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Thursday, December 1, 2016

An Irish Christmas Wedding







Everyone loves a wedding and what could be more idyllic than combining one with Ireland and Christmas?


In the sixth book of the Black Swamp Mysteries Series (to be released in 2017) Vicki Boyd and Dylan Maguire head to his native Ireland for their wedding and honeymoon. Researching traditional Irish weddings was a lot of fun; the hard part was not overdoing the ceremony and selecting which traditions would remain and which to discard.




Christmas is not the most ideal time to visit Ireland. The sun sleeps later, eventually rising at 9:00 am over Donegal in northwestern Ireland. It also sets around 4:00 pm, leaving a mere seven hours of daylight. They make up for it in July and August, when the Emerald Isle receives about 18 hours of daylight and the sun doesn't set until after 11:00 pm.


The Irish like to say their weather is always mild, averaging between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit year round. But this doesn't take into account the winds and I've learned firsthand that the air currents off the North Sea can be frigid. In December, however, when the next parish over - Boston - can encounter snow and ice, Ireland remains in the upper 40's and lower 50's and rarely receives appreciable snow accumulation.






The nicest thing about visiting Ireland during the Christmas holidays (which end on the Day of Epiphany, January 6) is the combination of the magic of Ireland and the magic of Christmas. It's an unbeatable combination.


Vicki and Dylan are wed by Dylan's childhood friend, Thomas Rowan, who is now Father Rowan, in the village where they both grew up. The church is similar to the one in this blog. It sits atop a hill where it overlooks the village below.


One tradition is to place a tiny statue called The Child of Prague at the church on the morning of the wedding to ensure picture-perfect weather.


Another involves the use of the Magic Hanky. This is a handkerchief - often with lace trim - that is worn on the wedding day. When a baby is born to the couple, it only takes a couple of stitches to turn it into a cap for christening. Vicki wears the one that Dylan's mother and grandmother wore at their weddings.






Vicki carries her bouquet by a handle called a Porcelain Horseshoe. When the couple moves into their new home, the horseshoe is mounted above the door, the opening at the top so their luck doesn't run out.


She uses a traditional saying during her vows: “There are four things that you must never do: lie, steal, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, then lie in my arms. And if you must steal, steal away my heart. If you must cheat, then cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.”


One thing I found particularly interesting was this vow: "Through all our lives together, in all our lives, may we be reborn that we may meet and know and love again, and remember."






Sam gives away Vicki's hand in marriage. They spend their first night at the cottage they first visited in Dylan's Song before heading to a manor house in County Donegal.


There is a tiny matter for them to take care of during their honeymoon. Sam needs for Dylan to cross paths with a Russian spy, who will slip him a microchip detailing Russia's newest stealth technology. It's a simple assignment - except when the operative Dylan is supposed to pass it on to is abducted off the streets of Donegal. It pulls Dylan and Vicki into a whirlwind adventure - and brings Dylan face-to-face with a man he thought he would never see again.


p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books in several genres, including two award-winning series: Black Swamp Mysteries and Ryan O'Clery Mystery Series, as well as the award-winning River Passage and her bestselling book, Songbirds are Free. Visit www.pmterrell.com to read free excerpts from all her books, view video trailers, and lots more.





Friday, November 25, 2016

Holiday Traditions

Well, it's the day after Thanksgiving and I'm ready to start the Holiday Traditions! Each year on the last Friday of November, I create the annual Christmas gift to all my brothers and sisters and my dad. It's the Neelley Family Calendar, made special because it includes pictures of the family as we were growing up as well as today and it contains all those special dates like birthdays and anniversaries as well as dates from my dad's genealogy research.


I use PowerPoint to create the pictures. I also have Adobe Photoshop but for some reason it's been easier to use PowerPoint for the monthly pictures.




This is the picture I used in July 2016, which includes my dad as a young boy, at his desk as an FBI Special Agent-in-Charge of the Greenville, Mississippi office during the 1960's, with my niece Marissa and nephews James and Stevie (who are all grown up now!) and my dad getting his special FBI retiree badge in Jackson, Mississippi.




And no calendar is complete without the December well wishes with the whole family! This picture was taken at my niece Marissa's wedding - yep, the same young lady in the picture above this one!


I use Microsoft Publisher for the calendar months. I plug in the holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, and for added fun, some of my dad's genealogy dates.




I lay it out on legal sized paper so when it's folded, the calendar is perfect for hanging. The local PostNet in Lumberton, North Carolina prints the copies, staples it in the middle and punches a hole for hanging. Then on Saturday, they will be wrapped and ready to mail first thing Monday morning.


What holiday traditions do you have?


The genealogy information is a very important part of the calendar because I grew up with stories of my ancestors. They inspired trips to Ireland to visit my ancestral home in Ballygawley, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland (the graves on my family's property are shown here; the stones were rumored to have been destroyed by the British Army searching for hidden weapons of the IRA), and visiting that region inspired A Thin Slice of Heaven as well as the next book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series. The trailer for A Thin Slice of Heaven is shown below.




Genealogy also inspired my bestselling book, Songbirds are Free, the true story about the capture of Mary Neely by Shawnee warriors in 1780 near present-day Nashville, Tennessee, and River Passage, winner of the Best Drama Award, about the Neely's journey to Fort Nashborough at the height of the Chickamauga Indian Wars.


And the Irish men in the Black Swamp Mysteries Series and Ryan O'Clery Mystery Series are inspired by the men in my own family. I am currently working on a book inspired by the three Neely brothers who left Ballygawley in the early 1700's to seek the American dream. Below is the trailer for The Tempest Murders, which takes place against the backdrop of the worst storm in Ireland's history.







For more information and to read excerpts from any of my books, visit www.pmterrell.com.











Thursday, November 17, 2016

It's the Economy


Think tanks analyzing the results of the 2016 election have come to the conclusion that the overriding factor was the nation’s economy, which was interesting to me considering the theme of one of my recent books, The Pendulum Files.

 

If you are unfamiliar with The Pendulum Effect, it is a concept in which the pendulum swings so far to one side that it must swing equally far to the opposite side. The plot in The Pendulum Files revolves around a presidential election in which one of the candidates is adamant about bringing jobs back home that in the past two decades have increasingly gone overseas.

 
I remember well the 1992 presidential campaign in which Ross Perot described the problems with competing against other countries for manufacturing. At the time his comment about that “giant sucking sound” was ridiculed but given the issues that many once-thriving towns and cities have faced over the past 24 years, it’s worth listening to this again:












I also remember all too well how George H.W. Bush described Ronald Reagan’s plan of giving tax breaks to the wealthiest 1% as “voodoo economics”.









The theory was known as trickle-down economics and the way it was intended to work was to provide the wealthiest—those who owned stock in the largest corporations—the largest tax cuts so they would have more money to invest in their companies. It was thought that with much more disposable income, they would hire more people and expand their business enterprises. But economists have proven that it didn’t work. Those who received huge tax cuts simply kept more money for themselves. Perhaps they bought more houses or more lavish houses, expensive boats or automobiles or consumables, but what they didn’t do was hire more people. In fact, the wealthiest among us have become increasingly wealthier not only with the Reagan-era tax cuts but also by moving their operations to countries where there is no minimum wage, there are little or no environmental controls, no healthcare or benefits provided, and sometimes even utilize child labor.


 


Writing a book involving presidential politics while intentionally remaining out of a party line is like walking a tightrope. In The Pendulum Files, the reader doesn’t know if the candidate leans Republican or Democrat and often when I write about politics, I intentionally create a candidate that is Independent—one who essentially believes in some of the principles of one party while staying closer to other principles in the opposite party.

 

And when ships carrying cargo from China to the United States are blown up on the high seas, it brings in Dylan Maguire and Vicki Boyd to investigate. Vicki’s character was inspired by the United States’ use of psychic spies—which the government refers to as remote viewers. When Vicki’s Key, the first book featuring Vicki was released, several readers mentioned to me that I had crossed over into science fiction. However, in the past fifty years and most notably in the past twenty, real life has begun to look more and more like science fiction.


 


This morning I read a fascinating account by Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest minds in science, regarding the need to populate other planets with human beings. Only one hundred years ago, that statement would have been preposterous. And yet plans are in place for placing people on Mars with the intention of making that planet into a future home for human beings.


 


Novelists have helped to propel science as many scientists, engineers and astrophysicists have openly spoken of inspiration obtained from reading books by Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and many others. Tablets, smartphones, robotics, space flight, wireless transmission, video calls and much, much more sprang from the minds of novelists and screenwriters long before they became reality.


 
p.m.terrell is the author of more than 20 books, including two award-winning series, Black Swamp Mysteries and Ryan O'Clery Mysteries, the award-winning River Passage and her bestselling book, Songbirds are Free. View book trailers and read excerpts from all her books at www.pmterrell.com. She is also the founder of The Novel Business, turning her individual author mentoring into affordable courses, and the founder of Book 'Em North Carolina.
 


Friday, November 4, 2016

The Long Road Back...

It's nice to know when someone disappears, they are missed. Particularly when I have been writing two books each year for the past several years, and two books per year have been published - one in the spring and one in the fall. And as I get back on track, there are four books scheduled for release in the upcoming 24 months.


My disappearance from the public eye began several years ago when I had to cancel part of a book tour due to a heart abnormality which resulted in the sensation that I had stopped breathing (actually, my heart was stopping), followed by a series of extremely rapid heartbeats as my heart rushed to catch back up.


I underwent a heart ablation, which literally everyone told me was a standard procedure and there was "nothing to it". I was on the table for about four hours, under general anesthesia, and the procedure was not successful.


And there was a complication.


Shortly after the procedure, I complained that my leg was hurting. I was assured that it was normal and it would soon heal. Not only did it not heal but I soon found myself almost unable to walk. I went through a variety of diagnoses and treatments from knee pain to arthritis to hip pain, but none of the medication worked and I began relying on a cane. Steroids resulted in a lot of weight gain, which put even more pressure on my leg.


Then, quite by accident, we discovered the root cause.


It turned out that during the heart ablation, I suffered nerve damage. And it turns out that approximately 10% of nerve damage is brought about by heart procedures. There is no cure for it, and in my case it created excruciating migrating pain from the bottom of my foot to the top of my hip.


Once we had the diagnosis, I was placed on Lyrica. That's when things became real interesting. The Lyrica immediately blocked the nerve pain, allowing me to begin to get back to my former self - physically. Unfortunately, a side effect was the inability to write. I simply could not focus. Even following a conversation was challenging. I stopped public appearances because I couldn't even focus enough on what I was saying.


Flash forward to today and I am on a different medication - Gralise, which was originally developed for nerve pain resulting from shingles, but which also has had a tremendous affect on my damaged nerve. It helps with the pain and I no longer feel as though I am in a thick mental fog. I have been able to exercise again and more importantly, I am getting back to my writing.


I have been incredibly fortunate because my doctor took me seriously and he stayed active in finding the cause, even though it took several years, specialists and tests. When I was ready to give up, he was not.


So now I am catching up on four books and if I can meet my deadlines now (fingers crossed!) they will be released in 2017 and 2018:



Near Neely Home (now gone) at Glencull,
outside the village of Ballygawley,
County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
  1. The sixth book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series has political strategist Christopher Sandige paying a visit to a human genome specialist after her report landed on the President's desk - a report that could have catastrophic repercussions.
  2. The seventh book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series has Dylan Maguire and Vicki Boyd heading to Dylan's native Ireland for their wedding. Of course Sam wants them to take care of a small CIA mission while they're on their honeymoon, which leads to another encounter with Dylan's past.
  3. The third book in the Ryan O'Clery Mystery Series has the Irish detective investigating a series of disappearances that lead him to a prominent citizen's doorstep.
  4. And another historical book about the Neely family. This one is inspired by my trips to Ballygawley, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, the home of my ancestors. In the 18th century, three brothers left Ballygawley for America and this book follows their lives as they chase the American dream. One became a pub owner in New York, another owned a fleet of sailing ships that took goods - and later Irish people fleeing from famine - between Ireland and America. The third became a successful rancher. His son, William Neely, would later clear the land around the original Fort Nashborough, and William's daughter, Mary Neely, would be captured by Shawnee warriors in 1780. (The rancher brother, by the way, is also my ancestor.)
In addition, I have had so many authors ask me for advice over the years that I have begun The Novel Business, a new website in which I'll be offering courses on everything from marketing and promotion to inside information on the publishing industry. Check it out if you have the chance.






It's great to be back!







Friday, October 28, 2016

Psychic Spies on the Front Line of War


During the Cold War, United States Intelligence Agencies discovered that the Soviet Union was using psychic spies and astral travel to spy on the USA. The CIA and the Department of Defense received funding to determine whether psychic spies and astral travelers were charlatans with no true abilities, or if it was truly possible to “see” without being physically present. Concerned that the term “psychic spy” would alarm the general public, our government named those they studied and worked with “remote viewers” or “RV”.

 

The theory behind remote viewers is they can enter a trance-like state that separates their mind from their body, enabling them to travel to any area in the world. There are approximately 90,000 pages of declassified CIA documentation regarding The Stargate Project, which was in operation from the 1970’s through 1995. However, the termination of Stargate does not mean that psychic spying has ended; it continues to this day under other code names.

 

Astral travel is essentially the same thing: by entering an altered state of consciousness, an individual can project their thoughts/mind/soul to another place.

 

The CIA conducted experiments and then formal training based on science with strict controls. Beginner experiments were used to determine if a person truly had psychic abilities. An example is to place the subject in a chair, their eyes closed or blindfolded. A card from a deck is pulled in another room and the subject must be able to tell the interviewer that there is, in fact, someone in another room with playing cards, and which card they pulled.

 

As a subject shows psychic tendencies, all of which are carefully monitored and recorded, experiments become larger, covering greater distances and requiring more detail. They might be given coordinates (latitude/longitude) and asked to describe what they see there. The best psychics are also adept at drawing what they have seen, which is later compared to what is actually in that location. It could be the Kremlin, a battlefield, or something mundane such as a simple house or a gravesite of a person who is not famous and whose name would not be previously known.

 

The experiments form a ladder in which more subjects are discontinued as the tasks become more difficult, requiring more precision, until only the best remain. Even then, all their information is checked by ground operatives and verified through other Intelligence means.

 

An example of one of the more difficult experiments is described in the CIA declassified document involving Taurus 1 and Taurus 2, in which a psychic spy was placed aboard a submarine, which was submerged. Five hundred miles away, two investigators appeared at a given time but at a place unknown to the psychic. The remote viewer’s assignment was to find the two investigators and describe the place.

 

In one such experiment, the investigators stood beside an oak tree located at the top of a hill in Portola Valley, California. The psychic described the place and when later shown six similar photographs, he was able to select the correct one based on his vision/remote viewing session.

 

In 1983, a then-classified document warned that the USSR and China were both actively engaged and fully supported by the highest government levels in psychoenergetics, the study of the links between the human psyche and mystical forms of energy. It is considered a subschool of psychotronics, which encompasses telekinesis. The report further stated that this poses a potential threat to U.S. National Security. (This document was part of the GRILL FLAME documentation declassified by the CIA.)

 

Since the Cold War, the United States along with more than a dozen other countries have actively engaged in training remote viewers. By recruiting the individuals who showed the highest aptitude in psychic testing, the CIA and the Department of the Army found that training them based on scientific principles and proven techniques, they could increase their abilities substantially.

 

Declassified documents show that experiments, testing and training proved conclusively that remote viewing could indeed obtain operationally useful information.

 

I read countless pages of declassified documents in developing the character of Vicki Boyd, the CIA psychic spy, in my Black Swamp Mysteries Series. I often take true stories from previous decades and update them to the present day. The steps Vicki goes through in entering a trance-like state is taken directly from the narratives of real psychic spies. Below is an excerpt from Vicki’s Key:

 

Vicki took a deep breath and felt her chest rise and fall in a pattern similar to sleep. She cleared her mind of the dozens of details and thoughts that threatened to hijack her concentration and focused instead on the steady sound of the water surrounding her.

Though her eyes remained closed, she felt the room grow white around her and then she was whisked upward like a bird catching its broad wings on a current of air and allowing it to take her away.

She was weightless. It felt effortless to spread her wings and be transported high above the ground, above the treetops and rooflines, soaring toward the clouds. It was a beautiful summer day, the sky a shade of blue that set the Carolinas apart; dotted here and there with fluffy, white clouds that danced with her every movement.

She felt like an eagle. As she glided on the air current, she became acutely aware of her eyesight; it was stronger than a human’s—so strong that she could see a rabbit emerging from a row of hedges nearly a mile away. The tiniest bird was clearly visible and eggs in treetop nests shone like beacons.

She dutifully turned eastward. In the blink of an eye, the clouds were gone. In their place was a solid, deep blue the shade of a passionflower, almost purple in its cavernous intensity. Beneath her were shades of brown. Gone were the flowers of North Carolina, bursting in their kaleidoscope of brilliant colors; gone were the trees with their extensive range of greens that ran the gamut from peridot to deep moss. In its place was the Moroccan desert, its sands stretching in various shades of fawn across the earth. Buildings rose in blocks of yellow- and reddish-brown, their height their only distinguishing characteristic from the shifting sands. She soared above jagged crags that rose from the ground like hilltops created from the variable winds.

“Northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan. Headed toward Pakistan. Foothills of the Himalayas.”

“Your mission,” Sam said, his voice soft but firm in her imagined earpiece, “is to locate a remote village. Only one road leads in through the mountains, isolating it from the rest of the country.”

In a fraction of a second, she had covered hundreds of miles. There was much more to the Hindu Kush to her east—into Pakistan and even further into India—but her focus remained on a relatively smaller area west of the Pakistan border. She travelled northward, then turned to the south, and then back north.

The foothills of the Himalayas rose beneath her, their peaks reaching past the clouds. It was beautiful, even heavenly and yet forbidding. She moved past mountain peaks coated in ice so thick that even the harsh sun so close overhead could not melt them. She peered into cavernous crevices so deep that if they were filled with water, they would rival the depths of the ocean. As she moved down the mountains, she soared past mountain goats whose reddish brown coats almost blended seamlessly with the mountain rocks, their movement the only factor that gave them away. The ground beneath their feet was simply rock and dirt, and she wondered fleetingly how they could possibly survive in such an inhospitable land.

Then she was moving toward a strip of green that stood out from the sandy and mountainous terrain, guiding her inward. As she moved past the mountain range, she noted a passage that could barely be considered a road; it was just a footpath that wound its way around the edge of a mountain. The shoulder consisted of rocks no larger than the palm of a hand, and as a mountain goat navigated it, its hooves kicked pieces that careened downward hundreds of feet.

 ***
p.m.terrell is the author of more than 20 books, including the award-winning series Black Swamp Mysteries and the Ryan O'Clery Mysteries Series. For more information and to read more excerpts, view book trailers and purchase her books, visit www.pmterrell.com.

 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Best Time to Write Your Fiction Book Blurb


Today I am very happy to welcome guest contributor Glenna Mageau. Glenna is the award-winning author of suspense/thrillers and a fabulous mentor for up-and-coming authors. I recently took her course, Mastering the Art of Writing the Catchy Fiction Book Blurb, and loved it. I highly recommend it for authors of all levels of success.

The Best Time to Write Your Fiction Book Blurb

By Glenna Mageau

What if I told you that only 8% of self-published authors, get it right when writing their fiction book blurb?

I know that I wasn’t one of the 8% for a very long time. I just wanted to run from having to write the thing.

Almost 90% of the authors, I surveyed, waited until they were finished writing their novel before they started writing their fiction book blurb. It’s something that many authors seem to want to avoid. I don’t blame them, I did for a long time, too.

It’s one of those things that seems to be a mystery as to how to make it interesting and compelling and what to choose out of 90,000 words. And many believe they have to have the story written to be able to write their fiction book blurb.

So what are the 8% doing right?

They’ll start writing their fiction book blurb when they start writing their novel. Not many people really think about this but it can make all the difference.

 


But what if waiting until the novel was completely written was what was making the fiction book blurb all that much more difficult to write?

The truth is that if you start writing your fiction book blurb when you start writing your novel, it will make it so much easier.

I do get asked, why would I start writing it when I don’t even have my novel written?

There is a concern that if you don’t have the whole story written then how can you know what to include in your novel.

Think about this, as you’re writing, you probably get quite into your story and into your characters (or at least I hope you do). You’re right there with them with each step they take, each wrong move, each devastation, each happy moment. I know that when I write, I laugh with my characters, I cry when something bad happens, I talk to my characters to find out what is going on for them. The reason I bring this up, is that when you are in the midst of writing your story, you are immersed in it – the feelings, the intensity, the suspense, the sadness, the journey...

Guess what is naturally going to come through in your book blurb, at this point in time? That emotion, that tone, that feeling that grabbed you, will also grab your reader. And there is no better time to know that feeling than when you are in the midst of feeling it.

You will also know what those key moments are that you need to include in your book description. You’re focus is on only a part of a story not the whole thing so it makes it easier to pull out those key moments. You’re not overwhelmed by the full story.

The fiction book blurb isn’t about telling the whole story, it’s about bringing to life the essence of it - the protagonist, the journey, the hope, the despair…

So join the 8% and start writing your fiction book blurb as soon as you start writing your fiction novel.

To learn more, join me on my FREE webinar, 5 Steps to a Compelling & Interesting Fiction Book Blurb on November 9. More information is coming soon. The best way to keep informed is to sign up for my FREE ebook: 3Keys to Writing a Compelling & Interesting Fiction Book Blurb

 

 

Glenna Mageau

Glenna Mageau an award-winning suspense/thriller author, who works with Indie/Self Published authors to create attention grabbing fiction book blurbs. Her first attempts at writing fiction book blurbs were dismal, time consuming and very stressful. Finally figuring out how to write attention grabbing ones, she created a course – Mastering the Art of Writing the Catchy Fiction Book Blurb – to help all Indie/Self-published authors do the same. Learn more here: www.glennamageau.com

Her motto: Escape to read… Read to escape… and Write for the Freedom!

 

 

 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Finding Inspiration in Weather

The past two weeks have felt surreal with the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, the resulting storm surge and subsequent flooding in Lumberton, North Carolina. For those who have read The Tempest Murders, you'll recall that it takes place as Hurricane Irene is barreling toward the North Carolina coast. Lumberton was in its crosshairs and though we received a lot of rain, Hurricane Matthew was far more destructive to the Carolinas.


In the beginning chapters of The Tempest Murders, Detective Ryan O'Clery is investigating the murder of a young woman found along the banks of the Lumber River in clear view of the Robeson County Courthouse. In the picture here, the courthouse is the light tan building near the upper left, and the river is just one block away. It is normally the width of a few cars, but you can see from the picture how it flowed well beyond its banks to flood businesses, homes, streets - and anything in its path.


I was originally inspired to write The Tempest Murders when I came across information regarding one of the most massive storms in Ireland's history, called The Night of the Big Wind. It took place on the day of Epiphany (January 6, 1839), a date that some in the religious community had forecasted the world would end. And the residents of Ireland must have thought the world was ending, because the winds came in at 115mph, literally blowing the Atlantic Ocean across the island as it tracked from west to east. The book actually begins as Ryan O'Clery's uncle several generations back was returning to his home after a trip to Dublin, only to find that the water had washed away whole villages - and his lover.







I was further inspired by Hurricane Isabel. In September, 2003 I was living in Chesterfield, Virginia, a county that lies between Richmond and Petersburg. At 3:00 in the afternoon, the skies became pitch black, the electricity and water abruptly stopped, and I retreated to a room of the house with my dogs. For more than twelve hours, I could hear the sound of 100+ foot tall oak trees hitting the ground and could only pray that none hit the house. It wasn't until the next morning when the sun rose that I was able to look outside. Giant trees had fallen like matchsticks, one hitting the house next door to mine and more than two dozen falling in my yard - but thankfully, none hitting the house. They came down with such force that when one tree with a diameter of several feet was being removed from the front yard, they found another tree the same size embedded in the ground under it.


Then as luck would have it, I was living in Lumberton, North Carolina as Hurricane Irene came ashore. I have been extremely fortunate not to have suffered the devastation that many have, having lived through three hurricanes.


I've chosen to add extreme weather to my books because the weather can be a formidable opponent, one that is impossible to fight - and yet many must make life or death decisions in the blink of an eye. Weather can also place a critical time element on unfolding events, such as Ryan O'Clery discovering that his lover is a serial killer's next target and history is poised to repeat itself.


I find books that pit ordinary people against extraordinary events impossible to put down, like The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger, regarding the true story of "the storm of the century", the meteorological events that created it, and the crew of the Andrea Gail that was caught in its crosshairs. I knew as I was reading it that they could not fight an opponent with hurricane force winds and a sea bent on tossing the ship like a paper model, and yet I was riveted by the courage of the men who fought to keep their vessel afloat against all odds. (Shown here, actors portraying the crew of the Andrea Gail in The Perfect Storm, which also starred George Clooney.)


Hurricane damage may get a lot of publicity in the days after it occurs, but in reality it may take years to recover from loss and sometimes the losses are irrecoverable, leaving an imprint on people for the rest of their lives. The waters are receding in Lumberton. The town is filled with the friendliest people I've ever known, and during this time of need, I have seen ordinary people perform extraordinary feats. Will this experience inspire me to write Hurricane Matthew into a future book? Once the pain subsides, yes, I think so. After all, pitting man against the weather is as old a story as man himself.


p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books, including two award-winning series set in Lumberton: Black Swamp Mysteries and the Ryan O'Clery Mystery Series. Visit her website for additional information on these books and others.