Overall, in the writing game, the dedication is the easiest part of the book to compose. I knew way before my first book was published, that I would dedicate it to my mother—my biggest fan who believed in me even when I didn’t. Next came my husband, to whom I dedicated It’s Murder, My Son: the king of the beasts.
Then, I dedicated Old Loves Die Hard to my son. By the time I got to Dead on Ice, my sixth book, I was running out of loved ones to dedicate my books to. Think about it. I only have five loved ones. That’s sad. Anyway, I dedicated Dead on Ice to Duchess, the cat I based Irving on. (She had died years before. So, yes, I dedicated a book to my dead cat.)
Since I had federal agents in Blast from the Past, I dedicated that to our men and women on the front lines in law enforcement. The Murders at Astaire Castle is dedicated to fans of paranormal since that is my Halloween mystery.
Dedications are starting to get tough for me. Generally, authors dedicate their books, something they have put their heart and soul into writing, to someone they love.
Such is not the case in the dedication for The Lady Who Cried Murder. This book, I dedicated to those who I would rather not have in my life, if it weren’t for their help in writing murder mysteries:
To the arrogant, envious, rude, self-centered, demented, and twisted souls amongst us. For without you, murder mystery writers would be without inspiration.
As always, there’s a story behind this dedication.
This past spring, I had an encounter with a bully. My German shepherd Gnarly was five months old. I had let him outside at six-thirty in the morning. Generally, he would come when he was called, but that morning, he had his own ideas—just like Gnarly in the Mac Faraday mysteries. He took off through the neighborhood.
Since I was barefoot and dressed only in my bathrobe, I ran inside to get dressed before giving chase. By the time I got outside, one of our neighbors was having a hissy fit about my dog being “all the way on my property.” The more he was screaming and cursing, the more Gnarly was barking.
Yes, there are leash laws. Yes, I was in the wrong. Yes, it was this man’s property and Gnarly was trespassing, but, hey, stuff happens and a normal person would shrug it off or even laugh—not so with this man.
While I was standing there being screamed at, Gnarly was traipsing up and down the road. My neighbor finished his tirade (which included the declaration that I have no right owning a German shepherd) by pointing behind me to where Gnarly was chasing a squirrel to proclaim, “You’re not even trying to catch him!”
Duh, because I’m busy right now standing here being screamed at by you!
If this had been my first and only encounter with this person, it would be an “Oh, dear, how awful” incident. However, this wasn’t our first encounter.
I do not know this man’s name, even though he has lived in the neighborhood for over a decade. Every few years, he stops to scream at me about something that I have done to intrude on his rights—like expelling too much carbon dioxide onto his property while breathing. Yet, in over ten years, he has never said one word to my husband.
Once, my husband had spent a full day doing yard work in front of our house. This man drove pass a few times, but never stopped to say anything. However, that same day, when I came home, he hurried over to verbally assault me. The ambush was so sudden and unexpected that I was left shaken by this encounter.
If there was a problem, why did he not speak to my husband? Answer: He was too much of a coward to talk to him. He had to attack me—the vulnerable one.
Conclusion: He’s a bully. A grown-up bully with a house, family, job, and three cars.
After this last attack, the writer in me explored the various bullies who surround us.
We envision bullies as being big kids on the playground who knock down sandcastles in the sandbox. When they grow up, they end up in jail or, at the very least, unemployed because society, who will not condone such behavior, will ostracize them. They will end up social outcasts. That’s why I was surprised to find one living in an upper-middle class neighborhood and driving sports cars.
Unfortunately, today’s society has shifted in its opinion of bullies. Sure, we tell our children that there’s a zero tolerance to bullying in schools—but once school is out—it’s anything goes.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at our celebrities and politicians. There is a true trend in our culture that now condones, and even encourages, arrogant and rude behavior.
Nice guys finish last is now taken to heart in many areas of our culture.
Like children, politicians refuse to take responsibility for anything that goes wrong. Instead of playing nicely together and trying to fix problems, they point their fingers and yell, “It’s not my fault! He’s the one who did it!” During our last election, candidates didn’t even attempt to be respectful to their opponents. Instead, they would blatantly attacked each other in debates and advertisements to the delight of the media.
News programs no longer report the news. Instead hosts bring on their political enemies under the pretense of presenting the other side of the story—only to gang up on their guests before they have a chance to get a word out. (I wonder if my neighbor is a politician.)
Reality television: Honestly, as much as these people hate each other, why do they gather together to do these shows? Take the Real Housewives shows. All of these women hate each other. What are they doing getting together for lunch and dinner and parties? The success of these shows is based on frienemies manipulating and backstabbing each other. The ruder they are, the more airtime they get.
It is the liars and cheaters who win the prize of fame … and money. As a parent, I have to ask, how can we teach our children that lying, cheating, backstabbing, and being disrespectful is inappropriate when they see people who regularly practice this type of behavior becoming rich and famous because of it?
Within days of this last attack, I had the latest Mac Faraday Mystery written in my head.
When you read The Lady Who Cried Murder, you may think that I am stretching the imagination a little with how truly twisted and self-serving some of these characters are. If you think that, then I recommend you spend a day watching television.
While you’re doing that, I’m going to take Gnarly for a walk through the neighborhood. I need some inspiration for my next murder mystery.
About the Author
Lauren Carr is also the best-selling mystery 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, Blast from the Past, and The Murders at Astaire Castle have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. The Lady Who Cried Murder is the sixth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.
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 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.
Visit Lauren’s website http://mysterylady.net/ for more information.