Highland Rake, Book 3

Dougald MacNeill takes Lady Alana Cameron to his laird brother James’s Craigly Castle when he finds her roaming the heather on the MacNeill lands. But who has sent her there and why? Her uncle, laird of the Cameron clan, and warring with the MacNeill for years, has made a marriage arrangement with another clan and now that is even at stake.

Having witnessed her father’s death, and even believing he had returned her home when all along he had been dead, Alana discovers she has the gift, or curse, of seeing the newly departed and sometimes those who should have long ago passed over. Her own deceased brother continues to plague her, the rake, and now another, who is very much of the flesh, Dougald MacNeill, has her thinking marrying a rake might just have its benefits. Dougald’s sister, who is one fiesty ghost, has offered to help Alana keep Dougald in line if he thinks of even straying.

But who sent Alana on a fool’s errand in the first place to remove her from the Cameron’s lands and set her squarely in Dougald’s care, and who really killed her father and her brother, and what has it all to do with Alana? Will she and Dougald learn the truth before it is too late?

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Taming the Wild Highlander, Book 4

Angus MacNeill’s story, 4th Book in The Highlanders Medieval romance series

Edana Chattan senses concerns where people she knows could be in danger. When her brothers warn her they’re in trouble, she can’t convince her father to listen to her, so with an escort, she tries to locate them. Separated from her escort during a storm, she is discovered by Angus MacNeill, who is tasked to return her right home.Only Edana has other notions–and convinces him and his companions to allow her to use her abilities to locate her brothers who are manacled in a dungeon somewhere. That leads to a faux marriage and more dungeons and more trouble than Angus had ever thought possible. So why is the bewitching, fiery-haired lass making him think of marrying her for real?

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The Highlander, Book 5

Anna, the shepherdess, finds a half-naked man in her bed, so what’s a woman living alone in a cottage in the Lowlands of Scotland supposed to do? Prod him with her pitchfork to chase him off! Only the man is not just a traveler seeking her bed for a rest—but a wounded Highlander, who fights back, swinging his sword!

Niall MacNeill is searching for a Frenchwoman of nobility to escort to his brother’s castle for safekeeping, when he and his friend, Gunnolf, are attacked by another Highland clan, seeking the same woman. The other Highlanders wish to sell her to the highest bidder—English or French—it does not matter.

Niall takes refuge in a sheepherder’s cottage to heal up from his wounds and discovers the shepherdess taking care of him may very well be the woman he seeks. He has no intention of doing anything but what his brother requests of him—ensure her safety on their way to Craigly Castle—but when the lass so bravely wields her pitchfork at him, he is thinking of other, more interesting possibilities.

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her highland hero print front quote3 1850
Her Highland Hero, Book 6

Lady Isobel is a Norman laird’s daughter, living near the Scots border where her father, Lord Pembroke, is trying to keep the peace. But her mother was a Highlander and the man Isobel loves most of all is Laird Marcus McEwan, who has been bringing news of her mother’s people for years. But now Isobel’s father wishes her wed to an English nobleman, who will carry on his title. Isobel will wed no other man but her heart’s desire—and that is one braw Highlander from her mother’s homeland.
Laird Marcus McEwan has loved the feisty lass forever. For years, Marcus has tried to convince Lord Pembroke to allow him to wed his daughter. But the Norman lord will not allow it. Then ambushes and murders make it too dangerous for Marcus to reach a peaceful resolution.

Nothing goes as planned and keeping the lass for his own is fraught with danger, as they try to determine who was behind the killings. Isobel and Marcus will do everything in their power to ensure they are together as they have always vowed they would be.

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The Viking's Highland Lass (533x800)

The Viking’s Highland Lass, Book 7

Gunnolf was left for dead when he was young as he went on one of his kin’s raids, but finds his way to the Highlands and a home with the MacNeill Clan. The clan’s seer warns him he must rescue a woman in need, only he rescues the wrong woman. Yet, Brina is in need. Her father, wounded in battle by Gunnolf’s own kind, must oust the tyrant who has taken his place if he is to rule. Yet he needs Gunnolf’s help, but Gunnolf learns Brina’s father had killed Gunnolf’s brother. Brina is torn between hating the Viking who has rescued her, and knowing that his kin had killed her grandfather in an age old tale of fighting between their people, and loving the man who took her under his protection, and the wolf cub she insisted on rescuing. Now, Gunnolf must make a choice: wed the lass as her father has insisted and restore her father’s position as chief of his clan when he’s not sure her father is trustworthy, hoping he can obtain a peace between his people and hers, or leave well enough alone and stay with the MacNeill Clan, his family for the past ten years. The problem is one sweet Highland lass that makes him want a woman—this woman—to warm his bed and have his bairns and to protect and cherish, when having a wife was the furthest notion from his mind…until one prediction changed his whole life

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C9JCKCA

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vikings-highland-lass-terry-spear/1123482522?ean=2940157864811

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-vikings-highland-lass/id1095849631?mt=11

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/the-viking-s-highland-lass

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/619496

From Ugly to Artistic–Don’t You Think?

calf having supper (640x426)calf having supper Isle of Skye near Neist Point Lighthouse 800x400 flattened textI took this photo on the Isle of Skye, overlooking the Neist Point Lighthouse and it was growing dark. We wanted to capture the sunset when I saw a plain old cow, as opposed to a beautiful Highland cow, nursing her calf. And no longer was it just a plain old cow.

I knew the picture wouldn’t turn out great because of the lighting, but I took it anyway, just in case I could fix it later. With Photoshop magic–brightening, sharpening the foreground a bit, then using one of the skies from the Pretty Photoshop Actions:

Vivid Skies Cloud Overlays + BONUS Cloud Applicator Actions

and the super easy Cloud Applicator Actions that turn a blown-out or washed-out sky into spectacular,  I was able to reveal the beauty. It’s like a painting, don’t you think? Ha! My parents were true artists, and never thought I could create works of art…

If only they could see me now. lol

🙂

Another shot that needed reworking was this one.

2 birds on shrub 900x6002 birds on shrub hazy sky Scotland Isle of Skye, text 900x600The photo was too dark, gloomy day, but with Photoshop, I was able to brighten it up, and then like with the other photo, I used Pretty Vivid Skies Cloud Overlay. I had tried other cloud overlays with this photo, but could never blend them in to make them work. I kept tossing out the revisions. But when I bought this new program, I wanted to see if that would make it work. It did! Like a charm!

I didn’t mess with the colors, they were all just hidden in the hills in the darkness of the photo. I sharpened the birds, and the seedpods. And that was it. This was on a walk to one of the beautiful castle ruins on the Isle of Skye. Sometimes something other than just a castle, can capture the imagination.

reflections in the glassy loch 900x600 no change text

reflections in the glassy loch image of clouds in loch darker 900x600

Using that same Cloud Applicator program, I was able to also add clouds here, and cloud reflection in the water.🙂 I loved the reflections of the hills and trees in the glassy loch, but I think adding the clouds added more drama.

San Diego boys looking at water,  one on phone 900x600 text

San Diego boys looking at water,  one on phone with clouds text 900x600

I love this–it’s like a commentary on life as we know it now. Two boys are fascinated with the marine life. And the third boy is on his cell phone. In the past, I would have cropped a lot of the sky out, but with the Cloud Applicator program, it was so simple to use. I left a lot of the natural haze in and blended it with a new sky. Within in minutes, it had changed from so-so, to eye catching!

I’m off to write! 30,000 words to go! And then I need to figure out my next 3 books to pitch to my publisher for next year. What would you like to see more of? Or something new?

And if you have photos with boring skies, be sure and check out the video on Vivid Skies Overlays. Watching that sold me! Then when I began to transform my own pictures so quickly and easily and make a real impact on the way they looked, that was the real testimony for me!

boats, castle ruins reflections in loch (640x427)

This is an unretouched photo that I took of the clouds and boat reflections in a glassy loch, but note the castle ruins in the left-hand corner? When I have a chance, I want to do something with the boring skies in the background to hopefully bring more attention to the castle too!🙂 But I’ll leave the reflected clouds just the way they are.

Have a super wonderful day!

Terry

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”

Connect with Terry Spear:

Website: http://www.terryspear.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear

Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com

Will the New Sunflower Make It?

Timeline CoverI was trying to make a new FB timeline cover to show off the 5 free books right now with my publisher. I tried a neat forest background for wolves, you know, but it’s too busy with the busy covers.

Max Tanner new sunflower, text (800x533) (2)sunflower Tanner ate 600x400bumblee on sunflower, macro, textThere is a reason to have sunflower seeds, and Tanner is not one of them! Even though he thinks he is.  Will the new sunflower survive?

Only time will tell….

Have a super day!

Terry

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”

Connect with Terry Spear:

Website: http://www.terryspear.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear

Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com

Having Fun with Colors

orange flowers, pink purple 008 (800x533) (2)yellow flowers with blue background text (800x533)natural yelllow flowers (800x533) (2)The bottom photo is the original, and the others, the others, psychedelic color versions.

sunflower from birdseed Max and Tanner Double Exposure, text(2)This is a picture of Tanner and Max turned into little sunflower fairies after Tanner ate this one.

I’m over halfway done on White Wolf Christmas! I need to begin working on the blog tour for A Very Jaguar Christmas next.

Have a happy TGIF!

Terry

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”

Connect with Terry Spear:

Website: http://www.terryspear.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear

Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com

May the Lighthouses of Your Life Light Your Way…

As they guide the ships safely home…

lighthouse at Gooseberry Falls text (427x640)Split Rock Lighthouse at Two Harbors, Minnesota

Lighthouse Isle of Skye Bridge text 600x400Lighthouse at Bridge to Isle of Skye, Scotland

Neist Point lighthouse, Isle of Skye text 600x400Neist Point Lighthouse, Isle of Skye, Scotland, sunset

Lighthouse Saint Augustine text (662x800)Lighthouse, St. Augustine

Lighthouse San Diego text (800x768)Lighthouse, San Diego

lighthouse top of hill San Diego 600x400 textLighthouse, San Diego

And that’s it! I don’t have any others to show. Seen lots, but no camera at the time!

Have a super great day!!

Terry

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”

Connect with Terry Spear:

Website: http://www.terryspear.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear

Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com