Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blast from the Past by Lauren Carr: Guest Post and Excerpt

 



10 Reasons to Become a Murder Mystery Writer
By Lauren Carr 

1)    You tried writing erotica, but things went really wrong during research and now your husband is in traction. Now, he refuses to help you do research for that genre anymore, so you need to find a genre that is less dangerous.

OR--

2)    You have a really bad boss, but you can’t quit your job, so the only option you have is to kill him. But you don’t want to go to jail because—

a.    you’ll miss too much work,

b.   and then you’ll get fired, in which case you might as well have quit your job instead of killing your boss.

Therefore, you need to kill your boss and know how to get away with it. You have come up with the perfect murder.

3)    After having committed the perfect murder, you have to brag about it! But if you brag about it:

a.   everyone will know you killed your boss,

b.   and then you’ll go to jail,

c.    and then you’ll miss too much work,

d.   and get fired.

In which case, you might as well have quit your job instead of killing your boss. So, how do you brag about committing the perfect murder without getting caught? Become a mystery writer.

OR--

4)    You want to be a detective, but your husband refuses to be married to a detective who will lure crazy revenge-seeking killers to your home because they will stain the carpet with blood and put bullet holes in the drywall. So, you’re murder mystery thinking is confined to your mind.

OR--

5)    You’ve been hearing and seeing some strange things going on next door and you’ve been documenting it. Now that you’ve been going over your notes, you can see that this would make some really interesting reading!

OR--

6)    You’re friend’s supposedly amicable divorce suddenly turned bad and you’re a really good friend. Really good friends don’t just help you move—they help you move the body. After all the research you’ve done to help her, why not publish it to help others?

OR--

7)    You’re a psychopath, but the sight of blood and gore in real life makes you queasy. So you can only be a psychopath in your own mind.

8)    You’re a psychopath, but you’re sane enough to know that if you act on it that you’ll go to jail & you don’t want to go to jail.

OR—

 

9)    The economy is hurting everyone—even the mob—who has cut back on your hours as a paid assassin. So, you might as well put what you know to work in another forum—murder mystery writing.

OR--

10) Just in case your husband suddenly turns up missing, you need a reasonable explanation for why you have been visiting all these strange websites.
 
 


 

Lauren Carr

Author/Publishing Management
 

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

Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, 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:
                 http://mysterylady.net/
Blog: Literary Wealth: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:
Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

 




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,” mystery author Lauren Carr says. “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. “I do listen to readers,” Carr explains. “They 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? “It’s not a Mac Faraday Mystery without Gnarly,” Carr promises. “Let’s just say Gnarly kicks things up a notch in his own way.”




PRAISE

Fast-Paced Mystery by Gifted Novelist

Mac Faraday is back in this fast-paced mystery novel by Lauren Carr! Once again, trouble seems to have found its way to Deep Creek Lake, this time, following Archie Monday’s past involvement with the mob, which landed her in the witness protection program many years ago.  Now, I have to say, I’ve always thought Archie’s name was a bit weird, but I chalked it up to author creativity.  Authors can give their characters strange names if they want to.  But, now, knowing what I do about Archie and her name change in the witness protection program, well, I have to wonder if Carr had this planned all along… Ingenious, really.  They say that while an author begins a novel, they’re already two books ahead in their mind, and I think that might just be true of Carr.  For the past few books in the Mac Faraday series, I really did think her true name was Archie Monday.  Really, I’m floored, and I think this is so awesome!


Thus, as you can probably already tell, the fact that this novel focuses on Archie’s past life really intrigued me, and I loved every minute of it.  Archie is a great character, and I’ve always highly enjoyed her.  In past Mac Faraday novels, we’ve learned about her work with Faraday’s mother, her knack for research, and her ability to help uncover mysteries, as well as her refusal to back away from a fight.  She’s a strong female character, making this novel a fun read as she takes care of herself, but still leans on  Faraday and the police force for help, giving readers the full spectrum of intrigue as Faraday, Gnarly, and the rest of the gang I’ve come to love help solve the murder mysteries within this novel.  With mobsters, Gnarly’s doggish antics, the mysterious deaths, undercover hit men, and extreme craziness all around, and this novel takes on a voice of its own, making it an extremely amazing read.

Carr is a very gifted novelist.  Her mystery novels, both the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Series, are phenomenal.  Her ability to keep the reader guessing, as well as her plotlines that flow so effortlessly as they work up to the big reveal, always make her novels a fun endeavor, and I look forward to even more of her work as this year unfolds.  Blast From the Past is a fantastic novel, and if you haven’t read any of Carr’s work, I highly suggest you give this novel a read.  Though part of a series, Carr’s novels do not need to be read in any particular order; they are stand-alones that feature the same great characters and supply the reader with all the background knowledge they need in order to keep up with the fantastic storytelling, and they are truly with the read. Five stars.

Reviewer: Shana Benedict, ABookVacation

 
 Lots of Drama, Action, Humor and Mystery

 
I like Lauren's mysteries. I can usually figure out a little piece but never all of it.

There lots of twists,turns,lots of dead bodies,lots of bad guys,lots of good guys and Gnarly too.

There are a lot of characters in this book, most of them are new ones. At the start she has a list of characters and a little about them. I always like that when there are lots to keep straight.

Kendra Douglas witnesses a murder and testifies against a mob boss. She goes into the witness protection and twelve years later she has been found.

Her boyfriend has no idea she was part of the program until she killed two killers with her pink gun.

Randi Finnegan Marshall who is in charge of protecting Archie wants to move her. No one agrees to be moved. Randi and David O'Callaghan Spencer's police chief fight. Archie does not want to change her name and move again. She does move into the mansion and shares Mac Faraday room.

Randi and David find the leak in the Marshall's office but she is already dead.

Mac gets some of the security guys from his 5 star hotel to help guard Archie with the local police.

Thier are a lot of people who end up walking Gnarly when Archie goes out to walk the dog.

Gnarly brings a lot of humor into the story, from flushing his stolen rubber duckie in the toilet. Too taking down the bad guys and making good friends with a shy little girl who only talks to him.

I think I would take the ice cream cone from Sari and get her a new one over sharing it with Gnarly each taking a lick at a time.

There ends up being lots of different murder scenes and Spencer is a small police department. While David is working one scene and Bogie is at the manor with Archie. Mac gets a badge and David clothes to go work a different murder scene. He does not like the husband but he has a great witness for his alibi Mac.

They have to figure out who killed who at which murder scene. Which case is the Marshalls or FBIs and which ones are for the local police.

Lots of drama, action, murder and humor. I did not want to put the book down till I had finished it.

Reviewer: Rhonda Laney, Readalot

 

Archie’s Past Comes Blasting Back

While the earlier novels have focused on Mac Faraday, this most recent novel spends more time exploring Archie's personality and background.

It also gives Mac a more official role in investigation. Of course, Gnarly is there leading the way ...

I feel that of all of the Mac Faraday novels, this provides the greatest character development and story line. Although balancing three murders and the combined suspects got overwhelming at times, Carr never lets the reader get confused.

Lots of dead bodies, lots of mystery, and an assortment of unusual suspects.

I have read ALL of the Mac Faraday mysteries, and am happy to recommend this one.

Reviewer: Roberta Karchner, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

 

Fast-Paced and Humorous

In Blast from the Past by Lauren Carr, character Archie Monday's past connection to the mob is catching up to her in Spencer, Maryland, which is located on Deep Creek Lake. Her testimony helped convict Tommy Cruze, head of a major East Coast crime syndicate. She is a participant in the FBI’s Witness Protection Program. Now Tommy is out and he's after Archie - thus the title: Blast from the Past. Mac, Gnarly (Mac’s German shepherd), David O’Callaghan (Spencer police chief), and Randi Finnegan (U.S. Marshal) are all scrambling to protect Archie and figure out why the body count appears to be rising and who, exactly, is putting out the hit orders on all these people?

It is a fast paced, humorous mystery that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a light hearted mystery and dogs. I appreciated that Carr includes a complete cast of characters at the beginning of her novel. Carr's Mac Faraday Mysteries include: It's Murder, My Son; Old Loves Die Hard; and Shades of Murder. Blast from the Past is the fourth book in the Mac Faraday mystery series.

While I've mentioned the previous three books in the series, this was my first Mac Faraday mystery and I didn't have any problem following the action. If you like following a series from the beginning you might want to check out the first three books, though, because I'm sure there are things I missed because I didn't have the complete back story.

Blast from the Past is a well-developed story full of intrigue that moves at a brisk pace. The characters are interesting, the villains varied, and the action is as quick as the humor. I have a feeling any of Lauren Carr's mysteries would be pleasurable distractions, as well as entertaining. (I got a big laugh out of the high-priced assassins named Hillerman and McCrumb.) Very Highly Recommended

Reviewer: Lori L., Softly She Treads


.





 


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.”



Join Lauren on Tour! You can catch up with Lauren at each stop on her virtual tour, even if you're having a bad hair day!


Blast from the Past
 


Feb 18-Mar 29

 
Next Few Stops
follow along!
 
Mar 1: Guest Blog Post: Fay Moore: I Want to Be a Writer:  http://faymoore.wordpress.com
Mar 3: Review: Author Roy Murray website: http://www.conniesbrother.blogspot.com/
Mar 4: Guest Blog Post: Kelsey A. Opsahl, Kelsey's Book Corner
Mar 6: Guest Blog Post: OmniMystery: http://www.omnimysterynews.com/
Mar 8: Guest Blog Post: The Book Diva: The Book Diva's Reads
Mar 11: Guest Blog Post: From Gnarly’s Point of View: Mochas, Mysteries and More
www.mochasmysteriesandmore.blogspot.com




 
 
Comment for a chance to win either a print or digital copy of the book.
Print copy can ship to US addresses only. 
 In the comment be sure to include your email addy,
also note what format you would like to get if you win (Print, Mobi, ePub or PDF). 
There will be two winners; one winner will get a print copy of Blast from the Past and the other winner will get a digital copy. 
Winners will be selected by the author, Lauren Carr. 
This giveaway ends March 28th.



4 comments:

Lauren Carr said...

Thank you so much, Laurie, for inviting me to your blog today. It's a blast!

Best,
Lauren Carr

Kalex said...

Thanks for the excerpt and the giveaway!

kaiodan@gmail.com
mobi

Cindi said...

Lol, I wish I had Gnarly's life!!! A deep tissue massage sounds awesome right now;) The book sounds fun with a touch of mystery and romance--right up my alley.

cc_clubbs [at] yahoo [dot] com

Sarah Lieurance said...

Wow! Hoping to win :-D *if I do, you can send a mobi file to my email, slieurance21@gmail.com Thanks for this opportunity.