Candidate for Murder Spotlight and Guest Post from Author Lauren Carr

I truly enjoy Lauren Carr's mysteries. I will be sharing a review of her latest book, Candidate for Murder, a little later--but, today--I wanted to spotlight this book and share a guest post from the author! Enjoy learning about this book and reading the author's post on a day in the life of a mystery writer--and enter to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of the post!

Quick Summary of Candidate for Murder. It’s election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the local year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clothes lines.

When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd, to run as mayor of Spencer!

What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight Gnarly becomes the front runner—at which point his political enemies take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front runner, of course.

Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply embarrassing the front runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, but to throw in a murder for good measure. With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a killer, and save Spencer! 

A Day in the Life of a Mystery Writer

By Lauren Carr

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

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

Or is our lives more like a Neil Simon play (most of his protagonists were writers based on himself) with quirky characters coming in and out throughout the day to annoy and inspire us? Have you ever noticed how little time Neil’s protagonists actually spent writing?

Or maybe we live like John-Boy Walton from The Waltons, where every day is filled with a wondrous insight into this thing called life?

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

With the release of my twelfth Mac Faraday mystery, Candidate for Murder, and three mystery series (Mac Faraday Mysteries, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries) I have given up all hope of tripping over a dead body on the way to the coffeemaker in the morning. Frankly, there’s not enough time in my schedule to nab real killers.

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

Here’s how I do it:

6:00 am: Each day starts with a vigorous run at the crack of dawn. To reveille performed by my security team [aka four dogs, Gnarly (German Shepherd/Chief of Security), Storm (German Shepherd/Deputy Chief of Security, Ziggy (Australian Shepherd/Desk Sergeant), and Beagle Bailey (beagle/retiree)], I jump out of bed and run for the door to let them outside, where they immediately secure the perimeter from any invading squirrels, deer, or low-flying birds.
Hit the button to start the coffee brewing on the way to the door.

6:15-6:30 am: Prepare mess (breakfast for the security team).

6:30-7:00 am: Wake-up to coffee while reviewing e-mails and checking books sales. Read the important stuff. Example of important: Recipe from a friend for Oreos Truffles.

7:00 am: Security announces that the perimeter is secure, and they are now ready for breakfast. The Chief of Security (Gnarly) remains outside to direct deer traffic taking the expressway on the south end of the property. (Every now and then, one of those does has a collision while trying to text and drive from Route 115 to the river. Will they ever learn?)

Grab another cup of coffee and move from emails into social media.

Book promotion. Writers are expected to spend some time every day promoting their books. The best way to expand readership is to keep up on what other authors are doing through social media and blogging. But writers need to be careful not to get so sucked into social media and end up not having any time to write.

The social media and blogging are also great research tools. Friends and followers on social media are always sending me links to great blogs and videos with information that I can put in my books. 

Like this one I got just today:

Of course, this video will demand in-depth research before I can put it in a book (in other words, numerous viewings.)

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

After making another pot of coffee, I send the Chief of Security (Gnarly) outside to once again check the perimeters. The Deputy Chief has gone back to bed, which annoys the chief to no end. Gnarly is anal about security. After all, his master is a mystery writer with a following. There could be an obsessed fan out there in a squirrel suit. Meanwhile, Ziggy, the executive officer, and Beagle Bailey, the retiree, take their morning naps. We won’t see them again until 1 pm.

Back to writing guest blog posts and getting the word out to my followers on social media about Mac Faraday’s latest mystery. What a cute picture of a husky pup! I need to retweet that! … A nun killed a priest in Texas? Need to read that news article—research potential!

10:00 am: Husband wants breakfast and another cup of coffee—stares at me until I pick up the message telepathically. Storm announces that squirrels threatening an advance from the Northeast ridge and needs back up. Imperative that I take a break from writing to go take care of my family before they completely fall apart. Hey, got a new follower on Twitter! She’s a mystery writer. Let me check out her books!

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

12 Noon: Husband asks what’s for lunch. Discover that I was so busy with my book promotion that I have not had breakfast. It is a busy life for a mystery writer!

1:00 pm: After cooking and eating lunch, I sit down to my laptop to work on my book. Email pops in from friend with link to article about an old man who kills wife of sixty years because he got sick of listening to her yap. That’s research potential!

2:15 pm: Gnarly announces that it is time to play catch. As Chief of Security, it is important that he stay at the top of his game by keeping his reflexes in tip-top shape with exercise. Go outside to play catch.

3:00 pm: Now it is time to get to work on my book.

4:00 pm: Husband asks, “What’s for dinner?” Unable to answer, I open the freezer door and stare into the interior until something jumps out at me. Husband rejects that. Back to staring into the freezer. Next thing that moves gets thawed.

5:00 pm: Move from freezer to the computer screen--Staring at the computer screen until drops of blood form on my forehead from thinking so hard.

5:35 pm: Inspiration breaks through and greatness pours from my fingertips onto the keyboard.

5:45 pm: Beagle Bailey finds his way to my desk and stares up at me. Telepathically he communicates. Feed me.

6:00 pm: Feed dogs and cook dinner.

8:00 pm: After Dinner. The quiet of the evening is a great time to get those creative juices flowing. Now is the time to let my characters come to life and write late into the evening.

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

9:00 pm: Security declares the boundaries safe for the night and come to call it a night. The Chief (Gnarly) critiques the team on their day’s performance. The Deputy Chief (Storm) disagrees with the Chief’s evaluation. She is not lazy! She just has a different style than he does. An argument results. Gnarly feels Storm over reacted. I’m called in to negotiate. Everyone retreats to their beds in disgust.

With the sundae devoured, I return to the laptop with the full intention to write late into the night … or until the pillow starts calling out that it’s my bedtime (around 12 Midnight).

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

Meet the Author: Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.

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.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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Feel the Heat: Contemporary Romance Anthology Book Blast & Giveaway

Okay, romance novel fans--here is your chance to load up your Kindle or e-reader with 14 steamy summertime stories for only $.99!    Learn more about each of the books included in this contemporary romance anthology--and enter to win the Amazon gift card at the end of this post!

Available on Amazon / Nook / iBooks / Kobo  
WANTED By Evelyn Adams Billionaire developer Luke Master and his wife Claire are used to controlling both their boardrooms and their smoking hot bedroom. The arrival of their baby six months ago changed everything, and the tiny love of their lives has reset the new parent's agenda, leaving them in need of some serious alone time. An unexpected island adventure complete with a trusted babysitter is the perfect opportunity to reignite the fire between them, but have the last few months chasing after the baby left them on different continents, or are they finally in sight of having everything they've ever wanted?  

OVER IT By Christine Bell Boxer, Robbie “Sledgehammer” Stevens, has always been a loner, and he likes it that way. When he gets a chance to travel to Monaco for the bout of his career, he’s one-hundred percent focused on nabbing the win…until he runs into the girl that got away. And she’s hell-bent on showing him what he’s been missing the past few years… Mellissa Halpern never got over her high school boyfriendRobbie, but his cheating ways nearly broke her the first time around. When a once in a lifetime Spring Break trip brings them face to face again, she can’t help trying to exact a little revenge. But will her efforts to make Robbie pay for hurting her wind up costing far more than she ever imagines?

 SINGAPORE FLING By Rhian Cahill Carly has lusted after her boss for months and while on a business trip to Singapore she throws caution to the wind and suggests a fling. But Saxon Grant isn’t the conservative businessman she expected. Their passion is overwhelming and beyond anything she’s ever experienced. A weekend of red-hot sex is too much temptation to refuse, but once Saxon gets his hands on Carly he knows a couple days will never be enough. Months of wanting her explode into a weekend of tangled sheets and twisted emotions.  

MAD ABOUT MEG By Mari Carr She’d never been lucky in love…until she met him. If it weren't for bad luck, Meg Williams wouldn't have any luck at all. As if traveling to a tropical island onValentine's weekend in a nasty storm isn't bad enough, she's doing it alone after finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman. Enduring the trip from hell, she arrives on Eden Isle only to discover that her hotel reservation has been lost and there are no vacancies anywhere on the island. Disheartened, Meg heads for the hotel bar. Rob Madison is used to being in the limelight due his wealth and power. Used to being pursued by women for his fortune. When he meets Meg and realizes she doesn't know who he is, he decides to spend the evening as a regular guy. Discovering she doesn’t have a place to stay, he offers to share his penthouse with her. As the night progresses and their mutual attraction becomes apparent, Meg wonders if her luck has turned, whileRob wonders if one weekend in each other's arms will be enough…  

BEACH BLANKET BRIDESMAID By Margo Bond Collins For as long as Ava can remember, she’s had a crush on her older brother’s best friend, Grant. When Grant wentoff to college to become a petroleum engineer and Ava stayed behind in Necessity, Texas, to wait tables at The Chargrill and take care of her grandmother, she figured he was out of her life for good. One New Year’s fling when he was home visiting eighteen months ago didn’t really change that. But now Ava’s brother is getting married in Antigua, and she and Grant are the only guests. She can accept thatGrant doesn’t want anything serious. The only problem? He’s realized that walking out on her after New Year’s was a mistake, and now he wants her. All Ava wants is one wild island fling before she settles back down in Necessity. And she wants it with Grant. But she may have choose between right now and forever.  

THE WALK OF SHAME By Jennifer Dawson The walk of shame. Ah, yes, there’s nothing quite like shamelessly letting yourself be dragged off to a storage closet by a younger man to really put the cherry on top of your humiliation sundae. It’s been along, slow trip to the bottom, but I’ve finally reached my limit. After spending the night with ChristopherFellows, and slinking out of his apartment in the wee hours of the morning, I have no choice but to take a serious look at myself. It’s time for a change. A real life overhaul, full of self-development,healthy living, and all that other stuff that’s supposed to be good for you. And what better way to find yourself than with a vow of celibacy and a trip to Belize? The way I figure it, if you’re going to get your act together, you might as well begin with a tropical jaunt to paradise to start your transformation off on the rightfoot. What could go wrong…  

YOURS TO TAKE By Cathryn Fox Against her better judgement, Rebecca Andrews accepts her friend's invitation to an exclusive vacation resort. When her charter plane veers off course, the last person she expects to see piloting the craft is Quinn Montgomery—multi-millionaire and CEO of Montgomery Charters—the powerful man she once took down in the court room. One year ago, when attorney Rebecca Andrews swept into the courtroom and took control, it turned Quinn Montgomery’s world upside down. Now, seeing her name on his manifest, old memories are awakened, not of the hard-nosed lawyer who had far too many tricks up her sleeve, but of the sensual woman who spouted legal jargon from full pouting lips. Taking note of her destination, a posh vacation resort that caters to the more...private entertainment, a plan forms, and Quinn decides it's time to show the sexy lawyer a few tricks of his own. Nor did she expect to find herself pseudo-kidnapped and stranded with him on his private island. She can leave, but when he tells her he wants to show her that real control comes in the form of surrender, Rebecca has two choices—run home to her boring life, or put herself in the hands of the commanding man who promises to give her everything she's ever wanted in exchange for total and utter submission.  

PLAYING DOCTOR By Allison Gatta High-powered executive Felicia Webb went on the company retreat to Hawaii for one reason: To win over her new boss. Well, that and to finally score the promotion she’s had her eye on for a solid two years now. Still, grabbing the boss’ attention may be easier said than done when a freak accident forces her into the hospital…and the arms of the handsome doctor hell-bent on showing her just how screwed up her priorities are. Trey Patterson is determined to live a life without complications. Now that he’s moved away from the big city and settled on the laid back island of Oahu, he’s made some pretty big changes to his life—the biggest of which is his new no-dating policy. Still, when a fiery redhead practically falls into his lap, it’s all he can do to control his anything-but-hands-off urges.

 CAN'T HOLD BACK By Molly McLain Off to their honeymoon in exotic Cabo, Dan and Maddie Hudson are eager to explore the intimacy of newly wedded bliss. Unfortunately, what Maddie craves most is beyond her no-nonsense husband’s comfort zone. Will her secret desires bring an early end to their happily ever after? Or will Dan stay true to his vows and be the man his wife needs?  

ROCK, RATTLE, & ROLL By Taryn Elliott & Cari Quinn Loving in fast forward... Love on the fast track has been the definition of Harper and Deacon McCoy's relationship. In between studio sessions with Deacon's band, Oblivion, and building a new clientele for Harper's catering business, the newlyweds haven't had time to sleep let alone have a honeymoon. Deacon convinces Harper that they need a week alone together before her business as well as a new album and tour swallows them whole. Since Texas has always held special meaning for them, they head to Galveston to recharge and remember what it's like to just be a couple. A beachfront cottage, hours of alone time, and plenty of skin on skin action is just what the rock star ordered. Until the future once again comes much quicker than they expected, threatening to crumble not only their perfect honeymoon but also their brand new marriage.

BILLIONAIRE BEACH BUM By Katherine Reid Tropical nights. Beautiful views. Killer beaches. After social worker Hayley Nelson witnesses the murder of an abused wife by her psycho husband, she’s immediately put into protective custody by her FBI agent brother. Then the killer puts a hit out on her life. Hayley's in more danger than ever--especially as the trial date moves closer. Her brother transfers Hayley to a beautiful hotel on a small island off the California coast. She the only guest on the beautiful property and It would be perfect, except for one small problem. Logan Greyson. The billionaire playboy had once professed to love her, but kept secrets from Hayley. Big secrets. Like being a freaking billionaire. ButLogan wants to earn her forgiveness and rekindle their passion. But their reunion is short-lived. A tropical tempest rolls in, bringing with it the man who wants Hayley dead. As the storm rages and the killer attacks, Hayley and Logan must rely on each other to survive. And Logan will protect the woman he loves--no matter the cost.

THE BILLIONAIRE'S BEACH HOUSE By Gina Robinson Their relationship is off to a stormy start... THE PERKS OF HAVING A BEST FRIEND WHO'S MARRIED TO A BILLIONAIRE... Flashionista fashion buyer Britt West is trying to land the deal of her career with multi-millionaire Eli Davis' trendy menswear company Hott Socks. But Eli refuses to do business with her. To take Britt’s mind off him, her best friend gives her an exotic vacation package for a getaway off the coast of Fiji. She heads to a private beach house sitting just off-shore of its own tropical island, in a coral reef, and featuring a completely underwater fantasy master suite. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind alone. Until Eli, who's as hot as his socks, ends up stranded with her in paradise. As a storm brews on the horizon, the question is—will it make land? Or will Britt land Mr. Hott Socks? The Billionaire's Beach House is part of the Jet City Billionaires world, which presents romantic stories full of humor, laughs, secrets, mysteries, and love. And hot, hot, single billionaires. Also in the Jet City Billionaires world are the Billionaire Duke and the Switched at Marriage series. Take a vacation with the Jet City Billionaires!  

SHIP WRECKED By Willow Summers Hawaii’s great and all, but the only reason I’m here is so my co-workers can tie me to the sinking ship that is our department. I know how to sell, but it’ll be impossible with the shoddy presentation I’m forced to do. When it doubt – drink it away! I’ve never been lucky, have I mentioned that? So of course it’s when I’m knee-deep in hot mess that I meet Mr. Handsome. He throws me a smile, and a line, and my bad mood evaporates like tequila on hot cement. Dream come true, right? If only. Instead he breaks my fall with his crotch as I tip off the bar stool. Worse still, his buddy is the big shot COO of the accountI’m trying to get. With the odds stacked against me, I’m better off steering clear. I know this. But oh man, that smile. This weekend was supposed to be about work. I was supposed to ward off men with my snarly attitude. But then, who could say no to that smile…  

CHERISHED BY THE SEAL By Zoe York A hot bride, an island honeymoon, and a suitcase full of bikinis. So what if he’s not the groom? Navy SEAL Logan Dwyer has been Victoria Fletcher’s best friend since second grade, and has had a hopeless, secret crush on her for at least half his life. When she's left at the altar, and decides to salvage her honeymoon as something just for herself, Victoria is surprised when Logan volunteers to come with her for seven days on the Caribbean island of Miralinda. And seven hot, unexpected nights.

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