Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Future of Book 'Em North Carolina

Our last Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair was held on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at Robeson Community College in Lumberton, North Carolina.

I founded this event roughly seven years ago and 2016 marked the Fifth Annual Event.

I have truly enjoyed meeting so many authors, publishers, literary agents and even Hollywood producers and rock stars through Book 'Em North Carolina. Though the event was visible to the public only on one day a year, I worked twelve months a year in order to pull it off. There were countless hours spent on the website, this blog, registering authors and performing all the duties from those that make a huge impact to the little things no one ever saw. But I could not have accomplished the event without the dozens of volunteers who came forward each year to help make it a success.

In those first five years, Book 'Em North Carolina received many awards: one for the Friends of the Robeson County Public Library, two for Robeson Community College and two for myself.

After the 2016 event, I turned the reigns over to Robeson Community College. With the college behind the event, it can grow far beyond what one person could ever seek to make it. With the changing of the guard, there will be changes, all of which are designed to make it bigger and better. That takes time, and for those who have followed this blog or interacted with us on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, we appreciate your patience while a new, improved system is put into place.

For now, we're discontinuing this blog though it might reignite in the future if volunteers are willing to maintain it. I will try to pop in periodically and let you know how things are going.

We hope you stay in touch with us on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bookemnc/), our Twitter feed @bookemnc (https://twitter.com/bookemnc) and the website (http://bookemnc.org/). The website will be redesigned in the coming weeks to reflect the next event.

And thank you for participating or supporting Book 'Em North Carolina!

p.m.terrell is the founder of Book 'Em North Carolina. Learn more about her at www.pmterrell.com and about Book 'Em North Carolina at www.bookemnc.org.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Thin Slice of Heaven

Today's special guest is p.m.terrell, the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, a multi-award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books in five genres: contemporary suspense, historical suspense, romance, computer how-to and non-fiction.

Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence, themes that have carried forward to her suspense.

She is also the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She is the organizer and chairperson of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in the real town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime. For more information on this event and the literacy campaigns funded by it, visit www.bookemnc.org.

p.m.terrell is traveling right now in Ireland, and we asked her why Ireland inspires her books. Here is her answer:

I first became interested in Ireland when I was writing Songbirds are Free. The story is based on my ancestor that had been captured by Shawnee warriors near Fort Nashborough (now Nashville, Tennessee) in 1780. She was Scot-Irish, and discovering how my ancestors had immigrated to the United States from Ireland was fascinating to me. I wondered how they could have left everything they’d ever known to venture to a land they’d never seen that was in conflict with both Britain and the Native Americans.

A few years later, I was researching a love interest for Vicki Boyd, the main character in Vicki’s Key. It was important for her to fall fast and hard for this man so I looked into studies of what women liked. It turned out that the number one accent women liked the most was Scottish, followed closely by Irish. I decided to make the character Irish; Dylan Maguire was supposed to be in just that one book but the editors liked him so much they had me rewrite the ending so that he became a central character in the Black Swamp Mysteries Series.

As I developed his character, I began studying Ireland—its history, culture, language and geography. By the time I wrote Dylan’s Song, in which Dylan returns to Ireland to rescue a CIA operative, I was firmly enmeshed in the country. I felt as though I knew his village like it was my own; I could see the roads, the houses, the Catholic Church at the top of the hill, as clearly as any place I’d actually lived.

While writing Dylan’s Song, I came across the story of The Night of the Big Wind, the fiercest storm to hit the Emerald Isle in recorded history, and I knew I had to write about it. That story became The Tempest Murders, which switched back and forth between Ireland’s storm and Hurricane Irene as it barreled toward the North Carolina coast—and a killer that tied the storms together. The book was so well received that I followed up with another Irish story called The White Devil of Dublin, in which I fused the Viking conquest of Dublin with a present-day albino killer.

My latest book, A Thin Slice of Heaven, takes place in Northern Ireland. I decided to place the castle about fifty miles west of Belfast, never realizing that my ancestors had come from that very spot, near a tiny village called Ballygawley. I traveled there in April and will be there again this month. It was a surreal experience standing at the top of the hill where their remains are buried, or standing in front of the ruins of a manor house, or walking the grounds where they once lived.


She had arranged to meet her husband in Northern Ireland for a second honeymoon, but when Charleigh arrives at the remote castle, she receives a message that he won’t be coming—and that he’s leaving her for another woman.

Stranded for the weekend by a snowstorm that has blocked all access to the castle, she finds herself three thousand miles from home in a country she knows nothing about.

She is soon joined by Sean Bracken, the great-grandson of Laird Bracken, the original owner of the castle, and she finds herself falling quickly and madly in love with him. There’s just one problem: he’s dead.

As the castle begins to come alive with secrets from centuries past, she finds herself trapped between parallel worlds. Caught up in a mass haunting, she can no longer recognize the line between the living and the dead. Now she’s discovering that her appearance there wasn’t by accident—and her life is about to change forever.


A movement caught her eye and Charleigh started, whirling around. No one was there. She laughed nervously; no doubt, it had been a bird outside the window, its reflection caught in the mirror. Still, she returned to the door. There was a simple doorknob lock which seemed woefully inept, but she quickly recognized a thick piece of wood standing against the wall as an old-fashioned bar, and slipped it into place. It was better than a deadbolt, she reasoned.

She kicked off her shoes and checked her cell phone again. Finding no reception, she returned to the window and held it aloft until a weak bar appeared.

The phone beeped, causing her to jump, as a text message appeared.

She stared at it, not realizing that she’d been holding her breath until it expelled in a whoosh that left her dizzy.

“Charleigh,” it read, “I can’t do this. I’m not in love with you. I’m in love with someone else.”

“The imbecile.”

The sound of the man’s deep, rich voice startled her and she spun around. No one was there. The bar remained across the door. There were no blind spots in the room; it was circular and plainly, though tastefully, furnished. She strode purposefully to the bathroom. A set of candles blazed on the countertop and though the shadows danced in the corners of the room, she could clearly see that she was alone.

Yet she could not have imagined it. The tone had been resonant and almost gravelly, the timber of a man’s voice upon first arising. The brogue had been both commanding and melodious.

But as her heart stilled and her mind allowed the words in the message to sink in, she realized that Ethan was not coming. He perhaps had never intended to join her. And now she was stuck in Ireland as a snowstorm raged outside her windows, three thousand miles from home.


Author’s website: www.pmterrell.com  

p.m.terrell will be awarding a Celtic Butterfly Suncatcher similar to the one mentioned in the book, symbolizing both the never-ending cycle of life and the metamorphosis of a butterfly to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Last Dreamgirl

Today's special guest is Shane Hayes. A native Philadelphian, Shane earned his bachelor’s and his law degree from Villanova University, and studied for a year at Princeton Theological Seminary. He worked as a writer/editor for Prentice Hall and an attorney for the federal government. He is married, has four children, and lives in suburban Philadelphia. His nonfiction book The End of Unbelief: A New Approach to the Question of God was released by Leafwood Publishers in the fall of 2014.

Two young men meet on ship when both are recently out of college. They share a flaming ambition. Each aims to write novels that will be internationally acclaimed and win him a place in American letters. One of them, Paul Theroux, achieves the dream in all its glory: becomes world famous, writes over 40 books, and three of his novels are made into films. The other, Shane Hayes, fails completely, but keeps tenaciously writing, decade after decade, plowing on through hundreds of rejections. Then almost half a century later, Shane contacts Paul, who remembers him, reads three of his books, likes them, and praises them with endorsements.

In writing to agents and publishers Shane could now say, “Query for a novel praised by Paul Theroux.” No one offers a book deal because of an endorsement, so rejections keep coming. But more people let him send at least a sample and are predisposed to see merit in it. At his age, time is crucial. In the month he turns 75, Shane receives contracts on two of his books from different publishers. He will always be grateful to the literary giant who remembered ten days of friendship half-a-lifetime after it ended.


For every man there’s a girl who grips his imagination and his heart as no other girl ever did or will. She may be in her teens or a mature woman. He responds to her as a boy to a girl. Whether she comes early in his life or late, there is a throne in his subconscious that she takes possession of, without trying, often without wanting to.The image he forms of her reigns there in perpetuity, even if she has left his life, or this life. Her enchantment never fades or fails, and he is never immune to it. She may not be for him the last wife or paramour, but she is the last dreamgirl.


Traffic was light enough that Ron could pull out and follow Bower, a car or two behind. Bower drove to a local Acme supermarket, parked, grabbed a pushcart, and went in to shop.

Ron did the same. While he avoided trailing Bower through the aisles he effectively followed him by going down aisles that Bower was coming up, and sometimes pausing near Bower to search for products on one side of the aisle while Bower was scanning the shelves on the other side. Viewing the man’s features at close range Ron had no doubt that this was the Vulture. Ron got so close to him in the drug and cosmetics aisle that he made two notable observations. First, from a sharp side angle Bower’s deformed eye-placement could be seen under his dark glasses. Second, he was working from two shopping lists—which seemed to be in different handwriting. At a glance Ron perceived one as a small neat feminine hand, written in blue ink, and the other as a larger, though equally neat, hand—probably masculine—in pencil.

Ron’s heart leaped at the thought that the penned shopping list had been written by Sandra Moore. But he knew how much he wanted to find evidence of her being alive in Bower’s house and feared he might have seen what he wanted to see. Seconds after the observation, when he had moved down the aisle, he began to question it.

The fact that both lists were so neatly written made him doubt that they were done by different hands. The pencil versus ink could have created that illusion; and sometimes one’s mood and the size of the paper can prompt one to write smaller than usual....

Ron’s doubts about handwriting were resolved when he made his next pass of Bower’s cart near the feminine hygiene shelves and saw in it a box of women’s sanitary napkins. Why in God’s name would Bower be buying Kotex if he lived alone? There had to be a woman there and a menstruating woman at that. Ron couldn’t check but would be willing to bet that the Kotex had been written on the blue-ink shopping list in what had first struck him as a feminine hand. It was a feminine hand, and he would lay odds that it was Sandra’s.

Ron got right behind Bower in the checkout line and noticed that he had also bought a woman’s scented bath powder, a feminine underarm deodorant, and a supply of hairpins. Ron had to resist an impulse to cry out in joy and triumph. None of the female items were things a young man would bring to a girl he was dating. None was the equivalent of a bouquet, a box of candy, or a bottle of perfume. These were things a man would typically pick up for his wife or mistress, a woman he was living with. Or a girl he held captive.



Shane Hayes will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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