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Friday, February 10, 2017

Where is That Irish Village?

Ballytullmac is a fictional Irish village where Dylan Maguire was raised by his grandmother in the Black Swamp Mysteries series. It is set near the Bog of Allen and is located near Croghan Hill, a real place that is the site of an extinct volcano. From the top of Croghan Hill, you can see for miles around, as the surrounding terrain is very flat in the bogs. It is located in County Offaly west of Dublin.

Before England colonized Ireland (the same way they did America) in the 16th and 17th centuries, the island was divided into miniature “nations” just as the United States was divided into more than 500 Native American nations. Each was ruled by a clan, which was a close-knit group of family members and others loyal to that family.

The region of Croghan Hill was ruled by the O’Connor Clan; O’Connor was one of the last High Kings of Ireland before the Norman invasion (which serves as the backdrop in my book, The White Devil of Dublin).

In 2003, a remarkably well-preserved body was found in the bogs that is believed to be more than 2,000 years old. The man is measured at 6 feet, 6 inches, remarkably tall even for this day. He was murdered in his 20’s. The theory is that he was once a king in that region. It was believed during the Iron Age and the time of the druids that when bad fortune fell upon the community—such as famine, bad weather or natural disasters—it was the king’s fault. He would then have been taken to a special site, such as the ancient hill where kings were anointed, and killed to appease the gods. His body was found buried at the foot of the hill; he had wounds on his arm and chest; he had been decapitated and his body cut in half.

In later years, Croghan Hill was known as a fairy-mound filled with mystical powers.

In my newest release, Cloak and Mirrors, Dylan’s village of Ballytullmac is the backdrop for his marriage to Vicki Boyd. It is a tiny village with one main street (with lots of pubs!) and a Catholic church set on a hill overlooking the village. The priest at the church is Dylan’s best friend, Father Thomas Rowan, and it is Father Thomas who marries Vicki and Dylan in a traditional Irish ceremony.

They leave the next day for Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way on the northwest corner of Ireland, which serves as the backdrop for the rest of the story. Sam, their CIA section chief, sends them into Donegal to pick up a microchip containing plans for Russia’s latest stealth technology. When the Russian decides to defect, however, it sends them across the island in an attempt to rendezvous with an aircraft that will remove the defector from Europe. And when they learn that the Kremlin has identified Vicki and Dylan, they find themselves fighting to escape. Watch the trailer below!

The official launch date for Cloak and Mirrors is March 17 (Saint Patrick’s Day) but it is already available at amazon in both paperback and eBook. It will be in all fine stores by March 17 in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

Be very careful if you see any of my books advertised as free! They are never free and I have been notified that groups in Eastern Europe and Russia are offering free eBooks that are filled with malicious viruses.

p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 20 books in several genres. Her first book was published in 1984 and she became a full-time writer in 2002. She has mentored authors for more than 15 years and is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and the founder of the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair. For more information, visit

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Walking a Rope Bridge at Gunpoint

Would you walk a rope bridge at gunpoint?

Cloak and Mirrors, the 6th book in the Black Swamp Mysteries Series, features a rope bridge in the climactic scene. I was inspired by the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, situated along the coast of Northern Ireland in County Antrim and not far from my ancestral home in Ballygawley.

The bridge was originally erected around the 1700’s when salmon fishing was big. The fishermen erected the bridge to a tiny island just off Northern Ireland’s coast called Carrickarede, which means the “rock of the casting”, where they would cast their nets. At one time, more than 300 salmon were caught each day. But by the turn of this century, less than 300 were caught in an entire season.

Today, the rope bridge is built for tourists—and therefore, for safety. It has handrails on either side and the slats are properly maintained. It is still a frightening trek, however, as the bridge can sway with both the strong Irish winds as well as the footsteps of every person in front and behind you. It is not for the faint of heart, and boats regularly transport visitors back to the mainland when they are so frightened that they can’t make the return journey across the bridge.

During the days in which the fishermen used it, however, it was not as sturdy or as well maintained, which further inspired the description in Cloak and Mirrors. In my book, I have located a similar rope bridge at an interior lough (or lake) that is exclusively used by the fishermen, so it more closely resembles the original rope bridges. They were strung in early summer and removed by late summer—usually lasting only from June to September. These bridges rarely had a handrail and the slats might be horizontally placed (with the length sideways) or vertically placed (one or two boards placed lengthwise as in the picture above), depending on the available wood. Sometimes the fishermen’s netting was used to keep the slats in place.

In Cloak and Mirrors, Vicki, Dylan and Brenda are fleeing from Russian operatives attempting to capture them. Not only must they navigate the bridge to reach an island in the lough, but they must do so under gunfire - one hundred and fifty feet above the water with no handrail.

The official launch date for Cloak and Mirrors is March 17, but you can pre-order the book now from amazon. The paperback sells for $16.95 (follow this link) and the Kindle sells for $6.99 (at this link).

Read an excerpt, watch the book trailer and find out more at

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Visiting Ireland’s Croaghgorms

The winds whistled and swirled in the frosty night like a chorus of apparitions dancing and bobbing, leaving soft whispers against Dylan’s ear, enticing, cajoling, flirtatious and deadly. Ah, but they could drive a man insane on a night like this, he thought, pulling his collar tighter about his ears. He wore an Irish tweed cap and still the winds licked at his hair like fingers running through it, soothing, insistent and treacherous.

So begins the chapter in which Dylan Maguire traverses the Croaghgorms, the Irish word for “The Blue Stacks” and perhaps better known to visitors as The Blue Stack Mountains. It is one of Ireland’s major mountain ranges and is situated in County Donegal. One road cuts through, called the Barnesmore Gap, an isolated road that one wouldn’t want to travel alone. Stories of apparitions abound in The Blue Stacks and particularly along Barnesmore Gap, including one of a woman who hitchhikes in the dead of night, only to disappear while in the unsuspecting driver’s car.

If you’ve ever been to Ireland, you know how mystical and magical it can be. The mists dance like phantoms, weaving in amongst the trees and the rocks until you aren’t quite sure whether otherworldly creatures are watching you, following you as you make your way. The winds can be cruel, especially when coming off the North Sea in the winter; as Dylan recalls later in the book, it’s the lazy winds that are the worst of all—called that because they’re too lazy to go around a man, they simply cut straight through him…

Donegal is situated in the Republic of Ireland but it is considered part of Ulster, the region that was divided from the Republic in 1921, making it part of the Border Region. It was after the Easter Rising of 1916 that Ireland won her independence from Great Britain, but six of the nine counties of Ulster were separated from the Republic, named Northern Ireland and is today considered one of four countries of Great Britain (along with England, Scotland and Wales).

There was once a border between Northern Ireland and Ireland manned with guards but those disappeared after the European Union was formed, making it possible to travel between the two countries as easily as Americans travel between states. This also made it possible for Dylan, along with a Russian defector and a fellow Irishman, to travel through the Blue Stacks on horseback in Cloak and Mirrors, weaving between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The mountains range from grassy slopes on which sheep graze to steep and rocky climbs. Occasionally, one will see an abandoned cottage with a thatched roof, most likely the home of a tenant farmer a century or more ago. The ground here, with little exception, cannot support crops so the tenant farmer and his family might have eked out barely enough to keep them alive, along with the more ample lamb they raised. In a region isolated and rugged, every bit of the lamb would have gone to good use, including the organs, the bones and the wool.

It is interesting to surmise what might have happened to the family; perhaps they starved during one of the Famines that struck Ireland with a savage vengeance. Or perhaps they were fortunate enough to migrate elsewhere; a costly, long and grueling journey across the Atlantic to America or to other countries around the world. They left behind a stone cottage that will stand for centuries longer, the thatched roof likely caving in, the area around the home overgrown as if the land is determined to claim it once more. All that is left in the haunted remains are the memories of what once was.

It is to one of these cottages that Dylan Maguire and his fellow travelers are heading en route to a rendezvous with a helicopter that is expected to receive the Russian defector and take him to America… If they survive.

I love writing about Ireland; the memories I have there are always warm even when the lazy North Sea winds cut straight through me. If you would like to read a chapter from my newest release, Cloak and Mirrors, that takes place in the Blue Stack Mountains and the cottage mentioned above, follow this link.

The book is due to be released on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2017. Vicki and Dylan discover the CIA can even hijack a honeymoon… While staying in a remote Irish manor house along the Wild Atlantic Way, they are directed to retrieve stolen documents on Russia’s newest stealth technology. But when the CIA asset decides to defect, their mission becomes much more complicated. And when they discover the Kremlin wants them captured, they’re in a fight for their lives.

Watch the book trailer below!

p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books, including the award-winning series Black Swamp Mysteries. Cloak and Mirrors is the 6th book in the series. Right now the first book that introduces Vicki and Dylan, Vicki’s Key, is on sale for just $2.99 on Kindle. It’s a great opportunity to be introduced to these two. After Cloak andMirrors is released, Vicki’s Key will return to the original price of $6.99. Visit the author’s website at for lots more information.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cloak and Mirrors Trailer

Last week I announced that my 19th book will be released on March 17 - St. Patrick's Day. I am excited to show you the new book trailer. In one minute, you can get a feel for Cloak and Mirrors, the 6th book in the Black Swamp Mysteries Series.

In upcoming weeks, I'll be filling you in on the writing of the book, including inside stories and research. Writing this book brought me into Russian stealth technology, including some of the newest innovations in cloaking and mirroring, which is how the book got its name. It also brought me into the advancements made in Siberia and the arms race.

The book takes place in Ireland and I use a mixture of fictitious places as well as real locations. I'll be taking you to the village that inspired one of the villages in Cloak and Mirrors, as well as the town of Donegal, in which key scenes take place. And I'll also be taking you behind the scenes to tensions during The Troubles, a thirty-year period of violence in Northern Ireland that spilled over into the Republic of Ireland.

So stay tuned for some exciting stories as we approach the launch of Cloak and Mirrors, as well as where you can purchase it and when it will be available in eBooks and in print. The official launch date is March 17, so mark your calendars now!

p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 20 books in several genres. Her first book was published in 1984 and she became a full-time writer in 2002. She has mentored authors for more than 15 years and is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and the founder of the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair. For more information, visit And for more information about Cloak and Mirrors, visit

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Cloak and Mirrors

I'm very excited to announce that the 6th book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series will be released on St Patrick's Day, March 17.

The release date is appropriate for Cloak and Mirrors because Vicki marries Irishman Dylan Maguire in the Irish village where he grew up. They then depart for a manor house in the north part of the island near Donegal for their honeymoon.

It's Christmas and the manor house is deserted except for Vicki and Dylan and their hosts. But they've barely arrived when their CIA boss, Sam, sends them to retrieve a microchip containing Russian stealth technology. It's a simple assignment - to retrieve the microchip from one operative and pass it off to another - but things take a more complicated direction when their asset decides to defect. As Vicki and Dylan try to move the defector to a rendezvous point, they discover the Kremlin has blown their cover - and the Russians want Vicki and Dylan captured and brought to Moscow.

This was an exciting book for me to write because it takes place against the backdrop of Ireland at a time when the sun sets early and rises late, bringing with it the Northern Lights and all those things that go bump in the night.

Over the upcoming months, I'll be writing about the inside stories: Siberia, Northern Ireland, stealth technology, the CIA psychic spy program and all the other research I've done while writing this book.

So mark your calendars now for March 17, and check back for more exciting news!

p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 20 books in several genres, including her award-winning Black Swamp Mysteries series. Her first book was published in 1984 and she became a full-time writer in 2002. She has mentored authors for more than 15 years and is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and the founder of the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair. She has also launched The Novel Business to pass along her extensive knowledge of the publishing industry. For more information, visit

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ireland's Night of the Big Wind

January 6, The Day of Epiphany, is the anniversary of The Night of the Big Wind, one of the most devastating storms in Ireland’s history. There had been a religious group that believed the world would end on the Day of Epiphany in 1839. So when this unusual storm swept across Ireland, it was believed by many to be the end of the world.

The storm, also known by its Gaelic name, Oiche na Gaoithe Moire, actually began on January 5 when an unusual snow storm blanketed much of Ireland. But January 6 dawned quiet and bright and temperatures rose swiftly, melting the heavy snow. This was a time before weather forecasters could easily get warnings out to the public, so children were playing outside while women were busily preparing for the Feast of the Epiphany.

By mid-afternoon, a dense cloud had covered the island and winds seemed to come out of nowhere. By many accounts, the wind appeared to whip the Atlantic Ocean into a frenzy so dramatic that it swept the ocean as well as the melting snow all the way across Ireland, from west to east. Even Dublin, on the far eastern edge of Ireland, suffered heavy casualties.

By the evening of January 6, the winds had increased to hurricane force as a cold front from the north merged with the warm temperatures of the south. Livestock were swept away in the fast-moving waters as creeks turned to rivers. Fields were stripped bare. Many poorly constructed homes were swept into the raging waters. Even historic castles made of stone were heavily damaged; some remain to this day unrepaired.

The waters rose so high that houses were flooded when the waters came rushing down the chimneys. A full 25% of Dublin's buildings were damaged or destroyed.

It is said that in the single Night of the Big Wind, the storm was responsible for more deaths and homelessness than the mass evictions that transpired from 1850 to 1880 - a 30-year period. To this day, that night has become ingrained in Irish history and folklore.

In The Tempest Murders, I used the Night of the Big Wind as the backdrop to a series of murders that culminated in Rian Kelly losing his beloved Cait at the hands of the killer as the storm swept through the village. The book picks up with Ryan O'Clery in present-day North Carolina as Hurricane Irene is sweeping across the Atlantic toward the coast. A detective, he is working a series of murders that are identical to the ones his ancestor, Rian Kelly, was investigating in 1839. When he realizes the next target is his soul mate, Cait, he becomes convinced that they are the reincarnation of his ancestor and his beloved - and that the killer is determined to separate them by death once more. It is the story of what lengths one man will go to alter his destiny and that of the one he loves.

Read an excerpt here:

p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 20 books in several genres. Her first book was published in 1984 and she became a full-time writer in 2002. She has mentored authors for more than 15 years and is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and the founder of the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair. For more information, visit She has also launched a supportive network for authors called The Novel Business at

Friday, December 30, 2016

Looking Forward to 2017

Like a lot of people, I am grateful to see 2016 coming to a close and I am looking forward to a fabulous 2017. It is shaping up to be an ambitious year for me:

Cloak & Mirrors, the 6th book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series, is scheduled for release in the spring of 2017. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a St Patrick's Day release (March 17) because Vicki and Dylan return to Ireland. They get married in the village where Dylan grew up and then depart for the north part of the island for their honeymoon. Sam needs for them to perform one small CIA task in Donegal, and of course everything goes wrong and they find themselves in jeopardy once again.

After mentoring authors for more than 15 years, I've decided to share my knowledge through a new venture, The Novel Business. Authors can sign up to receive free emails with tips on conducting writing as a business, insights into the publishing industry and a lot of marketing tips. For more in-depth information, I am rolling out a variety of premium courses. Check out information on the 52-week (a full year!) Marketing Plan of how-to videos.

My favorite physician of all time is Dr. Godfrey Onime, and I am very pleased to announce that I will be working with him in 2017 on a variety of books, including one about the medical community's role in helping victims of Hurricane Matthew and a series of inspirational books. Check out his website here.

I am also continuing work inspired by three Neely brothers who left my ancestral village of Ballygawley, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland in the 1720's to make their destinies in America. There is a tremendous amount of research involved but the book is well underway. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a 2017 release.

I am also starting my second year in college. I am working on a double major, one involving cybersecurity and another involving marketing with an emphasis on digital (Internet) marketing. Computer technology has been very good to me over the years and with technology changing as rapidly as it has in recent years, I wanted to keep my skills up to date.

I will also be updating my website,, over the next few months. I have two sections, one pertaining primarily to my contemporary work and another to the historical books of the Neely family, River Passage and Songbirds are Free. I may divide it further so it will be easy and fun to navigate and friendlier for mobile devices.

So 2017 will definitely be an ambitious year for me. I am very excited!

Happy New Year!

p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 20 books in several genres. Her first book was published in 1984 and she became a full-time writer in 2002. She has mentored authors for more than 15 years and is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and the founder of the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair ( She is also the founder of The Novel Business ( For more information, visit