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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

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Best Christmas Memories

It's funny; as I look back at Christmases past, I don't remember the gifts as much as I remember the feeling of the holiday, the time with family and friends, and the little things that might have seemed insignificant at the time but which have withstood the test of time.

As a child growing up, I was always excited about the Santa Bag I received each year. My father put them together, and they were filled with oranges, apples, a variety of nuts and hard candies, along with a few prized chocolates.

As an adult living in Washington, DC with my sister Neelley close by, we always enjoyed getting together on Christmas Eve. It became a tradition of watching movies and The Christmas Carol was always among them.

We drank hot chocolate with marshmallows or sometimes hot apple cider. Sometimes we put peppermint sticks in our hot chocolate, which would melt. It's something I still enjoy doing today.

And occasionally, when we were feeling especially brave, we would cook. One year, we baked cookies, cakes and pastries. I doubt that any of it was edible but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

One year, my brother John was also living in the Washington, DC area and after we ate Christmas dinner, we drove downtown to tour the Christmas trees. You see, most people only think of the single White House Christmas Tree that the President lights each year. But there are actually more than 50 trees, one for each state and territory. Each one is decorated with items from that state that depict their state symbols, from birds and flowers to industries that have defined them.

There was usually a nativity scene with live animals and huge logs burning. And on that particular Christmas Day, I remember snow on the ground and standing in front of those logs, warming up our hands. They also offered free apple cider, which warmed us up on the inside.

So this Christmas as I settle in, I'll be remembering those times with family and the special memories we made.

What are your favorite memories?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Things I Remember

As we near the end of another year, I have been remembering past years and how much has changed in my lifetime. It has been said that in the past 70 years, technology has propelled mankind forward faster than the previous 5,000 years combined.

I remember having one telephone, which was mounted on the wall. We thought we had reached the bigtime when we got a long cord for it. The concept of taking a phone with you and talking in the car or elsewhere was the stuff of science fiction and comic strips.

I remember having one television set and how exciting it was to watch some shows in color. We got three channels and sometimes we had to adjust the rabbit ears to get them. We rushed home on Sunday evenings to catch The Wonderful World of Disney.

I remember writing my first full-length novel on a manual typewriter. I had to draw light lines an inch from the bottom so I knew when I was nearing the end of the page. A mistake often meant I had to retype that page. It was later rewritten and published as Exit 22.

All shopping was done locally. On very rare occasions I ordered by mail and it took 8 to 10 weeks to arrive if I was lucky.

I wore a watch that had to be wound every day. I asked other people what time they had to make sure mine was correct. The concept of wearing a wristwatch with a computer in it was something only Dick Tracy owned.

The first computer system I was trained to use required several hundred people to maintain. It took up an area the size of a football field. The delay others experienced in waiting for data was me running through the data center, locating the right tape and mounting it on the tape deck.

My first microcomputer was the Apple II. I could use one program at a time and I had to insert the program disk first, load it, and then insert a data disk. I thought I was high tech.

I remember prior to a long distance trip, I would send off for Mobil Oil’s trip package, which included step by step directions and a map. Giving voice commands to a car was something only the Jetsons did.

I remember watching the first men land on the moon. The idea of watching television broadcast live from the moon was so monumental that even the broadcaster had tears in his eyes.

I remember trusting Walter Cronkite. News was about what happened, not about what might happen. When he gave his opinion, it was called Commentary so viewers would understand the difference.

I remember having milk delivered to our back door several times a week. And I remember the milkman crying when my mother cancelled the delivery because she could buy it at the supermarket.

I remember my first record player. It was portable and I had to tape a penny to the arm so it wouldn’t skip and scratch the record.

I remember owning two pair of shoes. One was for play and the other for church and school. And I felt wealthy.

I remember our first artificial tree. It was white and was supposed to look like snow. Our tabletop artificial tree was made of silver aluminum.

What do you remember?

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, December 8, 2016

Old-Fashioned Christmas Cards

The contents of my snail mail box has changed a lot over the years. Gone are the mountains of junk mail I used to receive as they've all morphed into online spam, and thankfully it means that most of my mail consists of things I actually look forward to receiving. And at this time of year, I especially look forward to the holiday cards.

I used to wonder what to do with all the cards; I wanted them displayed through the season but wasn't quite sure of the best way to do it. Then I came across an old cork board. I wrapped the board in Christmas paper and picked up a box of push-pins.

As the cards are received, I begin at the bottom and work my way up until the board is filled.

I can easily move it to any location. I enjoy having it in the great room where I can enjoy them throughout the season.

The first year I tried this, I assumed that at the end of the season when the cards are removed, I would have to discard the holiday paper and wrap it again the following year. But to my surprise, the holes created by the push pins are so small that I have now used the same wrapping paper for 10 years and it stills looks good as new when I retrieve it each year.

In my latest book (to be released next year) Dylan Maguire and Vicki Boyd are married in Ireland at Christmastime. It has been a wonderful experience to incorporate the beauty of Ireland during the holidays. (Shown above: Belfast City Hall, about 45 miles from the village where my ancestral home is located in Ballygalley, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.)

What holiday traditions do you have?

p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books in a variety of genres, including two award-winning series, Black Swamp Mysteries and Ryan O'Clery Mysteries, the award-winning saga about her ancestors' journey at the height of the Chickamauga Indian Wars in River Passage, and her bestselling book, Songbirds are Free, the true story of her ancestor, Mary Neely, and her capture by Shawnee warriors in 1780. Visit for the book trailers, read free excerpts from her books, and much more.

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 to read free excerpts from all her books, view video trailers, and lots more.