Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shades of Murder: Guest Post and Review

Today I'd like to welcome over Lauren Carr, author of Shades of Murder, over for a guest post!

A Day in the Life of a Mystery Writer

By Lauren Carr

For some reason, the general population is curious about the daily life of a writer.

What goes on in our lives from sun rise to sunset? Do we simply sit in front of the computer transmitting literary greatness from our brains, down our arms, and out through our fingertips to the keyboard?

 Or is our lives more like a Neil Simon play (most of his protagonists were writers) where quirky characters are always coming in and out throughout the day to annoy and inspire us? Have you ever noticed how little time his main characters spend actually writing?

Or maybe we live like John-Boy Walton from The Waltons, where every day is filled with a wondrous discovery about life?

As a young girl aspiring to one day be a mystery writer, I had fantasized that my life would be like that of Jessica Fletcher in It’s Murder, She Wrote, or Ellery Queen. Not a week would go by without a dead body and mystery popping up for me to solve.

With my fifth mystery, Shades of Murder released in May, and my sixth book scheduled for release this fall, I have given up on finding any murder cases needing my help to solve.

So, you may ask, what is the day in the life of a mystery writer like? Well, I have found that it takes a daily routine and a commitment to sticking to it in order to write books.

Here’s how I do it:
6:30 am: Each day starts with a vigorous run at the crack of dawn. To reveille performed by my security team [aka two dogs, Ziggy (Australian Shepherd) and Beagle Bailey (beagle)], I jump out of bed and run for the door to let them outside, where they immediately secure the perimeter from any invading squirrels or deer.

6:45 am: Wake-up to coffee while reviewing e-mails. Delete junk e-mail; read the important stuff. Example of important: the forwarded stuff from friends that contain lots of jokes and cute animal pictures. It is important to start your day off in a good mood. This sets a positive tone for literary creation.

7:00 am: Security announces that the perimeter is secure, and they are now ready for breakfast. Grab another cup of coffee and forward those chain e-mails to avoid catastrophe and in hopes of good fortune. We can’t take any chances and need all the help we can get.

7:30 am: Husband wakes up to discover that the coffee pot is empty and that I have once again set up camp in the corner of the living room instead of working in my writer’s studio.

After another pot of coffee, I move upstairs to my studio. My entourage (dogs) follow to take up residence on the sofa for their morning nap.

8:00 am: Book promotion. Writers are expected to spend some time every day on promotion. I devote at least an hour to this every day. I start with Facebook which is where I find other writers seeking inspiration to start their days.

9:30 am: Son wakes up and announces that he is hungry. Husband wants breakfast and another cup of coffee. Dogs see squirrels threatening an advance from the Northeast ridge. Finish posting on Facebook an article found on the Internet about a family that had been abducted by leprechauns while traveling in Ireland. Take a break from writing to go take care of my family before they completely fall apart.

11:00 am: Discover that I am now five hours into my day and I am still in my bathrobe and slippers. You can’t expect to go far in your writing career if you don’t treat it seriously. You need to dress for it. Shower, dress, and get ready to work on my latest work in progress.

12 Noon: Son and Husband ask what’s for lunch.

1:00 pm: After cooking and eating lunch, I sit down to my laptop to work on my book. It is always a good idea to start with research. Replay “the Ultimate Dog Tease” on YouTube (BTW, at least a hundred hits on this video belong to me.) Note for book: Protagonist Mac Faraday teases Gnarly (German Shepherd sidekick). Gnarly plots revenge.

1:15 pm: Dogs (aka Jillian Michaels 1 & Jillian Michaels 2) announce that it is time for a walk. Exercise is important to get those creative juices flowing. Take them for a vigorous walk.

2:15 pm: Now it is time to get to work on my book.

3:00 pm: Husband asks, “What’s for dinner?” Unable to answer, I open the refrigerator door and stare into the interior until something jumps out at me.

3:30 pm: Return to staring at the computer screen until drops of blood form on my forehead from thinking so hard.

3:55 pm: Inspiration breaks through and greatness pours from my fingertips onto the keyboard.

4:00 pm: Son announces that he’s hungry. Distraught with frustration, I collapse.

7:00 pm: After Dinner. The quiet of the evening is a great time to get those creative juices flowing. Now is the time to let my characters come to life and write late into the evening.

8:30 pm: Security patrol announces that it is time to secure the perimeter for the night. On the way through the kitchen, a carton of ice cream calls to me from the freezer. A hot fudge sundae would surely give me strength to write late into the night.

9:00 pm: The security team declares the boundaries safe for the night and come to call it a night. With the sundae devoured, I return to the laptop with the full intention to write late into the night  … or until the pillow starts calling out that it’s my bedtime (around 10:00 pm).

How did Jessica Fletcher write so many books in It’s Murder, She Wrote with mysteries to solve every week?

Contest! Contest! Contest!

Until the end of July, readers can enter a contest to name the murder victim in Dead on Ice:
From June 1-July 31, I am holding a contest to Name the Porn Star! The winner will win autographed copies of all three Mac Faraday Mysteries, and a copy of Dead on Ice, which will be released Fall 2012. (E-pub or print, winner’s choice. Print versions are only available for winners in the US)

This fall, Dead on Ice, the first installment in a new series entitled the Lovers in Crime Mystery, will be released. This book brings back Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates, who we first meet in Shades of Murder.

Dead on Ice will be the first installment of Lauren's new series (Lovers in Crime) featuring Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder. In Dead on Ice, Cameron investigates the murder of a porn star, whose mummified body turns up in an abandoned freezer found in Joshua's cousin's basement.

In Dead on Ice, Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of a missing porn star. The case has a personal connection to Joshua because the star’s mummified body is found in an abandoned freezer in his cousin’s basement.

It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué Hollywood legend’s roots were buried in their small rural town, something that she had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept it off her road map, too. Because when this starlet came running home from the mob in 1985, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

The contest is to provide both a stage name (naughty is okay, but it must be clean) and the real name of the murder victim in Dead on Ice. E-mail your suggestions to me ( Put Name the Porn Star in the subject line. Please include contact information, including mailing address and phone number.

From Goodreads:
Question: What do you get the man with everything? 
Answer: When that man is the heir of the late mystery writer Robin Spencer, retired homicide detective Mac Faraday, you get him cold case to solve. 

In Shades of Murder, Mac Faraday is once again the heir to an unbelievable fortune. This time the benefactor is a stolen art collector. But this isn't just any stolen work-of-art—it's a masterpiece with a murder attached to it. 

Ilysa Ramsay was in the midst of taking the art world by storm with her artistic genius. Hours after unveiling her latest masterpiece—she is found dead in her Deep Creek Lake studio—and her painting is nowhere to be found. Almost a decade later, the long lost Ilysa Ramsay masterpiece has found its way into Mac Faraday's hands and he can't resist the urge to delve into the case. 

A world away, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; former JAG lawyer Joshua Thornton agrees to do a favor for the last person he would ever expect to do a favor—a convicted serial killer. 
The Favor: Solve the one murder wrongly attributed to him. 

Joshua finds an unexpected ally in Cameron Gates, a spunky detective who has reason to believe the young woman known to the media only as Jane Doe, Victim Number Four, was the victim of a copycat. Together, Joshua and Cameron set out to light a flame under the cold case only to find that someone behind the scenes wants the case to remain cold, and is willing to kill to keep it that way. 

Little do these detectives know that the paths of their respective cases are on a collision course when they follow the clues to bring them together in a showdown with a killer who's got a talent for murder!

My Review:
This is the first book of the Mac Faraday Mystery series that I've read. So going into this, not having read the previous 2 books, was a bit disoriented. And while there were mentions to previous books-and cases-this book stood by itself pretty well!

Just the complexity of the plot, of the mystery, was awesome! It gave lots of clues and red herrings, and just came together really well in the end! So well written and enjoyable, and a really great example of what a mystery book should be like!

I really liked all the different POV's, and the mysteries that they were going after, and then how they started to merge, and come together, how one piece from one would fit with one from the otehr, was just really great!

How it ended, I enjoyed so much! I was hoping for something like that, but having it happen, and be even better then I hoped, was amazing! And that it happened that way, how things were wrapped and resolved, perfect!

I enjoyed this book, it was really great!

Author: Lauren Carr
Series: A Mac Faraday Mystery #3
Read: July 11th, 2012
Source: Virtual Book Tour Cafe Review Copy
Publisher: CreateSpace
Published: May 7th 2012
5/5 Hearts
4.5/5 Books
4/5 Stars

Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award. 

Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, and Blast from the Past have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. The Murders at Astaire Castle is the fifth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series. The next installment in the Mac Faraday series, The Lady Who Cried Murder will be released in October of this year.

Released September 2012, Dead on Ice introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second installment in the Lovers in Crime, Real Murder, series will be out in 2014.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Contact and Buy AKA Links:

Stops on the Tour:
June 10 - Meet & Greet at VBT Cafe' Blog
June 12 - Interviewed at MK McClintock's Blog
June 14 - Interviewed & Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
June 16 - Reviewed at Self Taught Cook
June 19 - Reviewed at B00k R3Vi3WS
June 21 - Character Interview at Faerotic Prose
June 25 - Interviewed at BK Walker Books Etc.
June 27 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
June 29 - Reviewed at Silver's Reviews
July 2 - Interviewed & Reviewed at A Book Lover's Library
July 5 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews
July 6 - Guest Blogging at My Life. One Story At A Time.
July 10 - Interviewed at Unnecessary Musings
July 12 - Guest Blogging & Review at Words I Write Crazy
July 16 - Interviewed at Hardcover Feedback
July 18 - Guest Blogging at This Author's Life
July 20 - Guest Blogging & Reviewed at Waiting On Sunday To Drown
July 24 - Guest Blogging with Cindy Vine
July 26 - Interviewed by Louise James
July 28 - Reviewed at The Lucky Ladybug
July 30 - Guest Blogging at Wise Words


  1. Hey, Louisa! Thank you so much for reading Shades of Murder and inviting me to your site today! This guest post was fun to write, between walking the dogs, cooking dinner, and what not!

    Best Regards,

  2. I always wondered what writers do all day--now I know! ;}

  3. Great post! Thank you for hosting Lauren today :)

  4. Thank you all for stopping by. I hope you are thinking up names to enter for the Name the Porn Star Contest. there have been a few submissions. They are all so good that I plan on publicizing the runner ups.

    I'm anxious to hear anyone and everyone's suggestions!

    Best Regards,


I love comments, so comment away! I'll comment back if you leave a post-specific link for me to visit! If you leave that link, I'll always comment back, even if it's like, a month late!

This is an award free blog! Thanks for thinking of me but I just don't have the time to pass it along!