Monday, October 29, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: Day 2 of Lauren Carr's Halloween Mystery Bash Tour & #Give@way - Chatting about Mac Faraday Series


I am so excited for this week! Don't forget, ALL of Lauren Carr's books will be FREE on October 31 at amazon, so be sure grab them, PLUS enter our Halloween Basket Giveaway and extras via the Rafflecopter below. You can earn extra points by Tweeting through the Rafflecopter at each stop if you've filled out the rest :). WOOHOO!



Welcome Lauren, we’ve got quite a week planned! I’m so glad you could join me for a chat. Don’t forget, you guys can win this awesome gift basket for following this week, and ALL of the books in the Mac Faraday Series are FREE on Halloween Day, Oct 31!

BK: Lauren, many people relate characters to someone they know. Did you do this with Mac?

LC: Sort of. No one character is one hundred percent based on anyone. Some of them are Frankenstein creations where I have taken characteristics from this person and then that person.

Invariably, after someone has met me, and they find out that I write murder mysteries, they will asked with great trepidation, “Do you ever kill someone you know in your books? To which I will reply, “Certainly. I also kill complete strangers.”

Mac is actually a compilation of men I know or have known, mixed in with some fantasy parts.

BK: How was Mac Faraday inspired? What caused him to be born?

LC: A request from my sister-in-law. After my second book, a Joshua Thornton mystery, was released in 2007, my sister-in-law requested that I set a mystery in the small resort town where she has her summer place. I did have an idea for a new book then, but the mystery called for a detective, not a lawyer, as the protagonist.

So, I went to work on creating Mac Faraday. I wanted a detective who did not quite fit into the setting. So I made him a down-to-earth, every man with common sense abruptly thrust into the world of the rich and famous via an unexpected inheritance. This world in the resort town of Spencer, Maryland, is Mac Faraday’s birthright. However, since he is not raised in these surroundings, he comes into it with a down-to-earth view that he would not have if he had been raised in it. Isn’t this everyone’s fantasy?

BK: Do you find it difficult writing from a man’s POV, being a woman writer?

LC: Not really. I think the two sexes are similar in many ways, but in others we do approach situations differently. I have always been close to men, had good relationship with men, which I think has helped me in deciphering how they think.

BK: In one sentence, sell the Mac Faraday series…

LC: The Mac Faraday Mysteries is the rags to riches story of a homicide detective, thrust into the lap of luxury, only to discover that he prefers solving murder cases to playing golf.

BK: Have you always been a Mystery Buff? Have you ever considered writing in a different genre?

LC: I cut my teeth on mysteries. My mother used to read Perry Mason to me at bedtime, When I started reading myself, it was the Bobbsey Twins that I gravitated toward. However, I have also enjoyed writing humor. My first regular professional writing job was a weekly humor column. The Mac Faraday Mysteries, and now the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, are a joy to write because they both include my two favorite genres, mystery with humor.

BK: What’s the craziest thing you’ve written in the Mac Faraday Series?

LC: The craziest thing has to be the character of Gnarly, the German shepherd sidekick to Mac Faraday. Gnarly is the only dog to receive a dishonorable discharge from the United States Army. Gnarly wasn’t in the first draft of It’s Murder, My Son. He was added in their third or fourth drafts and based on my Australian shepherd Ziggy, who is extremely intelligent, like Gnarly, but gets into trouble out of boredom.

BK: Every book usually has a catchy quote that sticks with readers, which would be your favorite from each of the books in the series?

LC: It’s Murder, My Son: “Mac Faraday’s first mystery at Spencer Manor was the case of the missing butter.” (Chapter Two)

Old Loves Die Hard: “Has there ever been a good funeral? Has anyone ever left a funeral proclaiming, ‘Hey, that was some funeral, wasn’t it? Let’s do it again next week.’” (Epilogue)

Shades of Murder: “He (Mac Faraday) was diligent about giving Gnarly his six a.m. biscuit, not so much when it came to tending to his late mother’s gardens.  He would be if the rhododendron bush jumped up and down on his chest at the morning’s first light.” (Chapter One)

Dead on Ice (Lovers in Crime Mystery): She reached across the table to kiss him on the lips. When they parted, she gazed into his eyes. “It isn’t every day you find a lover in crime.”

BK: While writing this series, did you ever shake your head and say, “I can’t believe I just wrote that?”, or laugh at where the characters wanted you to the story?

LC: I do that quite often. My books are character driven. I will think weeks or months even to get into the minds of characters before I start writing. Cameron Gates, Joshua Thornton’s love in the Lovers in Crime series, really has a mind of her own. In Shades of Murder, the Mac Faraday Mystery, where she and Joshua are introduced, Cameron kisses Joshua within minutes of meeting him. That was a total surprise. But then, that was who she was. I was as surprised as readers that she did that. It wasn’t because she was “easy” in a sexual sense, but because of all that she had seen and been through in her life, she learned not to let grass grow under her feet when she saw something, or someone, that she wanted.

BK: Do you argue with your characters a lot, or just let them take the story over and write it as they tell it?

LC: It is not unusual for a character to take me in a different direction than where I want to end up. However, as the writer of the book, I get to be God. I can and have put up road blocks to get the character where I want them to end up.

BK: If you were stranded on a secluded island, which character from your books would you most want to have with you, and what one item would be a must-have?

LC: That’s a tough question. I would say Mac Faraday and a cell phone. Cell phone to call for help, and Mac would have the money to hire a yacht to take us back to civilization in style.

BK: What can we expect from you in the future?

LC: By Christmas, Blast from the Past, the next Mac Faraday Mystery is coming out. In this book, readers will learn about Archie Monday’s past when a notorious mobster comes to town seeking revenge against the woman who had put him behind bars ten years before.

By March, the next Lovers in Crime Mystery, Real Murder, will be out. In Real Murder, Joshua Thornton’s eldest son (J.J.) convinces his father to sign on with him to be the prosecutor in the mock trial of an accused murderer who had died under mysterious circumstances before his real trial. The victim in the case was the socially prominent daughter of a wealthy judge. For Joshua, this case brings bad memories to the surface. Twenty years earlier, the same television producer had signed Joshua on for the same project, which wasn’t completed due to the mysterious disappearance of the law student playing the defense attorney. 

Thanks so much Lauren, I loved delving into your brain. Please share anything else you would like readers to know.






Old Loves Die Hard…and in the worst places.

In Old Loves Die Hard, Lauren Carr continues the rags-to-riches story of Mac Faraday, an underpaid homicide detective who inherits two-hundred-and-seventy million dollars and an estate on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, from his birth mother on the day his divorce becomes final.

Mac is settling nicely into his new life at Spencer Manor when his ex-wife Christine shows up—and she wants him back! Before Mac can send her packing, Christine and her estranged lover are murdered in Mac’s private penthouse suite at the Spencer Inn, the five-star resort built by his ancestors.

The investigation leads to the discovery of cases files for some of Mac’s murder cases in the room of the man responsible for destroying his marriage. Why would his ex-wife’s lover come to Spencer to dig into Mac’s old cases?

With the help of his new friends on Deep Creek Lake, Mac must use all of his detective skills to clear his name and the Spencer Inn’s reputation, before its five-stars—and more bodies—start dropping!


Prologue

Georgetown, District of Columbia—Three Years Ago

Does heavy rain affect the murder rate the same way a full moon does?
Squinting through the rain flowing down his windshield like a waterfall, Lieutenant Mac Faraday pondered this ques-tion while easing his sedan around the emergency vehicles surrounding an SUV in the downtown parking lot.
Mac hoped the patrolman in the yellow rain parka flagging him down wouldn’t comment on his car’s grinding brakes. Payday was Friday. Then, he could replace the brake pads. With his luck, the pads would wear down to the rotors first.
“What’ve we got?” Mac blinked against the raindrops splashing onto his face and into his blue eyes while calling out the window.
“Looks like a robbery gone bad, Lieutenant,” the officer reported. “One shot behind the ear through the driver’s side window. Wallet and watch are missing.”
“M.E. here yet?”
“Not yet,” the officer said. “Everyone is taking their sweet time hoping the rain will stop.”

“Either that or they know something we don’t and are gathering the animals.”
Before Mac could wind up his window, the officer cleared his throat. “Uh, Lieutenant?”
“Yes?”
“You should get your brakes checked. They’re grinding.”
“I’ll do that,” the detective replied. “Thanks for telling me.”
After parking between two patrol cars, Mac climbed out of his car and pulled the collar of his raincoat tight around his neck a moment too late. His auburn hair clung to his scalp while cold heavy raindrops formed a watery path down the sides of his head and the back of his neck to send a shiver down his spine.
The forensics team parted when Mac jogged up to where they were searching the inside of a dark blue SUV that looked black under the storm clouds. The only one who didn’t move out of his way was the lifeless body slumped over the center console. The shattered glass from the window resembled a sequined baby blanket where it covered his black trench coat.
Except for the stream of blood that flowed from the hole behind his left ear, Mac guessed that in life, he had been a good-looking fellow. His black hair had been neatly trimmed. Judging from his buffed fingernails, he had been meticulous about his grooming.
The parking lot belonged to a six-story red brick office building. In a previous life, it had been an eighty-year-old ten-ement. After forcing the neighborhood unfortunates out, a group of entrepreneurs renovated the building to house judges and lawyers in posh office suites.
Mac asked, “Anybody know who he is?”
“Dylan Booth.” From behind his back, Mac heard one of the uniformed officers who had been the first on the scene answer. “He worked for Judge Randolph Daniels on the top floor. He was an intern.”
“He was going to graduate from law school this spring,” another voice came from behind the officer. Drenched to the bones by the storm, a gray-haired man with a worn wrinkled face stepped up to the detective. He wore a light jacket over his security guard’s uniform.
Searching for reasons someone would want to kill the
law student, Mac asked, “Would I be correct in assuming he wasn’t working on any criminal cases?”
“Nah,” the guard responded. “He did mostly research and stuff for Judge Daniels, and he worked hard.” Noting
that it was Saturday, he went on, “He came in bright and early this morning. Left about two o’clock. He signed out at one-fifty-eight. He said he was going to finish up at home.”
From where he stood, the guard glanced into the back of the vehicle. “Did you all find a box?”
“Box?” Mac glanced over his shoulder at the forensics officers to see that they were also puzzled by the question.
“A document box.” The guard held out his hands a couple of feet apart. “You know. The kind you carry file folders in. When he left he was carrying one. I could tell by the way he was carrying it that it was heavy. He must have had it full.”
The uniformed officers and forensics team responded in unison with shakes of their heads to the inquiry about the box.
“Do you have any idea what he had in it?” Mac asked.
It was the guard’s turn to shake his head. “I assumed case files, being that he worked for the judge and all. What about his computer case?”
“No laptop or case,” an officer within hearing distance reported.
Mac summarized, “Looks like we have a missing laptop, watch, wallet, and mystery box. Very interesting.”
He turned to the officers inside the SUV. “Did the killer leave anything behind?”
“He missed his cell phone.” Like a prize, a young officer held up the phone encased in a plastic bag.
Mac examined the instrument, which contained so many features that he had trouble determining which button to push in order to find the call log. Seeing his problem, one of the forensics officers took it and pressed a couple of the buttons until he found the log.
“What’s the last call he made?” asked Mac.
The officer read off the number. “He made the call this afternoon at one-fifty-two. Didn’t the guard say he signed out at one-fifty-eight?”
Mac noted, “Then he made this last call right before he left.”
“And he was shot shortly after two.”
While the number was being read off, Mac had dialed it into his cell phone. “Let’s see who the last person he spoke to happens to be.”
He pressed the phone to his ear. After four rings, a voice mail system picked up: “You have reached the office of Assistant U. S. Attorney Stephen Maguire…”


"With it's tight plot, well-crafted and believable characters, and complex mystery, It's Murder, My Son is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to many more Mac Faraday mysteries."  John J. Lamb, author of the Bear Collector Mysteries

"A most unusual and surprising plot, intriguing characters, snappy dialogue, great settings and a dog named Gnarly are the prime ingredients in Lauren Carr's terrific new mystery, It's Murder, My Son." F.M. Meredith, author of An Axe to Grind

What started out as the worst day of Mac Faraday's life would end up being a new beginning. After a messy divorce hearing, the last person that Mac wanted to see was another lawyer. Yet, this lawyer wore the expression of a child bursting to tell his secret. This secret would reveal Mac as heir to undreamed of fortunes, and lead him to the birthplace of America's Queen of Mystery and an investigation that will unfold like one of her famous mystery novels.

Soon after she moves to her new lakefront home in Spencer, Maryland, multi-millionaire Katrina Singleton learns that life in an exclusive community is not all good. For some unknown reason, a strange man calling himself "Pay Back" begins stalking her. When Katrina is found strangled all evidence points to her terrorist, who is nowhere to be found.






Prologue

Deep Creek Lake in Spencer, Maryland

The sitcom was senseless. That didn’t matter. Katrina was too tense to handle anything with depth. The hot bath and martini had failed to soothe her nerves. She ran the water until steam filled the master bathroom.
The weather channel had predicted that the severe winter storm would hit around midnight and continue through the next day. Spotting storm clouds on the horizon, Katrina anti-cipated waking to white-out conditions. Buried in a thick white blanket would be her last memory of Deep Creek Lake.
After a long soak in the tub, Katrina slipped into her red silk bathrobe and combed out her long black hair. Tenderly, she rubbed the most expensive anti-aging moisturizer over each inch of her olive flesh.
Her beauty had earned her millions. That made it worth preserving at all costs.
Time for a third martini before bed. She wondered if she would hear from her husband before she fell asleep. He had told her that he would be working late in the city.
Like I don’t know what you’ve been working late on. Go ahead. Get snowed in with Rachel for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy it while you can.
After completing her nightly beauty routine, she returned downstairs to the home theater where she got sucked into a verbal exchange between a husband and wife about their teen-age son’s sexy girlfriend.
A noise outside made her jump out of the recliner.
She glanced at the clock.
Almost nine. Could Chad have decided to come out when I mentioned my appointment with the divorce lawyer? Maybe he does love my money more than he loves Rachel.
She listened. Nothing except the wind signaling the blizzard’s approach.
Maybe I should call David? No. It wouldn’t look good if Chad found him here. He’s already suspicious.
The German shepherd began scratching at the back door.    
Not again, you damn dog! When you aren’t wanting out or in, you’re digging up the back yard.
With a groan, she pulled herself out of the recliner and let the dog out onto the patio. As long as she was up, she poured herself another martini and admired her reflection in the mirror behind the bar before returning to her seat for another sitcom.
Her mind sucked in by the television, Katrina was un-prepared to fight when her killer attacked and pinned her down by her throat.
“Did you really think I was going to let you leave?” she heard through the roar in her ears while gasping her last breath.


 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!


“Bad dog!” Mac chased Gnarly inside the house. “Up to your room and don’t come out. I want you to think about what you did.”
Instead of galloping up the stairs to the master suite, Gnarly jumped up onto the loveseat in the living room. Like a defiant child, the dog returned his master’s glare.
“Do what I say.” Mac pointed up the stairs. “You heard me.”
Still, Gnarly refused to move.
“I’ll teach you who’s boss.”
When Mac grabbed him by the collar, Gnarly pulled away. Keeping hold, he wrestled with the dog until he had him in a headlock. The two of them landed on the floor and rolled across the carpet toward the stone fireplace.
“Will you stop playing with Gnarly and open this box?” Archie called up to them from the dining room. “I’m dying to know what’s in it.”
Declaring himself the victor, Gnarly jumped up onto the loveseat and plopped down with an “Umph” noise.
Archie slipped the sealed envelope that had come with the package into Mac’s hand.
“Who said dogs are man’s best friends?” He frowned when he read the return address on the envelope. It was from a lawyer’s office. He asked the dog on the loveseat, “Are we being sued by another one of your victims?”
Gnarly snorted and shook so hard that the tags on his collar rattled.
“Since when do lawyers send huge packages special
delivery to people they’re suing?” Archie waved an arm in the
direction of the box. “You read the letter. I’ll open it to see what’s inside.” Without waiting for permission, she kicked off her shoes and went into the kitchen to retrieve scissors for
cutting the cord and tape sealing it shut.
Gnarly galloped down the steps to sniff at the box that had invaded his home.
Meanwhile, Mac tore at the envelope, which contained a
letter and another envelope. The inside envelope was addressed in blue script to Robin Spencer with the word PERSONAL printed in capital letters underneath her name.
“What does the letter say?” Archie came back in from the kitchen. With the scissors, she broke through the plastic cord wrapped around the box.
Mac was still reading the first letter. “It’s a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo. This guy, Archibald  Poole, died. He had left this to Robin Spencer. In the event of her death preceding his, it was to be passed on to her next of kin. Since that’s me, I get it.”
Archie stopped snipping.  “Archibald Poole?”
Gnarly stopped sniffing.

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. A Reunion to Die For was released in hardback in June 2007. Both of these books are in re-release.

Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in her series, It’s Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. The next book in this series, Shades of Murder, will be released May 2012. This will be Lauren’s fifth mystery.

Lauren’s sixth book, Dead on Ice, will be released in Fall 2012. Dead on Ice will introduce a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, in which Joshua Thornton will join forces with homicide detective Cameron Gates.

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 spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.

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 at:

 http://mysterylady.net/




Follow the Tour:

October 28 - November 3

October 28 - 


October 29 - 


October 30 - 

Interview and Review at Melina The Reader

October 31 - All Books Free on Amazon

Music Day


November 1 - 
Spotlight at MK McClintock's Blog

November 2 -

Guest Blog at Lori's Reading Corner

November 3 - 

Review and Guest Blog at A Book Lover's Library
Reviewed at The-Self-Taught Cook


Reactions:

3 comments:

BK said...

Thanks for chatting today Lauren :)
Pit Crew Cap'n

Rhomy PP said...

Great Giveaway! I haven't read anything from Lauren but I'll check her books now!

Lauren Carr said...

Thanks for checking them out, Rhomy! Stay warm and dry in the storm!

Best,
Lauren