Monday, May 19, 2014


Once again I have the pleasure of hosting p m terrell here at A Writer’s Life. She is promoting her new release, THE PENDULUM FILES via a Goddess Fish Book Tour. She's also giving away a lovely Celtic necklace to one commenter on her tour. 

So, let’s get to pm’s interview.

Caroline: Share with us something about growing up.

PM: Thanks for hosting me today, Caroline!

I was born in Washington, DC. My father was an FBI Agent so my early life was spent in a variety of states as he was being transferred from one office to another. By 1967, we ended up in the Mississippi Delta during one of the most violent times in the South’s history. I left there in the early 1970s, returning to the Washington area. Now I live in coastal North Carolina, far from the traffic and crowds.

Caroline: Were you a bookworm or a jock?

PM: I have definitely been a bookworm my entire life. I was always the last one to be chosen when forming ball teams at school and have a reputation for being quite clutzy! I can even fall while going up stairs, which I do quite frequently.

Books allow me to take on different personas; often ones that are athletic, strong, physically capable and hero-like.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

PM: I have eclectic tastes when it comes to books. I enjoy true adventure in which ordinary people encounter extraordinary circumstances, such as Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (about climbing Mount Everest); The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger and Left for Dead by Beck Weathers.

I love exploring new places, bygone eras and cultures through the pages of books. Gone with the Wind was an early favorite, read when I had the time for such a hefty book. Lately, my reading has included The Irish Lady, which opened the world of Northern Ireland to me.

Caroline: What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

PM: I breed freshwater angelfish and I find working with my fish tanks is extremely relaxing and a diversion from writing and researching. Some of my angels are ten inches tall and range from rare blue angels and flaming red angels to the classic silver striped angels, marbles and platinums. My angels are sold through a local pet shop; I’m told I’m the only breeder where the pet shop owners can actually see the parents and the environment in which the baby fish were raised.

My work with the angelfish became the CIA cover for Vicki Boyd and Dylan Maguire in the Black Swamp Mysteries series. I found whenever I talked about my fish, peoples’ eyes glazed over and I thought, “What a wonderful fake career for a CIA operative! Everyone would think they were terribly boring and stay away!”

Caroline: Watching fish is relaxing, but I remember that keeping the aquarium clean involved work. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

PM: I don’t know who originally wrote this but the quote is: Be quiet for the world is filled with noise and God speaks in a whisper.

Caroline: I love that and it’s new to me. The quote reminds me of a line from the Bible. How long have you been writing?

PM: I began writing in 1967, so I’ve been writing for close to fifty years. Just writing that makes me feel old! My first book, a non-fiction was published in 1984 and my first suspense in 2002. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the publishing industry throughout my career. It is unrecognizable from what it once was.

Caroline: This industry seems to change every day. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

PM: If I have the house to myself, I prefer to write in my living room, surrounded by some of my community fish tanks. Otherwise, I work in my office, which has a 360 degree view of the grounds. I write in solitude on a desktop (office) or laptop (living room) and can’t imagine how anyone can write in longhand.

Caroline: Are you a plotter or a panzer?

PM: I am definitely a plotter. I know before starting the book where it begins and where it will end. I also define a mid-point which resembles a climactic scene. The first half of the book is spent placing the building blocks for that mid-point. When I reach that particular chapter, it turns everything on its head, catapulting the reader through the end of the book.

Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?

PM: In my Black Swamp Mysteries Series, I’ve used several real characters and businesses. Vicki’s and Dylan’s favorite restaurant is The Village Station, owned by Arnold West. A pivotal scene played out at Just Teazin’ Beauty Salon, which featured real salon owner Beth Powers.

I often get inspiration for plots from going through declassified CIA documents or through news stories about true espionage or crime. Truth really is stranger than fiction!

Caroline: That certainly is true. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

PM: I hope that my writing brings entertainment value to my readers, allowing them to escape into the pages of my books like I escape through the books I read. I also seek to enlighten and educate, while leaving the opinions up to the readers themselves.

Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?

PM: Well, since I’ve been writing for nearly 50 years, my long-term goals have become short-term goals! I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to write for as many years as I have, and I only hope to continue doing what I love for the rest of my life.

Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?

PM: I am finishing the sequel to THE TEMPEST MURDERS, an award-winning book that was released last fall. In THE WHITE DEVIL OF DUBLIN, Irish Detective Ryan O’Clery receives a call from a noted historian who claims she has uncovered information about his family’s past. When he arrives to meet with her, he finds her throat slashed and her computer stolen. Finding the killer and solving the crime will take him back nearly a thousand years to the time of the Viking invasion of Ireland—and into family secrets that had lain hidden for generations.

The book is due to be released this fall (2014).

Caroline: You’ve hooked me. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

PM: If you are truly meant to be a published author, you will find the time to write regardless of what else is going on in your life.

Take your ego out of your work and listen to advice.

Authors have more resources available to them today than ever before. Use them; network and learn your craft to the best of your ability.

Caroline: Wonderful advice. Now let’s learn more about your new release.

The Pendulum Files
pm terrell


CIA operative Dylan Maguire joins forces with psychic spy Vicki Boyd to find out who is bombing merchant vessels bound for the United States from China. The mission will lead them to Black Sites, the high seas, and into covert operations. and when an assassin escapes from prison determined to finish the job he started, they find their personal lives and their missions are about to collide in ways they never could have imagined.


She wasn’t quite sure what roused her from sleep. But as Vicki slowly opened her eyes, she became aware of her nude body lying on one side with Dylan’s larger, muscular form curled up behind her. One arm was stretched over her protectively and her derriere rested against his lap, their legs intertwined.
Normally some moonlight found its way inside, but the room was so murky that she wondered if there was any moon at all this night. She narrowed her eyes in an effort to adjust to the darkness as Dylan’s measured, soft breathing remained against her ear.
She nearly gasped as her eyes fell upon a figure just a few feet from the bed. She frowned as it swayed in front of her; it was not flesh and blood—that much was obvious. It was almost opaque and as she continued to stare, it grew more luminous until a tiny woman stood in front of her with long, flowing white hair billowing about her as if blown by the wind.
She wore a thin nightgown that reached from the base of her neck all the way to her feet, and as Vicki continued to stare, she smiled.
“Mam,” Vicki breathed as she recognized Dylan’s grandmother.
Dylan murmured something incomprehensible and held her more tightly against him.
“Be careful what you do, child,” Mam said in a clear voice. “There are eyes on you.”
Vicki gasped and grabbed at the bed covering. “You shouldn’t be watching us!” she exclaimed.
Dylan awakened and leaned over her to look at her face. “What is it, Darlin’?”
Vicki could feel the heat in her cheeks. She half-turned to Dylan to see him watching her with sleepy eyes. “I—” She turned back to where his grandmother had stood, but she was gone.
“Another bad dream, mayhap?” he asked before settling back. “There’s nothin’ at’al to be frightened of, Darlin’. I’ll take good care o’ you.”
She tried to relax against his body once more. She kept her eyes open and her ears on alert but she was met only with silence and a darkness that reminded her that she’d had precious little sleep. Still, she pulled the bedcovers over them, covering their naked bodies.
The grandfather clock downstairs ticked off the seconds, the sound reminding her of just how silent the rest of the house really was. She finally felt herself snuggling into that warm cocoon of sleep.
She could feel Dylan’s breath against the back of her neck; it was the steady breathing of a man deeply asleep. Then she became aware of something else, something against her nose as if someone was breathing on her face.
Her eyes flew open to find Mam leaning down in front of her, her face just inches from hers.
“It isn’t me you need to be concernin’ y’self with, child,” she said. “Other eyes are watchin’.”

Smashwords (all ebook formats):

p m terrell, Author

p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books in five genres. A full-time author since 2002, Black Swamp Mysteries is her first series, inspired by the success of Exit 22 in 2008. The books include EXIT 22, VICKI’S KEY, SECRETS OF A DANGEROUS WOMAN, DYLAN’S SONG and THE PENDULUM FILES. VICKI’S KEY placed as one of four finalists in the 2012 International Book Awards. Her historical book, RIVER PASSAGE, won the 2010 Best Drama Award, and her romantic suspense, THE TEMPEST MURDERS, placed as one of four finalists in the 2013 USA Best Book Awards.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she founded and operated two computer companies in the Washington, DC area. Her specialties were computer crime and computer intelligence and her clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense. Computer technology often weaves its way through her contemporary suspense/thrillers.

She is also the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and the founder of The Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair, an annual event to raise money for literacy campaigns. She also serves on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County Public Library and the Robeson County Arts Council, and served as the first female president for the Chesterfield County/ Colonial Heights Crime Solvers.

twitter: @pmterrell

Thanks for stopping by!


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

p.m.terrell said...

Thank you so much for hosting me here today, Caroline. I always love visiting with you, and I appreciate those thought-provoking interview questions! I'll be checking back later and answering any questions anyone might have for me.

Rain Trueax said...

I like that sample. Sounds like a good book. I enjoy paranormal books that actually seem possible based on what I've heard from those who see the 'other' side.

p.m.terrell said...

Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment, Rain! I agree with you. I love reading books that my mind can process as something that really could happen. Best of luck on winning that beautiful Celtic necklace!

Maria D. said...

Loved the excerpt! I really enjoy reading this series and I'm glad to find out there is a new book for me to read:) It was also interesting to discover PM's background (her dad being in the FBI). Thanks for the giveaway

junegirl63 at gmail dot com

Caroline Clemmons said...

Nice to have you back on the blog, pm. Wishing you continued success.