BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WESTERN HISTORICAL ROMANCE!
Caroline Clemmons writes historical and contemporary genre fiction. Historical romances, contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries, and paranormals are among her current works. Learn more about her at www.carolineclemmons.com
Friday, April 07, 2017
CLOAK AND MIRRORS -- SUSPENSE ON A HONEYMOON
Cloak and Mirrors
by P.M. Terrell
P.M. Terrell will be awarding Celtic necklace containing the Tree of Life. USA only to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Ms Terrell shared an interview with us. I've left out the questions so you can enjoy her answers as a vignette of her life:
writing when I was nine years old. My father was an FBI Agent and we were
living in New Jersey when he was sent to the Mississippi Delta during the
tumultuous 1960’s. It was a violent period; Jewish synagogues were being
bombed, African Americans were being lynched; and three young men were killed
in Philadelphia, Mississippi as they simply tried to register African Americans
moving to Mississippi, I had not been shy but I found myself ostracized because
I was the daughter of an FBI Agent—someone they wanted out of their state—and I
turned inward. The principal at my school saw how lonely I was and she
suggested that I write. Creating people and events in my mind led to a lifelong
pursuit of writing and when I retired from the computer industry in 2002, I
turned to writing full-time.
I also turned
to reading an eclectic assortment of books, from Edgar Rice Burroughs to Agatha
Christie, Daphne du Maurier to Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee. I loved books
that took me away from the Mississippi Delta, particularly those set in
England, Ireland or Scotland in centuries past.
until I began writing the story of an ancestor, Mary Neely, in Songbirds are Free that I began to
understand my connection to Western Europe. Mary had been captured by Shawnee
warriors in 1780 near Fort Nashborough (now Nashville, TN); I knew she had been
of Scot-Irish descent but like so many Americans, I knew little else about
those distant ancestors.
I began to
research my family history and it brought me deeper into Ireland than I ever
thought possible. My sister and I began traveling to Ireland, discovering the
land that was granted to John Neely in Ballygawley, County Tyrone, Northern
Ireland. We were presented with a book from the local school that had just
celebrated a hundred and fifty years on ground that was donated by the Neely
“lords” and we were astonished to find that the villagers still remembered the
last of the Neely family. We stood in the family cemetery amid gravestones that
had been destroyed; we were told during the time of The Troubles, the British
soldiers destroyed them looking for hidden IRA weapons, which they did not
Cottage in Ballygawley, Northern Ireland
something about Ireland and discovering one’s past that never leaves. That is
why my books have increasingly more information about Ireland, from Dylan
Maguire’s past in Dylan’s Song to a
honeymoon in Cloak and Mirrors. In Cloak and Mirrors, much of the action
takes place in Donegal and along the Wild Atlantic Way, which is where my
ancestor, William Neely (John’s father) first lived when he immigrated to
Ireland from Wigtownshire, Scotland in 1608. Interestingly, as I was
researching a new series about my Irish ancestors (to be released later this
year) I discovered that the family was actually coming home to Ireland—they left
Ireland for Wigtownshire about four hundred years earlier (circa 1200) and
there is a possibility that our family is related to Niall of the Nine
Hostages, who was the High King of Ireland around 400 AD. I am awaiting the DNA
I had plans
to move to Ireland and write my books in a little cottage by the sea, but
unfortunately Ireland has initiated stricter guidelines and now an American
must have more than $50,000 per year in a government guaranteed pension—income
from writing is not counted. I have not given up, however; I hope someday that
requirement will be set aside so I can return to the land of my ancestors—a
land that resonates more with me with each passing year.
CLOAK AND MIRRORS Blurb:
CIA operatives Vicki Boyd and Dylan Maguire are back in the 6th book of the award-winning Black Swamp Mysteries Series. Vicki and Dylan journey to Ireland for their honeymoon and while they are there, they agree to pick up a package from a Russian spy containing plans for Russia's latest stealth technology. But when the Russian decides to defect, they find themselves trying to get him safely out of the country. They also discover the Kremlin has uncovered their identities and now Vicki and Dylan flee across the island. With breathtaking descriptions of Ireland's rugged coast and the Northern Lights, romance and suspense come together again.
CLOAK AND MIRRORS Excerpt:
“Nettie O’Connelly,” Jack began, “was the mother o’ nine children and a widow to boot. She lived in west Belfast within a stone’s throw o’ The Falls Road and within full view o’ the Divis Tower. It would have been the early 1970’s, so it would.” Jack shook his head. “There was violence every blasted day and night. The Catholics lived on one side o’ the road—divided by the Protestants by what is now known as the Peace Wall.”
He fell silent for a moment as he collected his thoughts. “Divis Tower was manned by British soldiers. Not much was done about violence against the Catholics—” he snorted for effect “—but violence against the Protestants, even in retribution or defense, was dealt a heavy hand. A heavy hand indeed.
“So it didn’t go unnoticed when one o’ the British soldiers stood at Divis Tower and looked down at Nettie’s home. Not once, mind ya; not twice. Every blasted day. She spent time each day washin’ and hangin’ her clothes in the yard—nine children can dirty a lot. She was still attractive, children or no; hair the color of a sunset and eyes snappin’ green. Petite thing she was.”
A gust of wind howled through the night, sounding like a woman’s protracted moan. Ciara began to paw the ground and Dougal snorted.
“We began to suspect a spy in our midst. Oh, it was a bad time, to be sure. Neighbors watchin’ neighbors. No trust, even for brothers. The slightest thing could set off the neighborhood like a powder keg just waitin’ to blow. There were brawls a’plenty. Boys gone missing overnight. Anyone suspected of cavortin’ with the Brits was dealt with severely.”
He rose and stepped to Ciara, stroking her mane in a gentle effort to calm her. “Then the ladies along the block began to notice a correlation between the colors o’ the clothes Nettie washed and hung and what happened afterward… When she washed her whites, she always seemed to leave her home at a particular time and always went a round-about ways. No one knew where she went. It wasn’t to the neighborhood butcher or grocer or any of the usual places a woman would go. Then one day she was spotted in the center of Belfast—an area declared to be accessible to both Catholics and Protestants, unionists and loyalists, which was laughable indeed.”
“So Nettie O’Connelly was a spy?” Alexei asked.
“We’ll never know, boy. That very night she was hauled from her home, right in front of her nine children. And never seen again.” Just as they thought the story was over, he continued. “My brothers were there. They told me about it afterward, I think as a warnin’ to keep my own mouth shut and my head down. They drove Nettie O’Connelly to the very spot where we were to meet the plane. Three carloads o’ men, at the least, and Nettie beggin’ for her life and for her children’s safety. A woman could scream till her throat grew bloody and not a soul would hear her out at the old lighthouse. And so it went on for hour after hour.”
Jack looked at the skies. “It would have been just about this time o’ year, I’d wager. The skies grew black around four or five o’clock and the sun wouldn’t make its appearance until nigh on ten o’clock the next morn. Long nights, they were. They said that Nettie was tortured until the witching hour approached, but she never confessed, never admitted to giving any one of us up. Not even when her children’s lives were threatened. She always maintained her innocence.” His voice grew quiet and then stopped.
After a long moment, Alexei asked, “What became of her?”
“They thought she was dead. Her body was laid out on a flat rock whilst the men debated what to do with her. Some wanted her buried, others brought out to sea. It wasn’t a night like this one, you see. There were no Northern Lights that night. No stars, not even a moon. Just a thick fog that rolled in from the sea, uncanny it was. It was so murky that the men carried a lantern from the cars to the water’s edge; otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to find their way. My brothers said they set the lantern beside Nettie’s body while they huddled just a few feet away. They realized everythin’ had gone black around them and when they looked back, she and the lantern were gone.”
Jack inspected Ciara’s bridle for a moment before continuing. “It was easy to see which direction she’d gone; the lantern was bobbin’ along one o’ the paths, around the brambles and the rocks and along the ridgeline. They followed it for a bit, shoutin’ as those men did—” he nodded his head toward the east “—and then the lantern was snuffed out.”
He wiped his nose. “They continued searchin’ for her but it was too dark. Black as pitch, it was. They left sentinels along the main roads to Belfast and left others in charge o’ watchin’ her home and her children. It wasn’t until summer that they found her at the base o’ a cliff, her neck broken. It’s said they brought her body—ravaged by time and the elements—into the ocean some three hours out and dropped her overboard.”
Alexei joined the two men. “And that was the end of the story?”
“Oh, no,” Jack chuckled but his eyes held no mirth. “That was only the beginning. For it’s said that Nettie O’Connelly still haunts these parts after all these years, carryin’ her lantern at the witchin’ hour, lurin’ men to their deaths.”
p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books in several genres, including suspense, historical and non-fiction. Prior to becoming a writer, she owned two computer companies in Washington, DC with a specialty in combatting computer crime. Her clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense. Technology is often woven through her suspense thrillers. Terrell is of Irish descent, and Ireland often figures prominently in her books as well. She has been a full-time author since 2002 and currently travels between her home in North Carolina and Northern Ireland, the home of her ancestors. She is also the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina’s Writers Conference and Book Fair (http://bookemnc.org) and The Novel Business (http://thenovelbusiness.com).