Monday, May 12, 2014

The Pendulum Files by pm terrell | Author Interview + Giveaway

Kinky Vanilla Romance is pleased to share The Pendulum Files by pm terrell. The book, a romantic suspense/political thriller, is available now from Drake Valley Press.

The Pendulum Files by 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. Their 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.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) of The Pendulum Files to write and why?

The Pendulum Files brings back a hired assassin from Exit 22, the first book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series. Joseph Gabucci has escaped from prison, intending to finish the job he’d started—to permanently eliminate Brenda Carnegie. My favorite chapters were reintroducing him; he is a cold-blooded killer who knits baby booties in between murders and dreams one day of retiring as an assassin and opening a knitting shop.

Vicki Boyd is a psychic and, as most psychics know, sometimes messages don’t come through in black and white. She has a sensation that she is being watched—but it will take Dylan’s dead grandmother, Mam, to show her that security cameras throughout her home have been directed to the assassin’s computer. I loved the parts with Mam; she is a ghostly presence and I love ghost stories.

And of course, I always love the scenes between Vicki and her lover, Irishman Dylan Maguire.

Vicki Boyd is a CIA psychic spy. How did you approach research for her character?

I stumbled upon declassified documents from America’s own psychic spy program. The thought of a psychic spy intrigued me because the possible plots are limitless. I’ve had so many questions about my research that I began a series called “The Making of a Psychic” at I interviewed retired psychic spies, read a number of books by psychic spies, and subscribe to a variety of blogs on the subject. The more I research, the more fascinating the whole concept becomes.

The Pendulum Files is the fifth book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

The plot in each book is stand-alone so a reader doesn’t have to read the books in order. But a theme throughout the series is the relationship between the five main characters: Vicki Boyd, the CIA psychic spy; Dylan Maguire, the CIA operative; Brenda Carnegie, Vicki’s sister and a computer hacker who prefers the dark side; Christopher Sandige, a good guy and political strategist who is hopelessly in love with Brenda; and Sam Mazoli, Vicki’s and Dylan’s CIA boss. I love bringing Vicki’s and Dylan’s relationship through various stages, and in future books, I’d like to return to Chris Sandige and write more about him.

What about your characters surprised you while writing?

It surprised me just how much readers love the bad girl, Brenda Carnegie. I don’t know what it is about her—her willingness to use a gun without the slightest hesitation, her ability to trudge through alligator-infested swamps without fear, her total disregard for authority, the way she knows almost instinctively how to treat gunshot wounds, or her overcharged sex drive—that capture the imaginations of readers.

You have authored more than 18 books in four genres. Which genre is your favorite to write? Why?

I love writing romantic suspense. I wrote my non-fiction computer books for the money (let’s be honest here), but I didn’t enjoy writing them. And my bestselling books are my historical adventure/suspense, Songbirds are Free and River Passage, which are both based on true stories, which I enjoyed writing but required nearly 40 hours of research for every hour of writing. I love the way that suspense propels a story forward, creating a page-turning read, but I have to admit the scenes closest to my heart are those involving romance against the suspenseful backdrop.

What’s your biggest challenge as a writer? How did you overcome it, or how are you working to overcome it?

I’ve been in this industry since 1984 when my first book was published, and I’ve seen a lot of changes. The industry is now driven by the small to mid-size publishers, and the ease in which anyone can have their own books printed and distributed is light-years ahead of where it was just a few short years ago. But what that means is there are hundreds of thousands of books entering the marketplace each year, and the challenge for every author is how to break away from the pack and get noticed. The largest publishers still have the deepest pockets, so a constant challenge is how to market and promote without a large promotional or marketing budget. It’s a challenge every author except those in the top 1/10 of one percent must constantly face.

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

It definitely has. I’ve been fortunate to be able to write full-time since 2002, when I retired from my previous work as a computer professional (my specialties were computer crime and computer intelligence, which are themes throughout my books). I love this industry and I hope I am fortunate enough to remain in it for the rest of my life.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

It’s the ability to help others along the way. I co-founded The Book ‘Em Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to raise awareness of the link that exists between high crime rates and high rates of illiteracy. And several years ago, I founded Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event that brings together more than 75 authors, publishers and literary agents under one roof to sign and sell their books and participate in talks and panel discussions. We’ve raised nearly $30,000 so far for literacy campaigns that affect children from one year of age to the oldest adult. Several authors have been given traditional publishing contracts by connecting with publishers at our events, and so many have contacted me about the doors that were opened to them when they began to read more. You can read more about Book ‘Em North Carolina at

What project are you working on now?

I am finishing the final edits for The White Devil of Dublin, the second book in the Ryan O’Clery Suspense Series. It will be released this fall. Once that is off my desk, I’ll begin writing the sixth book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series. Dylan and Vicki go to Ireland for their honeymoon but not before Vicki conducts a psychic mission that is literally out of this world, making her a target for enemies of the United States. That book is scheduled for release in the spring of 2015.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Probably what sad shape I’m in physically! I’ve been in and out of hospitals my entire life, but maybe that’s why I try to live each day to the fullest. Life is very short and we never know when it’s going to end, so I’m driven to try and make a positive difference for as long as I can.

If you could travel in a time machine, would you go back to the past or into the future?

That’s an easy one. I’d go to the west coast of Ireland in the late 1700’s. Compared to today, it was a primitive time but it was also a simpler time. And I can’t think of anyplace I’d rather be.


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’.”

Author Bio and Links
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


amazon trade paperback

amazon Kindle

Smashwords (all ebook formats)


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. pm terrell will award one randomly chosen commenter a beautiful Celtic cross necklace. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances to win.


  1. Welcome to the Kinky Vanilla Romance blog, pm terrell.

    I am excited to have you here. Thanks for allowing me to interview you.

    I hope you have a great tour!

  2. Thank you so much for hosting me, and thanks for such thought-provoking questions. I enjoyed the interview! I'll be checking in later and answering any questions anyone might have for me.

  3. Hey! I have heard about The Book ‘Em Foundation. It's such a great project. You must be so proud, p.m. terrell.

    Have you visited the west coast of Ireland? I have been reading a few books set in Ireland. It sounds lovely.

    Brenda Carnegie sounds like my kind of girl. Can't wait to read more about her.

    I voted for The Pendulum Files on the following Goodreads List:

    Most Orange Books of All Time

    I used the list for a reading challenge last year.

    Fingers crossed to win that lovely necklace.

  4. Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment, Tallulah! I have not yet visited Ireland's west coast but like you, I've been reading quite a few books about it. I've been planning a trip there for years but something always seems to interfere with my plans.

    Thank you for voting for The Pendulum Files on Goodreads! I really appreciate that!