Posts Tagged With: reviews

Mystery Writing Is Murder

American Journalist and Biographer Gene Fowler once said, “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
Yeah, right. Try writing murder mysteries. Not only will drops of blood be forming on your forehead, but it will be dripping out of your eyeballs as well.
I’m sure any author of any genre will claim that theirs is the most difficult to write.
Take romance, for example. Girl meets boy. Boy meets girl. They fight. They realize their hatred for each other is really sexual tension. They give into “the urge.” They fight again. They discover they can’t live without each other. They get married. The End.
For a twist, let’s do romantic-suspense. Girl meets Boy. Boy meets Girl. One of them is a secret agent or hit man working for the government or undercover cop—whatever—one of them is in a dangerous line of work that puts the other in the line of fire. They are running for their lives and both look really hot while bullets are whizzing over their heads. They find a moment of peace to do the deed. Bad guys get the jump on the couple. One of them is taken hostage. The other saves him/her. The bad guys are killed and the couple lives happily ever after. The End.
Admittedly, it is tough for writers of these genres because putting the twist to the general plotline to keep things fresh for their readers is a real challenge. How many ways can you kiss? How many ways can you describe a kiss?

Cancelled Vows

Lauren’s latest best-selling mystery, Cancelled Vows, will be released Thursday, January 28. Click on book cover to pre-order from Amazon.

As a mystery writer, I claim that writing murder is the tougher game, especially for writers, like me, who prefer to keep their books character driven and to have their protagonist solve the case with his brilliant intellect.
Some readers, and writers, have found that the reality of technology and the justice system has thrown a monkey wrench into the general murder mystery premise:
Someone gets killed. Detective surveys the scene. Questions all of the witnesses. Tracks down suspects. Cunning Killer lies. Detective is stumped. Cunning Killer slips up. Brilliant Hero detects the Killer’s mistake. Traps Killer. Killer confesses and goes off to prison.
Justice prevails.
Anyone fourth grader knows that such is not the case in real life.
Between technology: “Oh, you say you were never in that room? Well, we found your DNA from where you sneezed on the victim’s baloney sandwich right before you slit his throat with the butter knife.”
And justice system: “Is that all you got? A car filled with nuns saw your suspect running out of the house with a bloody knife in his hand at the time of the murder? His defense attorney is going to claim that they are conspiring to railroad him into jail because he’s Jewish. Come back with something more and I’ll get you a search warrant for the bloody knife.”
Some mystery writers see this as a killjoy. What fun is there in having a dull computer database spit out the name of the killer, especially when it’s someone who wasn’t even on the protagonist’s radar? Then, many readers, myself included, get frustrated when the mystery turns from a whodunit, but how-are-we-gonna-catch-‘em?
This is where the rubber hits the road. In reality, these hurdles add to the fun for the author. It doesn’t take away from the protagonist. Real detectives, true-life protagonists, deal with these real issues every day.
Sure, the computer database, devoid of personality, may spit out the pieces of the puzzle, just like the collection of witnesses may lay out their pieces of the puzzle. A clever defense lawyer may throw up legal hurdles to protect the killer—but hasn’t that always been the case?
Today’s real detectives come up against different types of hurdles than the investigators of fifty years ago, which were different from the hurdles fifty years before that.
While the murder investigation game may be different than it was in the days of Hercule Poirot and Perry Mason, it hasn’t become any less thrilling.
One thing that has not changed: Murder has been around since the days of Cain and Abel. As long as there are motives for murder, it will never go away. Also, protagonists will always have to be on their toes to anticipate and find their way over hurdles thrown up by their antagonists.
The game of writing murder mysteries is always changing—and never dull.

About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The eleventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Cancelled Vows is scheduled for release on January 28, 2016 and available for pre-order on Amazon.

Lauren and Gnarly

Best-Selling Mystery Author Lauren Carr … and Gnarly, too.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

 

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@gmail.net

Website: http://acornbookservices.com/

http://mysterylady.net/

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991

Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries

Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts

Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/AcornBookServices?ref=hl

Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

 

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Book Review: Nowhere Out by Vincent J. Sachar

Today, we have a book review for Vincent J. Sachar’s Nowhere Out:

I was happy to read Nowhere Out by Vincent J. Sachar. It was very well written and Mr. Schar’s knowledge of the military and police procedure was most impressive.

NOWHERE OUT is Vincent Sachar's second novel Click on book cover to purchase on Amazon.

NOWHERE OUT is Vincent Sachar’s second novel Click on book cover to purchase on Amazon.

Kent Taylor was a Navy SEAL. He was a dedicated soldier, father, and husband. He gave his all to his country and to the men he served with, and then his pregnant wife, in-laws, and young son are murdered. Revenge drips through his veins like an acid, and he acts upon his emotions, killing those who are responsible. His military training make his techniques so stealthy that he becomes known as the “Ghost Assassin” by the man who dogs him, detective, Bill Gladdings, and to the public. In the end, Kent Taylor is supposedly killed in a car accident, but he lives on in a reclusive lifestyle as Ron Woodruff.

Fourteen years later–enter the “Shadow Killer”–similar murders begin happening. Someone is out to kill people who have been assigned to a commission on wrong doings in the government, and those who may testify. He kills with the same stealth as the Ghost Assassin and those who are investigating are starting to think that the ghost has returned–except for Gladdings.

Meanwhile Kent/Ron has met a woman and he’s thinking that he may be able to return to a life, but will he be forced to come forward to aide in stopping the murders? Will he have to risk this new life to help bring the Shadow and those who have hired him to justice?

Love, love, loved this book! I felt every emotion that Kent Taylor felt–he was a likeable, believable, protagonist. I highly recommend this book ! 5 STARS

 

 

NOWHERE OUT
Vincent J. Sachar

For five years, Ron Woodruff has been living a quiet, solitary life on a nameless road in upstate New York. He’s become accustomed to keeping to himself, at a safe distance from others, scrupulously avoiding the risk of involvement with anyone. Despite his peaceful surroundings, Woodruff remains tormented by memories of his former life—the life that ended fourteen years ago with the death of Kent Taylor, decorated Navy SEAL turned notorious serial killer.

For fourteen years, Bill Gladding, one of the FBI’s most respected field agents, has kept silent about his work on the “Ghost Assassin Case.” He rarely reflects on the covert mission—sanctioned by the government, for its own protection—to falsify the death of an extremely efficient killer, the former Lieutenant Commander Kent Taylor.

After all these years, Taylor’s comfortably isolated life and Gladding’s peace of mind and plans for coasting into retirement are about to be shattered by an elusive new master of high-stakes, high-profile murder—the Night Shadow Killer.

In Nowhere Out (Divont Publishers, October 2014), Vincent J. Sachar draws readers into a complex, riveting plot of conspiracy and murder—sometimes for money and power, and sometimes for a noble cause. At its center are two strong men haunted by their past and struggling to forgive, especially themselves. Building on his first novel, The Nowhere Man, Sachar reunites Kent Taylor (a/k/a Ron Woodruff) and Bill Gladding, killer and detective, in a battle against a skillful, stealth assassin targeting the ruthless and powerful with ties to organized crime and political corruption. To further aggravate matters, Gladding uncovers evidence of a mole within his own trusted circle of agents. And Woodruff has a close encounter with the unexpected and unsettling: a woman. Genuine, funny, sensitive, and lovely, a widow and a survivor, Katie Dunham breaks through Taylor’s wall and fills him with a longing to get involved—at his own risk and hers.

Nowhere Out is packed with action, intrigue, and startling twists that will keep readers gripped until the final, satisfying page.

Vincent J. Sachar is an attorney with a passion for writing fiction. He introduced the character of Kent Taylor, Navy SEAL turned serial killer, in his debut novel, The Nowhere Man. A native New Yorker, Vince met his wife, Gwen, a native of southern Louisiana, while attending Loyola University in New Orleans. They have three grown children and make their home in south Florida. To learn more, please visit the author’s website: www.vincentsachar.com.

An Interview with Vincent J. Sachar, author of Nowhere Out

1. You’re an attorney by day. What was your inspiration for writing thrillers about a patriotic Navy SEAL forced to use his lethal skills against corrupt government officials of the country he fought for and loves?
Throughout my career, I normally wrote things that were of a serious and business nature. I have always been a very avid reader—a prerequisite, I believe, to writing. I wanted to explore the freedom of writing creatively—especially writing fiction novels. In line with that, I wanted to explore the impact and character development of a man highly trained with lethal skills who is suddenly stripped of everything he genuinely values. The mix of a government-trained Special Forces soldier and a betrayal by the government that trained him best fits the “mix” I was looking for.

Vincent Sachar is an attorney by day and thriller writer by night. Click on his photo to visit his website to learn more about recent releases and more.

Vincent Sachar is an attorney by day and thriller writer by night. Click on his photo to visit his website to learn more about recent releases and more.

2. Do you think that your plot, where many of the villains are the politically powerful, resonates with the popular belief these days that the government no longer serves the best interest of its people?
Yes, even though the novel itself is not an “anti-government” story nor a statement that governments and people in power can never be trusted. Yet, it does support the popular belief that the government cannot always nor fully be trusted to serve the best interests of its people. And for Kent Taylor, that’s the point! What do you do when you are on the wrong side of unlawful government actions? Where do you go? To whom can you turn? Lord Acton — “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

3. Kent Taylor, the protagonist, was unjustly branded a terrorist by his government. Do you think there are actually people wrongfully and maliciously persecuted and branded as terrorists by the government?
Absolutely! Sometimes (wrongfully) this occurs as a result of ignorance that is often combined with people’s failure to objectively make their own determinations. Other times (maliciously) someone is so labeled because he represents a threat to the status quo. In The Nowhere Man, Bill Gladding, a seasoned “law and order” FBI Special Agent, anticipated that in Taylor he would find a twisted (terrorist) killer. The fact that he did not carries over into the dynamics of Nowhere Out.

4. At the heart of Kent Taylor’s pain is the fact that he feels responsible for the government’s murder of his wife and young kids. In this sequel, you introduce a new love interest. How does writing a more flirtatious storyline differ from writing scenes dealing with cold and calculated murders?
At the heart of everything, there is an underlying emotional foundation. The difference between a flirtatious storyline and scenes with cold and calculated murders is the difference between hope and the prospect of happiness and the absence of any such hope or possibility of joyful fulfillment. A writer must enter into the mindset of his or her characters and the scenario in which the characters have been placed. It should be no surprise that many an author will laugh, cry, or shudder when writing and reading his or her own creative words.

The Nowhere Man is Vincent Sachar's first novel click on book cover to purchase on Amazon.

The Nowhere Man is Vincent Sachar’s first novel click on book cover to purchase on Amazon.

5. Kent Taylor is the hero of your novels, yet he is indeed a killer who acts outside the boundaries of the law. Is it ever justifiable, let alone righteous, to seek out revenge and kill those who’ve hurt you?
In a true “black and white” analysis of Taylor’s revenge killings, they are neither righteous nor justifiable. Interestingly, he never in The Nowhere Man nor in Nowhere Out ever labels them as justifiable or righteous. He never defends his actions. No, it is never righteous nor justifiable to kill others in revenge for the hurt they have put you through. But it is sometimes “understandable.” There seem to be times when the extenuating circumstances that generate a person’s unlawful actions are such that they appear to lessen the degree of wrongfulness associated with them. It is as if we say that we cannot completely fault someone for responding as they did. And question whether we would have done the same.

6. Some people are distrustful of soldiers returning from war, even going so far as to question their mental stability. Your character, Kent Taylor, faces some of that from even some members of his family. Were you concerned that writing about a murdering former Navy SEAL could perpetuate that stereotype?
No, not really. Kent Taylor’s actions do not arise out of post traumatic stress disorder. Rather, they are spawned by the murders of his loved ones perpetrated directly and indirectly by government officials and law enforcement officers—people with whom he would normally associate with very positively.

7. This novel is about self-reinvention and a philosophy of life you call “Yborn.” What is “Yborn” and is it possible in today’s world where every facet of one’s life is documented online in perpetuity?
Actually, the “Yborn” that I speak of relates to something in a person’s life that they were meant or born to do. It is in response to Mark Twain’s quote: “The two greatest days in a person’s life are the day they are born and the day they find out why.”
Yes, there are instances when a person has either changed to such a degree or generated so much that is positive that the negativity of their past seems to get lost in the “used-to-be” aspects of their life. With regard to Kent Taylor, I have endeavored to portray him as a man of character and integrity whose actions,
following a devastating loss of all he valued in life, cross boundaries and standards that he otherwise would never have violated.

8. You’re now living in sunny South Florida. Has the sunshine and warm weather influenced your darker plots and storylines?
Hahahaha! Waking up most every day to find the sunshine bleeding through the window blinds, anxious to enter your home, does seem to stimulate a person’s creative juices! I have already written, but not yet published, an epic fantasy fiction novel and have already started on a third “Kent Taylor” story. So whether a novel is a bit dark or quite the opposite is based upon the story birthed within me. The Florida sunshine is the innocent catalyst. LOL.
About the Reviewer

Cindy McDonald

For twenty-six years my life whirled around song and dance: I was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t ask me what happened, but I suddenly felt drawn to my computer to write about thing I have experienced ( greatly exaggerated upon, of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happening at the race track.

Author Cindy McDonald. Click on pic to visit Cindy's website.

Author Cindy McDonald. Click on pic to visit Cindy’s website.

Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the race track is much more….racy. The drama is outrageous– not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do, but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it, which make for great story telling – great fiction.

I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, the Hollywood readers loved the show. The problem was that we couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said, “Cindy, don’t be stupid, turn your scripts into book.” and so I did!In 2011 I took the big leap and exchanged my tap shoes for a lap top- I retired from dance. It was a scary proposition, I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband- Saint Bill. That year was a huge transition for me, I went from dancing hard for five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and take my dog, Allister, for a daily run. I have to, or I’d be as big as a house. Do I miss dance? Sometimes I do. I miss the students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I LOVE my books, and I love sharing them with you!

Stop by Literary Wealth on Thursday for a Book Spotlight on Cindy’s latest suspense:

To the Breaking Pointe:

Click on book cover to purchase Cindy's latest suspense on Amazon.

Click on book cover to purchase Cindy’s latest suspense on Amazon.

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BookReview: Real Murder (A Lovers in Crime Mystery) by Lauren Carr

In case you’ve missed it, this month the latest Lovers in Crime Mystery, Real Murder, was released and it is already a hit with both reviewers and readers. Still hesitant? Well check out ABookVacation’s review.

{ARC Review} Real Murder by Lauren Carr.

via {ARC Review} Real Murder by Lauren Carr.

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{Blog Tour: Review and Excerpt} Twelve to Murder by Lauren Carr (Mac Faraday Mysteries #7)

{Blog Tour: Review and Excerpt} Twelve to Murder by Lauren Carr (Mac Faraday Mysteries #7).

via {Blog Tour: Review and Excerpt} Twelve to Murder by Lauren Carr (Mac Faraday Mysteries #7).

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MYSTERY—SUSPENSE, SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE??

Today’s guest post is from Cindy McDonald, author of the Unbridled series, and also the First Force series. Cindy is a romance-suspense or suspense-romance author. Get that? She is not a mystery author. There is a difference. Read below to find out what that is:

I’ve had several readers and reviewers post that they love my mysteries. Ahhh, but most recently I had a reviewer complain that she was upset because there was no mystery involved in my latest book, Shady Deals, and there’s a darn good reason for that: I simply do not write mysteries! While some readers and reviewers put my Unbridled books in the mystery category, the simple fact is that I write murder suspense and romantic suspense novels.

Shady Deals is Cindy's latest installment in the Unbridled series, filled with romance & suspense. Click on book cover to visit on Amazon.

Shady Deals is Cindy’s latest installment in the Unbridled series, filled with romance & suspense. Click on book cover to visit on Amazon.

A mystery writer plays their cards close to their chest. Bit by bit the mystery writer will slowly feed you clues as to who killed the poor widow who lives in the Victorian mansion on the hill. During the course of the story they will throw suspicion in several directions and perhaps throw a few twists into the plot to keep the reader guessing all the way to the end as to whodunit. A very good mystery writer will surprise you.

A suspense writer holds nothing back. The suspense writer tells you straight up that the handsome, young man whose car broke down during the storm and showed up at the poor widow’s door asking to use her phone killed her. But now will her beautiful, recently divorced daughter be next?

A suspense writer will toy with your emotions and your apprehensions by leading you to believe that perhaps you—the reader—is mistaken. Perhaps the young man isn’t the murderer, and maybe someone else killed her. A suspense writer will send cold-hard fear crawling up your skin as the murderer charms the widow’s daughter. When is he going to kill her? How is he going to kill her? Will the police officer that lives down the street figure out what is going on and come to her rescue before it’s too late? If you can’t put the book down because you simply can’t wait to find out the answers, then the suspense writer has done their job well.

Cindy McDonald's new series: First Force is a romance-suspense. Into the Crossfire has been receiving rave reviews. Click on the sexy book cover to check it out!

Cindy McDonald’s new series: First Force is a romance-suspense. Into the Crossfire has been receiving rave reviews. Click on the sexy book cover to check it out!

In a mystery book there is always the telling moment when all the characters, which of course includes the protagonist detective and the suspects, all gather together to put all the clues together and reveal the murderer.

In a suspense book the action comes to a climax where people’s lives are hanging on the edge, requiring the protagonist to hatch a dodgy rescue, risking everything to save the widow’s daughter.

It all seems extremely basic, doesn’t it? So what’s all the confusion about?

Stick with me, because this is the important part:

When looking for my books on amazon, you may very well find them under the category of mystery. Why? Because when amazon categorizes books many are lumped together in one category. Mystery and suspense books are put together in a mystery/suspense/thriller category, and then the book will be broken down from there into sub-categories like: romance, police procedural, cozy mystery, romantic suspense, murder suspense etc. Yes! My books could possibly be listed in the same category as Stephen King’s thrillers regardless of the fact that they are not the same kind or genre as Mr. King’s books.

In other words my romantic suspense and murder suspense books can show up in several categories, including mystery, even though it is not a mystery at all.

Whew! Did I clear that all up for you? I suppose the point is, the next time you shop for a mystery on amazon, you may very well get suspense or suspense that teases your sense of deductive reasoning with a mystery.

Author Cindy McDonald. Click on pic to visit Cindy's website.

Author Cindy McDonald.
Click on pic to visit Cindy’s website.

About the Author:

For twenty-six years my life whirled around a song and a dance: I was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and the happenings at the racetrack.

Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is more…racy. The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.

I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. The problem was we just couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said to me, “Cindy, don’t be stupid. Turn your scripts into a book series.” and so I did!

In May of 2011 I took the big leap and exchanged my dancin’ shoes for a lap top—I retired from dance. It was a scary proposition, I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house. Do I miss dance? Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with you.

To read excerpts from future books, view book trailers, and keep up with everything that is Unbridled, please visit Cindy’s website at: www.cindymcwriter.com

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Ten QUICKIES for Writing Love Scenes

Are you ready for a quickie? How about ten quickies? Author Cindy McDonald is here today to tell us ten quick tips for writing loves scenes. So grab something to keep you cooled off and take notes!

Hey writing is a tough business! Whether you write mysteries, suspense, romance, or thrillers it is hard to stand out in the crowd, and you definitely want to stand out in the right way. I’ve talked to so many writers who tell me that they struggle with or perhaps even shy away from love scenes. Truth is most writers avoid it at all costs because they feel awkward or lack the confidence to write so intimately. So with the timid writer in mind, I’ve compiled a list of ten quick suggestions to help you throw your inhibitions aside and write a good love scene.

Cindy McDonald's new series: First Force is a romance-suspense. Into the Crossfire is coming Nov 1!

Cindy McDonald’s new series: First Force is a romance-suspense. Into the Crossfire is coming Nov 1!

1. Define your comfort zone: What are you comfortable reading/writing?
Not everyone (authors or readers) are comfortable with such strong scenes as those that E L James penned for Christian Grey’s “playroom”. Perhaps you are more at ease writing suggestive scenes: your characters touch, feel, explore, but you will only take the reader to the bedroom—not between the sheets, and that’s okay. When I began writing the Unbridled Series in 2005 suggestive scenes was where my comfort zone lived—I have since tossed some of my inhibitions aside to go farther with the First Force series, yet I’m still not as bold as some romance writers.
If you struggle with the idea of writing intimate scenes then you should take care to start slowly and build up. If you start out writing beyond your comfort level your scenes will reflect your unease, so it’s best not to force a scene that you are simply not prepared to illustrate.
2. Write for yourself, not your family, friends, or your pastor.
As I’ve said in past blogs, I have very conservative in-laws—my books are a taboo subject at family gatherings—they are simply uncomfortable with the subject matter of my books in general. That said I have discounted how they feel about the love scenes that I pen. Some writers are concerned that their minister or church members will frown upon sexual scenes in their books. Hmmmm, then why are they reading your books? I’ve noticed that if I don’t bring up my books at church neither does anyone else—although I do have fellow parishioners who will approach me to tell me how much they enjoy my books—they never mention the love scenes—for whatever reason. 🙂
3. Make sure the cover of your book matches the story inside.
The cover is so important to the marketing of your book. If your storyline is really smokin’ hot, then definitely put that erotic half-dressed couple immersed in a sensual kiss on your cover. If your storyline is more on the suggestive side—find something a little less provocative for your cover. You don’t want to promise something that you don’t deliver because then you could possibly upset two groups of readers: those who are expecting and looking forward to more than you are giving, or readers who are not comfortable at all with sexual scenes. The wrong cover can ultimately turn both sets of readers away from your books permanently. So make sure your cover sends the right message.
4. Heat it up! Sexual tension adds sooo much to the storyline.
Build the sexual tension between your characters from the very first moment they meet. The hero is bound and determined to win her heart, but the heroine isn’t exactly ready to give it—make him work to win her over and for that first kiss to be scorching hot. Sexual tension isn’t exclusive to those who write love scenes. You can use sexual tension even in the most innocent of books where an author doesn’t go any farther than that kiss.
5. Develop your characters well before tossing them into bed.
Your audience will find the story more believable and sensual if you have taken the time and effort to develop your characters before that hot love scene. Readers want to know that the love scene is right—that the hero and heroine are meant to be. Tossing them into bed before developing their relationship and personalities will leave the reader feeling cheated, and your carefully penned love scene could fall flat.
6. One POV please!
Only reveal one character’s POV during the love scene. Alternating thoughts, feelings, or sensual sensations from one character to the other during a love scene can confuse or frustrate the reader. Allow your reader to experience the sensual encounter through one character’s POV only.
7. Use subtext.
What’s subtext? Subtext is when a character says something without coming right out and saying it. Example: He leaned across the table, his hot gaze burning into hers. “You know I just love caramels.” He whispered, “I can’t help myself, I always end up eating the whole bag.”
8. Whoa! Watch those descriptions!
Most recently I began to read a book that actually started out with what the author considered a “hot” love scene. I put the book aside by page sixteen and haven’t picked it up since. Why? Because the author was using car parts to describe body parts. Can you guess what the gearshift was? Yep. Please, keep your automotive paraphernalia where it belongs—in the garage.
I had one author tell me that he liked to refer to the woman’s most intimate area as a… wait for it… “honey hole”. E-gads!! One must be careful as to how to describe intimate body parts or it completely destroys the experience for the reader.
9. Use the senses.
Absolutely! Touch, taste, and smell—candles burning, the shadows dancing about the room, the smell of his skin, the gentle caresses over smooth silky flesh, and the taste of the wine still lingering on their lips. These descriptions (if done correctly and compassionately) will deepen the readers experience by drawing them into the moment.
10. Make sure it fits!
The scene I mean. Don’t write a love/sex scene just to do it—make sure the scene moves the story forward. The characters should share something during the scene: a deeper sense of their relationship, a secret can be revealed, or information that you have not shared with the reader can come forth during or as a result of the scene, but make the scene count. Love/sex scenes that are thrown into the story for no apparent reason are annoying, and yes your readers will notice!
So there you have it…some simple ideas to help you write a love scene. Here’s one more: read love scenes. The more you read love scenes the more you will learn how to write them—it’s really that simple. What did like about the love scene that you just read? What didn’t you like? Learn from those who do it well.

About the Author

Author Cindy McDonald

Author Cindy McDonald

For twenty-six years Cindy’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. She often notes: Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things that I have experienced with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack—greatly exaggerated upon of course—I’ve never been murdered. Viola! Cindy’s first book series, Unbridled, was born—there are four books to that series thus far.

Cindy is a huge fan of romantic suspense series’, and although she isn’t one to make New Year’s resolutions, on New Year’s Day 2013 she made a commitment to write one, Into the Crossfire is the first book for her new series, First Force.

People are always asking Cindy: Do you miss dance? With a bitter sweet smile on her lips she tells them: Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books, and I love sharing them with you.

Cindy resides on her forty-five acre Thoroughbred farm with her husband near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

For more information, book trailers, and excerpts for all of Cindy’s books please visit her website: www.cindymcwriter.com

 

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Book Spotlight: Acre by George Johnson

Remember When Baseball Really Was America’s Past Time?

Acre Thomas Tulley proved to be a product of his time. In the late forties and early fifties, back before laptops and computer games, he was outside more than indoors. He spent hours on the railroad tracks hitting cinders with a stick. Afternoons were meant for swinging at corn cobs or having cob battles between the barn loft and the cow pound with his friends.

George Johnson was a late starter. He penned Acre, his first book, after retiring from teaching. Click on book cover to purchase on Amazon.

George Johnson was a late starter. He penned Acre, his first book, after retiring from teaching. Click on book cover to purchase on Amazon.

Acre, George Johnson’s debut novel, is about a boy from the heartland of America, who grows up to become baseball legend. It is a story that takes readers back to a time when family was everything, contracts were sealed with a handshake, and a man was as good as his word.
From swinging sticks at cinders, Acre grew up to hit baseballs with his bat. From the beginning, Acre Thomas Tulley set his goals high. He was still a teenager when he accomplished feats in major league baseball never achieved by any other player in the history of the game.
Keeping to his good family roots, Acre never forgot a promise he made early in his career. But now, after achieving a legacy that will remain a benchmark for many years to come, will Acre Thomas Tulley walk away to keep that promise? Can he?

George Johnson is working on his second book, Timber, which is about Acre's sister.

George Johnson is working on his second book, Timber, which is about Acre’s sister.

About the Author

George Johnson is a retired elementary school teacher from Prince George’s County, Maryland.
He thought about Acre for two years before he finally put it in writing. Then, it took him three years, off and on, to complete it and put it in print. Being a late starter, the author completed his second book of fiction called Timber. Acre and Timber are brother and sister. Timber took him two years to complete.
At the present time, he is compiling a collection of short stories he has composed over the years. George Johnson lives in Hagerstown, Maryland with Sharon, his wife of fifty-four years.

George Johnson is going on Tour!

You can keep up with George Johnson and learn more about Acre by following him on his virtual tour. The tour will kick-off with a Launch Party on Facebook on June 1st, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm CDT.

https://www.facebook.com/events/371866819589287/?fref=ts

He will also be making various stops across cyberspace on a virtual book tour, coordinated by Celestial Book Promotions. Click on the link to schedule a stop on your website or to follow Acre.

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Book Review: For Those in Peril on the Sea by Colin M. Drysdale

For Those in Peril on the Sea

by Colin M. Drysdale

Primarily set in the northern Bahamas, this book weaves its story of post-apocalyptic survival into the local sub-tropical seascape and the sailing culture that can be found there. With its evocative use of real locations haunted by zombie-like infected and atmospheric depictions of the trials of life at sea drawn from the author’s own experiences, For Those In Peril On The Sea provides a new and unusual take on the traditional post-apocalyptic genre.

For Those in Peril on the Sea: Click on Book Cover to Buy on Amazon

For Those in Peril on the Sea: Click on Book Cover to Buy on Amazon

After a six week voyage across the Atlantic, they couldn’t wait to get to shore. When they got there, they found the land would never be safe again…
There was nothing to suggest it would be anything more than a routine delivery. Four people thrown together by chance, sailing a newly-built catamaran from South Africa to Miami. But while they were away, something happened, something none of them could ever have imagined. When they get back to civilization, they find it no longer exists. The land is no longer safe. Their only option is to stay on the boat and try to survive.
Join Bill, Rob, Jon and CJ as they travel around their frightening new world. One where they must struggle against the infected that now rule the land, the elements and each other.

About the Author:

As a marine biologist, Colin M. Drysdale has spent plenty of time at sea with no land in sight but he is always glad when he finally gets back to shore. This novel is inspired by a thought that often plagues him during his voyages. What would he do if something happened while he was away and he could never go back?

Review:

Consider this: You’ve been hired to deliver a boat from South Africa to Miami. You begin your journey across the Atlantic with a small crew of four. All goes well until a horrific storm blows in and strips you of your communication systems. You are completely cut-off from the world for weeks.
It is a long tedious passage and you are anxious to enter the harbor of Miami, only when you arrive there is nothing left. Miami is burning to the ground and the people that you see on shore no longer resemble anything human, but rather gross imitations that growl and snarl at you. The decision is made to continue on to another harbor only to find the same.
The world as you knew it six weeks ago has been forced to its knees by a disease that has ravaged mankind turning them into mindless, flesh devouring beasts. This is the situation that Colin M. Drysdale has place his characters, Bill, Rob, Jon, and CJ in, and it seems that they will be exiled to the sea forever—otherwise they will fall victim to the man-eating monsters that prowl the shores. How will they survive? Is there anyone else out there?
For Those in Peril at Sea by Colin M. Drysdale was a gripping tale of loss, triumph, heartache victories, but mostly the will to survive in a new world with so many challenges. The book was intriguing, and sometimes terrifying enough that I had put it down so that I could absorb what I had read. Mr. Drysdale’s writing is smooth and wonderfully descriptive. He has an impressive knowledge of boats, sailing, and of faraway lands.
For Those in Peril at Sea is a terrific read, but be forewarned it is not necessarily for the vanilla reader. Mr. Drysdale’s accounts can be very graphic—which is a testament to his amazing writing skills, but some may find the scenes upsetting. I look forward to reading and reviewing more books by Colin M. Drysdale. 5 STARS!

Reviewed by Cindy McDonald

About the Reviewer:

Cindy McDonald is the author of the Unbridled series, featuring the West Family, who own a Thoroughbred horse farm in Pennsylvania. She was was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pa area. For 26 years she was a professional choreographer,she taught ballet, jazz, and tap. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. Most recently she has retired to write her novels. She resides with her husband on their Thoroughbred farm know as Fly By Night Stables near Pittsburgh. Here latest UnBridled Book is Against the Ropes, scheduled for realise on June 1.  To learn more about her book series and to read excerpts from her upcoming books, please visit her website: www.cindymcwriter.com

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Blast from the Past: Tour Wrap-up

Well, it has been six weeks since the Blast from the Past Virtual Tour was launched and it has been a Blast! (pun intended)

Blast from the Past is Lauren Carr's fourth book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. Click on cover to download from Amazon.

Blast from the Past is Lauren Carr’s fourth book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries.
Click on cover to download from Amazon.

We blasted off here at Literary Wealth with a profile for Blast from the Past, the latest Mac Faraday Mystery, which has been receiving rave reviews from everyone. Thank you, everyone, who has emailed me.

Before long, we were at Fay Moore’s I Want To Be A Writer, blog with my guest post: The Advantages of Having a Mystery Writer for a Friend. This post was a hoot to write.

Gnarly and I had a lot of fun writing the guest post for Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries, and More. And then, telling the story of how Gnarly came to be in Buried Under Books was a special treat. This post included a picture of the real Gnarly, who is finally housebroken. It’s been an adventurous six weeks!

At Rebecca Sweeney Graf’s blog: ABookLoversLibrary, we had a book spotlight and interview.

Plus, we have enjoyed the great reviews and insights by tremendous reviewers like Laurel Rain-Snow, Roy Murry (conniesbrotherblogspot), Melina Mason (Melina the Reader) , and The Self-Taught Cook.

I do want to thank everyone for their help on this tour as we bring it to a close …

What’s that? could there possibly be someone out there reading this who has not heard of Blast from the Past, the latest Mac Faraday Mystery? Well, fasten your seat belts and let’s take off again!

In Blast from the Past, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents.

After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!

Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town of Spencer, Maryland, things may be hotter than even he can handle.

In this fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers learn more about Archie Monday’s past in a flash—as in a gun fight when the syndicate comes to town. Readers love to be surprised. In Blast from the Past, they are going to be surprised to discover the secret of Archie Monday’s past, which threatens her and Mac’s future.

Blast from the Past also takes the Mac Faraday Mysteries to a new level as his relationship with Archie Monday moves onto a whole new level.  Readers have been clamoring for Mac and Archie to get together for three books.

What about Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s canine inheritance—the only German shepherd to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Army? Well, it’s not a Mac Faraday Mystery without Gnarly. Let’s just say Gnarly kicks things up a notch in his own way.

Book Excerpt:

Spencer, Maryland – Deep Creek Lake – Present Day

“Gnarly, it’s time for to go to your appointment.”

Lovely in her soft grey Chanel suit, rose-colored blouse, and stylish pumps, Archie Monday, assistant to the late Robin Spencer, hurried up the stairs to the second floor of Spencer Manor and down the hallway to the master suite.  The rose leather clutch bag under her arm was a perfect match for the fedora she wore over her pixie-styled blonde hair.

“Gnarly, are you in here?” She threw open the double doors to find the German shepherd sitting in the suite’s bathroom doorway. “There you are. It’s time to go.” She gestured for the dog to come to her.

Instead of obeying his favorite human, Gnarly whined and turned his attention back to the happenings inside the other room.

“Go where?” Mac Faraday called out to her from the bathroom.

She crossed the width of the suite to peer in at him. The sight that greeted her wasn’t what she had expected from the son of Robin Spencer, whose roots were as blue-blood as they come.

The clichéd appearance of a wealthy man calls for him to be tall, dark, and handsome—maybe ruggedly handsome—and at the very least, well-groomed. A man of wealth is best able to achieve this requirement by hiring others—like plumbers—to do the dirty work.

Two years after his inheritance allowed him to retire from his career as a homicide detective, Mac Faraday had chosen to ignore that rule.

His middle-class upbringing had a different rule: If you can do it yourself—no matter how dirty the job—it’s a waste of money to hire someone else to do it for you.

Determination had drawn Mac’s handsome face into a scowl. His blue eyes were narrowed into slits focused on the toilet in which he was plunging away. Water splashed upwards to spill over the sides and drenched the lower half of his sweatpants down to his bare feet.

Even in this less than glamorous setting, Archie did find his arm and chest muscles, bulging from the workout, appealing. When Mac yanked the plunger up from out of the toilet, in the process splattering the water across his firm stomach and down the front of his pants, she reconsidered that assessment. Maybe not that appealing after all. She asked, “What are you doing?”

“What does it look like?”

“Why?”

“It’s stopped up.” He shook the dripping plunger in Gnarly’s direction. “And I have a feeling I know who did it.”

Uttering a whine, Gnarly moved to hide behind Archie’s legs.

She jumped to the shepherd’s defense. “Why are you blaming Gnarly? He doesn’t use the toilet. You’re the only one who uses this toilet.”

“You’ve used it.” Mac reminded her of her frequent nights spent with him in the master suite. “Maybe I should blame you.”

She folded her arms across her bosom. “I wouldn’t go there if I were you.”

“That’s why I’m blaming Gnarly.” He again pointed the plunger at the dog. “Look at him. Do you see that guilty expression on his face? He’s done something, and I suspect it has to do with this toilet.”

“Even if he did drop something into it, how did he flush it?” She giggled. “Mac, he’s a dog.”

The phone on the bed stand rang before Mac could come up with a response. “Answer that, will you?” He returned to his plunging.

“I need to take Gnarly to the groomer,” she called in to him while trotting to the king-sized bed that they had been sharing.

Mac Faraday had inherited the mansion from Robin Spencer, who, as an unwed teenager, had given him up at birth. However, his late mother had stipulated that her research assistant and editor, Archie Monday, was permitted to live in the stone guest cottage tucked away in the rose garden for as long as she wanted.

The beautiful green-eyed blonde had come with the house, and Mac Faraday was in no hurry for her to move out … nor was she in any hurry to leave.

Spencer’s police chief David O’Callaghan didn’t sound his usual jovial self when Archie answered the phone. After a quick hello, he asked for Mac.

“David, you sound terrible,” she observed.

“My weekend’s been shot,” he replied. “One of my cruisers was stolen last night.”

“Are you serious?”

Mac came into the bathroom doorway. “What’s wrong?”

She told him, “One of David’s police cruisers got stolen.”

David told her the reason for his call. “Tell Mac that I’m going to miss the game this afternoon. I need to fill out a ton of reports and find out how someone was able to break into our garage to steal a police cruiser.” He added, “Our guys are going to be the laughing stock of the state for this.”

In Archie’s other ear, Mac was asking, “Does he need any help finding the scum who stole it?”

“It was probably some bored teenagers pulling a prank,” she told them both.

“Committing a felony doesn’t make for a very good prank,” they told her in unison.

Seeing the time on the alarm clock on the bed stand, she announced, “Gnarly and I are late.” She handed the phone to Mac.

“Where are you taking Gnarly?” he asked her.

“To the groomer,” she said. “It’s the first Saturday of the month.”

“What does that have to do with it?”

“Mac?” David called to him from the phone.

“Gnarly has a standing appointment for the first Saturday of the month,” she said with her hands on her hips. “Ten-thirty with Misty. He gets the works.”

“What’s ‘the works’?”

“Mac, are you there?” David asked him.

Archie ticked off each item on her fingers. “Shampoo, deep conditioner, teeth cleaning, toenails clipped, aromatherapy—they’re having a special today on strawberries and champagne—and—and this is Gnarly’s favorite—a deep body massage.”

Gnarly pawed at her hand.

“For a dog?” Mac’s voice went up in pitch.

“Dogs need pampering, too.”

“How much is all this going to cost?” Mac asked.

“Only two-hundred and twenty-five dollars.”

“Only two hundred and twenty-five dollars?” Mac objected. “I don’t spend that much a year on my own hair, and I’m a human.”

“And you look like it.” She kissed him. “I have to go. Misty is very popular. She will only hold Gnarly’s appointment for ten minutes. Once I was late, and she gave his appointment to a chow. Gnarly was in a snit the whole next week until Misty was able to fit him in.”

Gnarly uttered a whine mixed with a bark before charging down the stairs. Archie tucked her handbag under her arm and hurried after him.

With a shake of his head, Mac sat down onto the bed and brought the phone to his ear. “Dave …” All he heard from the other end of the line was a dial tone.

* * * * *

Gnarly loved riding in Archie’s royal blue Escalade. Mac would always order him to the back seat, which the German shepherd would ignore. Not so with Archie. When riding with his favorite lady, he was invited to ride shotgun in the front passenger seat and stick his head up through the sun roof when the feeling struck him to do so.

After climbing into the SUV, Archie noticed that the bangs of her shortly cropped blonde hair were curling funnily. That would not look good at the book club luncheon at the Spencer Inn, for which she was already running late. While the automatic garage door went up, she licked her fingertips and finger combed it.

Gnarly pawed at her arm to urge her to get moving.

“Sorry, Gnarl, I can fix them later at the Inn.” She put the car into gear and backed out of the garage, which housed Mac’s black SUV and red Dodge Viper. The last stall was still home to Robin Spencer’s yellow classic 1934 Bentley Park Ward convertible, which the late author had rarely driven. Mac had yet to drive it. He was afraid of wrecking it.

In the heart of Maryland, the cedar and stone home, known as Spencer Manor, rested at the end of the most expensive piece of real estate in the resort area of Deep Creek Lake. The peninsula housed a half-dozen lake houses that grew in size and grandeur along the stretch of Spencer Court. The road ended at the stone pillars marking the multi-million dollar estate that had been the birthplace and home of the late Robin Spencer, one of the world’s most famous authors.

Along the stretch of Spencer Point, Archie waved to the Schweitzers, who lived in the last house before crossing over the bridge, and then turned right onto Spencer Lane, which took her around the lakeshore. She noticed the Spencer police cruiser fall in behind her after she made the turn.

With her eye on the speedometer, she eased her foot on the gas to stay under forty-five miles per hour. With the other eye, she glanced at the black and gold SUV through the rearview mirror. She squinted in an effort to see who was driving.

It wasn’t Deputy Chief Art Bogart. He had his own cruiser. David was still at the station. Any of the dozen officers on the police force would have waved to her when she drove past.

I have a bad feeling about this… who’s that in the passenger seat?

The alarm inside her head kicked up the tempo a notch. The Spencer police department did not operate in teams. The force was too small. Each officer had his own cruiser and patrolled alone. If backup was needed in the small resort town, another officer would be only a few minutes away.

Something’s not right—not right at all.

The blue lights flashed on in the cruiser behind her.

“We have company, Gnarly.” She eased her SUV over to the side of the road. Through the trees on the right, she could see that the lake was tranquil. Most of the residents of Spencer were still waking up and starting their day. Across the road, the woods and trails led up the mountain on which rested the Spencer Inn, another part of Mac Faraday’s inheritance.

In her side and rearview mirror, Archie watched the two men with silver police shields pinned to their uniforms, dark glasses, and hats, get out of the cruiser. She could see by the fit of their shirts that they were wearing amour vests.

Gnarly looked over his shoulder and growled.

“Easy, Gnarly.”

While the driver approached Archie’s side, his partner came up along the rear passenger side. They were both wearing utility belts with guns, batons, and radios.

With her right hand, Archie reached into her clutch bag that she always kept tucked in between her seat and the hand break.

The driver reached around behind his back.

“Down, Gnarly.”

Gnarly lay down in the seat.

When she saw the butt of the gun come out from behind his back, Archie, her eyes on the target in her side rearview mirror, fired three shots from her pink handgun, engraved with The Pink Lady across the muzzle, over her left shoulder. The first shot took out the rear driver’s side window before ripping through the gun man’s neck. The other two went through his head before he hit the ground.

In one movement, Archie threw her right arm around to fire out the rear window at the partner who only managed to get one shot before she hit him in the lower neck. Her second shot went through his head.

The world seemed to stop.

Breathing hard, she clutched the gun and stared in the rearview mirror for any sign that they were still alive and would try again.

The next thing she was aware of was Gnarly clawing at her. When she didn’t respond, he licked her face. She had no idea of how long she had been sitting there.

“Oh, my!” She heard someone yell.

Archie opened up the car door and stepped out.

A car filled with tourists had driven up to the scene. Seeing the woman in a Chanel suit holding a pink handgun and standing over two dead police officers next to a cruiser that still had its blue lights on, they immediately became hysterical. The tires burned leather on the road when the car sped away.

After checking out the two men, Gnarly, assured that they were dead, came back to sit in front of Archie. His big brown eyes were questioning. What just happened here?

Archie knelt down and took the paw he offered her. “Well, Gnarly, it’s a long story.”

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Fasten Your Seatbelts! The Blast from the Past Tour is Blasting Off!

Today marks the launch of–

Blast from the Past Tour

Click on Banner for the latest tour schedule on Lauren Carr’s Website.

When I announced that I was scheduling my latest book tour, a friend asked me a question that I viewed at the time as unusual: “What is a virtual book tour?”

“Oh,” I replied, “it is the only way for an author to do a book tour nowadays! It is all online. No gassing up the car. No driving around with your book in the trunk. No hotels. You just go from blog to blog and reviewer to reviewer in the comfort of your own home, with your feet up in your comfortable slippers, having a bad hair day–why you can even meet your readers completely naked if you feel like it and they’ll never know!”

I love touring this way. I guarantee that we’ll all have fun on the Blast from the Past Book Tour. The launch of Blast from the Past has already been an exciting venture. For the first three weeks after it’s release on January 10, Blast from the Past was ranked consistently in the top 100-books and ebooks on Amazon under mystery/thrillers, in the category of police procedurals and has been receiving rave reviews!

What’s that? You don’t know about Blast from the Past? Well, let me tell you about my latest mystery.

Blast from the Past is Lauren Carr's fourth book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. Click on cover to download from Amazon.

Blast from the Past is Lauren Carr’s fourth book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries.
Click on cover to download from Amazon.

In Blast from the Past, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents.

After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!

Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town of Spencer, Maryland, things may be hotter than even he can handle.

In this fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers learn more about Archie Monday’s past in a flash—as in a gun fight when the syndicate comes to town. Readers love to be surprised and in Blast from the Past they are going to be surprised to discover the secret of Archie Monday’s past, which threatens her and Mac’s future.

Blast from the Past also takes the Mac Faraday Mysteries to a new level as his relationship with Archie Monday moves onto a whole new level. Readers have been clamoring for Mac and Archie to get together for three books. In Blast from the Past, they’re relationship is cemented, if they live to make it happen.

What about Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s canine inheritance—the only German shepherd to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Army? Well, it’s not a Mac Faraday Mystery without Gnarly. Let’s just say Gnarly kicks things up a notch in his own way.

I’ll be stopping at twenty sites in six weeks. check out the schedule. We will have book giveaways, reviews, and guest posts galore–including one written from Gnarly’s point of view.

Still wondering about this Blast from the Past? How about a free sample then:

Blast from the Past – Excerpt

Spencer, Maryland – Deep Creek Lake – Present Day

“Gnarly, it’s time for to go to your appointment.”

Lovely in her soft grey Chanel suit, rose-colored blouse, and stylish pumps, Archie Monday, assistant to the late Robin Spencer, hurried up the stairs to the second floor of Spencer Manor and down the hallway to the master suite.  The rose leather clutch bag under her arm was a perfect match for the fedora she wore over her pixie-styled blonde hair.

“Gnarly, are you in here?” She threw open the double doors to find the German shepherd sitting in the suite’s bathroom doorway. “There you are. It’s time to go.” She gestured for the dog to come to her.

Instead of obeying his favorite human, Gnarly whined and turned his attention back to the happenings inside the other room.

“Go where?” Mac Faraday called out to her from the bathroom.

She crossed the width of the suite to peer in at him. The sight that greeted her wasn’t what she had expected from the son of Robin Spencer, whose roots were as blue-blood as they come.

The clichéd appearance of a wealthy man calls for him to be tall, dark, and handsome—maybe ruggedly handsome—and at the very least, well-groomed. A man of wealth is best able to achieve this requirement by hiring others—like plumbers—to do the dirty work.

Two years after his inheritance allowed him to retire from his career as a homicide detective, Mac Faraday had chosen to ignore that rule.

His middle-class upbringing had a different rule: If you can do it yourself—no matter how dirty the job—it’s a waste of money to hire someone else to do it for you.

Determination had drawn Mac’s handsome face into a scowl. His blue eyes were narrowed into slits focused on the toilet in which he was plunging away. Water splashed upwards to spill over the sides and drenched the lower half of his sweatpants down to his bare feet.

Even in this less than glamorous setting, Archie did find his arm and chest muscles, bulging from the workout, appealing. When Mac yanked the plunger up from out of the toilet, in the process splattering the water across his firm stomach and down the front of his pants, she reconsidered that assessment. Maybe not that appealing after all. She asked, “What are you doing?”

“What does it look like?”

“Why?”

“It’s stopped up.” He shook the dripping plunger in Gnarly’s direction. “And I have a feeling I know who did it.”

Uttering a whine, Gnarly moved to hide behind Archie’s legs.

She jumped to the shepherd’s defense. “Why are you blaming Gnarly? He doesn’t use the toilet. You’re the only one who uses this toilet.”

“You’ve used it.” Mac reminded her of her frequent nights spent with him in the master suite. “Maybe I should blame you.”

She folded her arms across her bosom. “I wouldn’t go there if I were you.”

“That’s why I’m blaming Gnarly.” He again pointed the plunger at the dog. “Look at him. Do you see that guilty expression on his face? He’s done something, and I suspect it has to do with this toilet.”

“Even if he did drop something into it, how did he flush it?” She giggled. “Mac, he’s a dog.”

The phone on the bed stand rang before Mac could come up with a response. “Answer that, will you?” He returned to his plunging.

“I need to take Gnarly to the groomer,” she called in to him while trotting to the king-sized bed that they had been sharing.

Mac Faraday had inherited the mansion from Robin Spencer, who, as an unwed teenager, had given him up at birth. However, his late mother had stipulated that her research assistant and editor, Archie Monday, was permitted to live in the stone guest cottage tucked away in the rose garden for as long as she wanted.

The beautiful green-eyed blonde had come with the house, and Mac Faraday was in no hurry for her to move out … nor was she in any hurry to leave.

Spencer’s police chief David O’Callaghan didn’t sound his usual jovial self when Archie answered the phone. After a quick hello, he asked for Mac.

“David, you sound terrible,” she observed.

“My weekend’s been shot,” he replied. “One of my cruisers was stolen last night.”

“Are you serious?”

Mac came into the bathroom doorway. “What’s wrong?”

She told him, “One of David’s police cruisers got stolen.”

David told her the reason for his call. “Tell Mac that I’m going to miss the game this afternoon. I need to fill out a ton of reports and find out how someone was able to break into our garage to steal a police cruiser.” He added, “Our guys are going to be the laughing stock of the state for this.”

In Archie’s other ear, Mac was asking, “Does he need any help finding the scum who stole it?”

“It was probably some bored teenagers pulling a prank,” she told them both.

“Committing a felony doesn’t make for a very good prank,” they told her in unison.

Seeing the time on the alarm clock on the bed stand, she announced, “Gnarly and I are late.” She handed the phone to Mac.

“Where are you taking Gnarly?” he asked her.

“To the groomer,” she said. “It’s the first Saturday of the month.”

“What does that have to do with it?”

“Mac?” David called to him from the phone.

“Gnarly has a standing appointment for the first Saturday of the month,” she said with her hands on her hips. “Ten-thirty with Misty. He gets the works.”

“What’s ‘the works’?”

“Mac, are you there?” David asked him.

Archie ticked off each item on her fingers. “Shampoo, deep conditioner, teeth cleaning, toenails clipped, aromatherapy—they’re having a special today on strawberries and champagne—and—and this is Gnarly’s favorite—a deep body massage.”

Gnarly pawed at her hand.

“For a dog?” Mac’s voice went up in pitch.

“Dogs need pampering, too.”

“How much is all this going to cost?” Mac asked.

“Only two-hundred and twenty-five dollars.”

“Only two hundred and twenty-five dollars?” Mac objected. “I don’t spend that much a year on my own hair, and I’m a human.”

“And you look like it.” She kissed him. “I have to go. Misty is very popular. She will only hold Gnarly’s appointment for ten minutes. Once I was late, and she gave his appointment to a chow. Gnarly was in a snit the whole next week until Misty was able to fit him in.”

Gnarly uttered a whine mixed with a bark before charging down the stairs. Archie tucked her handbag under her arm and hurried after him.

With a shake of his head, Mac sat down onto the bed and brought the phone to his ear. “Dave …” All he heard from the other end of the line was a dial tone.

* * * * *

Gnarly loved riding in Archie’s royal blue Escalade. Mac would always order him to the back seat, which the German shepherd would ignore. Not so with Archie. When riding with his favorite lady, he was invited to ride shotgun in the front passenger seat and stick his head up through the sun roof when the feeling struck him to do so.

After climbing into the SUV, Archie noticed that the bangs of her shortly cropped blonde hair were curling funnily. That would not look good at the book club luncheon at the Spencer Inn, for which she was already running late. While the automatic garage door went up, she licked her fingertips and finger combed it.

Gnarly pawed at her arm to urge her to get moving.

“Sorry, Gnarl, I can fix them later at the Inn.” She put the car into gear and backed out of the garage, which housed Mac’s black SUV and red Dodge Viper. The last stall was still home to Robin Spencer’s yellow classic 1934 Bentley Park Ward convertible, which the late author had rarely driven. Mac had yet to drive it. He was afraid of wrecking it.

In the heart of Maryland, the cedar and stone home, known as Spencer Manor, rested at the end of the most expensive piece of real estate in the resort area of Deep Creek Lake. The peninsula housed a half-dozen lake houses that grew in size and grandeur along the stretch of Spencer Court. The road ended at the stone pillars marking the multi-million dollar estate that had been the birthplace and home of the late Robin Spencer, one of the world’s most famous authors.

Along the stretch of Spencer Point, Archie waved to the Schweitzers, who lived in the last house before crossing over the bridge, and then turned right onto Spencer Lane, which took her around the lakeshore. She noticed the Spencer police cruiser fall in behind her after she made the turn.

With her eye on the speedometer, she eased her foot on the gas to stay under forty-five miles per hour. With the other eye, she glanced at the black and gold SUV through the rearview mirror. She squinted in an effort to see who was driving.

It wasn’t Deputy Chief Art Bogart. He had his own cruiser. David was still at the station. Any of the dozen officers on the police force would have waved to her when she drove past.

I have a bad feeling about this… who’s that in the passenger seat?

The alarm inside her head kicked up the tempo a notch. The Spencer police department did not operate in teams. The force was too small. Each officer had his own cruiser and patrolled alone. If backup was needed in the small resort town, another officer would be only a few minutes away.

Something’s not right—not right at all.

The blue lights flashed on in the cruiser behind her.

“We have company, Gnarly.” She eased her SUV over to the side of the road. Through the trees on the right, she could see that the lake was tranquil. Most of the residents of Spencer were still waking up and starting their day. Across the road, the woods and trails led up the mountain on which rested the Spencer Inn, another part of Mac Faraday’s inheritance.

In her side and rearview mirror, Archie watched the two men with silver police shields pinned to their uniforms, dark glasses, and hats, get out of the cruiser. She could see by the fit of their shirts that they were wearing amour vests.

Gnarly looked over his shoulder and growled.

“Easy, Gnarly.”

While the driver approached Archie’s side, his partner came up along the rear passenger side. They were both wearing utility belts with guns, batons, and radios.

With her right hand, Archie reached into her clutch bag that she always kept tucked in between her seat and the hand break.

The driver reached around behind his back.

“Down, Gnarly.”

Gnarly lay down in the seat.

When she saw the butt of the gun come out from behind his back, Archie, her eyes on the target in her side rearview mirror, fired three shots from her pink handgun, engraved with The Pink Lady across the muzzle, over her left shoulder. The first shot took out the rear driver’s side window before ripping through the gun man’s neck. The other two went through his head before he hit the ground.

In one movement, Archie threw her right arm around to fire out the rear window at the partner who only managed to get one shot before she hit him in the lower neck. Her second shot went through his head.

The world seemed to stop.

Breathing hard, she clutched the gun and stared in the rearview mirror for any sign that they were still alive and would try again.

The next thing she was aware of was Gnarly clawing at her. When she didn’t respond, he licked her face. She had no idea of how long she had been sitting there.

“Oh, my!” She heard someone yell.

Archie opened up the car door and stepped out.

A car filled with tourists had driven up to the scene. Seeing the woman in a Chanel suit holding a pink handgun and standing over two dead police officers next to a cruiser that still had its blue lights on, they immediately became hysterical. The tires burned leather on the road when the car sped away.

After checking out the two men, Gnarly, assured that they were dead, came back to sit in front of Archie. His big brown eyes were questioning. What just happened here?

Archie knelt down and took the paw he offered her. “Well, Gnarly, it’s a long story.”

Now are you onboard for the tour? Then fasten your seatbelts! We’re blasting off! See you at the next stop at: Another Writer’s Life: http://ascamacho.blogspot.com/

About the Author:

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 CarrAuthor, PublisherClick on pic to visit website

Lauren Carr
Author, Publisher
Click on pic to visit website

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, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series. The next installment in the Mac Faraday series will be released in October of this year.

Released September 2012, Dead on Ice introduces 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 series will be out in 2013.

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 two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@comcast.net

Website: http://acornbookservices.com/

http://mysterylady.net/

Blog: Literary Wealth: https://literarywealth.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991

Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries

Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts

Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/AcornBookServices?ref=hl

Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

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