Welcome to T.J. MacGregor's page. Here, you will find books that I published under that name and also as Trish Janeshutz and as Alison Drake. Excerpts of these books are available here, under the masthead.
Over the years, I've written under several names. T.J. MacGregor is one of them. She was born in 1987, at Ballantine Books. At that point, I had written two novels for Ballantine, both under my maiden name, Trish Janeshutz. Yes, that last name is a mouthful. And, as it turned out, people at Ballantine had trouble with it. My editor at the time, a wonderful guy named Chris Cox, said that none of the sales reps or the bookstore people could figure out how to pronounce the name, spell it, and where was it supposed to be shelved? Did it go under J or S for Shutz? Was Jane my middle name? So when I turned in my third book, Dark Fields, the beginning of a series, Susan Peterson, then head of the company, told Chris I needed to use a different name, preferably something with initials because mysteries by men or androgynous people (!) were outselling mysteries by women. I was married by then, so became TJ MacGregor.
Dark Fields featured Quin St. James and Mike McCleary, private detectives who plied their trade in the dark underbelly of Miami in the late 1980s. The ten books in the series followed Quin and Mike through the ups and downs of their relationship - marriage, Quin's pregnancy, assassins, bad guys, infidelity, and, in Mistress of the Bones, Mike's death. My editor, Chris, died midway through the series and the last three books were published by Hyperion. My plan was to continue the series with Mike as a ghost who advised Quin, stuck by her. But by book 10, Mistress of the Bones, I was hungry for a change.
I am slowly getting the rights reverted for these books, with Dark Fields as the first one. This cover was designed by the talented Katrina Joiner and far surpasses the original cover. Dark Fields, as an ebook, is now available on Nook, Kindle and here $3
In between the Quin/McCleary books, I wrote under another name, Alison Drake (by then, mysteries by women were outselling mysteries by men, so it was okay to be female!). There were 4 books under that name. The most significant aspect in those books was the creation of Tango Key, an island 12 miles west of Key West, where the anomalous geography is as mysterious as the island's legends and lore of mermaids, UFOs, converging ley lines, ghosts and hauntings. The place was convincing enough so that I received mail from a Floridian, who informed me that although she loved the books, my research was awful. "There are no hills and cliffs in the Florida keys. Come on down sometime and see for yourself."
The first book in the series I wrote as Alison Drake, Tango Key, is now available, $3.99
When Alison Drake had lived out her life, I used Tango Key in other books: in the Mira Morales series. There were 5 books in this series - The Hanged Man, Black Water, Total Silence, Category Five, and Cold As Death. I also used Tango Key and Mira for scenes in Esperanza.
So now, in 2013, my name karma consists of: Trish Janeshutz, TJ MacGregor, Alison Drake, and Trish J MacGregor. In addition, ghostwriting projects added a couple of names. So here's my theory. Way back in some other life, I was a woman who wrote as a man because in whatever dark times these were, women didn't publish books. So I came into his life as a woman and was instantly conflicted because my maiden name was difficult, which lent itself to this strange past life loop when I was a woman writing as a man or maybe a man writing as an alien. Who knows?
However, when my father's father landed in the U.S. from the former Yugoslavia, the family's last name was REALLY not good: Janeschitz. Nice, huh? The name was changed, but still, no one could spell or pronounce it. So I was happy to become a MacGregor, where the only possibility of misspelling is whether it's Mc or Mac.
TJ MacGregor eventually moved from Hyperion to Kensington Books, where she wrote 11 novels under that name, six of them as stand alone thrillers separate from Mira Morales. My editor, Kate Duffy, advised me to write about what interested me. So I did. And she allowed me great creative license to write about metaphysics based on my own experiences. A year before Kate died, I started Esperanza. and knew that a Scorpio editor would buy it- Kate was not a Scorpio. Beth Meacham at TOR bought it. Beth is a Scorpio and, true to her sign, she goes for the absolute bottom line. She's the best editor I've had. She really understands the world I've created in Esperanza.
My family and friends find this name stuff amusing. I find it irritating. I actually consulted an attorney at one point to find out what names should be included in my will, on my driver's license, passport, bank accounts. As of 2011, I am officially listed as Patricia Janeshutz MacGregor on most documents. Sometimes, though, a Trish Janeshutz MacGregor sneaks in. As Vonnegut would say, So it goes. Name Karma. For me, it's real.
Here's the synopsis:
On this February morning it looks like winter is about to heat up on Tango Key. Sometime in the night, Judge Henry Michael, his wife, and two small sons were murdered. Butchered. The quiet little Florida islands is reeling in horror. But clues are scarce. And the only thing for certain is that whoever did it - enjoyed it.
Detective Aline Scott knows she's going to have to dig deep on this one. But when there's another brutal murder, she hits pay dirt. Just that summer, convicted killer Jimmy Ray Luskin fried in the electric chair at Raiford. Now everyone connected to the five-year-old case has been targeted for death. It seems someone cared for Jimmy Ray - with a vengeance. It seems that someone cared for Jimmy Ray - with a vengeance. And the blood list runs from the judge and jury to the attorneys and the cop who made the arrest - a young rookie named Aline Scott.
Black Moon is the third book in the Tango Key series with Aline Scott. Here's the synopsis:
bliss deserts sleepy Tango Key when a local dancer in found in a dumpster,
stripped of her fingers - and her life. The investigation takes homicide
detective Aline Scott into the strange world of santería, a Cuban mystery
religion. But Scott is puzzled until she realizes the macabre dismemberment
bears a chilling resemblance to murders that occurred on Tango Key more than
fifty years ago. Gradually, Aline realizes that the ritual deaths are part of a
gruesome legend called Black Moon - and that she has been chosen as the next
This book is actually the fourth in the original Tango Key series, but can be read as a standalone novel. Here's a synopsis of the story:
An orderly and a psychiatrist have been murdered at an
exclusive psychiatric facility on Tango Key. The suspect is an escaped mental
patient who claims she was once kidnapped by aliens, taken aboard a UFO, and
that a device is implanted in her head.
Detective Aline Scott quickly
discovers the case is not as simple as it appears to be. What is the suspect’s
link to a UFO encounter group and its charismatic leader? What is the device
implanted in the dead psychiatrist’s head? Aline knows there’s a connection –
and so does whoever is talking her. Her search
leads her into places she was never meant to know about and into a close
encounter she may not live to talk about… $3.99
Available for Kindle
Lagoon has a special place in my heart. It was written while I was pregnant with my daughter. It was inspired by Rupert Sheldrake's theory of morphic resonance - i.e., that nature has a memory. A synopsis:
Snuggled amid the pine-covered hills of
northern Georgia is the picturesque town of Lagoon - nature at its best. Yet,
deep within the recesses of the town, something strange and unspeakable is
incubating - in the soil, the water, the air. It festers beneath the skin of
the villagers, silent, patient.
When it's born, it will defy the laws of nature. If survivors re to win their battle against this malignant scourge, they must uncover its cause. Is it the inevitable price of pollution? A virulent new virus? Or something more terrifying?
Nature has a memory...and it does not forgive...
TJ MacGregor books:Quin St. James/Mike McCleary
- Dark Fields – 1986 – Ballantine Books – ISBN 9780345337566
- Kill Flash – 1987 – Ballantine Books – ISBN 9780345337542
- Death Sweet – 1988 – Ballantine Books – ISBN 9780345337535
- On Ice – 1989 – Ballantine Books – ISBN 9780345350459
- Kin Dread – 1990 – Ballantine Books – ISBN 9780345357663
- Death Flats – 1991 – Ballantine Books – ISBN 9780345357687
- Spree – 1992 – Ballantine Books – ISBN 9780345373465
- Storm Surge – 1993 – Hyperion – ISBN 9781562827898
- Blue Pearl – 1994 – Hyperion – ISBN 9780786860616
- Mistress of the Bones – 1995 – Hyperion – ISBN 9780786861064
The Tango Key Series
- Hanged Man – 1999 – P Mass Paper – ISBN 9780786006465
- Black Water – 2003 – Pinnacle – ISBN 9780786015573
- Total Silence – 2004 – Pinnacle – ISBN 9780786015580
- Category Five – 2005 – Pinnacle – ISBN 9780786016808
- Cold as Death – 2006 – Pinnacle – ISBN 9780786016815
- The Seventh Sense – 2000 – Pinnacle – ISBN 9780786010837
- Vanished – 2001- Kensington Books – ISBN 9780786011629
- The Other Extreme – 2001 – Pinnacle – ISBN 9780786013227
- Out of Sight – 2002 – Pinnacle – ISBN 9780786013234
- Kill Time – 2007 – Pinnacle – ISBN 9780786018321
- Running Time - 2008 - Pinnacle - ISBN 9780786018338
As Alison Drake
- Tango Key – 1988 – Random House – ISBN 9780345347749
- Fevered – 1988 – Random House – ISBN 9780345347756
- Black Moon – 1989 – Random House – ISBN 9780345357809
- High Strangeness – 1992 – Random House – ISBN 9780345357793
- Lagoon (horror) – 1990 – Ballantine Books – ISBN 9780345357786
As Trish Janeshutz
- In Shadow – 1985 – Random House – ISBN 9780345324696
- Hidden Lake – 1987 – Random House – ISBN 9780345333834
- The Making of Miami Vice, c-author Rob MacGregor – 1986 – Random House – ISBN 9780345336699
As Trish J MacGregor
Esperanza - 2010 - TOR Books
Ghost Key - 2012 - TOR Books
Apparition- November 2013 - TOR Books
The other day I received an email from a reader asking about a plot in a book I wrote 20 years ago. A question about the fine points in a plot. I had no clue what this woman was talking about. There are some novels I've written where certain aspects of the characters or plot are retained, but for the most part, I forget all of it as soon as the book is finished.
Yet, when I'm writing, I keep meticulous notes and create an elaborate storyboard. I even have a computer file called archived novels, that has most of the novels I've written. But my brain refuses to keep it all in sequence. I wish I knew how really prolific authors - Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Dean Koontz - seem to keep it all in some tidy mental box. Their brains are obviously much larger than mine!
For a list of non-fiction books that my husband, Rob MacGregor, and I have written, click here.