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Friday, March 29, 2013

Not-so-freaky Friday

I am ending this week at Happily Ever After. I hope you'll follow the link and read the interview. It's been a lot of fun to answer unique and varied interview questions at each site, and I imagine those who continue to follow the blog tour will know more about me than I know about myself before it's finished.

Last week, I was fortunate to have a wonderful interview on The Tarheel Traveler, which aired on WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was the first time that a television news crew had come to my home and filmed me in my home and my office. If you didn't have an opportunity to see the segment on TV, I hope you'll follow this link and view it now. It was a candid interview with candid shots - including my Jack Russell-Basset Hound mix, Lucy, who insisted on getting in the middle of the action!

You'll also see one of my seven aquariums in the video. The angelfish shown are between eight and ten inches tall. They inspired Vicki Boyd's front in the Black Swamp Mystery series as an angelfish breeder. This would allow her to perform her real job as a CIA psychic spy without raising suspicion in the community where she lives.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday Thoughts - the Evolving Industry

I hope you'll join me today at Desiree Holt's blogspot, where she interviews me about my writing and Dylan's Song. Remember, I am giving away a Celtic necklace to a lucky winner who leaves a comment during the tour!

I was speaking with another author recently about the evolving face of the publishing industry - which will also be the theme for the next Book 'Em North Carolina event scheduled for February 22, 2014. Her position was that agents and traditional publishing are a thing of the past; that all authors should self-publish.

I respectfully disagree.

I believe that every author has a unique path to his or her career. I believe that success is spelled in different ways to different people. I am friends with authors who are with the largest publishing houses and they love it. I am friends with those who decided to self-publish and love it. And I am friends with authors who have taken one path or another and look for greener pastures.

The publishing industry is a complicated one. The largest publishers have lagged behind the times as computers and technology have created innovation in other industries. This has led to smaller, more flexible publishing houses forming almost overnight - houses that take chances on new authors, new genres and unique plots. They are beginning to wake up, albeit slowly, but I wouldn't count them out - not by a long shot.

I believe there is room in this industry for the largest publishers, for the traditional mid-size and smaller publishers, for hybrid publishers and for the self-published. There are advantages and disadvantages to each path.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIP Wednesday - The Next Chapter

I am visiting Maggie Thom again today; I always enjoy visiting with her, whether she is a guest at the Book 'Em North Carolina blogspot or whether I am with her on hers. I hope you'll stop in, read her interview of me, and leave a comment for the chance to win a Celtic necklace I'll be giving away at the end of the blog tour.

While I am touring the world on this amazing blog tour, I am also writing my next book. The Tempest Murders, which I finished last year, and After the Tempest, which I am writing now, haven't been picked up by a publisher yet. But I have faith that they will find a home. It's part of writing; sometimes, an author has a publisher waiting for the new installment and sometimes one writes "on spec" having enough faith in the story and the writing to know it will someday be published.

The Tempest Murders' climactic scene takes place against the backdrop of Hurricane Irene. The main character, Ryan O'Clery, has discovered the serial killer he has been investigating now has his sites set on the woman he is falling in love with. And as Ryan races toward the Outer Banks to try and reach Cait before the killer, the hurricane slams into the shores of North Carolina.

From the time Ryan was a small boy, he had dreams that he didn't understand. They were of a woman he lost in another hurricane - one that washed ashore in Ireland in 1839 - as he raced to reach her before a serial killer got to her first.

The dreams were inspired by people who actually have dreams from a very early age of another place and another time. In many instances, psychiatrists examined the dreams to find they depicted real events that occurred years before the person was ever born - sometimes, centuries earlier. The dreams occurred long before the individual knew the history of the place... and therein lies the mystery.

In Ryan's case, he becomes convinced that history is destined to repeat itself - unless he can reach his lover before the man who wants to kill her.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Teaser - An Irish Village

Today I'll be stopping by Hywela Lyn's blogspot and I hope you'll drop in and visit me there.

My 15th release, Dylan's Song, takes the reader to Ireland and to the Irish village where Dylan grew up. It is where Dylan and Vicki - with Brenda in tow - rent a small cottage and it's where his next CIA mission is launched.

The village is in a rural area, one of the remote regions of Ireland that is difficult and time-consuming to reach. The population hasn't changed much over the centuries; those who can, move away. Those who remain eventually pass away, like Dylan's grandmother. But the village itself remains the same, decade after decade.

The focal point of the village is the Catholic Church, which sits atop a hill and looks down upon the village from a mile away. It is where Dylan's childhood friend, Thomas Rowan, is now priest.

In front of the church is an unpaved road that intersects with another; to the right, the road leads to the home where Dylan grew up. To the left, it leads to the cottage he is renting. Straight ahead leads into the village... and into his past.

And just beyond the village begins the Bog of Allen... and a missing CIA operative.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

I am continuing my month-long blog tour for my 15th release, Dylan's Song, and today I am appearing at Fiction Writing and Other Oddities. I hope you'll drop by and read the latest interview. Be sure to leave a comment so you have a chance to win the Celtic necklace I'll be giving away at the end of the tour.

I enjoy these interviews because I never know what I am going to be asked. Some of the questions are quite inventive, even to one who writes fiction!

I was asked recently why I write fiction when I first began my career writing non-fiction. The truth is, I enjoy fiction much more. I don't have to check and re-check every fact to make sure it is 100% accurate or risk being sued. And the characters can come to life in my mind and do things or go into directions I would not have imagined when I first began writing the book.

Yes, I do get surprised by my characters - frequently! If I didn't, I think the process of writing would become boring. And my theory is, if I am boring myself while I am writing, the reader will be bored to pieces while reading it. Perhaps the reason my books are non-stop action is because I like something that is engaging... and addictive.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Cerebral Writer... Out of the Lockbox

I'm ending this week by visiting two special blogs, each with a unique interview about my writing. I hope you'll drop in to visit me at The Cerebral Writer and Out of the Lockbox. Leave a comment at both blogs and you could win this gorgeous Celtic necklace.

This is my fourth virtual blog tour this year. I've already given away a basket full of goodies from the real town of Lumberton, North Carolina, the setting for the Black Swamp Mysteries series. The winner was in California.

I've also given away two necklaces - a beautiful Celtic triangle necklace that went to a lucky reader in Mississippi and a beautiful Celtic key necklace that was awarded to a reader in California.

I used to spend a good deal of time (up to eight months out of the year) on the road doing physical book signings and talks. But as times have changed and technology has evolved - particularly with regard to the Internet - book promotions have evolved as well. I am enjoying meeting fans on the various blogs from places I would never have visited in person - such as India and France, and from coast to coast here in America. I also feel a bit like Santa Claus each time I notify a lucky fan that they've won.

It also has given me much more time to write. In 2012, I wrote three books - around 1,000 pages - in twelve months. This year, I am obligated to write two more books.

And I have to admit, my dogs like having me around.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts, a Muse and a Full Moon

I hope you'll join me today at The Muse, where I am being interviewed by Claire Ashgrove. Then please hop over to Full Moon Dreaming for a different interview. Leave a comment at both blogs and you could win this beautiful Celtic necklace.

A muse is anything that helps to inspire an author, though it's often thought of as a person or spiritual assistance.

My muse is Ireland. I can't think of my mother, who is now deceased, without thinking of the Irish sense of humor and how much she loved to laugh and how she coveted a good joke. She often looked for her "Laugh of the Day" and long before the Internet and email, I used to mail her funny jokes or cartoons cut from the newspaper.

She was drawn to people with sincere smiles and a gleam in their eye. She also had a soft spot for the downtrodden, the poor and the unfortunate, and was generous to a fault.

I imagine those characteristics came from a long line of Irish ancestry. Two of her sisters had red hair and all had green or hazel eyes. Her mother had a striking resemblance to Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones) and had piercing blue eyes that didn't miss a thing.

If you are a writer, what inspires you to write?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIP Wednesday and the Sweet Spot of Life

Today I am visiting Christy McKee, who writes about women in the "sweet spot" of life. I hope you'll drop in and read the interview Christy conducted with me. Leave a comment and you could win this beautiful Celtic necklace.

This year I am writing two novels with an Irish connection. The first is After the Tempest, the working title of the sequel to The Tempest Murders. Neither book has been picked up by a publisher yet but I know it will be just a matter of time. It always is.

These novels are considered slipstream novels. They begin in a particular era but flash forward to the present day. As the suspense unfolds, the reader begins to see the connection between both eras - realizing, as the main characters do, that the experiences they are having have deep roots that reach back hundreds of years.

The Tempest Murders begins with The Night of the Big Wind, which occurred in Ireland on the Day of Epiphany, January 6, 1839. There was a religious sect that believed the world would end on this date; and when a freak hurricane raced across the Atlantic and slammed into Ireland, many of the island's inhabitants thought the world was indeed ending.

The Atlantic Ocean washed across Ireland from west to east, all the way to the Irish Sea. The waters rose and the wind was so strong that homes were ripped from their foundations and flung hundreds of yards away.

And during this storm, an Irish constable, Rian Kelly, learns that the love of his life has disappeared - at the hands of a serial killer.

Thus begins a mystery that unravels in the present day as Hurricane Irene bears down on the North Carolina coastline... And a serial killer with the same physical description as another two hundred years earlier is on the loose.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Teaser - Dylan's Song

As I continue the launch of Dylan's Song, I'm visiting Andi's Book Reviews today. I hope you'll drop by and leave a comment; one lucky winner will win a beautiful Celtic necklace at the end of the tour. Andi interviews me, provides an excerpt from the book and some more information you should find interesting.

Irish jewelry has a lot of tradition. Last Friday, I gave the inside story of the Celtic Key Necklace that Dylan gives to Vicki in Dylan's Song. Something else he has for Vicki - but hasn't given to her yet - is an Irish Claddagh ring.

The ring has many variations; sometimes the heart is a green gem, such as an emerald. Sometimes it includes diamonds. It's found in gold and silver and a combination. But it always means the same thing.

The heart represents true love. When the heart is facing toward the wearer, it means her heart has been captured. When it is facing outward toward the fingertips, it means she is looking for her true love. Both of these are when the ring is worn on the right hand.

But when it's worn on the left hand with the heart facing the wearer, it means the woman is married. On the left hand facing outward means she is engaged.

The hands symbolize friendship because every relationship needs both true love and true friendship.

The crown represents loyalty. There is a variation of the ring without the crown - supposedly because of the Republic of Ireland's separation from England and the King and/or Queen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Musing - The Irish Connection

Last Friday kicked off a month-long blog tour for my 15th release and the 4th book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series, Dylan's Song. After appearing on 34 websites on one day - a real first for me - I am following up with stops every Monday through Friday through April.

It's a lot of fun and I'm finding there's a great deal of interest in the backdrop of the book, the Bog of Allen in Ireland. The bogs remind me of the stories I read as a young woman of the moors of England, something that has always captured my attention and piqued my imagination.

The Bog of Allen covers about 370 square miles in Ireland. It is an area in which the swampland and peat swallowed whole forests... a place where bodies have been found that date back to 350 to 400 BC... an area where weapons dating to the Bronze Age and Iron Age have been located, buried deep beneath the land. It is, as Dylan Maguire notes in Dylan's Song, not the place to be during the witching hour.

I hope you'll join me today at four stops:

A review of Dylan's Song has been posted on AuntieMWrites, the blog of author Marni Graff, whose books are set in the United Kingdom; she calls Dylan's Song "a rousing good read."

My Reading Obsession is running an excerpt from Dylan's Song, along with some information you'll find interesting;

Join me at author Susan Whitfield's blog for an interesting interview;

And at Sandra's Blog, you'll find a special interview along with information on the book.

Follow the book tour and leave comments. At the end of this next book tour, you could win a beautiful Celtic necklace.

The winner of the last tour, LL from California, won a unique and beautiful Celtic Key necklace. Congratulations, LL! Thanks for following the tour.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Significance of the Necklace

Some folks who have seen me in person have asked about the necklace that I always wear. It is a key like the necklace Dylan Maguire gives to Vicki Boyd in Dylan's Song in the Irish village where he grew up. There is significance to the necklace and for this one day only, you could win one just like it.

It is a Celtic key. It is an Irish tradition to give the Celtic key necklace to the woman who has the key to your heart. As long as the woman wears the necklace, her lover is always near and close to her heart, no matter where his travels take him.

In honor of the release of Dylan's Song, my 15th release and the 4th in the Black Swamp Mysteries series, I am giving away this necklace to one lucky winner. All you have to do is go to as many of the following blogs today as you can and leave a message on the post about Dylan's Song. One winner will be drawn from those who comment and the necklace will be mailed so the winner receives it next week.

Good luck!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday at the Carolina Civic Center

Tonight is the official launch of Dylan's Song, my 15th release and the 4th book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series.

I will be appearing at the Carolina Civic Center's Historic Theatre in beautiful downtown Lumberton, North Carolina. My talk begins at 7:00 pm, and I'll be providing an inside look at the writing of Dylan's Song as well as a sneak preview into what comes next. Afterward, I'll be selling and signing all my books.

I hope if you're in the Lumberton, NC area, you'll make plans to join me. It's FREE and it's open to the public. You'll love the Historic Theatre and I will do my best to entertain and enlighten you!

The book is available in both trade paperback and in Kindle, Nook, iPad and other eBook formats. Visit my website at for all the information and to read an excerpt.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIP Wednesday - The Ryan O'Clery Series

As my 15th book is being released this week, I am hard at work on another new series. This one, the Ryan O'Clery series, isn't intended to take the place of the Black Swamp Mysteries series but will be an additional series. This one, like my other one, will be set in Lumberton, North Carolina.

Why two series set in the same place, you might ask?

While the Black Swamp Mysteries series focuses on international intrigue and spies and features a CIA psychic spy, a CIA ground operative, a computer hacker and a political strategist, the Ryan O'Clery series will be focused on domestic crime as seen through the eyes and experiences of Ryan O'Clery, a detective with the Lumberton Police Department.

Ryan O'Clery is an Irishman who immigrates to America with his sister Claire when she wants to attend college in North Carolina. He comes from a long line of constables in the Dublin area so law enforcement is in his blood. He joins the Lumberton Police Department and as the first book opens, The Tempest Murders, Hurricane Irene is barreling toward the Carolina shores as he is investigating a series of murders.

While my agent is shopping the series, I am hard at work on the second in the series, which carries the working title of After the Tempest. We rejoin Ryan in Lumberton as he discovers another string of murders eerily similar to the first ones. Is it a copycat crime or has his nemesis survived and is back to finish the job--killing the woman Ryan O'Clery loves more than Life itself?

If you are a writer, what are you working on right now?

If you're a reader, what are you reading?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Teaser - Launch of Dylan's Song

I hope you'll join me today at the Book 'Em North Carolina blogspot, where you'll get a sneak preview of my newest book, Dylan's Song.

Over the next two months, I will be participating in a long string of guest appearances on the Internet, reaching from North Carolina to India, France, England and Ireland. I hope you'll follow the tour and leave comments. I will be awarding three Celtic necklaces to three lucky, randomly drawn winners. Visit for all the tour dates or sign up to receive this blog by email to follow the tour.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Musings - Launching a Book

No sooner had I finished organizing the huge Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair than I was plunged neck-deep into the launch of my 15th book, Dylan's Song. It's a lot of work to launch a new book as publishers depend more and more on authors to actively market and promote their own works.  But it is also an exhilarating time.

This book has a special significance to me because it takes us to Ireland. We see a side of Dylan Maguire, the CIA operative, that we haven't experienced before, as he confronts his past and the real reason he left his native country for America. We are also transported to the village in which he grew up, to meeting the grandmother he calls "Mam" who raised him, and to meeting Thomas Rowan, his childhood friend who is now a Catholic priest.

I was asked recently if I could borrow a page from any author's life, who would it be and what would I borrow. I immediately answered: Carla Neggers. What would I borrow? It wouldn't be her status of New York Times bestselling author, though I do hope to achieve something close to that in my lifetime. Rather, it would be her ability to fly to Ireland, rent a cottage and simply write. I picture a pond outside the cottage, a leisurely walk into town, a romantic dinner, and writing in front of an open window as I admire the Irish countryside.

If you could borrow a page from any author's life, who would it be and what would you borrow?