Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Excerpt - River Passage by p.m.terrell

Today I have the honor of featuring my dear friend and mentor, p.m.terrell, and her latest book, River Passage!

Excerpt from River Passage by p.m.terrell:

Sycamore Shoals,
The Watauga Settlement, 1775

They appeared at dawn, rising like apparitions through the mist. The morning dew clung to their bronzed bodies as their sinewy arms sliced paddles through the water in a rhythmic motion borne of hours of toil. They moved silently on the glistening current, their black eyes alert, ever searching for others along the shore and in the gathering canoes. When at last they rounded the final bend, they were greeted with the ghostly vision of braves pulling ashore, their lean, taut bodies gliding out of the vessels, their flat, bare feet touching the cold ground without leaving as much as a footprint on the pristine shore. The canoes were lined up wordlessly, their wooden bodies pressed side by side as dozens and then hundreds gathered.

The men greeted one another with a quiet nod, their eyes meeting for the briefest of moments before they began trotting through the thickening woods. Their figures seemed to morph from the very tree trunks that concealed them into a forest that came alive with their bodies, the branches swaying ever so slightly as they completed a journey across lands where their forefathers’ spirits still roamed.

Their feet found the paths as if they had minds of their own, as if their toes could see the brambles and pine straw stretched out before them, freeing their dark, brooding eyes to stare straight ahead at the scores of men before them. They knew without so much as a glance behind them that others followed in their steps, and that all would gather at the place the white men called Sycamore Shoals…


p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed author of 11 books, including four computer books, one non-fiction for authors, and four contemporary suspense/thrillers. But her most popular books are her historical suspense/adventures inspired by the true story of Mary Neely: Songbirds are Free and River Passage. A full-time author since 2002, terrell followed in Mary’s footsteps as she joined the river expedition westward from Virginia to Fort Nashborough (present-day Nashville, TN) and again after her capture by Shawnee warriors, when she was taken hundreds of miles from home before she eventually escaped. Photographs and video from her trips are found at Mary Neely and her author web site is pmterrell

About River Passage:

The trip should have taken four weeks. More than 200 people set out for Fort Nashborough in November 1779, expecting to arrive by Christmas. Instead, the survivors limped into Fort Nashborough almost five months later with a harrowing tale. Their river passage had been watched by Dragging Canoe, the leader of the Chickamauga Indians, who attacked them in wave after wave as they struggled westward. Four teenagers were captured, more than 26 were killed, and countless others wounded. In addition, they’d faced frostbite, near starvation, and a small pox outbreak. Mary Neely was on board one of the flatboats with nine brothers and sisters and their mother, and it would be a journey she could never forget.

River Passage has been determined to be so historically accurate that the Nashville Government Metropolitan Archives has admitted the original manuscript into their Archives for future researchers and historians.

At Amazon and at all fine book stores. Free shipping at pmterrell and Mary Neely


  1. Am I ever so grateful that I wasn’t born in pioneer times! What a struggle those people faced. This book, filled with historical facts, sounds very good.

  2. This-

    "River Passage has been determined to be so historically accurate that the Nashville Government Metropolitan Archives has admitted the original manuscript into their Archives for future researchers and historians."

    is remarkable! I'm impressed. Thanks for the info on p.m. and her book.

    I'm curious, though ... any particular reason for the lower case use in you name? p.m. terrell?

    Marvin D Wilson

  3. Marvin, I actually know that story! When one of her first books was designed, the editor accidentally left her name in all lowercase, and Trish decided she liked it that way. It's definitely unique!

  4. What an honor, to be deemed historically accurate and put into the archives!

    It also sounds like a fascinating story.

    Straight From Hel

  5. Thank you, everyone, for the wonderful feedback! Yes, being placed in the Archives is like achieving a tiny slice of immortality. Since I relied on journals kept by the settlers more than 200 years ago, I can imagine someone 200 years from now combing through "River Passage"... But since I cut my teeth on suspense/thrillers, the historical writing is unique - very suspenseful and the action is very fast.

    Diane is right about the lower-case letters in my name. And I've found it sets me apart, especially when listed with numerous authors. A marketing ploy, and the editor didn't even realize it at the time!

  6. I literally have goosebumps reading not only Diane's post, but your latest comment here, p.m.!

    I LOVE history and to have actually read those journals from 200 years ago - I can imagine the thrill in that! And the honor of having your book be in the Archives! WOW.

    The history behind your name (being lowercase)- a mistake that, well, was simply meant to be! :)

  7. HI Spunky,
    Just wanted you to know your books arrived yesterday. They are beautiful. And thanks for the bookmarks. Can't wait to read them. I had a young friend visiting who thought the Circle of Friends looked really interesting.

  8. Thanks for introducing an author who is full-time. That's not easy to do. Or at least in my experience.


  9. Thanks, everyone, for the comments. Crystal Clear, I also had goosebumps reading those old journals. I truly felt as if those settlers were coming alive again, watching over my shoulder as I wrote their story...

    I agree about mistakes that were "meant to be"!

    Allyn, yes, I do write full-time. In these economic times, it's important to Stay in the Game. I've found the key to my success is to continue getting a book out every year, building my fan base, and keeping my name in front of the readers. And thanks to wonderful friends like Diane Wolfe, I've been able to appear on wonderful sites like this one!

  10. Karen, that's wonderful! Woo-hoo!

    And if you really want the impact of this book, you have to hear Trish TALK about it in person!

  11. How interesting you should mention that, Diane! I was on television in Virginia a couple of weeks ago and they've just posted my whole 30-minute interview on the web at Check it out and let me know what you think!

  12. Wow ... this author sure has a diverse list of books she's written. And this books sound very promising.

  13. Wow, that's incredible about how historically accurate it is. Best wishes to her on the book launch!


  14. It is rather interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

  15. Thanks for joining me, Trish!