Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Guest Blog & Giveaway: Past My Defenses by Wendy Sparrow

UFI welcomes Wendy Sparrow Author of Past My Defenses. Thanks for Joining us!!

A Writer’s Weird Science

I can’t imagine trying to research for a book decades ago before the internet—though I do suspect fewer writers made NSA lists back then. My research for books takes me down many rabbit holes…scary rabbit holes…fascinating rabbit holes…rabbit holes that might give me a motive or my husband reason for concern.

For Past My Defenses, there were many awkward research nights where I hoped my husband didn’t feel nosy and take a gander at my search history. Though, I suspect he’d have guessed why I was perusing articles on wolves mating. But all my books have searches like that which I’m tempted to wipe my search history over. Do you want to know my weirdest top ten from the last five years of writing? Of course you do.

Top Ten Strangest Web Searches I’ve done

10. The mating habits of various animals. *sighs* It’s not just wolves. I wish I could say it was just wolves. But I’ve had to research bears, rabbits, mice (more on that), cats, big cats, horses, dogs, penguins, orangutans, giraffes, and turtles. I’m sure there’s been more, but those are the ones that come to mind—which is scary that this comes to mind. Before you think I’m a creepster, sometimes I was looking to see if they mated for life. Others I needed to know when they were likely to be...on the prowl. I’ve spent way too much time on this.

9. Profanity in other languages. I’m always looking up words that are foul…but not completely offensive, and it’s very difficult. The word “goat” is profane in a bunch of different languages. Sometimes very profane. In fact, I shouldn’t even have used it here just in case someone uses Google translate on this page. I’m sorry, random-reader-of-a-different-language!

8. Knife and gunshot wounds and recovery time. Hey, at least I’ve checked to see how long of a recovery my poor victim would have. That’s good, right? Right? By the way, I’d avoid being injured in either of these ways. It’s not as Hollywood quick as you’d think.

7. Decomposition of a body and blowflies. Okay, so maybe it’s not all rainbows and cupcakes for my victims. By the way, every minute I spent investigating blowflies should earn me time in a quiet room with piano music playing. My skin crawled for hours. It didn’t help that I was doing it in the dark.

6. Near-death experiences. This made me all shivery. After I’d read enough of them, I think I did a fairly good representation of them, but it’s not actually research I’d care to do again. It left me feeling uncertain of what I believe or wanted to believe about death.

5. Ghost urban legends. You couldn’t pay me enough to do this one again. Especially not to watch all the Youtube videos that I did. There are some interesting urban legends—like all the history surrounding haunted locations like the Winchester mansion, but diving into ghost urban legends left me even more sleepless than normal.

4. Taking the power and phone lines down in a residence or a neighborhood. This was research I really considered wiping from my computer, but I figured it was too late…the NSA was on to me. I do a lot of research into crimes, and I have a cop brother-in-law I can pester for answers too. He’s grown accustomed to me asking about response time after shots fired and how long the police would be at a crime scene. Then, my own husband is wondrously useful for helping me commit crimes…on paper, I mean—we’re not about to Bonnie and Clyde it. He hung out with some real juvenile delinquents at a high-crime high school. I look forward to conversations that start with, “You know what you could do, one time when I was in high school….”

3. Diseases, disorders, and conditions. Sometimes I need something viciously terminal to kill off a character or sometimes I need something slow and ugly to infect them with. Either way, there is nothing grosser than searching medical pictures for something fatal. On the other hand, there is nothing nearly so fascinating as conditions like synesthesia. I find medical science endlessly interesting…but I could do without the pictures.

2. Historical criminals. Fiction has nothing on true crime by psychotic despots. A little research on Vlad the Impaler or Elizabeth Bathory goes a very long way. Actually any time spent pouring over articles on prolific serial killers leaves me wanting someone to sing “Soft Kitty” to me.

1. I can’t really get around it…the strangest research I ever did was for a single line of dialogue, and it was into the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases among rats. I cruised the internet and even asked experts on Twitter. I suspect several of my friends on Twitter still remember me mentioning I was researching it; it’s not every day someone says, “Hey, I’m looking into how often rascally rodents get jiggy and pay the piper.” Okay, I didn’t put it that way. And, honestly, if you’re friends with writers, chances are, one of them is researching something really freaky right now.

To see why I needed to check out the mating habits of wolves, and why one of my characters does his own digging, read Past My Defenses.

Thanks for having me on your blog!

Writing is in Wendy’s blood…which is also about thirty percent Mountain Dew and twenty percent chocolate brownies. Wendy has been telling tales since she was a child with varying amounts of success. Her parents clearly anticipated her forays into the paranormal because she heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” so many times she could have written the screenplay at age five. She lives with a wonderful husband and two quirky kids and is active in Autism and OCD support networks. She can usually be found on Twitter where she’ll talk to anyone who talks to her and occasionally just to herself.

Find Wendy and her books

Past My Defenses 
Taming the Pack #1
 Amazon / Barnes And Noble
 Vanessa is the fastest Lycan around. In wolf form, the only threat she can’t outrun is her allergies. After a feline dander-bomb takes her down, she wakes up naked in a cage staring at a hot park ranger who had no idea what he’d trapped. But ooooh, he smells so good. Mine.

Dane hoped to tame the silver wolf in his kennel, but all bets are off with the deliciously sweet Vanessa on two legs. Her temper makes his pulse race, and he can’t escape the feeling they belong together.

They’re hot as a forest fire even before they scent-match, but Glacier Peak’s Alpha considers Dane a danger to the pack. Meanwhile, Lycans are being poached, and Vanessa has been targeted. Dane will have to keep her close to protect her, but with Vanessa in heat and mad to mate, who will protect him?
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