Wednesday 26 March 2014

Blog Tour Guest Post - Twelve to Murder by Lauren Carr

About the author Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Twelve to Murder is the seventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder. Dead on Ice (A Lovers in Crime Mystery) was released September 2012. The second installment, Real Murder will be out in 2014.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Author Links:

Guest Post - Victim or Bad Man: Lenny Frost in Twelve to Murder

I love characters—both in real life and fictional ones.

Readers see this in my books. A common compliment from reviewers is “intriguing characters.” One of the first reviews for The Lady Who Cried Murder announced that it contained some “nasty, sick individuals.”

That is a compliment. She was talking about the villains and suspects.

Anyone who has read any of the Mac Faraday Mysteries knows that I love to create intriguing characters. I have as much fun creating the suspects and villains as I do the protagonist and regular recurring characters.

It’s the amateur pop-psychologist in me. Even when it comes to real-life people, I can’t stop at the surface with their behavior. I have to dive deeper. I want to know what motivates them to act or react the way they do. Not only do I ask “What if…” which leads to the plotline, but I ask “Why?” which will take me into the head and the backstory of the character.

In The Lady Who Cried Murder, I dove into the mentality that makes people become bullies, as well as the whole compulsion and lengths that some people will go to for fame. Khloe Everest faked her disappearance to generate media publicity to catapult herself to stardom. It worked--temporarily.

The price she paid for her fame was her life.

From reality stars, I moved on to the cost paid by child actors and teenagers in Twelve to Murder. 

Has-been child star and former teen-idol, Lenny Frost takes the employees and customers of a lakeside pub hostage when he discovers that he is wanted for the murders of his agent and her husband. Mac has twelve hours to find the killer, or Lenny will shoot everyone in the pub.

The inspiration for Lenny Frost’s character was literally ripped from the headlines.

It seems like every week there is a new teen-idol slipping from the headlines who doing something outrageous, often raunchy, in a desperate attempt to stay in front of the cameras. If you don’t believe me, google Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber.

More often than not, despite the desperate attempts, the young star does eventually crash and burn. If not with this stunt, then a few stunts down the line when the public and media tires of it. Case in fact: Lindsay Lohan.

When exploring the character of Lenny Frost, whose crowning moment came at the tender age of eight years old when he had won an Academy Award for playing a supporting character, I turned over the situation to explore the underside of this fame culture—the truly sad situation that these young people can’t possibly understand—at least not until it is too late for them to do anything about it.

Imagine, if you will, waking up one day to discover that you had reached your peak. You are now a has-been, and most likely will never reach the height of success that you have already achieved—and you aren’t even of legal drinking age yet. You have another fifty years to live and your professional life is over.

Now, that is not the saddest part.

Because of these people’s youth and the vacuum environment in which they live, they lack the maturity and life experience to realize the vast achievement that they had made. They don’t have the equipment necessary to appreciate what they have until after it is taken away from them.

The writer in me asked, “What happens to a character who has lived through that? Do they dust themselves off and pick themselves up? Do they take responsibility for their mistakes or do they cast blame? Do they try to educate and fix the culture that allows this to happen to talented young people?”

I spent some time looking at the Lenny Frosts that our entertainment industry has churned out through the generations and found some intriguing characters. Some aspects of his personality can make for a sympathetic victim. Other characteristic point to a compelling suspect bent on revenge.

Whether he is a victim or a suspect, Lenny Frost is an intriguing character who has Mac Faraday racing the clock in Twelve to Murder, which makes this mystery one of Mac’s most challenging cases yet.

Twelve To Murder
Author: Lauren Carr
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Genre: Mystery
Format: eBook

Book Summary:

Two people are brutally murdered in their summer place on Deep Creek Lake. Suspected of the murders, former child star and one-time teenybopper idol Lenny Frost takes innocent bystanders hostage in a local pub and demands that Mac Faraday find the killer. Can Mac save the hostages and himself from the wrath of the enraged has-been by piecing together the clues in less than twelve hours, or will it be a fatal last call at the stroke of midnight?

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Twelve To Murder Excerpt

Stillman Mansion on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland
Sunday: 6:12 am

“Austin is back this year,” Olivia said in rhythm with the pace she had set for her power walk.

Two paces behind his wife, Roland took note of the white stone mansion along the chilly lakeshore. The mansion looked closed up. All was quiet, as it was with many of the estates along the lake in the early spring. With each passing day, the quiet was giving way to the snowbirds came in to roost at their summer homes in the resort town of Spencer, located in the corner of Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland.

As the middle aged athletic couple walked briskly on the running trail along the lake, they noted that that mansion was quiet. The only tell-tale sign of change from its winter hibernation was the yacht on the dock in the back. It had not been there the morning before.

“I wonder if Janice will be throwing her week long Fourth of July bash with all her has-been clients this year?” Roland asked.

“I can tell you right now that I’m not going if that loser Lenny is here.” Feeling her heartbeat slowing down, she picked up her pace.

“Come on,” her husband said with a laugh, “Lenny Frost isn’t that bad. He’s really kind of funny.”

“He’s crude,” she shot over her shoulder at him.

He was going to respond that he felt sorry for the least popular of Janice Stillman’s former celebrity client when a black Porsche almost hit the couple rushing pass them and turning sharply into the driveway of the white mansion.

“Do you two ever take a break?” the young man shouted at them when he threw open the door and climbed out of the sports car.

“Never,” Olivia answered with a frown at Derrick Stillman’s apparent lack of self-discipline displayed in the slight stagger in his pace, and clearly having slept in his clothes, or maybe not slept in them, but clearly having worn them the day before judging by their wrinkled and disheveled appearance.

“Well, you can work-out for me, too.”

“Party last night?” Roland asked.

“Date.” Derrick ran his fingers through his dark curly hair. “I was going to come in yesterday with my folks, but when I met Maddie the other day—“ He let out a cocky laugh. “Well, you know how it is.”

“I can imagine,” Olivia said in a bland tone.

“She’s got a body to die for and she’s crazy about me.” With a swagger in his walk, he made his way to the front door.

“Come along, Roland,” Olivia ordered.

The couple continued on their way. They had only made it to the other end of the property before Derrick’s screams stopped them. The young man was running out the front door and dropped to his knees in the yard when they made it back to the driveway.

Olivia rushed over to the young man, who had his face buried in his hands. “Cliff, what’s wrong?”

Shrieking, the young man pointed to the door.

Roland ran inside.

“What happened, Derrick?” she demanded to know. “What’s going on? What’s in there?”

His face white, Roland came running back outside.

Olivia’s heartbeat was racing. “Roland …”

“They’re dead,” he said in a panicked tone while taking his cell phone out of his pocket. “Both of them. Janice and Austin. I can’t believe this would happen here … in Spencer.”

“Who—“ she asked with tears in her eyes.

“Janice wrote something in her blood—” He stopped to turn his attention to the cell phone. “I’d like to report two murders.”

“Her killer,” Derrick spat out. “I saw it, too. Lenny. Why else would Mom have written out his name in her blood while she was dying? Lenny Frost did it. He killed my parents.”

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